Saturday, December 26, 2009

one perfect moment

That guy. Everyone knows a that guy. That guy who was hurt badly by a couple of soulless women in his 20's and 30's so he gave up attempting to trust any woman. That guy who is sincere and incredibly generous and should have had a family of his own but never did. That guy who has such a big heart to give but only pets to give it to.

My brother is that guy.

Now I can say he was that guy.

Almost a year ago he started a relationship with a wonderful, warm, faithful, giving woman. A woman worthy of my brother's kind and bountiful heart.

My brother, B, didn't even introduce his girlfriend to our family until August, so conservative was he with sharing the news that he had met someone who made him happy lest it all evaporate quickly as it had appeared.

The girlfriend has 3 children. Two are teenage girls who like B very much. The third is a 7 year old boy, Mikey. Mikey adores B. And the feeling is obviously shared.

For Christmas B built an electric train table for Mikey. Mikey ecstatically raced into the room--barely able to contain his joy! He looked and oohed and ahhed for a brief couple of moments before turning back around and making a bee line for B. Racing to B's side, Mikey spontaneously wrapped his arms around B and hugged him tight. B put his arm around Mikey's shoulders and hugged him back--an unheard of shower of affection from B.

I was immediately misty. That moment--that tiny, lightning quick moment was, for me, all the love and joy and familial warmth that is the meaning of Christmas.

I hope you all had a Christmas season filled with little moments.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My life is beginning to resemble a Rodney Dangerfield bit. And I have a blackbelt in guilt.

Rodney Dangerfield was one of my husband's all time favorite comedians. I married a man who reveres Rodney Dangerfield? There is, as the saying goes, no accounting for taste . . .

Today at work, the tall, slender, pretty girl pharmacist and the slim technician with the nice rack were both looking at me. Said the willowy girl pharmacist while gazing in my direction, "I'd give anything for that body." "Yeah," the tech concurred.

They were talking about my hair.

Also, a couple days ago I wrote what I thought was a touching tribute to my mom's unflappable spirit and the giving heart of a teacher. It garnered almost no comments. Today I opened up my mail to find--yay!--another comment!

The comment was via robot. The equivalent of junk mail. But worse. Because it was from an escort service . . .

You see where this is going, yes?

No respect.

Beautiful has asked me a couple times lately whether I could help her out by taking Lily for a couple hours. As much as I love to be with that baby, I've had to say no. I'm knee deep in Christmas projects and social events and work. And really that's no excuse for not making time for my grandbaby, but I can only do what I can do.
This morning on the phone Beautiful asked me, "Do you not like Lily anymore? You used to beg me to let you have her for the afternoon and now you don't want to be with her at all."
I was stung. Of course I like Lily. That child is the apple of my eye! I explained that it has pained me to say no--that I want to spend time with Lily and I want to be helpful to Beautiful, but that the timing has been awful for me. Beautiful let it go at that.
Hours later I called her back. "I realized another reason that I've been saying no to taking Lily with me," I said.
"Still feeling guilty about that, are you?" she joked.
"No--it's not guilt, but I had to really think about why it hasn't been working out, and honestly it's because of the carseat. Now that she's in the bigger carseat and it's either pouring rain or 16 degrees out, I'm reluctant to stand out in the weather in a parking lot for 20 minutes trying to contain a 14 month old while buckling her carseat into my car. And that is actually a huge part of the reason I've been unable to take care of Lily when you just don't feel like taking care of her yourself."
Beautiful was speechless from the poison dart of that last phrase.
"See that?" I asked. "Did you like how I turned that around to make you the one to feel completely unnecessary and groundless guilt? Yes, I do hold a blackbelt in guilt." heh heh

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas past. Waaaaaay past.

My mom is the third of eight children. Daughter of a very hard working fisherman. There was never any money. Ever.

The family was lucky to have food on the table. Anything else--be it toys or proper clothing--was considered great fortune. The only doll my mother remembers having was a sack of onions she packed around, wrapped in some scrap of fabric for a 'blankie'. With 10 mouths to feed, Dolly didn't last long.

Many Christmases my mom and her siblings each had a small present only because of local charity. The children didn't bother with any notion of a man called Santa Clause. A fact which slayed their father.

One very cold December when my mom was seven, the second grade teacher took Mom over her knee and spanked her (way back in the day when teacher meted corporal punishment was commonplace : ) for not wearing her snow boots to school in such miserable weather. It was only after the spanking that my mom had the chance to admit, with red hot shame, that she didn't wear her snow boots because she had none.

The teacher was taken aback. Of course she was.

A few days later on Christmas morning, inexplicably, at least to my mom's 7-year-old comprehension, in addition to the annual Benevolence League donation of candy, there was a pair of warm winter boots in bright wrapping just for her.

It was a hard time in a poor fishing town. Lots of families went without things that you and I would consider barbaric to live without today. No doubt that teacher had a dozen students, or more, with some pretty hard luck stories and on a teacher's salary she couldn't have fixed everything for them. But God bless her soul for having tried.

Glitter? Is a nuisance. And other Christmas laments.

This is my studio:

Does it look suspiciously like a dining room table covered in Mom's craft crap?

Those are pieces of old music carefully torn into 4 x 6" sheets with the the edges glued and glittered. I'm one of those people. I am a Christmas Themer.

This year's 'theme' is music. I had this lovely idea to use old music as the backdrop to our Christmas drama. The torn and glittered bits are to be strung as garland. For our tree I wanted to make the pieces of music into cone shapes or something--haven't quite fleshed out that idea yet. Nor will I get the chance to. Because Youngest has effectively put an end to my fun . . .

"Oh no. Not a theme!" he groaned.

"Yes! A theme! The theme is music--isn't that perfect for Christmas? Flocked tree, lots of silver and glitter with a little red and green for accent!" I chirped.

Youngest was unimpressed. Youngest is 14 and is unimpressed by everything . . .

"Can't we just have a normal, old-fashioned Christmas?" he whined.

"Hmm, okay, what does 'normal, old-fashioned Christmas' mean to you?" If it meant that much to him, I was willing to bend a little to make him happy.

"The tree with all of our regular ornaments on it? Not just the ones that fit your color scheme?"

Translation: All the tacky crap we've ever purchased or been given by anyone. Like the Luke Skywalker ornament. And the blown glass Buzz Lightyear. And the gumball machine . . .

"Okay, fine. Do whatever you want with the tree, but I'm going to have my garlands up on the windows."

"No!!! I don't want your theme all over the house!"

"Seriously? I'm trying to compromise with you. You get the tree the way you want it and I get the garlands. That's not good enough for you?"


Later, having forgotten that his mother is the most despicable creature on the Earth, he came to ask me advice on gift giving. Advice which he refused to take. I mentioned he's 14, right?

And speaking of Christmas gifts--Number One Son generously purchased tickets for Beautiful and me to go watch ice dancing at the Olympics. At the OLYMPICS!!! I am beyond excited.


I have to renew my passport in order to collect on this wonderful gift. Which means a new passport photo. UGH!!!! I am a seriously craptastic picture taker!

Tonight I went to Costco to have the photos done. I was wearing my nice leather jacket with a becoming, festive red scarf. I have a really fun new chic, short haircut. I looked great! But the camera was evil and didn't like me and made me look like a chubby, colorless 40-year-old mom.

The nerve!

To recap: My themed Christmas is a bust. My 14 year old--who is normally a delightful kid--is practicing his morose, languid, detached teen skills. And my older son gave me a huge downer for Christmas disguised as something I should have loved.

Yep. Sounds like a normal day around here : )

How are you all doing with your Christmas and other holiday plans?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Casual Friday. And Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday . . .

Saturday I invited my single friend, Dude, to meet me at work for lunch because I am concerned that he's not getting out enough lately. And I won't tell him, but I'll tell you, I am deeply worried that he's the kind of guy who, in the future, neighbors will describe as, "a loner who always kept to himself." And I'm going to be the deluded idiot on the witness stand saying, "He was always gentle and kind with his cats. I never had any idea he was burying victims in his garden . . . "

My concern about his isolation stems from several e-mail and phone conversations. In one of which he reported to me that he'd spent the whole of the previous day in his sweats.

The next time I spoke to him, I asked what he'd been up to. "Have you been doing anything interesting lately? Getting out of the house much?"

Why yes, he in fact had gotten out of the house recently. He'd spent the afternoon doing errands with a friend. "Oh, good," I remarked, "that must mean you didn't spend the whole day in sweats!"

"Yes, I did!" he answered with not just a little bit of defensiveness. "But I wore nice sweats. They even have pockets. And a back pocket for my wallet."


"No," I was adamant, "I'm not going to let this go. Sweats in public? Not an option. Not if you have any hope of being found attractive by women. No. Not even if they're nice sweats or unstained, unripped sweats. Not even if they have pockets! (And by the way? Just because they have a back pocket for your wallet does not make them non-sweats . . . ) Not even if they are your dress sweats. Just no.

"You're a good looking guy, Dude, but most women do not find men in sweats attractive. Trust me on this."

"But I was wearing my nice leather loafers!" Dude countered. Seriously. That was his defense.

"Yeah? Leather loafers? And were you also wearing an ascot tie? And a jaunty cap? Because that would make it . . . STILL SWEATS! And still completely repellent to women!"

"I'm wearing my sweats again today," he said, and I could almost hear his lower lip jutting out as he said it : )

"So, how's that working for you?" I asked with sticky sweet mock concern in my voice, "Wearing sweats. No girlfriend. Correlation?"

"Probably a correlation between the sweats and something," he reluctantly capitulated.

"Ah well, at least you're comfortable, right?" Yes--straight for the jugular! I am such a good friend!

Funny, Dude hasn't called or e-mailed me since then. I wonder why?