Monday, May 24, 2010


So. Flipper's birthday party was yesterday afternoon. Except I can't really call her Flipper anymore; it conjures too many negative images of some poor Thalidomide baby. And she's not a baby anymore. But I digress. The party, it was a total success. And the party, it will never happen again. In my house, that is.My tolerance level for noise is sadly and shockingly low. REALLY low. As in, my best friend calls my house "The Tomb." Bottom line: I hate noise. And, yes, as long as I am the grown-up, it will be all about me. But back to the party!!!! There were 8 kids here!! Did everyone ready that??? 8!!!! (insert "never again" right here). But they were great. Just silly and loud and joyful and loud. Too loud for the Mistress of the Crypt. Or Tomb. Or whatever, as long as it is quiet. I did one thing majorly majorly right: I hired one of my precious, awesome, incredible high school students to work the party. She earned her forty bucks, let me tell you. The kids were thrilled to be in the presence of a real, live, honest-to-God teen-ager complete with scanty tank top and make up, and I was thrilled to have her (someone that actually enjoys the chaos 8 kids can bring) direct their arts-and-crafts projects, dispense cake and lemonade, and help me clean up. I HIGHLY recommend this tactic. Even if her mother thought I overpaid her. But, in a tit-for-tat kind of way, the one thing I did majorly majorly wrong was squelch my initial impulse to have the party somewhere else. Somewhere that all I had to do was show up, with a check in one hand and a camera in the other. I toyed with the idea of a horseback riding party, was dissuaded by the price, and then ended up kicking myself (metaphorically) for not doing it: I spent as much as the horses would have cost all by myself. It is oh so easy to do. Sadly.
But, never again. One kid next year (besides mine) someplace special. Or a barn. The best part (for the adults) was watching her pull a bright, cherry-red satin sheet (fitted) that shrouded one of those cool clear boxes with the colored oils in it. Kind of a low-tech Lava Lamp. But the sheet...the room fell silent (thank God!) and I just loved it. Loved that he wanted to give it to her, and his parents let him. The sheet will be repurposed to make sleeping bags for Kaya and Julie, the most ridiculously overpriced and best dressed dolls ever. And now with the fanciest sleeping bags ever. My friend Dawn, however, gave Ella her most favorite present ever: a wig. Dawn has three, purchased months ago, before her hair came off. Mine too, but that's a different story. Ella fell completely in love with the wigs especially a hot little number called "Ginger." Every time we visited her, Ella would put her wigs on, then stroke them, trying on one after another. The word "love" just isn't strong enough. But now she has a Ginger of her own. It sleeps on our bedpost. It is scary. And she is very, very happy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Agony. Worse than yoga!!

Inspired by a "friend" (really, a torture-promoter) I went on what will hopefully be a diet modification for me in the form of a non-fasting cleanse. What does that mean? It means no caffeine, sugar, wheat, dairy. At all. I thought it wouldn't be that bad, that I wasn't really hooked on anything, especially not those 2-3 pesky cups of coffee in the morning. All my life I have managed to skate by any kind of real addiction, regardless of an unhealthy love of illegal substances, and I stopped smoking by throwing a pack of Camel Lights out of my car and never missed it. But this has been, well, truly awful. Hideous. Splitting headaches, cold, icky sweats, a desire to curl up and be by myself where my moans of agony won't give the six year-old bad dreams, or cause the dogs to worriedly nudge me with their wet cold noses over and over again. Or, barring that, just to be sedated (heavily) like people in Hazeldon are while they detox. Granted, they are serious junkies, but judging from my week '0 hell, I am too. What has been the most interesting is that what I crave is NOT sugar (even though I know that a cold Coke would cause all of my symptoms to vanish) but spicy, hot stuff. The very memory of how coffee tastes is utterly repellant to me now. I have gone wheat-free in the past, in an attempt to vanquish migraines, (didn't work), I quit coffee immediately when I found out that the mold on our shower curtain was NOT what was making me throw up every day, but a 12 week old fetus, and I was fine. FINE. I was a vegan for about 9 months when I first moved to Telluride but simply could not go without cheese, and all of these episodes were easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy as Ella would say. But for some reason the combination of ALL sinful substances has brought me to my knees. I cannot remember feeling this bad for this many days in a row since I was knocked up. I never missed a single day of work last year for being sick! So. We'll see. I've no doubt I can go without the coffee, and seriously slash my sugar intake, but a nice piece of toast in the morning as opposed to my soy milk and rice powder shake? Maybe not.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Back, and pinker than ever

Back. With no real reasons/excuses/apologies besides a lack of consistent Internet and a lack of time/desire/will. Right now I am on a home-improvement kick. It is incredibly satisfying AND fun!! Most of the goals on my house to-do list have gotten a line drawn through them this summer, and only two more major projects are left: removing the kitchen wallpaper, painting the kitchen, and installing hardware on the flat-front cabinets. The cabinets are, like everything else, original to the townhouse, meaning circa 1978. And while I would like some glass-fronted ones, they are in incredible shape and I am loathe to tear out anything that is in perfect working order. So. House painted. CHECK. New fridge, aka "The Boyfriend." CHECK. Ella's room. CHECK. Under-stairs storage and tool shed storage organized and thinned. CHECK. Ella's room now looks like something out of a house not owned by me. It is girly and pretty and pink and girly and coordinated...and so we shall take a look.

This is so far from my room as a kid that I can't believe it. Pink walls, psychotically expensive Pottery Barn duvet cover and shams...Ella was not particularly excited about the bedding, as her little heart's desire was leaning towards the quilt appliqued with cupcakes and kittens but I just. Could. Not. Do. It.

18-dollar Ikea "chandelier." Slightly off-kilter but has been righted since installation. I love this thing. Love it.

Close-up of Liberty print duvet and shams. The adorable sheets were made by me: rick rack sewn to plain white Target sheets. The next day I scored some heavy white cotton curtains at the thrift store, and they will also have the pink rick rack sewn on. Then I will turn my attentions to my room.

All of this has been done for more than one reason, but the primary one is that it is now time for her to learn to sleep without her body pressed against someone else, namely me. I love it and hate it at the same time. I could wait, but every year she seems LESS inclined to move out, and there are things I want her to be able to do, namely spend the night at a friend's house and go to camp for a few weeks in another year to two. I have been letting her fall asleep on her own, with just that massive stuffed penguin for company for two nights now, and she is fine. One step at a time...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Make it stop

Well, I can't tell a lie (actually, I can, but that would be a whole 'nother post). I used to think, in my more horrifyingly judgemental pre-and just-post baby days, that people that rented out birthday parties for their kids were lame. I mean, how could you NOT want to have your house invaded, do a fuckload of work for the human you love more than anything else-bearing in mind that the same human is incapable of thanking you for another 22 years or so, buy food that will either garner complaints OR not get eaten and thrown away (possibly both) and slave over a cake that, in all reality will NOT taste better than the ones at Sugarland...and so on. And on. Why would you just want to show up at your own offspring's party location, do a little delegating, write a check and...leave.
Now, with the countdown to Flipper's party a mere 5 days away (a fact she reminds of every 6.7 seconds or so) I have seen the light. I am promising the world NEVER AGAIN. I will BUY Spence's Farm, I will pay the high school girls to throw the party and supervise, I will do anything to avoid the Party Store one more time. I cannot bear the stress. How on earth do people get married? My inner control-freak, always hovering just below the surface, leaps forth every May when her birthday rolls around. My desire to avoid the whole thing is only marginally outpaced by the guilt that accompanies it: why can't I love it as much as she does? Why am I not "in the moment" with her as she selects hideous paper plates; why do I contemplate ways to return them and get ones I like? Since the plates are so important and all. Fucking paper plates. For a party that isn't even mine!! Why am I such a lame mother, ready for the day to pass, worried about food and games and whether or not she will be able to make it through without sobbing hysterically over some sort of teeny tiny mostly imagined slight from a friend? My checklist is massive; only a few things have been checked off. I am worried about all of, surely there is a better way. And we only invited 4 kids!!! My hat is OFF to the parents that invite 20 or so; how can they? Now I must stop for I am driving even myself completely insane. Please, please let it be sunny. Please, no rain. I beg of whatever deity has thrown down such awful weather this spring to hold off on Sunday. If I could find a reverse Hatfield, I would. I really would.

Monday, April 27, 2009

To Buy or Not to Buy

Flipper is thwarting my birthday plans for her by not wanting what I want to give her for her birthday. That might just be the most poorly-formulated sentence I have ever written. She really really wants a "grown up" American Girl Doll. Basically, that means a doll with hair. Lots of hair. Flipper is obsessed with hair. I am actually OK with the American Girl Doll marketing and money-sucking juggernaut; the dolls don't look like sluts, nor do they have the artificial bodies of a stripper, with no ass and huge tits. And since I have no intention of wasting precious tourist-hours on some sort of store that has honest-to-god adults pretending that the dolls are real, I think I am relatively safe. HOWEVER...
Flipper is not complying. By this I mean she is not embracing the doll and historical time period that I want her to. I WANT THE COLONIAL DOLL!!!! Who cares what she wants??? Perhaps I should care a bit more than I actually do. She even went so far as to request a doll that looks like her. I cannot bear the Mini-Me dolls. Plus, the clothes are tacky. And they lack some sort of peaches-and-cream, sunshine-and-rainbows "historical" context that suckers parents like me into plunking down some big bucks in the hopes that my child will learn more than how to be a hairdresser. And so, I am torn: buy her what she truly wants, buy her what I want her to have, (knowing full well how incredibly lame that is), or try to find some sort of "compromise." Like I said...I am torn. Maybe the prairie-girl. Maybe a Mini-Me doll with historical clothes. Maybe I should just stop mind-fucking this to death and buy something already.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A boring but good day

Sick headache notwithstanding, today was a good day. Except for the weather. It is simply impossible for there to be more than 48 hours of nice weather in a row this spring. After work Grampy and I went to a small restaurant in downtown Durham called "Toast" (it specializes in panini, crostini, etc., en route to the library. I had an EXCELLENT panini: chopped, cooked kale, ricotta salata, and pickled hot and sweet peppers. I've never thought of putting greens like kale, collards, etc., on a sandwich, but it was incredible. Also a nice side salad with a touch of fresh mint in the light vinaigrette dressing. Then on to the library where I checked out 9 books in under 15 minutes. Grampy got two. Home with yucky headache; dozed off and on for a few hours while Ella was a perfect angel; she played in her room quietly, brought me homemade "get well" cards every few minutes...she was great. I rousted myself at 5:15 and took a boiling hot bath with a new book and then we had supper, a good one for a chilly, grey day: homemade macaroni and cheese (mine is very, very good-flavored with modesty), roasted asparagus, and fake ribs. We call them "riblets." Ella is getting a bit more aware of how much she loves to eat meat, and that it is all a dead animal. Driving past Allen and Son the other day she commented on just how good meat tasted...and how sad it is that it is dead. Slowly, slowly creeps vegetarianism towards her...we'll see.
Nothing, but nothing makes me happier than a huge stack of library books to burn through.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Yay, Big Chain Store!

I have to give a little shout-out to CVS, our local pharmacy (yes, yes, I know it is a big chain) for their stellar array of Easter candy!! I was denied at Harris Teeter, which had only large bags of candy, much more than one child could consume, and the chocolate bunny was about a foot tall and cost 10 bucks. But they had a few cute things, and then I went next door. I actually successfully avoided Southern Season, which I adore for their incredible display of candy, but last year I spent 30 bucks on Easter goods, because I found them so hard to resist!!! I was determined to stay very close to home. Plus, I am trying to eke out 12 days of driving on one tank of gas. Sister called from Colorado; she had been candy-shopping for her boyfriend's children as well. We compared sugar-notes. It is hard to stop, to not go nutty over the vast array of things available to buy. It is hard to resist the siren's call of cool things, cleverly packaged. It is a constant astonishment to me how very successful advertising is at stoking our "desire" boilers. Ella has our childhood baskets, which were undoubtedly typical of the early 70's, and yet they look positively puny next to the massive baskets kids have today. The beauty of the small, however, is that it cannot be filled with too much, and so I stopped after the blue chocolate "robin's eggs", the much-coveted chocolate bunny (many inches less than 12) and my favorite purchase: tiny "cartons" with speckled egg-shaped pieces of gum. It is sunny after an evening of rain; I can count on one hand how many times I actually WANT it to rain, but I did yesterday. The storms did what I hoped they would: washed the pollen away for a few days. It is clean and clear outside, and we will spend much of our day OUT IN IT.