Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy Jess

Why do people dress tiny babies in jeans? It looks silly and can't be comfortable. Sweatpants are comfy, pajamas are comfy. Jeans are comfy only in proportion to dressy clothes. If you love coming home from the board meeting and taking off that suit to put jeans on, great. But if you're dressing your 4 month old in business-wear, well I really can't help you. 

Lil'guy has two steady responses to any yes or no question. "Okay!" or "Nokay!" The next time someone suggests doing something I do not find appealing, like going to Chipotle for dinner (you know who you  Pinto) I'm going to shake my head vehemently and say, "Nokay, NOkay!!"

I have been considering the idea that my personal physician put forth at my last appointment, to wit, perhaps the middle of a midlife crisis and a new job is not the time to try cutting back on one's antidepressant medications. She may have been right. This week really really sucked. Prozac, I swear I'll never leave you again.

I find babies irresistibly cute even when they're barfing on me every five minutes and having humongous poop explosions out of their tiny widdle diapers. Should I seek counseling?

I think I've cleared up (ha!) that I'm okay with rain. It's been raining steadily here for weeks and I'm okay with it. It just makes the sunrises and sunsets more spectacular and makes me appreciate the sun more when I do see it. Portland, here I come.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Status Update: Slightly Nutty Cheese with a Side of Sobb Salad and a Fine Whine

That's right, faithful legions of... readers... reader mom. It's time for another talk about... ME!!! Because it's my blog and I can. Although if you want me to post status updates of how you're doing feel free to send them along. I'll definitely put them up although I can't promise not to tweak them just a little if the urge hits me because... well because I can.

So I'm liking the new job. Lil'guy and I have this special bonding ritual where I ask him what noise various animals make and he answers until I get to koala bear and then I grab him and blow raspberries in his cheek because who the hell knows what koala bears say anyway? 

Another favorite is the, "What happened to the toaster?" game. It goes like this, Lil'guy asks about 800 times a day (referring to himself in the third person, which cracks me up, because Will used to do that at this age and it's so freakin' cute) "What happened to the toaster, N.?" This is based on an apparently exciting episode wherein the toaster conspired to burn the house down and was subsequently banished to the garbage and replaced my a more well-behaved model. The standard lines go: Q: "What happened to the toaster?" A:"It broke." But that gets old fast so I started making up answers, giving myself extra points for absurdity. Thus: 

Lil'guy: "What happened to the toaster?"

Weirdo Nanny who will be blamed later for warping his mind and making him afraid that evil toasters are hiding in his closet plotting to take over the world: "It was abducted by aliens."

Lil'guy: "What happened to the toaster?"

WN: It had really always yearned to be an ice maker, so it ran off with a band of traveling refrigerators.

Lil'guy: "What happened to the toaster?"

WN: It turned into a helicopter and flew away to live (in sin) with Harold on the Island of Sodor, until helicopter marriage is legal.

Lil'guy: "What happened to the toaster?"

WN: It developed a deadly wheat allergy and could no longer perform it's toasterly duties without great risk to its health. 

Lil'guy: "What happened to the toaster?"

WN: It broke.

On the subject of overshare, I was all sad and weepy yesterday because I missed Michael. But then I Facebook messaged him and he called me and came over and we hung out like old times but without the undying love or making-out parts. It was good. I think we might be ready to get back to the business of being good friends. Time will tell and all, but today I feel good about it. 

Also, I started a book by a woman who used to be a feminist and then found Christianity and I thought it would be interesting but it really wasn't and I kept thinking, "Wow, her former friends are right, she IS obnoxious!" But as far as I could tell I wouldn't have liked her any better when she was a radical atheist so I guess some people just don't really change. 

Okay, one more thing: Slumdog Millionaire? Best movie ever. Until I find a new one. But definitely the best movie of the moment for me. Perfect escapist fairy tale except for the part where you know that lots of people actually live in abject poverty while you pay $2.99 for a Peet's iced tea. I might move to India. I could hold orphaned babies. I'm hella* good at holding babies.
*Non- Californians- this is some weird kind of CA slang. See also, "hecka" which is even more retarted. I don't really see the appeal but as most slang seems to originate here and then spread to the rest of the country, I thought I'd prepare you for what's coming your way. Hey wait, if California taxed slang, maybe we could afford to pay our bills and re-open all the schools! I'm off to email Ahnold.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Leaving work one stormy day, I find myself driving out of a rainstorm. A tiny sliver of blue in the distant sky catches my attention. Rays of sunlight falling out of it graze the freshly verdant hills of the Diablo Range, illuminating them against the lowering sky like emeralds displayed on moss-colored velvet in a jeweler's case.

I am heading north now, an ominous thunderhead in my rearview mirror masses against the mountains. To my left, the clouds split to reveal a bright clear-washed sky in bird's-egg-blue. The edge of a ball of blazing yellow peeks out of the billowy cloudbanks. On my right the same scene, reflected brilliantly in the mirrored skyscrapers on the opposite side of the highway, plays like a real-time movie of the sunset on a 500 foot screen. As I look behind me at the oppressive stormclouds and forward to the light-drenched late afternoon sky I am reminded of flying. 

Taking off on an airplane on a cloudy day for the first time; as we climbed above the thick gray clouds of a dreary day and into a gloriously clear sunlit sky I realized for the first time, in a seeing-is-believing sort-of way, that the sun was still there when I couldn't see it. Everyone knows on an intellectual level that clouds only block our source of light, right? That they can't extinguish it. But it doesn't seem that way from an earthbound perspective. "The rain has stopped. The sun is coming out," we say. Or, "It's so gloomy, I wish the sun would come out." As if the sun itself is hiding. When I saw for myself that the clouds were only a flimsy barrier over my little part of the sky my perspective suddenly widened. How vast the universe is, and how infinitesimal is the part of it that I can see. 

No matter how much science teaches me about the universe, it seems difficult not to see myself as the center of it most of the time. 

Life is like this: Sometimes all we can see is the storm. Gray clouds hide the sun and make us huddle against the rain, heads down, surviving rather than basking. Sometimes, no matter how well we are taught that the storm is only covering our little bit of the sky, that the sun is stronger and just waiting for the clouds to blow past, it seems impossible to believe that we'll ever see blue skies again. 

This is for D, and Flutter, and all those who are still in the storm but can see blue skies ahead. Keep moving, my dear ones, the sun is waiting for you with outstretched arms, one day soon the storm will be behind you, and you'll glory in the radiance of the sun as you were meant to.

Got Me Some Tapioca Pudding and Survived the First Week of Work

My first week with the short & loud people (credit to Jessica at Oh, the Joys for this phrase, I hope she doesn't mind me stealing it- imitation is the sincerest form of theft and all that, right?) went surprisingly smoothly, all things considered. Monday I fumbled and dropped an entire bottle of cranberry Italian soda on the stone tile floor. But luckily, Baby-bee was sleeping during the entire hour and a half it took me to pick up the larger pieces of glass, clean up most of the sticky red juice, vacuum to take care of some of the 3 million shards of glass, wash the floor with a sponge (couldn't find the mop), vacuum again to get the evil little pieces of glass I missed the first time, and then go over the -still slightly sticky- floor again because do you know how hard it is to clean up cranberry soda with a single sponge? In spite of my amazing klutziness, I consider the day well spent since I at least didn't drop the baby, which is always an awkward thing to 'fess up to on your first day of a new job. 

Day 2 was similarly easy with just Baby-bee and I. I was disturbed at how tired I was at the end of the day, considering that it was only Tuesday, but then I realized that 4 ten-hour days means that Tuesday night is midweek for me, so I was further along than it seemed. 

Wednesday I dozed when napping happened, which was very effective. 

Thursday I had Baby-bee and her brother, Lil'guy. This was interesting, as there were occasionally two screaming short & loud people at the same time. And it was rainy so we were trapped in the house for most of the day. The first half of the day was... trying. But then there were three people napping at the same time and after that it was a lot better. There was some backyard time with Lil'guy, and I got to leave early. Overall, even though I remember wanting to tear my hair out at some point earlier in the day, the memory has faded- the way they say childbirth does or no one would ever do it again. And I ended the week feeling really good about the next few months. And also kind of silly for freaking out about it. But just wait a few weeks, I'm sure I'll find something else to freak out about, just to keep you all entertained.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Buttonwoods Part II

I had a little house.
But it was actually quite a big house.. Palatial by California standards. Two bedrooms and I shared it with a roommate only two of the seven years I lived there.  
It was a guest house next door to the family I nannied* for. I lived there, rent-free, for six years while I got paid to play with the cutest little kids in the world. Nice, huh? I'll forever be grateful to the family I worked for. Not only did they let me live in the guest house (even after I accidentally put my hand through the window) but they treated me like family. I don't know if I'd be able to be as adventurous as I have been in my thirties if I hadn't had those 7 years of peace and stability in my twenties. 

I loved everything about that house and neighborhood. From where I was standing to take that picture, if I'd turned a quarter circle to my right I'd have been facing the bay.
In the other direction was a dead end street with only two other houses on it (plus the two on the corner, facing the main road- one of which was my place of work, the other of which was long uninhabited and underwent exciting episodes like a fire, and the death of the eccentric, elderly owner, and faraway relatives buying it and then camping in the summers while they fixed it up.) 

It was an incredibly, breathtakingly beautiful place to live.
The only traffic was the occasional car meandering down the main road along the water. The neighborhood is tucked away at the far end of a residential road, not on the way to anywhere else, and besides the rare sightseer, most of the cars belonged to neighbors. Hardly ever was anyone in a hurry. It's a road that makes you want to slow down, roll down the windows, breathe in the salty fresh air, and drink in the scenery.I had a garden. I spent hours clearing a patch in the backyard- a vegetable garden in a long-forgotten past- and filling it with flowers and the occasional tomato or lettuce plant. I rigged up grow lights in the laundry room, and started things from seed and collected pots and filled them with flowers too, and generally had a wonderful time mucking around in the dirt. I miss gardening so much.
People used to ask if it was a drawback living next door to work, but I loved that the kids could come over and pester me even when I wasn't working. I'm not being sarcastic, I adored hearing their voices at the door. When they were younger, I couldn't hear their voices outside without wanting to go out & see them, and it was great when they got old enough to come over on their own. There wasn't anything I wouldn't drop to invite them in and snuggle on the couch with them telling stories (most of them involved Bunbun, a very naughty bunny modeled on the wooden carved rabbit I had on my mantle) or go outside and race them up and down the streets on their bikes. I couldn't get enough of mah babies, even though I was certainly glad to go home at the end of a long day. Their parents were kind enough to share them, after a short term of scolding, "leave Jess alone, she's not working!" they gave up and only asked occasionally, "Are they bothering you?" No, never. 

One particularly hilarious morning my doorbell rang when I was getting ready for work. It was a two-or three year-old, pajama-clad Danielle. Recently freed from the tyranny of a crib (which she'd been prone to climbing out of no matter how low the mattress was set) and relishing the freedom of a big-girl bed, she awoken before anyone else and decided to come over on her own and pay me a visit. She was very matter of fact about it. "Hi, here I am. Aren't you going to invite me in?" 

I'm not trying to infer that I was some kind of supernanny saint. God, no. I had my moments of grouchiness and frustration with the kids that even parents** experience. Plenty of them. I was so exhausted when Danielle was an infant that I had a hard time bonding with her and probably spent more time in a stupor on the couch than playing with 3-year-old Will. I think Will picked up on my resentment of the baby and it became the basis of some of his antipathy towards his sister. There are plenty of things I regret. But overall, I hope that the thing they remember is how much I loved them. And still do.

Will, a few years ago, almost as tall as me. The last time I was home he was at least the same height as me if not taller. Thus the plight of a short nanny, they all tower over me eventually.
Toothless wonder girl. I've no doubt she's probably passed me in height too since the last time I saw her.

*Spell check is conflicted about whether or not "nannied" is a word, I know it is though. How else do I describe the last twelve years of my life if not using "nanny" as a verb?

**Just rereading and wanted to clarify. It seems weird to have used "parent" in that sentence rather than, I dunno, childcare provider, since that's what I was, but I used it because I've learned to be easier on myself over the years because of discovering (thank you momblogging world) that even parents have their moments of suckiness because caring for kids? Is hard. 

I still wish I could go back and redo Danielle's baby-hood and appreciate it the way I wasn't able to then, but I've let go of the crushing guilt over the fact that I did not, in fact, enjoy it the way I did Will's. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Nothing More Than...

I am watching Extreme Home Makeover and crying like a baby. Shut up, all right? You would too. This family of seven lost everything when their home caught fire. They're all pillars of the community types, a salt-of-the-earth middle class family who live in a small town in Connecticut just over the border from Rhode Island. Obviously good people even though they didn't actually live in Rhode Island. They were reduced to living in a tent. In Connecticut. In the winter. Did I mention it was in Connecticut? Awful, right? No wait, I haven't even gotten close to the sad part yet. 

After months of homelessness, they'd finally found a rental house and were looking forward to trying to return to normal life when the father, swimming with the children at a local lake, drowned. The teen-aged oldest son managed to save his younger sister and brother, who were with their father when he went under, but went back for his dad and never came up. They both drowned. The little girl thinks it was her fault. Yeah. Tell me you wouldn't cry.

The peoples from Extreme Home Makeover along with the entire rest of the town came and built them an giant castle in homage to their father and brother, who loved all things knightly and medieval. When did television get so damned heartwarming? I am having to watch Sense and Sensibility on Masterpiece Theatre to recover. There's nothing like a little Jane Austen to soothe ruffled emotions. 

The Portland plan is being held in abeyance this week. I am taking a week to consider the downsides. Of everything. In life. I knew the high of the last few weeks wouldn't last and sure enough, things are on the downslide. I am looking forward to being too busy with work to have feelings. Woot! Down With Feelings!!! Feelings suck!!! I think I need to eat some tapioca pudding. I always feel better after I good tapioca pudding.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Random Thoughts and Musings

Why do you think caffeine sometimes makes me all happy and buzzed and other times makes me lethargic and gives me heart palpitations (Mah lands, is it hot in heah?)? 

I am really tired of stabbing eye pain headaches. 

If you can't figure out how the last two random thoughts are connected, let me' splain. No, there is too much, let me sum up. Excedrin is my bestest friend in the whole world even when it just makes the pain retreat a little.

I love Anne of Green Gables. I miss the days when Christine and I used to pull down the shades and hunker down for an all day viewing of both of the Anne sagas. Gilbert. sigh

I worked for approximately four hours today and came home exhausted and in pain and fell asleep for three hours. I felt less tired but more lethargic when I woke up and the headache was coming back full-force. I start my new full-time job on Monday. Two days a week I will have an infant and a two year old, two days a week just the infant (at first at least). Four ten hour days plus a half hour commute each way. Am I crazy to think I can do this?

Michael and I have made our peace and I'm back to thinking he's the greatest guy ever. Just not the guy meant for me. I have no doubt that he's going to make someone very, very happy someday and I'll try not to be jealous and send her hate mail. I reserve the right to become sad and whiny again at any time but right now, I'm doing well.

I'm obsessed with the idea of moving to Oregon. Portland, specifically. I don't know if it will really happen and if it does it won't be for at least 4 months (my job ends in May) but it sure is fun looking at rentals on Craigslist. I'm weird that way.

I have runner's knee. Ha! 

Also, shoulder tendonitis.

I am approximately 80 years old.

I hope I don't live to be old because I can't imagine what it will be like if I feel this crappy now.

If I do though, I hope I'm fun to be with and not a burden. I'll unquestionably be poor so I'll either be living in a dumpster or sponging off of someone. It would be nice if I could at least be entertaining to my spongees or the other homeless people in the alley.

I had this exchange with a three year old the other day-

Boy (playing with trains): Shoot! *sidelong glance up at me* I said shoot.

Me: You did!

Boy: My train fell over. You say shoot when something falls over.

Me: Um hmmm.

Boy: *extra sidelong assessing glances up at me and a careful pause* You don't say fuckit. You say shoot.

Me: *strangling laughter* That's right, shoot is much better to say!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Uncomfortable Truth

Don't read this if you don't want to be disturbed and shaken. This is how life is for some people.

 It makes me feel sick to my stomach, but it also makes me want to do something. I'm working on a project. It might not save anyone from a Detroit winter, but I heard a call, in the depths of the night, and I'm going to answer. More details soon.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Wordle: Zoe Wordle makes a collage of the words used most frequently in a given site. I wonder if I should worry that "Like" is one of my most frequent words. 

Dude, no way, it's like, totally cool.

Sunday, February 1, 2009