Friday, December 31, 2010

Right here, right now, there is no other place I want to be

I thought about doing a wrap-up of the year, and even of the decade - as this marks 10 years that I've been back in DC, and actually, the longest I've lived anywhere, ever.

But reminiscing can make me melancholy. And the end of a year, a decade, can pull out the reflective and the sad, as you tiptoe through your accomplishments, failures, gains and losses.

So I'd rather share a little of today's joy with you, and wish you some of your own.

On Christmas eve, we went to our dear family friends' house, as we do every year.

They gave Jordan the Best Truck Ever. It goes forwards and backwards and the voice of a redneck guy even says "Woo hoo!" and "Back 'er up!" He loves it.

He also loves Doggy - which he pronounces "daddy." Doggy is from Ikea, where they have many many cute stuffed animals. Machine-washable, snuggly stuffed animals. Who knew?

So when Nick paired Doggy with Best Truck Ever, it was like crack. The best thing Jordan had ever seen! He was then compelled to repeat it approximately 57 kabillion times. And when he stopped to go take a shower, there was much dismay. Temporary calamity in the Jordan world!

Until he realized that Mama could probably help with the Doggy Truck situation.

My decade is ending gently, and I am thankful. In the last ten years I've learned, I've grown, I've become stronger and kinder.

Wishing you a very happy New Year's Eve, and a wonderful start to 2011. And also your very own version of the Doggy Best Truck Ever combo.

Big hug,


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Strike a pose, there's nothing to it

Everyone says Jordan looks just like Nick. But I think there are some pretty clear pieces of me in there as well.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Digging in the photo files: When Jordan Met Summer

"We were married forty years ago. We were married three years, we got a
divorce. Then I married Margerie."

"But first you lived with Barbara.""Right, Barbara. But I didn't marry Barbara. I married Margerie."

"Then he got a divorce."

"Right, then I married Kitty.""Another divorce."
"Then a couple of years later at Eddie Collichio's funeral, I ran into her. I
was with some girl I don't even remember."


"Right, Roberta. But I couldn't take my eyes off you. I remember I snuck
over to her and I said... What did I say?"

"You said, 'What are you doing after?'""Right. So I ditched Roberta, we go for a coffee, a month later we were

"Thirty five years today after our first marriage."

Monday, December 27, 2010

I am not sure what this says about me

My friend Kay just sent me a message saying, "At first I saw this headline and was like wtf but then I read it and thought of you."

People send me messages like this with some regularity. I don't know about you, but for me, the words, "I read it and thought of you," typically mean it will be something about merkins. Or rabies.


So. Her following sentence contained this link to an article on vaginal steam baths.

Which gave me pause.

But then actually, once you read about them, they sound kind of good. It's so cold right now, it might be nice. Kind of like squarching, but more relaxing. I wrote her back saying so.

Now, one of my male colleagues and I will be up in NY for work the end of January, and we'd been talking about it at lunch. Kay suggested that maybe I should make an appointment to get a vagina steam while I'm up there. Just to check it out.

The problem, however, is that we only have one free night, and we already have plans to get half-price tickets for a show. And I just cannot be all, "I'll meet you at the theatre. I, uh, I have to go steam my vagina beforehand."

Also, I picture walking down the street, everyone all bundled up against the cold, and me with a stream of steam wafting out of my coat, like a crotch ghost or something.

Which makes me realize that the odd part is the fact that I'm surprised when people send me this stuff.

Friday, December 24, 2010

And to all a good night

It's been a bit up and downy around here.

And now, after a week of various illnesses we find ourselves at Christmas Eve.

The stomach yuck got passed on to Betty, and Jordan got a 103 fever and little cold, but too fast to blame on the sister, and anyway, maybe he's teething? How do you know till you see teeth? And so he hasn't been his usual perkylicious self.

Also, because he hasn't been feeling well, he's been waking up crying at 3 am the last several nights.

Which is never the ideal time to be dredged up from the depths of your dreams, pulled to the chilly surface of awakeness and get-up-and-dealness.

But you know, you love your kid, and you get up and deal.

So last night I was the one who got up, and I realized the Motrin was downstairs. So I hurried down and back up. By the time I got to his room, he was no longer crying, but he was making noise, so I went in.

And there he was, running back and forth the length of his crib in delight.

He sleeps in a fleece sleep sack, which static electricity seems to love. And so every step was a crackle and a burst of sparkly light.

It was like magic. I felt lucky to see it.

There are so many negatives in the world, and quite honestly, I dwell on them more than I want to. There is so much ugliness and cruelty. But there's also so much beauty and good.

I think if there is magic in this world, it's going to be brought out by little boys and girls, up to mischief in the middle of the night. And I quite love that idea.

If you like this sort of thing, I hope some sparkly magic finds you this season.

And if you celebrate it, Merry Christmas and hugs. If you don't, hugs and a glorious weekend.

Monday, December 20, 2010

This information cannot leave this room. Ok? It would devastate my reputation as a dude.

Dear Jordan,

You are now 16 months old, and somehow, it's an immense change from 15 months. You're the busiest little big man around. You're not only walking; you're running! And climbing. And exploring every little thing.

You particularly love to climb into and out of this one particular box.

You've become a big thumb-sucker, and sometimes you sit very contentedly in the box, sucking your thumb. For like 12 seconds. And then you're up and running.

More than the motion, though, is that you seem to come up with a new word every day. Sometimes it takes us a week to figure out what they are - like humma. For a while you kept insisting on humma, humma, humma! We finally figured out that this means oatmeal. Which you love.

You also suddenly started saying "all gone!" and "all done!" and that makes things a lot easier. Except when you're upset that something is all gone and you fling yourself on the floor and wail.

You haven't had a full-on tantrum, but your dad said he had them as a kid, and I could imagine you carrying on the tradition.

Last night as we were getting you ready for bed, you asked for a bottle. And as you'd just had one, I said it was all gone.

And you put your hands on my chest and shoved, hard. It was very clearly an, "I don't like that answer, lady!" kind of shove.

We made it very clear that shoving Mama is Not Nice.

This is pretty rare, though. Mostly you're a smiley, happy little kid. You laugh a lot, and you love making us laugh. You've started walking backwards to amuse yourself and us. One day I'm going to get a video of you breakdancing.

You're great company, if kind of limited topic-wise. Your conversations typically start with the announcement, "Light!" or "Car!" or "Tuck!"

Cars and trucks are magic in your world.

The wonderful thing is that you're always just as enthused about cars out front today as you were yesterday. There's always this tone of, "Holy shit! Would you look at that! There are CARS outside! Man, isn't this awesome?!!"

It is, and so are you.

I love you love you love you.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

While we're on the topic

I've always thought Christmas nutcrackers were super creepy.

And that they look like they have lockjaw. Like the tetanus. But mostly creepy.

But the good thing about the tetanus, in case you were wondering, is that it's not necessarily fatal.

Unlike the rabies.

Unless, of course, you live in the third world and you're born with it, in which case you'll most likely die.

However, if you live here and have access to good medical care, they'll cut away the damaged tissue and then pump you full of antibiotics and - get this: 3,500-4,000 calories per day, with a ton of protein. This is because all the spasming you're doing burns a ton of calories.

It is one of my big paranoias. I think about it whenever I wear flip flops in DC. Also whenever I pick up random pieces of metal from the road, which I seem to be prone to doing. If they look cool and I think I can use them in an art thing.

It doesn't make sense with the tetanus fear, because I then spend the rest of the day Googling and fretting.

But now that I know that it's not fatal, I feel a whole lot better.

Those nutcracker dolls, though. I bet they steal your breath while you're sleeping.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The kind of stuff I have to put up with

It is ass-chilling cold here right now.

Seriously. I walk to work, and by the time I arrive, I can't feel my face or my butt. I was going to say it's like having tetanus, but I think the thing with tetanus is not that you can't feel, but that your muscles all lock up.

So maybe it just seems like I have tetanus when I say hello. Except that I can walk, and am not just all clenched-limbed with a grimace frozen on my face. In which case I wouldn't be at work anyway.

Sometimes I make myself tired. Because this is nowhere near my point.

My point is that it is cold, and I like to shower at night. And after taking a deliciously hot shower and then putting on my toasty slippers, I'm all warm and ready for sleep.

Until I mince down the long cold hallway and into bed. By which point my feet are little iceboxes. I don't know how it happens so fast, but it does.

I can't fall asleep with cold feet. Which naturally means I cuddle up to Nick and stick them on his legs.

So last night I got in bed all freezyfreezing and scooted over to his side and curled up so the bottoms of my feet could sit on top of his thighs. He flinched and maybe muttered a little profanity.

What always amazes me is how shocked he is by how cold my feet are. It's like that movie Memento - a new surprise every day.

So I said, "You know, if you really loved me, you'd let me put them under your ball sack. That's the warmest place on your body, you know."

To which he replied, "Well, is your face cold?"

You see?

Monday, December 13, 2010

You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve?

A couple weeks ago, Nick went to Cumberland, Maryland.

Apparently it's a very charming old town with a train station. He brought back a bright yellow plastic train car for Jordan and a wooden whistle that sounds like the toot of a train.

Jordan doesn't understand the train thing yet, but he really likes it. He calls it a car. And he loooves cars. So it went over very well.

The whistle? Much more confusing. No wheels. What to DO with this wooden box sort of thing with holes?

So this weekend, Nick decided to teach him how to make it work. He figured Jordan already knows how to blow air, since he loves to blow on his food when it's hot.

Nick blew the whistle a couple times. Then he handed it to Jordan, who just looked at it, and looked back at Nick.

Nick said, "Blow in it!" He pursed his lips and blew air through them in an exaggerated fashion, just like we do at meals.

Jordan held the whistle very cautiously up in front of his lips and said, "Hot!"

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The reason some of us are in charge and some of us should be confined to the corner in social situations

We are having our office holiday lunch on Friday.

In less frugal times, the organization hosted an evening party - a holiday cocktails and dinner affair, to which you could bring your significant other. They were food-filled, boozy affairs.

The last one was 2007. I'd invited Nick last minute, mainly because we'd just gotten serious - hell, we'd practically just met. And also because, well, you just never know what people will say. And colleagues are not like family. You can't tell them to behave.

Although now that I write that, I realize it's so pot-kettle of me.

Nick, to my great relief, was unable to come. He was out of town for work. And it was so lucky for me that cell phone reception in that hotel was abysmal.

The evening was a fun one. There were cocktails before dinner, and plenty of wine poured at the tables. And then a number of us migrated up to the bar afterward.

Chuck was still alive then. I think it was he who started the passing around of the HR Director title. We each took a turn saying, "I'm director of HR. And here's who I'm going to fire." And that was seriously the least of it.

But earlier in the evening, much earlier, when not even that much wine had been consumed, I wound up chatting with the relatively-new president of our organization and his wife. They were making the rounds.

We mad polite conversation about the holidays, family, and such. His wife asked how I liked working at our organization.

I said, "It's the most bizarre place I've ever worked. It's like being on another planet." I turned to her husband and asked, "Don't you think?"

To which he replied, "Oh, look! People are heading in the other room. We should go mingle."

And that was that.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Spigot? Faucet? Tap?

The other day Nick said he was going out back to...well, I'm not exactly sure what he was doing.

Something with the tap. Except that he called it a spigot. Which he pronounced "spicket" - thus focusing my entire attention on his vocabulary and not on the content of the sentence.

In any case, he was doing something with the outside water source. The one with the handle you can twist. The one to which you can hook up a hose.

Coincidentally, during this conversation, I was standing at the kitchen sink, and had just turned on the faucet.

He got kind of annoyed when I interrupted his course by asking him to repeat the word he'd just used a number of times. And then to get him to explain, impatiently, that faucets are inside. Spickets are outside.

This, he claims, is how it is. According to everybody.

Except me.

I call it a tap. Or maybe a faucet, although if I were asked to make a distinction, I'd say faucet would be inside and tap would be outside. But I think they're pretty interchangeable.

I don't know that I've ever used the word spigot. And certainly not spicket. I'm not opposed to the word. It just never occurs to me.

I think this must be regional. Which, quite honestly, is my answer to almost everything. "Oh, it's probably regional." Except when the answer is "Asberger's." Which is, of course, my favorite diagnosis.

Regional Asberger's would be a whole nother ball of wax. Whatever that means.

Christ. This is turning into one of those posts that make Nick email me and be all, "What the hell were you talking about?"

So: Spigot. Faucet. Tap.

Do you make a distinction between inside and outside, and if so, which word for what? Is this regional?

Monday, December 06, 2010


This is Jordan and his little friend David all dressed up and ready for the park.

J is wearing one of the very few pairs of shoes I could find into which I was able to stuff his little loaves of feet. His feet are about as thick top to bottom as they are side to side. I've never seen anything like it.


Note the use of their respective mother's mittens and gloves. Neither of them seemed to mind.

They're about the same age, and they have such a good time together. They squeal when they see each other. They chase each other around.

J's a little bigger and definitely pushier. David is pretty laid back, although not always. Sometimes or quite often, J will walk up and take what he wants out of David's hands; thus inciting his little friend to bat him on the head.

More likely, however, is that D picks up his chosen toy and scurries off to put it in a safe place. Although when you can't reach more than two feet off the ground, no place is really safe from your competition, it turns out.

Jordan, however, has recently learned to say the word "share" - pronounced as "shah."

I was so delighted when he started using it. Share! He gets the concept of sharing!

Ahem. Shahing in his world goes one direction only.

He'll walk over to you, point to the toy/cookie/sharp object you're holding, and say, "shah!"

Although I suppose this is more polite than "miiiine!" - don't you think?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Splinters and shards

I've been thinking about where you carry those you've loved and lost.

It might be in your heart, or your mind. It's somewhere in your corporal being, of that I'm certain.

When I was eight or nine, we visited Maude's family in Tunisia. And I stepped on a piece of green glass.

More notable from the trip were the following events: their maid took Maude and me into the bathroom and lit a cigarette and tried to teach us to smoke. And across the street archeologists had uncovered all these amazing Roman mosaics. The dig was enormous.

But the glass.

It was small, and got stuck in my right heel like a splinter, and worked its way under the skin. You could see it, but you couldn't get to it. So I limped around for a while.

Eventually, it stopped hurting. There's no scar, no evidence that it was ever there. But it is.

And I think this happens with the important people in our lives. We're left with more than scars.

Someone like a parent, well, they're everywhere in your cells. I think, even gone, they permeate your entire being.

You don't have a piece of them. You have all of them. If that makes any sense. I find this comforting and overwhelming, depending on the moment.

As for others, ex-friends and ex-lovers, I wonder if we don't carry them as splinters, as shards?

Relationships end, and we cleanse. Through tears, through actions. We delete phone numbers, emails, pictures. We get rid of reminders.

Slowly, slowly, we heal.

But healing isn't erasure. Each relationship changes us, and some bit, however large or small, remains.

I think our minds, hearts, and souls wrap the jagged fragment in protective tissue, tucking it away and tumbling it until it's smooth and opaque as wave-worn glass. And with time and familiarity - because eventually, doesn't everything become familiar? - the piece is such a part of us, it seems like it's gone.

But I don't believe it is. I believe we walk around decorated with invisible splinters and shards.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Please tell me I don't have a Bieber

OK, so, I know this picture is not ideal for a number of reasons - one being that it looks like I have a tumor growing out the top of my head but really it's my sun lamp that shockingly blends with my hair.

But it's a good representation of my new hair.

And I quite like it, but I also want to make sure that I don't now have a Bieber 'do.

Do I?

The growing out is hard, and I think she did a nice job with the color and toning it down. And she left as much length as possible, yay!, but I didn't then know what to do with it. So she suggested the best thing would be just kind of shove it forward.

Which I am now doing. As you can see.

So the Bieber question is the most pressing. And if it is Bieberish, then WHAT else can I do to it, with this current not-short-not-long-yucky-inbetween state that I'll be in for quite some time?

But also. Do you know how hard it is to take picture of yourself? I mean, a remotely normalish looking one?

I took approximately 372 furtive pictures of myself just to get one that didn't look completely horrendous.

I might be overly sensitive about this because I remember looking at so many Match profiles and wondering, "Why did that guy have to take his own picture? Doesn't he have any friends?"

Seriously. I don't think women tend to take their own pictures. Do they? So many men on Match had those arms-outstretched, smiling awkwardly for a camera with nobody behind it, and hey, look, you can see what their kitchen cupboards look like! kinds of pictures.

They need that device those Japanese tourists that we followed around in Turkey were using.

Maybe we all do.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Wednesday whits

Improvement on the crayon/profanity front:

We stopped at a Bob Evans rather than Friendly's and while Jordan did do some crayon chewing, he also took a couple stabs at the paper. Plus, once he'd bitten off a couple little blue chunks, he realized he didn't really want to swallow them.

I let him drop them in my hand. I know better than to go foraging around his little mouth and then shame us with profanity.

Also: I know it's not such a good picture. I took it with my iPhone. More also: I got an iPhone. I'm pretty sure I haven't become an iHole though.

What I want for Christmas:

A closet. Seriously. Those Victorians, they built charming houses, but their need for closets was slim to none. My need for closets is sizeable to enormous.

So. I want to buy a closet from Ikea. Nick wants to wait until we can find a nice antique wardrobe (I grew up calling them almirahs - I don't know what you call them) at a consignment store that we can cherish and keep forever.

I don't want a nice wardrobe. I'm not looking for an heirloom. It will take up more room than I want to allocate. And once we build closets - in probably three years - then where will we cherish it?

I want a ding-dang closet, like, right now.

Also: Trying to reduce use of unnecessary profanity. (Note successful use of ding-dang above.)

The hair. Always the hair:

Let me tell you. Pixie cuts and platinum are a bitch to grow out. Not pretty. I've been hating my hair for some time now.

These are the roots. The front view, I am not posting.I'm seeing my stylist this evening. Hopefully she can work magic.

Also: Um, I have no also on this one. I just put this in for symmetry.