Thursday, June 26, 2008

Moving Eve

I have three essays half written for this blog. I also have an entire condo to finish packing before tomorrow morning. I also have 32 Scrabulous games going in Facebook. So, no time to write/edit/blog now.

I will leave you with this idea based on a story I on NPR this morning about a reporter with end-stage cancer. He has a blog and he asked his visitors to finish this: My cancer is...

I know some of you have MS, some of you know people with MS (including me), and some of you just like to read this blog. So, here you go. Finish this: MS is...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Only Three Lines

I heard a story on NPR about a French author in the 1940s who wrote news stories that were only three lines long. Although I'm no Félix Fénéon and most people who know/read me would probably tell you that I lean toward the verbose, I like a good challenge. Those two sentences don't count. Here's my day in three lines.
Zane woke Julie up at 6:45 a.m. this morning to discuss his excitement about Karate class and dinner with Daddy. When she was dropped off at school an hour later, Ruby aked Julie not to refer to herself as "Mommy" in front of her friends. Julie spent the day at work, writing and surfing until it was time to go pick up a Craigslist air conditioner and meet the kids at their very messy condo.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Republicans--Can't Live With 'Em, Can't Live Without 'Em

I wonder if this appointment means that Hillary Clinton is going to be the running mate on the Democratic ticket? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Ken thinks Obama will give her an ambassadorship or something. But Ken is a Republican. What the hell do they know?

I think it's hysterical that I am in love with a Republican. When I was setting up my Yahoo Personal account, under "political preference" I thought long and hard before I made my selection. After checking with committee members and coworkers at the time, I decided that the only two groups I couldn't date were "ultra conservative" and "apolitical."

I was married to someone who, for many years of our relationship, was not even registered to vote--a fact that brought me a lot of embarrassment when I forgot we were two separate people. Apolitical was definitely out. I didn't rule out Conservative or Middle of the Road because I had a friendship with a colleague at the time who was Republican and I thought maybe I could date someone like him if the guy was smart, funny, and had other good qualities. Bald Hot Ken is all those things. If only he wasn't so misguided about the Republican thing.

Did I already write about how I found out that Ken was a Republican? He claims that he told me in early email communications before we met but I was dating so much I must have lost track. I was totally floored when, near the end of our second date (an awesome evening that ended with our first kiss and only a kiss in my lobby), he said something about his very liberal brother referring to "his man George." I stopped breathing for a minute, thinking "Uh-oh, I liked this one too!" I simply said, "George who?"

"Bush," he answered, obviously oblivious to my distress.

"George Bush?" I asked again, just to make sure. "You voted for George Bush?"

"Yes." he said but with a bit of hesitation like he was realizing that I was surprised by this new piece of information.

"Ok," I responded. "Think very carefully before answering the next question." Then I paused for dramatic effect.

"Would you vote for him today?" I finally continued. Keep in mind, it was July of 2005. We were in the middle of the "war on terror" in Afghanistan and Iraq--as we still are today. "This could be a deal breaker," I added ominously.

"Definitely not," Ken answered and a choir of angels sang.

Unfortunately, I believe Horribly Misguided Ken plans to vote for McCain which, in my opinion as a pacifist, is almost as bad as voting for Bush. And if you think about it, Ken and his fellow clueless conservatives are kind of responsible for the mess we are currently in and I am a compassionate and forgiving person to date him anyway. (I have to remember to ask him if he feels like he is being incredibly open minded going out with a liberal like me.)

Oh well. He is a fantastic lover, knows how to fix things, has a spiritual life and a committee of his own, is very kind and generous, is very intelligent, reads books and newspapers...and maybe someday he will realize the error of his political ways. I believe I will keep him. But all bets are off if things don't go my way in November.

A Cup of Joe and Twin Peaks

I recently posed a question on Facebook about why coffee is nicknamed Joe and not Sam or Phillip. The reason why I am a creative non-fiction writer rather than a journalist is that I spoke first and researched second. Here's one answer and a confirmation. The BBC hedges all its bets with this maybe this, maybe that answer.

That etymology lesson also revealed the answer to a question I had last week. Don't you love when that happens???!!! I couldn't remember the name of the show from the early 90s that followed the story of a murder investigation in a small town. Why did I care? Because, I remembered that there was an odd character named The Log Lady who wore and eye patch. Why did I care? Because I wanted to use the references to make a funny about my wearing an eye patch sometimes. Well, the show was Twin Peaks and I was wrong! Nadine Hurley (I believe the murder victim's aunt) was the character with the eye patch--not The Log Lady!!!

Just a little glimpse into the bizarre mind map of Lazy Julie.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Weekend in Review

  • NBC Journalist Tim Russert died at the age of 58 on Friday. That no longer sounds old to me. He was one of many news people who taught me about the larger world outside my neighborhood and encouraged me to question our national leaders. The upcoming presidential election won't be the same without his coverage.
  • My friend, Karen Teacup lost her father this week, too. They didn't have a very close relationship and he was much older than Tim Russert, but it's still the loss of a significant relationship. In some ways, I think death is harder when a person you lose is someone that society says you should be close to but you're not. Apparently, he was very ill for quite some time so I wish him and Teacup peace with his passing.
  • Ruby and Zane had what will probably be their last joint birthday party at the YMCA on Saturday. (I've gotten away with combining their celebrations the last few years because we've lived in such a tiny place and their birthdays are only two days apart. I think we'll have to have separate parties moving forward or Ruby is likely to boycott the event.) The 16 or so kids in attendance had a blast playing freeze dance, ping pong, basketball, and all kinds of variations on Giant Steps and Red Rover under the direction of two camp counselors. There were also many cartwheels, somersaults, and, of course, cake, ice cream, and goody bags. One child who shall remain nameless to protect him from carrying the shame of his clueless and irresponsible parent, was picked up 30 minutes after the party ended with no phone call or advanced planning. And, when the tardy mommy showed up, "Oh my God! I'm so sorry!" were not the first words out of her mouth. Because of his parent, this particular child will not make the cut of Weymouth kids we stay in touch with after we move. It's tough when kids like other kids of parents I can't abide. But that's another essay.
  • The kids and I got a video on Saturday night--Farm Kids. I realized half-way through that I did some freelance writing to promote the release a few years ago. The videos didn't exist yet so I had to write the releases from descriptions. The stories and the characters were not what I pictured in my head. Oh well.
  • I had interactions with many dads for Father's Day today. I dropped the kids off with their dad and, even though he won't pay half of camp this summer, I actually wished Mr. Ex a Happy Father's Day. He did, after all, spawn the two people I love most in the world...the same two people who need full-time day camp for child care for a few thousand dollars. I called my dad and again wished he had one of those old people's cell phones with the big buttons. My dad is not that old and definitely not that much of a technophobe, in general, but every time I talk to him on his cell phone, he hangs up on me by mistake at least three times. The funny part is, he always blames my phone. I think he hits the "end" button with his face. I did end the conversation with our usual exchange of "I love yous" which feels really good. That relationship has come a long, long way. I went to my Sunday morning meeting where there were many sober dads in attendance...some with their kids in tow. It's wonderful that, one day at a time, these children (and mine) won't grow up in active alcoholism. I stopped by Ken's to bring him a Father's Day gift and to kiss him lustfully and longingly in his kitchen and flash a little lingerie since his kids weren't around and we haven't been together in a week. Ken is a very good dad although a very different parent than I am. I am way more open minded than I used to be about being close with people who don't think exactly the same way I do, particularly about parenting, but I still notice the differences and have to talk myself out of my judgmental thoughts.
  • I'm in bed and signing off my computer before midnight! Yay me!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sleepy Julie and Happy Birthday, Zane!

I read an article about sleep deprivation a couple days ago that I can't find anymore. I did, however, block and copy the section below before losing track of it. I also found some other interesting articles including this one about sleep and aging and this one about drowsy driving.
"Before Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in 1880, people slept an average of 10 hours a night. These days, Americans average 6.9 hours of sleep on weeknights and 7.5 hours a night on weekends, according to the National Sleep Foundation."
When Ken spent the night at my house recently, he said something about not feeling well rested the next morning. He seemed very surprised and a little concerned when I told him that I never feel well-rested. It's true. I regularly function in "sleepy mode" and use caffeine and sugar to get "up" where I need to be in order to live my life.

Sleep deprivation has always been the norm for me...except during the period when I was hospitalized waiting for the birth of Zane. (HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY TODAY, MY LITTLE MIRACLE BOY!) When I didn't have work to go to or worry about and I had limited other responsibilities and deadlines, I slept until I woke up every single day for 5 1/2 weeks. What a concept! I usually woke up after about 9 hours sleep per night and then took a one-two hour nap in the afternoon.

OK. I was pregnant, missing Ruby and parts of my life terribly, and dealing with a placental abruption and the possibility that my son would not survive, but it was the most well-rested I ever felt in my life. I think I took such good care of myself for Zane...and for my sanity. I was very spiritually connected during that time and that probably helped, too. That and Sex and the City on the hospital HBO.

I need to shift MS to the same "urgent" category as the circumstances around my pregnancy with Zane when it comes to sleep. I need to see the MS as a damn good reason to be well-rested, too. I need to figure out how to sleep until I want to be awake...every day. Is it possible? Do I have to go back to a time before electricity to turn off my laptop and TV and stereo and telephone and lights and go to sleep? Are you well rested? How do you do it?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Field Trip Chaperon and Happy Birthday Ruby!

When did I become this mommy who drives a station wagon and is old enough and responsible enough to be a field trip chaperon????? Ruby's 3rd grade class went to Hull for a field trip and, since it fell on her 9th birthday and she still thinks I'm semi-cool most days, she asked me to come along. I had a blast but it was very exhausting. Teachers should definitely be paid more.

Here are the highlights:

The Joshua James Lifesaving Museum - I learned all about Hull's history as a fishing community and how its citizens saved lives after ships crashed into the shoreline rocks and capsized, dumping people into the rough wake of the ocean. The kids had the opportunity to participate in a mock life saving exercise and, since it was Ruby's birthday, she was able to get a spot in the "rescue seat" while her classmates operated the pulleys.

Ruby also had a chance to meet her pen pal, Erin, a Hull third-grader who corresponded with Ruby all year. It was amazing how much the two girls had in common and how much they looked alike. They had both donated hair to Locks for Love, they both loved art and reading, and they even looked a little alike. Ruby is in the foreground on the right with the green shirt and the skort. Erin is sitting to her right in pink.

We also got to ride on a big yellow bus with no seat belts and duck tape on the seats, heard stories from Ruby's teacher about growing up in Hull, collected stones and shells on the Hull's Gut beach, and attended a make your own sundae party with Ruby's class and the pen pals' class. (I gave everyone extra scoops 'cause that's the kind of mommy/chaperon I am, but I also wouldn't give them anything until they said "please" and "thank you.")

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Running on Empty

My gas gauge is apparently broken. At least that's what I've deduced after the KGB wagon sputtered to a halt on Rt. 3 South during my rush hour commute home on Friday. As my handy dandy camera phone picture indicates, the gas gauge read "full."

Miracle of miracles, five minutes after I pulled off the highway into the emergency breakdown lane and called Bald Hot Ken to come with a gas can, there was a knock on my passenger window. Because I was parked on the side of the highway, I jumped about a mile before I caught my breath and realized a CVS Care Van had pulled over to help me. (CVS Care Vans are corporate-sponsored mobile Good Samaritans that parole major highways looking for disabled vehicles.) The very nice driver named Tim offered to give me a gallon of gas and follow me to the nearest gas of charge. He wouldn't even take one of the strawberries I offered him from my anniversary Edible Arrangement that Liz sent me. I called BHK to cancel the rescue mission and was on the road again within a few minutes and even picked up the kids early.

Although I planned to get the kids dinner at a drive-thru and go to a meeting with babysitting, I took the whole experience as a sign. My car wasn't the only one running on empty. It had been a long week of getting up early for work, trying to keep the condo neat for prospective buyers, caring for the children, etc., etc., We still went to the drive-thru for dinner and then headed home. We laid low for the night with a movie, and everyone got to bed early.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Today is my Clean and Sober Anniversary! Yay HP! Yay 12 Steps! Yay Me for using both!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

June has arrived!

To me, June is the start of summer. I LOVE June. School ends, the weather gets warmer. the kids and I all celebrate birthdays, and I have my clean and sober anniversary.

We marked the first day of June this morning with the flower celebration at the UU church (or as my dad likes to call it "THE CHURCH OF WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW." We hung out on the playground after the service so Ruby and Zane could play and I could talk to Milton parents about moving back. I'm doing a lot of that lately.

Last night, we went to dinner at Bonnie's house. Bonnie was Ruby's family child care provider when we lived in Milton before. The kids had a blast and I rediscovered all the pleasures of lactose-free products. (Bonnie's kids and I share lactose intolerance.)

We enjoyed lots of pool time this weekend, too--taking full advance of the condo pool (think Senior Citizen Melrose Place) before we move on. We went to Ken's for a mini-impromptu cookout tonight. I broke in the eye patch for the drive home at dusk--one of the prime times for my "MS Eye" (Ruby's astute and apt description) to act up and throw off the vision in my good eye.

Happy, happy June! I'd like to write more but I mistakenly killed the keyboard on the laptop I bought off Craigslist. So, instead I'm typing on the ancient iBook my dad gave me. The screen only lights up when the laptop is practically folded closed. It makes it challenging to type. Not that I'm ungrateful. There are people starving in India with no Internet access whatsoever. There are even people still using AOL!