Friday, December 23, 2011

How I wish...

Monday was the anniversary of my dad's death. Nine years ago. Stomach cancer.

I hadn't really thought about the significance of the date until I was sitting in traffic on my way to work. It was raining and gloomy, and I was listening to my iPod on random shuffle. That period of time when I'm in my car by myself, going to or from work, is really the only regular time I get to listen to whatever I want at whatever volume I want and sing along--loudly, if I so choose. As I sat on the bridge over Lady Bird Lake watching the grebes fly overhead, Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" came on.

"So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell
Blue skies from pain
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell..."

The flood in my head took my breath away and brought hot tears to my eyes.

Visiting my dad for the weekend. I am lying on the floor of his apartment wearing enormous headphones, plugged into the stereo. He has taught me to take care of the records. To never touch them with my fingers, to clean them, to be gentle and respectful of the needle. He trusts me with his collection and his expensive stereo equipment. Dark Side of The Moon is playing.  I have the LP cover open. I am reading the lyrics. I know every word to every song. I listen to this album a lot. I like Pink Floyd just as much as my Daddy does. I close my eyes and imagine the lunatic on the grass. I listen to all of the British voices speaking in the background of some of the tracks.  And the heartbeats. Us us us us us and them them them them them... Everything I love about music has already been planted in my heart. It is the best gift my father will ever give me. I am eight.

And I am in the driveway of my father's house. It is cold and raining hard. I've arrived at a gathering that is preceding my father's memorial service. There are other cars there. None of them belong to my family. They are friends and family of my stepmother's. I have never felt so alone. I am shivering as I stare at the door I have to walk toward and enter. We will all ride to the funeral home together, but I will still be alone. David Bowie's "Slip Away" is playing on my car stereo. The windows have begun to fog up. I am hollowed out by grief. My heart feels covered in lead. I am bent forward, head against the steering wheel, sobbing. I cannot do this. I cannot leave this car and go into that house and to that funeral home and say goodbye. I am thirty-three.

"Did they get you to trade
your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
a walk on part in a war
for a lead role in a cage?"

By the time I got to the parking garage, I was undone. Snot was running from my nose. All of my eye makeup had dripped off of my chin. The song finished, and after I parked my car, I hit replay and listened again.

"How I wish,
How I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls living in a fish bowl
Year after year.
Running over the same old ground,
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here."

By the end of the second playing, I was raw, but composed. I made my way upstairs. Early to work, I was  one of the few people in the office. I turned on my computer, checked email and moved into the usual rhythm of my day.

After a few minutes, I made my morning pilgrimage downstairs to the grocery store I work above to get some breakfast and something to drink. I rode the escalator from the parking garage into the store, and as I got to the top I heard, "How I wish, how I wish you were here..." It was playing on the store's public address system. I have been in this store at least 5,000 times, and I have never EVER known them to play Pink Floyd. This wasn't an accident. This was him letting me know he's with me. He can feel my heartache. He knows I miss him. He's watching out for me. He was right there next to me. I could feel him.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

You're about to learn something.

It's probably no surprise to anyone who's spent any time at all with this blog that I am a complete nut for cute animals. And baby animals? Fuggitabout it. Total sucker.

So imagine my utter delight when, last week, I learned that a show about bebeh sloths was going to debut on Animal Planet. That's right: Bebeh freakin' sloths.

Here's the trailer:

SEE?!! Couldn't you just DIE?!

I set my DVR to record that sucker faster than you can say ZOMG ADORABALLZ, and Saturday night, after I stayed up and watch as surprisingly entertaining Saturday Night Live all by my lonesome, I decided I'd watch a few minutes of my recorded sloth show. Holy mother of CHRIST, y'all. The show focused on this sloth rescue facility in Costa Rica, and I spent the next hour grinning and full of squee as I watched the sloths and learned all about these seriously weird creatures.

But here's one part of sloth life that I did not know about: They only poop like once a week. And when they do, they slowly descend from their tree where they are hanging out, and hold on to the base of the tree trunk and, you know, do their business. In the rescue facility, they have to teach the babies the behavior, so once every few days, the handlers take the sloths and set them at the bottom of a tree and let them just sit there until they poop. As one of the ladies who works at the facility said, "When you see their little hips begin to move back and forth, you know something's about to happen." And you guys: the blissed out looks on these animals' faces while they're dropping their deuces? Fucking HILARIOUS. I mean, I was about to pee my pants just watching them happily crapping while hugging their respective tree trunks. However, since this was a classy show, they didn't actually show any of the sloth leavings, or "scat" as my wildlife biologist husband might say. And I know that you sick bastards are wondering the same thing I'm wondering, right? "Hmmm...what kind of poop could elicit such a look of pure joy on the face of such a creature?" Well, thanks to the power of the interwebs, you and I need wonder no more.

Ladies and gentlemen: Sloth poop.

Oh. My. GOD IN HEAVEN!! Can you beLIEVE that shit? (Pun intended.) I laughed so hard I wept when I first encountered this photo.

Sloth shit. So now you know.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More Recent Discoveries

Follow-up to my original "Recent Discoveries" post, which wasn't really all that original.

Popcorn, Indiana's Wasabi popcorn. Seriously. Just go get some.

I actually like just regular old hummus way better than fancy alternately flavored hummus (ex. roasted red pepper).

Those new tires that I paid an assload for last month may have actually been worth it. It's been raining some here recently, and I'm not skidding around like I used to.

My attention span is not what it used to be.

I cannot stand the vast majority of Christmas music. Here's one exception.

This is probably the last Christmas that The Geej is going to wholeheartedly believe in Santa. This totally bums me out.

Tempur-pedic pillows are the answer.

I don't handle losing things very well (ex. losing my wallet, losing my keys, losing that thing that was just RIGHT HERE, etc.).

There is such a thing as "too much salad."

Sadly, sometimes virtual friends are more real than real friends.

Thursday, December 08, 2011


I once had a roommate who was pretty, smart, and successful. However, her self-esteem was almost non-existent. She would date a guy, he would treat her like shit, she would believe she actually WAS shit and deserved to be treated as such, and eventually she'd get her heart broken and go into a major depression. The next guy she would date would be exactly like the previous asshole who'd mistreated her and, although the lessons were abundant, she refused to learn from them. After going through this cycle with her several times, I was really, really exhausted by the drama and monotony of it all, and decided I could no longer live with her. Our friendship didn't end, but it definitely suffered. If she wasn't willing to make some changes and break the damaging cycles in her life (even though that's what she repeatedly claimed she wanted to do), I couldn't stick around and watch. It was just too sad.

The wisdom gained from suffering should push us to evolve. Sometimes the lessons we're supposed to learn and the wisdom we're suppoed to gain are not immediately apparent, but they never fail to arrive. However, if we choose to ignore them, and instead, to wallow in our own blame others for the choices we've lie to ourselves about how "over it" we run from the real work required to be the person we say we want to be...then we deserve to keep being handed the same heartache and misery over and over and over until we are cracked wide open.

Life has bent me and nearly broken me many times. But always, after I get through the pain or anger--which sometimes takes days, sometimes years--I listen. I listen to what is being taught, however difficult. I hunger for the knowledge and self-awareness that, eventually, comes. And I am always, always stronger in the end.

Monday, December 05, 2011

My Daughter, The Goth

A few weeks ago, The Geej was playing one of those "virtual dress up" games on our computer. You know what I'm talking about: there's a generic male or female figure and you get to choose their clothes, accessories, hair, make-up, etc. Well, she LOVES these little games and plays them whenever she's allowed on to the computer. So I go in to check on her progress, and I notice that the figure she's creating isn't wearing the tranny Vegas showgirl-type outfit The Geej usually opts for. This virtual girl is dressed in black, with black hair and dark makeup, including black lipstick. When I ask what's up, The Geej rolls her eyes at me and explains, "Mommy, she's a goth." And even though it wasn't spoken, there was an undeniable silent "Duh!" that followed her statement.

So, I decided to play dumb, and asked, "What's a goth?"

According to The Geej, "A goth wears all black and is kind of spooky and has black make-up and wears spiky jewelry and can break branches and not even feel anything." She knows this because one of her friends from after-care told her what goths are.


Fast forward to yesterday. We were invited to a "Pop Star" birthday party for a friend's 8 year old daughter. This was a first for me in terms of birthday party themes. And believe me, we've been to a LOT of birthday parties. The gist of it is: the guests come to the party dressed in their version of popstar finery, then the gals running the party rehearse a song with the group (of girls, presumably), add some choreography, get them all gussied up with some make-up and accessories, and then film a "music video" of the group performing the song. It's all very professional, with a backdrop set up, microphones, a digital video camera, etc.

The Geej is a total drama queen (surprise!) who spends a great deal of time singing in the shower, the bathtub, in front of the mirror, in the car, at get the idea.Suffice it to say, she was PSYCHED about attending this party. What we needed for the party (besides a gift, of course) was a rockin' outfit for The Geej. And without hesitation, she said she wanted to "be a goth." So we went to the gothiest place in the world: Justice! For Girls! Have you ever been to this place? It's like a sequin factory threw up all over a Justin Bieber concert. It's horrifying, and of course The Geej freakin' LOVES the place.

At Justice! we got a black skirt (sparkly), a black tank top (sparkly), and a black cropped sweater (also, sparkly). She wanted some black (sparkly) boots, but there weren't any in her size (thank Jeebus). Then we went to Claire's Boutique where I thought her head was going to explode due to the sheer amount of stuff that she wanted hanging from every wall and fixture. We ended up getting some black fingerless glove-type things (sparkly), some blue and purple clip-in hair feathers (sparkly) along with a necklace with the word "ROCK" on it.

We zoomed home, and my little sparkle goth tore off her normal clothes and put on her new duds, including some black (non-sparkly) leggings she already had. She was so excited by the completed ensemble, I was afraid she might explode. While gazing at herself lovingly in the mirror, she said, "I look HOT!" I thought BH might keel over.

So, in case you're wondering, THIS is what a seven year old sparkle goth looks like:
Spooky, no?

On our way to the party, I asked her if she wanted to listen to some goth know, to get in the mood. And my Taylor Swift/Selena Gomez-loving child enthusiastically said yes. But by about the 10th bar of "Bela Lugosi's Dead," however, I think she was really confused. "When is she going to start singing? What is that noise they're making? Is that music? Why is he singing like that? Is that his real voice?" It was kind of awesome.

I can't wait to introduce her to The Damned.