26 March 2007

Mister and Missus Littlebrother

I'm back behind the desk again today, after 4-ish days of strolling Charleston, getting dressed up and tipsy, and seeing that my baby brother got safely married off to a good and kind-hearted person.


There will be more talk of that later, but for now there is so much of the catching up to do, mostly involving workish things I am forcing myself to get even the littlest bit invested in.

Vacation is so nice and so needed, even when it's action-packed and wild. I desperately needed the unplugging, and I love a good wedding where the entire guest list behaves like family. And family is the best cushion, the best protective gear, the best deja vu and the best reality check, the best ailment and the best remedy. What a joyful bunch of wackos, so happy to be with their own kind.

17 March 2007

Who is this little person?

And what did she do with the baby that was living here?

14 March 2007

I'm tired of thinking up titles

Is this what it's come to now? I post once a week and it's just a hodge-podge of incoherent ramblings?

Yes. Yes.

Be Nice
I was paid a compliment in my class on Tuesday and I was reminded how that can change your day. It was a weird compliment, but I took it and I'd like to remind all of us to give more compliments (sincere only, please) because they can mean a lot to a person in dumpy clothes with dumb hair who may or may not have showered this morning.

I have walked either around my neighborhood or on the greenway almost every day since Saturday and it feels effing great to be moving around. Bird and I walked the sidewalks on Sunday and experienced our hipster neighborhood in all its bustle and shake, like we were part of a Move to the East Side Campaign video. Priuses driving by, shaggy dads pushing high end strollers to the gourmet ice cream shop. People planting things. Bird saying "hi!" to everything. And "wassat?" about seven hundred thousand times within the first block alone.

She's Been Hanging Around with the Cat
Speaking of Bird, we had a nice little "teaching moment" a couple of evenings ago, where she wanted to take off her diaper and I let her, while she climbed in and out of a big cardboard box and giggled like a crazy person. I kept the little potty right there so that when I saw any trickling I could whisk her over to the potty and she would have a peepee victory and then for sure FOR SURE the peepee-potty connection would be cemented in her brain. But instead she crouched down in the huggies box and managed in a split second to take a very large shit.

Down a Peg
Progress toward my job-free goal: My big-time, I-am-a-professional-do-you-hear-me estimate on a freelance project was passed over for a lower bid. Which is sad, but also okay, because I know I am supposed to learn from this. I'm supposed to learn not to count my chickens before they hatch, not to get too big for my britches. To not start getting greedy. To appreciate the jobs I do have, no matter how small-time, and not go around feeling so entitled.

So I have put that into practice today, and accepted a few more pieces from a client I don't love, because I need the work and apparently I need to check my ego and my get-rich-quick schemes.

Code Orange
I've upped the office fragrance threat level from yellow to orange as we have moved out of Vanilla Flavored Coffee territory and moved swiftly to the Scented Candle zone. I love pumpkin pie just as much as the next guy, but blugh.

Emergent Matter
In my little notebook, or "capture system", as they say-- the place where I frequently dump bits out of my brain to be reviewed later so I can clear the shit and focus on the task at hand-- I wrote "basketball lady." I have no idea what that means, but apparently the basketball lady was tangling up my thought process in a way that rendered me useless until such time as I wrote it down so I could move on with my ever-important life.

Speaking of capture system, this is a great idea. One of those great, organized-person ideas. For people that do things like keep baby books and put their photos in albums and remember how old their child was when she started saying words. In other words, not me. So you go do it! And good luck to you!

The Bursting of the Bubbles ("Bah-Boze!" if you're Bird)
So yesterday, I walked into class and everyone was all in a wad about the class schedule for next term. Why? Evening classes only beginning in MAY, no more day classes next term or ever. And daytime is the only time I can take classes at all, and barely that even, due to the 20 pounds of obligations crammed into the five-pound bag that is my waking life. Which means that without a minor miracle (an option I am not discounting, trust me), I won't be able to take classes next term or for a very, very long time. Which means my plan? Lots of plans? Totally Fucking Fucked.

I am typically not an excitable person and I tend not to panic. And I feel like I remained calm for the longest amount of time I physically could, but when our class started talking about it, all together? All touchy-feely like, lying around on massage tables and sitting on the floor? I had a complete come-apart, with the crying and the blotchy face and the gross mouth and the snot and the works. Mwah. In front of everyone.

Not that I don't think my emotions weren't true, but It became obvious to me once I'd begun that I needed this cry, that stress and responsibility and hefty, weighty things had been building and building and it was time to release. So once I started, I couldn't stop. In fact, well into the class, I was lying on my back while my partner tried to isolate my vastus lateralis, tears still running sideways down into my ears.

The last time I cried like this, I was sitting in my car outside of Birdy's first daycare, unable to move for the heartbreak of leaving her. And while this felt different because it was about fear and disappointment and exhaustion, it was much the same in that it was a lot like vomiting. Uncontrollable. Sometimes you just have to get the poison out, and live in your fear/heartbreak/general muck before your wheels can start turning again. I just happened to do it in a room full of people this time.

Let me tell you, my capture system is overflowing with scrawlings about this. Some angry, some level-headed, some illegible.

Why did this news break me? Because I quit my full-time-with-benefits job to go to school. I took a huge, scary risk. I took a job I don't love where I deal with the gravity of terminal illness and death and things of that nature on a daily basis. I rearranged my family's life and reduced our income. I've had to hustle for freelance work to make up the differences. I incurred debt to pay for this.

And if each of these things-- money, job, general scrambling, time management, being a mama, child care, marriage, et cetera et cetera-- is a gajillion pound elephant, piled up one on the back of the other tied together with dental floss, then my planning and scheduling of all of it is the flimsy net of dental floss that is barely containing the elephants. And if you take away the option of day classes at school? Then you take away the bottom elephant and set the dental floss on fire. That's just how it is right now. The whole pile, future-plans-wise, is built on getting through school.

I know it's going to be okay. I have a meeting with the highest-up person next Wednesday where I will discuss how I understand that as a business owner she must make certain decisions, but that as a customer she is fucking me over. And who knows if that will change things. It will only change things if I am not the only one that speaks up, and judging from the reaction of the rest of my class, there is soon to be an uprising.

But again, I know I'm supposed to learn from this. It's all going to be fine, I will finish school somehow, and maybe this will cause things to shift into place in some combination I'd never even thought of. Maybe the elephants will get their shit together and at least form a pyramid.


Be the water not the rock, right?

Also, Birdy? This is all for you.

08 March 2007

My Gran says "Fridey" instead of Friday.

I had a dream night before last that Queen Latifah was showing me how to operate my dryer. There was a huge knob with a kajillion settings, like something from the Price is Right, and she was explaining that this place on the dial, this one right here, was why my pants would not be dry enough in the morning to be worn to work.

This should explain-- no, more like illustrate-- the bizarre and cracky misfirings lighting up my over-taxed gray matter these days.

And boy, was she right. Those pants were not even close to dry in time for work.


The stuff I have to get out just because I have to get it out
Here are the things taking up the useful space and time:
(this is boring, feel free to skip ahead)
  • Preparing for my little brother's wedding, about which-- don't get me wrong-- I am so thrilled and excited. But there are shoes to be bought, cameras and strollers to pack, and cups to be sewn in to hold the bridesmaid (bridesmatron?) boobies in the right places.
  • School. Wish it was taking up more of the useful space and time, but as it is now, it is being squeezed into a corner and I'm going to have to create some sort of body assembly line to complete all of my practicums for the term.
  • Freelance job A. Low pay, lots of work. Mindless work. The writing is easy, it's the calling and the interviewing and the endless, endless supply of contractors whose number one selling point is their "attention to detail" and the realtors that "build personal relationships." Glurgh. Just when I think I'm done, I'm not done. Because I am a sucker. A broke sucker.
  • Freelance job B. which is almost complete for the local botanical garden. This one was an honestly estimated breeze.
  • Freelance job C. just estimated last night, way over my head and with very little structure holding things in place, but doing it right could open the door to the agency relationship I need to reach that job-free goal. And having Thursday afternoons to do what I please? That's my carrot, my little taste of what could be. So I'll take the job if I can get it and I'll fake it. This has always worked in the past.
  • This pig sty of a house we live in. Seriously. Birdy ate a pretzel ("Batzool!") off the floor yesterday that could not be traced back to any particular date or time. Mystery Batzools and dog hair tumbleweeds. No, you can't come over.
  • Preparing and eating food. Plan, buy, prepare, eat, store leftovers, stand in front of the fridge and glaze over. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Sometimes cooking/ eating is a comforting ritual that makes me feel grounded, other times it is a pain in the ass and I wish for some kind of food patch that I could apply to my arm and forget about for 24 hours, relieving me of the burden of eating and preparing to eat.

A Dental Story
I went to the dentist yesterday morning for a cleaning, and while the hygenist was about elbow-deep in my mouth, she started talking about how I might want to look into teeth whitening and how it probably isn't covered by my insurance but would I like to hear about their easy payment plans?

I don't know about you, but I feel a little bit unnerved about being upsold on my health care-- maybe that's just me? I don't mind being upsold on my cell phone plan, or within a wine list, but at the dentist? Mnyah.

But that's not what this story is about. The hygenist was talking about whitening, and she said, "If you decide to do it, you'll have to get that filling on your front tooth changed out, because whitening won't affect it." I said, "Int hagga fling, nev haggah fling," ("I don't have any fillings, I've never had a filling.")

She withdrew her hands from my mouth. I protested again. I don't have any fillings. It's a body fact about which I am proud-- no cavities, ever, and very naturally straight, strong teeth.
The hygenist backpedaled about how, "then you have a crack on this side of your front tooth that looks just like a filling." And she moved on to shining the light directly in my eyes and changed the subject.

Later in the cleaning, while she was smooshing the polish all over my superstraight, super healthy teeth, I remembered that, holy shit, I DO have a filling in my front tooth. And I stopped her work with the polish (with my index finger pointed to the ceiling, in some kind of Eureka moment) to tell her she was right, I have a filling.


A Dental Story, Chapter 2
And this is how it came to be: I was in college, at a living room party on New Year's Eve. It was the year I made myself a fixture in the GLBT crowd, which was fairly small but thriving at Indiana University, as you might imagine. I was drinking champagne from the bottle, and this gangly, howdy-doody looking kid that was all knees and elbows danced his olecranon process (hello, I am learning about the body! That is your elbow!) right into the bottle which went right into my front chopper. The resulting chip/ split in my tooth required filling. So my advice to you: Keep a safe distance from the gay boys when they're dancin'.

So there you have it-- a secret from my past, kept secret even from me until yesterday.

The Bird Report
So, my little sweet peach has been in Time Out a couple of times lately, which is a process I continue to muddle thorough and make up as I go along. We are not heavy on the Time Out at our house, but things that will land you there include whacking the gentle doggies on the head with the remote control, twice, after Mama says NO.

Here is how Time Out goes/ has gone: Sit in the totally boring hallway on the little blue chair for a minute and a half. Mama will not look directly at you or give you attention. If you get up from the little blue chair, Mama will put you back in it, firmly, but no talking. This is not attention time. It is meant to be a somber experience and a time to think about the poor doggies' heads and the connection between this boring and grave ninety seconds and your behavior.

But to Bird, it's hilarious. Getting out of the chair and being put back? Guffaw! Now THAT is comedy! Do it again!

And for her next trick, Bird has been dragging that little blue chair into the hallway and sitting in it, facing the wall, and laughing all by herself. Trying to catch my eye while she slides off the seat and climbs back on. Because I have created the most fun game, ever.

01 March 2007

Letter to Yesterday's LOST episode

Dear LOST,

That sucked.

Mama Snee