Thursday, January 31, 2008

One Pathetic Old Jerkwad, Two Fantastic New Words

If I were to give you the full Tapioca Report - you'd never read my blog again. My ex is nauseating. "He doesn't READ!" I say to Bet. ("He never does," she says back.) "He refuses to give me the insurance information," I gripe. ("So you let the lawyers handle that. That's why you pay them the big bucks," she reminds me.) "He doesn't make any sense!" I wail. ("He's not going to," she answers.) "He lies. LIES! And about stupid stuff - stuff that a two year old could check and catch him out on!!" (Bet: This is new? No.) "His actions and his words do NOT match up." (Bet: Again, this is new? No.) "I'm not missing something am I? This crap doesn't make sense does it? Is there something wrong with me that I don't understand this?!!" (Bet: The only thing wrong with you is that you keep expecting him to be rational. He's not going to be. It's not you. You've run this by me, Linus, C is for Coffee and Salsa Man, your mother, your attorneys and probably six other people. No one thinks he is making sense. No one. He's not going to. That is why they call it "crazymaking".) She is so patient! All of you are sooo patient. I have been trying to figure out why it shakes me so deeply when my ex is so blatantly off the deep end. I don't have a great answer except that if making logistical arrangements is this incredibly difficult and stupid with him then what hope is there ever of finding a healthy way to address complicated issues?! (Bet: None. There is no hope of that. You can't change him. You can't make him listen or pay attention or give you coherent answers to questions. You have to give up hoping his side of the equation will ever balance again. Sorry.) Sucks. She's right. I know she's right. But it still sucks.

ANYWAY - on a more fun note. I've been reading during the wee sma's when I can't sleep (see above) and I've found two new words! I love learning new words!! Sheri Tepper and CJ Cherryh - I thank you for introducing me to: horripilating and divagation. I have a decent enough vocabulary (I rock on free rice!) thanks to Orgel in high school (25 words a week, cumulative so that the second week we were responsible for fifty - up through the senior year monster 1,000 word exam.) It's fun to find words that didn't make that list, though. It's especially interesting to find them in context. My secret dweebiness is not so secret now, I suppose.

I hope to be able to get back into blogging every day and talking less about the bane of my existence. It could happen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In The Neighborhood

The other day our little corner store was swarming with police vehicles. We had the kids all piled in the car and were stopped at the light so there was time for much discussion and theorizing about what might be going on. One police car had clearly driven hurriedly up over the curb directly from the street. The other six were deployed all around the tiny market building. There was a piece of machinery in the middle of the parking lot which turned out to be a car jack. The flashing lights were on but most of the police were standing around in fairly relaxed groups talking. One knot was talking to someone who seemed agitated. Attempted robbery? Drug bust? Surely it was a bit of an overkill response for a gas and go. You want to know what it was? (Bet stopped in later and asked.) The manager said that the repo man had come for the car rims of one of his employees and that the employee had "taken exception to it". My first thought was "Holy crap - what kind of rims are expensive enough to qualify for being repossessed??" My second thought was that the guy must have caused a serious ruckus if they sent SEVEN squad cars to quell him. I don't know if I'm capable of being scary enough that someone would call in the big guns. It's pretty awesome to think about causing that much of a stir on a quiet Saturday morning. It's like zero to sixty in under 4 seconds on the crazy meter. (Not that I want to be that scary ever. I'm all about living in a drama free zone. It's just interesting to me to contemplate the alien thinking that must happen to create such a wacko situation.)

Another oddity (this time of the passive variety) in my neighborhood. There is a large metal sculpture in one of the yards around here. The yard and the house are pretty ordinary - average size, a little unkempt, close to a main road. And there is this huge, (sort of rusty in places), skeletal Rhinoceros. Life size. Placid. Completely weird. His pieces and parts look like they were scavenged from many different machines. And there he grazes rustily. Among some weeds.

At the Bolin Creek trail down by the community center there is some new graffiti. Someone has spray painted an anti-war message on the sidewalk. It's about the size of an index card, yet totally readable. It is tucked up into the corner on a sidewalk square. Very tidy. Someone else (well - I don't know that for sure - possibly it's the same person) has stenciled some scattered, red scarabs across a retaining wall. There are more painted in a wandering path on the sidewalk and there is one lone beetle decorating a road sign nearby. They are stylized and quite large. Metal mammoths, legible graffiti, stenciled bugs: it's a trifle strange, my neighborhood.

Aren't you dying to come visit and get the tour? "Here is where that guy's rims were repo'd. Look over there? See that? It's yard art. That? That's Chapel Hill's idea of graffiti. And did you know - here you can buy WINE in the grocery store? Swear! Oh, and I have us booked for Aveda at eleven."

Friday, January 25, 2008

I have not managed to catch up yet - but here are a few things buzzing around:
1) Linus is traveling again. He called me from Nashville to say he was down safe. Then I turned on my computer and saw this news. He was on Southwest, but not on that flight or at that time. Still. For worry wart like me? Too close for comfort.
2) I will tell you all about the interview as soon as I can get my thoughts together about it.
3) Talking with Chaos (the fifteen year old red head in the goth kilt) is challenging. (Rewarding in many ways - but work.) A recent example:
(Our mail is often delivered with a rubber band around it. Chaos saw it and wanted the rubber band.)
Chaos: Oooh! Can I have that?! Please.
Me: Why? What are you going to do with it?
Chaos: You know I've never had scurvy.
Me (thinking WTF?)
Chaos: But I drink orange juice all the time.
Me (still thinking WTF?) : Errr, what does that have to do with anything??
Chaos: Mo-m. You gotta be pre-pared. All the time. Just in case. (Then he hugged me, snatched the rubber band out of my hand, and scampered up the stairs. Chains clanking.)
Me (calling up the stairwell): You are not allowed to shoot that at anyone! Do you hear me?
Chaos (distantly): Yes ma'am.

Later I found out the whole scurvy bit and being prepared came from a talk this guy gave at a school. (If you haven't read this book, you should. It's fascinating. Well-written, provocative, chilling and completely accessible. And I am not interested in zombies at all - except as far as they pertain to my teenage sons.) Talking to Chaos is only comprehensible if you spend time getting his context. It's hard to keep up with the music, the comedians, the you tube bits, and the books - but if you don't at least make a stab at it, he makes NO SENSE.

4) Whine, whine, whine. Only ONE more football game. I had a great time getting to watch the championship games with my dad even though neither game was close to the caliber of the week before. At first it didn't look like the Pats had bothered to show up for their game against Chargers. I was grateful when they started to actually play football in the second quarter. I was pretty bummed about the Packers losing to the Giants, but I also have to admit that my antipathy for the Giants is considerably less without Jeremy Shockey in the lineup. It sucks for Brett, no two ways about it. Eli, however, has to be pretty pleased to be going to the Superbowl the very next year after his brother. Still, without the Packers in it, I have zero decision about who to root for on Feb 3. Go Pats! I hope the '72 Dolphins are prepared to share their place in the record books!

Between the travel every which way and lingering viruses, school conferences and report cards, and the general cold and dark - this bear would really like to hibernate for a week. Instead my plan for this weekend is to get my shaggy headed children to the Aveda Institute, build a glass brick wall, finally visit my webfriends' blogs and finish the drafts in my "to be posted" file (dogs, tv interviews)! What are y'all up to?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Deth Delayed 3 Days, School Only 2 Hours

Today was a delayed school opening due to weather the media describes as a "wintry mix". Wintry mix of what you might ask. Wintry mix of HELL I'd be tempted to answer were it not so freaking cold. I am sincerely hoping that this morning's lovely blend of sleet, rain, ice, and wind is a one off event. I do NOT relish driving 500 miles (over the mountains) in it tomorrow. Oh no I do not.

The schools here have this great automated phone tree system. I get a call with a recorded message about upcoming events at the high school every Sunday night. The day the water main broke at the middle school, I got a call in the middle of the day explaining dismissal procedures etc. Last night we got a call (and an email) notifying us of the possibility of a delayed opening this morning. That message said that in the event, early morning connect ED message calls would begin around 6 a.m.. The house phone rang at 5:45 this morning. Ok, they jumped the gun by 15 minutes. My cell phone rang a few minutes later. Hmmm. Hadn't known they'd call the cell phones too, but ok. THEN the house phone rang again. It was my ex calling to tell me in his ridiculous, self-important way that the school had just called him and he wanted to pass on the information to me that school was delayed. "Did you get a call too?" he asked. "Yeah," I said with the word "Asshole!" unsaid but perceptible nonetheless. Does he REALLY think that he needed to call me? From another state and time zone? To tell me there is a weather (my weather) related school delay? For God's sakes, Bet is a TEACHER IN THIS DISTRICT!!! It is not like we would somehow not figure out whether or not school was open and at what time!

If Mr. Tapioca Head were an overly helpful sort in general, it might - just might - be plausible that he wanted to make sure we had it all under control. But seeing as he's an obstructionist pig, I know he just called to get under my skin. The man wouldn't confirm his mailing address for me yesterday (which resulted in me having to send an insurance receipt to him by way of the attorneys!) but he'll call me to tell me what the weather is like outside of my window?! Fucktard.

Having started off so well (what with sleet, tapioca, off schedule children with EXAMS today) you'd probably think it could only get better. Sadly, I have no guarantee of that. I have a dozen mostly important but impossible things to do today. One of them is figuring out what to wear for the tv interview on Monday. Since losing 20 lbs in four days is not an option, I decided to go with a new haircut (cute bob), new hair color (boring but shiny brown/black as opposed to the fun black/red/violet I got last time), and new nails (French manicure). Having spent all my money on that, I must now choose something I already own to wear. Advice???

Since I'm not going to get my chores done, I may as well get around to telling you how much fun I had with my children listening to their music. Dethklok is the new fave. You would not believe how much amusement has been generated by this band in our household. If you have Guitar Hero in your house, you may already be familiar with their stunningly uncomplicated piece "Thunderhorse" which literally has half of the lyrics in the title. If you do not have Guitar Hero and clicked the link you will see that Dethklok is a virtual death metal band created for a television show - a cartoon show. (Like the Monkees - only animated and err... somewhat darker.) The article says that the band is sometimes compared to Spinal Tap "though the overtly comedic aspects of the band are usually reserved for show episodes, while the music itself is relatively straightforward extreme metal." I beg to differ. The lyrics are freaking hilarious. There is a song about lost Vikings who left their map at home and are too macho to take one offered by a girl. There is a song called "Briefcase Full of Guts" and another called "Hatredcopter." Hatredcopter is our second favorite. The lead singer (or rather lead shouter) rails "I get to wear big black helmets I pilot the HATREDCOPTER" and then Pickles (<-scary name that) comes in with the chorus:
You will most likely die
From the hands of my arm
When I come and fly and
Take off your face
With the front

(I play air guitar with that part and Havoc loses it every time. Chaos (whose CD this is) is not quite as amused - but he's a good sport and he should be after all the razzing he's given out about other people's music.) Our very first favorite on the Dethalbum is called "Birthday Dethday." It's a long song so I'll only give you a sampling of the finer parts:
(it starts out with a growly voice probably trying to sound menacing)
Many years ago today something grew
Inside of your mother...
That thing was you




Happy Birthday
You're gonna die

(still later)


I have promised to sing this song to my sons every year on their birthday. Chaos made the comment that he would thankfully be home for only three more birthdays. I said, "Remember that scene in "City Slickers" where the mom calls her 40-something year old son every year at 5 a.m. on his birthday? That's me. Only I'm going to sing Dethday to you (YOU YOU YOU)." Mayhem made gurgly noises at that point and when I turned around to look (since we were in the car at the time and he was in the backseat) I saw that he was rolling from side to side, practically unable to breathe from laughing so hard at the thought of my calling him to croak into the phone "Happy Birthday, you're gonna die!" God, I love my kids. It's a good thing, I guess, because I have an eight hour drive with them. EIGHT hours of listening to shouting in German (Rammstein), shouting in Metal Dethspeak (Dethklok), electronic pig squeals (Mushroom Heads or Job For a Cowboy - one of them is known for their pig noises but I can't at this moment remember which - ask me on Monday), and crooning about nuclear holocaust (Greenday - Havoc's new CD). As my mother (who put up with The Dead Kennedys, Violent Femmes, and Depeche Mode from me) constantly reminds me, "Paybacks are hell."
Peace. (Not deth!!)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Silicone, It's Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

Last week Bet got some of these. They are two shades of green (which becomes relevant in just a minute.) They're pretty cool. We've been making our own breakfast sandwiches at home with them. Mayhem asked what they were and how to clean them. I explained about poaching eggs and then he wanted to know what they were made of. I said, "Silicone." While I was telling him how to wash them out and where to put them away, he had his back to me. Then he spun around, holding the cups to his chest and said, "Is this what they make fake boobs out of? They're pretty weird." When I could stop laughing long enough, I said yes, silicone could be used to make breast implants but it wasn't quite the same as our egg poaching cups. "Good thing," he said. "Who would want to have green breasts?" The Princessa and Havoc were cracking up. The Princessa snorted and gave Mayhem a hard time about having a one track mind. (I think her having brothers is a pretty good inoculation against her wanting to date any time soon.) I had to reassure Havoc that women who got breast implants did NOT end up with green boobs. Ahhh, those teachable moments!
PS - You may have noticed that I've postponed all those things I said I'd write about yesterday. My camera is currently languishing from lack of double A's and I'm just not in the mood for "deth" tonight as I'm worn out from talking to my children. Maybe tomorrow we can do deth over lunch.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Well crap!

Here A Post, There A Post

Well I'm clearly not back in the posting routine. I've also been a little quiet because I haven't wanted to whine about Tapioca. It's left me with a bare few things to post.
Training? Going well in that it is going. Did I mention I'm not drinking soda or alcohol until after the race in September? It's a good move, but hard going sometimes.
Kids? They're awesome. Really great in fact. I love having a few weekends with them!
Football? Fantastic! The two games yesterday were some of the best football I've seen! (It helped that both the teams I was rooting for won! Sorry Uncouth Heathen.) The teams lay it on the line: hard hits, make or break improv on busted plays, and brilliant play calling. It's amazing to watch athletes totally screw up and have to come back from it. Ryan Grant turned the ball over TWICE in the first few minutes - and Seattle scored on his mistake both times, putting the Packers down 14 points. He came back from that and played exceptionally - scoring two touchdowns with over 200 yards rushing! I think about that kind of effort when I'm out running and I do something stupid (like trip over my shoelaces). Now if my Colts will just play well enough today to shut Shawne Merriman up. (I hate that he's a fellow Terp. His big mouth and foul attitude bug me. LT I like and I'm so sorry about Antonio Gates' injury - but Shawne Merriman needs to keep his big mouth closed.) And I'm sure you don't want to hear me whine about how icky it is to have to root for the Giants (whom I dislike) over the Cowboys (whom I despise) - but that's also part of the play off energy. Sometimes you get left with picking the lesser of two evils! Next topic!
Dogs? Oh my word, Tallulah Rockstar is almost as big as Wasabi!

Tomorrow I'll try to be interesting. I'll post pictures of the pups, tell about listening to my children's music with them (warning the word "deth" is involved), and possibly even get you to angst with me over an upcoming interview I have. Right now, though, it's time for football! Peace.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

No Bail Money Necessary

Happy New Year! I know. I'm a week late. You know how we have all these traditions about starting the new year the way we want it to continue? We kiss our sweetie(s) at midnight and eat all kinds of "good luck" foods (like black eyed peas cooked with a dime?) etc. Weeeelllll - I sure hope my new year goes better than it started out. Here's the saga: I started 2008 bright and early (3 am Jan 1) puking my guts out. Sad, sad Lilymane. I almost never get really sick and I can't even think of a time where I've been the only one to get sick. If I do finally succumb to something, it's usually after everyone is better and back and school/work. This time I broke with tradition! I was the only one even remotely ill. (Thank heavens!) It is very much NOT FUN to be sick (vilely and horribly sick) when everyone else is home and having fun playing games together! (I mentioned the sad, sad Lilymane part, right?) I managed to get myself better just in time for Bet's birthday on Friday. Yay Bet! As part of her celebration, she and I went to the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh. Friday night we had a big party with 20 or so friends. In addition to celebrating Bet's time on this planet - we celebrated Linus' new job offer! Yay Linus! Then of course it was Wild Card Weekend. Yay NFL! (Although it was total suckitude as ALL FOUR of the teams I was cheering for managed to be eliminated. But it's the Playoffs. I love the energy. LOVE it! The football is intense. No one is holding back. The play calling is interesting - bold. You watch the players mature as athletes and sportsmen right before your eyes. There is nothing like the playoffs. Should I whine now that there are only seven games left - total?? No? Ok - I'll save it for later on in the week.) And if that weren't enough to keep me off line - we had Tapioca weirdness.

**I have to interrupt myself and say that I got a very funny voicemail from my new webfriend Jeff. He called to see if I was ok, if I'd fallen off the face of the earth and maybe needed help climbing back on, or if perhaps I'd been arrested for taking his advice and doing away with my ex. "If you need anything - like bail money - just give me a ring," he said. Don't I have the greatest friends? Now back to the story involving Tapioca, but not bail money (in case you were worried I was throwing in some foreshadowing.) **

Tapioca Report: My mother calls and says, "Have you talked to Mr. Tapioca Head recently? Do you know if he's....ok?" I told her I'd been out of commission but while I was on the phone with her I checked my cell and computer. No messages of any kind. Yay! I love not hearing from him. My mother on the other hand was now trying not to fret. I could hear her trying to figure out how to word what she was going to say. Maybe all mothers do this (egad, maybe I do it to my kids) but my mother has a certain way of pausing that lets me know to pay very close attention to what she says next. Sometimes she pauses because she has decided to leave some of the salient points out for various and sundry reasons (never good reasons as far as I'm concerned - so I listen for the gaps and grill her on them) and sometimes it's because she wants to make sure to say something disturbing in as calm a way as possible. What she said was that the police had been questioning Mr T's neighbors. (She has a customer whose daughter lives next door to my ex and was one of the ones questioned. Of course mom's customer had to rush right in and find out what was going on. My mother tries so very, very hard not to have the shop be Gossip Central but she is fighting a losing battle. Scientists should study the phenomenon. Small town rumorspeed is waaay faster than lightspeed.) So here's my poor mother trying to (on the fly) figure out how to make sure everything is ok by calling me without sounding like an alarmist or a gossip herself. At this point I need to reiterate that as much as I would wish (selfishly) for my ex to disappear - I would never in a million years want that for my boyos. Luckily (for my mother and my kids) at about this point in the conversation, Chaos got home and answered my casually posed question - yes they'd spoken to dad just last night. My mother actually said, "Phew." We still have no idea what it was all about, but at least the fucker is still around (pardon my French.) I guess Mr. Tapioca being missing is one plausible reason why the cops would be asking his neighbors about about "his comings and goings" and what kind of car he drives. In that scenario he would (probably) even be "innocent". Yeah, yeah. I know he hasn't been accused of anything (that I know of) (yet) and that even if he had been - innocent until proven guilty in a court of law and all that. Still. Can you think of any reason for those kinds of police questions that doesn't involve something...unpleasant?? I can't come up with anything. Of course I don't really know enough about how things work to come up with many ideas at all - unpleasant or otherwise. What I do know is (once again) my mother and I ended a conversation with her telling me she truly believes he suffered some kind of brain damage during that surgery (eight weeks before he left me) because he's just been so...weird ever since. Weird Tapioca - just what everyone needs to start the year, eh?

So recap:
Yay Bet! Yay Linus! Yay NFL (sort of)! Yay Friends! Yay having fun with my kids!
Boo intestinal disturbances and Mr. Tapioca!
The good far, far, far outweighs the bad. I think 2008 is going to be a fantastic year.