Monthly Archives: June 2007

Tired

Something’s wrong with me.  I don’t feel right.  I think I’m coming down with something because my throat’s a little sore, and I’m tired.  Very, very tired.  My neighbor had a bad case of strep last week.  She came over, sat at my picnic table while our children played in the backyard.  I only talked to her.  I didn’t shake hands with her or hug her or anything.  In other words, I did nothing to encourage the passage of germs in any way!  Because for those of you who know me, you might remember that I don’t like to get sick, and I especially fear catching something contagious, no matter how easily treated it is.  There’s a word for that, this fear of germs.  It’s called Mysophobia.  And so I kept my sunglasses on and sort of squinted at her so I wouldn’t have to look at her fully, be susceptible to her sickness.  It was blistering hot out but I didn’t even offer her a cold drink because I didn’t want her strep germs on my glassware.  I only sat across from her, talking.  But maybe I caught something from her, anyway.  Maybe the germs floated out of her mouth while she was talking, caught the breeze, and landed in the air near me as I took a breath, and that’s what’s wrong with me now. 

You’re probably thinking I’m crazy, that I’m a hypochondriac, right?  Well, I can’t help that, this kind of stuff runs in the family. 

And so back to what’s wrong with me…  More than the sore throat, I’m just tired. It’s a deep, debilitating exhaustion.  It’s disturbing.  I want to lie down and go to sleep.  I wanted to lie down and go to sleep immediately after I woke up this morning.  So something is definitely wrong here. 

I googled it, these symptoms.  I might have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome .  The “chronic” part doesn’t fit right now, because this tiredness just started.  Still, maybe it IS chronic fatigue syndrome, but this is just the beginning of it.  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has to start sometime, right?  I mean, it must have a beginning.  For every patient that sees their doctor complaining of overwhelming tiredness, I’m sure the doctor asks, “When did these symptoms start?” And the patient has to think back, and say, “Yesterday… last week… last month…”  My symptoms, I’ll tell the doctor when he asks, started on June 15th.  I remember it pretty clearly because it was less than a week after I turned 39 my birthday.

I stayed up late searching the web, checking on my symptoms, compiling a list of possibilities to discuss with the doctor.  Then I remembered that a few nights ago, I had also stayed up really late, until midnight.  I was cleaning up my blog here, deleting code that made it look strange on the page.  I had to spend hours fixing my posts because I outright ignored the instructions which read “do not cut and paste from Word because it will leave undesirable code in your posts which you will have to spend hours upon hours upon hours deleting.  And then you will still have to frost those cupcakes for tomorrow’s class party because they aren’t going to put frosting and sprinkles on themselves!”  I didn’t think the rule applied to me because I was merely importing my blog from the other site where I used keep it.  I had indeed typed all of my posts in Word before I had published them on the other site, but they looked fine there, so I didn’t believe it would be a problem here.  Until I saw that clearly, it was.  And I had to fix it.  And it took all night.

I should have paid attention to the warning.  You’d think I would have learned my lesson about this kind of technology related stuff when I ignored the warning on the photo site which said I shouldn’t order prints of my digital photos because they would be pixelated at that resolution.  “Whatever,” I thought.  “Pixelate them! I don’t care.  Just print my 500 photos and mail them to me.  I want to put them in the new albums I bought!”  But when the photos arrived, I saw with my own eyes what pixelated meant.  They were awful, and grainy, and… awful, and I couldn’t use them.  And just because I can, I’m going to tell you that there was nothing pixilated about my photos being pixelated!  I had to upload my photos again, at a higher resolution and start over.  The lesson there is twofold.  1) Heed the warnings – they are there for a reason, and 2) Order the prints before you reduce the resolution on your digital photos in an attempt to conserve storage space on your computer. 

So maybe, I thought, I’m not really sick after all.  Maybe this tiredness is simply from staying up too late.  But God, if this is how I feel after staying up until midnight, how much worse will it be when I go to the midnight release party of the final Harry Potter book on July 21st?  I won’t get home from that until 2:00 a.m. I bet!  I can’t take this tiredness.  If I am this exhausted, I won’t be up to reading Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.  I’m afraid some 12 year-old, home from school on summer vacation, will finish the book before me and spoil the ending.  They’ll stay up all night long, because they are younger than me and they don’t have to do anything except maybe feed the dog, and they’ll read all night and all through the next day, and maybe the next (depending on how many pages J.K. Rowling has penned this time), and they’ll finish the book.  Before me.  Their parents won’t stop them either.  They won’t discourage them from devouring the book in one sitting, like they might advise them against eating all of their Halloween candy at one time.  Reading isn’t harmful in the way that too much candy is.  It won’t spoil your dinner. 

And really, who can blame the parents for letting their child do this?  That’s one of the cardinal rules of parenting:  Never discourage a child from READING.  Similar to the way you never wake a sleeping baby.  Or a sleeping tiger, if you know what’s good for you.   Parents around the world, if they’re smart, will seize this opportunity to get their own reading done, or take their own much needed nap, while their child is tucked away in their room, deep and far away inside the world of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with Harry and his friends. 

I just know the news stations will be waiting to report on the first person to finish reading the book, the way they report on the first baby born in a new year.  They’ll interview the child on television, show them on the morning talk shows!  The child will give their impression of the book, how much they liked it or didn’t, and inadvertently let slip who dies.  I don’t want to know!  I want to discover it myself.  So I’m vowing now to unplug the T.V. and I won’t check Google reader for all the feeds I subscribe to; I’ll take few days off from reading my favorite blogs.  I’ll avoid the newspapers too.  Maybe I’ll even get to bed a little bit earlier.  Then again, I probably won’t.  I’ll probably be back on-line, frantically looking up information on eye-strain and what kind of medication will help treat Harry Potter withdrawal.

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Mary, Mary, My Garden ROCKS!

Mary, Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells?

Do you have any plants all in a row?  If you do, I envy you!  Imagine a nice large garden, full of ripe tomatoes on the vine, zucchinis on the ground, beans and peppers, eggplant and cucumbers, lettuce, and onions, carrots and pumpkins.  Do you have an image in your mind?  If you’re really good at this, you might even be able to smell the tomatoes and the peppers, the dirt, the sun.  But let me tell you, that’s NOT my garden you’re envisioning.  Mine is pretty much void of life save for some bugs and worms and weeds.  Things I didn’t even plant there. The worms and insects must be peeking out of the ground and attracting the birds.  Because something is attracting the birds, and I can assure you, it’s not the fruits and vegetables.  Because there aren’t any fruits or vegetables growing in my garden.

It’s not for lack of trying, either.  A month ago my son and I planted an abundance of seeds in the little plot of dirt in our backyard that we like to call a garden.  If everything we planted grew, we could host a Thanksgiving Dinner that would rival the one thrown by the Pilgrims and the Indians way back when.  But nothing grows back there.  Okay, that’s not exactly true.  We’ve got one green bean plant poking out of the ground (out of the 20 we planted), and some grass.

And before you get all excited, let me say that no, it’s not the kind of grass that you might like to smoke!  It’s the kind that grows on lawns.  Only, not my lawn.  My lawn grows only clover.  And dandelions.  And some other kind of weed that I don’t know the name of.  But my garden!  Now THAT thing grows grass.  It’s almost… lush.  With a bit more care it could be fit for a golf course.  I dig it up and it just grows back.  It’s smart grass too. I bet you didn’t even know that grass had intelligence.  Somehow, it knows not to cross the line in the ground, the one separating the “garden” from the yard.  The line is made of chicken wire to keep the rabbits out of the garden so they don’t eat the vegetables grass.

Also, my garden grows rocks!  Lots and lots of rocks.  I didn’t plant them, but they grow there, in the same abundance that the clover, which I didn’t plant in my yard, grows.  Last spring, as we tilled the soil to ready the garden for planting, we kept hitting rocks.  My rudimentary knowledge of gardening told me that plant roots don’t like to be impeded by rocks, so every time I hit a rock, I dug it up and tossed it into a bucket.  Twice, I filled a 5 gallon bucket to the brim with rocks.

For all of our efforts, we had a poor yield last year.  This spring, I thought I’d try again.  I gathered the hoe and a rake and some shovels from the shed and went out to the garden to once again dig up the field of grass that had made a home there.  I dug up the grass to find an under layer of worms, grubs, strange crawly insects, and… rocks.  Again, the rocks.  They seem to be the best crop growing because this time I filled up the 5-gallon bucket not twice, but 3 times!

I had enough rocks that I used them all to line the flower beds in front of the house with.  Next year, I expect I’ll have enough to build a wall.  What’s the line from that poem?  Good fences make good neighbors?  A rock fence, then, that’s what I’ll build!

We did grow a carrot in the garden last year.  I didn’t know we’d grown a carrot considering that no leafy green shoot ever appeared above ground to indicate there was a carrot below ground.  But believe it or not, we dug up the carrot this spring!  At first, I didn’t know what it was.  I was hacking away at the ground with my hoe, digging up the grass and rocks when I noticed an orange pulpy mass in the ground.  I stepped back in horror, certain I’d hit a nest of rabbits and that I was looking at the remains of one.  Why it would be orange, instead of red, was beyond, me.  “What’s that?” I asked my husband as I pointed, sick feeling, at the orange glob on the ground.  “I don’t know,” he said.  “Dig it up and find out!”  “Uh, Uh, not me.  I’m not digging it up.  I think it’s an animal.  Maybe a rabbit.  Remember how the rabbits made a nest in the ground under our picnic table last year?  What if they did that in our garden and I’ve just creamed one? “  My husband took the shovel and dug. “Go!  Go into the house!  Quickly now!” I urged my son, not wanting him to see how his mother had probably just killed a nest of rabbits.  I came back out and averted my eyes.  My husband bent down, reached into the ground, stood up.  “Look!” he said, extending his hand in offering.  “It’s a carrot!”

A carrot?  A carrot?!  How could there be a carrot in the ground?  “The carrots didn’t grow last year!” I argued.  But there it was, the proof.  I took it from him, held it in my palm and inspected it.  It was a carrot.  The top was sheared off and a bit pulpy, from where I’d been hacking at it.  I shrugged, tossed it into the bucket with the rocks.

“We should eat that,” my husband said.

“What?  I’m not eating that,” I replied.  “It’s been in the ground for a whole entire year!”

“I’m going to clean it off and eat it,” he said. 

“No, you’re not!” I said.

But later, I was in the kitchen making dinner.  My husband walked in with the carrot and washed it off.  He took a bite, and announced, “It doesn’t have much taste.  It doesn’t really have any taste.  If I die,” he added, “make sure to tell them I ate this carrot”.

“Of course it doesn’t have any taste!” I retorted.  “It’s a year old!  I wouldn’t eat anything that’s been in the ground like that for an entire year!  That’s disgusting!  And if you die, it’s your own fault!  They say you shouldn’t even eat leftovers that are more than 3 days old.  But obviously, you don’t care.  You’ll eat anything!”  Then I added, “If you don’t die, but if you get really sick later, I don’t want to hear about it.  Don’t come complaining to me.”

By some miracle, he didn’t die.  He didn’t even get the slightest bit sick.  Not even a touch of heartburn!  So he’s still around.  He waters our “garden” for me every evening.  He updates me with garden reports:  “You need to turn the soil where you planted the green beans,” he says.  “The beans didn’t grow but you’ve got grass starting to shoot up there.  And you might want to put out a scarecrow.  There’s lots of birds in there.”

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They say it’s your birthday, it’s my birthday too!

Today is my birthday. I’m 39, ahem, I mean I’m, uh, a late thirty-something. A week or two ago I was happy, unbothered, still one year less old than I am today. It was an age I felt was still fully entrenched in the 30s. But now, I suddenly feel like the only part of me that is left in the 30s are my fingertips, and they are hanging on to the edge of a cliff for dear life.  The rest of my body is dangling over the side, ready to drop into the 40s.  I hope there’s a trampoline down there to break my fall.

My mother used to be unhappy about her “nine” birthday’s: 29, 39, 49. They were an ordeal she wasn’t thrilled about in the least. She didn’t want to talk about it, didn’t want to acknowledge it was her birthday on those particular years. As a child, I never understood that. “But it’s your birthday! You should be happy! You get PRESENTS! And what can be better than that?” I wondered.

I didn’t, in fact, understand that feeling, that… unease, at all until just a few days ago.  The reality that “Lordy! Lordy! Look Who’s 40!” signs and “Over the Hill” birthday cards will probably be delivered in droves next year just to mock me. That undeniable fact that I am getting… older. I guess I’m one of those women that Stacy and Clinton have rules for on What Not to Wear… “No mini skirts if you’re over 35, no low-rise jeans,” etc…  “Women in their late 30s can dress stylishly,” they shout. They advise that we should NOT look like we are trying to be a teenager again. And we don’t have to look like we are wearing our grandmother’s clothes, either.  But the truth is, women in their late 30s aren’t getting carded at the liquor store anymore. And sometimes, we wish we were.

With all that, I suppose I’m finally starting to get it, the way my mother felt about getting older. I think I now understand why my mother never actually turned 50.  She stayed 49 for 5 years or more, until my father agreed she could retire, at age 54. And I believe that’s where she remains. She’ll be stuck forever in her mid-fifties, or at least until she can start to collect social security, sometime in her 60s.

My father, on the other hand, never appeared to mind getting older. Mostly, I think, because he enjoys a bargain. He actually brags about getting that senior citizen discount on his breakfast at McDonalds.

Since my birthday fell on a Monday this year (the worst of all workdays, I believe), my husband decided we should celebrate it this weekend when we’d have more free time. He asked what I wanted to do for my birthday dinner, which he’d planned to have on Saturday night. ” Pizza!” I said. “My favorite pizza. Pick one of those up, and I’d like cake and chocolate ice cream. That’s all.”

It seemed like a simple enough request. Only, my husband doesn’t care for my favorite pizza that much. It’s not that the pizza tastes bad or anything. In fact, I heard that a few years ago when Oprah asked guests to name some of their favorite things, this particular pizza even got a mention on her show! So obviously, there are lots of people who like it. And it’s not that my husband doesn’t LIKE it, so much as he doesn’t think it’s “as great as all that,” if you know what I mean. So he mostly, I believe, doesn’t want to eat it on principle. Because I like it, because 99% of my family LOVES it and have declared it the BEST PIZZA EVER, he wants to NOT eat it, to show how “not great” he thinks it is. To say “It’s not all that you guys!” It’s only “so-so” in his opinion. He’s eaten better pizza, he likes to remind me. And he picked my birthday dinner to stage this protest.

He came home with a small box of pizza, a salad container balanced on top. I eyed the pizza box. “What size is THAT?” I asked (perhaps a bit accusatory). “A medium,” he replied. “What’s WRONG with you?” I asked (definitely accusatory). “Nothing!” he replied, (rather defensively, I might add). “I told you, I don’t like this pizza that much. This pizza is all yours; you can eat the entire thing. I’m not going to have any of it. I’m having this salad, and you can have some of the salad too.” “I don’t WANT salad,” I said. I thought, but didn’t say, “I don’t want your stinkin’ salad!” It’s my birthday! Who wants to eat SALAD on their birthday?” I wanted a LARGE pizza. I wanted leftovers that I could eat cold, for breakfast the next day. Maybe even for lunch too, if there was any left after I was done with breakfast.

He looked in the box as I pulled out a slice. “Uh, Uh!” I said. “You said you don’t like this pizza. You said you didn’t want any, so you can’t have any.” I’ll chop your fingers off if you try to take a piece, I thought. When I looked at the carry out menu attached to the top of the box, I discovered that a medium sized pizza feeds 2 to 3 people. So I ate half the pizza for dinner. I ate the remaining half for lunch the next day.

I had envisioned a casual birthday dinner, everyone enjoying their pizza. I had not envisioned my husband staging his silent protest by NOT eating any of my BIRTHDAY PIZZA. I hadn’t imagined I’d be watching him disdain my pizza while he ate salad and some leftover spaghetti that he found in the fridge. And then, as if to add insult to injury, he told me “Oh! I didn’t bake you a cake yet! But we have preschool graduation cake left over. We’ll just have that for your birthday.” “Whatever!” I muttered, through clenched teeth as I swallowed my pizza. “What?!” he asked, indignant. “We have half a graduation cake left ! We don’t need another cake. We’ll end up throwing out half a cake if I bake a cake. Besides, I didn’t even get to the store to buy ice cream yet anyway.”

I scowled at him. “What?!” he asked, again. “Why are you so mad? If it’s such a big deal I’ll make you a cake. Like I said, we’ll end up throwing a lot of cake out that we don’t eat, but fine. I’ll make you one!” “No,” I lied, “I don’t want one now. So never mind, just forget it.” He argued back “No! I’ll make one. I’ll make you a cake.” Again, I said, enunciating each and every syllable as clearly as I could “I . Don’t.  Want.  One!” “Don’t you understand? It’s not about the cake. I don’t need a cake. Like you said, we have cake. It’s the principle of the thing! You don’t “like” my favorite pizza enough to eat it on my birthday, but if someone invited us to dinner and that’s what they were serving, you’d eat it there. I’ve seen you do it! You claim I don’t need a birthday cake because we have left over graduation cake we can eat. I suppose,” I continued, “if you bought me any presents, you aren’t going to bother to wrap them because I’ll just tear off the wrapping paper and it will get thrown out, which would be a waste of your time and a waste of paper too, right?” I went upstairs contemplating ways to mess with his birthday. Burn the food, maybe. Take a trip out of town for work…

Sunday dawned and I heard Deep Blue Something’s song, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, on the radio. For the longest time I thought the song was about a guy and a girl who ate breakfast at Tiffany’s. You know, the jewelry store? The one where the jewelry comes nestled in a little blue box tied with a white ribbon? I might mention here as well, that it’s one of my favorite stores. You know, just in the off chance that you want to send me a belated birthday gift… But anyway, even with the line “I think I remember the film”,  I still considered it must be a song about a film about a guy and girl who ate their breakfast there. I pondered the song a fair deal when it was first released. How could they eat inside the jewelry store? They don’t serve food there. I don’t believe you’re even allowed to bring food in there. Maybe, I thought, this guy and girl, maybe they work at the jewelry store and they share a coffee and danish each morning before they open the doors! That’s why they can do it. They aren’t customers carrying their breakfast into the store, they work there! They eat it in a back room, or an office, or something, where nobody can see them.

Eventually, my doubts grew, and I got around to reading the book. In case you didn’t know, Truman Capote wrote it, and it’s not about eating danish or donuts in the jewelry store at all. It’s about Holly Golightly, a young socialite prostitute, living in NYC. Tiffany’s is where finds solace, and a feeling of serenity to calm her anxieties and fears (maybe she wasn’t actually looking at the price tags?). A short time after the book was published, the movie version came out, starring Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. In the opening sequence she’s looking into a Tiffany’s display window. A scene which reminds me of myself, the way I’m often paging through the store’s catalog. I circle things I’d like to have, if I had the money, and I leave the open catalogs out in strategic places for my husband to find. Little “Blue Box Hints” I think of them.  Hints which, if he pays attention, will provide him with an on-going list of things he could buy me to celebrate the various occasions in life, such as my birthday.

In the end, even though I got the wrong sized pizza, I did manage to eat every last piece of it myself. I also got a cake! It was all chocolate and apology, covered in white frosting with yellow writing, and it came with a half- gallon of my favorite chocolate ice cream. And oh yeah, lest I forget, I got a present. A pair of silver earrings that came wrapped in a little blue box tied with a white ribbon.  I’m wearing them now.

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Things Heard at (and before and after) a Preschool Graduation

My son, I’ll call him Surly, since that’s what he’s been the past week or so, graduated from preschool last night. Yes, that’s right. Preschool. Graduation. Replete with a ceremony, caps, and gowns. And tassels. Let’s not forget the tassels, because they cost $9 if you wanted to keep them. And of course every kid wants to keep their tassel, right?

They didn’t do this when I was kid. Back then, you got one graduation, when you finished high school. And then another, if you finished college. And if you went on to graduate school, well, by then you were so sick and tired of sitting through graduation ceremonies that you didn’t even bother to attend yours. That’s what I did, anyway, I had them send me my diploma in the mail.

But now, apparently, the graduation ceremonies stack up something like this: Preschool, Kindergarten, 5th grade, 8th grade, 12th grade, college. Even college graduations have changed over the years. It used to be one huge ceremony, everyone together, and it took 4 hours or more. But now it seems that colleges and universities trend toward multiple graduations based upon majors. Smaller ceremonies are held for the History department, those majoring in English, sociology, nursing, etc… My friend’s daughter just graduated from college a few weeks ago with a double major. She had to hone her running skills, especially her speed and endurance, to get across the sprawling university campus once one ceremony ended, in order to attend the other. I’m happy to report that she made it in the nick of time.

But let’s get back to that preschool graduation, shall we? The ceremony was… cute. Each child marched out in their graduation garb, climbed a small stage and took hold of a microphone to recite why they love their mommy and daddy. Most of the responses were similar, and evoked lots of “Aws!” from the audience: “I love my mommy and daddy because they take care of me”. “I love my mommy and daddy because they are nice to me”. “I love my mommy and daddy because they love me”. Those were the unsurly children (yes, I know “unsurly” is not a real word).

Then came a few, for lack of a better term, “material” kids: “I love my mommy and daddy because they buy me things.” Their speeches got more specific: “I love my mommy and daddy because they buy me TOYS”. And then, the child who might have been urged to behave with a bit of bribery: “I love my mommy and daddy because they agreed to buy me The Shrek Game!”

One little girl appeared to be a natural at public speaking. She took the stage with the presence of an international leader, gripped the microphone in both hands, looked the audience in the eyes, confidently announced why she loved her parents, then paused to get the audience’s reaction before stepping down. “Follow me,” she seemed to say to her classmates. “THAT’S how it’s done, now. Got it?” she seemed to imply.

Another little boy reminded me a bit of Cindy Brady, that time she appeared on a television quiz show but became camera shy and mute when the red recording light turned on. (Remember her ego? Remember how big her head got in that episode? Good, picture that! You’ll need the image later.) Anyway, the little boy climbed the stage with giant strides of confidence and smile so bright it rivaled the sun. He tapped the microphone a few times. He opened his mouth in what was sure to be the start of a big pronouncement. I mean, he’d checked to be sure the microphone was working, after all! But no words came out. He closed his mouth. Opened it. Again, nothing. And once more, while the audience, full of parents and grandparents, siblings and cousins, waited in anticipation; patient; now eager. Some even holding their breath, not wanting to miss a single word he was about to say. But he couldn’t muster a single syllable, not a solitary utterance. He stepped down, smiling still, and took his seat among his classmates. The audience, naturally, applauded. And a congratulatory cake was still served in the end, just like it was in The Brady Bunch.

Then came my son’s turn to speak. His cap was askew, falling from his head, slipping too far forward and too far back. At one point he even cried out in the middle of the ceremony, “Miss JESSICA!  My hat!” It simply didn’t fit very well; it was too small for him. Had his head grown suddenly? He climbed the stage. He took the microphone in hand and enunciated “I love my mommy and daddy because they play with me SOMETIMES!” Sometimes?!? What does that mean? I wondered?“Sometimes?!!” My husband asked, aloud, indignant. “Sometimes???” My mother-in-law leaned over, and questioned in my ear. “Sometimes?!?” I could hear the other parents and grandparents thinking, eyebrows arched, dark and curious looks shooting my way.

The music started then, at first a low hum. Were the other parents HUMMING? It got gradually louder; it was all I could hear. I almost started singing along:

My son turned ten just the other day.
He said, “Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let’s play.
Can you teach me to throw?”  I said, “Not today, 
I got a lot to do.” He said, “That’s ok…” 

until I realized that Harry Chapin’s famous song was playing only in my head, and another child had taken the stage.

This morning I couldn’t help it. I needed clarification. I needed to understand. I looked “sometimes” up in the dictionary. It means “on some occasions; being so only at times or to some extent”; and the most damning “that cannot be depended on regarding affections or loyalties.” The last one bothered me. A lot. And that song was playing again. So I decided to go right to the horse’s mouth. I asked my son, “Last night at graduation you said “I love my mommy and daddy because we play with you sometimes. What did you mean, sometimes?” and he said “I mean they play with me a lot, if they can, if I want them to.” “Ah ha!” I thought, hints of Surly resurfacing, that “If I want them to…” Because I think that’s key here. Surly has been plain, well, SURLY the past week. Asking us to play with him, then 10 seconds later telling us “never mind, go away, get out, leave him alone, he doesn’t WANT to play.” He was happy when he saw the graduation cake I’d made him and even happier when I let him eat a piece before dinner, before graduation itself. But just as quickly he was ill-tempered, frowning, complaining that I “hadn’t given him a graduation card, or a present!”. I reminded him of the slip-n-slide “Splash Bomb” pool I’d gotten him two weeks prior, an “early” graduation gift. But Surly said “You can’t just get ONE present for your graduation!” I explained how I’d lovingly prepared his favorite meal for him, made him a special cake (which by the way he dubbed “THE BEST CAKE EVER”), and those were part of his present too. Still, he remained surly on the drive to the ceremony. I told him that maybe he should be quiet for a little while, and learn to appreciate what he has, not complain about what he doesn’t have. Surly crossed his arms over his chest and rode the rest of the way, scowling, shooting dirty looks at the back of my head. Later, of course, when he was standing on stage and looking so adorable and grown up and happy, I felt bad that I’d let him push my buttons, that I’d been cross with him.

This morning, Surly (after he’d explained what he meant by “sometimes”) was looking at the photos I’d taken during the graduation. Upon seeing a photo of himself with his best friend (and love of his life), Sydney, he said, “Sydney! Why is Sydney so popular? Actually, I’m popular too! Me and Sydney are like the most popular kids at school!” And that’s where Cindy Brady’s ego comes back into play. Remember how big her ego was? How big her head got? I think that’s why my son’s graduation cap had gotten too small for him. This surly ego, like that cap, doesn’t fit him either. Still, he graduated!

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Rocks and Cheese

I got a new computer at work.  It’s a laptop. Which is very convenient because a) I needed a new computer, and b) I can take it with me when I go places.

Apparently that’s not true of laptops, at least not mine.

The carrying case alone, even when completely empty, is heavy enough to suggest that it might be filled with rocks. Seriously, I had to double check when I picked it up to slip my laptop into it the first time.

It reminds me of a spring evening not too long ago when I put on one of my jackets to take a walk outside. The jacket felt like it weighed a ton. I mean, talk about carrying a load on your shoulders! It was so bothersome that I remarked to my husband that I didn’t remember the jacket feeling so heavy when I’d last worn it. It felt like there had to be something weighing it down. Maybe dumbbells, or cannonballs. And so I checked the pockets only to discover that they were filled with rocks! My son, as it turned out, had been collecting rocks back in the fall and had been saving them in the pockets of my jacket! The rocks had spent a nice warm couple of seasons my pockets, completely forgotten about.

Which reminds me that perhaps I ought to warn you about something else. If you pack your lunch and have a reusable lunch sack, take notice of what you pack and compare it to what you actually eat. Use a checklist perhaps:

Sandwich…check
Apple… check
Yogurt… check

If I’d thought to do that I might not have forgotten the chunk of cheese, the chunk of Applewood Smoked Gouda Cheese, specifically, that I’d packed for lunch one day last week, yet failed to eat. Forgotten about, in fact, until I opened my lunch sack to pack another lunch yesterday, more than a week later. I suppose that’s better than forgetting about it for an entire season. What, with summer approaching and all. But please, for your own sake, take my advice, and DON’T DO THAT! I’m not trying to make your life more difficult, or burden you with this suggestion. I’m not. I’m just trying to help. Really.

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Blinded by the Light

So here’s a tip… If you wear daily disposable contact lenses (the kind you wear only once, then throw away), and are close to running out of them, ORDER MORE NOW!!! Don’t wait, like I did, until you have only 5 sets of lenses left. Because, for those of you unfamiliar with daily disposable contact lenses, having only 5 pairs left means that I have only 5 days of vision left. And then I’m blind. At least to anything farther away than the tip of my nose.

What’s that saying? Guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses? Really, though, it’s not that. I’m married, so I’m not exactly looking for guys to make passes at me. It’s that I’ve always hated wearing glasses. Vanity is only part of it. The main reason is that they get so dirty, so fast. I think every pair of glasses I’ve ever owned were nothing more than dust and fingerprint magnets. I could clean them until the lenses were nearly invisible and would fool a bird, if one was bent on flying directly at my eyes. Meaning, a bird wouldn’t even notice the sparkly clear lenses until they hit them beak first, similar to the way they sometimes fly into the shiny clean glass on a sliding patio door. Like in the Windex commercials. But truly, not 2 seconds after I put on my freshly cleaned glasses, they are covered in dusty fingerprints, even though nobody has touched them! And I have to clean them again. And again. All day long. It’s enough to drive me insane, so I try to avoid wearing them at all. And I stick with my contact lenses.

When I realized I had hardly any left (and what was I doing anyway, that I hadn’t noticed this earlier?), I went and ordered more, and was informed by the smiling technician at the eye place, that it would take 7 to 10 business days for my new contact lenses to come in. “But I only have 5 days of lenses left!” I cried, to no avail.

And so I’m left to ration my remaining 5 pairs of lenses over the coming days. Each day, until my new lenses come in, I have to decide if the day is special enough to spend my contacts on, or if I should settle for my glasses.

I feel a bit like the character Elaine Bennis in the “Spongeworthy” episode of Seinfeld where she where she was rationing her supply of birth control sponges because they’d been taken off the market and she couldn’t buy any more. Each time she was with a man she’d debate whether he was Spongeworthy or not. My internal debate runs through a decisional flow chart in my mind and goes something like this: “What’s the weather like outside?; Am I running today?; Will I be out in public?” (that vanity thing again). If it’s sunny, I most assuredly want to wear my contact lenses so that I can wear my sunglasses. Because if I don’t wear sunglasses when it’s sunny out, I’m literally, blinded by the light. I believe the technical term is photophobia .  I think (and hope) the condition is caused, in my case, by nothing more than years of being a contact lens wearer and not by some horrible undiagnosed eye disease. I’ve mentioned it to my eye care professional, who has been decidedly unconcerned about it. Still, I sometimes wonder…

If it is sunny and I opt to wear my glasses, then I have to don a pair of sunglasses as well. Over my glasses. I’ve never invested in any kind of clip-on sunglasses, because I never actually wear my glasses, so when I need them, I’m stuck wearing two pairs of glasses at once, and looking like a complete “eight-eyes” dork. If I’m going running, then I need to wear my contacts to avoid that annoying problem of “sweaty glasses sliding down your nose with every step you take” (if it’s sunny out, I wear a visor to shield my eyes). If I’m going out in public, as previously stated, I’m loathe to wear them.

If I’m not running, or if it’s cloudy out, I can get away with wearing my glasses alone. That was the situation yesterday. Even though I was going out in public, (I had to go to work, after all) it was cloudy and I wasn’t running. I’d evaluated things and decided it was best to save my contacts and wear my glasses. Two out of the three points being in my glasses’ favor.

I got ready for work, I cleaned my glasses (which instantly got covered in fingerprints and dust), I put them on, and got in the car to drive to work. All was fine until I got to the tunnel that I have to drive through each day. You know how tunnels are. They are cut through mountains, or under bodies of water, neither of which let in much in the way of natural light. And this tunnel, like most, is pretty dark. Dark enough inside that when you are wearing sunglasses, you have to remove them so you aren’t blinded by the darkness (unless you’re Corey Hart, who obviously doesn’t have a problem with that). And that’s what I did. Forgetting that I was wearing my eyeglasses, because I never wear them, I ripped them off my face and tossed them to the seat, thinking they were my sunglasses, and I’d put them back on once I came out of the tunnel on the other side. Only that’s when I realized that I couldn’t see! Not a thing past the tip of my nose. Because I’d tossed my eye glasses, not my sunglasses, onto the seat! I groped the seat madly, like I’d suddenly been transformed into a teenage boy who’d found himself  in a cramped closest with the girl of his dreams and his one and only chance to cop a feel. I guess in reality it only took a few seconds (although it felt much longer) for my hands to brush the ear piece, my fingertips to spot the lenses, and I was able to put my glasses back on. I could see again, even with the annoying fingerprints. Then I emerged from the tunnel into what can only be interpreted as a cruel joke from on high: the rain had stopped, the clouds had parted, and the sun was shining brightly. And then I found myself blinded by the light

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Ah, ha, ha, ha, Staying alive!

In case anybody’s been wondering… I’m still here. I’m alive! My running partner FAILED on her mission to kill me. That’s right. We ran this morning and all the while I had that Kate Bush song going through my head…

And if I only could,
I’d make a deal with God,
And I’d get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill…”

But then as we approached that hill and she failed to turn, I figured she was waiting to kill me on the backside. I could actually hear the conversation in my head. “I don’t know officer,” she was saying, “we’d been running for about an hour when we started running up this hill, and then she just… dropped dead.”

Later, as we approached the hill on the way back she said “Keep straight.” Keep straight? think I actually stopped in my tracks, and with a quizzical look said, “What? Are you sure? You don’t want to do the hill?” And she claimed she was, get this, “tired!”

And of course, I don’t know about you, but I really wasn’t eager to die today anyway (unlike the suicidal squirrel and rabbit that darted in front of my car as I was driving to meet my running partner this morning), so I surely wasn’t going to argue with her

I looked at her again just to be certain, and kept going straight. I think I even had a little extra spring in my step, too! Relief will do that to you. In retrospect, I don’t think that my running partner was truly tired. In fact, I’m pretty certain that she and my husband knew that I was onto them. I wonder if they actually read my blog? I suspect they might, because it’s only now, that the run is over that I recalled this question that my husband asked me, right as I was drifting off to dreamland last night: He said “What makes you think I’d SPLIT the money with her?” At least, I think that’s what I heard.

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