Thursday, October 28, 2010

What I learned, 10/27

The power went out last night, rendering the house unfathomably dark, the computer unusable, and Tommy thrilled to be allowed to take a flashlight to bed since his night light was out. So here's what I learned yesterday.

I learned that lesbians like Swiss Miss hot cocoa, which really is the most appropriate brand for them, if you think about it.

I learned that $60 for an hour long massage isn't overpriced at all. In fact, it's money I should start spending often.

I learned that nothing is more awesome for a 2 year old than candle light and his own flashlight.

I learned that not all 2 year olds are ready to be potty trained, and that hot wheel cars love to race through "water".

I learned that hot wheel cars are dishwasher safe.

I learned that it is possible for a dog pen to blow 30 feet and drag a beagle leashed to it behind it.

I learned that a beagle, when faced with her own survival, can break a metal choke chain.

I learned to always chain the dog to the fence, not the pen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pit bulls suck

Okay seriously, pit bulls suck. But it's not their fault that they suck. They have been deliberately and effectively bred to attack and not to stop. Now, you can raise a dog not to attack, but breeding often wins out. I can try to train my beagle not to chase rabbits, or a chihuahua not to yap, or a greyhound not to run, but they will always revert back to breeding at some point or another. Pitbulls, when faced with anything they take to be aggression, want to attack it. They may resist the urge 99% of the time, but that 1% that they do give in can really hurt. And it's not their fault.

Pit Bull lovers are the ones at fault. When a baby has his testicles eaten, it's not the dog's fault, or even the mother who set the baby down asleep in his carrier. When a 3 day old baby lying on a bed is mauled and killed by the family pit bull, it's not the dog's fault. It's the people who say every day that owners, not breed, determine a dog's temperament. The people who convinced the parents that the kid was safe around the dog, that it was possible to predict the dog's behavior based on how you raised the dog, that pit bulls will not attack a creature prone to sudden movements and loud outbursts as long as it wasn't taught specifically to attack. It's the age-old nature vs nurture argument, and it has in many instances been disproved People used to think gender was all in how you were raised, but now they know it's inborn. And just like this, some day people will realize that some breeds of dogs are just more aggressive than others. And the stupidest part of it is, they already do!

The same person who swears their pet pit bull would never hurt a fly because they raised him nice are always quick to also point out that they'd trust their pit bull with a baby before they would a chihuahua because "little dogs bite more". So which is it, that breed means nothing or that it does? If chihuahuas are more quick to bite as a breed, then you're arguing against yourself. But even so, chihuahuas bite and then let go. Pit bulls hang on until they're dead, and they don't always let go even then. But it's not their fault. It's not a schizophrenic's fault when he kills someone he thinks is following him with a bomb. But if there were a large segment of the population out there claiming that unmedicated schizophrenics are safe as long as their parents raised them right, it would be those folks' fault when the hot dog stand guy gets jumped for waving a ketchup bottle.

from last night

Oops, I forgot.

Today (yesterday) I learned that doctors will reschedule your appointments without ever consulting you, and then get upset when you don't show up 3 hours earlier than the time you had booked. Seriously, I don't care if you left a voicemail telling me you were changing the appointment time! Appointments are a mutually agreed upon thing, and if I don't agree to it it isn't scheduled. I think next time I need a pap I'm just going to call after hours and make myself an appointment without them. "Um, yeah, hi. This is Charlie Melton. I was wondering if I could just come in for a pap tomorrow at eleven. I'm gonna go ahead and write that down and if it doesn't work for you, feel free to call here before three o'clock this afternoon."

I also learned that no matter what appointment time Medical Associates thinks they have you down for, their robo-caller reminder computer will change it by up to a half an hour. A 3:30 appointment becomes 3:50, and a 12:45 appointment becomes 1:00.

Today (yesterday) I learned that if I make enough food to feed a small army, my 12 year old daughter won't be hungry, but if I make a normal amount of food, she'll go back for fifths. Fifths!
And that's about all. It was a slow day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A la Doogie Howser

I've decided that every night before bed (for as long as I stick with it) I will post things I have learned that day, no matter how mundane. I hope that this will help me appreciate life more, to see that I learn something new every day. Either that or I'll realize that I learn nothing, and fall into a deep depression. Either way, here it goes.

Today I learned that a 14 year old boy can wander town for over an hour during a school day and no one will notice. If I had known this 20 years ago, I would have cut school a lot more. I assumed it would attract attention.

Today I learned that typhoons can strike the midwest.

Today I learned that coffee beans are actually cherry pits.

That's all.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm a thousand years old

Last night Tom and I went out for our anniversary dinner, and I wore make up. It's the only day of the year I'm guaranteed to wear make up, so I always take my time and do it right. And on the drive to the restaurant I glanced in the visor mirror and noticed that my make up had filled into tiny wrinkles under my eyes and made them stand out. I looked old. Combined with the fact that I'm letting my hair grow out natural, I looked really old. And you want to know a secret? I liked it.

I have known too many people who never got to be old. Derek died in high school; he never got to be old. Aaron died 3 months after graduation; he never got to be old. Smokey died in his thirties, as did Jeff and Chris, and none of them got to be old. I want to get to be old. I want gray hair and wrinkles, and grandchildren and knobby knuckles and brown spots on the back of my hands. I want the privilege of arthritis and the prize of menopause. I want it all.

Of course I worry that when I'm turning 50 Tom will still be looking at 18 year olds. And I certainly don't want to look 20 years older than I am. But life is a downhill slope and it's always more fun to roll down the hill fast than to desperately try to claw your way back up. "There's nothing tragic about being 50, not unless you try to be 25." I really believe that. Also the old saw about how life isn't about looking good in the casket but about how much fun you have getting there. I don't want my last thought to be worrying that I ate too much at lunch, or that I'm hungry because I only had a salad. I also don't want to live so long that my last thought is hoping the next aid to change my diaper is gentle with it. I want to live long enough that I've accomplished my list but not so long that living is a burden. And if I have wrinkles under my eyes already, I'm not going to waste any of my precious time now worrying about it. Life only has so many hours in it (often less than we'd like) and I'm not going to waste them covering my grays, or peering at my wrinkles (or injecting my head with botulism), or clinging to a childhood and youth I didn't much enjoy when I had it.

Somewhere along the line I learned, from media or society or whatever, that as long as I felt like shit it was okay. As long as I hate my thighs, it's okay. I may be fat, but at least I know it and am fully aware of how terrible it is. As long as I'm miserable about my complexion it's okay. I may have zits but at least I'm trying to get rid of them, as evidenced by my obsessing self-hatred over it. This is why you see all sorts of women all the time announcing "I'm so fat," or "I look like Hell," unsolicited: to alleviate guilt. But now I have decided that I'm tired of hating things about myself and feeling ugly for other people. My lips have tiny lines coming out from them. It's from years of puckering up around cigarettes, I know, and eventually I will be unable to wear lipstick without it running off into those lines. But I'm not going to hate it any more. I sag, and am larger than need be, and some parts of me wait to stop moving until the rest of me has been still for an awkwardly long time. But so what? When I die, am I going to regret not obsessing about it all, or am I going to regret the time I wasted freaking out about it just so maybe people wouldn't insult me if I beat them to it?

I want to be an old lady, in a rocking chair, fat enough to give my grandkids a soft lap to sit in. I want to stop hating myself because the inventors of photoshop made it possible for every billboard, commercial, or print ad to make actual mortal people somehow seem inadequate.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

these are a few of my favorite things

The smell of burning dust you get when you turn the furnace on for the first time in autumn. It always makes me want to wrap up in a blanket and sit on the couch, as though fall and winter are officially here now that I've smelled the heater.

The little gold line on a Monarch butterfly cocoon. How do caterpillars make gold? I don't know, but it's a fitting part of the magic of turning a stripy green and black worm into a big orange butterfly.

The smell of Cornhuskers lotion. My father always kept a bottle by his kitchen sink and now whenever I start to miss him particularly bad, I grab my old bottle and take a whiff.

My morning coffee, when it's the perfect temperature that I can take long satisfying gulps without burning my throat.

Turning off all the lights except the Christmas lights and sitting in the warm glow of the tree sipping hot cider.

The silent moments when an infant tries to coo but doesn't know how to make the sound come out and just ends up making whispery "heh" sounds, and then the big smile on their face when they finally find their voice.

Finding the perfect figural teapot for my collection, where the handle and spout are so well worked into the design that they're almost hidden.

The way my husband sometimes rubs my hand while we lie in bed. It's nice that when he absentmindedly fidgets, that he does it at me.

Every winter Ryan decides to make a snowman, and every single time she decides to make it HUGE, and ends up with 3 giant snowballs on the ground because she can't lift any of them to form the snowman. I like that she never gives up and she always dreams big.

A nice hot cup of Sleepytime tea, when it's just a couple degrees hotter than that comfortable and I feel lit burn down into my stomach.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Why bother with it all?

I used to see the women who never leave the house without their make up and hair done and envy them. I envied their organization skills at least. It was all I could do just to get my hair and teeth brushed in the mornings; mascara and a flat iron were not part of my plans. But now I look at them and I wonder what it must be like to feel that you're not presentable unless altered. How must it feel to have to thicken eyelashes, color lips and cheeks, and line eyes just to be able to go to work, or even the grocery store. I have make up, and I wear it occasionally, for special occasions or predictable photo opportunities. But I don't dislike what I see in the mirror daily enough to have to artificially color or plump or conceal it before being seen. I do often look in the mirror, sigh, and declare that, "I look like shit." But most days I go on from there and don't look back. I've begun to think that fighting a physical reality is just a prescription for pain. Grays will always be there, wrinkles will form, under-eye circles will darken. Constantly battling to stay ahead, or just to keep pace with, the passage of time sounds exhausting. So I will leave the daily eyeliner and lipstick, the blow dryer and mousse, to those who feel they need them, for whatever reasons. I will be out in the world, naturally colored and textured, not even minding that they think I've let myself go.