Monday, September 30, 2013

It seems crazy but you must believe...

The other day I found myself standing in line and the ATM and "Colonel Peron...Eva Duarte..." (in high and low voices, naturally) accidentally fell out of my mouth. 

Because about a week ago I felt the burning need to purchase the Evita soundtrack, and then listen to it 372 times. Per day.

You could say that when I get interested in something, I tend to get very interested.  I pick a topic and I focus on it. Until I move onto the next ones. For example, the rabies. Or sinkholes.

Please note that I've long been interested in parasites, and poop, and my imaginary penis. None of these are the topic of the day/week/month. And it's not that I'm not scared of rabies or sinkholes. But I don't talk about them all the time until holy crap did you see that 25-acre one in Louisiana?

Oh! And! Before I forget! my friend Amanda sent me this absolute gem, saying that she wasn't sure what it meant that she saw it and immediately thought of me.

Naturally, I was flattered.

So Evita. I grew up hearing to it over and over, and knew all the lines. It turns out that I still know quite a few of them. So every day lately, I've been walking around with Evita running from start to finish through my head.

"So what happens now? Another suitcase in another hall..."

Mostly it is in my head.

And it's not at all awkward in public when it doesn't stay there. Not at all.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Five years

The other day a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she just can't relate to people who don't find her amusing.

I thought, boy, do I know a whole lot about this. Years of first dates worth.

Me, I assume that people who don't find me funny just have no sense of humor. And so it was  sad, really, during those single years, to learn that so many men in DC lack a sense of humor.

When Nick and I got engaged, 10 weeks from our first date, let's be honest: we barely knew each other. But we found each other really amusing.

We got married seven months later. So we hadn't even been together a year.

Things could've gone very badly.

And in fact, since September 27, 2008, quite a number of things have gone badly. But not between us. Sometimes you work very hard and sometimes you get very lucky. Sometimes you just jump, and you are fortunate enough to have leapt into the right arms at the right time.

I feel so lucky that Nick chose me and I chose him back. That he and I are together five years later, that we've weathered deaths and moves and childbirth and construction. That we've built this wonderful life, that we have a solid, loving family.

And you know, I'm now extra glad that during that first really difficult year of marriage I never actually stabbed him in his sleep.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The morgue

It's not that I'd forgotten about the morgue.

Forgotten is not the right word. I still remember how it felt, late in the afternoon, after we'd contacted all the hospitals, bugged the police multiple times, and had run out of ideas on where to look and call, when Nick suggested we contact the morgue.  The morgue.

Who calls the morgue to find their dad?

And then we did. And then we had our answer. And it was a million times worse than driving around making calls.

So it's not that I have forgotten, but rather that I no longer think about it all the time. It doesn't live just beneath the surface of my skin anymore.

Time is healing, therapy is healing, but neither erase.

Sometimes I am more equipped to remember than others.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is hosting a community walk on the Mall this Saturday to raise funds and awareness. I will be away, visiting a friend I haven't seen in 15 years. Otherwise I'd be walking. Nick and my mom will be walking in memory of my dad.

Also, the AFSP hosts walks on various dates all over the country.

If suicide or mental illness has touched your life, and you want to walk with an incredibly supportive group of people, you should join. Registration is free.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

If I could buy my reasoning I'd pay to lose

I assume this is because I'm an introvert, but maybe it's because I'm me. I don't know if other people are like this as well, but sometimes I am just so not in the mood to hear my husband, light of my life, love of my days, talk.

Sometimes in the evening - and tonight, post-back-to-school-night, was one of them - I just want to sit in the living room in peace. The kids are in bed, Betty has gone up, and I just want to sit here and read blog posts or respond to emails or write or browse the Internet, or hell, I don't know, pick my nose.

Without any talking, without interacting. No music. No extra sounds. I don't want to react. I don't want to generate conversation. I don't want to feign interest. I just want to be in my own little head, in my own little space.

Nick, however, doesn't seem to have this need. He's happy to just talk and talk. We don't see each other enough, and when we do, he wants to chat.

Whereas sometimes I feel like it would be so nice if we could just BE. Not talking. Just being.

It's not that I need to be all alone, although that is lovely on occasion. It's that I don't want to see him. I just don't want to talk to him.

And after a certain number of "Mmm hmm," and "Huh, that's interesting," and "Ah"s, I kind of want to yell, "PLEASE STOP TALKING TO ME JUST STOP STOP STOP TALKING I JUST WANT TO NOT TALK I DON'T FEEL LIKE PAYING ATTENTION TO YOU LET'S PLAY THE QUIET GAME NO MORE TALKING."

But I don't.

Sometimes I get critical. Sometimes I get all argumentative, because I just don't want to engage, and whatever he is saying is irritating, even if yesterday I might've agreed. Because responding is tiresome, and it would be so much more soothing to be silent.

I haven't quite worked out what to do about this.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

India: Month 17

Dear India,

One of our friends was over the other evening just before dinner, and we were sitting on the floor talking as you climbed on me and over and lifted your arms for me to pick you up and then squirmed out of my arms and ran and got a book and brought it back and then crawled over one of my legs and wriggled under my knee and and and...

The friend said, "My God. She's busier than Jordan was, isn't she?"

You are busier than Jordan was, something I could not have imagined possible. You climb, you run, you lift up your arms for a hug and then turn to try to leap down. You are often moments from landing on your head out of my arms, off the couch, off a wall...

You constantly demand attention, either in the form of reading to you, hugging you, or making sure you don't injure yourself.

This is one of my favorite of your habits: if your dad or Nana or I are sitting on the floor, you'll approach, then turn around, walk backwards, and slowly back into a lap. You have such confidence that we are just waiting, arms outstretched, ready to serve as chairs.

And we are.

When you are really comfortable, you put both hands behind your head.

You have some words - notably: up, milk, more, agua, hot, doggy (pronounced doddy), shoes (doos!), buh-bye, night-night - but not enough to express very much of what you WANT, and it enrages you. In fact, you dive into rage with alacrity, and when you scream you mean business.

Sometimes we have the joy of both you and your brother melting down on the floor at the same time, and it is then, as I turn to the blender and make myself a kale-Merlot-cappuccino smoothie, that I really question how the Mormons raise all those children with no coffee and no liquor.

I'm kidding, of course. Kale would make it weird.

You are so very bold and opinionated, and while this means you can push me to my last drop of patience and sometimes keeping up with you and preventing you from falling on your head squeezes all the energy out of me, I love this about you. It is important to me to raise you to be a strong, confident woman, who walks her own path and believes in her abilities.

We read a lot of Mother Goose before bed, and there's one page where a mother mouse is kissing her baby mouse, and just lately, when we get to that page, you point to them and turn your little face up for kisses. I look down at your sweetness, at the confidence of being adored and the trust in your slightly upturned blue eyes - eyes that mirror mine - and I marvel at all the luck and grace that got me to this point.

Every day, you and your brother are the cutest things I've ever seen. It's so weird, but the thought and emotion of it strike me and I behave like it's an epiphany. Every single day.

You're both even more adorable when you're sound asleep.

I love you love you love you.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Six categories of totally legitimate reasons to fling yourself on the ground and scream. (Ages 1-4)

  1. Shoes:
    1. Have straps. Straaaaaaaaaps. And no matter how hard you pick at them, the Velcro holds. The fucking Velcro! Life is tragic.
    2. Must be worn to leave the house. Who came up with this bullshit?
    3. Cannot locate themselves. 
    4. Fit on particular feet. It is not arbitrary.
  2. Waffles:
    1. Do not magically appear in the freezer and sometimes run out. They are the only thing you want to eat.
    2. Are loathsome. You don't want to even take a bite. You wanted a bagel. Or cereal. It's hard to tell. You can't articulate.
    3. This waffle piece is still connected to that waffle piece. They need to be separated.
    4. Also, there is not enough syrup. Not! Enough! Syrup!
    5. But you didn't want syrup. You wanted jam. 
    6. You didn't want it cut it into pieces. You wanted to eat it whole, like a sandwich.
  3. Your friend Sophie: 
    1. Is talking about the dump truck. You saw the duuump truck! No talking (by anyone but you) about the dump truck!
    2. Has the audacity to walk quickly while we are walking slowly. (Perhaps because it is hard to sob and walk quickly? Perhaps because she is trying to distance herself from the noise? In any case, the inhumanity.)
  4. Grilled cheese:
    1. Is not supposed to be cut like that. It is supposed to be cut "sidey."
    2. Is not mac and cheese.
    3. Contains cheese. Too much cheese!
  5.  Water:
    1. Is too wet. In the bath.
    2.  Gets in your noooose when you try to breathe underwater.
    3. Is coldy! When you ask for cold ice water.
  6. School shirts:
    1. Are plain white.
    2. With no designs. The hell?
    3. Are for school. Which you go to on all the not-stay-home days, to your chagrin. Fucking school shirts.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Snippet...does this intrigue?

When you think of foreign travel, you might think of the Louvre in Paris, or Aztec ruins in Mexico, or picture yourself basking on a Costa Rican beach or enjoying an espresso at a charming café in Rome. There are so many lovely and intriguing possibilities, and I doubt that anyone flies to a foreign land hoping to take a day-long bus tour with the Jerry Springer crowd of that country.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pieces of Internet awesome. Chacha-chacha-chacha-chow!

The Holstee Manifesto isn't new, but it's new to me. Don't we all need a manifesto?

Fake Burlington Coat Factory Twitter account. For example: It's getting hot outside, so cool down with a new coat or jacket.

How To Recognise Famous Painters According To The Internet. For example: If everyone – including the women – looks like Putin, then it’s van Eyck.

And finally, in case you've been in an Internet-free zone recently, the song that's been on a continuous loop at our house since I introduced Jordan and India to it a week ago. I desperately want the backup dancers to join us at our underwear dance party.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Know your audience

It is such a what-the-fuck world.

Yesterday I got a call from an unknown 202 number, which turned out to be Nick, who was in a locked-down federal building near the Navy Yard, not allowed to use his phone. He borrowed a land line to let me know he was fine.

He was, thank God, not in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, 12 other people, who went to work on a seemingly-normal Monday, were shot to death by a gunman, who was himself killed.

It was a day of obsessively checking the news and Twitter as the reports came in. Navy Yard is right across town from us. The first I heard of the shooting was a friend who works there posting on Facebook about being on lockdown.

So many federal buildings and schools were on lockdown. There might be two more shooters on the loose.

Also, when did lockdown come into common parlance? And shelter-in-place? These terms sound so normal now.

As I said, what the fuck?

Random, terrifying violence and destruction, and as it is going on and the death toll is mounting, on Twitter people are insisting that guns are not the problem and this is why you should be able to take guns to work and the shooter was a black guy and if Obama had a son it would look like him and President Obama is going to use this for political gain and and and.

It just made me so sad and so angry and so want to throat punch so many people.

Last night, Dana posted the following on Facebook, and it seemed just right: "Fourth-grade jokes are a welcome relief on days with heavy, incomprehensible news."

I immediately offered Jordan's favorite: What does a train that has a cold say? Ah-choo choo!


So then I turned around and tried to tell Jordan one of those jokes I'd just read.

"Jordan! Why did the chicken cross the playground?"

"Chicken!? Why is a chicken on the playground?"

"There's not really a chicken...It's just a joke. To be funny."

"Oh. Are we going to the playground?"

"Not tonight. You want to know the answer?"

"Of the chicken? OK."

"To get to the other slide! You know, going from one" 

FLAT SILENCE, with a look of MAMA, YOU'RE AN IDIOT. (Coupled with the realization, on my part, that you need to know the chicken crossing the road in the first place, and Mama, you're an idiot.)

"Jordan, would you like some orange juice in a DOO-DOO CUP?"

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" (Beams at me for my brilliance.)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wine rules: I don't know much, but this I know:

  1. Kirkland Pinot Grigio goes down pretty smoothly with Velveeta macaroni and cheese.

  2. On the other hand, Cabernet and fish sticks are terrible together.

  3. Chewing Big Red gum before drinking red wine is a horrendous mistake.

  4. Merlot pairs nicely with popcorn and a mid-90s vintage Grey's Anatomy and sitting on the couch all alone.

  5. Drinking either white or red out of a sippy cup cannot be recommended, but there are worse things in life.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Does this make you want to keep reading? Is it too heavy from the outset?

I am 11 when I learn I am good in a crisis, and that my mother is not.

While I am a prolific reader, I don’t actually yet know the phrase, “good in a crisis.” Nor have I ever heard of suicide.

But I know that something is terribly, terribly wrong when out of the blue my mother turns from rinsing vegetables at the kitchen sink, blurts out, “Jesus God!” and rushes for the stairs, leaving the faucet running. I sprint after her, up the hardwood stairs, turning left into their bedroom at the top, and follow her into their bathroom.

We find my father naked and pale, slumped in the bottom of the shower.

I do not yet know what he has done - and even when later he tells me about his cuts, it will still be years before I actually understand - but I know this is an emergency.

My mother seems flustered, and so I say firmly, “Call 911!” We both run for the phone in the next room, and she dials.

It is an ugly damp winter morning. In my memory, it's December. It might be November, though. It is grey and cold and we have recently bought my Christmas dress - a rich green velvet. I remember my delight over the color and texture of the dress more vividly than I remember my terror over my father.

The ambulance arrives, and men rush in and upstairs. We stay in the living room while my mother figures out what to do with us. We've only been living in McLean for just over a year, so we don't know a lot of people.

In what always seems to be an impressively short amount of time they carry him out, covered. My mom follows them to the hospital.

She doesn't tell us anything. In retrospect, I know she doesn't know. You never know, until they get him to the hospital, until they see how much damage he's wrought.

My brother (who has either just turned eight, or is about to) and I spend the rest of the day with neighbors. They are kind, and we are scared and confused, and my main memory from the afternoon is of the heavy greyness hovering at the windows. And that we had baked pear for dessert.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Oranges and lemons say the bells of Saint Clement's

1. Colanders!

I have clearly wasted so much money on bath toys, when all I had to do was buy two colanders.
Whoa! That is cool!
I know.
Hey! The water goes right down!
Awesome! Where are you? Where are me?
2. Nail polish in clothing. Or rather: out, damned spot!

Can you get nail polish out of clothing? I've tried dabbing nail polish remover, but so far, no dice.

Because, here's the thing. We had friends with a daughter just older than Jordan over this past weekend...and I had set aside a Ziploc bag of many enticing nail colors to pass on to a lovely teenage friend. Jordan spotted it and ooh! orange blue red anotherblue purple whoa!

We headed out to the deck with children prancing in delight, following the Pied Polisher, eyes glued to the Ziploc bag.

If you've ever seen those shark feeding frenzies, it was a bit like that with the polishing colors. And everyone, including one of the dads, wound up with multi-colored nails.

All this to say, Jordan has been on a nail-painting bender.

3. Lemons and onions

What can you make with too many lemons and onions? Not together. We just happen to have an astounding amount of both.

Besides lemonade? Which we have made and is delighful.

Onionade, on the other hand, sounds the opposite of refreshing. And I could only imagine would make one wildly unpopular.

Any ideas? I can't come up with anything particularly appealing. And in fact, have spent my mental energy coming up with unappealing dishes (see onionade above), such as onion pudding, onion ice cream, onion-peach buckle...