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Monthly Archives: August 2012

I stood in front of my closet, took a deep breath and opened the door.  I was going to have to try on last some of my fall clothes this morning.  Ugh. This is not going to be fun.

I sifted though my choices and finally noticed my taupe skirt peeking out of the bunch. Well, it does have an elastic waistband, at least, I thought as I took it off the hanger.

Feels alright.  Nothing too tight anywhere, thank goodness. I tried it on with a shirt I liked.  I figured it was a good enough outfit for the office yet fit loose enough that, should I find myself in a situation where I had to chase a toddler, haul around a baby or have the immense good fortune and find a few minutes to nap, I could do any (or all) of it comfortably enough and without ripping, tripping, things slipping out of place… or generally embarrassing myself.

Most importantly, I could breathe.

Good thing I can, I thought, as I took a deep breath and stepped in front of the mirror.  The moment of truth.    

First I checked the overall look. The top and skirt worked together well and had style I could enhance with those 1930s style shoes I never get to wear and some earrings.  If I did my hair right, I could create a bona fide retro look. Let’s not get ahead of myself, I thought ruefully. 

Now for the hard part.  As I turned to each side, I gave a critical eye to the waistline, neckline, arms and butt.

Hmm.

I stood up straight and sucked in my abs like all those instructors in all those exercise classes I never found the time to get to would surely have admonished.

No belly bulge.  Whew! Great! Awesome, actually. I can wear this!

Wait.  Shit.  Let’s see what happens…

Now I let go, slumped a bit and did not hold in my abs.

Bulge. Fuck! Of course, there is.  How bad is it?

I had not been in this skirt since the fall before Sawyer was born.  I had seen this coming a mile away.  I chided myself as I picked a pashmina out of the basket of shawls, scarves and such in the closet, trying to decide if I could really wear this or not all day long.

The bitchy conscience I never seem to be able to strangle into silence piped up with a more than a chiding and made the decision for me.

“This is what you get for thinking about exercising, making plans to exercise, putting it in your calendar to exercise, but NEVER ACTUALLY EXERCISING!  Today you are literally going to suck it up and suck it in.  This weekend, you are going jogging!”

Ok, ok.  Fine.Your are right. I will, I will. I promise. What a way to start the day, though I suppose this IS a form of motivation, dammit

I grabbed the pashmina, wrapped it around to hide any bulges resulting from slips in posture and ran out the door to take my punishment, sucking in and standing up straight.

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I roasted a chicken and a half with vegetables on Sunday evening. 

Being the ever-on-top-of –it working mother that I am, I had dutifully read my Real Simple magazine, gotten new cooking ideas and recipes, made my grocery list and ran through the store at breakneck speed so I could get back in time for Jay to go pick up our Phish tickets for this coming Saturday’s show. I wanted to cook a nice Sunday dinner, especially since Greta was home.

I had cleaned the kitchen, poured a glass of pinot grigio and began to cook.  I was cooking enough for dinner that night, dinner the next night and lunch leftovers for me for the next couple of days at work.

I was busy. Things were being cleaned and cooked and prepped in a small space at a high rate of multitasking speed…and there was that pinot.

For reasons I will not get into, I was a bit distracted and emotional.  I had also fielded a couple of calls from my emotional and high strung mother while cooking said meals and was even more distracted than cooking for 5 people and 4 meals would have normally been – and that would have been hard enough.

When it came time to take the chicken out and check for doneness, I could not find the meat thermometer. 

I am horrible about timing chicken.  In an effort to make sure I do not serve my family salmonella on a plate, I over cook the chicken every time.  Then I am disappointed when I cut into that chicken and realize with the first bite that I did it again and, therefore, my efforts for a perfectly cooked meal were in vain. After all that work. Dammit.

So I have begun to rely on the thermometer.  Once that baby says my chicken has reached 165 degrees, it is out of the oven to rest.  I will not over cook the chicken.  I will not over cook the chicken.

But, when I tried to find the thermometer I had specifically laid out on the counter in preparation, it was not there.  I had just had it.  Greta had seen it on the counter as well. Still it was nowhere to be found. 

After a few minutes search, I realized I was wasting too much time looking for it and cut into the chicken to check for doneness.  It wasn’t. So I put it back into the oven and, after thinking about it, decided that the 10 minutes Jay had suggested could not be long enough and I doubled it to 20 minutes.  (Ensuring later, of course, that the chicken would, once again, be over cooked.) 

I moved on to the next step in the recipe – prepping the maple Dijon sauce. As I got the Dijon mustard out of the refrigerator, my mother called. again.  I listened to whatever it was she’d forgotten to tell me when we were on the phone 30 minutes before as I shook the mustard. I sat it down and checked the vegetables. 

Realizing they were almost overdone, I pulled out the roasted vegetables and poured them up into a corning ware dish and covered them with foil while I waited the last few minutes for the chicken (to over cook).  

I got off the phone with my mother and got out the maple syrup and a bowl.  I went to get the mustard and wisk.  No mustard on the counter.  Or in the frige.  Or in the pantry.  Or next to the sink. 

Where the hell was the mustard, dammit???

I had just had it. 

Of course, I had also just had the meat thermometer as well.  And no one could find it, either.  Jay had come into the kitchen and looked; Greta had come into the kitchen and looked.  It was gone.

And now the mustard.  AAARrrrrgggghhhh.

Jay, hearing my frustration and frantic search for the mustard, came into the kitchen.  With a “what is it this time?” and a cursory look around the kitchen, Jay helpfully suggested that I use the creole mustard he found in the frige instead of the Dijon mustard whose whereabouts I was currently losing my mind over. 

No.

No, no, no.  I was not using the creole mustard.  It was not like I had not checked the frige before I went to the grocery store and made sure we had the ingredients I needed to make the recipe.  Had I screwed up and not had it, ok. I would use a substitute mustard, as much as I would have hated doing it.  But I had the right mustard.  Hell, I had HAD IT IN MY HAND shaking it up not 10 minutes ago.  I would only need to use the creole mustard if we did not HAVE Dijon.  And, unless someone came into the kitchen and DELIBERATELY took the Dijon mustard and threw it outside, we HAD Dijon mustard. 

I AM NOT CRAZY.  It was here.  It was right here. I was on the phone with Mother.  I took it out of the frige.  I shook it up so the watery stuff that settles would not drip into my dish. 

I put it right HERE. I slapped the counter in the spot where I knew I had set the mustard a few minutes before. 

Or had I?  Had I imagined it?

Jay told me I was overreacting.  He told me it was not there anymore and no one knew what I had done with it.  We checked cabinets, the freezer, drawers.  I got more and more upset because the stranger the places we looked, the worse I felt.  If we did find the Dijon mustard in the freezer, then I am a lot more scatterbrained and out of control than even I thought.  And I hate that about myself.  I hate being scatterbrained and high strung.   I want desperately to be one of those calm, in control moms who have all the tools and time everything out – and never over cook the chicken.    

I was on the verge of tears.

Have you ever seen the movie Midnight Lace? It is a Doris Day, Rex Harrison 1960s thriller.  It has been a while for me, but from what I remember it is about a married woman who starts to doubt her own sanity.  Things start happening she cannot explain. She gets death threats by phone.  Then notes that disappear. When she tries to show proof, there is none to be found.  Her loving husband and best friend stand staunchly beside her as she descends into madness and hysteria.

I am pretty sure in one scene the husband takes his nutty, hysterical wife by the shoulders and tells her she is overreacting.  

Only the husband and best friend are having an affair and have orchestrated the whole thing so when the poor wife winds up dead it is not from them murdering her (which they fully intend on doing) but from her tragically taking her own life due to her stedily increasing paranoia.  Their mutual grief (and the conveniently dead wife’s inheritance) is the basis for their growing love and affection leading to their marriage and happily ever after.

Apparently, Ezra has seen this movie.  And understands it well enough to use their tactics to get rid of me. 

While Jay was in the kitchen holding me by the shoulders telling me I was freaking out for no apparent cause and it was just mustard, for heaven’s sake, who cares which one you use, Greta took Ezra into the living room and asked him where he put the mustard. 

Just as I was trying to tearfully explain to Jay that I felt like I was losing my mind and I had already been upset and THIS WAS NOT HELPING, Ezra showed Greta where in the pantry he had hidden the Dijon fucking mustard. I never even saw him sneak into the kitchen, the little rascal.

I understand that I had Ezra when I was 37 and that means I will be old, demented and crusty when he is in his 30s. I just never thought he’d have the wherewithal to start laying the groundwork for my incompetency hearing this far in advance.

He never would fess up about the thermometer though. 

Greta found that under her bag in the living room the next day. 

I am going to have to keep an eye on this one.

No, it is not Cotton. 🙂

Weaving The Fabric of Your Life

Weave the fabric of your life carefully. 

You hold in your hands the strands you have chosen

to use in weaving the fabric of your life.

It may be that you think some threads are more beautiful than others. 
And there may be others you think are muted and dull.  

But do not be fooled.
All of them are necessary.

If you are careful and treat each strand
with the knowledge that the finished composition
can only be one of beauty when all are woven together seamlessly,

then you will be able to look back on the fabric of your life 
and see that,
though it is surely flawed,
it was woven with
love and care –
making it the beautiful manifestation of your
heart’s desire.

That small feeling

of being a small person

In a very big world.

(I am not complete)

That rush of excitement

When confronted with the possibility

That you are not so small anymore.

(I am as whole as I can be)

That sinking dread of fear

When you contemplate

Your abilities and measure them out.

(I wish I were more)

That leaden feeling of commitment

When you pull yourself up and

Decide to be limitless.

(I am standing in my way)

That surging of inadequacy

When you see someone doing

When all you are is being.

(I am ideas without substance)

That blissful realization

That no one knows or can see

Any of it.

(I am the only one who knows)

That sobering responsibility

Of knowledge only you have

And you alone are your own judge.

(I am the only one who can redeem me)

We need wonder. 

This morning while most of us were sleeping (and some of us were hovering over our 10 month old who had spiked a fever of 103.2 out of the blue) Curiosity landed on Mars.

I had heard this was happening a few hours before on CNN.  But that was a 3 minute mention right before CNN turned back to covering the latest shooting for the next 3 hours and I changed the channel quickly to HBO to be entertained and irritated by the Newsroom for the 5th time in a row.

I came into work this morning and, after touching base with my boss whose vacation had been frustrated by me having to interrupt him several times last week, caught up on my Facebook and news. 

I read the story about Curiosity and thought how cool it was that we have an SUV tooling around Mars right this very second. 

Then I checked my Facebook and read status updates saying that, while cool and all, the $2.6 billion spent to get Curiosity to Mars was basically a waste of money.   

And once again I was frustrated with humanity.  But this has been true for the last week.

Really, folks?!  The money is spent.  Why can’t we just be amazed by it.?? I wanted to put in all caps on their statues. 

Someone said that “in better times I’d be all for it.”

Well, Mr. Killjoy, please tell me when would be a better time?

When we have stopped insane people from shooting up high schools and colleges and theaters and Sikh temples…not to mention politicians and 8 year olds outside a Walgreens in AZ?

When we have tracked down and killed all of Al Qaeda and their ilk?

When Syria is peaceful and the government isn’t torturing children so their parents won’t fight… because they are afraid that if the fundamentalist rebels win the country will roughly regress about two centuries in civil rights? (yes, you have to love the irony there)

When a woman caught in a tug of war between two men in Afghanistan isn’t publically shot to death because both of them want her and so they have her killed as if she was a toy they broke so neither one of them could have her?

When Israel, Palestine and the rest of the sandbox of the Middle East learn to coexist?

When Iraq gives up nuclear ambitions and Russia stops imprisoning journalists?

When, pray tell, is it a good time to travel to another planet?

Because if we wait until all the above is realized it will NEVER happen. If we waited until half that was realized, it would still never happen. 

Hell, if we spent that $2.6B on the homeless or put it towards the national debt it would barely make a dent.  

We just spent the entirety of last week with the Christian and gay communities in this country getting prideful, nasty and judgmental over chicken sandwiches!

We needed this.  We needed a Moonwalk Moment. 

But there was no pride of achievement here.  This was a footnote to most of us.  CNN should have been hyping this for a week.  NASA should have had Curiosity land in primetime and we should be watching this with our kids and marveling over it.  My 4 year old should have seen it. 

Someone should have written something amazing to be the equivalent of “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

But as it is I did not even know it was happening until a couple of hours before and in the middle of the night. 

However, I do know that the Sikh temple shooter had a 9/11 tattoo and was “possibly” a white supremacist. 

I know Dan Cathy and a shitload of other Christians think we are “inviting God’s judgment” by even thinking about accepting gay marriage. And these people are so very proud of themselves for going and making him a shitload of money last Wednesday.  I know because my Facebook page was full of pictures of all the lines at all the Chick-Fil-As in my hometown. 

I know a whole lot about a whole lot of really bad things I wish never happened… like someone breaking into a woman’s house, carving “dyke” into her arms and stomach and setting her house on firelike underage kids posting pictures of themselves raping a passed out girl at a high school party and the rape victim almost went to jail when she tweeted their names… and, God help me, I know about Jerry Sandusky. 

I also know a whole lot about a whole lot of things so inconsequential and petty that I should never have heard of them… e.g. Kristen Stewart’s affair with her director, Steven Tyler has quit American Idol (a show I have never watched even once), that Elton John is dissing Madonna and that years after her death there are still picture books of Marilyn Monroe coming out, though most of us have never even seen Seven Year Itch

I know that there is a presidential election coming up and you have to pick a side: the Private Sector or the Government because apparently it is impossible to think that both are important to our way of life.  You have to demonize one and love the other.  You cannot be a reasonable person and think that Capitalism and Government are in an inextricably linked symbiotic relationship of equal importance.  And God help you if you are a moderate in today’s political climate.  You will just quit.  Ask Olympia Snow or Steve LaTourette

We have divided ourselves into groups.  And to a certain extent that is fine.  It is a part of the human condition to identify with a group.  We have always done it going back to the beginning of our history. 

The problem is that we are now living in the best time humans have ever experienced.  So now we have plenty of time to judge other groups.  We no longer have to band together to survive and mind our own group’s business.  We band together because we want to.  And what we really want to do in our group is judge other groups and list all the reasons why we would NEVER be a part of THAT group.  THAT group believes X and we believe Y and so we have to MAKE them stop believing X and FORCE them to believe Y.  It is, after all, what God would want us to do, right?

We ESPECIALLY like it if the other group is having some sort of sex our group forbids.  We LOVE to get our noses into other people’s beds and judge what they do there.  It is scandalous.  It is titillating. 

So, please, please, please, as a nation and a people, we need to be brought back together.  We need to be united in accomplishment and pride.  Not AGAINST something or someone but FOR something we can all believe in.

Landing an SUV on Mars could have been that thing.  But it wasn’t. 

And, really, how can we come up with something more amazing than that?

Going outside our solar system??  Yeah.  That would be awesome, right?  Everyone would think that was cool!  Wait.  We already did that.  I bet you didn’t even know it. 

So much for wonder.  We can all go back to bickering amgonst our little groups now.