Thursday, March 20, 2008

Driving My Life Away

Hey, I'll be in the car with Chaos, Mayhem, and Havoc all day on Good Friday. It's been a busy week on top of missing part of it due to the stupid migraine. I'm really looking forward to some long, drawn-out time with my guys! When I don't post, you can imagine me torturing my children by making them talk to me being a cool mom listening to their music for hours and hours. I'm not sure if I'll have any kind of connection before Tuesday, but please think of me! Monday morning Mr. Tapioca Head and I are going through (probably pointless yet expensive) court-ordered mediation. Happy Ostara/Easter to all. Peace.

Petraeus - The Non Voter

I heard General Petraeus say yesterday that he hasn't voted since becoming a senior military official because he thinks at his level, leaders should strive to be apolitical. My response was, "What the FUCK?!" Which is so charming and ladylike. But I don't have elegant words for my dismay. Maybe because he's an old, white guy (i.e. a member of the group that's always had the ability to vote) that he can just walk away from such a basic American right/responsibility? I don't know. I can understand his reasoning about being apolitical to a point. I certainly don't think he should use his active military leadership status and influence as a platform to advance a political or partisan cause, but I think it's insane that this man doesn't vote.

It seems to me that he could exercise his franchise without unduly swaying anyone else. In fact, by publicly NOT voting - he's still swaying folks. He's promoting that same behavior among those wanting to emulate him. Don't you think there's a middle ground between being irresponsibly political in a position of authority and absenting oneself from the entire political process? Couldn't he vote without registering for one party or another? Couldn't he refuse to comment on his choices in the voting booth? Couldn't he cast his vote (and encourage others to cast theirs) while modeling the professional military ethic that no matter whom he votes for, he serves the duly elected authority? Does he not trust the privacy of voting booths? He made an issue of the fact that he hasn't voted since achieving a certain rank (major general? I can't remember) - but it made me wonder why that rank? Why not lower or higher - or hell - why don't we just encourage military folks not to vote at all? SHUDDER.

There is something about him NOT voting - as if he's above it all - above participating in the democracy that he's sworn to serve and protect that makes me feel sick to my stomach. I have to own that it's his choice to participate or not and I acknowledge that he'd likely vote for folks I'd rather not have in office, but still... I am bothered. Are you? Peace.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Understanding Chaos

Chaos came galumphing into my room making a weird chewing motion with his lips. I asked him what he was doing. He responded by asking me to pluck his eyebrows. (You may have previously noticed a pattern of weirdness in conversations with Chaos. This one is clearly not an exception.) I asked him what that had to do with the er, interesting way he was walking. He explained he was an evil giraffe. Now would I fix his unibrow?

I'm really not sure how to wrap this moment up for storage in the Rehearsal Dinner Box, but I'm going to assume that anyone brave enough to be Chaos' future bride will understand his context. It's the rest of us that need a primer. Peace.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Migraine Hangover

In the past seven years (since the divorce), I've gotten the migraines down to about two a year. Usually they're pretty explainable if I look at the contributing factors - storm fronts/barometric pressure, hormones, stress, caffeine or other food triggers, etc. Sometimes it takes only two of those factors to connect together just so and boom! January's migraine was pretty much a combination of every single identifiable factor - the perfect storm. Yesterday's migraine? Not one trigger that I know of! Weird, weird, and weird. Sunday night I had some of the symptoms - aura, heightened sense of smell, other vision issues - but no pain. No headache materialized. I'm ok with that! I had some breathing issues too and even some welts like hives. I thought I might be having an allergic reaction - but I hadn't eaten (or bathed with) anything new. Yesterday morning I was better but by last night I was down for the count. No fun! I don't know whether to be worried that my migraines are getting sneakier or relieved that I got this one out of the way BEFORE the proceedings with my ex next week. (<--We have mediation on Monday.) Maybe that's my two for the year? Anyway - sorry not to have more bloggy goodness this morning. Peace.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Breakfast Of Leprechauns

Weird green things - not just for supper anymore! For fun, this is what we started the kids' day off with. They were a little skeptical, but it was food! Food is good. Chaos wore his kilt to school today. Normally he wears it on Friday's but he made an exception for the holiday of his people. (Most people play up their links to the green isle today, but Chaos, with that ginger hair - gets away with it better than some.) It probably won't surprise you at all to learn that not only does Linus NOT wear green today, but he specifically wears orange. That boy? He likes to stir up conversation (i.e. trouble). Luck o' the Irish to you!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Forget the Cuppa, Make It A Tubba

Did you know they made caffeinated soap? The website says that the caffeine is absorbed through your skin - giving you that wake up buzz without the coffee breath. Uh yeah - about that...

I wondered before if Starbucks should get into the bath and beauty product business. I was totally joking but maybe I shouldn't have been! Peace.

Friday, March 14, 2008

New Pace

With almost three weeks of training logged now - I can feel the new pace settling in. I'm more present with the kids in the morning and a little more wiped out with them at the end of the day. After school is still prime. I love being here when they get home. Writing has suffered some and benefitted some. The quilting has pretty much just stopped. I'll have time for quilting next winter - after the race. I feel stronger in body and in spirit - even in the face of the court crapola. (And on an update in that direction - we have mediation scheduled but not the depositions - which is FINE with me but weird! He pushed and pushed and pushed to schedule the depos BEFORE mediation - grrr - but when my attorney sent back a whole list of dates that would work we've gotten no response. Zero. For weeks. I don't get it. And he's still pulling his passive-aggressive stunts like calling the kids every night at five of six when he knows we sit down to supper at six. I've just moved supper time around (again) and tried not to think about him. Training helps.)

The kids have been a bit sick - not flu - but sinusy and queasy - this week. I maybe should have had them tough it out but with all the reports of how horribly sick people have been, I decided I'd rather they get a little behind in school rather than run their immune systems down and open themselves up to the last rounds of flu.

All in all - whether it's due to the pace of training, the downslope of the school year, the change in the light or weather, the diminished stress that comes of dealing with Mr. Tapioca Head less often, or some combination of all of that - we've got an even-keel, sweet rhythm going on here in Lilyville. It's not very exciting to write about, but it's wonderful to sink into and be a part of.
Peace my friends.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Snuggling With A Conehead

Tallulah is in need of comfort. Her idea of comfort is to wedge herself firmly against me or Wasabi - or preferably both of us at the same time - thereby insuring maximum discomfort for all of us. It is amazing how beat up her plastic cone is already. She has whacked it into doors and beds; she has licked it and chewed on it; she has lodged it in every small space she can find; and she has used the edges of it to scratch her incision.

The instruction sheet says to keep her calm. For seven days. Tallulah. Calm. Uh, right. I asked the vet (who, sidenote, is HILARIOUS - he's the one who stretched out her wrinkly skin the first time we saw him and said, "Damn! You could fit a whole 'nother dog in there!") how on earth I was supposed to keep her from running around like a crazy thing and he said, "Good luck with that." "Drugs, man, give me drugs!" "For her?" he asked. "Yes, of course for her." I said. "Sorry I can't help you there," he said, winking at me. (You would have to see this guy and the faces he makes maybe to think he's as funny as I think he is.) He did actually give us a once a day pain reliever for her - which seems to have zero to no calming effect on her. This is going to be a LONG week.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mojo For Mutts

Tallulah Rockstar gets her lady parts surgically altered today so she cannot produce any baby rockstars. She's not allowed to eat this morning and she doesn't understand why. She's hopping around, whining at the door where the kibbles are kept, and throwing her bowl in the path of any creature with hands - all in hopes that someone will for the love of god remember to feed the starving redbone! If they gave out canine oscars for withering away - she'd win. Send her some love, ok? I'm trying not to be nervous for her, but I am.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Zombies In Politics

Chaos wants you to see this. Happy Tuesday all. I'm not up for much more this morning except to brag that I got out of bed with a headache (in the freaking dark - I f-ing HATE day light savings time being this early in the year!) at 5:15 am to go swim this morning. Two and a half weeks of training in the log! Yay!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Havoc's Heroes

Don't mess with the chef! Spitting in your food is soooo old school. Threaten you with a wicked sharp knife? Pshaw. You give this chef any grief and he will blow you the hell up! I'm not sure Havoc would be in the running for Top Chef: Chicago but I bet he'd be the last cheftestant standing if they did a Top Chef: Extreme Action Edition! What is it about the y-chromosome that makes weapons=instant fun? Havoc likes to cook! He loves to invent and create in the kitchen! And yet - he still yearns to blow shit up with grenades. In the kitchen apparently. I don't think I will ever really understand boys. Even the cute ones, like Havoc.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Worst Quilting Experience EVAH

I was sure I'd have some quilty goodness to post this morning. Linus and Bet gave me a quilting class as a present MONTHS ago. They wanted to hook me into the quilting community - get my art sparks going and help me meet creative folks. The original class didn't fill up so it was postponed (twice) and finally held yesterday. I was so looking forward to it! Improvisational art quilting. What could be better?

Well, a root canal for starters.

The people who work in the shop are fantastic. The fabrics are lovely. I had every reason to expect a high caliber teacher! I had a reasonable expectation of meeting pleasant, creative, quilt-artists (or at least wannabes!) I got there early. I was directed to a tiny room with about four women in it - boxes, lunch, machines cluttering up the little bit of table space. I was clearly there for the class but no one said anything to me as I walked in. They weren't saying much to each other either. There was no room for me or my purse (which is all I'd brought in until I scoped out the room). I went to the ladies room and came back. I tried to walk around the table and find space. No one moved their stuff or said a word. WEIRD!

I went back to the store front and asked if I was in the right place. The nice sales woman walked me back in to the room, pointed out the back door I could use to bring in my machine and then uncovered room for me at one of the tables. When I got back in the class room she was back out front - sadly. I set up my area in silence. Two other women came in and started setting up. I said hello to them as they came in and I guess that sparked something because the woman who turned out to be the teacher handed around a sheet of labels that had our names written on them. More silence but this time with the teacher schlepping some of her stuff here and there and then a minute or two of her ironing some ratty-looking scraps. Inspiring. (Not.) She eventually noticed that class was supposed to have started ten minutes earlier. She said, "I am _____ but I won't go into a long introduction. Here is some of my work. This framed piece is my most recent - about two years old. Here is my first quilt. I made it after seeing this book." She held up a Quilt National book - the cover of which featured a quilt just like the one she had made. She proceeded to show us five more quilts that looked the same only with uglier colors. She showed us a few small pieces and advised us to frame our work - otherwise people would only be willing to pay $5 or $10 for a pot holder size piece. She had a slow, whining, slightly huffing way of speaking. She sounded bored and ended every phrase in a dribbling off kind of way. She sat down and sewed a few strips of her fabric together - without saying what she was doing or why. She gave us random advice about "ironing" - it doesn't matter which side the seam is pressed to, keep your ironing pad close by, etc. She told us to work in larger pieces, not to worry about bias, or shape, or color other than to start with ten fabrics that "go" together. She told us not to waste our effort on cheapo fabrics and not to bother washing, "ironing", or folding fabrics because they would all get messy when we worked anyway. She sewed a few more seams. Then she said, "Ok. I wanted you to see how I worked. Let's get started." Then she stood up and stared at us. No instruction. No goal. No start point. No hints about design, balance, visual texture, color selection - nothing.

My classmates and I looked at each other and then back at her. The other ladies began tentatively pulling out the fabrics they had brought. One woman said she wasn't sure about colors or prints. The teacher said to use batiks because they were printed on both sides and had lots of colors. The lady blinked and waited for more. Receiving nothing, she was brave and asked specifically about the fabrics she had planned to use but now wasn't sure about. The teacher made a few bizarrely disparaging remarks like, "Well that orange isn't what I would ever use - but it goes well with this shiny fabric you brought. I stay away from shiny fabrics because they look cheap, but I guess you could go for a playful, juvenile look if you wanted to. It's up to you. It's your quilt." The teacher took another one of the students out front to "help" her pick out a few fabrics. I decided I could live without her help.

I almost just packed up and left right then and there. I talked myself into staying. I started randomly pressing, cutting and sewing together blocks of the fabrics I had brought. Fun enough. I like to play. At the very least - I'm spending time quilting with other women. I thought, "Maybe it won't be a total loss if I meet one even half-way pleasant fellow quilter." The woman on my right was older, stern, silent - except for her incredibly loud and numerous farts (OMG!), and had the ugliest collection of fabrics I have ever in my life seen. O-K. I turned to my other side. Reading her name tag, I struck up the following conversation:
Me: So Sherry, are you from here originally?
Her: Yes.
Me (after a pause to see if she'd say anything else): Do you belong to one of the guilds?
Her: No. I'm not a joiner. I'm not a social person.

So pleasant. Over the course of the next two hours, the only other conversation occurred when two of the ladies got in a fight over which scissors belonged to whom. "These are badly nicked. I take care of mine so these must be yours." "No, I keep mine sharpened and those are dull." "Well, I've never put tape on mine so these can't be mine. See this sticky spot here?" And so on. The next closest thing to conversation was when the teacher informed us all that she hadn't been able to make any money as a quilt artist and now sold plexi-glass clocks and worked in metal. Nice.

Absurdly, I kept thinking that surely once we got a few pieces together the teacher would discuss composition or design elements or embellishment techniques or SOMETHING. She didn't. With about a half an hour to go in the class, one woman asked what we'd be doing next week and the teacher said, "The same thing we are now." I just couldn't stand it any more. I lied and said I had to leave early to go get my children from school. I can't imagine going back next week. I have never been in a class before where I didn't learn anything. I kept waiting, hoping, desperately trying to get some tiny thing from the experience to make it worth the effort of having lugged my machine to and from the car - forget the $75 class fee. But it did not happen. Not even close.

The only speck of enjoyment I got out of the experience was talking to my kids about it afterwards. Havoc laughed so hard he almost fell off of his chair when I described the icky ladies at my table. The kids gave me sweet hugs and told me to look on the bright side. Next week I could stay home in my own studio and if the dogs started farting, at least I could make them go outside! Ah, the bright side.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night (Again)

Taking it a little more seriously than perhaps North Carolina weather requires, we weren't comfortable having the kids sleep through the storm upstairs. Upstairs being where the wind and the trees were colliding violently and near where the roof that could get ripped off in a tornado was. Two kids slept in Linus' bed, two in the studio and one on the pallet beside me. The dogs enjoyed playing musical beds. They thought it exciting to have everyone up an hour after settling down. They were the only ones. We're all a bit tired and grumpy today.
The bright side? RAIN. We need rain. We like rain. And it's 65 degrees now. Makes it kinda hard to be tooooooo grumpy. (But we're trying.)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

left handed blogging

i have a red-bone puppy adamantly curled up and snoring on my right arm. i have moved her several times but she immediately sneaks back up and plunks her head back down - pinning my arm to the bed. she's so insistent and it's been so long since anyone was this clingy - that i've decided to go with it. she's loud though. linus says to just pull on her tail to make her stop snoring, but i can't reach it. oh well. it's a good thing she's so cute.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Phone Call From The 'Rents

My father called me yesterday to say he'd seen the interview and that he thought I did a fine job. He used adjectives that coded in my head as positive even though I can't for the life of me remember them. Calm? Composed? I know he said I looked "great" and I have it in my mind that he may have said I sounded "articulate". I know for a fact that he said I did NOT sound nervous or inexperienced. He said I didn't ramble. He said I made clear points and came across as sincere. Ha! If he'd only seen the un-edited version he would not have said that.

My father was both genuine and sweet. The fact that he called to tell me what he thought - and the fact that what he thought was positive - all of that tripped me out. You see, I had all kinds of classic cross-parent/child issues with him when I was younger. Every bit of what you'd expect from a daddy's girl who was abandoned due to the divorce process when she was 14, in the mid-80's by her Dartmouth-educated, dashingly handsome & charming father. Did I mention I'm an oldest child? I have always - all my life - been desperate for his approval and attention. To a degree that shocked his socks off when we finally talked about it all - a decade or so ago. I think he had NO idea how much his say so meant to me. He spent his life trying (and feeling like he was failing) to be "good enough" for HIS father. It was a complete surprise to him to have passed that down without meaning to. To be perfectly fair, he is so different from his father that I can understand why it didn't occur to him that I would feel the same way about him as he felt about Grandaddy.

My dad and I have a great relationship (now) - and I genuinely love to be around him. I feel so much more comfortable with him than I used to. I don't analyze everything he says looking for the barb, the criticism while simultaneously trying to contort his words into praise. I'm a lot better at being myself and letting him be himself. It helped A LOT to learn more about anxiety patterns and how they manifest themselves in families. (You know that time I invited my father over for supper - when I scrubbed my house, spent a week planning the menu and the entire day cooking it, making sure to find interesting recipes for some of his favorite foods - only to have him show up and say he couldn't eat a bite because the ladies at work had brought in potluck and made him try everything and he was too full? Yeah - that wasn't about me - and it wasn't just that my dad was being a big fat jerk!! It wasn't a failure in communication. I didn't do anything wrong. It was anxiety - and now I know. I know what to look and listen for - how to diffuse and interpret it. And sometimes I know how to avoid it - and sometimes I'm good at acknowledging it and poking fun at it in just the right ways. As I said - things are sooooo much better between us.)

As good as things are - the reality is that my internal negative critic uses my father's voice. And it probably always will. It sucks. It's probably not fair to him or me. But there you have it. I heard myself on TV, mangling basic grammar and I instantly imagined my father upon hearing it, being embarrassed to admit knowing me, much less to having sired me. And then he called to say I'd done a fine job, that he was proud of me.

I'm glad I'd already made my peace with how I'd done in the interview. I'd already writhed, talked myself through it, whined some more, and then truly decided I'd done the best I could have done - given that moment, those circumstances - and that it was fine to have it be exactly what it was. I didn't consciously know it, but I needed to have done all that on my own without the warping affect my dad's approval or lack thereof can have on me. So... how wonderful just to be able to listen and honestly thank him for caring enough to call, and to be able to allow myself to savor his words. This growing up stuff? So worth it sometimes.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


After fluctuating up and down the scale over the same three pounds for six months, this week I've lost four actual pounds. Starting from the lowest point of the previous six months. Which means that I am lighter today - by seven pounds - than I was in August. Which is a good thing.

I mean, I am in fact trying to lose weight. I have eaten extremely good foods this week - if not quite as much of them as I should have. I have exercised every day except Friday - which was a planned rest day. I haven't slept particularly well because of the court stuff, the tv stuff, etc - and it makes sense that being awake burns up more calories than being asleep does.

I put this out there because I have to be able to talk about it. Losing weight is fraught, absolutely fraught I tell you, with crazy-ass internal messages. I yearn to be slim and healthy yet when I start making measurable progress in that direction, I freak-the-fuck out. My head churns out worries like, "What if I keep losing at this rate? That's not healthy!" but then, "What if I don't lose another pound? What if after all this work, I stall here?" And, "What if I start gaining it back?!" Then deserve factor has to be regulated: I waffle between giving myself pep talks saying I deserve to be slim, healthy, and strong to having deflate my own entitlement bubble (I've been good - I am entitled to gorge on Capt D's and cake!)

Nice and steady, step by step. A little progress here, a little there - forward and sometimes a bit back or off target - it's all just right. Magic happens. So, stop freaking out already! (<---Addressed to my monkey mind, not yours. Unless you need to hear it, of course.)