Thursday, January 29, 2009

Delicious Fishes

There are moments when I catch a wisp of wistfulness for a life less ordinary.

Don't get me wrong - I love my life. It's a full and happy life, when I consider and add up the sum of the parts, and divide that by the possibilities. Sure, we could have more money and things, but would they really make us any happier than we are right now? I don't believe it. I have the now-rare luxury of not only being at home with my children, but also having the time to pursue writing, painting, an obsession for historical research, as well as the surprising joy of working as a volunteer tutor. I am rich indeed, in things more vital than spending money and shiny cars.

But sometimes, when the bustle of the boys is off at school and work, and I'm here in the rippling pool of silence, glimmers of dreams from the bottom of my mind resurface. Old half-forgotten fantasies swim up and catch themselves upon a fishing line I didn't even realize I'd cast out. Reeling in these catches I see them for the sodden boot, or old tire they are, and throw them back with a rueful laugh at what swims in the depths of my mind. But looking deep into the pool I see, swimming at the bottom, an elusive silvery school of fish who glint and shimmer with delicious potential, and I'm suddenly, ravenously, hungry.

And yet, I have said I am happy, content, so why search and crave for something more that perhaps would ruin my desire for what already is? The answer lies deep within me, perhaps even within all of us: an innate dis-satisfaction with wholesome fare, a desire for piquancy to flavor our perceptions, even at the risk of upsetting our philosophical stomachs, and retching forth that which sustains us.

We are all so much more than we appear on the surface, the shoulda coulda wouldas layered like so many coats of lacquer; each a separate chapter, regret, or dream of our lives, our selves. They combine to create an outer shell that gives no hint to the diverse layers it's actually made up of. Here, on this page, I am the same as I would seem to you in person. I have no patience for subterfuge, to be other than I am. But I confess: I have a secret longing for the sweet meat of those dream fish, spread upon the cracker-like layers of my inner selves.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Me And My Big Mouth

You know how I said, back in December, that I wasn't sick or in crisis? Yeah, not so much, apparently. All during this past fall, leading up to Christmas, I've been feeling really tired, or "punk", as the old man likes to say. I thought it was just stuff going on; my aunt's illness, the insanity that was the first weekend of the Christmas holidays, the comings and goings, that were just wearing me out, making me feel down. After all, depression is my old friend, someone who comes to visit a couple of times a year and gives me the excuse to binge-eat. But being depressed doesn't account for the blowfish that's passing as my neck these days, or the low-grade fever that puts roses in my cheeks like I'm a Victorian damsel wasting from consumption.

So I went to the doctor. Okay, so I actually went to the Doc-In-The-Box, because I haven't had a proper doctor in a few years, yearly healthcare switch-a-roos making it hard to keep the same one, and I admit it: I hate going to the doctor.

I sat around for two hours in the dry desert heat that passes as room temperature in that place, reading Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (an apt title for the situation, no?). The nurse came in and stuck me with the needle three times, trying to get blood. When she couldn't get more than a splash, she decided I was dehydrated, and they sent me home. Yeah, that was worth it. With my two now-bruised arms, a fever, a goiter on my neck, and the Care Bears starting their delirium dance in front of my eyes, I shakily drove home.

It's at this point I decided a real doctor might be a good call, because Jesus Christ! Who the hell has to stick you that many times and still can't get blood? And who wouldn't be dehydrated in a place that felt like high summer in the Sahara?

Unfortunately, a real doctor's office won't just let you come on in - you have to get an appointment, so now I'm biding my time until next week. This entails a great deal of lying around and being grumpy, because A) I'm a lousy patient. It makes me batsa to do nothing and there is no such animal as Rest in a house with three men, two of whom never shut up, B) Even though making my bed is enough to wear me out right now, I can still manuever housework and dinner faster than my well-meaning husband, who freaks out if he has to scramble eggs, and oh-my-god it took him an hour to clean up the kitchen after a dinner of stir-fry, for crying out loud! No lie - he actually wrote down how to boil eggs. Even the kids were all, "What the...?" at that one.

So I guess the moral of this story is: oh hell, I don't know - does it have to have a moral? Should you put any stock in the words of a woman who is currently hanging out with the Swear Bears? (Kiss My Ass Bear just put I Love You Bear in a half-nelson - never could stand those insipid little pastel bastards - punch him again, man!)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hindsight Doesn't Amount to a Hill of Beans

They were the only litter of kittens we've ever had (well, their mother had them, but you know what I mean). I was there at their birth and loved them like they were my own children. I couldn't bear to part with any of them, so we kept them all and doubled the number of cats in this house.Yesterday I walked down to Bea's house to retrieve a ham from her refrigerator. One of the boys, Squeak (the one on the right, above), started to follow me down the street, miaowing. I stopped, turned around and scolded him: "Dammit Squeak! Get out of the street before you get hit by a car!" His mother, Feather, ran across the street and herded him to the side of the road, and I continued on towards Bea's house. I got the ham, stopped to scratch Zoe's head (she once was a cat in my temple to Bast, and I'm very fond of her), and headed back home.

From the street up at Bea's I could see there was something in the road, but I couldn't remember if there had been a pile of pinestraw there or not. As I got closer, I saw Feather standing at the side of the street, miaowing, and the heap in the street became the body of Squeak as I drew closer.

The wash of grief and guilt almost drowned me there in the street as I picked up his beautiful little body, hoping against hope for a breath of life, but he had left us all. It had taken me less than than 5 minutes to go to Bea's and back, and that was all the time it took for him to leave us.

Beautiful like a Maine Coon, sweet tempered and loving, Squeak had been one of our favorites. For the Professor, he was the only cat in the world.I went to school early and got the boys. We had family coming over later and the boys needed time to process what had happened. We buried him in the garden, near the catnip bush, so he could always be near us in a place he loved.And life goes on. In spite of our disbelief, in spite of our dwindling, irrational hope that he would be there to greet us this morning, he wasn't, and life, seemingly roughshod, continues on.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Milk Carton Metaphor

January is my traditional, seasonal time of darkness, and true to form, I'm standing at the edge of the abyss. I have no good reason to be standing here, there's no string of recent tragedies spurring me towards the hurtle down the rabbit-hole, yet here I stand, looking down, thinking of jumping.

This is the part of me that is perpetually the Gothic teen, garbed in mourning, obsessing over death. She's been grounded for years, and rarely is allowed out of her room, but sometimes she sneaks out the window to smoke a cigarette with her bad influence friends, showing up at my door in the early morning light. Like any parent, I'm pissed at her disobedience, but I'm also pissed at myself, for my inability to control her.

Before the Mom Years it was easier to deal with her, give her room to vent, but now I keep her under wraps, fearing her influence over my children. The few occasions she showed up to babysit for me always ended with the kids emulating her extreme behavior, and god knows we don't need another child in this house of mostly men. So I've kept her shut up in her room, sulking, refusing food, and playing Evanescence at top volume, but today, she has escaped.
Have you seen this teen?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Oh Crikey, Another Photo-Op

Yeah, yeah, I know it's pushing on into January - I have the extra year on my age to show for it (Whoops! did I just admit I had a birthday?), but I just couldn't resist putting up a few pics of what we did over the holidays, because who doesn't love to look at yet more holiday photos?
The mushroom fairy my sister made, with her very own mushroom!
The kids are getting big enough to wonder why the windows are dark in this picture. Surely it isn't that Mom was up when Santa got here? I love the way the tree glows with the luminescence of 9 million lights (an exaggeration, but not by much!)
The guys were spying on the girls up the street, and the Bohemian made his hat fit the job. He cracks me up the way he can rig just about anything. Oh and the fact that he's a hamosaurus too - look at that mug!
The undercover agents but on their bad-assed personas.
The new Mushoonga swords are awesome to play with! Can you almost hear the lightsaber noises I'm making?
"And I see your Schwartz is as big as mine!"Yeah, I let them watch Spaceballs recently. I like to think of it as giving them a much-needed lesson in machismo, as well as stand-up material.
And while the guys get a little exercise, taking out all their aggressions on each other, Mom makes yet another batch of cookies! (I think I must have made more than 12 batches of different cookies over the holidays - god knows, my gut would corroborate that.)"I'm going to push myself away from the bourgeoisie table of life and say, 'No more jello (or cookies for that matter) for me, Mom!' "- Peggy Sue Got Married)

Can I just say that I loathe the color of my kitchen? When we finally get around to re-doing it, about the time the floor falls in, or the countertop chips even further off, I'm going to eradicate every drop of that heinous dusty rose/maroon the previous owners chose. The 1980s color scheme of federal blue and dusty rose makes the orange and avocado green of the 1970s, or the pink and turquoise of the 1950s look downright chic and savvy.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Blah-Blah, Let Me Sum Up, Blah-Blah

I sit down at the computer and my mind goes blank. It's really a pain in the ass, because when I'm standing in the shower my mind is churning up all sorts of ideas, and how the hell do you write them down in the shower? By the time I get out, towel off, and get dressed, it's all gone.


In spite of all the events (100th birthday of a recently dead person, 50th anniversary of my parental units (OY!), a massive solstice party, and general Ho-ho-ho-ing) that were going on the weekend before Christmas, somehow I was able to suspend my anxieties and need to control the uncontrollable, and actually have a good time. That may sound silly, or inconsequential to you, but to me it was grrrreat! I can usually work up a good stress on command, over just about anything, but this year I adopted the "Jimmy Crack Corn" philosophy and let somebody else do the worrying.

After hosting 36 people for the Solstice on the 21st, having a dinner party for 10 people on Christmas Eve seemed really easy, almost effortless, comparatively. I am good at it, but anyone could be, given a little planning and organization.

The very best part of this past Christmas was just hanging out with my guys. The last two weeks were so relaxing that we were all more than a little grumpy this morning, having to get back to work, school, etc. "Only three more months until Spring Break, guys!" I cheerfully informed my tearful tween and his morose, younger sidekick.

(Sometimes it's horribly and sadistically satisfying to cop a positive attittude in front of the kids - don't judge me if you don't have kids, and if you do, seriously, give it a shot - it always cheers me up!)

So how are you all doing?