Category Archives: Parents

If I Wrote Mother’s Day Cards…

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I hate buying Mother’s Day cards.  They’re so treacly, so very sweet that spending more than 15 minutes in the Hallmark store will outright kill a diabetic.  This is completely true, I swear.  Sadly, as is common nowadays, I have two moms to celebrate on Mother’s Day.  And neither one of them is really the squishy marshmallow type Hallmark writers write cards for.

MOM: I have a great mom.  I mean she’s kinda batshit crazy sometimes, but overall she’s fantastic and she has a very loving and kind heart.  Besides raising me and my siblings (no mean feat, as we’re all really obnoxious, each in our special unique way), she also used to be considered an expert marksman.  Back in the day, my momma was something else.  She was a female cop in Georgia in the 70s when it was still considered appropriate to sexually harrass female cops.  She was CSI before Gil Grissom made it all broody and sexy. (By the way, crime scene unit techs don’t actually interrogate suspects, also, according to my mom, those actors on CSI have terrible fingerprint examination techniques, and also?  Most CSIs don’t have to carry the maglight everywhere on account of how they turn the lights on when conducting investigations.) There are downsides to a mom so acquainted with the darker side of human nature.  If I was even 20 minutes late getting home from an outting with my friends, my mom would drag out the crime scene photos and remind me that they “didn’t think anything bad would happen to them, either.”  My sister was once pulled over by a cop for speeding-it’s bad enough getting a ticket, but multiply that by ten when the first thing the officer does is call your mom.  We also developed cast iron stomachs.  How could you not when we all discussed crimes scenes over dinner?  There are exceptions to my ability to maintain my composure in the midst of extreme grossness, most notably the people who ruined no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies and thousand island dressing for me forever (you know who you are…) but by and large I’m okay talking about how squishy brains are while eating spaghetti at the same time.  When she quit the police, my mom went and got a masters and Ph.D. in English and Writing respectively.  She parlayed her CSU experience into a fairly successful career as a crime procedure novelist.  She never hit the NYT Bestsellers, but she did manage to amass some very loyal readers, and to this day I get a kick out of seeing any of her 15+ published books at the library.  She is older now, still kind of goofy, and still says and does off-the-wall stuff.  She is anything except conventional but Hallmark doesn’t sell those types of cards.

STEPMOM: And then there’s the monster.  Don’t let the pejorative fool you.  I love this cranky woman to pieces.  She drives me nuts-hyper critical, hyper-judgmental, major control freak, and yet…  You all probably know that one person who acts all mean and cranky, but deep down inside there’s massive bunches of carameley gooey sweet awesomeness.  The monster is that someone for me.  Once she loves you, she loves you for life.  You’re part of her tribe and no matter how much she thinks your outfit is stupid or you’re an idiot for some course of action you just took, she will defend the crap out of you to anyone else who dares try to shut you down.  Better, she will support you when you start to give up.  I mean, it can be exasperating to hear her go on and on about how I should be probably be doing something else other than the thing I am doing, but try to quit and she’s the first person to build me back up.  She’s also funny, like wicked hilarious.  She can laugh at herself better than most people I know.  Just try to tell her she’s awesome, though, and she snarks.  But deep down inside where the goo lives?  She kinda likes that I think she’s kinda awesome.  As for “monster.”  Well, that name came about when I was in high school and she wouldn’t let me do something I wanted to do.  I slammed the door and screamed out that she was a wicked stepmonster.  And then, well, we both just kinda cracked up at that.  She’s been my monster ever since.  The only one I could ever love.

So to my mom, thank you for showing me by example that being true to myself is the coolest, and frankly, the only way to be.  You let your crazy freak flag fly and that makes you mighty.

To my monster, I’ll be sure and reload the Sonic card for mother’s day. Or at least I’ll give you the card back along with $5.00.  Because you are just the kind of odd to think that’s a really cool gift.

Because the truth is that in my family, Mother’s Day is a completely unnecessary holiday.  Every day is Mother’s Day.

Take that, Hallmark.

Another One Bites the Dust

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And Teen Conference is over.  I’m so glad.  It’s always such a chore while I’m working on it, but worthwhile when it’s over and I can reflect back on it.  This year’s conference was pretty successful-only one minor glitch involving the movie night after the kids got back from Six Flags.  The movie kept starting itself over.  Turns out they wanted to watch the basketball game anyway, so no great shakes.  I’m sorry the movie didn’t work out, but glad they got to watch the game on the big screen television in the residence hall.  I didn’t have to stay over in the dorms this year, either, which was nice.  I don’t mind doing it, actually, but I sleep a lot better in my own bed.  So it’s over and will soon be time to start the planning process all over again for next year!

The monster and I are fostering a dog right now–her name is Marcella and she’s from the Lab Rescue.  She’s a four year old yellow labrador retriever.  Very sweet, but very stubborn.  She doesn’t mind anything I say unless she already wants to do it.  And, though the monster does everything she can to keep Cella off the furniture, Cella keeps jumping up on the ottoman anyway, looking all innocent, like “what, this is a problem?”  Well, yes, Marcella, it is a problem, just like it was yesterday and the day before that.  And she can be such an irritating beast, but then she’ll lean against you just so and put her paw on your arm and “hug” you and you melt like butter.  She’s the perfect dog about 90% of the time and the other 10% she’s … not.  Honestly, though, even with her faults, we’ll have no trouble placing her.  She’s just a young lab and they have lots of energy.  We just need to find a family that doesn’t mind dogs on furniture, ’cause that’s a losing battle.

Saw Sunshine and Pasta Man and V yesterday evening.  Sunshine and Pasta Man are moving to AZ this week and I will miss them very much.  I don’t know Pasta Man extremely well, but I like what I know.  And Sunshine is just like her name-sunshiney and joyful.  I’m sorry for me, but happy for them.  I think they will really love their new home, but I’ll still miss them.  I’m glad V is home for the summer and can I say V looks fabulous?  I think I can.  I think I just did.  🙂

Today starts the beginning of my four-day work-weeks.  It’s a summertime flex schedule where I work four ten-hour days and take the fifth day off.  I had yesterday off this week, but I’ll be taking Fridays most weeks.  Yesterday was great.  I did a whole lot of nothing.  Slept.  Showered.  Played with dogs.  Visited V and Sunshine and Pasta Man.  Just really relaxing. 

Sunday was the monster’s birthday, so I spent much of the weekend with her.  It was a pretty quiet weekend, actually.  Just what I needed after Teen Conference.

I think I’m rambling.  I’ll end this now. Hope all of you are happy!!!

Growing Older Does Not Necessarily Mean Your Parents Will Stop Embarrassing You

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Last night was my dad and stepmother’s 25th wedding anniversary. Foi and I made them a slide show so they could share their special moments with their guests. When one of our guests commented that Dad and Carol must be so proud of us girls, they confirmed that yes indeed, they were proud of us. Then proceeded to point out how I flunked in high school until my senior year, when for some reason I suddenly began to give a crap. We also commented how I almost have a masters degree in education, but changed my mind midship, and now am working on my masters in social work. All of this is true, but geez…did we have to share? Loudly? C’mon… So yes, I flunked in high school because I skipped too much class, was compelled to attend summer school, graduated a half year later than I was supposed to, and am indecisive. Gah!!! I love my parentals, I really do. All four of them. 🙂

Checking In…

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I’m working my part time shift at the theatre right now.  One of our lovely cleaning crew is here vacuuming, and I swear the vacuum cleaner just made a noise that sounded like she vacuumed up a cat.  It was kind of a “rowrrrrrr” sound like my siamese cat, Lester, used to make.  Very concerning.  And then the wind keeps blowing one of the glass doors open and shut.  It could be very spooky if I were superstitious and bought into the legends about theatres being haunted.  But I am not.  Mostly.  It helps that I’m here in the middle of the day and most profoundly NOT alone.  🙂

The honeysuckle in my backyard is in bloom and it smells so sweet.  I love honeysuckle.  When I was a little kid my grandmother had a huge honeysuckle bush in her backyard and when it was in bloom I used to stand in front of it for hours (literal hours) just smelling it.  I wonder if that causes brain damage.  It could explain a few things.  🙂  I kid.  A little bit.  But honeysuckle is my second favorite flower, next to daisies.  I love daisies.  So simple, yet so ridiculously pretty.  I’d rather have a bunch of daisies than a dozen long-stemmed red roses.

This time of year is wonderful anyway.  It has spawned yards and yards and yards of horrible poetry, but I completely understand the sentiment.  How could I not, when the Texas highways are lined with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush and buttercups and those black-eyed yellow flowers some people call weeds.  They’re so pretty.  And the iris have been in full bloom and the knock out roses in the backyard are red and pink and huge blossoms.  Then there’s the wisteria, though it’s mostly gone now, replaced by green vines.  Wisteria in full bloom is probably my third favorite flowering plant.  I really do love spring.  The hastas are starting to flower and pretty soon our hydrangea bushes will be absolutely covered in pink and blue flowers.  Not to be a big old sap, but wow!  So pretty.

I’m getting together with Foi after work for a little while.  We’re scanning photographs for Dad and Carol and, depending on how quickly that goes, going to the largest half price book store in Texas.  Mmmm…books.  They just smell good.  The e-book readers are neat but there’s still nothing like holding an actual book in your hand.  And by holding an actual book, I mean one that I want to read, not one that was assigned to me. 

I’m still not sure about the social work degree.  I am taking macro and human behavior this summer, but if I feel the same as I have this semester, I will stop before I’ve gone any further.  I just think the social work masters will help me two-fold.  One, I can head up my department, which, frankly I think I’m qualified to do even without the masters degree, and two, it will be beneficial when writing outreach grants for theatre.  V will be home eventually and she plans on opening a branch of Lime House out here and I do want to be a part of that.  I think monies would come more swiftly with a MSW on staff.  But even considering all that, I will stop if this coming semester is as unhappy-making as the current one has been.

Which…one more week from Monday and I am done with this semester!!!  I just have one paper to finsih writing and one final to take.  I technically should be doing homework instead of driving to a big book store this afternoon, but I’m feeling so free and happy.  Homework will just sully the mood.  🙂  I’ll do it tomorrow.  Procrastination can sometimes be a very good thing.

Well, I’ll end this now.  My theatre shift is almost over and I need to balance out the till, so to speak.  Thanks for checking in with me and I hope YOU are having a great day, too.

Random Comments May 13, 2008 Edition

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  • My mommy is coming for a visit in June.  I’m really excited.  I don’t actually usually call her “mommy” but I’m needy lately, so “mommy” it is.  Chauceriangirl and I have a surprise in mind for the day of lunch.  She reads this blog, though, so I can’t say what it is.  If you want to know, email me and I’ll tell you (unless you answer to the name “mom”).  But sshhh…keep it secret.
  • The lease on my Escape expires in August, so I decided to buy the “New Ford Focus.”  (in quotation marks because that’s how Ford is selling it these days.  “The new Ford Focus.  Better than ever…will make you 60% cooler and significantly improve the firmness and texture of your skin.  *Results not comparible to professional procedures.”  The Car Guy keeps talking up the new Focus on his radio show-I trust Car Guy, so I’m feeling pretty good about choosing this over the other fuel-efficient options out there.  None of the cars on the lot had all of the specific features I wanted, so I ordered one.  Did you know anti-lock brakes are not standard on the Ford Focus?  I’m paying extra for it, but it’s worth it.  I’m just kind of surprised Ford is making such an important safety feature an option.  C’mon Ford.  Man up.  Do the right thing on next year’s model.  My new car should be here in 6-8 weeks.  I’m not really in new car mode, so I’m not yet all that excited.  Maybe once it’s here, I’ll have that “yay, a new car” feeling.
  • This is a busy work week.  We have our annual training seminar on Wednesday, which always means extra work on top of my normal work-work.  I don’t mind it though because it’s always kind of fun to meet the clients and put a face to the voice.  Plus the office caters in lunch and breakfast, and that yogurt dip they serve with the fresh fruit?  So.  Good.
  • Graduation ceremonies are awesome.  I worked the university’s ceremony on Friday-my job was taking the candid shots of graduates and their families.  I grumble about it beforehand because it’s a lot of work and it’s four or five hours I’m not at my own desk, where I already have lots of to-do’s waiting for me.  But I always enjoy it while I’m there.  It’s sort of awesome and inspiring seeing the culmination of years and years of hard work paying off-especially for the doctoral candidates.  Some of them cry as they’re being hooded and that gets me all teary too. 
  • Went to Lone Star Comics last week and spent too much money.  Again.  Who would have thunk I’d turn into a big comic-book geek?  I’m addicted to the Buffy season 8 comics.  I’m finding the direction the story is taking fascinating-dark and angsty-Buffy and crew are totally on a different playing field and I’m enjoying that.  Guy at the store got me to check out Fables and I’m liking that as well.  I’ve been catching up on past storylines.  Plus they sometimes get classics in the comic form-I subscribed to The Picture of Dorian Gray.  I read that back when I was a teenager.  It occurs to me that the graphic novel formats could be a great teaching tool and a way to get teenager boys and girls tuned to literature.  I do love the artwork, but put that together with an amazing story and I’m putty.
  • Diet Dr. Pepper is one of the best inventions ever.
  • I’m almost done watching the Tudors on DVD (first season).  I think the acting is amazing, but again, I so intensely dislike some of the characters that sometimes it’s just not very enjoyable for me.  I don’t think I would have enjoyed being at court.  Also, Henry Cavill is quite possibly one of the prettiest men I’ve ever laid eyes on.  No really.  VERY pretty.
  • Here endeth the rambling randomness.

Thanks Mom and Dad…

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…for the good teeth genes.  I’m not being sarcastic, either, lest you mistakenly detect snarkiness there.  Yes, I am genuinely grateful for my good teeth.  I may have thick ankles (cankles-the natural enemy of the mary jane shoe), but I have great teeth.   What brings this on, you ask?

Well, I have dental phobia.  As a result I avoid dentists like the plague (or if you wanna be punny, like the plaque…hahaha…no?  okay, you’re right, that was lame).  Anyway, I finally manned up and went today.  No cavities.  Very little build up.  Perfectly straight teeth that will never make any dentist rich, ever.  Got x-rays.  Got the teeth cleaned.  And 35 minutes later I was done.  There was no minimal whining on my behalf.  My dentist admitted there were five year-olds who were braver than me; but she also told me there were 45 year-olds who were way bigger chickens.  So it’s done and I don’t have to worry about teeth again.  Till November.

So, again I say-Thanks Mom and Dad for the good teeth.

Family Togetherness

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I think I’ve read a thousand essays in which a family group, during a power outage, lights candles, sits together in the living room and gets to know one another all over again.  They’re charming stories where viewpoints are changed and reconciliations are made.  They’re hopeful, because the implication is that at the end of the day, family bonds are made stronger and familial love and affection prevails.

In my family?  Not so much.  Well, at least not with dad and the monster.  Mom and T have a little more imagination.  The power is still out, and as of this morning, is expected to be out until at least Saturday.  Last night, we lit about 20 candles-there still wasn’t enough light to read a book by, and with only one flashlight, it would have been selfish of me to use up the batteries reading.  We opened windows to get some circulation flowing and then we sat.  It went something like this:

izzy: Aw, it’s like the old days…we can sit and talk for a while.  What did you do when you were a kid?

Dad: I’m not that old.  We had power when I was kid.

izzy: Yeah, dad, that’s not what I meant.  I know you had a power-even had a television.  But what did you do when the power went out?  How did you spend time?  What did you talk about?

Dad: Nothing.  (silence)

izzy: So, monster, what did you and dad do with your day off?

Monster:  Went out for breakfast.  Had the car washed.  Painter came by.  Went out for lunch.  Came home.  Then took the dogs for a drive.  Then came home.  (silence)

izzy: The painter came by?  Great!  When are you scheduled to have the house painted?

Monster: (look flashes across face making it clear she thinks I’m an idiot for asking) He can’t until until J [our contractor] does his repair work.

izzy: Oh, right, J’s coming this weekend still?

Monster: (another look flashes across her face–is the kid really this stupid) Where do you suppose he’ll be plugging in the power tools-we have no electricity, remember?  (doesn’t say ‘duh’ but clearly thinks it)

**silence**

Dad: This is crap.  It sucks.  I wanna watch television.

izzy: (sympathetically) Yeah, I’m sorry you have no electricity on your day off.  Makes playing on the computer sort of difficult.  Stinks.

Monster: (snorts in a very unladylike fashion) Yeah, no playing with Edna today.

izzy: (confused) Edna?

Monster: His mistress, the computer.  We’ve named her Edna.

izzy: oh.

**silence**

Dad: Who do you think got voted off American Idol?

izzy: Dunno.  They all kind of stunk last week-could be any of them. 

Dad: Wouldn’t know.  ‘Cause we have no power.  Can’t watch the television.

**silence**

izzy: No, seriously, Dad.  I know you didn’t have television when you were a young boy-so what did you do then?  When did you get your first tv anyway?

Dad:  Aunt Margie had a television first.  Her husband was a crook.  I think he died in jail.

**silence**

izzy: Okay…well, that’s nice to know.

**silence**

Monster: I’m going to call the power company again.

izzy: You’ve already called them six times since I got home 2 hours ago.  I think you should let it go and just let them work on it.

(Suddenly, the lights flicker on, then off, then from a distance we hear an explosion.)

(Simultaneously) izzy: that didn’t sound good.  monster: I’m calling the power company again, right now.  dad: *$#&)#%

**silence**

(one of the candles suddenly extinguishes)

monster: (dialing the power company) please, let me get the US call center…please let me get the US call center…

**silence** the monster is still on hold.  Dad goes outside with the flashlight and shines it the general direction of the power grid, which is over six miles away and completely NOT visible from our backyard.

monster: Hi, is this the US call center?  Oh.  Well, I just thought you should know that our lights flickered but the power was still off.  And we heard an explosion right after…yes, ma’am…no ma’am…no, we still don’t have power…well, do you know when we might have power…okay, fine thanks.  (beat) We still don’t have any power.

izzy: screw this.  I’m going to bed.

That was our pleasant family evening.  Go ahead, Normal Rockwell, do a painting of that one.  I dare you.