Sunday, January 30, 2011


It's so nice to have a Sunday stretching out before me with all of the housework done.  Yesterday we had a couple of pals over to break in the pool table, so today, with the exception of tidying up from that, I can just sit in my clean house and not feel like I have a million things to do.

So, the main items on the agenda for today are to tally and submit my troop's GS cookie orders and finish an afghan I've been working on for a few weeks.

There is one tiny little fly in my ointment, though. E bought Sophie this little kit that has a recipe book and silicone baking cups in it.  I feel like it's called "Party in a Cup."  It has recipes for everything from chocolate mousse to shrimp-cocktail cups to gazpacho. And I know he did it to be nice. And I know he didn't think "Hmmm. Here's something for Soph to nag Boo about until she goes mad and finally goes and buys the shit for it and spends 3 hours of her weekend preparing drippy and probably nasty recipes that no one will actually want to eat." I KNOW that wasn't the intent. But it is the reality.

I call them "Soph's Notions."  That girl gets an idea in her head and is so fucking tenacious about it.  Sometimes I worry that the OCD on her dad's side of the family is poking its rotten little head out.  It's like she's in a constant state of disappointment because none of her visions are being completely fulfilled.  From sales ventures to major theatrical productions, she wants things to happen, on a large scale, just so, right now.

Today's best thing about being a mom: Having a built-in duster.

Today's worst thing about being a mom: Sitting here trying to come up with a best thing about being a mom and getting interrupted like 8 times with questions and requests and just needing five fucking minutes already!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You know you were booked into a shitty hotel when...

1. The hotel shares a parking lot with a gentleman's club named "Allure."
2. The front desk clerk makes you line-item initial 10+ items, including "no fires of any kind."
3. The room itself smells like feet.
4. The view out the window is train tracks and trailer parks.
5. The toiletries include shampoo but no conditioner.
6. The remote is bolted to the night stand.
7. There are HAIRS in the bed.
8. You spend the night laying on top of the bed, fully clothed, and spend the next morning checking for bed-bug bites.

Spent an un-lovely night last week at a dive in South Salt Lake, and have been exponentially grateful for my own bed ever since.

Today's best thing about being a mom:  Listening to her giggle to herself while reading Calvin and Hobbes (again.)
Today's worst thing about being a mom: Not always, but today, freaking Girl Scouts.  Don't get me wrong. I'm not a Girl Scout hater (well, not always) but after teaching teens all day, hanging out with a gaggle of giggling 8-10 year old girls for an hour brings out the Mrs. Hannigan in me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Get good soon...

When I'm trying to convince a class full of teenagers who really don't give a shit that there is, actually, a difference between "good" and "well," I often remind them that there is no such thing as a "get good soon" card.  But frankly, I don't give a flying fuck if you want to call it good or well, just as long as some time in the near future, I can have a day or two of being in reasonably good health.

A couple of months ago it was the bizarre torso/boob rash from hell that none of the doctors could figure out. And now it's the cough that won't end. I hate to just keep upping the ante on medication, but have gone from OTC to antibiotics and now am on a steroid (Prednisol?)  plus a super-fly cough syrup with codeine.  The combination gives me wicked night sweats, and last night I literally (yes, literally) had to change the sheets twice after waking up soaking wet.  (Either that or I grew some phantom male parts and enjoyed my first nocturnal emissions.)

Enough with the old lady health woes.

Soph is spectacular.  She's in the school play (based on School House it) and is one of the capital kids in the "Only a Bill" song. She's also ass deep in Girl Scout Cookie sales.  Other than a minor incident with some nail polish and her bathroom counter, we're getting along great.

And she still keeps growing up, no mater how many weights I pile on her little head.

The older your kids get, the more you start to get your life back, but frankly, who wants it?  By the time they're big enough that you have chunks of time for actual living, you've forgotten what to do with them, or you've gotten to old or rigid to do them justice. 

Honestly, I think I'd much rather cuddle and read Olivia Forms a Band and make Care Bear costumes and even do all the kid wiping (noses, butts, etc.) than try to truly understand and engage in most of shit going down in the world today.  Two little girls and only one crown at the play date?  That problem I can solve. National health care reform?  Fuck if I know.

Today's best thing about being a mom: Planning and making dinner together.

Today's worst thing about being a mom: Failing to keep us both at a more healthy weight.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Things that go bump…

(This is an assignment I just finished for a literacy endorsement class I'm taking. It's a bit vanilla since it's for school, but I still figured I'd toss it up here.)

I'm 35 years old, and I'm afraid of the dark. This realization came to me a couple of months ago, when, because of the time change, I found myself walking to my car from a class after the sun had gone down, rather than before as I had done in previous weeks. I remember leaving the building and suddenly feeling my heart begin to thump, and then scurrying to my car like a frightened rabbit. The parking lot of SEDC, a harmless enough space which I had frequented weekly for several months, suddenly felt unsafe to me. While hurrying to my car, I nervously pushed the unlock button on my key chain several times, and when I slid into the driver's seat, I turned to check the back seat to make sure no one with malevolent intentions was hiding back there (even though I knew perfectly well that the car had been locked). I then speedily locked the doors and drove home, feeling anxious and confused and a little disgusted with myself

Surprisingly, even after this event, I hadn't put a name to my fear. It seems obvious on reflection, but it wasn't until a similar event occurred after stopping by Wal-Mart to grab a loaf of bread on the way home from work that I realized what was going on. I repeated the earlier process: hurry to the car, check the back seat, lock the doors, and then drive away feeling equal parts afraid and sheepish. On the way home, I quizzed myself. I am I afraid of being alone? On the contrary-- I enjoy solitude, and am more likely to feel upset by the lack of "alone time" in my life than by too much of it. Could I have developed a phobia of parking lots? Ridiculous. Like most working moms, my life is often a series of errands requiring me to get into and out of the car several times a day. Then I considered why my anxiety had cranked up on this particular errand, remembered my mini-panic at SEDC, and it hit me. The dark. I wondered-- really? Was I really afraid of the dark?

And the answer is, unfortunately, yes. I was, am, and probably will always be afraid of the dark. When I mentioned this fear to my mom, she chuckled a bit, and reminded me that this fear is nothing new, but somehow I had forgotten it. As a young child, my fear of the dark was a bit of a joke in the family. I refused to go trick-or-treating, pointing out that there was a perfectly good bowl of candy right here, thank you very much, and I didn't need to go traipsing about the neighborhood in the dark on a night known for its spookiness to get more. I also didn't like fireworks, and one or the other of my parents usually had to miss the show because of staying home with me. How embarrassing. No wonder I'd "forgotten."

My childhood fear of the dark was compounded in my adolescence when I began more and more to realize how my gender made me a target of violence. I remember being warned about going out at night alone. One particular youth activity sticks with me. A self-defense teacher came and talked to a group of girls about safety. He showed us how to hold our keys grasped in the fist, creating a mace-like weapon to fend off possible attackers. He told stories of women who got into their cars at night, only to be abducted by a hidden assailant in the back seat, and warned us to keep the car locked at all times. I remember going home feeling so unsafe, and feeling how unfair it was that that fear was generated because I'm a girl, a member of "the weaker sex."

As an adult though, I guess I began to just find ways around the fear. As a school teacher, my work day ends in the late afternoon, and so I'm usually home before dark. When there are errands to run once the sun goes down, I generally pass the buck to my husband. Really,  I haven't consciously realized how I subtly maneuver my plans and schedule around this phobia until now.

Another minor hint in my adult life of my nyctophobia is my dislike of winter and my love of summer time. I've long described myself as being "solar powered person with no battery back-ups" and while the cold of winter repels me and the warmth of summer compels me, I think the root of my preference is light. In the summer, there are hours and hours of lovely light, and the evening stretches on and on. It's easily 8:00, and often later before I have to start thinking of wrapping up my "out and about" activities in order to beat the dark home.

Fortunately, my fear of the dark is very specifically limited to darkness "out there," and not "in here." That is to say, I am fine with darkness in my home. (In fact, in order to sleep well, I like a completely dark room.) Furthermore, I'm usually ok in the dark if I'm with an adult that I know. I feel no anxiousness sitting on my back porch with friends on a warm summer night, and I don't panic in a dark movie theater. It is only in public or unfamiliar places when I am alone, or with my young daughter, that I feel the panic, the feeling of being unsafe.

As a result, I've learned to avoid certain things. Parking lots are the worst, so I try and do most of my errands over the weekend instead of during the evening. Anywhere else in the car is a close runner up. In fact, driving alone on the freeway in the dark is something that I'll go to some lengths to avoid. I don't go for walks alone in the dark, and even with my dog I feel anxious, so I get less exercise during the winter months than I should.

I do feel embarrassed about this fear. After all, I'm not five. I'm a grown woman with a mortgage and a child--but somehow, I just can't shake it. So, do me a favor. If you invite me to the movies, just casually walk with me to my car after. If you need a ride somewhere, try to call someone else if it's late. Because I can do it. I can be alone, outside, in the dark. But I'd sure rather not.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Most exhausting week ever

In one week, I managed to...

totally clean the old place
celebrate Christmas
take care of a kid with a very ugly flu (and she's still sick.  Please god, please let her get well soon.)

Wouldn't have been able to do it without my family and friends. Thanks all. Going to fall over now.

Today's best thing about being a mom: Watching Ponyo
Today's worst thing about being a mom: Cleaning up shit and vomit