Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Yikes!

So, the thing I hate is when I sit down and pay all my bills and then I subtract the number of dollars I just wrote checks for from the amount of dollars I have in the bank and the difference between the two numbers turns out to be 36. That's right. I have $36 at my disposal for the month of June.

This hasn't happened to me since I was 25, and it's debatable whether it should have happened then. But it did. And it has again. Here's a little formula to illustrate:

Odessa's hospital bills+car insurance+mortgage+2 plane tickets to my grandmother's 100th birthday party+final month of daycare+all the usual bills= a sum greater than I had anticipated.

So, this month I'm needing to observe some Depression-era economy. It's a good thing I didn't buy those $575 sheets, eh?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Textiles of the Rich and Famous

I love textiles, which is funny because I don't necessarily love clothes. Clothes come with some burdensome obligations:

1. A clothes item has to fit, it has to be season-appropriate, the color has to be flattering, etc.
2. It has to satisfy a multitude of other fashion criteria, many of which are complicated and extremely nuanced.
3. Clothes have to fit the occasion, so you need a bunch of different sorts of clothes.
5. If you like a clothes item and it looks good on you, you can't just wear it every single day because people think that's weird.

I know some of you are going to disagree with me about this, but clothes are not the topic of this post.

TEXTILES, unlike clothes, are beautiful, but they don't need to be worn, and therefore can just be admired without that admiration being conflated with the person whose head is poking out of one end of them.

So, I love sheets and curtains and quilts and rugs. And I just found the website for John Robshaw Textiles, wherein they sell all sorts of beautiful things made out of cloth.

And I thought to myself, "I could really use a new set of sheets..." So I found some that I liked, and went to see how much these sheets cost. And you guys.


I love textiles, but like Virginia always says, I nearly died.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Suprise Development!

Re: My Neighbors

Jeebus, you guys, I think my boy neighbors have moved secretly in the night! Well, they didn't have any furniture, so there wasn't much stuff to move, but they've disappeared and now there's just a FOR RENT sign in the yard of the house next door.


So no more midnight eavesdropping for me about which Rush album is better: Hemispheres or Moving Pictures.

Well, I can't say I'll miss them, but their tenancy was instructive.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Over the past couple of months, I've been learning a lot about boys. Not the sort of boys who are children, but the sort who are theoretically full grown men with drivers licenses and Bachelor's degrees and who make their own dietary decisions. The ones I've been learning about live next door to me.

I have a very intimate relationship with my neighbors, not because I know them or ever talk to them or would even recognize some of them if they ran over my heel with a grocery cart at Publix. I don't even know how many of them there are, partly because that number seems to be constantly in flux. However, my bedroom window is 20 feet from their back door, and they spend a lot of time between the hours of 11 PM and 3 AM smoking cigarettes and arguing right next to my face.

Here are the facts: between 3-6 white guys with intentionally mussed hairdos, $20,000 cars and not even a stick of furniture practice their bass guitars and play beer pong at the house next to mine. They all recently graduated from a fancy private college and moved here because they want their Prog Rock band to get big and make them rock stars with a big bus and some groupies. Hence, they moved to the one city in the southeast so supersaturated with musicians as to render it next to impossible that their Pink Floyd covers will ever be noticed by anyone, ever. But I'm not here to judge.

What I'm here to tell you is that it is a complete myth that girls are more dramatic and unreasonable than boys. Boys are JUST as dramatic and unreasonable, and also stupider.

Exhibit A: Last week there was a situation in which Jake was going out of town and Cody had evidently been assigned to take his shift for him at whatever place they work. Jake was in the driveway at 2 AM getting ready to leave in his Jeep Wrangler, and Cody was in the process of telling him he didn't actually want to take his shift. Jake 's strategy for dealing with this was the 22-year-old-boy equivalent to plugging his ears and shouting "LALALALALALALA-I-CAN'T-HEAR-YOU-LALALA!!!" Finally, after a lot of door slamming and the word "bullshit" being bandied about, Cody stood in the driveway as Jake started the car and announced, "If you leave, you're dead to me."

He actually said that. (Also, if you're interested, Jake left anyway.)

Exhibit B: For a while, my neighbors were wont to practice their Prog Rock at 2 AM. It would start with one of them playing bass really quietly and then less quietly, and then another one of them would come home and start in on the guitar, and that's when I turned on my bedroom light because the guitar is nothing if not the prelude to synthesizer futzing, which is almost certainly a harbinger of the dreaded drum solo.

Once I went over there at 1 AM in my pj's, right after someone started futzing around with the synthesizer. Before I could even knock, a skinny guy with Art Garfunkle hair yanked the door open, stepped out, and pulled it shut behind him. He looked terrified.

"I didn't do it," he said.

Me: Do what?
Him: It wasn't me playing bass.
Me: How did you know I was coming?
Him: I heard your dog (Ruby's collar, I guess.)
Me: You heard my dog?
Him: They weren't playing that loud. I told them to stop, though. I told them you'd come over here.
Me: I don't care who is doing it, I'd just like whoever it is to stop.
Him: Sure. Definitely. Absolutely. I'll tell them.
Me: Do you mind if I tell them myself?
Him: Absolutely, sure. You know it wasn't me, though, right? I'm feeling kind of under the weather....

So I walked into their kitchen and saw all the boys with their hair and amps and vintage guitars, and told them that there was a baby sleeping next door, and to please keep it down and practice earlier, etc. And they all stood there like Urban Outfitters mannequins (except their mouths were open) and then they mumbled some stuff about how they didn't know what time it was, how it was somebody else's idea, etc.

Okay, so I guess I am here to judge:

I didn't know boys were so lame.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ye Olde Soda Shoppe

I'm a 32-year-old woman with an absentee husband and a toddler, and here's the thing: I never in a million years thought I would again have so much in common with the girlfriend of a hands-y 18-year-old fraternity pledge, but there you have it. The world works in mysterious ways.

So, until Odessa was 6 months old, the only thing she ate or drank was milk, and the place she got that milk was from me. It was convenient, cost effective and cuddly. Back when she was toothless and didn't have any opinions or hand-eye coordination, I would sometimes consider the day when I would stop nursing her, and a little part of the back of my brain would burst into tears and run out of the room.

In fact, back in the toothless days, I would think a lot about this movie I watched in a Women's Studies class in college called Breasts: A Documentary, wherein a bunch of topless ladies from the 1990's sit around in a studio and talk about how they feel about their boobs. I recalled a certain harried looking lady in her mid-30's with a 2 year old in a tie-dyed onesie nursing rather distractedly at her bosom. She looked so beaten down. At one point she said, "I love my baby, but I want my body back." Nine months ago I remembered that woman and thought, "what a wuss." Now, I'm all, "Amen, sister."

The difference between nursing an infant and nursing a toddler has something to do with the biting and something to do with the pulling my shirt up in public and some other thing to do with the fact that she stares at my chest all the time and chants "momomomomomomo," which I could choose to interpret as "mama," but I'm not fooled. She's saying "More more more more." I literally can't sit down with her in my lap anymore without her little chubby hand shooting up my shirt and her sweet, snaggletoothed little mouth grinning at me, droning "momomomomomo." I feel like an old timey soda machine and she's a cute little soda jerk with no personal boundaries.

A couple of weeks ago, when I went to Alaska, I knew I was going to be gone for a week, and wasn't sure the old milk supply would hold out. So before I left, I went into Odessa's room and woke her up to nurse her for what I thought might be the last time. And that was such a strange and sad feeling, because I've loved breastfeeding my little girl, and I'm so grateful that we've been able to do that for a whole year. But I came back from Alaska, and she was fine and was totally psyched to see my boobs. And somehow she had also developed the strength of a four mule team.

So, I'm not sure what to do. A friend of mine says she nursed so long that she actually remembers the sensation of breastfeeding (which means she nursed until she was at least 3). My mom cut me off on my first birthday ("Happy Birthday, Honeybunch!). My friend and I are both healthy and relatively well-adjusted people, so it's kind of up to me at this point. Odessa's going to be fine.

But boy is she going to be pissed the day I decide to close down ye olde soda shoppe.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Brain Power

This just needs to be said: I've never been very bright.

No, it's true; I'm not asking you to argue with me. I was one of those kids for whom elementary school teachers bust out the term "emotional intelligence" during parent-teacher conferences because they needed to say something nice before they told my mom I was spacey and generally unmotivated. Let's take a look at the data, shall we?

1. I was the last kid in my kindergarten class to count to 100 (although [and here I begin making excuses for myself] in my defense, the teacher did keep telling me to count as high as I could, which I interpreted to mean "as high as you feel like counting," which I think you'll agree are two different things).

2. I had to take Reading instead of Latin in 8th grade for my Language Arts credit. I was the only kid in there not specifically diagnosed with some condition on the autism spectrum. As my sister likes to say, "Yeah, it was you and a bunch of mouth-breathers."

3. In 6th grade I failed Math II partly because I was bad at math and partly because I kept factoring the number of the problem into the actual equation I was supposed to be solving.

In summary, the problem with me is not that I'm stupid. The problem with me is I'm inattentive and I don't really give a care about getting things right unless I'm emotionally invested in the outcome. I came to terms with that when I was about four and a half, and until yesterday I haven't really reconsidered my position.

But yesterday I was riding in the car with Rachel, a friend who is way more of a go-getter than I am. We were talking about geriatric brain health, and Rachel says "I do online brain strengthening games because I don't want to get Alzheimer's." (She is like 27 years old.) So, evidently, if you don't sometimes make your brain solve problems, work fast, remember things, pay attention, etc., it's going to turn into a lump of soupy mush and you'll end up not remembering your spouse or children when you're 75. This is terrifying to me. In fact, I would rather have all my limbs amputated, including my head.

So, I went right home last night and started playing computer mind games (, and Gott en Himmel, you guys. Good thing I started now, because let me put it this way: I have a lot of work to do.

This particular website puts you on a training course where you play these little games like they have in computer labs for 3rd graders. In one of them, there are little bubbles falling from the sky with math problems in them and you have to solve them in your head before they hit the ground. (Turns out I don't know my multiplication tables. Surprise! ) In another, they give you a grid with a pattern on it, and then they clear the grid and you have to reproduce the pattern exactly. In another game they show you two things at once on a screen and you have to accurately identify what each object was as well as its placement. I'm pretty good at this last one. The math one actually makes my hands sweat.

In conclusion, so what? I have a weak brain! I'm gonna work on that. All this so I'll recognize Odessa so I can yell at her for putting me in a nursing home! Small price to pay, I say.