Posting was definitely interrupted by the huge storm of '06. Hopefully my home internet will be restored today, so I'll be back later with a post about the holiday party/storm, which occured simultaneously. If that isn't enough - we were on the 75th floor. Ha!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I read in someone’s blog the other day about how after death she would like to be cremated and the ashes spread over the Pacific Ocean, and it got me to thinking about how my wishes have evolved.
When I was younger, I always thought that funerals, headstones and lavish coffins were a horrible waste of money, so I always said that I wanted to be buried in a recycled wood box in an unused field somewhere. That was fine with me for a while, but then even that seemed too much, so I just said that it is all stupid and the best thing for all would be for me to be cremated and my ashes flushed down the toilet, for what does it matter. I’m dead, after all.
Then Oliver died, and while I couldn’t imagine burying him in cold English soil, leaving him so far from his parents who would soon be living again in the United States, flushing him down a toilet was unfathomable. Just the thought sends shivers up my spine. So we had him cremated and put in a little tin urn where he still sits to this day on a table in our bedroom.
From time to time we discuss what to do with the permanently. We tossed around the idea of spreading the ashes over the Atlantic Ocean – the divide between his homeland and his parents, mixing the ashes with the soil in which a bonsai tree is planted, putting it in a capsule and burying it under a bench donated in his name to Green Lake, or just buying a fancier urn and keeping him forever.
It’s this attachment and concern for what to do with the ashes that reminded me that it’s not about the dead one, it’s about the living. We all have our wishes that we hope are respected, but in the end I’ve learned that my family could never flush me down a toilet. They wouldn’t be able to do that no matter how much I requested it, and I feel silly for ever dismissing the significance of mine or anyone else’s remains.
I’ve learned a lot about life and death this year, more than I have in my entire life. Losing a child will, I suppose, do that to you.
But still, does anyone really need the Cadillac of coffins? Nobody’s body is that special.
I know this post has been a little morbid, as some people can't stand to think about what happens then, but there are other people who can't stop. In which camp do you fall?
Posted by The Narcissist at 8:04 AM
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
As I’ve stated a blogillion times already, I love Christmas. Love. It. So when I saw the invitation for the 2nd Annual Blog Cookie Exchange last week over at Susie’s, I counted down the minutes till today with my handy dandy abacus, which, for sure, helps the time go by faster. And what do you know, here we are. You have to go read Susie’s entry, because she is so much more Christmasy lovin’ than even I, because I love the holiday, but because of life crazy haven’t been able to enjoy too many traditions the past few years. But as instructed, I’ll tell my:
Favorite holiday recipes
Favorite gift to give
What you wear when you don your gay apparel :)
One of my favorite things to do every December is to make a buttload of candy. Ever since I was a wee narcissist, I’ve loved to dabble in the confectionary arts. Years of staring at the candy thermometer, pulling taffy, which God bless me, I will never do again, and all the other temperamental duties that go along with making good candy, have made me into somewhat of a pro, though I do emphasize somewhat. So I’m not going to share cookie recipes, because I only make the standard sugar and gingerbread.
Favorite Holiday Recipes
This year, this coming weekend in fact, I am going to hunker down in my kitchen, throw on my apron and my candy chef cap and whip up some pralines, divinity, pumpkin fudge, nutty fudge, peanut brittle, and peppermint patties (insides colored red and green).
One year, my really good friend and I decided to make candy to give as presents for all of our friends, because poor college students can’t afford more and will gladly gobble up food gifts of any kind. The fudge turned out perfectly, so we turned our attention to the divinity. We whipped up the eggs, and started to measure out the sugar when we realized that we were short by nearly a cup full. We went through her mother’s cupboards searching everywhere, but there was none to be found save for a couple of plastic containers of colored sugar crystals typically sprinkled over baked cookies. We looked at each other, then to the red and green sugar and over to the sagging egg whites. “It’s still sugar,” I shrugged and measured it out and dumped it in before she could object. The pristine, white mixture became a putrid, purple hue, and there was nothing divine about it. The little balls we dropped onto the cookie sheet became flat, little pancakes of goo. Oh how I'd wish we'd taken a picture. But once they set a little, we discovered that they didn’t taste all that bad. The taste and texture were nowhere near that of divinity, so we knew that we had to come up with a new name for our unique concoction – thus was the birth of Rebecca and Alyssa’s Mmm Bop Mess-up Cookies. Try it yourself some time.
Because my family moved around so much when I was young, we never really were able to set up too many traditional traditions. It was never Christmas Eve at grandma’s with all of the cousins, aunts and uncles together, we didn’t go Christmas caroling in our neighborhood, and the times we had open fires, there sure weren't any chestnuts to be had. About fifteen years ago, we started getting a Christmas tree on my brother’s birthday, Dec. 8th, every year, because nothing says “Happy B-day, Son” like a big, bushy fir tree. And we always opened our presents on Christmas Day, no exceptions because of the Dad Nazi, though my mother always lobbied for one present to be opened on Christmas Eve as was her tradition growing up. Sadly, it never worked. This year, I am going to adopt her family’s tradition of the pajama present that gets opened on Christmas Eve. Maybe next year, I'll start another new tradition after I find it. I love traditions, the every year of them, the warmth and routine. One tradition I dropped though, was my dad’s habit of making mince pies and Waldorf salad every year. We never ate them; there were too many other good things on the table - including my divinity. We also used always to get an advent calendar and take turns between the kids who got to open the day, but I can never find them nowadays. Do they even still exist?
Favorite Gift to Give
Well, besides my presence, of course, I enjoy giving real presents. It is actually my favorite part, watching people open the gifts I lovingly chose for them and carefully wrapped and topped with a sticker-backed bow. I also love to give handmade gifts, hence all of the candy. This year I’ve added another handmade gifts generating hobby to my repertoire, so I’ll be posting pictures of those soon. But the favorite gift of all that I am giving this year has to be one of them that I got Steve – his ultimate dream – an Aston Martin DB5. Pictures of that, too, will be forthcoming.
How I don my gay apparel?
Hmm, well sensible shoes and khaki pants aren’t really my thing. Oh wait, I don’t think that’s what she meant. God, I’m bad. I don’t do Christmas clothes either – I love pretty, party dresses, but red velvet, snowman sweaters, Christmas earrings? They are definitely not me. You go ahead though. I’m not knockin’ it, just not rockin’ it.
So fa la la la la la la blah blah blaaaaaah.
I hope you’ll join in on this fun exchange. If you do let me know below, because I would love to read about it. And drop in on Susie, as this is, after all, her party.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Two days till the holiday party, and three days until the big reveal. I’m not telling which one I got until then that way no one can say I did badly, which might just make this neurotic decide to take the dress back. And Lord knows that I don’t think I could handle that. I did win the prize for spending the most on the dress, but I should have just stopped with the $30 dress I got on clearance from Arden B., but it just wasn’t the dress. I just bought it because it was a cute little black dress. I didn’t even take a photo. My wallet would love me a lot more if I’d refrained from buying the one from Cache.
Last night, I was the biggest old lady on the block. I baked and I did things with yarn. Throw in a couple of crossword puzzles and I would have been utterly geriatric. But it was okay. I watched some Christmas movies, ate leftover pasta and thoroughly enjoyed spending the evening alone.
Steve’s new job has its definite downfall. The hours he works have so far been double-edged. I barely see him, but on the other hand, I really, really enjoy the me time. Tonight I’m having a girl’s night – happy hour and a movie.
When I first saw the trailer for The Holiday, I told Steve, “I’ve read that book, but it wasn’t called that.” And I pondered and pondered, trying to figure out what it was. I mentioned the plot similarity to Wynn, my aforementioned work buddy, and she exclaimed, “I’ve read that too!”
So we both wracked our brains to no avail. Finally I turned to my trusty friend Google, isn’t he your friend too? I entered “Ireland, house swiap, book plot” into the search engine, and VOILA. A site popped up featuring an interview with Maeve Binchy popped up. She was discussing Tara Road, one of my favorite novels of hers. “Duh!” I blurted. And then I looked at the IMBD site for The Holiday. It told me that the film had been written with the four leading actors in mind. Hmm, they forgot to mention how much Binchy was on the screenwriters mind. Oh I forgot. The plot’s a little different. They swap between L.A. and England and not Ireland and New England. Wow! That’s a leap. The film deal should have been Binchy’s.
But I’ll see the film tonight. And I’ll read the book again, for it has been a long time. And I’ll do my own investigation as to plot similarities. Hmmmm
Posted by The Narcissist at 12:42 PM
Friday, December 8, 2006
Malls at Christmastime… Not my favorite place to be, but sometimes il est tres necessaire. (Aside: I don’t know why, for I am hardly fluent, but I often find myself thinking, writing and speaking in the French I do know. Strange because I don’t know anyone who speaks French, nor have I been to a French speaking region.)
As you all know, I spent the majority of Saturday shopping for my holiday party dress. I was so excited to find so many wonderful dresses and to read of y’all’s input, and when I read the paper Sunday evening and found that the special occasion dresses at Macy’s were 25% off and I had a 20% coupon, the little bargain-loving bug in my belly went hippy-skippy since 2 of the most voted on dresses were from Macy’s. I was so excited about my coupon, so pleased that I hadn’t purchased the day before and would now save 45% off my dress.
At work the next day, I proudly showed off my coupon and cautiously shared news of the sale with my colleagues after eliciting promises that they wouldn’t buy “my” dress. And as the day wore on, I looked at my phone, my 28 days old phone that I bought to replace my perfectly good Razr. I decided I didn’t like it. I decided that I wanted something else, as in BlackJack something else. So, I called the cell company store, had them set a couple aside for me and told them I would drop by later in the evening to change them out.
Steve arrived home that evening and we headed to the mall at 7:30 and decided to hit the S*ingular store first. We were pleased to see our friend working, the one who’d given us a splendid deal on the other phones.
As we waited to see him, we oohed and aahed over the BlackJack features, and sneared at our old phones, which had seemed perfectly lovely less than a month before, in disgust. After our guy was ready to see us, I began my little tapdance, because, you know, momma loves a bargain. It’s a $449.00 phone. Would I ever pay that much? Utter a collective “oh hail nah” please. So I asked our “friend” to work us up a deal.
He said, “Well, I can give you the phones for $300.00 with a $100 rebate.”
I looked at him for a moment, “Earlier a colleague told me I could get one for $200 and one for $300.”
He laughed, “Oh did he, now?”
“If I was lying,” I smiled coyly, “Wouldn’t I have said that he’d offered both the phones for $200 without the rebate?”
“Probably,” our helper said, and began taking my Sim out of the old phone and putting it in the pretty, new BlackJack.
“So, are we going to make a deal here? I’m going to be adding a lot of things to my account right now.”
I batted my eyelashes and made him laugh a lot and pretty soon I had the BlackJacks for $100 each, a 20% service discount placed on my account, and the assurance that from now on, if I come to him I can get whatever I want buy one get one free.
I know where I’m doing my Christmas shopping. And I think I now want a career in negotiation. Aaaah.
I got the deal I wanted and I saved a butt-load of money, but now it was 9:30 pm . That was two whole hours of standing in 4 inch stilettos that my feets just didn’t need. Thankful was I that I’d tried on dresses all ready, so I’d just have to run into Macy’s and buy THE ONE . I hobbled into the store, found tossed off my heels and padded barefoot to the dress section.
It was a sea of nothingness. All of the racks were dangling with sorry excuses for picked-over dresses. My heart sank. How had I ever deluded myself that at the end of the two-day sale there would be any left? I flipped through the nearly empty racks, I scoured the put-backs, but none of the dresses that I had tried at the other Macy's were there.
I begged Steve to drive to Bellevue Square , so we could go to that Bellevue Square , and he agreed. So we drove all the way across Lake Washington , and I scampered into Macy’s just after 10 PM , thank God for extended hours, I tell you. Thank God. I found the dress department and NOT. ONE . DRESS in any size in any style that I liked was gone, and not one size 2 was left in the ENTIRE FREAKING DEPARTMENT.
Skinny coupon using bitches stole my dresses. I grabbed a frazzled sales lady. "Any chance there are any more dresses in the back?"
She laughed and kept walking. Merry Christmas to you, too.
This story sucks. I'm done writing now. Goodnight.
P.S. Shout out to my brother, Red, proudly serving his country in the Navy. It's his 21st B-day today!
Thursday, December 7, 2006
I am a little drunk, a lot tired and my toes feel like someone's been banging on them with a hammer. I only had time to write half of today's post, so I will put it up tomorrow morning.
Today was a good, good day - with a cruddy ending, but that's even okay. half is better than none
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
I always had a strained relationship with my ex mother-in-law. I never approved of the way she did things, lots of things. Does it surprise you to learn that I tend to be overly judgmental and “always right?” I was horrified when she wanted to give my little baby chocolate. Why would I give my baby chocolate or sweets of any kind? My mother never gave me sugar for my first two years. It was my grandparents that introduced me. Is that the grandparents’ job? I’ve been fighting a lifelong addiction to sugar. I’m finally overcoming that aching yen for all things sweet. What if I’d never had sugar my entire childhood? But I hold that my mother’s basis of nutrition for my first two years is responsible for the healthy body shape I’ve get even through two pregnancies.
It wasn’t so much that I was trying to protect Audrey from my candy obsession, more that I valued nutrition and wanted to make sure that every bite my baby took aided her physical and mental development to the fullest extent. Chocolate, sugar – not exactly making that list – I was surprised that she even suggested them. When I balked at the idea, she noted that there was a picture of Audrey’s face covered in chocolate sauce. No, no of course not. It was spinach I told her. Spinach, not chocolate.
That was the nature of our interaction. She would want something that went completely against my idea of good parenting and seemingly resent me for disagreeing. Did I think she was a good mother? I’m sure she was. A nutritionist? No. Her children all grew up obese, not mean-spirited, just a scientific fact. Do I think she has a good idea of what children should eat? Not at all. She gives Audrey bad food and drink because I’m not there to stop her, and that’s the price I have to pay. It saddens me – people who think it is kind to let children eat whatever they want, however much they want. It is better to teach your child proper nutrition and help them learn limits.
Nutrition is one thing. This was another. When Audrey was two, she horrified me by driving her only grandchild around without a car seat. In my mind, that’s playing Russian roulette with a life that is not hers with which to gamble. She got herself in a serious car accident reaching for a cell phone. What if Audrey had been in the car that day without her car seat?
Okay, now I’ve just been ranting. I guess my hatred of her spawned the day I got that paper and it showed that Sam got the $5,000 lawyer money from her. I could just imagine her gleefully writing him a check with the hopes that her evil safety and nutrition minded ex daughter in law would soon be a distant memory. Ugh.
So when Audrey told me last night while we were at the gas station that her granny let her go into a gas station alone to look at the candy while she stayed with the car putting gas in, my blood curdled. She’s still playing roulette with my daughter’s safety, my daughter’s life. It only takes a moment for something to happen. A moment. All I could think about was the little girl whose mother let go to the grocery store bathroom alone only to be followed in by a miscreant who molested her. It only takes a moment. It doesn’t matter at all that nothing happened to Audrey while she was alone in the convenience store, what matters is that something could have happened and has happened to other little girls. Why take preventable, irresponsible risks? A five year old does not belong in a convenience store by herself under any circumstances.
I’m not overprotective by any means. I’m not. But there are certain basic safety precautions every individual ought hold to when entrusted with the life of a child. Am I being unreasonable? Maybe it's dangerous for me to have a blog - it's just too tempting to rant about the dark side.
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
I’ve been drifting in and out of my past a lot lately. I pulled up the archives from the first two years of this site that I keep on a memory stick and couldn’t read much at all. I try not to feel ashamed of everything I’ve been through, but that is only possible if I don’t think about it. So I don’t, and I got to thinking about how that is indicative of how I deal with a lot of my life struggles and black experiences.
I was reading a woman’s blog recently, a woman who is dealing with acute pain resultant of the loss of two babies almost exactly a year apart. Her pain is crushing and intense, and as I read it, I reflected on my grief process for Oliver – the whirlwind of those days and months. It still feels like a foggy dream from which I’ve awoken and still am trying to bind the wispy strands together to make a complete memory. Glimpses of the hospital room, the shirt I was wearing, the stocking that fell down my leg during the funeral with only three attendants, the plane ride with ashes in my carryon bag…and sometimes I find myself overwhelmed by them all. Sometimes one moment whelms me, just that one moment when I pushed the button on the door to be readmitted into the PICU ward and stood waiting for what felt like hours to return to the bedside of my dying son while another mother assured me my child would be okay, and I could only smile weakly knowing that in the morning we were to turn off the machines.
But I don’t get those flashbacks, I don’t get that emotion every moment of every day. Oliver is on my mind often, but I block out the pain and deny myself the grief. When he died, I had to get on a plane and fight hard not to lose my other child. How does one grieve with another child on the line? There was no time to reflect and mourn, but to strategize and press toward middle ground.
At Bellevue Square tonight, Steve and I sat on a bench while Audrey played on the tug boat in the play area and both of us watched a little child playing nearby, and I knew both of our hearts went in the same direction.
“Oliver would have been close to walking,” I noted, watching the little pudgy hand slap the carpeted dock. Steve nodded wistfully and squeezed my hand. We allow those moments but rarely. Strength has been our mantra. There have been milestones and rare setbacks, but for the majority of the time our grief is set aside.
Sometimes however, I wonder if I’ve gone about it all wrong. Should I have been more incapacitated, should I be angrier, sadder? Is it better to dwell on him and my loss? What is normal, right?
In drifting between past and present, I have found myself thinking recently of this time last year – when I, a world away from here, was roaming up Bond Street and down Oxford Street maneuvering my growing belly in and around the bustling crowds of Christmas shoppers and tourists. I looked forward to a year so different from the one that is now ending, and I almost feel embarrassed at how naively I envisioned a rosy future. How grey that pink year became. How black.
I’ve become jaded. I’ve narrowed my foresight. I’ve become less trusting. I’ve become less naïve. I feel ruined by 2006, robbed, like I should be holding my arms out, turning circles and shouting curses at the heavens.
But I don’t think about it. Except when I do. Which is why I don’t. I don’t like to think about grief, wrong or right, naïveté, trust, blackness. That’s what the heart box is for. I’ll stop drifting between past and present, and I’ll put that memory stick back in the shoe box. I’ll reaffix the blinders. I’ll pretend.
Everything is okay. I am happy.
la vie en rose
Posted by The Narcissist at 1:59 PM
Monday, December 4, 2006
Sunday, December 3, 2006
Wow, it's amazing how much time you can spend in blog land. That's what I did this morning - surfed blogs. If I missed yours so sorry. Do you know how many blogs there are out there?
You know what else I did today? I washed my sheets and my underwear. Are you fascinated yet? No, well I also stared at pictures of myself trying to figure out which dress to buy. You guys are so helpful but also very divided. I'm going to decide in the next couple of days and then go shopping again. Party number 1 is this Thursday.
Oh, and I know there are nine dresses posted below, but that was because I posted one twice and then removed it, as the tenth dress, which should have been up there, was actually a happy absence, since upon closer eyeballing I noticed that my red lacey girlie wear was visible. Yeah, not buying that dress and so not posting the picture.
Yesterday on break from all of the dress shopping, my mom and I went to see Stranger Than Fiction. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Will Farrell was quite good, and the story had more depth than I expected. Can I just press upon you how wonderful an actress Emma Thompson is?
Her mannerisms and expressions are not that of Emma Thompson, but those of the novelist whom she is portraying. Isn't it refreshing when an actor is not herself in every film?
This posting every day crap is hard than I thought. I have a stomach ache, wah. So rather than pushing myself to write, I'm curling up on the couch with Steve and the DVR. Adieu
Posted by The Narcissist at 11:13 AM
Saturday, December 2, 2006
I am in a really bad mood. Like wishing the demise of several people bad mood. As I drove home from shopping Bellevue tonight, so busy was I thinking of all of the fun accidental ways certain people could meet their untimely doom, that I did not even notice the pretty Christmas decorations on the ginormous mansions that dot the shores of Lake Washington until my mom pointed them out to me. I always notice Christmas decorations, but I had tunnel vision. I was pissed, seething, and I kind of still am. The bad mood, however has stuck. But here's to hoping a blog post will alleviate it a little.
I went shopping today for the perfect holiday party dress. I brought my mom with me because sometimes moms are the perfect shopping buddies and we could use the bonding time. We shopped a. lot. And I tried on a billion dresses, and I just so happened to have worn exactly the wrong clothes. What a moron. You know - never wear four layers on top, and zip up boots with your jeans tucked into them when you are going to be changing in and out of it ten times in the course of a few hours. Everytime I got into a changing room it was peel off blazer, shell, tank top, bra, boots, jeans, socks, try on dress, try on dress, try on dress, put on socks, pull on jeans, zip boots over pant legs, because I'm cool like that, snap on bra, slink into tank top, throw on the shell and button up the blazer. Repeat, rinse, dry. Geez, that was annoying.
I thought it was going to be more difficult to find dresses that I like, because my Amazonian frame is prone to odd fits of the torso and mammery gland variety, but this year was a banner year. And golly, what a tough time I am having deciding between them all. Luckily I remembered to bring my camera, so guess what? You get to help me pick my dress. Isn't that exciting? Yeah, I know, not so much. This dress is for our Black & White Holiday Party, hence the lack of color in my prissy palette, Steve's Brmmm, Brmmm Party, and my mom's Family and Friend's Holiday Party. So whoopee, I'll get to wear it THREE times. I love it. That means I get to divide the cost by three and spend way more. HA!
So without further ado and any particular order, here are the 10 dresses that made the cut, though Steve and I agree there are 4 forerunners. And yes, next time I'll put a little more variety in my poses. What a bore I am. That's why no America's Next Top Model for me. Yeah...
Sometimes I am hopelessly inept. I can't for the life of me label these and I don't feel like organizing them into one numbered picture, so just imagine them numbered right to left. I'm tired now, and lucky to get this posted with 37 minutes left in the day. What a shame it would have been if I failed on day 2 of my resolve. I'll be visiting blogs on Sunday. Leave the homefires a' burnin'
Friday, December 1, 2006
I honestly do not know why they picked November for National Novel Writing Month and all of the NaBlo wha who events that have been developed in its wake. Isn’t November a busy month for people? I know that the US is the only Thanksgiving Day country, but even England has Guy Fawkes day. Couldn’t they have picked a different month – say April? Really, who is busy in April?
By the time we hit November, I have just had Steve’s birthday, then Halloween and the first day of the month is Audrey’s birthday and it goes uphill from there. So how am I supposed to find the time to write a 50,000 word unreadable piece of literary waste? And please don’t’ take this to heart, but I chuckled at the blog everyday of the month people, because isn’t blogging in its essence a daily activity?
But it did inspire me just now, right this very minute. After months, well, close to a year and a half of terribly spotty posting, I am going to make it my goal to post daily for the month of December. I want to get back in the habit of writing. I want my brain to start thinking that way again. So it’s time to stretch beyond. So I know, December is much busier than November, which makes it that much more of a challenge. So booya! You can do it too. Any bloggers that skipped the NaNoBloPoHoMo brouhaha care to join me? If so comment below, so I can exercise my visiting other bloggers muscle more strenuously. I don’t have any pretty badges for you to post on your blog, but it can still be fun.
Oh yeah, one more thing. I've changed the name of this blog countless times now depending on my whim and what I've been going through. When my primary blog was Narcissistic Flight, named so because that's how I described my divorce, I started this blog, calling it The Narcissist's Secrets. When all of my secrets were out of the bag, I changed it to The Narcissist. It was hard to feel like a narcissist after Oliver died, so the blog became The Next Chapter. Fed up with the name changes it became Narcissistic Flight yet again. But I think I've finally found the perfect descriptor for me, hence the new blog name. This is it. No matter what, I am never changing my name again.