Thursday, December 31, 2009

The eve

I have been inundated with the "Best of 2009" "Worst of 2009" "Shit that happened in 2009" and assorted "2009 can suck my big hairy donkey balls" posts that are viral this week.

I don't care to recap, revisit, or redirect you to anything  from this past year.

Onward and Upward, babycakes.

Our neighborhood is gearing up for New Years Eve. Elaborate pulley systems are being set up on street lights, folding tables are being assembled, plans are being made.

I, for one, am cleaning my oven.

And making a pork roast.

And scrubbing the toilet.

I cannot go into a new year with a dirty bathroom. I just can't do it.

I am also fighting an epic battle with some sort of hideous virus - on the desktop computer. I have been running program after program trying to get that machine clean. It's not working. But I have developed a close working relationship with my internet provider's security tech. Tracy, I heart you.

2010, I am ready. Are you? Hit me with your best shot.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bangkok: not just a schoolyard game

OK, I woke up this morning and I did it.
I put on my big girl panties.
I threw caution to the wind.
I was impulsive. Impetuous. Irresponsible.

I booked tickets to Bangkok.
For Tuesday morning.

One week from today.

We don't have valid passports. I made an appointment at the Passport Agency to get those.
For Monday morning.

One day before we leave.

We didn't have anyone to watch the house and the dogs. I found a housesitter who is available.
For the next two weeks.

My husband's boss is on vacation, and not around to approve the vacation time.
My husband left him a voicemail.

We haven't actually budgeted for this kind of outrageous expenditure once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Sorry, I got nothing for that one. This is such a stupid idea. But I'm doing it anyway.
I am sure this is going to work out JUST FINE (breathe. Keep breathing. Here's a paper bag.)

I have no idea where we are staying. Or what we are going to do once we actually land in Bangkok. Or if we'll have jobs when we get back. I didn't find anyone to cover my shifts, I am just hoping that by some chance my co-workers will want the extra hours. When my husband's bossman gets back to work next week, he will find my husband gone-baby-gone. Because that is how you get last minute vacation time: you make your plans while your boss is away.....on vacation.

I wish we could have planned this better. I wish I was better prepared. I wish I wasn't worried. I wish this sort of thing was easier for me. I hope I can relax enough to actually have FUN.

We're going. We're just going. No we haven't thought it through, and that is kind of the point.
2010 is going to be off to a roaring start - and this is the first of many surprises I have in my back pocket.

Stick around, it's going to be a doozy.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I Smell You.

I think I am going through some sort of midlife crisis. I am having the WEIRDEST jolts of memory - it's starting to freak me out a bit. Everything can't be deja vu, and yet....where are these memories coming from? It is the most bizarre experience, especially for someone who cannot remember things that happened 3 hours ago. But it hasn't stopped, these flashbacks and details. Just today I was in the grocery store, and I walked past a young man stocking eggs in the dairy case, who nearly brought me to my knees. I had to stop for a moment, shake the cobwebs, clear my head and get my bearings before heading to the produce department.

He was young I think, maybe in his late teens, rocking the baggy jeans and the hooded sweatshirt. I never really looked at him all that closely, because it didn't really matter what he looked like or sounded like. It was what he smelled like. All at once, I felt really old standing next to this kid....and at the same time I had this CRAZY deja vu triggered by smell and I could have been 16 again in that moment.

(and by the way, reading those two paragraphs makes me sound and feel about 80 years old. "young man" "I could have been 16 again."  Yeesh.)

What I smelled, there in the narrow aisle of the neighborhood convenience store, wasn't body odor. Not directly, anyway. No, I was smelling this kid's laundry detergent, and his deodorant maybe. Something. And it just stopped me in my tracks. I had smelled that very smell - that combination of smells - before. A long time ago.

In all of the places I have been, I have never had this experience. It sounds so gross, that I smelled someone. And I swear, I wasn't all pressed up against him taking big whiffs. Although, that probably would have been OK by me. No, it was something that happened in a moment, as I was passing by. And I was totally thrown.

I wonder what is going on, that all of these long-buried memories are surfacing. I don't particularly welcome them, I have grown accustomed to carrying very few sensory memories with me. I can remember how to get to every address I have ever driven to......but everything else has been fuzzy. Names, dates, details are irrelevant, it's in the past, that's all I needed to know.

But now......well. I don't know what to DO with this. How to deal with memories that surface years after the fact. Memories that I was happy to have forgotten.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sometimes you just have to ignore the rational, and do something just "because"

I am a level headed person, unless I have been spending time with a certain Mr. Jack Daniels. By all accounts, I try to make decisions that are - at least, when I make them - rational. Wise. Well-considered. For the greater good.

This is not one of those times. I am not making a rational decision, because this "plan" (I am using that term very loosely) is not rational. It is not reponsible. It is completely ridiculous.

I have never done anything completely ridiculous without provocation. Haven't even considered it.

Until now.

I think the time has come for me to say "The hell with it". To do something because it will be An Experience. An Adventure. Something impetuous. Just whip out the plastic, say "charge it please", and go. Deal with the fallout later.

I am going to do something IMPULSIVE.


Unless I totally pussy out. Also a distinct possibility.

Mount Laundry

Listen, I washed the laundry. I dried the laundry. It's CLEAN LAUNDRY. It needs to be put away.

Yes it does.

Not by me.

Put away the fucking laundry.

Don't sit on it.
Don't lie on it.
Don't spread it around looking for something in it.
Don't use it to build a fort.
Don't stick empty Gogurt tubes in it "just until the movie's over".
Don't sort it and then leave it spread out all over the entire living room.
Don't move it from one spot to another.

I left it in an inconvenient and obtrusive spot ON PURPOSE.
Put. It. Away.

All of it.

I am going to work now. I will be busy for the next 8 hours, being paid to take away other people's dirty dishes and glasses, and bring them clean ones. It's what I do. All day long. And unless you are planning to tip me, I'm not coming home and putting away your shit too.

Just put away the fucking laundry.
Happy Holidays.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The day after the day

(pssssst. Hey. You there? It's over. It's December 26th. Can you tell? Do you feel it? I feel a hundred times lighter. I do.)

Oh my GOD it is beautiful outside. And I have this great house overflowing with abundance: food, clothing, and love. And cardboard. What the FUCK is up with all of this packaging? We did not buy that much. And actually, we, purposefully tried to buy things that did not come wrapped in plastic and cardboard. Apparently, we failed miserably. Of course, part of the problem is all of the gifts that were shipped here. I adore Amazon, I do. Not very eco-friendly of me.....I confess. My carbon footprint reflects my size 11 feet - in hiking boots. So this morning, we cleared out the house and put all of the recycling in the back of the car. (The irony of having to DRIVE my recycling to the recycling center, further contributing to my over-sized carbon output, is not lost on me. But I'm not carrying this crap 2 miles on foot. I'm just not.) And with all of the holiday detritus out of here, I feel a sense of relief that is hard to describe, both physical and emotional.

I have everything I need, and I want for nothing.

Except another cup of coffee. I really WANT another cup of coffee.

As we charge towards the end of the year, riding this holiday season like the mechanical bull that it is, I am hoping the quarters run out so I can catch my breath for a few minutes. Maybe go to the beach. Take a nap. Sit outside somewhere, quietly, with the dogs and the kids and my husband, in the sunshine. No iPod or Blackberry. (Yes, I said it, I might leave my blackberry at home. I might. Maybe.) I don't necessarily want to reflect on this past year - it was pretty stressful, and it flew by so I feel like I didn't get quite as much out of it as I should have.....but it's done. It's done and it's gone and rather then reflect, I want to dream. Dream about what's next. 2010 is going to be a big year. A great year. One for the record books.

Or, it could fly by, and I could be sitting here next December scratching my ass and wondering where the time went.

Either way.

Friday, December 25, 2009

And so it came to pass

It's over. Can I get a "hell ya and yee haw" ? It's Christmas night, and all I can think about is how soon I can take down the tree and get the wreaths off my house and pack up the santas and the stockings and the blah blah blah as Dave would say.

It was, by all accounts, a lovely Christmas. Really, it was. Lots of time relaxing with family and friends, and I worked just the right amount - which is to say, one shift. Christmas Dinner Buffet. A cakewalk.

I had a lovely meal on Christmas Eve to get my holiday off on the right foot. It is a tradition, among Italian-Americans, to have a massive dinner on Christmas Eve before heading to church for mass - the Feast of Seven Fishes. Seven fish dishes, 13 dishes all together. And our friends here on Maui - who's families coincidentally come from both my same hometown in New England, AND (back several generations) the same region of Italy - throw a feast each year that is unrivaled on this tiny island in the middle of the Pacific. Fresh pasta, gravy (tomato sauce that cooks all day) and a seemingly endless supply of seafood. Heaven. With bottle after bottle of red wine, and home-brewed artisan beers, it was quite an evening.

And like all good things, it had to come to an end eventually. As much as I wanted to, I can't just put off Christmas FOREVER. The clock will eventually strike twelve, and Christmas will be upon us. Like a horrible rash in an indelicate spot that needs constant scratching. There is no getting around this. So, resigned to our fate (and resigned to leaving the dinner party) we went home, tucked the children in, set everything up around the Christmas tree, and did some last minute wrapping. We slept. We awoke at a decent hour (decent hour on Christmas morning = after sunrise - my bar is VERY LOW for Christmas morning). My husband made coffee. I was given lovely gifts. People liked the gifts I gave them. Everyone got along. No one got drunk, no one got sick, no one got their heart broken.

It was a Christmas miracle.

And I realized that while Christmas will NEVER be my favorite's not as bad as it once was. I am getting the hang of it. It's sort of like getting the hang of an earthquake. Certainly nothing to laugh at, but beyond my control. You don't have to sit around dreading it, and it's over pretty quickly. Then you just have to clean up the mess, and get on with things....things like drinking eggnog for one last precious week.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Homesick at home

I am sitting here at my kitchen counter, my husband is taking a well-deserved shower after a 15 hour workday, and my children are asleep in their beds (well, almost). The christmas tree lights are on, and my favorite christmas tunes are playing quietly while the oven pre-heats. I have a lot of baking to do, after all. It's quiet all around - the neighbors have finally shut the hell up and gone inside, after hours of hanging out in their driveway talking loudly and "tuning" an engine, while a toddler ran in circles screaming.

(Note: Perhaps your 3 year old is screaming because it is at least an hour past every other child's bedtime, and he is running around the middle of a dark street unsupervised, cold and probably hungry.....Stop yelling at him. Give the kid a meal and and hug, and tuck him into BED. Jesus H.Christ.)

Basically, it's a typical night in the neighborhood. And all is well. And the presents are almost all wrapped, and I am ready to sip tea and make tiramisu for Christmas Eve. I am home. And I am desperately homesick.

Each and every time, it hits me like a punch in the gut. It's like watching that Home Alone movie, where the two robbers just get pummeled, and every time it's a complete surprise. And you would think, the third or fourth time they got cracked across the face with a 2x4 they would have the sense to duck or at least brace themselves. But no. They are always taken unawares, and so am I. Especially around Christmas.

I have said many times, to anyone who will listen,  that in a perfect world, I would live in New York half the year, from July 1st to New Years Day, and then I would be in Maui the rest of the time. While Maui is most definitely my home, there is a part of me that struggles with being far from everything that is familiar. There are so many family traditions and fond memories I have: Warm summers in New England, digging clams and pulling lobster pots and riding bikes and eating ice cream on the steps of the Casino in GLP and dancing around bonfires next to the ocean on Cape Cod, wandering from beach house to beach house eating and drinking and laughing and then putting on a sweater and jeans in the cool evenings. And then fall, glorious fall, with the colors and the apples and the wood burning fires and the cold crisp clean air and that sound and smell of the leaves underfoot. Then Thanksgiving, my favoritest holiday of them all, with the Macy's parade at Columbus Circle and then dinner with family, taking a walk after dinner with a glass of wine and a cigarette, through winding country roads until your ears are too cold to stand it for another minute.

But oh, it is hardest at Christmas.

I have a hard time with Christmas, for many reasons....But I can leave my troubles behind in NYC. The holidays in New York are fucking MAGIC and don't let anyone tell you different, because they would be LYING to you. The lights and decorations, the snow if you're lucky, the food and the excitement and the crowds and tea at the Plaza and shopping in FAO Schwarz and oh my god it is just like living inside a goddam snow globe it is so perfect. The Macy's parade kicks off the festivities and Times Square on New Years brings the whole maniacal party to an explosive ending complete with horns and silly string. I can assure you that you have not REALLY celebrated New Years until you have celebrated it with two trannys and an ex-boyfriend who you still slept with from time to time, at some bar a block from Times Square after watching the ball drop from the top of a mailbox swigging a bottle of champagne and wearing a stupid cardboard tiara with glitter and feathers. Because those pictures are priceless and the fact that I threw up for two days afterwards takes NOTHING from the wonderful (albeit very blurry) memories I have of that New Years extravaganza.

So here I sit. No snow. No festivities. No silly string or trannys or ex-boyfriends. No old friends, no visiting old haunts or hanging my pink wool ballet slipper christmas stocking over the fire. No fireplace, for that matter. No taking the train or racing down I95 to Connecticut from wherever I happen to be, to meet up with old friends and extended family. No coffee at the Green Marble, no hard cider from Clydes, no fries at BeeBee Dairy because those bastards went out of business and didn't think of how it would affect me.

Yeah, I'm homesick all right. But it's OK. I live in PARADISE, baby. The only place on earth where you can have a pina colada at 8am and no one bats an eyelash. Where you can parade through Costco at 9am drunk as a skunk in a bikini, a santa hat and a festive sarong, whistling christmas carols and nibbling chocolate dipped macadamia nuts. Where you can lie in the sand on Christmas morning and build a sand castle while sipping mimosas and grilling sausages and pineapple on a hibachi next to your beach chair.

I am going to make the most of it, dammit. I may not be rocking it old school, and I may not be having a traditional white christmas, and there may not be chestnuts roasting by an open fire, but I can take a machete to a coconut and have a fine time leaning up against that palm tree and working on my tan.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


As many times as my heart has been broken, I have to say that it is possible that I may have bruised one or two myself. Upon further reflection, I have come to the realization that I spent most of my teen years and early twenties chasing the boys who were less then interested (oh, they were SO uninterested) and sort of brushing off the guys who might have maybe treated me well, and changed the path of my life in some way. I clearly was not intrigued by the idea of being treated well, of being cared for. Hurt me, baby. That was my motto.

For the past few days, I have been doing a lot of remembering. Slowly, my memory is returning, bits and pieces popping to the surface and bobbing around waiting to be snatched up and opened and reveled in and squealed over. Yesterday morning, on my way to work, I was having these really crazy memories of another waitressing job I had, working the breakfast shift, with a boy, and a broken heart, and an egg sandwich.

When I work, I like to work hard. I like to work hard and earn money. I have never had a job where I was paid exceptionally well for my hard work, and that may be a combination of my lack of formal education, and my unwillingness to subordinate - I like to run my own show, know what I'm saying ? These quirks (that's a nice way to describe them) do not bode well for corporate life, and therefore my work experience is a clusterfuck of "How did I get this job" and "Why did I take this job" and "This job does not pay enough" sprinkled with a healthy dose of "This job has almost no extended responsibility, so I can quit at any time and I find that very empowering". I.E. waitressing and temp work.

I have *loads* of stories about temping (Oh My GOD the stories I could tell - like the one about the guy who designed the automatic toilet flushers and faucets in public bathrooms. More on that another time. He was the awesomest little jewish guy in sharp looking suits and shiny cowboy boots - I shit you not - who chain smoked and yelled a lot. Oh how I adored that little, little man.)


I had this memory yesterday, it came out of fucking NO WHERE and I cannot for the life of me remember what triggered it and it doesn't matter anyway because the memory is enough. I remember sitting in the tiny kitchen of this little breakfast joint located near a river in a quaint little town. The restaurant was in the basement of a very old building. And there were a cast of characters, and all of the drama that you would expect not just from me and how I lived my life back then, but also because restaurants inherently have a lot of baggage, and a lot of drama. Yes, they do. Some cook is always fucking someone in the back room, someone is always getting fired for giving out free drinks or getting high on their cigarette breaks. People are always storming out over a $10 tip or telling someone to fuck off because that is THEIR table. I think this may be why I love restaurants so much - it makes my drama look like NOTHING.

POINT IS (man I am having trouble getting there today) I had this memory which involved all of the senses. I could feel the heat, and the cold, wet steam that I watched my former self trace circles in, on the small panes of glass in the old rickety window that was propped open with some random wooden dowel for ventilation.  I could smell the bacon cooking. I could hear the chef singing, and his voice telling me stories about some drunken escapade because that was what we DID back then, was drink and work and sleep. And I could taste this sandwich that he made for me. I remember eating it, almost choking over it as I calmed myself down. I had been crying so very hard. The egg sandwich was like a tiny piece of heaven: over easy egg, bacon, swiss cheese, all stacked up on an english muffin - the bright yellow yolk was oozing, the cheese would stretch away from the sandwich comically every time I took a bite. I was covered with grease and egg, stopping occasionally to mop the food and the tears from my face, where they were swirling together in a big crazy mess.

It was still dark outside, no one had come in yet. I was exhausted from the emotional trauma of my latest heartbreak. My marriage was over, apparently for good, and I was devastated. And I did not realize, as I sat there babbling incoherently, that the chef was listening. That the sandwich and the companionship were offerings. Gestures. He was supporting me so gracefully, so compassionately, so respectfully....that I was oblivious. The story of my life. I do not pick up on subtlety. Apparently.

So when a few weeks later he presented me with a box, and inside the box was a beautiful gold necklace, and I tried to say "No, this is too much" and he insisted and I finally accepted and said thank you....that was the first time I really realized that I was in a situation that it was going to be hard to figure out. I was going to hurt someone in some way - and I could see it coming and it made me sick to my stomach. I was so far behind the ball on this one, that even if I summoned up every bit of manners and graciousness, I was still going to be coming out of it an asshole.

As hard as I had fallen, for as many as I had fallen for, I had no idea how to spot someone falling for me. No idea how to reciprocate those feelings. And to be honest, if my crushes had ever responded, I probably would have gone running as well, so damaged was my ability to show affection and accept love.

So yesterday morning was my first step in making amends. I sat down and ate a fried egg sandwich, and smoked a cigarette in the parking lot, and paid my respects to a guy who tried to show me the same. Poor fella.

Monday, December 21, 2009

So after I posted all that blah blah blah about yesterday....

going on and on about how I was feeling like my life, in general, was not where I had hoped it would be by now. After all that wah wah wah woe is me "spoke in the broken wheel" nonsense, something happened. A spark.

I went back to work today, still feeling powerless. And then, in the first 30 minutes, I had two different tables talk to me about the restaurant, ask me for recommendations for something other then which juice to put in their fucking mimosa. As though my opinions about food in particular, were worth asking for, maybe even actually MEANT SOMETHING. Real conversations, not polite chit chat. They literally sought me out, and spoke directly to me. Which sounds like a lttle thing - but it meant something today. And then, it happened. One table asked if I was the owner.

The spark.

I get that question a lot, but today I had the strangest, most primal reaction to it. Usually I would blow it off with a smile and an "oh no !" But not today. Today when they asked I smiled, frozen. "No" (slowly shaking my head) "This isn't my place." And then I stopped, and looked them in the eye in silence, instead of bustling away to another table. I paused, and in that moment, eyes locked, we had an understanding. " 'This' is not my place. But I will........I'll have a place of my own someday." I know, that sounds so Lifetime movie. Sorry.

But see, it wasn't just wishful thinking on my part, that moment of silent understanding. They looked me right back in the eye and that look said it all. Not a challenge - just a simple statement of fact. "Abso-fucking-lutely. You can and you will have your own place. You can do it. You should do it. Don't be scared."

This sounds silly, even to me - and it's my story. If I were you I would stop reading right about now and go check out the next blog on my reader. The following paragraphs are the touching essay portion of the blog. Gag.

All I can tell you is that I am getting closer to not being so god damned scared. Scared to take a risk. Scared to take a step. Scared to be the person I thought I would be by now. This is not me. This is not where I want to be for the rest of my life. I am so angry at myself for not doing more. Not trying harder. Not having dreams, and not chasing them. For staying safe and comfortable and sheltered. For not taking risks, or believing in myself. I have to get that fire in me. I would say I have to get that fire re-lit, but honestly, I don't know if the fire was ever there to begin with. The only clear goal I ever laid out was to have children and maybe marry a nice guy (the two are not connected, necessarily. Kids were mandatory.....guy was a bonus.) So I did it. I got them. And I am so in love with my husband and my children.....but not with myself, so much. Was that it? The only true goal? Am I done? I shouldn't have just stopped there - because yes, they are wonderful gifts and an essential part of me. And I should give them more. I have to show my kids and my husband the real me who is buried so deep down inside that they might not even recognize her.

I hope I can find her in there. I hope she hasn't given up. I hope she's ready to go.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Up. A downer.

The first 15 minutes of the movie "UP" is the most depressing bit of cinema since Bambi's mom got blown to bits 50-odd years ago.
What. The. Hell.

When I settle down in front of a video with my kids on a rainy Saturday afternoon, the most I can hope for is to hear about 40% of the movie, and spend the other 60% of the time (though it's usually much more) answering questions, fetching water, rewinding because someone missed something, adjusting blankets, wiping noses, and refilling snacks.

But the last - the ABSOLUTE LAST - thing I expect to do is discuss infertility and soulmates dropping dead and leaving their devastated partners to spend the rest of their lives alone, and old men losing their shit and beating people with their cane.

What kind of fucked up children's movie IS THIS? More alcohol please.

So yeah, rainy day, watching movies, sipping chai, fielding phone calls from disgruntled co-workers.

Yes, I am a waitress, and I get phone calls and emails at all hours of the day and night from disgruntled co-workers. I don't get it either. I love my co-workers, and I love my job, and quite frankly, I totally agree with the "Oh my god this is ridiculous" frame of mind they are in.....but I am in absolutely NO position to do anything about it. I am no union organizer. I am not even organized enough to keep my bedroom clean at the tender age of 34. So really, despite a strong desire to help (and possibly the skills to do so) my hands are tied and all I can do is reassure people that no, they are not crazy (at least, when it pertains to workplace drama).

Someday, I will be in the position to make a difference. To enact change. To try to make things better where work is concerned. But right now I am just a spoke in a wheel. A wheel that is missing several spokes, is not connected to an axle, and has a flat tire.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Blame it on the snow

I grew up in New England. I am used to snow, and cold, and freezing rain and all that comes with a New England winter. I don't miss it much. The only reason I ever feel any sort of nostalgia about winter is because winter weather is forever linked to the beginning of my relationship with Sam.

Last night I was lying in bed thinking about our first kiss. I can't recall now why I was thinking about it....maybe I read something or saw something that triggered this memory, who knows. I can only be grateful of the reminder, grateful for the details that came flooding back.

Our first winter together was spent virtually snow bound. From the very beginning, before we were a couple and while we were still at the awkward "We're just friends but everyone knows it's going to lead to something but no one knows what and it could be cool or it could be really really bad either way this is going to be fun to watch" stage, everything that happened was affected by massive amounts of snow. The first time I ever spent the night (fully clothed, thankyouverymuch) at Sam's, there was a crazy howling nor'easter outside that prevented me from getting back to Boston safely.

How convenient.

Poor Sam spent another few weeks being held at arms length, while I carefully assessed the situation - no romantic snowbound evening by the fire for ME. No sir, I was not going to fall for that. Eventually, arms length would become holding hands which became cuddling on the sofa which led to spending the night not-so-fully-clothed. But not right away. Oh no. I was going to make him wait. I needed to be sure. And more importantly, I wanted him to be sure. It didn't take too long. When we finally began officially dating, it was right in the middle of a cold and snowy February in Boston. In fact, our first kiss was during a snowstorm.

It was nighttime, probably around 10 or 11pm. Walking with a group of friends through Boston's North End, heading toward Cafe Vittoria for cappucinos and cannoli, the snow swirling around our legs, glowing in the gas lamps lining the narrow, cobblestone streets. It was not too cold - just cold enough for snow. As we walked along, the snow was accumulating and our path was trailed by ever deepening footprints. Sami and I lagged behind, having a conversation about dating. I was just ending a serious relationship. Sami had sworn off women entirely. We were wary, and yet something strange was happening. A few nights before, we had a heated exchange in a bar about the nature of our relationship, and the conversation was continuing on this snowy evening. Neither one of us was going to give it up - something was there, something worth exploring and considering.......but we needed clarity. We both wanted to know exactly what was expected, needed, wanted from a relationship. And in the middle of what can only be described as a very intense conversation that covered topics as far reaching as having children and changing the toilet paper roll, we stopped walking.

After discovering to our surprise that we agreed on yet another fundamental issue (the roll should be on the holder with the loose end hanging IN FRONT of the roll) Sami said something like "Well, listen. We won't know if this is going to work until we try." I agreed. "Maybe we should start with a kiss." he suggested. I agreed.

And just like that, we leaned in. There under the gas lamp, in the swirling pools of snow, with a group of friends calling us from a distance (or maybe they just seemed far away at the time) we kissed.

And tonight, 12 years later, we are in bed, and the rain is falling outside, and the kids are sleeping and the dogs are snoring and Sami is dozing next to me and I can still smell that old herringbone wool overcoat he had on, that was damp from the fat wet flakes that were drifting down so thickly. I can picture the blue plaid scarf wrapped around his neck, and the snow in his hair. I can still see the golden light that is so particular to gas lamps in the snow. And oh, how I miss that snow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A change is gonna come

At first I thought I just had a case of the holiday blues. I would hardly be alone in that mindset - I have some good company. (Right Tiger? Oh, wait. That's blue BALLS. That's DIFFERENT. And p.s. you suck.)

On Sunday I got myself all gussied up in the women's room after my shift (which entailed wiping off both armpits with a wet paper towel - my co-workers were equally impressed with my efforts, let me tell you). And I went to the holiday party for about, oh, 10 min.

I left that gathering so aggravated and aggrieved, that I spent the entire rest of the evening in a funk. I love my job, I love my co-workers, we have a great time at work and outside of work. And maybe - just maybe - it began as a case of the holiday blues......

But the blues blew up.

I don't know what my problem was, besides a distinct lack of holiday cheer and desperate need of a shower. I recognized it, though. I wasn't going to sit around raining on everyone ELSE'S parade, that's for sure. So I drove home, up the gorgeous, beautiful slopes of Haleakala, with the sun drifting ever-lower in the winter sky.

I dug deeper, I looked harder, I thought longer about what, O WHAT could be bothering me.....

I think I got it. It's your typical existential crisis.

When we moved to Hawaii, it was to get out of the crazy cycle of eat work sleep repeat.

That didn't really work out so good.

And this is what is really bothering me. I am living a life, a great life, at breakneck speed - because I have to.
But I don't.
We don't.
YOU don't.

I am not sure what the solution is yet - but I am tired of obsessing about money and paying bills and the detritous of this American life. Don't get me wrong, I love the hell out of my MiniCooper and that thing is NOT going anywhere (Don't worry baby, mommy is going to take GOOD CARE OF YOU. You and your sassy little six speeds.)

But enough is enough. Is enough.

I gotta let it go. I am effectively putting on the brakes. 2010 is going to be a very different kind of year.

And I am so ready for the change.

Monday, December 14, 2009

And lo, a child was not quite born.

9 years ago tonight I was feeling mighty uncomfortable. I had gained a whopping 80 pounds, and at 8 days past due, and very profoundly pregnant, I was pretty pissed off. My new nursing bra - a 38J - was washed and ready to go.......only it was a little too small. I didn't know what  size came after "J" and I didn't want to find out - but the nurses had warned me that when my milk came in I was going to go up several additional cup sizes. We decided to wait and see just how freaky I was going to get before investing in any more of these "undergarments". I didn't fit in the shower stall anymore - at least, not with the door all the way closed. I was badly in need of a shave, but I hadn't seen my legs in months and I was not even close to coordinated or limber enough to get the razor where I would need it to go. I had stopped wearing pants because not only could I not reach far enough to get the pants hooked over my feet (and let's just pause for a moment and picture me rolling around on my back with my legs all frogged up around my belly, trying desperately to catch my feet with the pants)  but even if my husband DID help me get them on they stopped right above the knee and refused to go any further up. In response, I was also refusing: Refusing to buy any new, larger clothes so close to my due date. I was now limited to a 20 year old flannel nightgown with a hole in the armpit and bedroom slippers.

I was a fat, miserable, bitchy cow. And proud of it. And if I could have been bothered to put down my box of Dunkin Donuts for more then the five minutes it took to pee, I might have smacked you right across the face for commenting on my size, and the imminent delivery of the child/parasite I was lugging around. It was December in Massachusetts. I was simultaneously cold (feet and hands) and hot (everywhere else) and itchy and dry and aggravated. And I needed a drink and some caffeine in the worst way.

I can only imagine what my dear, darling, incredibly patient husband must have thought of the entire situation.

The fact that we had gone through so much time and effort and trouble and money to get me in this condition.
The idea that he had ever in a million years ever wanted to hit that.
The thought that he might be married to this beast for the rest of his life. That *this* was his new reality.

This was what he had to look forward to. His darling, formerly hot wife, eating and bitching and watching TV and heaving herself out of bed with considerable assistance to pee every hour or so, at least until they finally put that fucking catheter in. That catheter was a blessing, I no longer had any reason at all to get up - more time for donuts. The fact that he had not yet run screaming into the winter chill is a Christmas miracle in and of itself, I assure you.

But despite all of the discomfort and spider veins and boxes of donuts and ripped maternity pants, we were happy and excited. And tonight, this very night, we were in the labor and delivery room. Sami was snoring in the recliner. I was sitting in the bed with a shiny new epidural that I did not want, that the anesthesiologist had administered at the urging of my night nurse and I guess my midwife......things were not going well. I wanted to be in the tub, not lying in the bed. The contractions had slowed down considerably. I had been induced 36 hours ago, and was still not progressing. And now I was angry. And I was still, and seemingly forevermore, pregnant.

That was 9 years ago tonight.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Daffodil's Guide to navigating the company Holiday Party

Just back from the Festive! Holiday! Party! for my husband's work. I love events like these, because I don't know ANYONE AT ALL and I can just sit back and observe, and see how everyone interacts. I think you learn a lot more about the dynamics of a group watching people you don't know, then by watching a crowd of familiar faces. Though let's face it, the guy with the killer mullet and the LED display on the front of his t-shirt that lit up and pulsed with the beat of the music ? He would be easy to read no matter what. "That's an I.T. guy" my husband informed me discreetly while I was trying to keep a straight face. "No shit" I said. "I never would have guessed."

I saw things at this lovely holiday gathering that made me laugh like a banshee, and cringe with sympathetic mortification.

First, the holiday party is an excellent way to figure out what your spouse's co-workers really think of him or her. If your spouse does not take you around to say hello to a bunch of people, and if not too many people come up to say hello to you, and if you are sitting by yourself at a table set for 10, then it's safe to assume that your spouse might be an asshole.

Second, the buffet line is always going to be set up the same way: they will put the cheapest food at the beginning of the line, so that you load your plate with salad and rolls and potatos and rice and then finally you will get to the tray of meat but you barely have any room left on your plate so you just take a small piece. And then as you head back to your seat, you spot the prime rib table which is tucked away behind a pillar. But because your plate is already overflowing, you will say to yourself "I'll get that on the next round". But there is no next round, because you are full of fucking SALAD and ROLLS. It's a very clever scheme so that the banquet staff will be eating prime rib during cleanup. Game, set and match to the food and beverage manager. Bravo.

Third, if you have a few drinks, and start to loosen up and actually enjoy yourself, someone will take an unflattering photo and circulate it via internal email. At the next year's holiday party there will be extensive reminiscing about "......that time last year when you left the party in your wife's high heels." or questions like "Are you drinking your dinner again this year?" or a call to action like "We're waiting for you to get out on the dance floor and show us how it's the last holiday party."

So, to recap - locate the carving station immediately, keep your pants on, smile politely because the drunk guy trying to touch your ass may be the president of the company, and don't approach anyone unless they look welcoming and interested, or you might get an earful about that asshole you came with.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yeah it's gray. Do you have a PROBLEM with that?

My hair is gray. To recap: yes, I am 34 and I went through menopause at 29 and I have gray hair. And wrinkles. But we'll talk about those later.

Because today I am obsessing over my decision to color my hair.

I have dyed my hair many many MANY times. The color has run the gamut from platinum blonde to dark chocolatey brown, with a healthy collection of reds mixed in. Right now, it is just my natural mousy brown, with a lot of gray sprinkled liberally throughout. Overall, I think it's pretty, and sparkly, and that the gray kind of looks like highlights. Or maybe I have just convinced myself of that to feel better about running around with a head of gray hair, and skipping appointments with my hair goddess Xena (that's her real fucking name so SHUT IT). (Actually, it might be spelled Zena. But whatever. Still a BAD ASS NAME.)

So why dye? Well, I had a few mishaps with DIY trims. And the gray has sort of gone more to the white end of the spectrum. Plus, I missed Xena and her mad hair skillz, so I made an appointment for today. When I mentioned this week, very casually, that I was getting my hair colored, the responses came from one of two camps.

There was the "It's about time, you look like a bag lady and never mind coloring it do you actually even BRUSH IT anymore?"

And the "I think you hair looks fine and I can only dream of having the money to color my hair." As though, by getting my hair colored once a year I am splurging to such an extent as to make others uncomfortable with my largesse.

Both responses kind of made me feel like shit, to be honest. I understand completely that getting my hair colored is a luxury. I do. I also understand that I am not making the best impression walking around with snarled graying hair and bangs I cut myself with nail scissors.

And I hate to spend the money. Actually, I won't even be spending money right now - I would pay with a credit card and pay for it........later. Sometime.

So there it is. Do I maintain status quo and embrace my gray.....or do I actually do some MAINTENANCE and maybe clean it up a bit for the round of work parties and photos ?

2 hours later, my hair looks great and I feel slightly nauseous for spending that much money on hair that is eventually going to fall out. Hopefully not anytime soon, of course.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

When the un-fun pulls some fun out

I found my inner fun.....and it was good. Homework be damned. Big wave surfing at it's most glorious. Yesterday I picked the kids up from school and drove 2 miles into a field and saw this:

We were all gathered to see this:

And this:

Monday, December 7, 2009

why I am not even fun at christmas

It will come as no surprise to anyone that Christmas stresses me out.

Today I took all of the gifts I have been collecting throughout the year, and wrapped everything, and made sure I hadn't forgotten anyone. And I packed up boxes to ship to the mainland, and filled out the mailing labels. But I was missing an address, so I had to send out a festive family email:

.....I have a birthday gift and a christmas gift to send, and that man is not responding to my (perfectly pleasant and civil, by the way) email requesting his new mailing address.

I am not in the mood to call and chat with whatshername, so I'm not calling them. If someone has the new address, great. If not, I'm sending the box to the address I have.

Happy Fucking Holidays. Remember when Christmas was fun? Me Neither.

I used to like Christmas. I mean, as a kid, of course I LOVED Christmas. What's not to love? You get a bunch of stuff, and you get money, and you don't have to buy a damn thing for anyone else because your parents take care of that shit.

But then I got older. And getting stuff wasn't that much fun anymore. And the gifts I could afford to give were shitty. And my life was chaotic And then, my father left.

On Christmas.

And then, the very next year, while I was in my second year of not getting pregnant, and loaded to the gills with fertility drugs and crying and depressed and celebrating my first Christmas without my father, his girlfriend had a baby.

On Christmas.

When my mother found out her husband's girlfriend was pregnant, she told him "this is going to kill your daughter". And it almost did. That news was pretty much the nail in the coffin for me. My husband was really the only thing that kept me going, kept me afloat and focused and sane. But as for the holidays, the verdict was in: Christmas officially sucked and was a non-holiday. Christmas is for kids. I didn't have a kid, my brothers were basically not kids any more, there were no kids around, so I was prepared to Never Celebrate Christmas Again.

That was bullshit, of course. Because the very next Christmas found me holding a 10 day old baby boy of my own, and his arrival healed my broken heart enough to carry on and find some of the joy that had been wrung out of the holidays with all of the tears I had shed in the previous two years.
It's better, it's easier, it doesn't hurt so much anymore....but every December we celebrate this holiday and it all comes back to me. And every year, I feel guilty for not having a relationship with that kid who was born on Christmas just like Sweet Baby Jesus. But I don't and I can't and I won't....for the foreseeable future. Yes, I know, it's not his fault our dad is such a putz. And I know that relationships end and people move on and that I am hardly the first person in my particular situation. I'll spare you the details, my self-righteous indignation over the specifics which are tawdry and unflattering to my father and his girlfriend (now wife). The point is, my problem is not with this kid - I just can't deal with this kid's PARENTS. So, for now, he is not a part of our life. Too many hurt feelings, too much confusion, it was too easy to make excuses and put it off.

For a long time, it was easy - we had absolutely no contact. My father sent a few cards, called a few times, and each interaction left me so upset that finally my husband and family and doctors suggested that I stop. I wrote my father a letter explaining that I didn't want to have contact because I wasn't ready to interact with his new family, and pretend that everything was normal and wonderful. I closed that door firmly, turned the lock and threw the key in a drawer somewhere. I Just Didn't Think About It. OK, that's a lie. I totally thought about it, but didn't dwell on it. OK, maybe I dwelled a little, but JUST A LITTLE. OK a lot. I dwelled on it a lot. But I was resolute in my No Contact Ground Rules. And then there was the good old Golden Rule - I had nothing nice to say, and I tried to say nothing at all.

I failed miserably - I am, after all, me.

Saying nothing is not an option. Ooooh how I wish I could keep my mouth shut, to remain cool and calm and quiet. But it's just not in my nature. (Not in my father's nature either. It does not escape my notice that I am my father's daughter not just in my biology, but in my personality as well. Oh, irony, how I love you so.) So I kept my distance, not trusting myself to be civil, and knowing that if the two of us got going, it would be World War III.

And then I saw him. Them. All three of them were at a wedding we attended. And suddenly, maintaining the silence was not so easy. In fact, seeing them was hard and unpleasant. I was horrified. It was the worst thing I could imagine, and it was happening in full view of future in-laws and extended family and friends of the family and OH THE HUMANITY. I had to be on my best behavior. I refused to make a scene. I even took their picture. I definitely didn't fight - I didn't say much at all. I stayed as far away from Her as possible, and dealt with my father only when completely necessary. And their kid was just a kid - and busy doing kid stuff with MY kid. I don't know if the boys knew they were related, I don't know if my son remembers it at all. I was nauseous and upset and angry and trying to deal as best I could without self-medicating. (The last family wedding I had attended, I actually drank ALL OF THE VODKA at the reception. All Of It. I know that, because I went up to get another Vodka7 and the bartender was all "You drank all the vodka, ma'am." Now, that is just poor planning on the caterer's part, but I digress.) There was not going to be enough vodka In The Universe to get me through this wedding without being uncomfortable, so I decided to spare all of us the drama that comes with Daffodil+Vodka+family event

You are welcome.

But that wedding broke the seal - the seal of silence, the No Contact Ground Rules. Houston, we had contact.

And my father started sending gifts - excessive in my mind considering the years and miles between us, but the gifts would arrive and sometimes we would accept them, and sometimes we wouldn't because it just seemed wrong to be getting gifts from people we didn't even SPEAK TO. We really struggled with it. The last thing we needed or wanted was more STUFF to begin with. And stuff with all of the excess baggage was even less appealing.

I finally decided to get over it. If they want to send a Christmas or birthday gift to the kids, fine. But what about THEIR kid? Should I be sending a gift to this boy that I am related to but have never really met? Never had a conversation with? Never hugged or kissed or read to or carried around or introduced as my (and this word is so hard to use in this situation) my brother? Because of course it's not about him, this silence. It has nothing to do with him. My father told me during a tense conversation that "he knows all about you" which freaked me out. I tried to imagine what our father said to him, how he would have explained to this boy that he has a sister, a big sister who ignores him. Pretends he isn't there.

No. Not even close. I know he is there. I just don't know him. Big Difference.

So now, every December, I put a package together for this kid I don't know, but who is related to me. I don't know why I do it, exactly. I send a Christmas present and a birthday present. Wrapped seperately. Birthday paper on one gift, holiday paper on the other. And I mail them out, and maintain my silence.

Which is so unlike me.

I am not the fun one. I know this.

As I was lying awake at 2:30 this morning, fuming over homework unfinished and dinner ingredients still frozen and Trips To The Beach I Can't Take Because I Work Every Weekend, I realized something.

I am no fun. No Fun At All.

I am not the fun parent. In fact, lately, I am not even a nice parent. I don't play. I am not silly. I don't run around and get dirty. I am burned out (no, not A burn out - BURNED OUT.....there IS a difference. Especially on Maui.) I have been incapable of having fun. Even throwing a fun birthday party, where other people were having lots of fun, did not register on my personal Fun-O-Meter, because I was cooking and packing and shopping and barking directions and trying to take pictures and stressing the fuck out.

I bought the good candy, though. That should count for something. No one buys the chocolate candy for a bunch of kids. But I did. I bought the 5 pound chocolate assortment. And it was good. I also bought the giant "size of your head to big to bite must use a fork" Costco cupcakes. Those were good too. And I made a ham. Doesn't that count for anything?

No. Not really.

But I made a LOT of ham. So much ham that, in addition to MAKING the ham for the party and BRINGING the ham to the party, I also served leftover ham to anyone else at the park who was interested. But I don't get fun points for that either.

I think I might have gotten some fun points for this:

I may not be fun myownself, but I throw a fun party.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Some things to file away for later.....or now.

After a week where I have been dealing with a lot of miserable menopausal symptoms, I thought I would take a few moments to outline what, exactly can happen when you go through menopause.

Guys, even though YOU will not go through menopause, chances are pretty good that you are going to have to interact, at some point, with a woman who IS going through menopause. A wife, a mother, a girlfriend, the teller at the bank, you know, a woman. You see them from time to time, no?

And on the outside, they seem like any other woman. Yes, yes they do. You won't be able to tell.

For instance.....I was 29 years old when I went through menopause.

Twenty Nine.

It took a while for them to figure out what was going on. By the time they finally ran the right test, and realized what they were dealing with, I was nothing short of a science experiment. And as such, I spent a very long time feeling pretty fucking miserable. In fact, every so often, even to this day (and especially today, my GOD today has been bad) the symptoms can just take over. This is serious shit. The real deal. THIS is the sort of stuff that tests you, that tests your relationships, that forces you to admit that your life is not in your hands. No, you're not dying. But damned if it doesn't feel like it sometimes.

So without further ado, here's a smidgen of the fun things you too can look forward to experiencing - either yourself, or vicariously through others. You lucky duck.

Night Sweats.

I am not talking about sleeping under too many blankets, and getting a little warm, and having to peel off a layer. I am not talking about just feeling a little damp.

I am talking about waking up in a puddle. Sweating so profusely that your fingers are pruny. Having all of your bedclothes - including the top of your comforter - completely soaked. I'm talking about flipping over your pillow, and finding that the other side is actually worse. I am talking about having to get out of bed - sometimes more then once a night, to take a shower, strip off all of the bedding, and sleep on a towel wrapped in your bathrobe because you have run out of blankets. That is, if you can sleep. Because we have another fun symptom:


Insomnia is a beast. I sleep for 3-4 hours at a stretch, and then I am awake for potentially the rest of the night. And the entire next day I will be a zombie, but I am afraid to nap in case I won't be able to sleep at night. Since I already sleep so little at night, the idea of sleeping even LESS is frightening. The thing about it is, during the night, while you are awake, you don't feel tired. You only feel tired when you are awake DURING THE DAY, say at about 11am. And again at about 1pm. And 4:30pm is really hard too.

Hot Flashes.

These can come at night, and that is bad. But they also come with no warning, perhaps during a lovely meal or in the middle of your commute, or perhaps at the busiest time of your day - a time when you do not have a moment to spare.

But you have to take a minute.

Because all of a sudden, your entire head and upper body are suffocating. You can't breathe. You can't THINK. You can't stand it. You would strip naked right that second if you could, but usually you can't. So you just have to sit down, and wait. Wait for your head to stop spinning. Wait for the sweating to subside. Wait for the ringing in your ears to die down, and your pulse to slow and the panic to ease. You are not going to spontaneously burst into flame at any moment. I swear. Try not to cry or hit anyone. It won't help.


These are awful. These are not headaches. These are episodes where the pain is so bad that you might vomit. And cry. And walk out of work in the middle of something and go home (if you can even make it - sometimes you have to call for a ride) and crawl into bed and curl into a ball and just wait for it to be over. You won't care if you are going to get fired, you'll deal with it later. You don't care who you offend or inconvenience or blow off or disappoint because OH MY FUCKING GOD THE PAIN. The only way these can be worse is if you have a simultaneous hot flash.


What. The. Fuck. I used to have good skin. Yes, yes I did. I have no idea what happened.

I didn't change my cleanser. Or my moisturizer. I just woke up one day with a huge zit between my eyebrows, and since then it has been a real adventure. I think I have it under control now. Minimum washing, lots of moisturizer because THE WRINKLES come with THE ZITS and it is very very very depressing.


Well, it fit YESTERDAY. But it doesn't fit anymore. It might fit again next week. In the meantime, you will need to buy new clothes. Buy something stretchy and forgiving. These maxi dresses that are in style these days? Perfect. Embrace the muu muu.


Congratulations, you are a fucking Hair Farmer. You can grow hair anywhere, at a moment's notice. Chances are, the hair will grow in all sorts of places that you wish it wouldn't. In other words, it probably won't grow on your head. But you might be rocking a sweet guido 'stache and not even know it. The unibrow you thought was eradicated? Is back.

Mood Swings.

PMS is small potatoes compared to menopause. It might be because you feel so miserable to begin with. It might be because you are not sleeping. It might be because everyone is a stupid asshole. You are going to be moody. And you have to figure out a way to be moody, without being a total bitch. It's going to be very hard. I have found that the best technique is to just own it.
"I am feeling VERY UPSET right now, and if you do not go away, immediately, you will feel my burning wrath. I would suggest going far away and finding something else to do. Something quiet, so as not to draw attention to yourself. I don't want to yell at you, but I will."


I'm not kidding when I say that I have forgotten what I was going to write about this. I have begun putting reminders on my phone, with alarms, because otherwise I will not remember anything. Here's an example of how bad it can be: My husband returned a movie one day. I forgot he had taken care of it. I tore the house apart looking for the movie. He reminded me he had returned it. Two hours later, I searched the entire house again, because I wanted to put the movie with my purse - SO I WOULDN'T FORGET TO RETURN IT (oh, the irony). After a while I remembered that it was already returned. But then, a few hours after that, I was pulling out of the driveway to run an errand, and remembered that I needed to return the movie. I pulled back in the driveway, walked back to the house, unlocked the door, and went looking for the movie to return while I was in town.

I wish I was lying. It happened.

I can walk into a store for one item, say hello to the greeter at the front door, grab a basket, and then HAVE NO IDEA WHY I AM THERE. If I make an appointment, it has to be put into my phone immediately - or I will miss it. I took the dogs with me in the car one day, and got out of the car and walked in the house and left them in the back - and thank GOD my son was all "Uh, mom? The dogs?" because honestly they would have been in there until someone had found them and let them out. It can be very scary. Many times I feel like I am losing my mind. Seriously losing my mind. Most of the situations are pretty harmless, but leaving the dogs in the car was a near-tragedy. And I can say without a doubt that the forgetfulness will be one of the single most disruptive parts of menopause for you and your co-workers and friends and family. It is really hard to deal with, and it is hard to explain when it just happens over and over again.

So that, in a nutshell, is just a short list of some of the fun things you can expect with menopause.
Keep in mind, that when you are interacting with a woman who may seem irrational or ornery, she could be experiencing any of the above - or possibly ALL of the above. Doesn't make it any more pleasant to deal with her, but you know, maybe she has a good reason for being such an unreasonable douche. And as a side note, depression is a serious possibility, so if you are having a hard time dealing with all of this call your doctor. Nothing wrong with a little Vitamin X to make your life easier at a time when every damn thing seems so hard.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

And so begins another madcap, zany weekend

Friday is my Monday in terms of the work week. I start out of the gate early friday morning, and don't stop racing in circles until late afternoon Sunday.

And that is just on a regular weekend.

This is no regular weekend.

This is the weekend of my son's birthday party. Which I am NOT having at my house. The last time I had a birthday party at my house, someone ripped a hole in the arm of my sofa, someone else peed in the bathroom - ON THE FLOOR - and when I left my husband in charge of the pinata, I walked in the room 10 minutes later to find the entire group of boys - grownups included - gathered around the coffee table beating THE SHIT out of the pinata, because (according to my husband) "the damn thing just wouldn't open". I can attest to the hardiness of the pinata, because they whacked at the thing for a really long time before they finally made a tear in the cardboard. And then they got all "Lord of the Flies" on that shit (as young boys do) and tore at it with their bare hands, shreds of colored paper and bits of cardboard and assorted pieces of candy flying everywhere. I just found a jolly rancher last week that we are almost certain came from that pinata. Which was 2 years ago.

Point being, the party is not going to be held at my house.

I am feeding them in a public park, sitting on picnic blankets spread out on the ground (so the food won't have so far to travel) and then I am strapping each of them into a pair of skates and letting them loose on the rink to raise hell and hopefully not break anything. That is my fervent prayer, that everyone refrain from injurious behavior for this one evening.

I don't know who I am kidding - eight and nine year old boys spend every minute trying to figure out how to best risk their lives. Whether it is riding a skateboard down a hill on their stomach, face first, or jumping off the roof with a sheet tied to their shoulders as a parachute, boys of a certain age have a maximum of bad ideas and a minimum of common sense. Survival instinct kicks in occasionally, but for the most part it's every man-child for himself, no holds barred, bring the big bandaids chaos.

Long story short, this is going to be a very exciting weekend, and I will be welcoming Monday with open (and yet incredibly fatigued) arms.

Because that whore Aunt Becky told me to. Wait, not THAT Becky. A different Becky. No, not you. (sigh) nevermind.

Today we are participating in a little Q&A (though my personal preference is always and forever T&A, this will have to do) with Aunt Becky. Go check out her blog so she can see how many of my beloved readers are willing to jump ship at any given moment. Then come back and read my answers to her probing, insightful questions.

Mommy Wants Vodka

1) Do you like sprinkles on your ice cream?

Only rainbow sprinkles. And they have to be the good, candy kind, not the weird mealy bits of plastic-y crap.

2) If you had to choose one word to banish from the English language, what would it be and why?

Well, I think Aunt Becky is already on a mission to eradicate "moist" (THANK YOU) so I am going to go with "erudite".

3) If you were a flavor, what would it be?

Rum. Sweet, intoxicating, best in small amounts, great with eggnog, and a real bitch in the morning. Those butter rum Lifesavers are the Best Thing Ever. Rum Raisin ice cream sucks only because of the presence of raisins, which I feel too closely resemble rodent droppings to be safely consumed. WHAT IF THERE WAS A TERRIBLE MIX-UP ??? Rum ice cream, however, sounds pretty damn good.

4) What’s the most pointless annoying chore you can think of that you do on a daily/weekly basis?

Flushing the toilet after my son has forgotten to do so. And trust me - after he's been in the bathroom, just passing the doorway is a chore.

5) Of all the nicknames I’ve ever had in my life, Aunt Becky is the most widely known and probably my favorite. What’s your favorite nickname? (for yourself)

Meh. Nicknames. My blogging identity is a name generated by one of those "what's your stripper name" quizzes. It's stuck pretty well. So I'll go with Daffodil. Daffodil Campbell is my favorite nickname.

6) You're stuck on a desert island with the collective works of 5 (and only five) musical artists for the rest of your life. Who are they?

Ben Harper
G. Love
Norah Jones
Pearl Jam
Ray LaMontagne

7) Everything is better with bacon. True or false?

Only savory things. But every savory thing, yes.

8 ) If I could go back in time and tell Young Aunt Becky one thing, it would be that out of chaos, order emerge. Also: tutus go with everything. What would you tell young self?

Don't marry that guy. Go to Europe. Do something cool. Figure out who you are on your own terms.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's 5 o'clock somewhere

Listen. I know it's trite these days, to discuss drinking, and how much I need a drink. I have seen, read and heard the controversy over mommy drinking. Over blogging mommy drinking. I get it. It's trendy, practically, to drink (or emphatically NOT drink) and talk about it.

It's just too much to bear. There is absolutely nothing wrong with drinking and being a mommy. Or drinking and blogging. Or drinking and blogging AND being a mommy. Or not drinking at all. I have concerns about not blogging though - I think everyone should exercise their god-given right to blog.

Point being, I am sitting here at my kitchen counter at 9:32am, and thinking I would like to have a drink.

Specifically, This Drink.

I was given the opportunity to enjoy this wine on Thanksgiving, and from the goodness of her heart, my friend left me the rest of the bottle. All for me.

I am not a white wine drinker, but I do love me a muscat. And today it is calling to me......I am thinking of lunchtime pairings. I am wondering if that is wrong, to really want to sit in my house all day and read US magazine and sip muscat. It can't be wrong, it seems so very right.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It must be December in Hawaii, because my fingers are numb

You people think it's always a balmy 75 degrees around here?

Wroooooong. This morning it was a nippy 63. That's right. Practically 30 degrees above FREEZING.

My fingers are white with cold.

I can barely type.

My toes are numb too.

I have on jeans and a long sleeved shirt, and in a minute? I'm going to find some socks. Wool ones. That might take awhile, come to think of it. I might even get up and close a window or two.

I know what you are thinking, you who chooses to live in a colder climate, who spends the majority of your your days looking for warmth, taking showers to defrost your poor little toes, putting on layer after layer, and then taking them off again trying to find the perfect balance. I have been there, done that, and I made a conscious decision to never live that way again.


I know that what I am dealing with now can be addressed with a lightweight fleece and  some sneakers, which makes it somehow easier to bear. And to be honest, I am glad that it's cooler these days, because it is making it so much easier to get into the holiday spirit, in a place where Christmas just doesn't really seem like.....Christmas. It's hard to get festive in a tank top and flip flops, while sipping a pina colada. I mean, don't get me wrong. I get festive with the best of just takes more pina coladas, is all.

With a significant lack of pina coladas, I am heading up to Lucy's school to increase my festive-ness a hundred fold the natural way. I'm going to read Christmas stories to the preschoolers, and then show them a candy-free advent calendar from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art which is, by the way, pretty much one of the coolest places ever.

OK, so, off I go. My reading selection today is "Christmas Cookies"