Friday, May 26, 2006

My geek is away, so I took a test.

i am a total geek

Why do I pick at old, psychic sores?

Sometimes I find myself googling people I haven't seen in years. People who, if they showed up on my doorstep, I would not be happy to see. Why do I do this?

Why do I have this compulsion to check up on people who have been so hurtful in the past? Why am I concerned with people who did their level best to make my life less than it is today?

I know I don't want to deal with them, don't want to talk to them, don't want to follow their path for me. But for some reason I feel the need to reach out for them a little bit, just to make sure they are around, and OK, in their way.

Sometimes I don't make any sense, even to myself.

In the Washington Times this morning

Senate declares "up", "down".

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I guess "My mother was a saint!" hasn't kicked in yet

Yesterday, after spending the morning fighting for an article I wrote, and shoving the boys through school, the Sons and I took a skipjack tour of the river, and then they accompanied me for an Advertiser interview. We dashed home long enough for me to make dinner, and then they had a long tae kwon do class, during which, admittedly, I talked with a couple of friends. We got home at 9:15.

Stumbling through the kitchen just before bed, I said to Son #1, "Man, I could use a day off."

His response?

"You? Why?"

All work and no play makes Mom a dull girl.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Flicks for Married Chicks: Poseidon

We, as a group, tend to rank on our husbands. We complain. We notice the little frustrating things about living with a man, instead of the good parts. Fortunately for us, there exists the disaster movie. There's nothing like an evening of watching men save women and children from certain death.

Yesterday, after homeschool review, Lisa and I went to see Poseidon, which turns out to be a leader in the Men Are Awesome, I'm So Glad I Have One category.

*Men, through their athleticism and just generally big old manly physical build, can do stuff we can't. Sing it, girls! "I am shooooorrt. I am not muscular, I am Womaaaaaan!"

*Men will step up to save us because they feel they should. Perhaps this is the same instinct that makes every mother in a crowd jump to attention when they hear some kid cry out for "Mom". Their instinct is to protect us, and thank God for it.

*Men can cut through the emotional bullshit of a tense situation and do what needs to be done. Wonder why your guy doesn't talk about his feeeelings all day? Because his brain is wired to ignore that stuff and save your butt. Enjoy it.

*Men know stuff we don't. I know, there are exceptions, but in my case, at least, I am constantly reminded that while I was learning to hem, get tarnish off brass, French braid, embroider, and write haiku, Hubby was gapping spark plugs, splicing rope, driving a tow truck, shooting guns and other such manly pursuits. Where men look at schematics and instantly understand where everything leads and what it's all for, I stare incomprehending, and mutter "this goes left, to that big block thingy." Ugh.

There's more, I know. Men are great. I am so glad I have one.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

When the mice are away, the cats play, too

The Sons spent last night at a friend's house, so Hubby and I went to see 9 Day Bender, the band that should and will have Hubby as bass player. Hubby will be going to New York with them this weekend, on the drums.

We had a great time, and I got to dance, which is something I sorely miss. I think, though, that I need to get myself some clubbing clothes, if we're going to be leaving the house on a regular basis. Or, at least I should be willing to sort through my closet and put on something that is designed for more than comfort.

Hubby's conviction that everyone wants a piece of me, and his complete inability to understand women of almost any stripe, is a neverending source of amusement and surprise. He is, I am reminded, a man, and therefore just can't help being clueless about the ways women interact.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The eternal conundrum of the freelancin' mom

If the boys are awake, I am on duty. I feel like I should be making sure they do their school work, and keeping the house clean, and feeding them.

If they are awake, they are talking, or watching TV, or playing Contendo, or practicing a musical instrument, or stomping around, or otherwise making noise. Not all at once, but generally someone is doing one of those things, most of the time.

At the end of the day, then, I have been inundated with noisy, demanding people. By 9 pm I am lucky if I have two brain cells left to rub together.

The house quiets down, the boys are tucked in, and I am, in theory, free to write.

In practice, however, it usually means I am free to collapse into my bed, or, even worse, buzz around disjointedly, not accomplishing anything.

Today I submitted an Advertiser piece and a short write up for the Tester. I also received another Morning Edition rejection email. They are as regular as the waxing and waning of the moon. But man, I still have so much work to do and it's only 8:30 and my brain is shot.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was our traditional mellow anti-holiday. We slept in. We called the grandmothers to wish them well. We went to Outback for dinner on the gift cards we've been holding since Christmas. We watched the youtube "mother's day" video, and Signs.

Hubby tells me that I am interpreting last night's events all wrong. "You got hit on right away. And it's not like there were a lot of guys in the bar. And the hook hand guy was really nice!"

I think I have found the ultimate fitness incentive program, nu?

It's one thing, to "know" you look like hell.

It's a totally different LEVEL of a thing, to see that the rest of the world pretty much agrees with you.

Hubby and I don't get out much. He is kind of a homebody, and we are on the broke side, and there's the whole responsible parenting thing. But I do remember, years ago when I was a single girl and kinda cute, spending my weekends dancing and flirting and generally feeling like hot stuff.

Soooo, the tide is turning. The Sons are of an age that they are well and truly able to fend for themselves for as long as we'd like to be gone. Hubby has discovered that the best way to get back into a band is to hang around where musicians go, and get his awesome, bass-playin', drum-beatin', guitar-mastering self planted deep in the minds of every single musician in the tri-county area. And a young guy Hubby once gave a couple of bass lessons to, when he was but a 6th grader with a dream, is performing with his band at a bar not far from home. So tonight, at last, I get to leave the house for more than dinner and a crappy movie.

Movies being, in my mind, a pretty lousy way to pass the time, unless you are making out in the back row of the theater.

We hit the little local bar. It is a nice place, despite the fact that just a few weeks ago a guy was shot and killed in a fight in the back parking lot. Damien, the Hubby's bass playing protege, is awesome, and his band plays some great ska. We are having a blast.

Damien gets off stage and Hubby offers to buy him a beer. We hang out, chat, drink, smoke and generally relax. While Hubby and Damien are loading the band's equipment into a waiting car, I sit at the bar and listen to the second act. The barmaid, who has been sending free Jagermeister shots our way, smiles at me and asks if the bass player is my son.

My freakin' SON.

Holy crap on a cracker, I need to get out of that bar.

Sooo, we head to a second place. Nice little local dive. The band, Niki Barr, is awesome, playing mostly original stuff with the occasional cover of something we recognize.

Two men flirted with me. Respectable, right? Plenty to make a woman feel like she's still got a little bit of what her momma gave her, right?

not tonight, ok?

The first guy was a fairly attractive, light-skinned Hispanic with an accent and a helluva lot of jailhouse tattoos. And then there was the second guy.

The second guy?

The second guy had a hook.

As God is my witness, I am going for a run this morning.

Friday, May 12, 2006

My editors can't spell

This week it happened twice. Two different articles, two different publications, and in both cases the editor changed my correct spelling to an incorrect spelling.

What do you do when you editor can't spell? Is there a gracious way to tell her that cuisine cannot please your "pallet" or that a lace curtain is not "shear"?

Once I send in my articles, they are in the editors' hands. I respect that. But by the same token, she is a professional and should recognize her own weaknesses, and ask someone (even if it is not me) if the word I used is really the word that belongs in there.

Now, I am in a position where two different publications this week alone have published something with my name on it, that makes me look like an idiot. Ugh.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fish prints

Today Son #3 and Son #4 are going to be making fish print t-shirts at the Bay ecology class they're taking. Son #4 is game. Son #3, however, thinks it is creepy to kill something, dip it in paint, and press it to your shirt.

"I don't mind killing a fish to eat it, but I don't want to kill something to make art."

I gave him the classic "this is what your teacher has planned, the fish is already dead, you can't make the fish be UNdead by not using it on your t-shirt, it'll be ok," song and dance that we as parents give our kids. But in my heart, I agree with him completely. I wouldn't have planned this, and I feel bad for the fish.

It's funny: since we don't send our kids to school anymore, these moral quandaries have not come up in a long time.

Also funny: just when I think we are becoming bloodless uber-conservatives, something like this happens to remind us of the mile-wide hippie streak in our souls.

Eh, watch us show up this afternoon and they'll be using fake fish...


It was, indeed, actual dead fish. And knowing she had several conscientious objectors in the group, the teacher provided shells, sea grass, and other cool things to print with. So we are now the proud owners of two horrendously ugly t-shirts that my kids don't particularly like and I am afraid to wash with other clothes, but at least Son #3 did not have to disrespect the life of a former fish. All's well that ends well.

Friday, May 05, 2006

A Kennedy + Alcohol= fun for all

Patrick Kennedy says he has no memory of the accident, this week, in which he crashed into a police barrier and stumbled out of his car, claiming to be late for a vote. He also says he did not drink that night. My question is, how does he know?

bumble bee

While the boys were at tae kwon do, I sat outside using someone's wireless internet connection. Got some work done, and was visited by several bumble bees, who love to lick my delectable ankles.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Moussaui verdict

I admit I have gone from "kneejerk Catholic anti-death-penalty loyalist" to "let 'em fry conservative Mom" over the past 20 years, but in this case my biggest concern is that now we have someone the nutballs can use as an excuse to kidnap/torture/behead decent people in a bid for his release. And since our prison system is built on making criminals live longer than they would out on their own, it could go on for many a decade.

Not that they really need an excuse.

With due thanks to the Mamas and the Papas

I read a headline in the Washington Times today, and it made me want to sing.

All the priests are gay
And the nuns are dikes
We’ll elect a bishop
Californians like
If we read the Bible
Wouldn’t be this way
Episcopalian bishops
Are in the news today

Walked into a church
I passed along the way
You know the preacher looked real buff
In an effeminate way
I’d be lying to you
If I didn’t say
He’d make a great bishop
Since all the priests are gay

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

the braces are ON

Son #2 got the lower set of his braces on this morning, so we went for our traditional milkshake. He also told me just how wonderful McDonald's fries are...and then insisted that that did NOT count as a hint. Needless to say, we shared some. I am really enjoying these one-on-one times with Son #2. He and I have not had too much time alone, over the years, so it's nice to just sit and relax with him.

Plus, he likes pepper on his fries. So life is good.

"each of the applicants presented impressive skills and experience"

Of course, when you read that in your rejection letter, it's supposed to make you feel good. But knowing, as I do, that of the 9 of us who were called in for an interview, several didn't even submit clips (thus hinting that they have no writing experience at all, can't even gin up a quick paragraph for application purposes, and at the very least are incapable of following instructions) makes me a little less happy. Oh, well, the hospital job was looking a bit too intense for this year, anyway.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

What would I do with an office, if I had one?

My office is tucked behind the living room couch.

Yes, just like the maximum security inmates always complain, I can span the space with my outstretched arms. I can hear the TVs (all three of them, sometimes) and have no graceful way to avoid conversation, should anyone want to talk at me.

Sometimes I imagine how nice it would be, to have a room with a door. Quiet. With a closet, maybe, for all the unfinished projects.

But then again, I am pretty centrally located. I Hear All. I See All. Perhaps this open door policy is the key to life as Mom.

We'll have to re-arrange the seating on the three ships

Now that they've discovered just how unsanitary telephones are.

Another fringe benefit of my career

Not only do they track mud, miss the toilet seat, demand monotonous food, and spend your fun money on stuff like enrichment classes and toys, they just suck your soul dry. Mazel Tov.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The illegal immigrant boycott today

Today is International Workers' Day. The immigrants are boycotting SCHOOL today, too, to show how much they contribute. I can hear the update now: "All urban schools will be on an early dismissal schedule, because holding classes exclusively in English will make things go much faster."

back up to Mom & Dad's

Today made my first trip up to Mom & Dad's since he went into the hospital. We brought Fractured Prune donuts and helped move a couple of fallen tree limbs off of the property. That marked 8 trips up to see Dad in the past 7 weeks.

I don't regret them, but by the same token I have not done that much driving (or that much sitting and making small talk with my mother) EVER, I think. By dinnertime today I was testy as all hell, and Hubby was understanding about it..."You haven't caught your breath since the middle of March." God, I love that man.

At the end of it, I think I have learned the keys to a successful parental visit:

*Don't let them come down. If I go to them, I have some control over when the visit ends.

*On a related note, and this is a classic, but still noteworthy: don't tell them of any plans until after the event. If I had mentioned our intention to go to the Celtic Festival before we went, she would have insisted she join us, thereby making the mellow day we had an unreachable fantasy. Or whined about NOT being able to join us, in a million phone calls.

*Don't tell them when I'm coming. If they know, Mom will plan a meal, which we will not start eating until approximately 2.5 hours after I arrive. By then I will be exhausted and starving, and frustrated that I am stuck staying at least for the next hour.

*Don't eat. If they're cooking, let the food cook. If they're not, let them know you just ate on the road. Let the boys have a cookie if they like, but DON'T get stuck having a meal...this always ends up dragging on forever, and generally includes at least one surreal "Are you ALLOWED to have asparagus?" moment.

*When she asks what Hubby is doing, look her straight in the eye and say "He's at work." Whether or not it is true, it is the only response that she will not complain about for more than a minute or two.

*Bring the kids who want to go, and the kids who have no other plans, but don't force the boys to skip out on a fun thing to sit at their grandparents' place. Son #1 was thrilled to be with his friend for the day, and I know I could have made him miss out on that if I had wanted to, but why? Seeing grandparents should be fun, not something that ruins your weekend.

*Eat out afterwards. Trips to Momville are less driving, less traffic than trips to DC, and there are no crackheads on the road, but there is no getting around that it is still 3.5 hours in the car and a chunk sitting at my parents' place. By the time we get home, I am exhausted. Dinner at CiCi's is not much more than at home, and there's no work involved. Or complaints about the menu.