Monday, June 4, 2007

the giant ampersand

When I dropped Steve at work Saturday morning, it was already quite warm, and in my mind, there is nothing like a hot and sunny weekend to erase, if temporarily, Swine induced stress. Over the bridge I went with Green Lake in my sights. I love Green Lake – it is probably my most blogged about Seattle locale. Sure there are a million trails on the eastside, but nothing beats its circularity and peopleful path for a fun-filled excursion of leaping over dogleashes and cooing at the adorable offspring donning the latest Tutti Bella in the newest McClaren. Babies are everywhere and if there is a patch missing a baby, there is a woman one breath away from screaming for an Epidural, so help me God! Some days all this baby, baby everywhere and not a one for me atmospherics is more than I can handle, but this day I can only smile happily for the blessed and enjoy my flat belly and the exercise and sunshine.

After I’m done, I head to my mother’s house, so she can douse my head in hair dye, which she succeeds in painting all over my face. I leave looking a wee bit violet, Violet. Damn mahogany tint!

I’ve decided to play tourist, so my sister and I drive to downtown Seattle and park just north of my soon-to-be-former office and walk to the water front and north toward the Olympic Sculpture Park. Upon our arrival at the fountain near the entrance, I marveled at how beautiful the day was – the sunny sparkled so fantastically off the naked man holding his arms out to the naked boy. I call this one “Public Pedophilia.” As Kiki and I giggled for the first of many times that day, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to see two young guys standing there grinning goofily holding up a cell phone in askance.

“My friend here was wondering if he could take a picture of you with his cell phone,” the taller, less goofy one asked. Hmm, strike one for my ego. So they took their picture, and I took one as well, because we had to, duh. Then the tall guy said he needed a picture with me because I’m taller. Well, at least that’s something. He gave me a big smooch on my cheek, which I wasn’t expecting at all and why all of my teeth, tonsils and esophagus are showing. Then he asked if I wanted some of his Pepsi. No, thanks! He confided that it was actually whiskey, the liquid courage necessary for him to be talking to us right now. That explained the breath. They were from Portland, they explained and didn’t know anyone, had never been to Seattle, and were looking for fun. So after they harassed us to hang out with them that evening, despite my protests that having a boyfriend makes such a thing impossible, we escaped from their company. Who knows I’m probably on some MySpace page somewhere now along with the rest of the day’s gallery, so heh, heh, heh, they’re now a part of mine.

Now, I’m all for sculpture. Yes, sculpture’s nice. Have you ever seen the David? Well, I haven’t, not in person anyway, but I’m told it’s magnificent. You can stand in it’s wonder in awe of the artistry and the craftsmanship. Same with the Venus, and well, what do you know, I’ve exhausted my sculpture knowledge. Moving along. I know sculpture is not just a piece of marble chipped away until it looks more like fabric than fabric does, but take a look at the images below. High-brow art or Fisher Price on a grand scale? Behold the typewriter eraser, the giant neon ampersand, the Lincoln logs, the big silver tree, which looks like a wooden tree that’s been spray painted.
I can’t stare in awe of the mastery of some over-sized building block no matter how hard I try.

So we had fun taking pictures of each other and laughing at the “art.” These pictures remind me of how little alike we look. Strange.

And I wonder, if you were commissioned for a piece of the work for this Sculpture Park, what would you make? I think I’d make a giant date stamp, complete with that satisfying cachunk sound.

Tomorrow - our trip to the Pike Place Market Festival.

Friday, June 1, 2007

I'll just call the police

Steve was going to take the day off, but his clients were coming in, and his news that he would not be home until late dampened my mood more than it should. It would be dinner à sole once again. I tried not to let it show when I returned from Rite-Aid where I’d gone to stock up on treats to continue my week of spoiling my coworkers, but Mary, the one who’s been diagnosed with a serious type of cancer and has been undergoing so much besides, asked me if I was okay, and when I said I was, asked if I was lying. I had to shake myself. I’ve been so stressed out over the Swine that little things bring me down farther than they should, so I decided it was time to try to talk to the Swine about the daycare situation, so we could settle that issue at the very least.

After work, as I soaked up the luscious, warm, rare rays of the sun while I slowly made my way toward the bus stop, I pulled my phone out of my LeSportSac (are those even cool?) and dialed him hoping he’d ignore my call, so I could leave him a voicemail asking him if we could talk later about everything. But to my chagrin, he picked up just as I was crossing the street in front of Cost Plus World Market. I sighed and asked him if he would have time to talk later, and then a bus hit me, and I floated up to heaven never to hear his voice again, because the Lord and I both know he won’t be meeting me up there, and you’ll know it too after I share the rest of his diabolical ways.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“Well, I just wanted to see if you could talk. Later.” I stressed the last word, but he pressed. “Okay, I, uh, I just got a job offer in Redmond that I couldn’t refuse and as a result, it won’t really work for me to continue to take Audrey to the daycare here in downtown Seattle. I just got her a space at the daycare she used to go to before, which incidentally she has been asking repeatedly to return to, as you know it is only a couple of blocks from my apartment, so she won’t have to be at daycare as long. And as an added bonus, if she ends up at school in Bellevue, they will pick her up from school everyday, so we wouldn’t have to worry about it, isn’t that great?” I had gushed in all in one breath when I realized that my speech was met with silence. “Hello? … Are you still there? … Hello?”

“Uh, yeah,” he said slowly. “I don’t want Audrey to go to school in Bellevue. And it’s not my fault that you moved to Bellevue or that you took a job in Redmond. Those were choices you made, which you have to be responsible for, so that’s really not my problem.”

“You would really want Audrey to have to travel all that way unnecessarily?”

“You agreed that she would go to school there, so that’s where she’ll go.”

I was trying desperately to keep my cool, but, “Yes, and you agreed that I could move to London – sometimes things change.” Yeah, I totally went there. Ugh.

“Uh huh. And it’s written in the court documents that she has to go there, and that’s the way it going to be.”

“Can you please give me one good reason why she couldn’t go to the daycare near me just when she with me?”

“I don’t have to. It’s in the paperwork.”

I stood stuck on the phone on the verge of tears in the middle of Pike Place Market in front of the vegetable vendor from whom I wanted to purchase a few carrots for the Thai chicken red curry that I intended to make for dinner. No matter how I put it, he was unwilling to budge, no amount of appealing to his sense of reason and logic (yeah, I know, what reason and logic, and for that matter, what sense?) broke through, and I could stand it no more, so just before clicking the off key, I snapped, “Sue me then, I’m taking her to that daycare.”

I bought 35¢ worth of carrots, and the vendor said, “That’s it? That’s an awfully long phone call for a couple carrots.”

“Never have an ex-husband,” I shot back.

“You’re too young to have a husband.”

“Don’t I wish,” I said stuffing the bag of carrots into my sac and considering telling this guy just how terrible ex-husbands can be, but alas, he moved on to the next customer, so his chance to be regaled with the miseries of a broken woman was sadly lost. I carried on slowly toward First Avenue. Soon I got my phone out of my bag and noticed a voicemail from Sam. I nearly burst into tears right there after listening to this, “If you take her to that daycare and I find out about it, there will be no suing. I won’t go through the courts, I’ll just call the cops. It doesn’t get simpler than that.”

Oh. How was I to react to that? I carried on down First Avenue past one, two, three bus stops, until I’d gone a mile through crowds and crazies, tourists and yuppies. I sniffed, wiped a tear, and forwarded the voicemail to Steve with the message, “This is what I am dealing with.” Not that he doesn’t already know, but he doesn’t often get to hear it for himself.

I got on the bus a few minutes later and tried to figure out what to do. I tried to understand what would motivate him to make life so pointlessly difficult for me and even for Audrey. I tried to contrive a game plan. What was there to do? What to do? What should I do? What would you do? What would you do?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Back in the sockets

What better way to make people rue one’s departure than through fried pastry? Well, that was the question I asked in an email announcing the Krispy Kremes I brought in to work this morning as a kick-off to my big Week of Treats to celebrate my last one here. My leaving is a hot buzz right now with my boss coming up to me saying things like “Redmond – what’s in Redmond? That’s where I went as a kid to go strawberry picking – it was just one big field. There's nothing but a bunch of white people. And great Thai restaurants - oh wait, they only have white people restaurants like Claim Jumpers - quantity over quantity. Yep, enjoy the diversity there in white people land.” And then worse, “Oh, Rebecca, we’ve got to figure out a way for you to come on the retreat with us. I wanted to party with you. What title can we give you?” And he sat in Wynn's side chair staring in my direction as he pondered how to make it so I could still go to the trip to the San Juans just three weeks away, but two weeks after my goodbye. I suggested Freelance Editor, which he considered, but I just laughed – like I would go on a retreat with my former company. The dinner, cocktail hour and free time at the local dive bar would be fun, but a day of panel discussions and speeches before? Thanks, but my calendar just closed up. When he walked away, Wynn gasped, “I couldn’t believe the way he was looking at you! If he looked at me like that I would never wear skirts to work. He’s so lucky you don’t care, or he would have a real problem on his hands.” I shrugged. Most of the time I don’t even notice – people have to tell me. I’ve become inured to bosses being more than a little inappropriate with me, but this one does take the cake. Perhaps I just don’t mind all that much because he is so handsome and wealthy and well dressed. I find it nothing more than flattering, though at times a little shocking and embarrassing.

He likes to give those low fives when he passes you where you just stick your hand out and your hands slap together – kind of a keep up the good work sort of a gesture. So one day he put his hand out, and I put my hand out in response, but rather than slapping my hand, he slid his arm around my waist, pulled me close and spun me around in a little dance before continuing on his way. That was a lot of contact to say the least, and I walked away after my courtesy laugh wondering what the heck just happened.

Another day, Wynn and I were talking to him about the holiday party I was planning and the site we were about to visit. I yammered on and on before noticing that he wasn’t really paying attention – he was staring again. I thought it was at the floor, which demonstrates how oblivious I can be. “Rebecca, have you even done modeling?” he blurted suddenly. I stuttered an incomprehensible no, and he said, “It’s just the way you’re standing right now is right out of a magazine or the catwalk, and you walk so well in heels.” What could I say? I wanted to melt into the floor. He laughed, “You’re turning beet red!” Of course I was! I hate it when people say that kind of stuff in front of other, because then all attention is on me and I have to figure out a response to the modeling thing and I hate it. Sometimes I wish that I hadn’t been such a self-conscious ninny ten years ago, when I could have modeled, but most times I don’t care, and I certainly don’t want to talk modeling when I am talking business. Wynn and I went to the car to leave for Canlis, and she was shaking her head, “The poor man could not stop looking at our legs.” I looked at her knee-high leather boots and midi, and down at my pencil skirt and heels and shook my head, “It must have been too much for the man. He couldn’t handle it.” His poor, poor wife.


In other news, Audrey announced last week that she and the Swine and the teacher and her boy are all moving into a house together with a big back yard and oh won’t that be swell because she can maybe get a hamster, which ew! why would anyone willingly keep a rodent? One big happy family – I give it a few months – this is his third try since we broke up. I think the Swine’s slovenly behavior turns off the woman – big time, but no surprise there. I’m happy for them all – really, I am. But what really pisses me off, is that Audrey will be sharing a room with the Boy. I’m sorry, but I just don’t approve of non-related children their age sharing a room, and I don’t understand why they don’t see it. Additionally, the Boy is a naughty, little sod, who keeps Audrey up far past her bedtime, so when they’ve had *cringe* sleepovers, Audrey returns from the Swine exhausted with dark circles under her eyes. I’m so fed up with this situation. So. Fed. Up. And some things I don’t even want to mention, because who knows if the Others are still reading. I just really don’t need the Information Highway leading toward the Swine’s ears, which could spoil everything. So mum’s the word, I guess.


I had a Girl’s Night Out last night with several of my coworkers. It was a real scorcher yesterday that must have broken a record, so sitting outside was a must. We headed to the Garden Terrace downtown where they have free (random) tacos and delicious margaritas. Scattered across the fifth floor terrace where tables with an interesting mix of geriats and jetsetters. I smiled as I heard whispers about my cream patent leather Paolo’s with the peep toe and forty’s heel, as I walked from our table to the dining room to grab a taco – I think it was those shoes with the slim skirt I had on that drove my boss a’starin’. That’s why shoes are so fun – a great way to send people a’ twitter.

After Happy Hour and a half, we went to see The Ex with Zach Braff, Amanda Peet, and Jason Bateman. Of the four of us that remained to see the movie, we were split in our reviews. Wynn and I were rolling, thought it was hilarious, though in hindsight, it could have been the two margaritas, while Jackie and Frenchie sat quietly. At the end, Frenchie said she’d had a hard time suspending her disbelief, but it’s a good, fun movie - I wasn't looking for realism. I wouldn’t normally see a film like that in the theater. I tend to reserve that kind of expenditure on a huge action flick, but for girl’s night – you have to go to a chick type flick, no? At the beginning of the film, Peet is having Braff’s baby, whose name ends up being Oliver. As you can imagine there was quite the twinge, especially because they were always holding him- and the baby was adorable, so it was hard to not imagine him as my Oliver, but it was only a slight twinge, and I fared well, for which I am proud. Rent it, or go see it in the theater if you want a non-sequel, which seem pretty non-existent this season, that will have you laughing – if you have a quirky, Scrubs-like sense of humor, that is.

Does anyone else have inappropriate boss stories? I really don’t want to be the only sap that puts up with that. And if you were me, would you react as I do or get mad and take action?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

First, the farewell

At my company, employee departures are always accompanied by a rumor mill. For some reason no announcement is ever made, and the leaver never really says anything, so eventually it filters down that so-and-so is leaving, so you walk up to so-and-so and say, “So, I hear you’re leaving. Why? Where are you going? What are you doing?” And so on. I’m not really big on the idea of people whispering and wondering about me behind my back, so I took some unprecedented measures. I *gasp* sent out an email to everyone explaining that I would be leaving. My departure just happens to coincide with one of the architects, so I decided to wait until his goodbye party was over, because Lord knows that I didn’t want his party to become our party – I want my own, dammit! Here’s the email –

From: Rebecca
Sent: Fri
5/25/2007 2:40 PM
To: Fellow Office Grunts
Subject: Friday Funny/ Farewell

Hello all,

First, the farewell. Now that we've enjoyed Rl's farewell party, pizza, Pepcid AC and all, I wanted to share with you the news of my own departure. It has truly been a wonderful experience working with you all - I can actually say that you are the best group of people I have worked with by far. I will really miss that je ne sais quoi S has going on, but it was time for me to take the next step in my career, so I have accepted a position with a firm in Redmond. I know you will all have fun at the BBQ and Christmas party that is all planned and ready to go, so think of me when you order that cocktail or burn that bratwurst. I am sure you will be in good hands with my replacement, who will no doubt turn Chocolate Wednesday into Chocolate Monday through Friday, that is until C baulks at the candy bill. And please don't forget to load the dishwasher, wipe up your stains, clean up microwave explosions, and for the love of all things holy and beautiful, put the right paper in them there machines in the copy room - you wouldn't want poor Wynn's head to explode now, would you?

My last day will be June 7, so make your cracks at my ever-present, impossibly high heels while you still can.

And now for the funny...

DILBERTISMS (Or are they frontdeskisms? You tell me. ;) )

I can please only one person per day. Today is not your day and tomorrow isn't looking good either.

I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by.

Am I getting smart with you? How would you know?

I'd explain it to you, but your brain would explode.

Someday we'll look back on all this and plow into a parked car.

There are very few personal problems that cannot be solved through a suitable application of high explosives.

Tell me what you need and I'll tell you how to get along without it.

Accept that some days you're the pigeon and some days you're the statue.

Needing someone is like needing a parachute. If she isn't there the first time you need him, chances are you won't be needing her again.

I don't have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem.

My Reality Check bounced.

On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key.

I don't suffer from stress. I'm a carrier.

You're slower than a herd of turtles stampeding thru peanut butter.

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, 'cuz you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done.


The Dilbertisms I found somewhere on the internet, and I must say, they wryly denote my attitude of late. I am just so happy to be out of there. The admin staff always ends of cleaning up after all the dirty architects, so I had to admonish them to be better, because Wynn and I had teamed up on the battle front, but now it will just be her. My little email went off really well, with most people coming up to me saying how well it was written – one person suggested that I should write a book. I had to laugh because it just proved how short on writing skills these architecture types are – doesn’t take much to impress them. But it was nice to hear, nonetheless. I love these people – and the cracks they make about my shoes. The guy that is leaving, incidentally the only other person with an “R” name – they will soon be “R”less, doesn’t like that I wear heels at all. He thinks I am too tall for heels and they look too painful anyway. I merely scoff in his direction. My boss absolutely adores them – when he gave me my year-end bonus, he said he couldn’t wait to see what shoes I would buy next. So I’ve built up sort of a reputation around here. I personally don’t think they’re that exciting – I don’t have any Kate Spade or Blahniks or Hollywoulds, but I have been amassing quite the collection of Paolo’s, which I adore. I must post about my shoes soon, I think.

So today, everyone wishes me well. I wish me out of here sooner. How difficult it is to push through these tasks for nine more work days.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Arsenio Whooo Accompanied by pumping fist

Today was one of those days. I got to work and realized that my cell phone was in the red. Then the red disappeared. The battery was empty. The green light angrily flashed at me. I really am the only person in my entire office with a Blackberry. I stared at my phone, waiting for it to ring before it died. I turn it on quiet to conserve energy. I waited. And waited. And then…then I missed the call. Horror of horrors! I called her back as soon as I could, but to no avail, she was in meetings. Hours went by, and no call back. I realized that I was going to have to go to the second interview with a company I sort of like that I had scheduled earlier in the week.

I looked up the company on the website and half-heartedly filled my head with knowledge, wondering how on top of my game I was going to have to be. But still nothing. So I pulled on my sneakers for a Working Girl look, tossed my sling backs into my bag and headed toward downtown. I love the location of the office. It is right in the heart of the shopping district with views straight into the Westlake Center, and for a girl with a shoe addiction, this is mecca. But as I spoke to them, I just knew I would be looking for a new job within a year if I were to accept a position with them. Though it is difficult to explain the exhilaration I felt when I was shown the desk where I would sit, the one not in the lobby, and the refrigerator stocked with complimentary soda, that I wouldn’t have to stock. That was enough to make me accept any job that would take me away from my current one.

I walked back to my office wondering what next. I grabbed the office portable phone and hid myself in the changing room. She apologized for the phone tag. I considered apologizing for calling her like a stalker, but figured she may not know, but then she said that she was on the phone and could hear the beeps and thought, oh man. And I thought oh man, she knew it was me. Damn. Anyway after that terrible period of runaround of American Idol elimination night proportions, she said, “and they think you’d be a wonderful fit, not just for their needs now but to grow and succeed for the future of the company.” And then I passed out. When I woke up, I was sitting in my supervisor’s office.

“So, it probably won’t come as a surprise –“ I started.

“You’re resigning,” she finished for me, smiling. Relief spread through my tense muscles. “You didn’t have any job satisfaction in your eyes.” She offered in explanation. The understatement of the month, I’ll guaranDAMNtee it. (use of the phrase a gratuitous inclusion for a coworker’s benefit.)

So I walked out of her office breathing easy, though now I have one of my stress stomach aches. Ugh. I am very, very, very excited. I love you all. You are the best possessors of crossed fingers, well wishing, juju bee mojos that a girl could ask for. I GOT THE JOB!!!! Well, probably two jobs, but I am only taking the one. No more answering phones! No more ordering supplies! No more mail distribution! Gone is that horrible stuff. I never ever want to do it again. June 11 will be the wonderful day when I write stuff and design stuff and plan stuff and all for a very wonderful company that has benefits of near Microsoft proportions! I could sing. I’m lighter than air. I’m dancing on the wind.

I have more disturbing Swine news, but for now, let’s focus on the happy fact that I get to edit my sidebar. And I totally need to get rid of those snowflakes. The sun is blasting over Elliott Bay right now even as a sailboat cruises past in the light breeze. Okay so my new job means I won’t have the best view ever anymore or be a ten minute walk from the Pike Place Public Market, but I get to write! and stuff, and I think I’ll be okay. Hurray!!! I'm definitely having a mojito tonight in celebration. Join me?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

mojito: the marrying kind

Sometimes I try really hard to find the Swine’s redeeming qualities. I figure there must be a few, after all Audrey does love him and her teacher must to put up with his atrociously disastrous apartment, but at the end of the day, what’s to like? Let’s ponder this topic for a moment, shall we?

Okay, moment over. What have we learned?

1. At one time he had good taste, because he married me, naturally. But then he covered himself in tattoos, piercings, grew out his (trying to grow a chin*) hair, and shaved his end so he looks like a troglodyte biker dude, which doesn’t really suit him, trust me on this. So, that cancels out his good taste quality, as it apparently no longer exists.

2. I add a #2 because back in the 5th grade when I learned how to make outlines, my teacher told me that you couldn’t have an A without a B or a 1 without a 2, and not so much because I actually think there could possibly be two redeeming qualities in the person whose very existence seems bent on making my life a living hell. So, thinking...thinking...God, I’m drawing a blank, oh except my use of the word “God” just reminded me of one redeeming quality, or at least something that might redeem him in somebody’s eyes,though not very necessarily in my own. He doesn’t take the Lord’s name in vain. Yep, that’s it. I however have a terrible habit of saying “God!” never “Jesus!” or “Jesus Christ!” or even “Jesus H. Christ!”, but God! I do say on occasion. And because he hates it so much when people do that, he would say “F*ck!” loudly and obnoxiously to counter my abhorrent use of the word god. I don’t know about you, but that just served to make me not like him very much. Any one still wondering why we got a D-vorce?

3. As I’m still trying to find these illusive redeeming qualities, I figure that I might as well endeavor to find a third - no matter what. (Did anyone else just pan to the gum commercial with the cute, blonde Brit and her twinkling teeth?) I’m done trying. I give up. Sorry, Swine, you are completely lacking in discernible redeeming qualities, but feel free to have the ones you call friends contact me and set me straight because I would be more than happy to learn something good, positive, upstanding, or redeeming about the person I told I would honor and obey in sickness and health, because I am at a complete loss.

I really want to write “and on another note” because I how great would it be if I had one, so I can move on from the Swine subject - here goes – So, on another note, I worked 60 hours last week, which was why there were no follow-up posts to my “hallelujah, I’m back!” pukes. But I really loved working that 60 hours because I was working with Wynn doing stuff that I truly enjoy, and it was a tremendous week. Hey, what do you know I just thought of a redeeming quality for the Swine – he wants to spend time with his daughter, and it was because of the time he spent with her last week that I was able to throw myself full throttle into work, which I never do on her weeks with me. So thank you, Swine, for the every other week option to be a workaholic. Yum!

And, you know that one sentence in my sidebar with that part where I mention how great my ass looks in those jeans (trust me, they really, really do)? Well, that part right before, I am working really hard on that and something just might come to fruition before the end of the month, so I can use all of the crossed fingers, well wishing, juju bee mojos that you can spare, because the good Lord above knows how much I want and neeeeeed this. Oh, and it must be said that the word mojos reminds me of mojitos, and yum, I love me some mojitos. Love. It was pretty much forever love at first sip. Yep, I could maybe marry a mojito. Uh huh. I could, really, because you can be damn sure that a mojito would never tell you it was okay to move to London and then ha! sue you for full custody citing abandonment as the reason. Now, my dear chickens, that is a redeeming quality if I ever saw one!

* a frank zappa song, no?


I don’t know why I haven’t been writing about this more often. I mean, why keep it all locked in when I have the perfect outlet with which to vent my ever-growing frustration with this forever alliance with the worst thing that ever happened to me? For the past year and a half, the Swine has done seemingly everything in his power to make me feel like and appear to be a horrible mother, an unreasonable person, and a downright bitch. And for what? I still can’t figure out the satisfaction he reaps from this but that he is getting revenge on the woman who could no longer abide his filthy habits (see? another reason why living together before marriage is such a brilliant idea), terrible ideas (oh, now you want to be an architect? since when have you ever looked twice at a building? [it was really just the paycheck]), and lack of pride in appearance (you don’t have to be a GQ model, I wouldn’t have been with him if that was what I was looking for, but the raggy t-shirts and stained shorts that you would have worn to church if not for my interference? Too much to abide. [is it my fault we live in an image-conscious world?]). All right so maybe I can understand why he would hate me just a little – we are so completely different. I wish I could post a picture of him on a Monday morning heading to work and a picture of me – the external dissimilarities are an exact match for our internal variations. I try to understand the twenty-year-old me who met and “fell in love” with that twenty-year-old him, the me that swore I would never think I was too young to get married, that swore I knew what I was getting myself into. That me I don’t like very much, because that me has affected my life in more ways than I ever thought possible. But I like that him much more – much, much, much more – than this him. That him would never have lied and betrayed me like this him did. That him would understand the importance of telling the truth and that you reap what you sow – respect or lack thereof, kindness or lack thereof, honesty, etc.

Some days I am just so taken aback by who he has become and what he has grown to stand for and value – that when I ask him the reason he wants his daughter to go to the alternative school far from where either of us live, his answer is “they have a climbing wall.” How do you not explode in the face of such utter immaturity and stupidity all wrapped up in the form of my poor daughter’s father? How can he not value academics and giving his daughter the best chance to succeed in this world of our? How can he deny her the chance to go to one of the top 20 school districts in the country because of a climbing wall and his girlfriend’s son? Why does mediation have to be the first last resort? Why is he so willing to take me to court if I want to pay for her to go to the daycare near my house, the one she went to before that fate encrusted move to London, the one to which she been begging to return since we moved back to Bellevue? Why doesn’t he put her first ever? Why does he just have to spite me to her detriment? I spent good money to sign her up for swimming lessons, which he said he would take her to if I did so, but out of the three weeks he’s had her for them, he’s taken her once. Explain to me how he thinks he is putting her first. “Oops, I forgot.” Never wonder why I hate that man so much. The greatest challenge of my whole life is not letting my daughter in on that truth, but she asks always why she didn’t get to move to London, she asks always why daddy won’t take her to the lessons. And I have to ask God why I must pretend that man is worth her love. But I know that some day Audrey will know the whole story, and he will have to answer to her as to why he denied her the trip to meet her little brother, why he lied to her continually about the trip and why he is not making a point of taking her to something she loves and enjoys. He says he puts her first. I’m still waiting for the evidence.

Audrey says that they always have to go to his girlfriend’s apartment, which is in the same building, because her daddy’s apartment is way too messy. Audrey says that she runs late for school because her daddy can’t find her shoes in the big mess. Audrey says that being with his feels like one hundred days, and she wishes being with me could last one hundred days. Audrey says that she has a smart, clever mommy and a silly, messy daddy.

I say that Mondays are my favorite and most reviled day. I love Mondays like yesterday. Mondays where I smile all through work, then practically trot through town beaming with anticipation as I walk to pick her up. I hold her close to me as she squeezes me so tightly she may never let go. I grasp her hand in mine and shower her with smiles, as we walk to the bus stop. I beam; as I watch her legs grow week to week toward matching my long, rapid stride. I read the book, currently Secret Garden, on the bus as we travel to Bellevue and she snuggles against me looking for words that she knows among the hundreds on the page. We get home, and she helps me decide what to make for dinner before hurrying to grab her footstool so she can help. We eat and discuss our days. She bathes, and we sing “Summertime” after which she heads to Slumberland, though some Mondays Steve gets home before she falls asleep in which case their reunion is a tear-worthy event marked by cuddles and statements of affection so endearing my heart nearly bursts at the sound of them. And while she sleeps, Steve and I sit contentedly on the couch, happy to have her home at last for the next six days, neither of us wanting to think of the horrid Monday to follow, the one where she returns to the dark side to be surrounded by mess and ignorant thinking for another week.

I hate Mondays and I love Mondays. I hate the Swine but I loved Sam. I must have. I must have.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I like the day about me.

I planned my own perfect Mother's Day weekend, because sometimes it becomes necessary to take charge of such things. Drama ensued, because in my life, when does it not? But I don't want to focus on that, because part of me knows that I caused the drama, because a lot of me is unable to cope anymore. I wondered why until I read an article some time ago in the New York Times Magazine about post-traumatic stress syndrome felt by female soldiers who fought in Iraq. The author of the article mentioned that many of the women who enlist in the armed forces have come from hard lives, which means their resiliency reservoir, the one we each come with, is already pretty full, leaving little room for more pain and hard experiences. Of course I haven't been to work, but life hasn't really given me the chance to empty out the reservoir. I'm running on full, which means I overload quite easy with results that aren't that pretty. I look forward to peace. I have faith that I will find it. I will once again be strong, resilient, able to cope. So as I mentioned, I will skip the drama, focus on the positive.

Saturday we played Seattle tourists and went to the waterfront for the Maritime Festival and tugboat races. It was a typical Seattle day - cloudy and cool, but luckily it did not rain. And though at times pangs of wistful longing for South Carolina's warmth and sunshine press themselves upon me unbidden, the waterfront and skyline were enough to keep them at bay this day. Audrey played with a pirate, we took a one-hour harbor tour on the Argosy cruise curtesy of the Port of Seattle, we explored the Odyssey Maritime Museum. And after that, we went to Pike Place Market and bought a whole salmon from the fish throwing guys and some flowers from the stalls. I totally scored three free bunches of lilacs and a hundred people laughed when I was hit on the head by a stuff salmon the fish throwers let one of the myriad spectators try to toss as sideshow entertainment. Walking through the market, which I do several times a week, makes me feel so lucky. Especially when I pass cute tourists with their curtesy maps and eager faces. I love to be asked for directions. I love to pass on my expertise. And though I will never love the lack of sun in Seattle, I will always love that it is Seattle. People come to my city. I just wish less of them would stay.

Sunday we went to the Mother's Day service at my church and then to brunch in Kirkland, where this young guy my sister's age was totally macking on my aunt. We were all tres, tres confused. It certainly made her day though, and we all had a laugh when he gave her a little wave and he, his mom, dad and sister walked out of the restaurant.

We went to the park, I bought myself a gas grill for Mother's Day, we grilled the salmon we'd bought the day before, and we took loads of pictures.

All in all it was a good weekend. I miss Audrey all ready.

p.s. thanks for the warm welcome back. Damn it's hard to get back in the habit, but it's nice to know I was missed. :) And for the record, I really, really missed y'all too.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Peek a Boo

I've been staring at the blank posting screen for some time now, and I honestly don't know what to say. Where have I been? Steve got really sick after my last post, then Audrey got sick, then my ovarian cyst burst, I didn't even know they were in there, and apparently the ultrasound I'd had a couple of months before didn't show them, so that was fun, childbirth worthy pain. And that experience more than any I've had recently would be very blogworthy. So why haven't I blogged? I've been trying to figure that out. Every morning I wake up and think, Crap, I didn't post again last night. I meant to, really I did. Or at least I think I did.

I started my blog because I love to write. I continued my blog because it was a way for me to deal with the horrible junk I was going through. And while I am not by any means free from the junk, the motivation to record it has dissipated. But why today of all days to return? I think because I no longer want to write for my audience. I don't want to care about the number of comments or returning the favor. I don't want to care about the numbers I had when I blogged regularly. I just want to write without the worry of the other stuff that's bogged me down and impeded my ability to express myself. I sort of miss the old days at my old blog before anyone read me, when I wrote the stupidest stuff because it was really just for me.

I love having readers and I love having comments and I love the blog friends that I've made especially the ones that were there before the big delete and stuck through all of the absences, but I can't make this blog about that anymore. Maybe that is the very essence of a blog, and I break the rules by saying any of that, but guess what? I DON'T FREAKING CARE ANYMORE.

So I'm going to make every effort to get back to blogging, because that means I am writing again, and by golly I've missed it. I'm still reading and enjoying and love to discover new blogs, and honestly there are some whose links I've lost, so if you're one of the blog friends and I haven't said hello in a while, let me know where I can find you. Also I'm horrible about returning emails, so I am wiping the slate clean. Thanks for all of your kind words, I'm sorting and sticking them in folders, but I can't write everyone back, though from today forward I'll endeavor to be better.

Okay I'm done with this windy bag of nonsense that probably contradicts itself. Bear with me I haven't written in a while, and to top it off my computer ate all of my photos from December onward. Why, for the love of God have I not learned to back up my crap?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

One Year On

Funny, last Tuesday, I was so proud of myself and totally thinking that maybe I’d get on a roll. I had a really thoughtful, expressive post planned for Wednesday, which I outlined in my brain on Tuesday, and I even knew what I was going to write about Thursday and Friday and with a jam-packed weekend planned, I figured I was golden for at least a couple of posts after that.

Turns out, it was one thing to outline last Wednesday’s post, but it was a whole other thing to write it. I was doing so well that day, especially compared to how I did on Oliver’s birthday, but then on my lunch break, as I walked to Pike Place Market to pick up a sandwich, a screaming, flashing ambulance roared past me, and at that moment, I was transported back to February 20, 2006…

And the nee-nah nee-nah of the siren rings in my ears as Oll-lee oll-lee. Oliver is spread out in a pod surrounded by wires and beeping machines, and I’m watching the crew as they sleep, their head bobbing side to side as the ambulance weaves through the heavy rush hour London traffic. “You’re supposed to be watching my son!” I scream silently even as I feel the overwarmth and movement of the speeding vehicle start to lull me to sleep as well. But I shake myself from it and jump each time the machines squeal for attention, but the female sleeper only picks up the cane next to her and uses it to turn off the alarm from her seated position. My eyes bore holes into her head, and I wonder if those alarms mean anything. Alarms by their very definition are alarming, and I am very definitely alarmed, but they carry on sleeping, and we carry on weaving through London traffic. I tear my eyes from the scene before me and gaze out the window. I watch as curious drivers crane their necks for a glance at the occupants of the ambulance, and I think back to all of the times I’d done that very same thing, and I wished with all my might that I was merely a commuter on her way to a job no matter how dismal rather than working my way to Great Ormand Street Hospital with the hopes that they could do what Northwick Park Hospital could not, figure out what the fuck is wrong with my son and fix him. Even as we sped past cars stuck in traffic, the ride still took over an hour, and I know that it will be a long time before Steve will make it, so I sit alone, sequestered to a cold, harsh waiting room, wearing the same clothes I tossed on the day before when I’d only thought I was heading to the hospital to have my back pain checked out. Never in a million years did I imagine that I would instead be watching my son’s life slipping away before my eyes.

I rode that ambulance all through the day Wednesday, every time I sat at the computer to write, I heard the sirens, I saw the pod, I screamed at the ambulance crew. I couldn’t get past it. So I couldn’t get past the first paragraph of my post, so I couldn’t post, and then I couldn’t write, or at least finish anything, but I will finish my Oscar post dammit. I don’t care how yesterday it is.

Steve and I dealt with this dreadful anniversary so much differently from his birthday. This time it isn’t silent understanding and comforting hugs that takes us through the day. We snap at each other and yell, and I cry. We take our pain out on each other. We’re mad and don’t know what to do with that anger. We had plans, and they got me through the day at work, but by the time he picked me up, he was so grumpy and my head hurt so much that we just growled at each other the rest of the way to Bellevue, cocktails at an upscale restaurant in Seattle no longer on the table. When we’d said what we had to say, I sunk into myself and my headache and stared out the window waiting to get home, waiting for the day to be over, waiting for the final hours of the worst year of my life to tick into oblivion.

It was a good two hours before Steve and I were done storming at each other. We capped off the evening with pizza and beer and American Idol and miserable calm. A February 21 so very different from the one a year before.

In 2006, early that morning, we let them turn off the machines, we held our son when he breathed no more for as long as they let us, we let him go only because they needed to run more tests to find a diagnosis, posthumous though it may be. We went home, where we hadn’t been for 2 days and cried afresh, for everything was as we left it. His bed, still beside our bed, his diapers and wipes still in the basket, his laundry still hanging on the radiator, dried to a crisp. It was all wrong. I mourned that we had washed his laundry, thus losing the precious baby scent. I took a bag and packed the freshly washed clothes and everything he hadn’t a chance to wear. Steve moved the Moses basket into another room, and I gathered the couple of sleepers that hadn’t been washed, his hats, his blanket around me and inhaled deeply and sobbed. I wrote the post for the website. I downloaded various versions of “Baby Mine” and “You Are My Sunshine” because I sang those songs at his hospital bedside and listened to them all on repeat until Steve made me turn them off. I wandered listlessly about, my purpose gone.

One year later. The first year is the hardest, they’ve said to me. After the first year anniversary the pain will subside a little, it will get easier. I think I need another year.

I end with the lyrics of a song by an artist from the London playlists. It is the song that quintessentially sums up this year.

"I Cried For You"
by Katie Melua

You're beautiful so silently
It lies beneath a shade of blue
It struck me so violently
When I looked at you

But others pass, they never pause,
To feel that magic in your hand
To me you're like a wild rose
They never understand why

I cried for you
When the sky cried for you
And when you went
I became a hopeless drifter
But this life was not for you
Though I learned from you,
That beauty need only be a whisper

I'll cross the sea for a different world,
With your treasure, a secret for me to hold

In many years they may forget
This love of ours or that we met,
They may not know
how much you meant to me.

I cried for you
And the sky cried for you,
And when you went
I became a hopeless drifter.
But this life was not for you,
Though I learned from you,
That beauty need only be a whisper

Without you now I see,
How fragile the world can be
And I know you've gone away
But in my heart you'll always stay.

I cried for you
And the sky cried for you,
And when you went
I became a hopeless drifter.
But this life was not for you,
Though I learned from you,
That beauty need only be a whisper
That beauty need only be a whisper

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

six weird things....

I've seen this everywhere, and as y'all know I rarely do memes, because they are everywhere, but after sunShine posted hers twice, I figured the world needed another weird things post. I don't know how weird this stuff is, but I know I haven't mentioned it here before, so have at it:

1. I hate PBJ sandwiches. HATE. But I like peanut butter, and I like jelly. I HATE them together. And heaven help the soul that gets a molecule of peanut butter in the jelly jar or vice versa, I will taste it, I will barf, and I will come after you. We always had to have PBJs for lunch when I was a kid. So I just slathered one piece with jam and the other with PB and got along just fine. So, there.

2. I pass gas and burp A LOT. Like more than a human being ever should. Like I need to seek medical help, but I never would because who wants to tell her doctor she farts too much. So I spend my work days in misery and my evenings and weekends making Steve and Audrey miserable, well not really. They just laugh at me. And laugh. And laugh. Ok, guys, you can stop now.

3. I married the Swine because I didn’t believe in living together before marriage. Holy heavens! I love God and all. I believe that Jesus is my savior, but never ever will I ever espouse that being the driving force for marrying someone you love. Ever. I knew it was a mistake within weeks, but I also didn’t believe in divorce. Nearly four years later and all those tunes changed. I’ll live in sin till the cows come home and the angels sing Gloria from the heavens if I have to.

4. I graduated from high school never having kissed a boy. My pastor said it was because I had “pretty girl” syndrome. Not the kissing thing, but the no boyfriend thing. Why my pastor was interested in my dating life remains an unanswered question. He was wrong, though. Really, it was because I was deathly afraid of boys wanting The Sex. Or really, I was afraid I wouldn’t say no because Friends and my one promiscuous pal, Jacquie, said The Sex is really, really nice. So my first time was with the Swine. Ah, isn’t that special.

5. I have half a middle fingernail on my right hand, and by golly, is it ever embarrassing. It all started with the manicure. It shore looked purdy, but then this little bit of white grew at the nail bed. And then there was pain and swelling, and Steve calling it my “penis finger.” Ha, ha, really funny, Steve. So along with the pain and swelling, came my nail separating from the base, and stuff would get stuck in there, which is just gross. So now I have to keep the right have of my nail trimmed down to the cuticle and all my doctor told me to do was grow it out and paint it. I can’t do that. It hurts and stuff get stuck down there. Did I mention how gross that is? I used to keep a bandaid wrapped around that finger, because it’s so embarrassing when someone notices the nail while I am talking to them and gesturing with my hands. Now I just reserve the bandaid for special occasions like my triple homicide trial when I go down for popping the Swine, the WWN and my doctor, whose ability to earn her MD baffles me. (Disclaimer: To the prosecution, should any of those nefarious people die, I know that I have motive, many in fact, and I just said that I would kill them on my personal website, but please note that this is an idle joke, for the amusement of my readers and not an overture for something I intend to do in the very near future. Thank you.)

6. I am a complete and incurable nerd. I try to elevate myself by reading thick and notable books (like the chic lit I mentioned in my last post), knitting, playing the piano, but by George do I love me some video games. When I first returned from London, I stayed with my mom for a couple of weeks. My sister and I played hours of Mario Cart on the Nintendo 64. Hours. Like, send out a couple resumes, play 4 hours of Mario Cart. It was really kind of pathetic, a 26 year-old playing the same tracks over and over. I’m going to fix that though. I scouring Craig’s List for the perfect deal on a used Nintendo GameCube. I converted Steve from the History Channel to Fox, now I’m going to turn him on to the world of Mario and then my domination will be complete. *Insert evil laugh here* All I can say to redeem myself in your eyes is to inform you that I do indeed play wearing kick-ass jeans and BCBG stilettos. If I’m going to be a nerd, I may as well look good in the process, thank you very much.

Monday, February 19, 2007

stupid, stupid presidents

This morning I woke up all-too-early to the obnoxious morning show on KISS 106.1. I’d set the alarm and hour earlier because I really, really wanted to get up and do my exercise DVD because since summer turned to fall, my exercise regime turned to sleep in late, watch TV in the evening, because it’s rainy and there is no sun. So my fab abs are now flab. I HATE THAT FEELING, but it seems I hate it less at 5 in the morning, cuddled up in my warm bed next to my honey. So when the alarm went off, I nudged at Steve to attend to it, telling him to hit the snooze button while pulling a pillow over my head. Ah silence returned to me. Steve came back to bed and spooned me and I settled in for a 9 minute nap until Jackie and Bender blare from our clock/radio again.

Steve turned the alarm off. He didn’t hit snooze. He turned it off. So I woke up at the exact moment I was to be stepping on my bus. Cue me on the verge of tears, freaking out because I was GOING TO BE LATE! Where are the chill pills when I so desperately need them? I threw on a chunky turtleneck, my lesbian pants and sensible loafers (holy Lord, do I need to go shopping), brushed my hair into a ponytail and raced out the door – to wait. On top of it all the damn buses were running the freaking holiday schedule because my freaking work doesn’t like freaking presidents. So I stood in the freaking rain, freaking out because I was LATE.

Chill. Pill.

When the bus finally came, I sat down and read from my book, The Other Woman, by Jane Green (haha, no, it’s not about me) when the stomach pain wrenched its way through my gut. And that my friends is all I needed to confirm that yes, my freak-out have a cow moments are directly correlative to the kill-me-now torso pain I get.

Great. Now what? Wynn is going in for her stick a hose up the rumpus appointment tomorrow. I’m wondering if it’s time for me to get one of those colo-wha-scopies, maybe to see what exactly happens at the moments when my body and mind are so stressed out that the only thing left for it to do is sic the belly urchins on me.

Luckily it didn’t boil into a full-on episode. Because the second I felt it stirring up I gave myself the “Calm down woman, are you insane?” pep talk and the belly urchins crawled back into their hole to bide their time for the next occurrence of the Rebecca Freak-Out Moment™.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


I normally don’t drive to work since I am a bus rider, but Thursday I did, so I could leave early and be home quickly to relieve Steve from sick-Audrey tending. Wind tossed my hair every which way when I walked out on to the streets of Belltown, and as I drove home, waves beating against the 520 bridge splashed water against the Durango. After I got into the apartment, Steve, Audrey and I stood on the patio watching the trees sway with the gusts and branches poke at the window of the spare room.

When I lay Audrey down for her nap, I decided to lie down on the couch and take advantage of my afternoon off by getting a little shuteye myself.

And the wind blew in a great snow. Gusts of white powder built up against the building. I ran into Audrey’s room and it was filled with snow. I grabbed her out of bed, and she was shivering from the cold. I carried her to my room and lay her down in my bed, and I couldn’t figure out where Steve had gone. Frantic that he had left me, I ran into Oliver’s room, relieved to see it wasn’t filled with snow, and I held him close to me and took him to my room. Steve still wasn’t there but his wallet was on the bed. He wouldn’t leave without his wallet.

And the wind blew in a great snow. Gusts of white powder built up against the building. I ran into Audrey’s room and it was filled with snow. I grabbed her out of bed, and she was shivering from the cold. I carried her to my room and lay her down in my bed, and I couldn’t figure out where Steve had gone. Frantic that he had left me, I ran into Oliver’s room, relieved to see it wasn’t filled with snow, and I held him close to me and took him to my room. Steve still wasn’t there but his wallet was on the bed. He wouldn’t leave without his wallet.

And the wind blew in a great snow. Gusts of white powder built up against the building. I ran into Audrey’s room and it was filled with snow. I grabbed her out of bed, and she was shivering from the cold. I carried her to my room and lay her down in my bed, and I couldn’t figure out where Steve had gone. Frantic that he had left me, I ran into Oliver’s room, relieved to see it wasn’t filled with snow, and I held him close to me and took him to my room. Steve still wasn’t there but his wallet was on the bed. He wouldn’t leave without his wallet.

I jolted awake. The dream had repeated again and again. I could still feel Oliver in my arms, smell his little baby smell. I couldn’t understand why every dream I have of him, he’s always alive. Shivering, I called Steve. My dream was so eerie, so frightening, so preferable to the real world if only because it is a world wherein Oliver lives and breathes. I don’t take naps. The rest of the day the dream played again and again in my brain as I analyzed every moment, every feeling.

My desire to have a baby has been so strong lately, almost unbearably strong. I’m sure it has to do with a subconscious desire to suppress the pain of February. My friend Lee had her baby on February 5, but I haven’t been able to call her to congratulate her yet. I haven’t been able to face it, haven’t been able to speak to her, visit her. In all honesty I was waiting for the two week mark, because I needed to see her baby make it more than 12 days, but now that she did, I still can’t call. I’m jealous. I want to be the one who just had a baby. I want to sit on an inflatable pillow because I can’t sit down. I want to have cracked nipples and a puffy belly. It’s not the right time. And that sucks. Planning sucks. If it happened we’d make it work, but right now isn’t the right time if we’re going to plan. So like I said, planning sucks.

Maybe I’ll call my friend tomorrow. Maybe seeing her baby, her beautiful baby girl will give me the right dose of baby to tide me over. Maybe changing a diaper will tide me over or maybe it will do nothing more than feed the fire.

This sucks.

I’ve spent the weekend attached to my laptop, typing and working trying to fix one of the things that are making me miserable. It’s one of those projects that makes all of your insecurities rise to the surface and your love for yourself diminish as you begin to doubt all of your talents and abilities. I pray to God that I am successful.

I discovered that I’m kind of an ogre. And really, I’m not all that funny. I’m the depressing, not funny one. Sure, I can write. I can string a series of words together and make them slide down your gullet, but they are not going to make you laugh. You are much more likely to shed a tear than crack a smile. I’m that not funny person. I’m the one that should something I say actually make someone laugh, I am going to find a way to work that joke into at least four other conversations. I’m the kind of girl that has her comeback two hours later or sometimes never. When I graduated from high school, I still had braces, and I’d had a baby tooth removed so they could pull down the adult, but it was taking FOREVER, so I was forced to go to First Week at Myrtle Beach, SC with metal and a hole in my mouth. Sitting trying to be ultra cool in my friend’s red Jeep Wrangler, a few guys walked up to us, and while chatting up the “fine” guy, he all of the sudden said, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.” I just froze and waited for him to walk away. I still can’t think of a “yo’ mama.” I guess the problem is my sense of humor. I can’t find humor in some of the things I am going through, and they are the things that most compel me to sit at this laptop and write for my blog. So I feel sorry, both for the readers of my blog whom I reduce to tears and for myself, because I’ll never be that hilarious blogger. I just don’t want to depress everyone away from me.

And lastly can I just say STOP! REALLY. I know you’re never going to see these words but where are the people who love you? You look horrible, not that looks are the most important thing, but could you at least put on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, cause, Honey, that is not a bikini bod you’re sporting. Oh and the hair! Demi Moore, sure, Natalie Portman, absolutely, you? Not so much. What were you thinking? And doing it yourself? You looked stoned, out of your mind. And all I can think of are those two beautiful boys. Did you know that you were once named the worst celebrity pet owner? They said it was because you were seen with them everywhere when it was cool to have dogs as accessories, and when the fad died, so did your poochie love. I now name you the worst celebrity mother. You were all about having kids when they made you a happy family, but when your marriage died, so did your dreams of the Brady Bunch. You realized that you didn’t want to be a twenty-something stay-at-home mom, you’re single, you’re rich, you’ll stay out all night and party if you want to. Why can’t anyone stop you? What is your problem? Why the downward spiral? Why are people like you blessed with beautiful, healthy children when the last thing you could ever do is appreciate that blessing? That more than anything in the world is the question I want answered.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Can you smell the gouda?

There were no roses, no chocolates, no jewelry. How much thought purchasers of those items must put into it as evidenced by the packed card aisle and picked over florist department at the Bellevue QFC. I could only laugh as men young and old seemed to compete with each other. This man’s basket had a balloon, large card and box of chocolates, and that man’s had card, teddy bear, and plant. Ah how we women treasure the grocery store gifts.

Me, I had my treasure in the car waiting for me as I put the evening’s dinner in my cart. There was to be no candlelit dinner, or bottles of wine shared at a linen-covered table surrounded by the rest of the requisite couples who dutifully made their reservations early enough so as not to be stuck with the 5:30 in and out as my friend Wynn and her fiancé had. No, Steve, Audrey and I were content to be in the company of each other.

We had turkey sandwiches to eat, a race car track to build and an episode of American Idol to watch. Our first evening at home in quite a few days, the ordinariness of our time spent together was a blessed relief from the hubbub of activities that surrounded Dan’s stay in Seattle.

And so it was. Steve is not the kind of guy to surprise. He’s the kind of guy that pitches in at the time of need. He’s home right now with poor, sick little Audrey, who blames the “one who went to Hawaii” (Dan) for her illness. But you know, when it comes down to it, I would much rather have the man that treats another man’s child as his own, that treasures the very sight of me and tells me so more often than I can remember, than the one who stops last minute at QFC to pay Hallmark $3.25 to say it for him.

According to my calendar, we have Audrey for the next four Valentine’s Days, and I’m glad. It will always be the day we spend together as a family – I’ll never get a sitter. Maybe we’ll always have sandwiches and watch American Idol, I’m sure it will still be around in 2010. Why do so many couples have the same Valentine’s Day? I never will. I don’t want the flowers. I don’t want the chocolates. I don’t want the jewelry or the reservations. I’ve got what I want – love, a love that is evidenced in a hundred ways that no amount of credit card swipeage could never show.

Okay wait, did I just read that Amalah's husband gave her a day at the spa? Maybe a little credit card action couldn't hurt. Hint. Hint.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Just so you know...

I love it when you toot and act like it's the first time you ever did in front of me.
I love it when you smile and your eyes go all crinkly like they did just now.
I love it when you use silly voices and make me laugh and laugh.
I love it when you teach me about music and tell the same stories over and over because they never get old to either of us.
I love it when you snore a little, so you wake up and get all embarrassed.
I love it when you tell me I am beautiful even though my hair's pulled back, and I've not a stitch of makeup on, and we both know you're lying but it makes me feel good anyway.
I love it when you grab my hand in yours when we're driving or play with my hair while we're cuddling on the sofa together.
I love it when you wake me up in the morning when you're feeling rather randy.
I love it when you let me hold the remote, which is always, because you know that no one can fast forward through the commercials like I can.
I love it when you make us mugs and mugs of PG Tips because you know that I'll always suck at making a cuppa, but you're okay with that because I make the best eggs Benedict.

Happy Valentines Day, Darling.

Monday, February 12, 2007

not just another day

I awoke Friday morning with the distinct awareness, after I gazed with bleary eyes at my alarm clock on the dresser across the room, that it was the very same minute during which Oliver was born exactly a year before. It had been a sunny afternoon in London at Northwick Park Hospital that he was pulled by a team of doctors from the warmth and safety of my belly to the world that would only harbor him for twelve short days. My mother here in Seattle was just waking up when Steve called her to give her the good news. Her morning a year ago was so different from my morning now.

As I lay in bed, watching Steve mill about in the bathroom, I contemplated the past year and what this day meant to me. My eyes remained dry, and that was a good sign I would make it through the day. So I got out of bed and got ready for work alongside Steve, both of us replaying the same memories of events 365 days prior. We hugged silently. Our eyes said enough.

Steve decided to drop me at work rather than having me take the bus, and when we pulled up in front of my building, he grabbed my hand and asked, "Are you sure you don't want to take the day off? I can stay home with you if you don't want to go in."

And then the tears came because I could tell that he wanted me to say yes. He wanted to stay home. He just needed a reason that wasn't himself. I sighed, quelling the longing to stay in bed with him and reminisce about what might have been, "I can't sweetheart. I just can't dwell on it today." Knowing that the day would become a black progression of hours of sadness that would be so much worse than a day at work, I wiped my eyes and kissed him goodbye.

Once in the office, I pressed into action, willing myself to ignore the tears that hung in my throat. And it wasn't until I sent the email to my boss with a request to get off a half hour early and her reply, "that's fine," brought the deluge. I couldn't stop the water pouring from my ducts, nor could I figure out the reason the exchange set me off. I pinched my finger again and again. My boss walked up to my desk and laughed nervously when she saw my tears, "We'll just have to keep you very busy," she said, putting a stack of paper down with a flourish, "So the day will go by just like that." I made a joke about running out of tissues, but the rest of the day I was fine – at top form, actually, which felt good, like I was the boss of my emotions.

After work, Wynn and I went to Fox Sports Grill to meet her brother and fiancée for Happy Hour. Steve was working late, so he couldn't make it. But I drank three margaritas and toasted my little guy before heading home on the bus bound for Bellevue, a bus driven by a nasty guy in bike shorts who snapped at me both as I stepped on and stepped off. It was probably because I had my cell phone glued to my ear, as I was yet again appealing to the Swine to please be reasonable and not vengeful when it comes to choosing Audrey’s school. Frustration and resentment surged through my every vein and artery. (But my exposition on that will come later.) He didn’t know what the day meant to me and how much pain I was in. He didn’t understand that all I wanted apart from anything else was for him to be genuinely sorry for his responsibility for Audrey missing the birth and short life of her baby brother.

When I finally got home to Steve, it was our peaceful understanding that melted all of the isolation I’d felt all day. Only he knows what this is like. What this day means. My own mother, my own family forgot. They didn’t realize or remember what February 9 signifies. And it hurts so much to realize that his significance to his grandmother was no where near the significance he held for his parents. And I realized that Oliver will have to be memorialized in our hearts, just the two of us, because we are the only ones who can, who will. He’s our little blip in the enormousness of all the seconds of all the hours of all the days the earth has ever been, a blip that will not long be remembered. He didn’t have a chance to have an impact on the world, but the affect of this day will long have an impact on me and on his father.

Happy first birthday, dear Oliver Harry. In my heart you just learned to walk, you’ve cut teeth, you’ve had a haircut, and every day is an adventure of discovery.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

I broke Steve

“Did you hear the news?”

“Yes, it’s terrible. I was going to call you, but I didn’t want to bother you at work.”

“It’s so sad. I hope her baby has a good home.”

“Her son just died, too. How untimely.”

“Well, I better get back to work. I just wanted to share that with you.”

And we both hung up. No names were mentioned. No actual mention of the thing we were talking about. And this, folks, this is why I love my man so very, very much.

When Steve and I met for the second time at a friend’s party, we fell in love that night, spending hours excluding fellow party-goers with our discussion about opera and Maria Callas. Very highbrow, no? Fast forward over three years and what do you have? A couple who calls each other when cheesy reality stars collapse and die. Anna Nicole Smith – we will miss your platinum locks, your slurred words and your boobalicious figure. Really. We will.

Steve and I are now the couple that eats up the reality TV world. And the funny thing is, it’s Steve more than me.

When we were moving, we were debating whether or not to continue our digital TV/ HDR subscription.

“Can we still watch American Idol?” Steve asked, brow furrowed in all the seriousness that such a question necessitates. I just laughed at him, guffawing when he continued with the question, “Well, what about Beauty and the Geek?” before noticing my response. “What?”

I’ve created a monster. I took an IFCHistory Channel watching Englishman and turned him into a reality show fiend. He doesn’t even get excited about episodes of The Closer or Monk anymore. When he’s had a bad day, I know exactly which show to access to put his mood aright. I might as well be doing something naughty to him for all the pleasure he harvests from these shows.

Last night we were lying on the sofa watching one of the final episodes of Beauty and the Geek. We’d just returned from visiting the school I really want Audrey to attend, and I’d already told Steve that the Swine and the whole school thing was going to have to preempt my planned post on his reality show addiction, but what happened next and the conversation we had this morning (he called me, by the way), ensured him today’s spot.

So anyway, there we were watching BATG, when he got up during the commercial break to tend to his laundry. I hate commercial breaks, and I couldn’t fast forward to the commercials, so I turned off the show and put on the Hills, which we used to watch together, but since he works so much now, I’ve been savoring it on my own. It was a particularly juicy episode of the Hills. Heidi went to dinner with Audrina, who told Heidi to watch out because Spencer was totally hitting on her behind Heidi’s back. Steve came back and I filled him in on all the drama, and just before the commercial break, they teased with Heidi staying home from her planned trip to Colorado and going to the same club where Spencer was hanging with some blonde playboy pinups.

Steve hopped up from the sofa and literally skipped to the kitchen to turn on the kettle for some good ole PG Tips, and then he actually sang a song that went something like “Yippee, yippee, there’s going to be some drama. Spencer’s going to get it.” There was more, but my hysterical laughter kind of outdecibeled his chanteuring. When he returned, he said, “Rebecca, I don’t think we have enough drama in our lives. We need to move LA because we’re missing out.”

See? How can I not love with my whole heart the 44 year-old Englishman whom I’ve converted into a dancing, crap-TV nut?

Monday, January 29, 2007

moved on up to the eastside

Thank you all for your constructive and kind words! It really helps. I went to the doctor on Friday for that crap and for the mysterious stomach attacks that have been plaguing me, perhaps they're connected. I'm getting an abdominal ultrasound on Wednesday, which should be fun.

But the best part is that I moved to Bellevue over the weekend. My place is now 3 times larger, and I have my precious piano back, which in itself is an anti-depressant. If you read me when the soap opera was in high gear, you'll remember how much I turned to the piano for an emotional outlet. So for now, I am going to try to get the stomach stuff figured out and play a ton of piano.

I have no internet for now. So bear with me through the infrequent posts. I am still trying to figure out what company to use. I piggybacked on someone else's wireless (with permission) at the old place. Any suggestions?

So this is my snuck-in update for now. I just wanted to say that I am doing better, mentally at least.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Upson Downs

This past year really has been a learning experience. As I trudged up the hill trying to find that peak we like to call Normalcy, I’ve hit and fallen into a few crevasses, and in an attempt to be “okay,” I isolated myself from my true feelings, so when they hit me, they hit me hard, and I woke up to the realization that more and more I was staring out the window, whether of the car, the bus or my office and picturing my gruesome demise as never before. I guess the reason I was perturbed was, rather than disturbing me, the thoughts of such things occurring created that same relaxing escape frame of mind that might ordinarily be produced by imagining yourself at a spa getaway. So though I’ve been trying hard to reach that aforementioned peak, I’ve come to the conclusion that really I’ve been walking up a down escalator that moves faster than I do.

I suppose I’m surprised by that. I’m supposed to be able to handle anything. I’m tall. I’m pretty. People give me things when I bat my eyelashes. Life is supposed to come easy for the taller, more attractive individuals of the world. Whole studies have been done. I’m supposed to be “strong” enough to handle it all. Pain is supposed to bounce off of my Schwarzenegger-esque emotion maker thingies.

So what went wrong?

Perhaps, for starters, I looked for “normal.” I looked for “supposed to.” I ignored resources for help that people so kindly sent my way. Because, as I said, I’m “strong.” I don’t need that fluffy deal with your problems stuff. I can handle it on my own.

Now, I’m thinking, not so much.

I know I have a lot to live for, and I don’t like that thoughts of my refrigerator crushing me to death are so comforting. So maybe it’s just a matter of me realizing that my “blues” have become EEK! “depression.” However, I don’t know that I want to go the medication/therapist route. It’s hard for me to grasp that I can’t handle “it” on my own. (As an aside: maybe I really just need help for my excessive use of quotation marks.)

I’m sick of these ups and downs. I know life isn’t full of highs, unless, of course, you’re a crack-smoking gangster lover. Hey! Now, there’s a path. Okay, maybe not. I just need the lows not to be quite so low for a while. Please bear with me as I try to make that happen.

*the title is a reference to Auntie Mame, but then if you didn’t know that you aren’t my friend, and those that did, you’re positively top drawer, dahlings.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

White stuff from the sky

There's nothing like having getting to take two days off of work because of your child, which I did last week. Once for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Apparently my bosses don't like black people, or at least that is the opinion of Wynn, who is half-African American. The next day, Sam text messaged me. "just in case you didn't know, school's canceled today"

I lept out of bed and whipped back the curtains. "ARGH!" There was snow everywhere. Glorious, beautiful snow. Great! I love snow. Except when the week before, I was late 3 hours one morning because I needed to argue with Steve, and late 3 hours the morning after that because a couple of inches of ice decided to turn the streets into a bumper car arena. So now I had to take a half-nationally recognized holiday and a freakin' snow day?

Well, Audrey and I made the best of it. After much cursing into my pillow, I dug my snow boots out of my pile of summer sandals and other shoes I haven't worn in months, searched hopelessly for Audrey's boots and then we trudged through the snow to Green Lake. We played at the park, threw chunks onto the iced-over lake, a sight I never thought Seattle would see, and built a snowman.

We even went to Starbucks, something that I never ever do with Audrey, because I never knew the name of any coffee shops when I was five. I suppose it was inevitable though. So we went in, and I got a Chai tea, because I don't drink coffee, and she got a hot cocoa of course. She gulped it down before moving on to my cup, declaring chai tea to be the "bestest drink in the whole wide world" and renouncing her previous allegiance to hot chocolate.

When I got back to work the next day, back to the grind, the ringing phones, for the first time in a long time I felt a twinge of sadness that I wasn't able to be at home with Audrey. I was home with her the first year, and while I've always treasured that time, I was ready to start a career. Entertaining a child all day every day, tending to a house, laundry, and those are your everyday aims and goals? I needed hours away from that. But now, Audrey has this great little personality, and we have actual conversations, drink Starbucks together and share an affinity for America's Next Top Model, I have a new appreciation for this little newt of mine.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

It's always a day away

I’ve been a grumpy bump lately, snapping, crying at the littlest thing, moping about like a miserable puke not wanting to do anything except play BrickBreaker on my BlackBerry. I was so excited when the final stroke of midnight finally brought 2006 to its bitter end, but January has royally sucked. Positivity (okay if negativity gets to be a word, why can’t positivity – screw Webster, I’m using it) has eluded me these several days, and I’ve been puzzled as to why.

Except that everywhere I turn there seems to be stress curdling and building up. There is so much that I don’t even want to write about here, because unlike before the big delete, when I wrote about everything, I can’t be as open anymore. Even writing this, the words feel stilted because of this censoring, but there is no alternative. I am weary of my life, though, and several of its crucial components. I feel like I am in a room full of chairs, but desperate as I am to sit down, every seat is bursting with thorns. I am strangled by the bad choices I have made in my past and cannot escape the ever strengthening hold they have on me.

At night, when I am trying to sleep, all of this churns over and over, and I whimper unknowingly until Steve wakes up and asks me what is wrong. How do I explain that it is the same thing as last night and the night before that? Instead I tell him he is dreaming, bite my lips in an attempt to prevent more sounds from escaping, and cover my head with a pillow with a hope that will somehow muffle my thoughts.

I have felt my agitation grow this month as Lee’s pregnancy comes to an end almost simultaneous to the first anniversary of the birth of my dead son. I find myself staring at her belly while we are at work, and I try to see through the layers of clothing, skin and flesh to the girl that kicks and flourishes within. My throat starts to close up as I fight the urge to warn her how all of this can be just fine, but babies die. My baby died! But she knows that, and I can’t say that. I know that everything will be okay for her, and maybe that is why all of this is hard for me. Because I knew everything would be okay for me, but it wasn’t. So I try hard to ignore what has happened and is happening to me. I keep our conversation lightweight and speckled with bits of advice now and again. But still as the days march on, she comes closer to giving birth, and Oliver comes closer to turning one in my heart.

I had a dream not too long ago that I got home from work to see Steve and Oliver there, just like it was normal, everyday. Steve had picked up Oliver on his way home from work. Oliver was 11 months old as he would be now, and as I knelt down in front of him, he let go of the couch and toddled over to me. His first steps. Steve and I marveled over him – so excited by his milestone. But then the phone rang. It was the doctor. Oliver had terminal lung cancer. I woke up crying, but for days after I replayed his first steps over and over in my mind, smiling to myself with pride, while trying to ignore the dire end.

I’m trying to pretend that I’m okay, with the thought that if I do, I will be okay – just like that. Today, I’m not okay. But that’s okay, because maybe tomorrow I will be.