Friday, March 30, 2007

Counting Blessings

I've been feeling a little blue. That's actually a really good color for me, but it's not a spiritual state that I enjoy. So despite the fact that everything that is making me blue is completely unchanged, I am going to gut up and count my blessings.

1 Every day The Child and I take a classmate to school. She's from Kenya and she and her mom live in a subsidized apartment complex that's run by the Church. She's a sweet girl and she and The Child have become friends. We've been providing transportation for her for about 2 months now but I'd never met her mother. Today she came out to meet me.

I got out of the car to shake her hand and she took me in her arms, planted a kiss on one cheek, hugged me, then kissed the other cheek. She doesn't speak much English but she kept saying "Thank you, thank you" with a beaming face. It was really sweet.

2. I was chatting up the grocery clerk at my first shopping stop. I do that sort of thing. The woman mentioned that people had been really rude so far this morning. I told her that when I'm Queen of the World eveyone will be required to work for a time with the public because all too often people have no idea what it's like on the other side of the counter or table, that if they did they would be a little more patient and forgiving. She thought that was a great idea. We chatted some more and when my transaction was complete she said, "I wish everyone was as nice as you, m'am". It made me a little varklempt.

3. It isn't raining.

4. So far today nothing has broken, flooded, bent, fallen over or been chewed by The Dog.

5. People from Idaho are threatening (in a good way) to come to my birthday party.

6. There are so many yummy leftovers in the freezer that I bought hardly anything at the grocery store today. More money to spend on the Easter feast. Yippee.

7. The Neighbor is a really good friend.

8. The Spouse was extra specially sweet to me last night. And he's making dinner tonight.

9. JP is a really good uncle. The other night I was writing an email (to him, as a matter of fact) and The Child was on the phone with The Boyfriend making arrangements for his birthday party on Saturday.

"When do I have to be home?" she asked. Preoccupied as I was I said, "I don't know. Midnight."

Which immediately launched me into Most Excellent Mom EVER status. Which I told him about.
He replied along the lines of "Wait just a minute. You just told her she can stay out until midnight. What happens when she's dating someone we don't like?" (I love that "we"). He was absolutely right, of course, so the next morning I immediately rectified the situation, telling her that this was a one time only thing and not to be considered a precedent. After I explained what "precedent" meant, she was jiggy with it. Dodged that bullet. It takes a village. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

10. Jon makes me laugh even when I don't feel like it.

11. I am not Alberto Gonzales.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Partly Something


I'm not a meteorologist. I guess that's why I can't understand a weather report that says, "Partly cloudy with a chance of showers this morning, turning to partly sunny and a chance of showers this afternoon".

The Neighbor and I planned my 50th birthday party last night. It will be...wait for it...a French bistro theme. You did not see that coming, did you? It will be superfantastic. You're all invited. We also worked on a Rat Pack themed party for The Spouse the following month. We did that for his 40th and it was really fun. I suppose I should have run that by him before I told you but hopefully he won't mind. You're all invited to that one, too.

The Child thinks 50 is old. Funny. Because this morning I heard a birthday announcement for some musician who played with the likes of Bob Dylan. He was 66 and I thought, "Wow. That's young". Guess it's more of that partly cloudy/partly sunny thing.

I've never had a crisis around what my friend Pat calls "the speed limit" birthdays. You know, the ones that could be posted on a street sign. I was thrilled about turning 30 because it meant that no one could ever again get away with telling me I wasn't old enough to do/say whatever. I maybe hadn't yet experienced all life has to offer but hey, I was 30. That's a grown-up.

40 didn't freak me out at all. I've noticed that the people who are bothered the most by an age like that aren't really satisfied with where they are in life. By the time you're 40 you expect to have "done something" with your life. I was happy in my marriage, I had a kid, a house, pursuits that interested me. I'd been to England and France. And New York - twice. There was nothing to complain about.

50 feels the same way, only more so. Going into 50 I'll be able to say that I've been published. I'll have a job I like (still don't know what that is but I'll have one). Maybe by the time I turn 50 I'll have a pygmy goat and have learned to make chevre (that's on my list of life time goals). I still feel as young as I ever did, just more confident. Plus, when I look at women like Oprah, Helen Mirren, Susan Sarandon, or Diane Keaton I think, "Oh, yeah. Older looks good".

Hence, my 50th celebration will be just that - a celebration. Anyone showing up with black balloons or "over the hill" cards will be summarily dismissed from the festivities. I hate those people.

So anyway, back to the party. We'll have apertif and dinner over at The Neighbor's. She's going to hire an accordion player. Then we'll go to our house for cake and karaoke. I realize the later isn't particularly French but I like doing karaoke and it's my birthday. Then at midnight, when I officially turn 50, we'll drink champagne. Won't that be fun?

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Grrl Power

One of the fun things about bailing out the scary contents of The Child's room is being able to play her CDs while I work. I love this song.

I also know what happened to all the little individual packets of Goldfish® that I bought on Friday. Just saying.

video

Avril Lavigne "Complicated"

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It Happens Every Spring

I honestly don't know what brings it on. The weather doesn't even have to be particularly spring-like, which at cloudy and 40 degrees, it certainly isn't.

It's like a sickness. Certainly that's how The Spouse would describe it. Worst of all, it looks like I've passed it on to The Child.

It comes from a place so deep in my bones that it's like I was born with it. It's like my blue eyes or my great gams (that's for you, JP). To change it would take radical steps to change it. Like surgery.

Maybe it's genetic, maybe it is something spiritual. Maybe it comes from some very ancient place so far back in the mists of time that it can't even be named.

All I know is, the gland is secreting and I'm going to move stuff around.

I'm sorry, honey.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

TGIM


It's not often that the weekend makes you wish for Monday but this was pretty much the kind that can. Not that it was monumentally horrible. The front-end was too loaded with running around plus there's some ambient stress in the household that, shall we say, wasn't managed in the best possible way. On Saturday morning I was having coffee with The Neighbor and asked, "Is it Monday yet?"

But there were some highlights. Working backwards, the season finale of "Battlestar Galactica" was swell. I'll never hear "All Along the Watchtower" in quite the same way again.



Bob Dylan is a cylon!

I made a terrific pork tenderloin thing for dinner last night, oven roasted with an orange marmalade-ginger glaze. I cooked down the pan juices & glaze & enriched it with a blob of butter to make a sauce. Accompanied by couscous with lemon, mint & chives and some asparagus, it was a very lovely springtime supper.

Not that the weather around here has been remotely springlike. March is a stupid month. We're ready for spring, it is spring but we had borderline torrential rain all weekend. And while it is actually clear this morning, there was ice on the car again. I digress.

The best thing about the weekend was that The Spouse and I got to attend the Seattle premiere screening of ""Fortune Hunters" the film he worked on last summer. It was terrific.

With a run time of only 21 minutes, it is a sweet little film about a Chinese-American guy, played by Kelvin Yu, who writes fortunes at his dad's cookie factory. His girlfriend is planning to go to China for a year so he decides to break up with her. After realizing what an idiot move that was, he writes her, begging for another chance. He unknowingly sends the message to the fortune printer and mayhem ensues.

The movie is charming, funny, well-acted and beautifully lit (which, of course, owes almost entirely to The Spouse. Just saying). The film has been screened at a couple of film festivals and they've entered it in SIFF, the Seattle International Film Festival. Given that this is in fact one of the biggest festivals in the world, it would be huge if they get in. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, the film just begs to be a feature. Writer/director Thom Harp and Mike Standish, who produced and co-wrote the show, are working on the full-length script as we speak and plan to shoot in Seattle, with as many of the crew who are available. The Spouse told Thom he'd do what he could.

You'll remember that The Spouse had a terrific time making this movie. Part of the reason for that had to owe to the fact that everyone involved in the production was just as nice as can be. I didn't have a ton of behind-the-scenes experiences during the time that he was making movies for a "living". But based on what I did, it always seemed like the crew were totally awesome, fun people but that the farther up the echelon you got, not always so much. Thom and Mike are truly lovely people, not at all pretentious and really super funny. There was a little Q&A after the screening and I kept imagining the two of them in tuxes, accepting the Oscar. Oh. Wait. Oscars rarely go to comedies. More's the pity. They deserve it.

If you have a chance to see this little number at a film festival near you, please go. You won't be sorry. And Seattlites, if it gets into SIFF you gotta go see it.

Before the movie started, The Spouse was talking to some folks and called me over to meet them. I'd met Neil Holcomb, the cinematographer, on the set. There was some lad who I totally forgot already (sorry) and a cute little thing who reminds one of Goldie Hawn. The Spouse introduced her with a "And this is Jessica, who did something on the show". She was only the female lead.

After the screening I went up to congratulate her and said, "If it wouldn't be too much trouble, would you mind giving me your autograph?" I told her about The Child and her new-found love of acting and thought it might be very cool for her to have an autograph from a real live actress. Jessica was so cute...I think it might have been the first time anyone asked for her autograph. She gave it to me, adding "Break a leg" to her signature. I'm going to frame it for The Child.

The other cool thing about the screening was seeing The Spouse get a credit. He's worked on a lot of stuff but his name didn't always make it onto the credits. Seeing it on "Fortune Hunters", especially when he so enjoyed the experience of making it, was really superfantastic. Way to pad that IMdb profile, sweetie!

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Geez! The Dog Just Growled and It Made Me Jump.

So now that we've confirmed that the adrenal gland is working:

The Child gave her performance the other day and was a raving success. I don't just know this because she felt super good about it.

I've heard classmates rave to her, her teacher told me yesterday how great she'd done, "expressive, responsive and just a hoot" and other teachers were stopping me to say they'd heard about her superfantastic (my word) performance. I wish someone would develop a curriculum for math and science that was theater based. The kid would be a straight A student.

Oh, I know. Grades don't matter. I would just be nice to see her put the same level of effort into those subjects as she did in this, if only for the sake of developing her discipline and well, you know, learning stuff. But then again, seeing her find her passion...it's very exciting.

No school today. The Child and I are headed out to help set up for the school auction, which is tomorrow night. We aren't going, though. There is a premiere for the film The Spouse worked on this summer and we're going to that instead. But I promised long ago that I'd help "fluff and buff" the silent auction items, so I'm gonna. And then we are going to go grocery shopping and while we are out, try to find a birthday present for The Boy. Tee.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Will Write for Food

I had lunch yesterday with my friend, KK. Thai food. It was delicious.

Her oldest kid is the same age as The Child. We met at church, bonding during our months of pregnancy. She and her family used to live in our 'hood, then her husband got a job that took them to Rochester, New York. They all still consider Seattle home.

KK works part-time for a law firm in town and is brought in a couple of times a year to work on cases or whatever. This was a pretty quick visit but we made time yesterday. It was one of those really perfect lunches. Not so much because of the food (although the peanut sauce was divine) but because we are both in very similar places in our lives. We talked about our need for work that really connects to our values, the change that we're both going through in terms of having our kids getting older and the consequent shift in how we want to be using our time. When your kid is in school all day and your an at-home mom it starts becoming very easy to waste time. Lots of time. We are both superfantasically good at that, it turns out. We get sidetracked from the meaningful and come to the end of the day going "Oh, right. I should have done x, y or z". But by then it's bedtime.

So we talked about stuff like that and our quest for new purpose. And the best thing about it was those moments when one of us would say to the other, "I know exactly what you are talking about". It was part confession, part strategy session, part booster club.

I walked away from lunch thinking about the last month. I have been so focused on finding The Job that I've neglected the one thing I know I love: writing. Besides the blog, I've written nothing. I've completely neglected my two book projects. And I realized something else. Before I discovered this cool gig opportunity, I wasn't all that jiggy with the idea of going back to work. Now I am. I realize that I'm ready for something else. And that's a good thing, because some extra money would be good. But more than that, I realized that the search for a Job shouldn't get in the way of my writing. And it especially shouldn't in these days/weeks/months before I find something.

Plus, I had some email conversations with Absent Amy a few months ago about next steps in my writing career and the main thing she told me was to figure out what I was passionate about and write about that. At the time I wasn't sure what that might be. 'Cause I'm passionate about a couple of things. What the last month has done is sharpen my focus. I want to write about food. Articles. Books. Maybe a cookbook. And I want to get those things published. A month ago I didn't have a clue, now I do. That is really superfantastic.

So I made a pledge to myself to use the time while I have it to focus on those projects, to treat them as my work and to do that every day. Starting today.

This is all the more important because on Tuesday I got a stardard boiler plate email from the cool gig that said "thanks but no thanks". Was I shocked? Yep. I thought sure I'd get an interview. And when I read that they were going to "pursue candidates whose qualifications more closely match" what they are looking for I admit my first thought was a rather bitchy, "Golly, I thought Nigella Lawson already had a job". Between you and me, I cried a little. It doesn't feel that great to be told that you aren't qualified for something that you know you are completely qualified to do. And yeah, yesterday I walked around feeling like I'd been kicked in the gut.

But I'm getting over it. Because until this came along, there were a lot of things I hadn't figured out. This served, if nothing else, to help me become more clear about that. So that's a good thing. I said all along that just because it sounded perfect didn't mean it would actually be perfect for me. I still believe that. The right thing is going to come along in the fullness of time. But between now and then, I'm going to write some superfantastic stuff. I promise. Watch out, world.

Nothing like a good dose of rejection to put a little fire in one's belly.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Primavera


Spring has sprung. Actually, it's making more of a whirring noise, like something is stuck on the gears. But it's trying really hard. The sun broke through the rain clouds a minute ago, then thought better of it.


It is damp, but everything is budding. The grass is getting lush and full. I'm thinking again about a pygmy goat. On Sunday I went out to pull weeds from the herb garden and came in smelling like rosemary and thyme. Yum. I bought garden seeds last week, too. Sweet peas (which I was supposed to plant on St. Patrick's day but didn't) and a few things for the potagers. And when I say "a few" I mean it. I'm done with planting fancy varieties of carrots and beets. I'm over peas and French zucchini. I like them and all, but let's face it. I can find that stuff in the market whenever I want. This year I'm keeping it really, really simple. There will be a pot of mesclun (the cut and come again type), tricolor beans (yellow, purple and green) and artichokes. That's it. Oh, and I'm going to order some cornichon from a website because it is super fun to make my own pickles. And of course, I'll put in some peppers and tomato plants, but I'm done starting those from seed. I end up with way more plants than my garden can accommodate and have fewer varieties. Let someone else bother with that. Plus, the grapes and apple stick will deliver plenty of bang for absolutely no buck. Love that.


Still, it's that time. I'm not going to be fussing with the gardens a whole lot but I'll be fussing. For the next couple of weeks it will be all about the weeding, moving mulch, turning compost and moving pots. Then the real fun will begin.





I know at least 2 of you care about this. Go write a letter.




You absolutely must take time to go read Iwanski's analysis of the latest Iraqi poll. Brilliant, as always.




Happy first day of spring!

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Monday, March 19, 2007

It's Official

The Child has a boyfriend.

She's been friends with The Boy for 2 years. He's the one who asked her to do something after her first Snow Ball and they've been hanging out ever since. While she has sometimes admitted to having a little bit of a crush on him, that seemed to come and go. Mostly he was just a good friend who took her (with his Uncle - who's his guardian) to do cool stuff.

Then something shifted.

She'd gone off with The Boy and Uncle for the day to do Irish-y things. When they returned I was in the midst of preparing the corn beef & cabbage. Our dinner guests arrived. We invited Boy and Uncle to stay. So the adults are all chatting in the kitchen, the kids are all in the family room and The Spouse goes in to put on some music. He returns giggling.

The Boy had his arm around The Child, something he immediately stopped doing when The Spouse walked in. The Spouse gave him the "I've got my eyes on you" gesture and left. Giggling, as I said.

That's when Uncle confirmed that there'd been a conversation wherein the word order of "friend who is a girl" had changed. And we all agreed that we were ok with it because they are good kids. Although we also instituted a "no closed doors" rule. It's nice that we can talk with Uncle and are on the same page about what it appropriate and what isn't. It's also really superfantastic that the kids have been friends for so long. As The Spouse said, the best relationships are the ones born out of friendship.

Yesterday, on the way in to church, I asked The Child if she had anything to tell me. She got a very stricken look. "No".

"You sure? Nothing you want to tell me at all".

She looked like I'd been going through her drawers and found a pack of Lucky Strikes. "Nothing".

"I think there might be something. And for what it's worth, you're not in trouble".

She was silent.

"Something about The Boy?"

"Ohhhh," she said, immediately grinning from ear to ear and blushing.

And then she talked. And it was very cute.

And yes, it's a little freaky. We are now playing a whole new ball game and I'm not so sure spring training lasted long enough. Limits, rules, prayer, communication...these are all staples upon which we've relied in the last 13 years. The foundation is pretty solid. But still. This is big stuff.

I told Uncle that if I were to hand-pick a first boyfriend for The Child, I couldn't do better than The Boy. He's sweet, a little shy, scary smart, funny, very kind. They are interested in a lot of the same things. And you can tell that he likes her.

So there you go. Fortunately, we only have to tackle one day at a time. I'm not shopping for my mother-of-the-bride dress. This is, however, one of those milestones that makes me realize once again how swiftly the time goes. That MOTB dress is at least 10 off. But when you talking about a child growing up, that is no time at all.



"My Little Girl"

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy Joy


Last night we ate delicious fish and chips and watched, as The Spouse likes to call it, "My Immense Adipose Hellenic Nuptials". It was a very pleasant evening, all the more so because The Cat is improving.

Her spirits and energy had seemed much improved to me. She was wandering away from the house and walking on top of the fence, feats quite beyond her earlier in the week. She was hissing at The Dog and fought furiously when The Child put her in the pet carrier. We were trying to be guarded when we went to the vet yesterday but we couldn't help being hopeful.

Upon examination the vet said that her kidney was smaller and softer than it had been on Monday. She still has a heart murmur but that could absolutely be connected to the kidney issue. Therefore, she will stay on her regimen of fluids, pills and special food for a month and then he'll do some more blood work. We were all extremely relieved and The Child and I indulged in happy tears.
(I keep thinking what a good thing it is that Charlie is on hiatus and not reading blogs. This all would have pained him so deeply).



Btw, yes. I know. Thank you. We've already had one phone call and an email about the pet food/kidney failure recall thingy. Neither the food she had prior to The Incident or the new stuff is affected. Although it did occur to me that if we had been giving her tainted food we might be able to sue for the costs of all the vet bills. 'Cause I'm American like that.


I mentioned earlier in the week the "wallpaper" nature of The Cat and how easy it is to take her for granted. I've since been spending time every day petting her and telling her what a pretty kitty she is and listening to her purr. The fact that we thought we might be losing her was the motivation, of course, until I realized - and not for the first time but I'm slow - that we really can't take the creatures in our lives for granted because we really just don't know what each day will bring. And when I say "creatures" I mean all the living things around us.

I remember the stories after 9/11, family members and friends recalling last words, last interactions with those they lost. I think of ChouChou, who has twice beaten cancer and knows a thing or two about how fragile and precious life is. She never ends a conversation without saying "I love you". It's a good practise.

Oh, I know there are people who think that you cheapen the phrase by overuse. But can you really be overusing "I love you" when it is said to people you really love? I don't think so. If you love people, you should tell them. Don't assume they know. Heck, I know that the people in my life know that I love them. Of course they do. But telling them is still a good thing, something I need to make sure I'm doing more often. (Sometimes it seems I say "I love you" to people like The Neighbor, ChouChou, JP and Buck more than I do to The Spouse and The Child. I need to work on that).

Anyway, the point is, I took my cat for granted until it was almost too late and I'm not going to do that anymore. Not with her or The Dog or The Child or The Spouse. Or with anyone else that I love. At least, I'm going to try really hard to be more mindful.

Thanks for all your sweet words of encouragement and prayers and stuff. I know she's "just a cat" but it meant a lot that so many of understood. And I'm just so happy to be telling you that it looks like she's on the mend. Yippee!

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Oh. My. Gosh. Friday

Oh. My. Gosh. #1
It's Friday. This less than stellar week is winding down. Gratitude abounds.

Oh. My. Gosh. #2
Not that this really is shocking or anything, but Karl Rove's fingerprints are all over a smoking gun in the firing of a mess of US attorneys. And in light of this new evidence, the latest is that the White House is now starting to back off their story that all this skullduggery originated with Harriet Miers, who is a) no longer in the administration and 2) was once the President's candidate for a Supreme Court justice. Looks more and more like Gonzales and Rove cooked up the whole thing. Again, not a surprise but now key Republicans are calling for Gonzales' resignation and noting things like the "pattern of arrogance in this administration" (Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.- gosh, ya think?) ...I don't know, kids. Kinda hard to keep the lid on the schaudenfreude. It's spring cleaning time. I say, start with Rove.

Oh. My. Gosh. #3
File this under "Small, Crazy World". Turns out one of my dearest friends in the world is the sister of Krista Barth, who is representing Howard K. Stern, Anna Nicole Smith's "partner". This just cracks me up. I'm not even sure why. And no, I didn't get any dirt because KK isn't a purveyor of such things. She did tell me that her sister babysat Dannielynn during the funeral. Krista had never met Anna Nicole so she didn't think it was appropriate to take one of the limited seats from someone who had known her. Krista watched the baby so the household staff could attend. I think that's sweet. I still don't much trust her client, but hey, no one asked me to.

Oh. My. Gosh. #4
Last week Horizon over at "Message in a Bottle" posted some silly pictures of her youngest, which birthed a whimsical little game, that created a virtual rock band. Well, ever the creative one, Horizon has now designed a promotional picture and CD cover for said group. It is a triumph of photoshopping. If you need a laugh today you must go check out her brilliant effort. I think we all look quite superfantastic. Brava, Horizon.

Oh. My. Gosh. Look at the Time!
I must away. Haven't done the grocery shopping yet and am still reclaiming the kitchen after the flood the other night. The Cat has another appointment at 5pm and then, assuming goodish news, the evening will be devoted to fish & chips and a really good movie. I don't know what really good movie but I want to watch something terrifically light-hearted and entertaining. (And no, honey, that wouldn't be "The Sorrow and the Pity").

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

It's All In Your Perspective

Do you want to hear about how the kitchen flooded last night while The Child was trying to cook dinner and we were waiting for Jen to come juice The Cat? No? Pity. It's a terrific, action-packed tale in which our heroine completely loses her cool under pressure. You'd have loved it.

But since you don't want to hear about it, I'll just say:

a) Thank God for Drano. Seriously. Because if it hadn't worked and I had to call a plumber today and spend some more money that I don't have I would have been grumpy.

2) God bless The Spouse, who did keep his cool and who knows how to use a plumber's snake.

Also, I'd like to humbly submit that trouble should no longer come in threes. That is a very inefficient use of trouble. Rather, I would propose that trouble be space out more evenly and distributed more widely. We all can do with the occasional dose of character building that trouble affords us but really, heaping one annoying thing up on top of another just seems excessive.

Now I think I'll go say a prayer for those who might welcome a clogged drain because it would assume the presence of running water and others who live daily with more than I've ever been asked to carry.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Middle of Lent

The middle of Lent always stinks.

In the language of the Church, Lent is a time in the desert, modeling the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness before He began His earthly ministry. Catholics "go into the desert" in Lent to prepare and be purified, as He did. We simplify, fast, give up and take on things all in an effort to become better Christians and to be ready for the great mysteries of Easter.

The beginning of the journey is always rather exciting. Having considered what needs to change in my life, I embrace the notion of a 40 day retreat. I'm ready, enthusiastic. And the beginning is like any journey, anticipating what's to come with eagerness. The edge of the desert has a wild beauty and besides, I can still see "home" back over my shoulder.

But after a few weeks the desert isn't such a perky place. The vista is nothing but barren sand, the occasional rock and maybe, with luck, a scrub brush. But there is no beauty, no oasis, no cleft of rock in which to hide from the heat. It sucks. Whatever load I'm carrying suddenly seems heavier; sometimes I lose my bearings and mostly am asking, "Why am I doing this again?"

But once in the middle of the desert there is no option but to keep moving until the 40 days wind down. There begins to be vegetation. The sandstorms aren't so frequent. And there, in the distance, a glimpse of the other end of the desert. There is a cool, green place waiting. The journey is over and I'm able to celebrate the 50 days of Easter with a new kind of joy and a fair amount of relief.

At least, that is how it plays out for me.

Another thing about Lent. I always start out with my own intentions, which come out of thoughtful reflection and prayer. But just about every year there's a point where God says, "Sure, that's a pretty good idea but here's where I'm really taking you".

This year's Lent is, without question, about waiting and about how impatient I am for the "big things". When it comes to little stuff, I have no problem with waiting. Standing on line for the grocery check-out, waiting to be seated in a restaurant, even traffic tie-ups...I'm the queen of Little Waiting. I don't fight it, don't complain. I'll take out a book or my day planner, ring up someone on my cell, chat with someone or just take the time to breathe and be. I am a model of charm and poise with the little waitings of life. Big stuff, not so much.

I want it now! I want the deal to close, the test results back, the decisions made sooner rather than later. Forget this waiting for a contractor to show up to finish the kitchen. Forget about backed up labs and department directors who have the nerve to go on vacation when I'm looking for a job. Escrow? Who needs it? These are the sorts of things that it seems I've had to deal with every Lent of my Catholic life. There is always something big going on, something that won't be accomplished quickly, something that is moving forward but so incrementally as to be imperceptible. And. I. Hate. It.

This morning I had a little breakthrough. Here's a bold statement: I'll bet you I do get The Job. We all know I'm perfect for it. They'll know it soon enough. But you know what else I bet? I'll bet if I get it the offer won't come until Eastertide. Just bet you.

And then I thought of something else. All this stuff with The Cat? It's consuming a lot of time and emotional energy. How much would it stink to be dealing with this AND working at the same time? (Granted, once I am working I'll have to deal with all sorts of things while holding down a job. But there is a mercy in the fact that right now there is time to attend to this).

This isn't a major breakthrough on the subject of Big Waiting, but I may have stumbled on a piece of it: I need to develop a similar attitude and discipline toward the Big stuff as I have with the Little. Breathing into it, letting it be and not wasting all my time in the meantime with fretting. Yes, the scenery right now is a little austere but there's beauty to be found even in the barreness, if I'm willing to stop complaining long enough to look around.




Cat Update for Those Who Are Interested

Got the blood work back yesterday, with elevated levels that confirm funkiness in her kidney. Doc wants her on a special low-protein diet, wants us to push fluids no matter how much she's drinking and he wants to see her again on Friday. The second he said he wanted us to start the IV, I freaked. The tech showed me how to do it but eewww... I spent the day visualizing how to administer a subcutaneous IV and getting skeeved out. I told The Neighbor that at least it would give me one more important skill for The Tribe after the apocolypse. ("Why, you'll be a medical technician! she said).

But then I remembered that our friend Jennifer is studying to be a physical therapist and maybe, just maybe she'd know how to do it. "Sub cute?" she said, "That is soooo easy". Hi. I have a new personal hero. She came up last night to give Phoebs her fluids and is going to come tonight and tomorrow as well.

May she and all her descendents be blessed for ever more. Selah.

If the problem is a kidney infection, then the antibiotics and fluids will help immensely and the vet should see an appreciable difference by Friday.

Also, her thyroid is normal. And that's the bad news. She's underweight but eats all the time. It could be that she's not getting enough nutrients because her kidney is otherwise occupied. It could be. It could also be cancer. There. I said it. So basically, if her kidney doesn't respond to the diet, pills and fluids, that's pretty much the diagnosis.

I told The Child yesterday and immediately began crying. She, on the other hand, remained stalwart. "The thing is," I told her, "we need to start preparing ourselves for the worst. If it really is just an infection and she's going to be fine we can be really happy. But if we tell ourselves that's all it is and it's worse we are going to be even sadder than we are now".

So there you go. And in the meantime, we're just loving her up as much as we can.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Some Updates

The Cat

Our vet saw her yesterday. She is much improved in fiestiness and spirits, which is a good thing. It suggests she's responding to the antibiotics. He did find some other things which could be indicative of a more severe condition, however, so he's doing some blood work and we'll see if that tells us anything. Meanwhile, she's dehydrated so if she doesn't seem to be drinking enough we have to push fluids. Hi. Picture me administering an IV bag to a rascally cat. Yeah, I can't see it, either.

We should have the blood tests back today or tomorrow.

The Child is being very brave and hopeful. Which is sweet and distressing. This is really hard for her.

By the time I was her age I'd seen so many animals go to their reward. I lived on a farm growing up. It happened. And if they were sick, Sean Connory was the one who moved them on to the next realm. (Something he did not enjoy, btw). Besides a frog, 2 fish and a couple of stick bugs, The Child hasn't had to really deal with pet death. The frog, that was tragic, as she'd raised it from a tadpole. But after a proper keening and a liturgically correct funeral, she was pretty much over it. The Cat would be a much bigger deal.

This sucks.

The Job

I learned yesterday that my application has made it past the HR people and onto the desk of the Department Director. Said Director has been in London and just returned. So I'm assuming I'm only one of 412,000 things she has to deal with in the next couple of weeks. But it was nice to know that I've been deemed a qualified candidate by HR. I continue to be very excited by the possibilities of this gig so that news made me superfantastically happy.

Newspapers

City Mouse gave me a fine addition for the newspaper list I posted yesterday:

The Chicago Tribune is read by people who work their butts off so other people can run the country.

This inspired me to consider another omission from the list:

The Seattle Times is read by people who are trying to come to consensus on whether to commission a study to determine the viability of developing a non-partisan board to conduct a survey on whether to call a public vote on the question of the desirability of running the country. Latte, anyone?

Baseball

The Mariners are 3-10 in spring training. Bodes well. Not.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

I'm Very Good at Crossword Puzzles

A friend sent this to me this morning.


NEWSPAPER READERS
1. The Wall Street Journal is read by most of the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country - if they could find the time, and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country, or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions: if the leaders are handicapped, minority, feminist, gay, atheist, dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided, of course, that they are not conservatives.

11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

12. And, finally, the country IS run by someone who doesn't read a newspaper at all.

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E.R.

Everyone was minding their business in a post-church, late Sunday afternoon sort of way. The Spouse was working on some carpentry project (which I believe he's chronicling over on his blog), The Child, recently recovered from a day of "very bad tummy" was plugging away at her homework. The Dog was tethered outside so he could be with his Papa and be soaked by the Pineapple Express and The Cat was caught dipping her paw into my glass of milk, licking said paw ever so delicately and nonchalantly, as is the way of cats. And I, when not defending my milk, was playing videos, preparatory to a nice little game of "Age of Empires III".

And then.

The Child heard a strange sound from the family room and upon investigation found The Cat had yarked all over the scanner (which was on the floor and I don't know why). The usual kerfuffle between her and her father ensued: "You clean it up, it's gross"..."You clean it up, you found it" (which is the rule...you found it, you deal with it). She grudgingly starts to clean it and then calls for me.

She's found The Cat, lying in the farthest corner of the family room, her mouth open, her breathing very labored. I gently pulled her out and held her on my lap, stroking her and, well, I don't know what else. Willing her to stop it? I'm not known for my veterinary skills. The Child is standing by, face puckered and tears welling and as I turned to calm her The Cat crawled off my lap and back into her "don't let the pack see me like this" spot.

The Child was very emotional, as you'd expect someone to be about the scary behavior of her first ever pet, but she was also keeping her head. She got the phone and dialed our vet, handed the phone to me and went to get The Spouse. As I was getting a number for a near-by-enough animal hospital, she was in the garage, digging out the pet carrier.

The hospital vet said, "Get her in here as soon as you can".

There was a moment. The Child was crying and I was too but I held her and said, "Honey, you know that if this is bad we will have to let kitty go?"

She knew.

We loaded The Cat into her carrier and trust me, she's never gone willingly into it. This time she had no fight. Meanwhile, The Dog was wandering around looking at all of us and trust me on this, too, he knew something was wrong. He wasn't scampering or snuffling and he wasn't barking at The Cat.

With a great pulling-together-of-selves, The Child and I drive The Cat to the animal ER. The Child was in the backseat, monitoring kitty and being brave and occasionally making the "wee ooh wee ooh" sound of an ambulance. Because apparently she's learning that sometimes a little humor can help you cope in a crisis.

Here's the thing. The whole time I'm thinking, "If she's really sick, we put her down". I love my cat but I'm not one of those people who's going to spend a lot of money treating something untreatable. If she was sick and suffering, we would be merciful. I was resolved, prepared. Not so much prepared for the news that the baseline cost just to stabilize the beast was going to be $500. That's right. $500 American dollars. And yeah, I hesitated before signing the authorization form. The Cat had perked up by the time we'd arrived at the hospital, anyway. She was sitting up, no longer breathing through her mouth. Maybe she was just fine.

But of course I let them treat her. Still. Ouch.

Long story longer, they stabilized The Cat. The vet came in to tell me her findings, starting off with "what a sweet cat" she is. At which point I knew she was really sick because our cat is only sweet to the three of us. Everyone else can go to hell. Anyway, x-rays showed some patchy bits on her lungs. It could be anything from a respiratory infection to cancer. Last night's goal was to get her to breathe normally, get her vitals up, check her white cell count (which is normal) and keep her comfortable.

She spent the night at the hospital and I have to go fetch her this morning. I told the vet that I wasn't prepared to pay for the high end of her estimates...blood work and all sorts of other tests that were going to take us well over the $1,000 mark. I'll talk everything over with our vet, who isn't going to charge me the price of a brake job to do some basic kitty blood tests.

There will not be extraordinary measures. I figure, she's either got a touch of something that will be fixed up by antibiotics or she's on her way out. If it's time, it's time. I say that ever so bravely, even as I have already noted her absence this morning and got a little varklempt looking at her frakking cat food. Ridiculous.

Most of the time The Cat is just a kind of wallpaper, sitting on a side table, looking disdainfully through slit eyes at The Dog wagging below her. She's 10 years old. She sleeps at the foot of The Child's bed most of the day. Only ever so occasionally will she come and hop up on a lap and deign to be stroked and admired. Then she's off again on her own cat pursuits and you need not follow, thank you very much.

But she was, she is the first pet we had in this house, The Child's first pet. At the age of 3, just before we moved in she asked, "My new house, me have kitty?"

"Yes, we'll get a kitty".

"My new house, me have a kitty. Kitty name Phoebe".

And so it was.

And I guess if that memory and all sorts of other cat memories have the power to make me blubber like a baby til I can't see my laptop screen, oh well. She's our kitty and we love her. I hope she's going to be ok.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday? Fuggetaboudit.


Woke up this morning feeling like crap on a cracker.


It's mostly a headache. And you know what that means. Yep. Brain tumor.


So I'm heading back to bed with a cup of coffee, 2 aspirin and W magazine. Maybe I'll take a little nap.


You know what is nice about this? I did a bunch of stuff yesterday...stuff so significant that people noticed. (The inside of the fridge looks like new). And since my house is all nice and cozy I can go to bed and nurse my brain without a lick of I-shouldn't-be-languishing-here-when-there-are-things-to-do-itis.


Btw, I am now making The Child do her own laundry. It so rocks.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mutimedia Thursday


I have a new look. My hair is getting really long, which is very exciting to me. I colored it over the weekend, going with more of a cocoa brown thing than what I've been sporting. I hate styling my hair, mostly because I never really learned how, so I bought some hot rollers to make things easy on myself. My hair has a lot of body and if I'm not careful, the curling action gives me very big astronaut's wife hair. But when the curls are just so (usually after I've slept on them), I get this kind of Laura Roslin* thing going on. It's awesome.


You may address me as Madame President.

*Laura Roslin, President of the 12 Colonies on "Battlestar Galactica", in case you didn't know.



Wednesday has become movie night around here. Last night we watched "The Lake House". It's a quiet little romance starring Sandra Bullock, or as The Spouse likes to call her, The Child's New Mommy. She teams up with "Speed" co-star Keanu Reeves who, let's be honest, has all the acting range of a cat but I like him anyway.

The story is about 2 people who meet and develop a relationship by writing to each other while living in the same house. The catch is that she lives in it in 2006 and he lives there in 2004. There were a lot of things to like about this movie but what I enjoyed the most is that it is a perfect example of "suspension of disbelief". The point of the story isn't that they don't inhabit the same space-time continuum. Love, it would seem, conquers all. What's cool is that there is no attempt to explain the time glitch. There is no mystery about it, no one tries to understand it. It just is. And the viewer is invited to ignore this niggling little point as well and to just watch as these two make the connections they need to make and understand what they need to understand - about themselves and their choices - in order to finally be together. It was charming and simple and sweet. I liked it way better than "Brokeback Mountain".


out of 5.




Just for fun, if you haven't seen this clip, it's worth the watch. I don't exactly know why I find it so uplifting and charming, but I do.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Season or a Reason

Do you have someone in your life who ended up being so important to the trajectory of your life that, had you not met them, you'd be on a completely different path? I'm not talking necessarily about the mothers who brought us into the world or the teachers or mentors who sparked a particular passion. I'm talking about some regular old person from whom you can chart at least part of the course of your life.

I've got at least one. We called her Muffin. She and I met our freshman year of college. We had an apartment together that first summer in Seattle and ended up living together on 3 other occasions after that (until we finally realized that our friendship was more important the inevitable drama that would ensue if we ever attempted that again). It was just an ordinary friendship. We shared secrets, encouraged each other (and sometimes not), we enjoyed each other (and found fault), we laughed a lot and we cried a bit. But if I had not met her I would be somewhere entirely different. Here's a map.

Muffin

got me a job at a Greek restaurant

where I met Rabab

who, when I was tired of the restaurant, introduced me to

the Bs, who were the first family for whom I nannied.

At the bus stop I took to work I met Lisa

who introduced me to the people who knew that

H & R were looking for a nanny about the time I needed a change from the Bs.

So I nannied for them until I realized I was nearing 30 and really wanted stuff like a full salary and benefits, which also coincided with H & R having a 2nd kid and H deciding to be an at-home mom.

H was working for a company that was joint venturing a downtown project with the Rouse Company and she knew they were looking for a secretary. So H made the introductions and I

got the job where I met

DMV

who I subsequently worked with at 2 other companies.

Because of this job I started hanging out at the restaurant in our building where I met

Richard & Steph

who introduced me to The Spouse

which led to the eventual existence of The Child.

And that doesn't even cover all of it.

Because I met DMV I also met Ree, who is now one of my best friends and a big part of the reason I became Catholic, and Nicole, who is also a bestie & the reason I made it to France.

The restaurant was also where I met Cardinal Sin and the woman who would someday become my sister-in-law.

And Muffin's room-mate Dot had a boyfriend who was a drummer in a band with Oakland Fats, yet another very dear friend.

There are at least half a dozen other relationships and key life experiences that are a result of that one freshman year encounter. The ironic thing is that Muffin and I lost touch round about the time The Child was a year old. I heard rumors that she'd gone through some bizarre, difficult experience and unloaded a lot of people in the process. About 10 years ago, right around this time, we ran into her on the way to a meeting with our mortgage broker. She didn't have time to talk but gave me her business card. Grudgingly, it would appear, as she never returned my calls. And that was that.

People come and go. Sometimes they stay for life and sometimes not. Sometimes they come in and out. It's just the way of things. But sometimes I really wish that Muffin and I could have one more glass of wine, for old times sake. I'd like to properly thank her.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tuesday This and That

I cannot believe what a beautiful, mild day it is today. This is the sort of day that begs me to put on schleppy clothes and go work in the garden. As I am currently sporting a rather adorable ensemble of black knee length pencil skirt and grey cashmere turtleneck sweater, the day will have to beg a bit harder for me to actually change. But it's a nice thought. And there is certainly nothing to prevent me sketching some garden plans and surfing the web for cornichon seed.




The Child asked to take a mental health day today. As you know, she is allowed one a trimester. She came to me not just with the request but also with a well-considered proposal as to how she would spend her day which included the caveat that she wouldn't even consider turning on the television until 4:30 "because that's around the time I'd be home from school" and she's only going to turn on her computer to work on a story for class. I enjoy her mental health days because she is particularly sensible of the honor it is to stay home under these circumstances and she is very amenable of spirit and disciplined about using her time. So, win-win. Plus, she's supposed to make dinner tomorrow night but I think she may as well do it tonight, don't you?





Meanwhile, my car is in the shop getting brand new platinum brakes encrusted with diamonds and rubies in a tasteful setting. Yes, I'm paying extra to have the brakes engraved with The Spouse's and my initials intertwined in the shape of a fleur-de-lis but as I always say, "It's only money".




The Child had dinner at a friend's house last night and came home with a pizza bagel...apparently that family too was visited by generous Purim fairies. Anyhoo, she had this bagel and I suggested she save it for breakfast but she wanted to eat it. Then, as it turned out, she decided mom was right so she wrapped it up and had it on her desk, saving it for morning.


In the middle of the night I heard "No! Bad cat!" with attendant thumping of feet and slamming of doors. The Cat had found the treat, chewed through the bag and awakened The Child with the noise of her munching. The Cat was then banished from The Child's room and the bagel thrown in the trash. I just found The Dog chewing on it. On the couch.




The Child is eating her lunch in the other room at the moment and I just heard her say, "Two wrongs don't make a right but three rights make a left".




Having been denied his pizza bagel, The Dog has retreated to rest. Outside. In the sun. On the deck. I told you it was a beautiful day.

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Breaking News

Scooter Libby has just been convicted for being a lying liar.

To which I can only add, right on!

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Oh Yippee Skippee!

The Rabbi's Wife just came by with 2, count 'em, 2 gift bags full of treats for Purim. The chicken cookie jar is now full to the beak with hamentashen and all manner of other little cakes and cookies are in the biscuit tin. And I'm have Chukar Cherries for lunch (chocolate covered dried cherries. Yum).

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Monday Meh

I got nothing, people.

Well, that's not strictly true. It's more like I've got so much that I don't know where to start. So instead of trying, I'm going to clean my kitchen counters, throw a bunch of crap out of The Child's room and work on my book.

It's a beautiful almost-spring day and that makes me happy.

So did this, which came from Cardinal Sin.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

You Kiss Your Mama with That Mouth? and Other Headlines

The always respectful, ever charming Ann Coulter is at it again. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, in front of several candidates for the GOP nomination, she opened fire on various Dems with her usual attempt at witty invective. She made fun of Al, Bill and Barack saying the sorts of unkind, not-funny things that any decent parent would punish a kid for saying on the playground. And then she used the "f" word in reference to John Edwards because, oddly, that's her fall back whenever she can't think of anything else to say about a Democrat.

None of this is surprising, of course. It's to be expected from the poor thing. I do think, however, it might be pleasant to see some of the folks present, like Mitt Romney and Rudy Gulliani, step up and suggest that such language has no place in the public discourse; particularly since their appearance at this event had a lot to do with their desire to position themselves as the "moral values" candidate.

Oh! And speaking of moral values, here's an interesting story. The National Association of Evangelicals is getting some pressure from outside conservative groups. Afraid that a broader view of what "moral values" might entail will dilute the message of hate focus of the religious right, folks like James Dobson are urging the NAE to get rid of their policy director, the Rev. Richard Cizik. Why? He thinks global warming and human rights are moral issues, too, and he won't stop talking about it. Because when God asked humankind to care for His creation, it was just a suggestion. And when Jesus said "love one another as I have loved you" He just meant the people you agree with. (Happy to clear that up for you).

Meanwhile, you'll be delighted to learn that despite rhetoric to the contrary, US emissions are increasing. Go team!

In the "Remain Calm, Nothing to Worry About. It's Not Like We'd Ever Use One" category, we're happy to announce that a "design contest" has come up with a winner for a new nuclear warhead. I always say, it's not enough to be able to destroy the world several times over...you have to look good doing it.

And finally, lest you've been worrying that everthing is going to hell in a hand basket and everyone is just too touchy these days, here's some encouraging news: on Thursday the Swiss accidentally invaded Liechtenstein. Did the Liechtensteinians hastily deploy all their missles, sabers and other engines of destruction on the border? Did they send envoys and generals to the European Union asking for a coalition of the willing to strike out in retribution? Was there huffery and puffery in the UN Security Council?

No.

Pretty much the Liechtensteinie response was, "Meh". I believe there was also a shrugging of shoulders and then everyone had some beer and sausages. I find this to be a very affirming little story from which we might glean the following lesson: an offense is only an offense if you decide to be offended.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Some Things I Took the Time to Figure Out

For 12 years I have been an at-home mom. It's been a good run. It has been a blessing, pure and simple, to be home while The Child was little. Thing is, she's not little anymore. She still needs me, but she needs me when she's home, which is not typically Monday - Friday, 8-4. Also, it doesn't take me 8 hours a day to clean my house or keep up with the laundry. The Dog doesn't need me home for 8 hours a day. (It should be noted that he would like me home because he much prefers company. But he is perfectly capable of being home alone for 8 or 9 hours. Not to mention that he would spend most of that time sleeping and not, in fact, sit at the window whining and feeling abandoned). And my writing? That takes time and attention, to be sure, but I never have written for 8 hours a day and don't expect I ever will.

Then there are the financial realities...trips we hope to take and the fact that a Catholic education isn't free. So after all sorts of thinking and considering and praying and wondering, I finally decided that yeah, this was a good time to think about going back to work. And I will. I don't know when. The Cool Gig is still in process. Maybe that will be The Job. Maybe it won't. I just know that within the next year and a half, before The Child goes to high school, there will be a "The Job".

Arriving at the place of being willing to re-enter the work force was one part of the process. But now I've moved beyond willingness. I'm ready to re-enter the work force. (I can't say "go back to work" because, despite the nasty rumors, it really hasn't been all bonbons and soap operas. I've been working, just without benefit of a paycheck).

I'm liking the idea of a salary, of new work clothes. (Current fantasy: taking that first paycheck to Ann Taylor and going a little nuts. The Neighbor wants to come along). I am already adjusting parts of my schedule and the way, especially, that The Child and I do things in the morning to accommodate going to an office. I have been thinking about a lot of the stuff that goes with having a paying job.

But here's the rub: even as I anticipate the next phase of my life, it hasn't started yet. So I was feeling anxious. I was verily climbing the walls yesterday, jumping every time the email would "ping", hoping it was a response from the Cool Gig. (Because, you know, as of yesterday it had been 2 days since the deadline for turning in my test (which I sent in on Saturday) and obviously if their HR department hadn't offered me an interview within 2 days they were never going to. Drama queen, much?)

I talked with ChouChou, who reminded me of previous Lenten times that were spent in waiting. And then I took The Dog for a walk so I could pray and think and just breathe and then it hit me: I'm not good with waiting. Never have been. But more than that, I'm not really waiting to hear back from the Cool Gig so much as I am waiting for the fulfillment of this thing I have now become ready for, the whole "new phase of my life" thing. It's not unlike the days leading up to my wedding, or waiting for The Child to be born. After a while, I didn't want to be engaged anymore...I just wanted to be married. I didn't want to be pregnant anymore...I wanted to hold my baby.

And after I figured all that out, the calm set in. Waiting is part of the journey. (It is also, as Tom Petty famously sang, "the hardest part"). And then I realized one other thing: I don't know for sure when this next phase is going to start but it will eventually. And it would be really sad to squander these last days/weeks/months of being at home with worrying and mindless distractions. There are projects to work on, books to read, walks to take and the occasional shopping trip or long, leisurely lunch with a friend to indulge in. Because those luxuries will be traded in for other luxuries (like a paycheck) and if I don't appreciate them while I've got them, I risk being resentful when they diminish. That truly would be a sad thing.

So there you are. I have been anxious but I'm not any more. It's back to the old "one day at a time" thing...which seems to be just about the best advice there is for anyone no matter what the situation.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Everything You Wanted to Know About Parenting

Remain calm. Listen. Affirm them and be supportive. Feed them only fair trade products. Then love them enough to let them go.

Parental Advisory: One word at the end which is not suitable for small ones.

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March Comes In

To the north and south there is lots of snow and ice. Right here, in the little pocket of urban bliss that is Seattle, there is bright spring-like sun, fluffy white clouds in the brilliant blue sky and the sound of crocuses popping from the ground. Decidedly lamb-like for my neck of the woods but far more liony for the rest of the region. Should make the 31st very interesting.

While dusting some very grimy books this morning I had a revelation-that's-not-so-much-a-revelation-as-a-reminder: I am good at many things. Waiting is not one of them.

This has been a very productive week and that just thrills me to no end because so often I'm much better at laying plans than actually executing.

We finally got around to watching "Brokeback Mountain" last night. Meh. Meh to the 10th power. The Spouse liked it. But then, as I'm wont to say, he likes everything. Never met a movie he didn't like. He will even find the one thing that works in a movie that is universally held to be horrible. I like that about him. Although if he says a film is "great" you should get a second opinion.

Did I mention that The Child's class is reading Romeo and Juliet? They have all signed up for different parts and scenes...she's going to be the Nurse, in Act II, Scene iv. The parts have to be memorized and performed near the end of this month. We started running lines this week, one 15 minute session a day. Oh. My. Gosh. She already has all the little lines memorized and she's working her best British accent. She's also rolling well through the various modes of expression required in this particular scene...indignation at saucy Mercutio, feigned hurt at Peter standing by while Mercutio is saucy, not to mention warning, conspiring and encouraging Romeo...all in the same speech. She really is going to be amazing. And you just haven't lived until you hear her said "Scurvy knave! I am none of his flirt-gills; I am none of his skainsmates!"

I think she's going to be a method actress because after we practised she changed into an old Halloween costume that has a renaissance thing happening and asked, while she was making splendid BBQ chicken sammies for dinner, if we could please try to talk like the Nurse and Juliet.

In other news, my car has decided to make some sort of horrible grinding noise that sounds like I'm dragging a piece of fuselage. This is perfect timing because the extended warranty I bought on the thing 2 years ago is no longer in effect. The good news is that there are really good mechanics just down the street. The bad news is there will be a car repair bill. That is never a good thing.

And now I must away. Fair jocund day salutes my eye and...and...that Elizabethan crap is hard.

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