Thursday, September 29, 2005
Anyway, I found a poem I wrote in a 6th grade poetry booklet decorated with wallpaper and a lion cut out of a greeting card on the front . Damn, I wish I had a scanner...
The poem is called "Homework," and I'll be damned if it's not a classic:
My homework is not finished yet
I said to frowning Mrs. Glicketette
It was chewed up by my hamster, Fred
Who now, by the way, is dead.
It was used as a marker in my library book.
It's there no more. Just take a look!
I was used by my Great Aunt Myrtle,
To feed her pet turtle, Pirtle.
People found it such a beaut,
It's now in the Smithsonian Institute!
Again, I wish I had a scanner b/c there's also a picture I drew to accompany the poem. It's obviously me (big blonde perm gives me away) and the "frowning Mrs. Glicketette" standing in front of me with a severe gray bun and a paddle in her hand as big, if not bigger, than my head.
My mom--the genius--suggested that I turn the monitor off while sleeping. My house is small enough (and I'm a light enough sleeper) that I would be able to hear The Geej from my room if she really was crying, and maybe with the monitor off, I wouldn't be jolted awake so easily with the little midnight cries-for-n0-reason.
I'm on night #2 of no monitor, and I gotta say, I'm sleeping much better. Now if I could just get my genius mother to come up with some painfully obvious and effective way to deal with my teeny bladder, than I'd be all good.
Monday, September 26, 2005
I was eight, and I'd come over to visit every other weekend. My dad was 32, and in full-on "free and single" mode. Although he had a girlfriend (my mom's ex best friend, dontcha know), there was a different woman there every weekend I came to visit. He had no idea what to do with me, so he'd usually hire a babysitter and go get fucking wasted at the Elks Lodge with his slut-of-the-week. To give me something to do, he showed me how to use his stereo so that I could entertain myself. He taught me to respect the records, being careful to clean them with a special cleaner, and to never, ever scratch them. He also showed me how to use the reel-to-reel tape player--considered state of the art at the time. I would put on the ENORMOUS headphones, and lie in front of the stereo for hours listening to records and tapes. One of my favorites was Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." I knew every word by heart, and really liked "Money" because it said the word "bullshit."
He had a bizarre, eclectic record collection: Neil Diamond, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Willie Nelson, Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton-John, Waylon Jennings, Jesse Colter, The Rolling Stones, ELO, ZZ Top, Moe Bandy and the Rodeo Clowns, The Eagles, Linda Rondstat, and lots and lots of Elvis. I fell in love to listening to music in that crappy apartment. I picked it apart as I listened to it--isolating drum lines and harmonies and guitar parts in my head. I would teach myself how to sing all of the harmonies of ELO and the back up parts for Neil Diamond. I was determined to be a background singer when I grew up. Or Olivia Newton-John. Either one would've worked for me.
I started saving up my measly allowance so that I could go to Musicland at the mall and buy 45s and albums of my own. It didn't matter what the genre was, if it was appealing to me, I bought it.
You know, I really have my dad to thank for my love of music. It's not just a love of music, it's more like an insatiable hunger, really. R&B; Albums; Country; 45s; Electronica; 8-track tapes; AOR; cassette tapes; Metal; CDs; Rock; MP3s; Pop. It's all good, and I can never, ever get enough.
Friday, September 23, 2005
It went something like this:
"We see the destruction of Katrina, and our hearts break. They see the destruction and wish they'd caused it. These are the people we're at war against. It's a war. On terror."
God, I want to just slap him across his stupid, stupid face. Hard. How DARE he?! The man has no shame. Next thing you know, he'll be like, "That bus fire on the highway outside of Houston that killed 20+ elderly people? War on terror." "Cancer? War on terror." "Break up of Tori Spelling's year-old marriage? War on terror."
I can not understand how, with this fucking JACK ASS and all of his evil, crooked cronies leading our country down the toilet at a blinding speed, why we don't have a major revolt on our hands! I'm talking 1789 Paris, baby. Guillotines and blood in the streets.
Ugh. I'm just disgusted.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Behold, her latest victim: The sweet, adorable Anderson F. Quite possibly the most pleasant baby in the world with the most pinchable cheeks this side of Topeka. I think this may be the beginning of a beautiful relationship...
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
There was a creepy baby in her previous class as well. His name was Mack, and he was only there for about a month. He had severe cradle cap and black hair, so he always had these ginormous hunks of dead scalp all over his head. His skin was really splotchy, and you could see all of his veins. And he cried and fussed almost constantly, which was unlike the other kiddos in the class. Let me just put it this way: I don't think any of the teachers were sad to see him go when his parents got transferred.
Is my baby perfect? Hell no. She can be a whiny, clingy, contrary turd when whe wants to be. But is she creepy? No.
By the way, want to have some fun? Do a Google image search for "creepy baby" and see what you find.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
1. Background singer (tight harmonies, good songs; no choreography required)
2. Comedy writer (sketch comedy; a.k.a. Tina Fey)
3. Writer writer (non fiction comedy/essay; editor of "The Onion," a.k.a. Sedaris)
4. Guide dog/service dog trainer
5. Stand up comedian
6. Good, well-respected actress who never had to take her top off for any role
7. Well-respected journalist who " " interview
8. Independently wealthy philanthropist who gets to volunteer full time, helping people
9. Summer camp counselor
10. Person who discovers/signs bands and musicians
Case in point: these pajamas I bought for The Geej. How CUTE are they? They're very light flannel, soft as a puppy's belly, and trimmed in satin, no less. I'm glad they're a little big on her because it's too warm for her to wear them now anyway. So by the time they fit perfectly, it'll be cool outside--perfect flannel p.j. weather.
By the way, Wal-Mart can suck it.
Well, yesterday I went out to run some errands and, lo and behold, ended up trading in my car on a 2003 Nissan Murano. I really like it. It's higher (which makes getting The Geej in and out of her carseat a breeze), but not a big, behemoth SUV. It gets the same gas mileage as the Jetta, rides like a car, and doesn't require premium gas (like the V6 Jetta did). I negotiated with the salesman until I got it to where I would be making the same monthly payments that I was making on the VW.
All of that is the upside.
On the downside: The Jetta was just over 1/2 way paid off. Now I've got 60 months to go... Hi-diddly-dee, a debtor's life for me.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Normally, I aim to be funny, or smart-assy or--at the very least--moderately interesting, on my blog. But tonight, I feel like sharing. So here it goes (big, theatrical breath in; getting ready for what's to follow):
Those of you who actually know who I am, know that my father passed away a couple of years ago after a "stage 4 stomach cancer" diagnosis. When he got the news in October, he was told that he had "3 to 6" months to live." Six weeks later, he was dead.
Most women my age who I know have "daddy issues," no matter how kick ass their dad tried (or tries) to be. It just comes with the territory, I suppose. Women who were raised in the hippy-dippy 70s by dads who were raised in the ultra-conservative 50s: It was just a weird mix, and more often than not, it didn't work out so well. No one's fault, really. That's just the way that it was/is.
Well, sometime between when my dad was diagnosed, and when he died, I wrote him a letter to express what I was feeling. (I know. I'm lame. But I've just always been more comfortable with expressing myself with the written, rather than the spoken, word.) What follows is the text of that letter. Why am I sharing this, you ask? Because I never had the nuts to give it to him. He died not knowing how I felt; and, as a result, he died with me not knowing how HE felt. Please don't let this happen to you. It's one of the biggest regrets of my life.
I wish you knew how many times over the years I have sat down to write you a letter--and done so--but never sent it to you. Usually, I would do this when I was angry or upset with you. It was my way of getting whatever it was off my chest, but then I would never have the guts to send the finished letter your way. Sometimes, these letters would come out of sheer confusion and frustration about our relationship--trying to figure out (on paper) what you meant to me and guessing what it was I meant to you. Although they were cathartic, these letters never got me any closer to the truth about my feelings toward you. They were only a temporary fix, and since they were so one-sided, I was usually left with more questions than answers. I feel the time has come to finally write and give you the letter that I never sent over all these years.
The main thing I always wondered about you is why you would do some of the things you did or say some of the things you’d say to me. There have been many times that I’ve hung up the phone after speaking with you, sobbing because I was so hurt by what you said or how you said it. There were several times when I stormed out of your house, offended and confused by your behavior or your words. These specific conversations and incidents are not important now. But these events did happen more frequently than I think either of us would like to admit, and I was always left wondering “why.” What had I done to make you behave so carelessly? Did you not realize that you were hurting me? Didn’t you care? Why must you make it so difficult to get close to you and to like you? I must have asked myself these questions a million times over. It was frustrating and maddening. There was so much I didn’t know about you, and you seemed unwilling to share yourself with me. A funny thing that both sides of my family have in common is our reluctance to share our feelings and talk about stuff that truly matters. It is awkward and uncomfortable for us when we make an attempt, and it’s also scary to “put yourself out there” like that because you never know what the other person’s reaction might be. So, instead, we tend to clam up and keep everything--good and bad--buried inside. Now is not the time for that.
In April 2002, I went to a retreat where I did a lot of “inner work” and meditation. It was an amazing experience, and the timing was perfect, given that my divorce was recently final and I was dealing with mom’s illness. In other words, I was in a very emotionally fragile state, and I needed to spend some time working through some stuff. Anyway, on the final afternoon of our sessions, we were doing deep breathing and led meditation work, and I had a real breakthrough, realizing several very important things about people and situations in my life. One of the things that shot through the blue was about you:
I realized, for the first time, how truly young you were when you lost both of your parents. I suddenly understood on some level how terrifying and lonely that must have been for you. How that “parental rock” that most of us are lucky enough to have well into adulthood had disappeared for you at an early and impressionable age, and that it scarred you deeply because you loved and respected them both so much. It became crystal clear to me that--whether you knew it or not--the reason that you’d always pushed me away and had such a tough outer shell around you is that you didn’t want me to get too close lest I someday be hurt by losing you as much as you were when you lost them. I understood that you’re not a bad person, but that bad circumstances had closed off a big part of you, making you rough around the edges and difficult to read. I also finally understood that the way you are has nothing to do with me or with how much you do (or don’t) love me. At 33 years of age, I felt for the first time like I truly knew who you were and could read your heart. What a gift this realization was to me. It allowed me to begin to let go of a lot of the hurt I’d held on to and been so angry about over the years. And most importantly, it allowed me to forgive you for wrongs both real and imagined. I looked at you with clear eyes and wiped the scorecard clean. And I loved you more than I ever had. When I think of you now, I have peace in my heart where once there was a great deal of pain. All I feel now is love.
Our time together on this earth is coming to an end. We know this. And in an odd way, this knowledge is a gift as well. It gives us the unique opportunity to say the things we need to say before we can no longer be together. I want and need your wisdom and your love. I need you to open up to me and tell me that you love me and that you’re proud of me. I need you to tell me about the times when I was little, before my own memory kicks in. What did you love about me? What charmed you? Please. Tell me about you. About me. About how you loved mom, and about the good times you had before the bad times began. I hunger for this knowledge more than you can imagine.
My memories of you are precious, and I can’t help but see you every time I look at my pointy nose, my wide feet, my bigger-than-average ears, and my wide smile. Every time I am stubborn or hardheaded about something, I know that’s the “James” coming out in me. But I also have you to thank for my devilish sense of humor; the joy I feel when I cook for others; my profound love of music and animals; my intensity. Daddy, you have given me far more than you will ever know. Please know that, no matter what, you will always live in my mind and heart, and I will forever be your daughter.
All of my love...
Thursday, September 15, 2005
The Geej is walking. Not a lot yet--7 to 10 steps at a time--but it's still walking. She's so tickled with herself, it's hilarious. Just look at her! I have no idea how much this new level of mobility is going to change things, but I'm sure things are about to get very interesting.
I will say this however: I am so in love with Dave Grohl, it's not even funny. I have been enamored of him for a while, but my love has peaked over the past few years. He's just getting hotter as the years roll by. I mean, in Nirvana? Not so cute. Now? SMOKIN' HOT. And funny. And talented. And smart. And a smart ass. Sigh. I think Dave has eclipsed Jon Stewart as my #1 dreamboat.
Last night, he totally railed on that "blonde slut from the Real World--Austin." He kept calling her a hooker, and saying that, if he bought her a few shots, he could "bang it." He even dedicated a song to her. What's not to love?
Monday, September 12, 2005
In other news, it feels like a sauna outside. About 85 degrees with about 150% humidity. Gross as hell. I'm ready for that first fall cool snap. Everyone always gets in the best mood when it happens.
"Hey, have you been outside?! Isn't it nice? I slept with my windows open!! Here's $20 bucks!"
That's usually how it happens. Minus the 20 bucks part.
* * * * *
I am completely obsessed with getting a different car. Not that I don't love my Jetta, which I do. But it's limitations have become glaringly apparent since the baby arrival. It's too low for one thing. Getting her in and out of the carseat in the back is hell on my already-crumbling knees and even more hard on my pushing-forty back. It's too small. Once I get her and all her stuff loaded in, and then me and all my stuff loaded in (let's say, to go to Gran's house for the weekend), there's little room for much else. I love the way it drives, and I love the way it looks. And the stereo and air-conditioner kick ass. But I gotta tell you, I'm not loving the wagon these days.
I do not want an SUV. And I sure as hell don't want a minivan (sorry, Badger). Not yet, at least. I like the Honda CR-V because it's higher than a car but not an obnoxious SUV. Oh, and it's a Honda, which is a good thing. But they only make 4 cylinder versions of the CR-V (which is just stupid), and I'm sorry, I'm not going back to a 4 cyl. after driving a V6. So, basically, the vehicle I want doesn't exist. It's very frustrating.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
The houses are all nice and well-groomed. Some of them around the bend from Mom's back to a golf course that is almost unreal looking in its greenness. I have no idea how many deer I saw--over forty for sure. Bucks, does, and fawns were everywhere, leisurely grazing and keeping one eye on me as I walked by. I saw a big dead snake in the middle of the road that look like it was probably pretty formidable before it got squashed by a car. I saw very little trash along the road aside from the occasional beer can and a bunch of cigarette butts. I walked past many empty lots that had "SOLD" signs on them with the owners names and current places of residence: "Yvette and Jimmy Alderon, Del Rio, TX." I saw owners' names from Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, etc. Mostly the new owners were from Austin or San Antonio. Thankfully, very few that I saw were from Houston. Or worse yet, Dallas.
During my whole walk, the sky was very gray and looked like it would rain at any moment, and there was a light, pleasant breeze. It was just two miles, and it wasn't a picturesque as the walk the Texpatriate recently took, but it was wonderfully relaxing. (Next time, I'll take my camera.)
It's strange but nice that Mom now lives so close. It's just an hour away, but feels a bit like going on vacation due to the lovely ride there and the relaxed, villiage-like vibe of it all. I hope she really comes to love her new neighborhood. I already do.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Damn, I love that baby.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
1) The Tom Kha soup at Madam Mam's. With tofu. Fucking amazing. So much so that I've never ever ordered anything else off the menu there.
2) Green pepper Tabasco sauce. It literally goes on everything. Popcorn? Why, yes. Boca fake chicken nuggets? But of course! It's amazing in its sheer versatility. And I'd better stock up on it because I bet the Tabasco facility took a hit with Katrina. Damn hurricane...
3) La Croix water. In the can. Lemon flavor.
4) Randall's brand scoopable cat litter. I hate Randall's but their cat litter rules.
5) Huggies. I find them better than Pampers or Luvs. And don't even get me started on the Target brand diapers. They suck BIG time.
6) KMS "turnstylr" back to life revival creme. It's a very light, clean smelling after-shampoo leave-in conditioner for your hair. It's great for people who dye their hair because it doesn't strip the dye like shampoo-in conditioners. And it doesn't weigh your hair down and make it look oily. It's just right.
7) L'Occitane "Linden" Eau de Toilette. I don't like perfume, on myself or on others. But this stuff is just subtle enough that I love it. And of course, they've stopped making it.
8) The Body Shop's Tea Tree Oil facial products. I've been using them exclusively to clean my face for at least 8 years now, and my skin loves me for it.
9) Nature's Gate vitamin E oil. I go to sleep with it under my eyes, on my forehead and on my lips. And I swear, I look 27. (Not really, but I think it works pretty well in the whole "wrinkle prevention" category and costs a whole lot less than that Clinque stuff you get at the mall.)
10) Dove "Defined Texture Molding Cream" for hair. Cheap, smells good, works.
11) Mister Car Wash on Burnet. They do a hell of a job for the dough, and they're nice to boot.
12) Daya. Nice but not snobby. The best hot stone massage ever. Ask for Adrian.
13) Pure Luck Farms goat cheese. Made in Dripping Springs my the happiest, cutest goats on the planet. This stuff is so good, that if I could shoot it into my veins, I probably would.
14) Silk chocolate soy milk. I don't even like real milk. But this stuff is so yummy, I have a glass of it at night for "dessert."
15) The Maida's Salad with chicken fajita meat at Maudie's on S. Lamar. I have dreams about this damn salad sometimes. It calls to me, and I must go to it.
As my mother often says about him: The boy ain't right.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Here's something random I realized today: Every single time I see a dog riding in a car, it makes me smile. I mean, why is it that seeing some doofus dog, sitting there in the passenger's seat like he's 100% human makes me so happy? Or better yet, a dog with his big ol' head sticking out of the window or the sunroof...that positively makes me giggle. Little dogs sitting on their owners' laps as they drive make me squeal with delight. I know, I know. I'm easily amused.
Monday, September 05, 2005
A quote from a very good BBC article about our illustrious leader: "Mr Bush's famed 'folksy' style has failed to impress in this crisis."
I've always loved the British art of understatement.
This is a photo of him chillin' in the bathtub. Anyhoo, those little red spots all over his nose/face? Mosquito bites. And they're all over his ears too. You see, he's quite allergic to mosquito bites. And because he's made of pure sugar, they're always biting his punkin' head. So he looks like he's got raging acne for most of the summer. I always wonder what the neighbors must think of my ugly little guy.
"Well then, Karla May, you should keep him inside all summer, and that way he wouldn't get all eaten up. Duh."
I could do that. But then he would lapse into a major depression, meow all the time, and piss on everything imaginable. So 100% indoor living is not really an option with this cat. So we just tough it out until it gets cool enough for the mosquitoes to go away. Bless Earl's little scabby heart...
Friday, September 02, 2005
I dropped the Geej at school, took the day off, and went down to meet the movers and help her begin the unpacking process. My aunt Luanne and her husband Jean-Paul are there as well, helping her to get settled. We got a lot accomplished by the time I had to leave to come back and fetch La Geej from escuela.
Man, am I tired. Moving is hard fucking work. My back is aching, my dogs are barking, and boy do I stink. Tomorrow, the Geej and I are heading down there for the weekend. It's so cute: Mom has a whole room set up for her--crib, toy chest, baby supplies. She even got her her own little rocking chair to match the two adult-sized ones on the front porch. So damn sweet. I'm actually going to leave the baby down there on Sunday because I have to work on Monday, and the daycare is closed for Labor Day. It'll be the first night I've spent at home alone since March. It's going to be weird, but maybe I can get that uninterrupted night of sleep I've been craving...
I just poured myself a big ass glass of wine and am waiting for some laundry to get done so that I can bathe my nasty self. I've got a lot to do before I can go to bed though: get Geej's and my stuff together for the weekend; get my Katrina donations together (they're doing a big collection tomorrow at the store where I work, and have asked for gently used baby clothes and towels/sheets--both of which I have plenty of); wash dishes; put away laundry; and, water plants. But really, all I want to do is collapse in a heap on the floor.
By the way, I saw one of the most intense and complete rainbows I can ever remember seeing today while I was driving back to Austin. I hope it was an sign that everything is going to get easier and better--not just for me and my mom, but for the countless individuals who have been suffering so horribly this week along the Gulf Coast.