Friday, March 21, 2008

The One Where I Let You Know I'm Still Alive

So Hi. Long time no see. Write. Whatever.

NOT a fun week - a round of icky sickness, a handful of alarming conversations/arguments with my teenage daughter...oh wait, she's not a teenager, she's ten. Huh. Someone should really tell her.

Oh, and jury duty.

I've tried a handful of times to write, in more detail, about all the fun I was having this week, but it just wasn't happening. Perhaps I'll get around to it over the weekend - though not likely, what with Easter in the mix. ...Is it bad that I asked my mom to do the kids' Easter baskets this year?

Let's hope for better luck next week. Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Setting - A mother and daughter enjoy a pleasant lunch at a mall restaurant. They have discussed school, Hannah Montana, and the strange hunk of dough she has been given by the hostess as "entertainment" while waiting for their food.

Lunch is served.

Daughter: Mom? Do you get up on Easter morning and hide the eggs and fill our baskets?

Mom: Wh..what, sweetie?

Daughter: People say that the Moms and Dads do that.

Mom (smiling and remaining calm): People say that? What people say that?

Daughter (also calm, through a mouthful of noodles): People also say that Moms and Dads take our old teeth out from under the pillow and put money there from their wallets. Do you take our teeth and give us money?

Mom (trying to hide panic beneath the veneer of a smile): Who are these people saying these things?

Daughter: Just people. They also say that Moms and Dads get up early on Christmas and just write Santa on some of the tags.

Mom (nearly chokes on the weight of this MASSIVE understatement...just writes the name on some tags, come on): Well...what do you think?

Daughter pauses, takes a bite of her noodles. Slurps the cheese sauce off her fork. Stabs another biteful of noodles: Mom, can we go to the Disney store after lunch?

Fade to black.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

But Is She Prettier Than Me?

I don't mean to, honestly, but sometimes I look a little frustrated. I mean I am a little frustrated, but I try not to look it. It just isn't attractive.

Plus: what's so special about my junk? Everyone has junk. Mine tends to be of the Something's-Broken-and-I-Can't-Fix-It variety; a stream of tiny reminders that I am the most incompetent homeowner on the planet.

This mailbox thing apparently made its way to my face today. L asked if I had managed to replace it yet and, after I told her of course not, followed up with "Do you ever find yourself needing help with other little jobs like that?" It took a minute for me to understand that she wasn't co-griping, she was actually inquiring.

Why? Because, as they say, she's got a guy. An odd jobs guy who, according to L, is totally dependable and honest and clean and reasonably priced - and hardly sounding human anymore at this point.

L is good people, and I trust her judgment. And I really want my mailbox fixed. I found myself conjuring up a list of a dozen other tasks that surely qualify as "odd jobs," and then visualizing the perfection of my life if they were done...

"There's one thing you should know," L then said, to awaken me. "He's actually a she. Not entirely, but in the process..."

I got the whole story then, from the extent of the work-in-progress to the skill with which he - um, she - recently replaced some broken tiles and painted a room at L's house.

...Um, so my junk (pardon the expression) is looking really miniscule now.

Yet, still undone. Yet I don't know. A girl is going to complete my handyman to-do list? I don't feel incompetent enough?

Yeah, that's what I'm concerned about. I'm a little vain, okay?

I'm going to go read those mailbox assembly directions again...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

That's Sree...

Wanna know where the party's at? Where the wild girls get together and let loose?

Book club, baby. Book club.

Last night's second official meeting drew five chicks from their child-infested homes (really, three child-infested, one merely husband-infested and one empty - mine - since my kids were at someone else's house) to Siam Orchid for drinks, Thai food and a little learnin'.

And ladies, what did we learn?

We learned that some catty, catty things are going on at M and G's work. Profound cattiness can only mean that lots of women work there, a phenom that leads to no other possible outcome.

We learned, via eavesdropping, that none of the other restaurant patrons knew how to read the damn menu, either. Our lack of linguistic skills must be how we ended up with a tableful of Thai food with Anglo-Saxon names like "hot pot," "golden bags," and "pork garlic." I forget what C ordered - something sweet and sour - but it came with a pretty flower made out of a carrot.

We figured out the date of our next gathering and agreed that it would not be at Siam Orchid, because at Siam Orchid? They count your drinks. At least, our waitress did, in a not-so-much-to-be-informative-as-to-passive-aggressively-scold kind of way. Two is apparently the acceptable limit. Ordering a third round made the girl positively ashamed of us. We learned this when she brought the drinks, setting M's down with a barely audible, "Here your drink, that's sree..."

There was some chatter at the table around this point about taking our party elsewhere for another round, a plan that did not materialize because - I can only guess, based on my own (embarrassing) nonstop yawning - it would have required energy. Instead, we hung around the Orchid, licking the bottom of our glasses for those last drops of liquor (...just kidding) and making quiet sport of the young couple across the way, clearly on an "early in the relationship" date.

Oh yeah, we did talk about the book we had read (at least most of us read it, not naming any names...C, who picked it in the first place...) and agreed on our next selection. That was nice, too...

And we did overstay our welcome - as the proprietors deserved after the drink-counting offense -outlasting both the first daters and several of the staff, each of whom cast a judging eye upon our corner table as they left.

Next time, party of 6 for margaritas? No counting allowed.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bread and Some Other Stuff

FIVE tornado-free posts, by the way. Five.

Now, a few tornado anecdotes:

Firstborn and I finished our second Stone Face Award Nominee book yesterday, the interminably long and painful Bread and Roses, Too. Holy freaking hell, I thought it would never end! It was educational, at least: a fictionalized account of the Bread and Roses Strike of 1912, mainly intent on the experiences of the strikers' children. Yeah, I'd never heard of it before, either.

My child absolutely refused to read aloud the phrase "hell's bells," the main character's exclamation of choice. Handed me the book every time it popped up. ...That's good, right? I'm patting myself on the back as we speak.

She has selected something called Sheep for our next read. She brought it home a few days ago and, hurray!

It's really, really small!

Secondborn - grade 2, may I remind you - whipped out the word "ergo" last night. As in:

Me: You're my favorite you in the whole world!
Her: I'm the only me...ergo, your favorite me.

Yes, sometimes we really talk like that. But I don't say "ergo". Who says that? Little Miss Fancy Pants does, apparently.

Speaking of puberty before I'm ready to deal with it (there was just no other way to segway, sorry): did you know that all the fourth grade girls are wearing bras? That's what I'm told. That explains why two-packs of them keep turning up at checkout on Target outings; mysteriously covered by a box of Cheezits, or slipped onto the conveyor belt at the last minute.

Fourth. Grade. There is no observable need for this new garment, not by her nor any of her friends. But I dare not say this to her, due to her recent unexplainable heightened sensitivity and abrupt bouts of moodiness. Wait a minute...

Well, at least she isn't cursing yet. That's something, right?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Writing: A Life, Sort Of

I'm toying with the notion of starting a second blog...

Even as I place that thought into type, I am shaking my head. Why would I do such a thing?

Here's why: because this is about to be precisely the kind of self-indulgent, narcissistic, navel-gazing post that I don't want to pin up here, and yet here I am writing it.

Also because I have this itch to pursue a life that centers around literature and creativity, and I can't shake it, and I want to talk about it.

While this itch has existed for as long as I can remember, time leaves me feeling like Perpetually Amateur Scratcher. I try to squeak in little bits of growth where I can - attending an evening writing workshop here, reading a book on craft there, eking out some writing (duh), trying to understand the meaning of the oft-repeated advice to "read deeply and widely" (what does that mean?) - and I guess I would like a place to debrief about these little bits of effort. I'd like it to be a place to hash my frustration as well; to occasionally wring my hands over the futility I sometimes feel from trying to keep this itchy part of my life going while providing a home and security for the Tornado Twins.

Sounds like wicked cheery stuff, doesn't it?

So what I'm toying with is a blog about my writing "life,": an(other) attempt at throwing down the pen-shaped gauntlet; a place of personal accountability for doing what I need to do to actualize this damn dream. If I clog up AficioNada with stuff like that, I might never get back around to the things you really want to know - like how do you hang a mailbox?

The idea of writing a blog about writing strikes me as both spot-on and totally defeatist. At 1 a.m., I voted spot-on. The fact that I'm still thinking about it when I should be immersed in my daylight life must mean something. Or not. Who knows?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Apparently Not

Thank you, J.O., for the tip on getting my mailbox replaced.

Sadly, my little bitty town does not abide by such kindly policy - though I did get a return call from "Al" the plow driver, who profusely apologized. Then he blamed it on The Snow. Not the plow. Not the driver. The Snow. The Snow did it, therefore I should ask God for a new mailbox. What's his policy?

Well, I'd hoped that continuing PRESENCE of the mailbox - albeit crumpled on one side and nestled into the snowbank- would suffice for ongoing delivery at least for a few sympathetic days.

Mais non.

On Monday I placed my car payment and Netflix movie in said receptacle. This morning...I fished them back out. They now lie dripping on the floor of my car.

If you were thinking of mailing me something - say, a love letter, or a big check - best to wait a bit. I am apparently in violation of the mail-receiving rules, and will remain so until

a) I figure out how to mount a mailbox
b) I can do so without having to stand in a blizzard or downpour
c) June

Whichever comes first.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Rock Bottom: Called It

I believe it was Plato who proclaimed that once "rock bottom" is called, it must be so.

OK, obviously I just made that up. But I will it to be true.

Awakened this morning, yet again, to filmy gray skies and falling snow. I'm relieved to see that the wall of white lining the front edge of my yard is not, in fact, above my head as it appeared in my dream last night, though it is almost high enough to obscure...

Wait, what the...

My mailbox, customarily seen bolted to its granite post, is not there. At least, it's not bolted to the post.

Rather, I see it has been gently perched atop the snowbank immediately to the left.


How does that saying go? Neither rain nor sleet, nor dark of night...? Is there anything in there about "nor when your mail receptacle is torn off by a plow truck?"