Monday, August 29, 2011

Where I am right now

I have always had extremely intense friendships. I've never had many at once, because I put a lot of myself into relationships.

I don't know how not to. I've always been drawn to intensity. I still am.

The thing is, it took me years to realize that I was also drawn to crazymakers. Those people who suck you in and make you all about their issues. And you spend all your time focusing on them which is kind of cool when you're in all kinds of denial, because that way you effectively avoid dealing with your own shit.

It's not that it was what made me happy, and it certainly wasn't healthy; it was just very familiar.

Plus I can look back and see that I myself did pleeeeeenty of crazymaking.

Thank God for therapy.


Years ago, when my friend Maude and I were in our very early 20s, we lived together in Mount Pleasant.

We were roommates for almost a year, until the serial rapist broke in. And then I went off to the Peace Corps and Maude went back to school and then she and I didn't live together until our late 20's, when she taught me how to drive stick (well, really, how to drive at all) and we drove from DC to San Diego.

Anyway, I can't remember which time it was that we lived together that what I'm about to tell you happened. But if you know my Maude stories, then you know that we've known each other since we were born (separate mothers, she always adds) and we have this very long history together.

Also, this is such a bigger lead-up than it merits, because I'm not going to say anything earth-shattering, but this is the only way that I can get to it.

At some point, someone was trying very hard to befriend me. I don't even remember who by now, probably because she and I never became friends. Because Maude sat me down and said, "You don't have room for her. You only have enough for one high maintenance friend, and that person is me."

Or something to that effect. And I was all, "She's right. I've got no room for this woman." It was very clear. And that was that.

Which brings me to this. I have a lot of stuff going on right now. Things I can't write about even though I would really like to, because I just can't. Although when they're over or different, then I will, and it will be a relief. But for now, I'm full, and I'm tired.

I'm not trying to be all mysterious or cryptic. You know I'm about as good at opaque as a glass of water.

But what this all means is that I've been backing away from blogging a bit, and from my blogging relationships. Because, true to my nature, the blogs and bloggers I love are the intense ones. The ones who talk about emotional things, who pull me in, who make me care.

If I don't care, I don't care.

But it takes a certain amount of energy to care, and while I give it gladly, I don't currently have any extra.

And this is where I am right now. It's not that I don't adore you. It's just that I only have room for one high maintenance person in my life right now, and that person (besides my entire family, I mean) is me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Let him eat cake

This year's birthday cupcakes were a much bigger hit than last year's.

For comparison's sake, here's last year. What the video misses is Nick demonstrating how deeeelicious his birthday cupcake is. Jordan was not falling for it. The last thing in the video is me saying, "Don't make him eat cake."


In the intervening year, Jordan discovered the deliciousness that is cake. Often, when you offer him the choices of eggs or waffles for breakfast, he'll say, in a tone that's all, hey, I just had a great idea! "How about cake?"

Anyway, here he is all pleased. He got to choose his cupcake flavor, and then was rather delighted with the candle. We had to light it again three times.
He was so proud. We sang and clapped and re-lit the candle and sang and clapped. Boy, was he pleased.
He quite liked his choice of cupcake. But of course, everyone else's looked just as good, if not better.
Betty gave him a bite, and then, rather than thank you, he pointed to his plate and said, "Put it down there."
And finally, my boy loves to sing. He doesn't always stay on task, but ooh he loves a song, that one.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lovin' an elevator

First, I owe you all a huge thanks for checking on us and being glad we're OK.

I know the Californians were making a lot of fun of those of us in DC who kind of lost our shit over the earthquake, because, yawn, it happens all the time out there. And theirs are so much bigger and scarier and oh, double yawn, DC wimps. To which I say, huh, well, I absolutely love this Penelope skit.


I'm not actually here to snark at the Californians. Because what I really want to show you is how the elevator works!

From the outside:

From the inside:

It's kind of cool, you guys.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A holy crap kind of post

OK, so I didn't even know DC had earthquakes.

I was leaving a doctor's appointment when it hit. So when the old elevator in the old building I was in started shaking and swaying I was pretty sure that the elevator had finally snapped a cable. Because the lights indicating the floors and up and down don't work and sometimes the door is kind of persnickety.

Lights are one thing. Swaying on whatever charming old materials they use to pull elevators up and down is entirely another.

Naturally, I started to scream.

Because if I'm going to plummet to my death, my friends, I am not going quietly.

I was still screaming when the doors shimmied open on the ground floor of the building, and people were hurrying out. Feeling slightly foolish but mostly very relieved I stopped shrieking and very casually said to the man I bumped into while sprinting out of aforementioned elevator, "What's going on?"

Earthquake. Holy crap!

It was kind of crazy walking back to my office, because the sidewalks were just teeming with people. Everyone was outside, or on their way.

After 73 million attempts I got through to Betty, who was fine, as was Jordan. She said our house shook like nobody's business. And then I got Nick, who was also fine, and also standing in front of his building. He said that his office furniture jumped up and down and the koi in that nice pond that I wanted to stick my feet into had been sloshing violently up and down in the water.

They probably had little koi heart attacks, poor things.

So anyway, we are fine. But holy crap. Seriously.

Friday, August 19, 2011

With tea for two and two for tea. Just me for you and you for me.

Dear Jordan,

Today you are TWO! I'm officially dispensing with the months now that you are TWO WHOLE YEARS OLD!

At some point in the past month, you began responding to questions in a way that leads to actual conversation. Like, before we would say, "How was your day?" And you would say, "How's your day?"

Now you say, "Good!"

Sometimes you even ask, "How's your day?" when I get home from work. It makes my heart explode, I love it so much.

You're still so sweet and affectionate and sometimes you say, "Have a hug?" or "Have a kiss?" and I know one day this will stop but I wish it never would. It's just the best.

I never know what you'll say when you wake up. The other day I greeted you and you looked up at me and said, "'Dump it right there,' she shouted. And they all dumped it right there!"

All that Richard Scarry is really paying off. You can also spot Goldbug like nobody's business.

You've also taken to using the world "understand." Like, this morning you leaned towards me, looked me straight in the eye, and said, very gravely, "I understand to put it down there."

I had no idea what you were talking about, but was completely impressed by both the length of your sentence and the seriousness of your tone.
A couple weekends ago we took you to the Natural History museum.

You were not remotely interested in the exhibits, but you found a number of very intriguing pieces of trash on the floor. And a quarter, which you insisted on calling a penny. You were delighted. It was almost as terrific as when we discovered the lockers. Or the water fountain.

There's a nice ramp going up to the Hope Diamond exhibit, and we ran up and down that approximately 547 million times. The ramp was a lucky find, as it was pouring outside and you had energy to burn.

The quality of this photo is terrible, but I love it. To me it is so you. You're not at all a daredevil but you just have to check everything out. And see if one thing will fit inside another...
It's good that your birthday is today, and not last weekend, which was my birthday, because you were a screamy, shrieky, belligerent little pill all weekend, and my note to you wouldn't have been nearly as flattering. But by this point, I've pretty much forgotten all about it.

I love you more than puppies and chocolate and sunshine, which is to say, a LOT.

Love love love,


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In which I realize that I'm actually very pro-underwear

Have you noticed how the quality of sunlight has already shifted here in the northern hemisphere? It's fall light.

It hasn't started making me nervous. Yet. The crepe myrtle is blooming and it's still plenty warm out, although this morning I felt a slight chill in the air.

And by chill in the air, I mean it wasn't 1000 degrees. Normal humans probably wouldn't go so far as to say chill.

But it's got me thinking about fall. Well, that and the fact that Boden keeps sending me emails of things I might like. Because even with all the unsubscribing I've done, Boden, I just can't quit you.

And I would like this blazer, I really would. Except that I'm not so much on paying $224 for a spur-of-the-moment jacket. No matter how British it might make me feel. Also, I can't really think about touching wool right now either. I need an actual chill.

Plus, here I must admit that I've never aspired to feel British in my life. Although I would quite like one of these kilts.I wouldn't wear them together though. I promise.

I mean, I'm not big like Nick so there's no chance of this gigantor wall of plaid walking towards you like when he wears his seersucker. I'd probably look more like a small plaid side chair and ottoman. Still not a look I'd be aiming for.

Also, why are men in kilts so enticing? Is it because they're Scottish and so they have those deliciously unintelligible accents, which makes them all the more intruiguing? Is it the fact that they're not wearing underwear underneath?

I mean, if I met a man in a bar and he told me he wasn't wearing underwear, I'm quite sure our conversation would cease then and there. But if I met a Scotsman in a kilt, even though I would have no idea what he was saying, I tell you, I would follow him around all damn day.

I once did so in Peru. He was wearing jeans, though. I have no idea about his underwear situation. And I wasn't exactly following him, because we were on the same tour. But I probably did walk a bit too close. The accent! The inability to understand what he was talking about!

So I don't think it's the underwear issue.

And actually, I imagine that that wool would be hot and scratchy on your penis. Don't you think? It's actually kind of icky, now that I think about it, because how often would you dry clean a kilt? You'd just have all those sweaty penis germs hanging in your closet or folded in your drawer (how do you store kilts) just accumulating every time you wore it.

Maybe I'm more pro-underwear than I think.

And PS, I don't really sit around imagining how scratchy a kilt would be on my penis. Or maybe I do.

Ooh, look, shoes!
Image credits: Boden, Boden, and Bloomingdales (Sounds kind of like a law firm, no?)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

They have lots of mutual friends

I think I've mentioned Jordan's fascination with Richard Scarry before.

Right now, it's all Cars and Trucks and Things That Go all the time. All. The. Time.

The other day Jordan pointed to a parked car and said, "Looks like a shoe car." And actually, it did.

So last Sunday, Nick and Jordan were sitting at the breakfast table and I was making tea. I heard Jordan say, "What's that man doing, Daddy? What's that man doing?"

"He's waving."

Jordan repeated, "He's waving."

I was standing at the counter with my back to them. And I was thinking, "Man?" I started mentally going through our books. Man? Waving?

And then Jordan asked, "What's that woman doing?"

"She's waving, too."

"She's waving too, Daddy. She's waving too."

"Yes, she is. They have lots of mutual friends."

Mutual friends?

I turned, curiosity piqued. And there they were, poring over the front page of the New York Times.

The object of their intense scrutiny? Ron Paul and his wife in Iowa.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Augusty thoughts

It's August.

My birthday was on Saturday, and it was nice. Low key and nice.

I tend to like throwing a party for my birthday, but this year I didn't have the energy. I kind of wish I had, because while I got tons of lovely birthday wishes, and Nick took me out for a nice dinner, it just felt like any other day.

Is that super-narcissistic? I mean, of course for most people it is any other day. And I wasn't looking for presents or an orchestra. It was just a little too quiet.


Years ago my friend Pat told me to put a wish out to the universe on my birthday, because your birthday has magic in it.

This year I forgot to do so on my day. It's really been bothering me.


There was a full moon on the 13th, too. Jordan loves the moon, and he always reaches up towards me for me to pick him up, and says, "Touch it!"

I love that he thinks that with my help, he can reach as high as the moon.

One day he's going to be old enough to realize that I can't even reach the top shelves in our cupboards.


Jordan's birthday is coming up on Friday. And he is going to be TWO! Here I have to be all cliched and say time just goes so fast.

But it does. It does.

Except when he's screaming his head off. Then the seconds tick by like cold molasses.

I think we're just going to have a small family celebration. It's not like he understands presents yet. At least this year I know he's not going to be afraid of the cupcakes.


And speaking of molasses, that's about the pace of people moving on the sidewalk in DC right now. The air is just so warm and thick, and there's a mass of us, trudging molassesly forward.

I love summer, and I love August, but I've decided it's a trudgey kind of month. That said, I need another month before fall. I feel like this summer just started.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Regarding yesterday and who is in charge

So, I want to make sure you know that yesterday I wasn't all, "Oh, I met my warthog and my life is all sparkly and perfect and I'm so awesome and hahaha look at me!"

Although I fear it may have sounded like that. Which is just irritating.

What I really meant was that things had been so NOT good for so very very long.

(Those of you who are long-time readers have heard all of this before. Sorry.)

I'd gotten pretty invested in some extremely manipulative, unkind - even downright mean - men. I'd gone out on dates with scads and scads of Perfectly Nice Human Beings. And some not. I went on a date with a guy who flat-out asked me what was wrong with me, because I'd never been married.

And every time I liked a guy, and I'd held off reallyreally liking him until it seemed like it might work out, and it would get to the point where I was invested, the guy would just...stop being interested.

My self esteem had gotten very very small. And fragile.

And then the spring of the year I met Nick, my dad attempted suicide. Which just made me more fragile.

And then every once in a while, but with enough regularity, these ex-boyfriends, the ones I had fallen hard for, would email or call and ask me out. And I would say yes, because I lack judgment and maybe also because they were really hot.

This kind of thing is a mindfuck-and-a-half.

So by the time I met Nick, I was almost numb.

I won't say that I'd stopped looking, because: 1) I always want to slap people who say they stopped looking and then they met their spouse; and 2) I was on Match. Of course I was fucking looking.

But I was dating very defensively by that point. I was on my guard.

Do you know how exhausting it is to be on your guard all. the. time? And on your guard but hoping for your heart to go pitter-pat or whatever sound it makes? If you know what I mean, well, you know what I mean.

So when I said oh, thank God. That's what I meant.

I meant, thank the powers that be that I'd had enough therapy to let a good one in. Thank the universe for letting me meet one who had had enough experience with Crazy that he could not only deal with my family and me but even really appreciate us. Thank Krishna or whoever you might turn to for lining up our singleness and senses of humor.

Basically, I just wanted to thank whoever is in charge for changing things from so very bad to good, in one moment.

(Also, just to be clear here, by "whoever is in charge," Nick, I don't mean you.)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Warthogs and unicorns revisited

Out of the blue the other day I got an email from my old upstairs neighbor - someone I haven't seen in almost three years.

He and I both live in the same neighborhood, just north of where we used to live. And so, he said, he's seen someone he thought was me on the street corner several times, and do I pass by there? Not to imply that I loitered on street corners.

I replied that in fact, I do skulk on that very corner, and if he's seen a disheveled blonde sweating profusely and tapping her foot waiting for the light to change, then he's seen me on my way to work.

Which firmly established that it was me he'd seen. And so we had lunch.

He's just recently gotten married, to someone he met shortly before I met Nick. He and I went out a couple times that summer - now four years ago. When thinking about this post, I looked back through my archives to see what I'd written, if anything, about him during that Summer of Deepest Darkest Despair.

And it was this missive about warthogs and unicorns. It came from a very terrible, hopeless place of utter hopelessness and pointlessness and pointless hopelessness.

But in the end, Warthog Theory turned out to be right, and I meet my very own warthog - no offense, Nick. And no implication that you're graceless or grunty.

Because actually, if you were, you'd most certainly have been meant for someone else. And I'm sure the two of you would be very happy. And hopefully I'd have met someone who suited me just as well.

This is not going anywhere that I expected it to. So I'll stop now and just say boy, am I glad things worked out the way they did and also, oh, thank God.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Unless the police are involved

Betty is currently in Vegas with six of her high school friends.

Every few years, this group of women gets together. And they've passed their 50-year high school reunion. Only one of them still lives in North Dakota, so they meet in different cities. This year, it's Vegas.

All of them are pretty staunch Republicans except my mom. When they came to stay with her, she made them watch Michael Moore movies.

Betty isn't a gambler, but she loves playing the coin slots. Probably because she always wins.

Seriously. When I moved back to DC from San Diego, she flew out and drove cross-country with me. And when we were driving through Nevada, they had slot machines every where. Every. Where.

So we'd stop to use the bathroom, or to get gas, and she'd stick a quarter in the gas station slot machine, and out would pour $25 in quarters. Almost every time. We had bags and bags of quarters.

Before she left, Nick said, "I know that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but call us if the police are involved."

So far, so good.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Exercation 2011

It wasn't a goal, as such. It began with a scoop of deciding to give my body a break, covered in a sizable dollop of malaise.

It's so hot, after all. And it's summer. And it turns out I like to nap.

All this to say: I've been on exercise hiatus for the past month, and I have to admit that it is startlingly easy to...just not exercise.

I mean, I have an almost four-mile round-trip commute to work, and whenever I go anywhere I walk, so I actually do a decent amount of walking most days. But I haven't been doing much of anything beyond that, when typically I also lift weights, run, or do some kind of cardio.

And oddly, I haven't gained weight. Or rather, size. Because I do not weigh myself. But my clothes fit the same. My arms and derriere are getting a little, uh, softer than I like. But it's been fun while it lasted.

I'm not advocating sloth, but do you know how much more time you have to surf the Internet when you remove exercise from your life?

I had no idea.

In any case, my little exercation is coming to an end. But in the past month, I have read a number of books that I've really enjoyed. I've made a serious progress in clearing out my closet and dressers. I've napped every single weekend. I've almost caught up on email.

I'm not saying that you have to choose. I do. Lots of people seem to fit it all in. I am not among them.

Monday, August 08, 2011

And now none of you are ever going to want to shake my hand again

I don't know how much you know about suppositories.

I'm not claiming to be an expert, but I know a thing or two about them. And even before I ever used one, I knew that the word "suppository" did not automatically mean "thing you put in your butt."

Which put me one step ahead of my husband.

Anyway, last week, I was prescribed these vaginal suppositories. Not a big deal. They're little pills, not greasy, not messy. At night I make sure my hands are clean, then stick them in and go to sleep.

It's not like I'd never put my finger in my vagina before, you know?

I was going to say that in fact, I've had plenty of fingers in my vagina, but it doesn't sound quite right. But once you've had a baby, you've been examined so many times by such a variety of people that it's kind of all, whatever.

Not that I sit around with my finger in my vagina. Maybe if I were a guy. In which case I wouldn't have one. But you know how men are always shifting their junk around? Because they need more ROOM in their pants or something?

Imagine if women did that.

"What? My vagina just needed a little adjusting. It's just so huge and sometimes I just need to reposition it."

Christ, am I so far off topic.

So the suppositories.

The other night I took a shower and got into bed, and Nick asked if I'd washed my hair, and I said no. He commented that it looked like I had. It was wet around the edges from washing my face.

To which I replied, "Yeah, that's a little trick I picked up in 'Nam."

No, I don't know why I say this shit. But I'm glad I do, because I then added this, "Kind of like the vaginal suppositories."

I reached over and shook the bottle.

"Vaginal! Vaginal! You put them in your vagina!"

To which I was all, "Yes, and?"

"I thought you stuck them in your butt!"

"My butt?"

"Yes! So every night, you get in bed, and you stick one in, and I was thinking, ew, isn't she more hygienic than that? And then last night you reached over and put your hand on my face when you kissed me goodnight, and I was so glad it was your other hand!"

The man has been sitting around thinking I stick my finger in my anus and never bother to wash my hands.


Friday, August 05, 2011

Well, don't you know that other kids are starving in Japan, so eat it, just eat it

Yah, so in the last couple weeks, my good-eating, broccoli- and Brussels sprout- loving child went from being an omnivore to rejecting almost all food and subsisting largely on air. And ice cream.

Everything is no. Things he used to love - and things I know he still likes - are immediately rejected.

"Would you like eggs?"


"How about pasta and broccoli?"


"Do you want some oatmeal? Mmm! Oatmeal!"


"Want some French toast? With syrup!"


"Would you like to stand in the corner and scream?"


And then he'll suggest ice cream. Or 'nack. "Want some 'nack!"

"How about pasta for snack?"

"NO. Want some 'nack."

"Would you like some yogurt for snack?"

"NO! Want some 'nack!"

I'm not quite sure what snack is for him. But not cookies, not berries, not crackers...

It's not that he's ill-tempered. He just doesn't want to eat. Meals have become infuriating.

Seriously, sometimes it takes every fiber of my being not to pry his little jaw open, shove a forkful of food in, and then hold my hand over his mouth until he swallows. "Eat it! Just fucking eat it!"

However. I'm pretty sure that's: 1. abuse, and 2. a good way to get a kid to hate broccoli/pasta/whatever for life.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

If this doesn't offend you in one way, it probably will in another

So, yesterday I got this email from a friend asking for advice.

I'll call her Molly.

She's about to head to Asia for three conferences during which she will be working with local counterparts, and she wanted to know what I thought about the following: "I’m still pondering whether it’s completely rude to tell them I don’t eat dog when I answer their question about dietary restrictions. You’re a woman of the world…what do you think? It’s Taiwan."

To which I could only say, "Yikes! I have no idea."

When I lived in this little village in Ecuador, I made sure everyone knew I was a vegetarian. Because I just couldn't handle eating guinea pig (an expensive delicacy) or blood pudding, or tripe or various and sundry organs.

I say I'll try anything once, but weird meat is a grand exception.

So I told her this knowing it's not an option for her. Molly is vegetable-averse. She practically subsists on beef.

And so she said: "That’s it. I’m bringing crackers. One guy keeps threatening me with puppy milkshakes."

So then I thought, oh, he must be one-upped! "Make him cupcakes iced with dog poo!"

This idea delighted her. She pointed out, however, that she'd have to check it and it would likely get smushed. Because you simply cannot carry a dog-poo cupcake on the plane.

And then, we wondered, does TSA even allow feces on planes? What if it's under three ounces?

She's considering just making them there. Fresh is best, after all.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Houston, we have...bathtub

So the elevator, is it not quite totally hooked up. We are close, though. Close.

However. For all of you who were enthusiastic supporters, we do have claw foot bathtub! (For those of you who voted "trashy" - um, we still have bathtub.)

Australian Builder (AB) was finally able to convene four big, strong men to deal with the bathtub. The piece Nick kept referring to as "a widow-maker." He'd shake his head, "That thing's a widow-maker."

FYI, none of the men kicked it. And actually, Betty said they weren't as big as she expected, but they weren't accountants. And they were certainly strong.

AB said that they used the winch and lowered it through the elevator hole, thus avoiding stairs and so that they only had to carry it the length of one floor. He added that he was really nervous, though, because they were dangling this insanely heavy piece of cast iron through a hole over an incredibly expensive elevator.

When he put it that way, I was so glad I wasn't home.

Apparently these medium-sized strong men cursed the whole way down the hallway. Because our hallways, they are narrow. And so they had to lift it high up in the air to clear the railing.

Yikes. And yay for medium-sized, strong men!

So now I have to figure out what to put on the bottom of it. It needs a big pad of some sort, but I think it needs to fit pretty well so it's not slippy. AB suggested a "cot pad" would fit perfectly and I was all, um, maybe in Australia? Oval cot pad?

I was also thinking that maybe I could just get one of those big rubber non-slip pads for bathtubs, and then pile things on top of it. But it does seem like there needs to be a large foundation for all the pillows to sit on, because otherwise don't you think you'll constantly be sliding through to the cold cold bottom?

Or maybe that doesn't matter? I feel like it does, though.

Nick also thinks we need something around the rim so that Jordan doesn't crack his head on it. I think he's right, but not sure what.