Saturday, October 25, 2008

Retail Therapy

If you've read my blog recently, you might know that my son and his first girlfriend broke up a couple of days ago.

Any one who knows anything knows that the therapy for a break-up is.... SHOPPING!

We had already needed to have our hairs cut, so that was where we started. Then we went to BJ's and got junk food. In Bulk.

Then we went to Walmart. I had already planned to buy the boy some new things, and he didn't ask for much. We kind of roamed around and saw whatever caught his eye.

Nothing quite grosses a young man out more than his mother asking for the insert from his new package of underwear. But seriously, check this guy out. What the hell is he packing?

Here are a couple of really cool things that he picked out for himself.

What can I say, the kid has great taste.

After that, we carved pumpkins in the dining room. It was kind of awesome.

After carving, I made a great dinner, bloody rare T-bones.

Then I roasted the pumpkin seeds.

Do you wanna see our Jack-0-Lanterns?

Here is a scary kitty:

Here is a, penis?

Friday, October 24, 2008

My kid is pretty cool, sometimes

My son and a young lady started casually "dating" over the summer. I met her mother briefly once at a summer party. She and I email each other every once in a while, mostly about stuff to do with our kids. I was amused when she sent me a joke email that I thought was rather risque to send to someone you don't really know. Especially a fellow Catholic school mother. SHE doesn't know what a heathen I am.

My son let me know yesterday that he and the young lady had broken up. I talked to him about how he felt about it, and he actually talked back to me, which was pretty nice given that he's a 14 year old who has a hard time communicating his emotions. I also told him it was too bad because I really liked the young lady's mother. He said he was cool with it if I wanted to continue being friendly with her. As a matter of fact, he was probably more cool with it since they had broken up than he was when they were together. He felt pretty awkward when he found out the first time we had emailed each other.

Last night I got a new email from the mother:

"Very good video."

Oh yes, she did. Two weeks after I happily supported Connecticut legalizing civil unions for homosexuals.

I forwarded her email to my son with a note, "so there goes a potential friendship, right down the political tubes".

He emailed me back, "What, can't you be friends with a conservative?"

Out comes my lecture mode. It's right up there with my over-react mode, my always say the inappropriate thing at the wrong time mode, and my give way too much information mode.

"Of course I can be friends with a conservative. But I don't think I can be friends with someone who doesn't even for a second ask my political views or know anything about me before sending me messages about such highly charged issues such as pro-life and homosexuality and marriage and family.

I know that the way I have raised you with the Catholic religion as your base may make our beliefs differ from each other, sooner or later. I will never regret the education and moral basis and moral code that the Catholic school system has provided to you.

You and I may not always see eye to eye, as long as we agree to respect each other, and each other's opinions.

I am extremely pro-choice, have never been married and am a single mother. If you are still reading this, sweetie, know that my choice was to have you, even when others were advocating abortion. It was MY CHOICE, and I chose life. I have never had an abortion, I don't know that I could. But I wholeheartedly support a woman's right to choose what to do with her body, with her life, with her womb.

Anyone who knows me for a split second knows I wouldn't support a message that includes the term "Evangelical Christians". No matter how many flavors you put in the Kool-aid.*

I love you,


p.s. file this under way too heavy of a response for a flippant reply"

*note to Zibbs, I wrote this email last night, before I saw your Kool-aid post today. Coincidence? Or is it something in the water?

I just watched the video again. Since last night, it looks as though the link has been edited. There are now 2 versions floating around, the second is less inflammatory. I found the original on YouTube.

I love the part about protecting sacred life from conception to "natural death". When the Christian George W. Bush was the governor of Texas, didn't that state carry out the death penalty more than any other state ever? Also the part about America being built on Judeo Christian values. While that may be partly true, wasn't the country also founded by people from many different cultures looking to escape religious persecution? Weren't many of the original colonists Puritans and Quakers? And isn't it in the Constitution that all men are created equal? Add the Civil Rights Amendment, in which all men, being created equal, should be extended the same rights and liberties - shouldn't that mean even the men that want to marry each other?

This was the reply waiting for me when I got to work this morning, "Bah, you know I'm not Conservative. Highly from it. I agree with mainly all your political beliefs, except for swearing at the tv when Republicans are on. And she just assumed that since you were sending me to *name of Catholic school removed* that you were probably some sect of Christianity and held the same beliefs as her."

Do you see what he did there? In a few sentences he not only talked me down, but sympathized with me while trying to be fair to the other party. This kid is wise beyond his years. Maybe HE should go into politics.
Although he'll never get far when they start researching his crazy family.

If you are a Christian, an Evangelical Christian, or a Republican, please know that I respect you and your opinions. I hope you will do the same for me. It is, after all, still a free country.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Grandma, 02/26/1909-10/21/2008

My grandmother died today. She was 99, almost four months exactly to the day before turning 100.

She would be the first person to tell you that she had outlived herself, she was ready to go five years ago. I would like to believe that it was because she was such a stubborn old bird that she made it as long as she did.

I would like to tell you that she and I had a good relationship, or a relationship at all, but we didn't. I would like to tell you that I am broken up about this, but other than being sad, I'm okay. We have known for weeks, if not months, that this was coming.

She was failing, and the best qualified, most appropriate people were there taking care of her. She was not in any pain, or suffering. She and her only daughter, my Aunt Cynth, had made arrangements years ago not to resuscitate or prolong her life in any unnatural way. She was made very comfortable in her own apartment in an assisted living facility. When she could no longer eat or drink on her own, Hospice came in and made her comfortable.

She died at peace, with her dignity intact. That would have meant a lot to her. She was an incredibly dignified lady. That is how I choose to remember her.

I hope you find peace, Grandma.

Is there a therapist in the house?

I had the strangest dream last night.

I realize mid-sentence that I am talking to a group of people in a school hallway, and I'm dressed in a Catholic School uniform. I'm telling this group of people that because I should have graduated 20 years ago, but got my GED instead, I thought it would be a great idea for me to start as a Freshman with my son at his high school. I made sure we weren't going to share any of the same classes, and in my dream he seemed fine with the idea. Which is not how it would have gone down in real life.

I'm walking down hallways and up and down staircases, completely lost. It's not my son's school but my public high school. And no one else is in uniform, not even my son. I can't find my binder with my schedule that tells me what room I'm supposed to be in next. I find myself in a locker type room going through my locker frantically searching for my schedule. Just as I realize my backpack is not mine but my son's, the V.P. of the company I work for starts admonishing me for being late for class. I tell him that I don't know what class I'm supposed to be in, or where I'm supposed to go. He tells me I'm supposed to be in Algebra and that I should have planned better, been more prepared.

I go out into the empty hallways again trying to find my algebra class. Just as the bell rings and kids start pouring out of classrooms, I look down and realize I am completely naked from the waist up. Kids start pointing and laughing, whispering behind their hands, "hey, isn't that Mrs. Schmancy, J's mom?". I duck into the next doorway which I think is the girl's bathroom but ends up being the boy's locker room.

I hide in a stall until the next bell rings. Luckily, when searching my son's backpack I find one of his polo shirts, I'm bra-less but not longer topless. I decide I better go to the nurse's office and complain of female problems to get sent home before this day goes any more wrong.

When I get to the nurse's office, it seems to be set up as a flu-shot clinic for seniors. I ask for the nurse and the lady asks me if I'm here for a flu shot. I'm not that old, bitch. The nurse must have sent me home because the next thing I know I'm running across the lawn as fast as I can to get away from that place.

That's all I remember. Which is a lot because I never remember more than bits and pieces. This is wrong on so many levels. Am I envious of my son having such a good high school experience so far that I want to go back and change my own? Even though I am obviously an embarrassment? And old?

What the fuck?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Say it ain't so, Joe

The summer after 7th grade we moved to a house in a section of Mansfield, Connecticut called Eagleville. For a couple of months before school started, the only person I hung out with was the boy next door, Peter Kitts.

He was a sweet, if a little strange, young man. But I was a sweet, strange, young woman. These were innocent times, 1983, I was 12, he was 13. We offered each other friendship and exploration, both of us having come from different places, neither of us having really fit in before. It was a short, special time where we weren't judged by our peers. We were free to just hang out together and be ourselves.

I had come from a town where I was definitely considered to be on the low end of the social totem pole. I basked in Peter's admiration. He had come to Mansfield just a year earlier from an Ashram. I had never heard of such a thing, and was fascinated. He also told me his real name wasn't Peter. When his mother married his step-father, Steven Kitts, he and and his brother were given the opportunity to pick their own new names, with their step-father's last name. Hence, Rivers became Peter, Leaves became Jimmy. I remember telling him, "What a coincidence, we both have a brother named Jimmy!".

Peter turned me on to soccer, computers, and music totally different from what my siblings listened to. Hello, KISS. He would sing Stray Cats Sexy & 17 to me and change the words so it fit. He couldn't wait until I turned 13 so it would it sound better.

Does this bring you back?

When school started, I was very lucky that I had already met someone who could introduce me to people. Peter had friends at the middle school, and they welcomed me in. But they were all boys. And, eventually in my eyes, they were all geeks and nerds. I craved to be part of the popular crowd.

I met up with one of the popular girls and she and I made fast friends. The more I fell into her clique, the less I hung out with Peter and his friends.

All good things eventually have to come to an end. And they did for Peter and I. By the time I finally turned 13 for him to sing that song to me, we had shared our first kiss, and also our last. I'm not proud of the way I treated him, but I'm honest about it. My 13 year old self saw bigger and better things on the horizon and broke it off with him.

Here are some pictures from that period. This first one is the only picture of Peter and I, in our shared back yard.

Next is a picture from our eighth grade production, Annie. I loved that the music teacher thought to spread the lead around. Annie was a different girl in every scene. I got to sing "Tomorrow" on stage with a live dog.

The rest are 1984 eighth grade year book photos.

Peter and I shared a love of singing. However, after we broke up, we never had anything to do with each other, again. Here we are in a Chamber Singers photo. He's first row, second from right. I'm second row, fourth from left.

Here are the 1984 Cheerleaders for Mansfield Middle School. I'm first row, first on the left. Hello, feathered hair, cuffed jeans, button down oxfords and Dock Siders.

I moved again the next summer. Peter and I never spoke, again. Imagine my surprise when I saw his high school graduation picture in Rolling Stones magazine.

I've followed him for many years, but I have no claim to his fame. I haven't heard a song about me, or us, but I really think he should write one about his first kiss. In the meantime, he was kind enough to friend me on MySpace, but other than replying, "wow, is it really you?", he's too busy with his real life to chat with someone who was a rude bitch to him 25 years ago.

Say it ain't so.

I remember his kitchen in Eagleville looking oddly similar to the one in the video. Also, Peter's friend, Justin, is in the Chamber Singers picture right behind him, but one to the left. Justin is still his friend, from what I read on the internet.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Speaking of putting my foot in my mouth

I went out Wednesday evening and got 2 cards for boss's day, one for my supervisor and one for the prez. There were only 2 funny boss's day cards at the cheapie place I went, and I couldn't decide which card to give to which guy. I just turned them over, wrote a name on each envelope and sent them around in folders to be signed.

(I also went to get the supervisor gift cards at Hooters that we all chipped in on. He loves their wings. Riiiiiight. How funny would it have been if when I walked in I asked for a job application instead of gift cards? I'm sorry, m'am, they don't make orange hot pants in that size.)

Thursday morning, my best work buddy, Jane, wasn't in her office. Our supervisor said she wouldn't be in, so when the cards came back to me I signed for her. She had contributed to the supervisor's gift card and I wanted to make sure he knew that. His card read something about how we couldn't decide what to get him for boss's day, so we all decided what he would like best is if we took the rest of the week off. I wrote, "Jane would sign if she was here!".

Two hours later the prez sent out an email saying Jane had been placed on administrative leave until further notice.

I'll just be sitting on the floor in the corner with both feet in my mouth for the rest of the day.

p.s. Is this irony or just coincidence? I can never remember. Damn Alanis Morissette!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This is where I get it from

I tend to put my foot in my mouth more often than not. I'm one of those people that can always be counted on to say the wrong thing at the right time and make an ass out of myself. If you're one of the people on whose blogs I randomly leave stupid comments that make no sense, then you may have already guessed this about me.

I recently read back one of the comments I left and wondered, "what the fuck was I talking about?". If I was wondering, I'm sure he was, too. On another lady's blog, I almost incited a riot when her sister wanted to kick my ass over an inappropriate comment I made about her daughter (that I thought was funny as hell, but her sister didn't get). I've actually decided to back off on the commenting so much because of these and a few other goofs, and especially not commenting while drinking. But that is not the reason for this post, just setting up the story that helps explain that I come by this honestly, it's in my DNA.

This is my mother's story, I'm just borrowing it.

After my parents divorced, my mother was still invited to all of my father's family's functions. My mother and her sister had sort of grown up with my father and his siblings and she counted my father's sister as one of her best friends. When my father started getting serious with the lady I call Bee, he decided he needed to introduce the two of them in a neutral setting. He took them both out to dinner.

My mother was understandably extremely nervous. My parents had been married for almost a quarter of a century, and she had never loved another man but my dad. She didn't date after the divorce, either. Now she was going to meet the woman my father was moving in with, a woman at least 10 years younger, and have to face this woman at every family function in the forseeable future.

They got to the restaurant and made nice-nice, small talk. My father can be charming when he wants to be. They ordered a round of drinks and continued chatting politely about nothing that mattered. My mother was still nervous, and slammed her first drink. My mother is not a big drinker. My father seemed very surprised by this and asked her if she was ready for another. Apparently my mother was just as surprised, because she looked at her empty in astonishment and replied, "Oh my, I think I have a glass in my hole".

This broke the ice for the rest of evening, and has become a classic example of the verbal dyslexia that runs rampant in the family.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Oh no, not again!

I live on a pretty busy road, about 5 houses up a small incline from a major intersection with an even busier road. Across from my house is a little road that leads into a maze of little post-World War II era homes.

This morning, I had to pick up my cousin who lives in the subdivision across the street to do some stuff. As I was pulling out of my driveway, I noticed a toddler on a plastic tricycle, pushing himself along the sidewalk of that street across the way. While I was waiting for traffic to clear so I could pull out, I watched him turn the corner, still on the sidewalk, but onto my very busy road. I look around and there was not an adult in sight. This kid could not have been more than 2, and he's pushing himself down the hill toward a major intersection, binky firmly in mouth. It didn't even look like he could reach the pedals.

I throw the car in park and run across the street, down the hill after him yelling, "little boy, little boy, hey you on the big wheel, STOP!". I caught up with him just around the time he stopped and looked around at me, about 30 feet before the intersection. "Hey, buddy, where's your momma?" He just stares at me with his big brown eyes, binky still firmly in mouth. "I know you're not supposed to talk to strangers, so it's okay not to talk to me, but let's turn around and go back up the hill and find your momma, okay?" He starts pushing himself backward, then turns it around and we start going up the hill, together. I tell him again, "I know I'm a stranger, but you're on a very busy road and you could get big boo-boos. We need to find your momma." How creepy does that sound? Add that I wanted to show him a puppy and feed him some candy and I could have just stolen him. Luckily for him, I don't like children.

Right after we turn around, I see a couple walking toward me, but it turns out they are not his parents. We keep going up the hill with me telling him he's doing a good job, trying to help him steer, pushing him up the hill and taking over the handlebars where I have to because he keeps trying to go off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic, until we get to the corner across from my driveway.

I look around and see a lady down that side road and across the street and yell to her asking if the kid is hers. Nope, not hers either. As I'm leaning over the kid and asking him if he knows which house is his, does he know where his momma is, my next door neighbor yells, "there she is!".

There is a lady walking up from the intersection, she looks vaguely familiar, but I can't place her, and she's way too old to be the kid's mother. She's saying something that doesn't make sense about going the wrong way when she was looking for him and had to go around the block. All I heard was yada-yada-yada. I said, "Sorry if I stepped on your toes, but he was headed down the hill toward the intersection". She says, "Did he put his brakes on?". I was flabbergasted. "Uh, no, he was pushing himself, not pedaling." Do those things even have brakes?

She gets to the kid and smacks him on the arm. "Bad boy, DANGER!" She pulls the kid off the bike, swats his rear-end and tells him he's walking home. "Bad boy, do you know how much trouble you are in?" I'm watching this with my jaw dropped open in disbelief. She finally turns and thanks me, but I could not reply.

I'm thinking, "you stupid cunt, why were YOU not keeping a better eye on him? You didn't even know which way out of the driveway he had gone! He could have gotten run over or stolen!". I have never been the kind of person to interfere with how other people want to raise their children. To some people that might seem wimpy, but I also don't go out of my way to poke bears with a stick. Especially when the bear already seems a little crazy. I wanted to punch her in the face, quite honestly, and I am not a physically violent person. Oh, sure, I get the impulses, but I don't act upon them.

It didn't help that the kid kept staring at ME with those big brown eyes while this was going on, like "I thought you told me we were going to find my momma?". Even when I crossed the road and got in my car, I looked over and the kid was still staring at me. He never cried, he never uttered a sound during all of that. All I could do was wave to him, and drive away. Because what I really wanted to do was swoop that baby into my arms and bring him to my house and feed him chocolate milk and sugar cookies until his momma really did come get him. And maybe get him a kitten. Again, it's a good thing I don't act purely on my impulses.

I was still shaking when I got to my cousin's house. She was kind enough to hug me and tell me I had done the right thing, and that she probably
would have punched the lady in the face. She and I did stuff for the next couple of hours, and I eventually stopped thinking about it.

After dropping my cousin off, the quickest way home is to go down the street I mentioned earlier across from my house. As I always do when passing by the house that I almost stole the cat from, I looked over to see if the cat was in the yard. Holy Mother of God, it was the same lady! That was why she looked so familiar. I almost stole her cat last year, I almost stole her grandson this year.

One of these days she is going to call the cops on me. And I don't know how I'm going to defend myself.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Keep it in your sneaker

After my father, Horhay, moved out of my mother's house he was a fleeting presence in my life. He was supposed to have custody of those of us under 18 on an every other weekend schedule. But for the most part, it was not enforced. It would have gotten in the way of his drinking. No one wanted to get in the way of Horhay's drinking. By the time I was 14, I was the only one left under the age of 18.

My father was living with a woman, Bee. I will not say much about Bee, other than she was younger than my father, and had no children of her own at the time.
I have to say that she tried with me, and I did not usually repay her very nicely with my teenage hostility. It must have been quite an adjustment to suddenly have teenage step-children, and also step-grandchildren calling her Grandma Bee.

(On a side note, they eventually married and had a child together. When my little brother was born, I was 16. Kouf was 26 and her husband was the same age as her step-mother. My little brother was born with 2 nieces and step-niece, all older than him.)

Between the ages of 12-14, I started spending a good amount of time over there on the weekends. They let me drink beer and smoke cigarettes, and sometimes Bee and I would smoke pot. Sure I had to listen to the drunken screaming matches sometimes, but it was like staying with a kinda cool aunt. It also gave me the chance to get to know my father, whom I previously only saw on holidays.

At one point, my father decided to give me "the talk". It went something like this - Keep It In Your Sneaker. Already long knowing about the birds and the bees, I still had no idea what he was talking about. My mother had given me the clinical version in fourth grade. Anatomically, I had nothing to keep in my sneaker. Do they really have thingies that are long enough to keep in their sneaker? Does it hurt when they walk?

Asking for clarification, I was told, "All a boy wants to do is get in your pants. Look at me, I'm a 48 year old man and I'm still trying to get into the pants of anything that moves." Um, thanks, dad. That's a visual image I'll never be able to get out of my head.

I pretty much have had no idea what Keep It In Your Sneaker meant all these years until I started searching around on the net recently. It apparently refers to being a kid and your parents might tell you to put money or keys in your sneaker. Keep it out of sight so no one can get it/steal it. More broadly used to mean keep a secret, keep it on the DL but in a much more Leave it Beaver way. (Yes, I did just manage to put the word beaver on a post about the sex talk.)

Has anyone else heard this phrase? Especially in reference to sex?

How did your parents explain it to you?