Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Treading Water

I finally enrolled in my classes for the spring semster. I'm taking Honors Speech and Honors Comp II.

Go me.

Those two classes don't make me feel like I'm going anywhere at all. But at least I'm taking some, I guess, and both of those are basic requirements for my undergrad. And they'll salve my ego and my GPA after that stupid class last semester. I shouldn't have any problem getting A's in both of them.

Now to take my test for the certification that the aformentioned class from the fiery bowels of hell supposedly qualifies me for in the first place. And to get a job. For now, though, it's enough that I'm enrolled in a couple of classes for the semester.

I NEED to run tomorrow. Christmas threw me off, and I'm getting into this mad blue funk. Total running withdrawal. The Wii and the knitting and the Scout shop and the pants I need to hem and the laundry and my grey hairs that need to be touched up and everything else are going to have to take a back seat for a little while, because if I don't run a few miles tomorrow I'm probably going to start taking sniper shots from a belltower somewhere. It STILL amazes me that a couch potato like myself has gotten so thoroughly addicted to something as strenuous as running, but boy am I ever!

Any big New Year plans? We're going to a party. Maybe. If I can break out of this Eeyore thing I have going on.


I have had a breakthrough.

Life is entirely too short to drink out of ugly coffee cups.

A few years ago, when J's store was advertising on our local WB channel, he brought home a crapload of rather unattractive WB coffee cups. Generally, I have my coffee out of them in the mornings, just out of habit.

Today, I tossed them all out.

I do have a few coffee cups that I like. The one I got at Disney World, which is aqua (for years I've been claiming this is my favorite color...not sure how it's escaped my notice that given the choice, I'll always pick red), and which has "it was all started by a mouse" along the inner rim. The tall one that says "Internet Girl," and has a picture on it of a girl with a laptop who looks fairly similar to me. She even has her hair in the low ponytail with the side part that I tend to wear when I don't feel like messing with it. There's a chip in the handle, but I don't care. And the Starbucks cup that I got from Mom and Dad last Christmas, which is a nice shape and just the right size (I don't like my cups too big, because the coffee cools down before I can drink the whole thing). There's also one that I snagged from a place I used to work, which is really thick stoneware and looks like something from a 40s diner. It has a retro-looking picture of a perky little man and says "try our coffee, it's delicious!"

So, excellent. I have four coffee cups that I love. And I refuse to drink out of another cup I don't love, ever again. I like my coffee too much to drink it out of cups that suck.

I'm now officially on the prowl for coffee cups that I love. I intend to fill my cabinet with them, eventually.

On another note, we are now the proud owners of a Wii. I will never, ever accomplish another thing again in my life.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Working Subtitle: Why I Wear Heels to Wal-Mart

Ok, I really don't usually wear heels to the soul-sucking, hellish vortex that is Wal-Mart. It's just that once in awhile, I get a bug up my butt to look nice. Today was such a day. I actually felt like putting my hair in hot rollers, but didn't really have time. So I settled for jeans with heels and a nice shirt.

To go where? The yarn store. Yeah, you read that right. I'm knitting again. I'm currently insanely stressed, and most of you know most of the reasons why. Knitting is great for that. I can fidget incessantly and call it "working on a project." Plus it's portable. I've got two things going on, both of which incorporate things I've never done before: one is a sweater, very sheer and, since I'm not a slut, meant to be worn over a tank top. I'm randomly adding seed beads to it as I go - that's new for me, but I got a lot of compliments on it at the yarn store, so I guess it looks good. The other is a pair of socks, which requires knitting in the round. That's four needles I'm working with, people. FOUR. It's unwieldy, but strangely addictive. And the socks are shaping up to be pretty cute. They're bright, and I don't usually wear any color of socks but white, but I might have to work up several particularly obnoxious pairs to wear with my Cub Scout uniform. These can be Obnoxious Cub Scout Socks Number One. I'll try and take some pictures of my knitting and post them tomorrow.

So I had to go to the yarn store, because my spazzfest of a Golden Retriever ate one of my balls of yarn. Mohair. Not cheap. I love my dog, but I really wish she had a hobby other than creating the most expensive and often bizarre poop she possibly can. We already have polyfill laying around the backyard because she has made it her life goal to consume my sofa in its entirety. The yarn poop should be absolutely fascinating.

After that, Wal-Mart. Where I ran into, of all people, a girl I went to high school with. Now I know why I never run into anyone I used to know when I come home for a visit...apparently, they've all moved here. She was a few grades below me, but I was friends with her cousin. She recognized me right away, I honestly can't say the same for her. Nice girl. She had her daughter with her, who is a fabulous little thing and clearly gives her mother a run for her money. Literally. Last glimpse I had of the two of them, my former schoolmate was chasing the little girl down the dairy aisle at a full sprint.

After that, I ran into a girl I used to work with. I can't stand this person, nor could anyone else who worked there other than a few paunchy, drooling middle-aged management types. She's not particularly pretty, but she's an emaciated blonde who presents herself in, umm...a certain way. She doesn't really do anything productive that I've ever noticed...mostly she takes credit for other people's work, orders co-workers around, and throws people under the bus to cover her own mistakes, which she makes thoroughly and often. I never was able to figure out exactly what it is she DOES, other than what I just mentioned. She certainly did spend a lot of time behind closed doors with her direct supervisor, though (one of those drooling middle-aged management types).

I guess "ran into" isn't really the right term. You couldn't have paid me to talk to her, but we made eye contact for long enough that I caught the "wow, she's lost weight!" once-over she gave me. And it wasn't a congratulatory look. Heh!

So it was nice that I had on makeup, my hair was fixed and I was wearing decent clothes.

Right now, it's equally nice that I'm in my Pepto-pink footie pajamas with the monkeys all over them. Off to bed.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I have NOTHING TO DO. All week long.

Well, I have lots of housework I could be doing. But we all know how that works.

I'm not doing well with this whole nothing-to-do thing. It's not even that I'm bored - I'm all jittery, like I've had too much coffee (which I haven't). I'm totally restless, and in one of those moods where you just want to scream for no reason. I really, really want to get out of the house, but to do that I'd have to get myself all presentable, and if I bother with THAT, I'm far less likely to run. And if I don't run today, I'll have to do it tomorrow, and today is really better. Besides, I NEED to run. Six miles will expend just about the right amount of energy, and get me all noodly and relaxed instead of jittery and tightly wound. It will use up some time, too, and afterward I can take a nice long soak in my tub. I'll feel much better after that...everything will fall into place after a run and a soak in the tub, I know. I'll be way more centered. But I have S for probably about the next 3 hours, until The Ex picks him up.

So I have to wait.

What on earth do I do with myself in the meantime? I cleaned out and reorganized my closet yesterday. Today I've scrubbed the kitchen and done laundry. Maybe my dresser drawers? Bleh.

One thing is for sure...I'm not cut out for the stay-at-home domestic goddess thing. It hasn't even been a week since I've been done with school, and most of my days have been filled up since then. I've lasted LESS THAN A DAY not having anything going on.

How sad is that? I ask you.

Friday, December 12, 2008

In the News

Bettie Page has died. You know, 1950s pinup queen extraordinaire? Black hair? Bangs? I know several of you might not agree with me, but I think she was absolutely fabulous, and I'm truly sorry to hear of her passing. She's proof of the often-used "well-behaved women rarely make history" quote.

It seems that they've also possibly found Caylee Anthony. It also seems that right about the time she WAS being found, J and I were discussing why she hasn't been found. I couldn't figure it out...hiding a body is easy, but hiding a body well is not (no, I don't know this from personal experience, but I am enough of a true crime buff to understand how difficult it is to successfully commit murder). As far as I was concerned, that mother of hers is too much of a twit to be able to hide a body well. Then J pointed out that they do, after all, live in Florida, with swampland and gators and whatnot. Point taken. It would be relatively easy to hide a body well in Florida. You'd pretty much just have to put it somewhere secluded enough to give the local flora and fauna enough time to do what comes naturally.

Seems the mother is an even bigger twit than I thought, though, if it does turn out to be Caylee (which, come on, is there ANYONE who thinks it isn't?). First of all...a plastic bag? Seriously?! Second of all...putting the bag in a place where it was known that she used to hang out with all the other twits she went to high school with?


I hope all of this doesn't sound too cavalier. I haven't lost sight of the fact that this is a little girl - a beautiful, precious little girl who deserved so much better than what she got. Even so, I hope it is her, if for no other reason than to give her grandparents some peace and some answers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A La Mode

There is a woman whose son is in our Cub Scout pack who insists on calling me Wendy. As just about all of you know, that is not my name. Also, it's not a name I particularly like. And she's starting to get on my nerves with it.

It's not that she doesn't know my name. She's called me by it before. And it's not really even a joke. I get the distinct impression that it's some sort of dominance thing. It's all very "I will call you whatever I want, and what do you think you're going to do about it?"

The answer? Nothing, really. I don't answer to Wendy, but I'm not going to freak out over it, either. Not worth it.

Last night at a school function, the Wendying was accompanied by a lovely little comment: "Wendy, it's so WEIRD to see you in heels!" Umm...ok.

I do know what she meant by it...that I'm not in my scout uniform or some permutation thereof. But the thing is, she doesn't even really see me in that, very much. She doesn't come to a lot of scout functions, and the ones she does attend are things like camping where I'm not in uniform anyway (although, granted, I'm not wearing heels either). On top of that, our boys are in the same grade and we both come to school events fairly often, so it can't be THAT weird to see me in civvies. Either way, if I had made a comment like that and I wasn't actively trying to insult the person at whom it was directed, I would have made a point of also saying how nice they looked, or something.

Yeah, there was none of that. So I'm pretty sure she was being exceedingly catty. Why? No idea. Ok, SOME idea. But I do know that it's nothing I've ever done to her...while I don't like her very much, I adore her son and have been nothing but decent to her (except when I ignore her if she calls me Wendy, and that's not usually even on purpose since it's NOT MY NAME).

Unfortunately, I have to deal with her on Friday again. And what's the girly thing to do when you know you're going to be dealing with someone who is a complete and utter cow?

You make sure you look better than she does, of course.

I had to go to the mall anyway today, to exchange that sweater that Grandma accidentally-on-purpose bought. I ended up keeping the sweater, actually, but figured that while I was there, maybe I'd look for a nice blouse. I could use one, since I'm at that odd in-between-sizes phase.

I found NOTHING. Or rather, I did...about 3 gorgeous shirts, all over $70, at Banana Republic and White House/Black Market. A little out of my range at the moment. So I came home with nothing, and for that, I blame muffin tops.

A muffin top is what you get when you're a size 12, and you squeeze into a pair of size 6 jeans, forcing all of your fat to congregate right above the waistband. Got the visual? Girls with muffin tops seem to enjoy proudly showing them off in little t-shirts that are generally also too small, so they ride up and show off the muffin top in all of its pale, jiggly fishbelly glory. The shirts often have witty little slogans like "your boyfriend wants me" or "yes, I know I'm hot" or the like, and the girls wearing them never seem to notice any irony about that. Generally, those sporting a muffin top seem to be in their 20s, I've noticed...no longer nubile little fetuses of teenagers, maybe gained some weight since then, but they're still trying to pretend they wear the same size that they wore when they were in middle school. By the time they're about 30, they seem to figure out that it's a lost cause and buy some jeans that fit them. If you see a woman over 30 (a.k.a. old enough to know better) sporting a muffin top and making no effort to camouflage it with a baggy shirt, there's a pretty good bet that she's also got any combination of the following going on: really long, "airbrush-art" nails in fluorescent and/or glittery colors, peroxide hair, something in an animal print and/or with studs or rhinestones, lots of fake tanning going on and possibly a small dog in a purse. Come to think of it, girls under 30 with severe cases of muffin top fairly often have those things, too.

Now, granted, there have been times when I've been forced to wear jeans that were a bit too tight and gave me a little pork roll. Sometimes you gain weight, can't afford new jeans, and you have to do what you have to do, but I've always, ALWAYS made sure to wear a shirt that hides the muffin top. When I see a girl with a serious case of it, especially with a tight, short shirt that accentuates it (and it happens WAY more than it ever should), I always wonder...does she have a full-length mirror? Does she use it? And does she actually think that looks good? I can't fathom the thought process that allows anyone to leave the house looking like that. Muffin tops are NOT a good look.

So why do I blame muffin tops for the fact that I couldn't find a decent blouse? Because just about every shirt to be had in the mall had this whole balloony-blousy thing going on, all baggy and gathered into a band at the bottom. Cutting armholes in a trash bag and attaching the odd bow and sequin would give just about the same effect as the shirts that are out right now. Apparently there are a lot of females who think this IS a good look, and I agree, if you're going for something oompa-loompa-esque. These shirts flatter no one, not even the fetuses and the boobless stick insects that the fashion industry gears itself toward. So these shirts puzzled me. Whose brilliant idea were they, and why have they gotten so popular?

Then it occured to me: These shapeless wonder-sacks would be PERFECT for hiding a nasty case of muffin top.

So here's what apparently happened. The Fashion Industry Powers That Be saw the muffin tops, and were sore afraid. They decided that the muffin tops must be abolished at any cost, found a couple of old parachutes, put them on a couple of vapid anorexic supermodels, and deemed them to be high-fashion. The muffin tops were thus concealed (not on the supermodels, of course, since they couldn't squeeze out a muffin top if their bony little lives depended on it...just on everyone else), and all was right with their world.

Except it didn't work. Because I STILL see muffin tops. You can lead a muffin top to a shapeless sack shirt, but you can't make it drink. Or wear the shirt. I really don't know who's buying all these sack things, because the t-shirt that's 3 sizes too small is still pretty prevalent.

Also, where does that leave those of us who are not chronic muffin-top offenders, and are actually cognizant of when something does not fit? We who are not responsible for horrors and travesties of fashion wind up being punished, because we can't find a single thing to wear that actually flatters us.

So even though I hated muffin tops before, I hate them even more now for depriving me of decent clothes.

Whatever. I'll end up looking better than Wendy-Bird on Friday anyway, and I won't have spent an extra cent to do it. Perhaps I'll break out the 3-inch hot pink satin stilettos. Wendy-Bird, I'll show YOU high heels!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Opening Night

S had his opening night tonight!

After a bit of struggle to get him to let his fellow castmembers smear cocoa powder on his face (to make him look dirty...yes, I actually have to FORCE that child to get dirt on him), it all went smoothly. In his words, "awesome!" He's tired, though, and still ready for a hiatus from theatre before he tries out for another production, although his timeline has gone from "a couple of months" to "several weeks." I think that's very wise of him. I was never any good at pacing myself like that, and truth be told, I'm still not, so it's a relief to see that tendency in S.

The play is excellent. I can see why performances sell out. It really is a quality show, and well worth the admission price. I'm not that biased, either...S only has a handful of lines, and most of the lines requiring comedic timing and good delivery belong to other kids. They really pull it off, and I'm very impressed.

In a fit of what I can only chalk up to temporary insanity, I signed up for green room duty tonight. This mainly entails keeping 30-odd kids extremely quiet in about a 25-square foot space for the duration of the show.

Oh, yeah...did I mention that it was OPENING NIGHT? Which roughly translates to "seriously wired children." It didn't go so badly, though. Maybe they were too nervous to set anything on fire.

It transpires that the kid playing the dad in the show has a crush on me, which I've actually been aware of for a couple of weeks now. Nice kid. HUGE flirt, and not just with me. It's all very cute, and not a little bit flattering, considering that I'm over twice his age and old enough to be his mother (which I have pointed out to him several times, including the one where he asked me for my phone number). Suffice it to say that until this evening, it had been a VERY long time since I've had a giggly middle-schooler come up to me and say, "my friend thinks you're really hot!"

Actually, I feel rather old just thinking about HOW long that's been.

S has a birthday party to go to tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it. For one thing, there will be laser tag. For another, all of the adults in attendance will be older than I am. At the moment, this is a very, very good thing...while what I said in my last post about really enjoying the company of kids right now still holds true, I'm feeling the need for some grown-up conversation at the moment.

Right after I kick all of their butts at laser tag.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Yup. My sinuses are playing havoc with my...well, everything. I'll be calling in sick to school (yes, we have to CALL IN sick for this particular class), hanging out on VFK and staring at the Christmas tree all day long. I already know that a lava lamp plus sinus medicine equals a VERY interesting time, at least for me. Anything stronger than Tylenol always knocks me flat on my butt and alters my consciousness in new and creative ways. Guess I'll be experimenting with blinky Christmas lights and sinus meds today.

I really can't be sick right now. S has his dress rehearsal tomorrow, and opening night Friday. He has a birthday party to go to on Saturday, which I was looking forward to also, because it's at the laser tag place. Next week is his third grade musical, a pack meeting and two scout leader meetings.

Oh, yeah...and finals.

This isn't good.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Children's Hour

Well, it's official. I can study my butt off for hours, or I can study hardly at all, and either way I get a B on my exams.

Whatever. I'm very anxious to move on to next semester and salve my GPA and my ego, both of which are slightly bruised at the moment, with more A's. I'm also working on a presentation that I'd like to give at an honors conference coming up in the spring on subject-specific learning disabilities (gee, can't imagine where I got THAT topic, can you?).

S has rehearsals every night this week, because opening night is on Friday. He's tired and nervous, and wants to take a hiatus from theatre for a couple of months before trying out for another production. That's fine with me. For one thing, I could use a break too, and for another, there aren't any auditions coming up in the next while anyway.

I had lunch with him today, along with one of the scouts in his den. I was pretty glad that he picked this particular boy to have lunch with us. M is absolutely freaking adorable, smart, witty, utterly charming, and just all-around squishable. Truth be told, he's probably my favorite in the entire pack besides S, and I'd eat lunch with this kid every week if I could.

Lunch is fun at S's school, especially lately. The kids seem to like me, probably in large part because I'm approximately their height and act roughly their age. And there are always two or three little girls who come up and talk to me about whatever shoes I happen to be wearing. Not sure what it is about the shoes, but it's always different little girls, so there's something going on with that. Today it was a pair of silver mary janes that I got at Payless last week. Last week it was hot pink satin stilettos.

Yeah, ok...I guess I can see the little-girl appeal!

There's another little boy in S's class whom I really like. H is autistic, and very very sweet. The other children are very kind to and protective of him, which gives me warm fuzzies all by itself. He's a random hugger, and comes out with things like "fireworks are funny!" While laughing hysterically. This was last week, while we were walking down the hall to the classroom with no fireworks in sight, but if you think about it, he's right. Fireworks are a pretty strange concept. He's as engaging as M is, although in an entirely different way. H makes me think.

For some reason right now, I'm really enjoying the company of children. I've never been one to want more than small doses of them at a time unless they were my son, sisters or cousins (and that's had its limits, too!), but that seems to be shifting. Not that I'm considering taking up a career teaching or anything, but lately kids sure are fun to talk to! Wonder what that's about.

Monday, December 1, 2008


We had our first snow last night. Just a little sugar dusting on the ground, but S was excited. We'll have hot chocolate when he comes home from school, to celebrate.

There is now a train running around our Christmas tree. I had it up last year too, but it was a little difficult for me, putting it together and starting it up. There was something about the feel of the track snapping together in my hands, and lining up the wheels so that the engine and cars wouldn't jump the track, that just brought back a big flood of Papa. I didn't do very well with it then. But it was already set up this morning, so J must have done it. He mentioned it last night, and I didn't argue with him, because it was just easier not to. Sort of the same way I didn't argue with the nurses' aids who "helped" me pack up Papa's room the day after he went. Why is it that I'm so outspoken about things that don't matter so much, but I clam up on the really important things? Decorating the tree is as much J's and S's right as it is mine, although I was being all obsessive about it yesterday. But the train really IS for me to do. It's cathartic, and it's a quiet way to honor Papa. And I abdicated that. I'm ashamed of myself, and a little bit mad, too, for denying myself that.

Am I just tired? Have I gotten lazy?

I know I'm a little tired. It seems like everything is a fight lately. This stupid class, for one thing. It's wearing me down. Then there's The Ex, who doesn't seem to have a clue how to avoid alienating S. It's getting worse...S didn't even really want to go over there for Thanksgiving. I'm sure he had fun once he got there, but he was kind of a wreck during the days leading up to it. And he was SO happy to be home. It rips my heart out, and I know it isn't going to get any better. Barring a miracle of some kind, things are going to deteriorate between them even further, and I know what kind of train wreck is in the works for S if it doesn't get any better, because I've been through it myself. And guess who's ultimately going to get blamed for turning S against his father? As a matter of fact, that's already been brought up.

On the other end is J, who is beginning to blur some parental boundaries, and is accusing me of excluding him from S's life when I push back a little. It's not that I want to leave him out, it's just that the dad thing isn't mine to give him. The spot is occupied. Maybe I'm being overly cautious about it, but I'm finding myself in the middle of all this weird man-posturing, trying to protect S's relationship with someone I don't even like, possibly at the expense of someone I love. There are egos at stake here (one of them absolutely GINORMOUS - not J's!), and I don't do so well with egos. Even worse, it's just about inevitable that S is going to wind up hurt somewhere in all this. And now I'm realizing that nothing ever balances for long. The minute you think you've found equilibrium, something comes along to upset it.

Speaking of egos, at the moment the Golden Retriever is offering her toy to the train running around the tree, trying to get it to play with her. The train is having none of it. I think the dog is feeling insulted.