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I Don't Know

November 30, 2004 | Category: In My Life

Wednesday night, around midnight, Bear and I were dozing in the van. In the parking garage. At O'Hare.

Just before midnight, CD called. His plane, which had been idling on the tarmac for 90 minutes, was finally finally pullling up to a gate. A half an hour later, he was swinging out of the elevator. Grim Tired. Anxious.

He looked at me.

"Are you OK?" he asked.

"I don't know," I said.

The next morning, he came into our room. I was sleeping, truly sick now. I could hear Bear watching in TV in the den. It was quiet a long time.

"What do you want to do about Thanksgiving?" he finally asked.

"I don't know," I said, and rolled away from him into the pillows.

Thursday night, curled up on the couch with Bear. The kitchen smelled of the "Thanksgiving in a box" he'd bought at the grocery store. CD poked his head into the living room.

"Could you handle some food?" he asked.

"I don't know," I said. And I got up to help make the gravy.

Friday morning, on the phone with my bookkeeper. My babysitter is a no-show, Bear is racing up and down the hallways. CD is at work. I've had to call him 3 times to get him to give me the numbers - he needs to rent a car for a week. This. That. It's playing havoc with the budget. My bookkeeper is gamely "making it fit". She's giving me choices.

But I am paralyzed. I can barely make sure my kid isn't licking electrical appliances.

"I don't know. I don't know what to do," I tell her quietly.

"No problems; let me put together a budget and just see if you agree with the choices I make."

Sunday afternoon, working on the holiday stuff in jammies in my office. The guys come in, CD trips over a pile of stuff on the floor. He tells me to put it away.

I remind him it is my office, the one place where I can keep rocks on the floor if I want to. I run a home from here. I run an international program from here. I have supported my family for 4 years from here. I blog from here. I organize the family finances from here. Here. My floor.

CD realizes that I am really not going to shrug it off. I rise up like a viper. He storms up the hall. He comes back. We patch together a peace.

Later a friend asks me. What am I going to do. I can feel the tides pulling me in different directions. I am conflicted. And hopeful. And sad.

I don't know.

Posted on November 30, 2004 at 08:33 AM | Comments (13) | Permalink

Let It Snow

November 24, 2004 | Category: Family, It's a Trip

Picture by Elizabeth: Bear and CD | The first big snow at Little House, 02/2002

We woke up late, both of us sick now. Outside it is cold and windy and dark. He burrowed in his covers and asked, just to be certain, "Today Daddy comes home on a plane?" And I answered, "Yes, Bear." Assured, he peeked out a little bit and looked out his window. After a while he asked "And then will it snow?"

Isn't it amazing, the magic of snow? It's drizzling here, but it's cold. We're ready for our magic. Bring it on, let it snow....

Posted on November 24, 2004 at 11:52 AM | Comments (14) | Permalink

While my Bear gently sleeps

November 23, 2004 | Category: In My Life

In recent weeks, this site has turned into a vent for some of the hardest times my family has faced.

I want to thank you for responding in such a way that has powered me to get through the days. To do what must be done. To be sane where sanity is needed. To give love and comfort to Bear when I didn't even know I had any left. Your generousity has restored some of my faith. It is a wonderful surprise.

One of you had me in hysterics, comparing my life to a Country Song if only I had a truck (or a dog). Another made me tear up by offering to visit. Another reminded me not to make decisions in anger. The collective goodwill, hope, and honest comments have got me through yesterday and the day before and the...

But if there's an update wanted then I have nothing. Because nothing, esssentially, has changed.

I hang up the phone tonight, with the angry words still ringing in my ears. But of course we didn't mean them, we take them back. We'll sort it out, smooth it over. Of course we will. Of course.

And my bright spot, he's snoring in his bed. His forehead is only slightly warm. His hair sweaty, his nose finally a little less clogged. I slip into his room and tuck the blanket around him. Add water to the vaporizer. Look up at all the printouts taped to his wall - of all of us. How can we all look so young in pictures taken just a couple of years ago? Did we age so much overnight?

.....So John keeps daydreaming about this woman he has lost. Daydreams that they are still together and still in love.

One day, though, he goes into his daydream for the last time.

He imagines her and says: I'm not coming here anymore.
And not-real her asks: Why not?
And he answers: It doesn't change anything. And it makes me sad.

I know the feeling.

Posted on November 23, 2004 at 01:36 AM | Comments (6) | Permalink

Life is just a Monty Python Script. And then your house catches fire.

November 22, 2004 | Category: Mother to the First Power

Bear began the night much better. A tepid bath, clean teeth, fresh sheets, fresh jammies, and hovering at a relatively cool 101.5F. I read him about 8 books, he drifted off to sleep (snoring, head high on pillows, humidifier going full blast) about 9:30PM.

I decided to stay awake until 11PM - the next dosage point - to see how his fever was.

Then CD and I got on the phone.

I think we both had the best of intentions. But ....

I was dizzy, and overtired, and on the phone with a guy who was telling me that I am to blame for everything that is wrong with him. Especially to blame for being angry. That he is justified in avoiding me, and by extension Bear, unless I get over everything and make him feel welcome.

And then the smoke alarm went off in the front of the house.

A candle on the fireplace mantle had gutted, leaving the label on the bottom burning like napalm. It caught the picture over the fireplace, and then dripped down to catch the wood and paper in the tin basket on the hearth. My living room was on fire.

I grabbed a wire mesh waste basket and dumped the eerily burning candlestick into it and ran it outside. Then I raced back in and dumped the entire contents of the firewood basket into the fireplace and open the flue. Then I put out the picture frame, soaking it in water to avoid it restarting.

Breathing hard and looking for something I missed - I realized that I hurt. Because I had burned my hand. Because I am JUST that dumb.

Windows and doors open to vent the place, Bear cocooned in his room, a bag of peas on my throbbing hand, and the phone - there where I'd dropped it - with my angry, angry husband on the other end.

And then it occured to me, with absolute horror chilling my bones, that I have become... a movie of the week.

Posted on November 22, 2004 at 09:12 AM | Comments (15) | Permalink

Sick Bear

November 21, 2004 | Category: Mother to the First Power

To all the single parents out there, my esteem for you has risen 10-fold this weekend. Taking care of a sick child with no backup has been the most emotionally and physically draining work I think I have ever done.

My little Bear is still very sick. The doctors think it is some kind of flu, and 2 nights in a row his fever has hit 104F degrees. He's just miserable, hot, and all his sinuses draining.

He is trying to be a brave little bear, but he's only 4 - so sometimes he gets overwhelmed and starts to cry in frustration. It's breaking my heart.

I've run out of sherbert and tissues, so my friend Dee is coming over to watch him so I can go to the store. All I can do for him is make him as comfortable as possible, fight his fever, and pray this passes soon. If it goes on another night, the doctors want him in the hospital.

I feel so helpless for him.

Posted on November 21, 2004 at 11:23 AM | Comments (4) | Permalink

He's High on Baby Motrin

November 19, 2004 | Category: Mother to the First Power

Sniffly, drooly, cuddled beside me in a nest of pillows and we're watching Clifford on the portable DVD I've brought into my bedroom. He's glazed over, a Motrin lull.

Bear: "I like your breasts."

Me (A little taken aback): "Uh, OK."

Bear: "Is there milk anymore?"

Me: "No, I told you. Not for a long long time."

Bear (as I wiped his nose, for the 7 millionth time): "*sigh* OK, OK, OK.... What about chocolate milk?"

Me (trying not to laugh): "No, honey. Not chocolate milk either.... You know, kiddo, sooner or later we're going to have to get some of that Kid's Claritin stuff in you the way the doctor said."

Bear: "No, thank you. You see that thing?" (Indicates the portable humidifier blowing at him from the bedside table.) "That's doing the trick."

Me: "That's doing the trick, huh?"

Bear: "Yeah."

Me: "Then how come your nose is still running with all those icky snots?"

Bear: "I don't know. How come your breasts don't have chocolate milk?"

So. There.

I tell you, don't go up against a 4-year-old on Motrin. He'll take you down. Yes, he'll take you down hard.

Posted on November 19, 2004 at 07:07 PM | Comments (9) | Permalink

Take me home, country roads

| Category: In My Life


I took this picture during our recent trip to Boston. There is nothing like New England in the fall.

I look at this picture and remember, Bear in the backseat and me driving the smooth roads. Pointing out maples and oaks and elms.

"It's pretty colors" Bear said.

"Yes, the leaves are gorgeous. I am so glad you and I are sharing this."

And he responded, in a little voice, "I miss Daddy." And my heart skipped a beat.

We've taught him this. That family is the three of us. And for as long as we live now, anything less will feel incomplete.

Last night, in the deep chasms of silence between CD and I on the phone, I felt like screaming. Screaming that we have to work this out. Have to. Because we are a family.

But I don't get to make decisions for CD. I don't get to direct his heart.

In the world where I grew up, my family was related or connected to everyone else. You know, my father and your father went to school together. My grandmother's sister was your aunt's best friend. My son, on visits out East, plays with a boy - and they represent the 4th generation of our families to befriend each other.

So you can imagine. In such a cloistered world. You keep what is private, private. Divorces would seemingly come out of nowhere, because "Gee? The Andersons? Really? Why, they were just at the Smith's Bridge party last weekend and weren't they laughing up a storm?"

Where I come from, you could accidentally amputate your leg at the knee and you'd STILL finish the round of cards before asking, ever so politely, for someone to please fetch an old dish towel before you bled out on the antique Persian rug? Stiff upper lip, old bean.

So I imagine the fact that I have brought the problems between CD and I into the open would unilaterally horrify everyone I know East of Niagra.

But it has helped, so much, not to try and play "happy shiny people" more than I have to. To be able to say that when Bear crawled into bed with me this morning and said, in his little voice, "I miss daddy" ... I cried. His sweaty hair and stuffy nose close to my chest. I held him tight and we burrowed under the down comforter.

And I told him (but meaning it in a different way....)"Me, too, honey. Me too."

Posted on November 19, 2004 at 10:52 AM | Comments (6) | Permalink

Tick Tock

November 18, 2004 | Category: In My Life

As Mindy (of "The Mommy Blog" fame) put it so well in a recent DotMom post:

I find myself frantically groping for some solid and instructive point of reference. I need something that doesn't give when I ask it to support some of my weight.

I feel so fragile and alone. As I responded to an email (or two) today - I'm reacting by being curled up in a ball under my desk.

It's amazing and encouraging that so many people who have been through this too - and found ways to make it work. I can't begin to explain how much all the kindness you've shown me has helped.

Since a series of major events about four years ago, we have been stuggling between periods of improvement, even joy, and periods of pain. In the times of pain, such as now, CD pushes me away to this "parental pedestal".

And as so many of you suggested, yes - we are getting help. It's just not... well, helping.

He's still on his business trip. I'm still home with Bear. He and I need to make some major paradigm shifts and get back to being partners. Ultimately, the decision rests with CD. I am praying that his heart leads him to join me at the table - so we can stop fighting each other and start fighting for us.

This isn't about love. I have always loved him. This is about life.

So now I'm waiting. And, yes, spending a little too much time curled up in a ball under my desk. And praying. Praying a lot.

Tick. Tock.

Posted on November 18, 2004 at 05:33 PM | Comments (7) | Permalink

Couldn't get much worse

November 17, 2004 | Category: In My Life

Bear is acting out.

He's doing it because life around him is frayed and he's only 4. His communication mechanism for announcing emotions is to act them. One day, he will be able to sublimate the feelings into healthy creative ways (like eating an entire Sara Lee Black Forest Cake in one sitting). For now he makes do with stomping his feet and telling his babysitter that she's a doody-head for not letting him have his way.


Since I'm not sure that Bear notices what is going on with my job or my diet, I think he's reacting strongly to the fact that CD and I are not doing well. Because, you know, it's important that everything in my life share a communal moment of suckage.

CD's been treating me, more and more especially in the last 6 months, like I am HIS mother as well as Bear's.

And not in a nice way. In the crappy way that a teenager treats their mom.

Like I am somehow responsible for making sure his team shirt is clean on game days and remembering to hit the ATM so he can have money for hanging at the mall and hey, while I'm at it, make him dinner and then wash the dishes.

It's ok to forget you mom's birthday and then do some idiotic last-minute thing and expect that to make it all better. It's ok to drown her in the details of your day and then hang up without asking how she is.

I mean, it's NOT ok - but in a sense it's ok in that it happens. In a short time period of years. For a child. And their PARENT.

But not for a wife. So finally today I took a deep breath and drew a line in the sand.

Either he starts up the time machine and starts turning his behavior back into adult, equal, romping partnership that we had or else he needs to take his adolescent self out of the nest.

I'll keep you posted.

Posted on November 17, 2004 at 01:35 PM | Comments (15) | Permalink

History cannot be unlived*

November 16, 2004 | Category: In My Life

This is an anniversary of sorts for me.

Just after my birthday in November, 1994, I donned my cassock for the last time.

It was a sevice led by Boston's Bishop Thomas Shaw. He was newly elevated to being a Bishop and I was newly back from Europe. Somehow I had been asked to assist in a Unity service he was going to lead.

Before the service, the Bishop made a point of finding me to shake my hand. I quickly tucked the last of my hair up in a bun as he held out his hand to me. "You worked with Bishop Griswold?" he asked, all egalitarian and earnest.

I nodded. We shook.

The courtesy address for a Bishop is "Your Grace" - the same as for a Duke or Duchess. But Frank Griswold is the only person I have ever called that. So with other Bishops I do that thing you do with prospective in-laws - wait to make eye contact and avoid any kind of reference at all.

"We're glad to have you with us here," Bishop Shaw said, very kindly. "I think I was told that you'd resigned from the Chicago Diocese, but you should come by the diocesan offices..."

"I think that it's my last service 'in uniform'," I interrupted, with a smile and sad eyes. I pointed to the pews with a lift of my jaw. "My mother is in the congregation..."

"Oh," he said, understanding my motivation. We continued with making smiley faces but we each pulled back into ourselves even as he let go of my hand. "The offer's open if ..."

And it was done.

The service went well. They used me as a glorified sign language interpreter. My part in assisting was given to a bright-eyed sycophant.

As a civilian, I still tried to make it work in Boston for another 3 months. Riding the salty ferry into the city every morning for an assortment of temp jobs. Combing through thrift shops for an office-worthy wardrobe. Fingering momentoes of my previous life and then tucking them back into my suitcase at the back of my mother's closet.

My brother had already moved back home, so I slept on the couch. Carefully putting away all the bedding every morning.

As the crocuses pushed up in the first taste of spring, 1995, I called my girlfriend Dee back in Chicago. "Help," I cried. "I want to come home."

The next day, I got up and left a note for my mother, and took my suitcase to the airport. My mother caught up with me there a few hours later. I used that true and old tired line "It isn't YOU; it's ME."

Dee was there when my plane landed. A week later I had a temp job at the TeleCo. 2 weeks after that, we moved me into the apartment building that would be my home for the next 6 years. 2 years later, I met CD and soon he moved in there with me.

On the 5th anniversary of this time, CD and I went downtown to look at all the shop displays. It was cold and there was a little bit of snow. CD and I had just reconciled after a hard time. We'd began couple's counseling and just returned from a mini-break up in Door County.

He carried our bundles. I held a paper cup of coffee. We made our way, in the dusk, over to Huron Street.

"This was home," I said. Althought there have been many more people who have spent much more of their lives in the Cathedral and Diocesan Offices than me. Still, for a time, this had been the center of my purpose in my life.

CD stood, somewhat impatiently, as I pointed out where my office had been and all the little landmarks. That was the little chapel where I had led services. That was the hall where I presided over Bingo.

And now 5 more years have passed. A decade since I was in black. And it still seems like if I just reach behind me, it is still there. Just. The last "Amen" ringing in my ears.

* "History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." - Maya Angelou

Posted on November 16, 2004 at 11:09 AM | Comments (4) | Permalink

Public Service Announcement

November 15, 2004 | Category:


Say it with me.

Pet... Uh..... Bite.

This, grasshopper, is what comes next. The Kilobytes made Megabytes. The Megabytes made Gigabytes. The Gigabytes made Terabytes. And the Terabytes make....


Very important word if you wanted to get a job in this area. Because the place in IT where there will be exponentially more openings over the next few years is in Data Management. Storage.

That's when you take all the company's stuff and bundle it onto things called "arrays" that sit on a fibre network called "SAN". And? It is measured in Petabytes.

To use it in a sentence:

"Hi, I heard that you are cross-training engineers into Storage and I want to make the jump from managing Terabytes to managing Petabytes."

Not "Peterbyte".

Not "Petrabyte".

Not "thousands of Gigabytes".

Not "thousands of Terabytes".

Not "big bits".

Not "PT's".


Thank you.

Posted on November 15, 2004 at 03:20 PM | Comments (4) | Permalink

Well, that sucked

November 14, 2004 | Category: In My Life

My birthday? Well, that sucked.

Picture CD asking me for present suggestions at 11AM on my birthday morning. No, he wasn't looking for GOOD suggestions (like a chunky sapphire and platinum ring or a vintage Jag) but BAD suggestions (like things he can get for under $10. At the grocery store. While picking up a gallon of milk with Bear in tow).

And when Bear whispered to him later that it was time to light candles on a cake and sing, CD looked at him blankly and said "no cake".

Those two words? Are EVIL.

Luckily? My girlfriends are the kind of women who came galloping in, like shimmering Valkyries in Hondas.

Off first for an outstanding manicure. We were laughing so hard in the spa's front window that an old man walking up the street in an old-fashioned camel hair coat and plaid hat stopped and looked in at us.

He waved. We waved back. He grinned. We grinned back. Before it got creepy, he took off. A few minutes later, he came back down the sidewalk. And older lady on his arm, her shopping in his other hand. He mimed an introduction, we smiled at them happily.

Then it was off for some fabulous authentic Itlalian food. With lots of cocktails. We twizzled our fingertips under the candlelight and said - look, how pretty our red nails look in this light.

It was a rotten day that improved with age. My girlfriends let me know that I am loved. They are the kind of women that will drive round-trip 6 hours and never let me feel the obligation for it.

The night finished with the new inane Bridget Jones movie. Because, well, Colin. And Hugh.

I slept in a comfy guest bed and in the morning there was homemade cafe mocha, with cinnamon sprinkles.

The best gift I got for my birthday this year? The friendship of my amazing girlfriends. Who are, in real life and in the blogisphere, some of the most amazing kick-ass strong beautiful women you could find.

Posted on November 14, 2004 at 07:45 PM | Comments (19) | Permalink

I am UberChick - the mighty new multi-handed rapping superhero who can leap bad vendors in a single bound!

November 11, 2004 | Category: Family, It's a Trip

For those of you keeping score at home, we are now at 48 hours until my birthday.

So what have I been up to in preparation of this important galactic holiday?

On the one hand, my crazy job is just busting out all with good news.

Yeah, I'm lying.

Actually, I am surrounded by bad crazy people. I'm stressing so bad that my mentor called me tonight and cautioned me that it's not a good idea to do my One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest impression while leaving status updates on his voice mail. He is after all, a vice president. Try and have some decorum, for heaven's sake.

But Muffins on a stick, how many ways exactly can a vendor's product break? I mean REALLY. I'm from the boonies of New England. So I get all wobbly thinking 9 or 10 zeroes look like real money. And I start expecting things like .. uhh... a working product for that kind of dough.

And definitely not excuses like "the dog ate my code". Or my personal favorite; "whoops?". Definitely. Not.

I do not WANT any more service restoration team meetings, root cause analysis reports, change requests, tiger teams, red teams, rapid response plans, or executive summits. No I do NOT, Sam-I-Am.

On the other hand, oh lookie there - CD is leaving on Sunday for 10 days on a sudden business trip to Texas. Which means that from here to Thanksgiving week I get to juggle the futtlemuch Vendors (see above) and the full-time responsibility of da'Bear. Which, you know, is cool. Because I'm a Superhero.

But wait.

All is not lost.

Because here in on this last hand, which is looking pretty puffy because I'm retaining enough water to source Niagra Falls... there is my husband - who just ran to a library 45 minutes away to check out their FarScape DVD collection so I'd have something to watch on those cold lonely nights without him.

AND in the yellow bedroom with a slide-a-bed and the Rescue Hero collection? There is my Bear sleeping with his face in the pillow and his rumpus up in the air. For you non-parents, this is also known in Yoga as child's pose. Oh. My. Stars. Scrumptious, this is. Adorable.

And absolutely guaranteed to get you humming "I like Big Butts and I cannot lie..." Even if, like me, that's the ONLY lyric you know to the song. Just wiggle a little and hum until it comes around again on the refrain...

You know what I want for my birthday? For real?

A nap.

Posted on November 11, 2004 at 11:01 PM | Comments (8) | Permalink

Report Card

| Category: Family, It's a Trip

Just like so many before us, CD and I huddled before Bear was born and made him so many promises. Last night, I began to think about how we were doing....
(Hummed, where available in Blog-o-sonic, to the tune of 'Forever Young' by Bob Dylan.)

1. We promise that you will always be loved, that you will know love as an action we choose every day;

2. We promise that you will always know that you are part of the family (even if we embaress you into disavowing us from ages 11-18)

3. We promise that in our family, we will give, teach, and demand: respect, kindness, cooperation and sharing

4. We promise to laugh. We promise that you will hear laughter in you home as long as we live. We promise to inspire your laughter, share your laughter, and laugh at you every time you let us dress you for Halloween

5. We promise that you will always have the necessities of life

6. We promise that you will know hardship; that we will do everything we can to prepare you for it; that we will model to you the power that comes from doing what is hard and what is right

7. We promise that we will always have your back, that you will always know that there are at least two people in this world who believe in you - even when you're wrong, even when you're afraid, even when you pretend not to care

8. We promise that we will do everything we can to teach you how and when to fight for yourself - physically, vocally, emotionally, intelligently

9. We promise that we will make a path in your life to God, and that you will know there is something greater than yourself to which you are responsible

10. We promise that our goal is to grow you right out of our house. That we will be preparing you for that every moment we are lucky enough to be parenting you:

That we will teach you how to take care of your body; how to wipe; how to groom; how to tweeze; the importance of protective equipment; the addictive rush of physical exertion; the thrill of competition; the bonding that comes from of team sports; how to be a friend; how to see past the differences to the samenesses;

the value of a dollar; how to balance a checkbook; how to cook for yourself and anyone else who may come along;

how to avoid making anyone else come along until you are ready; what "ready" means;

how to buy a condom; how to buy a car; how to buy a house; how to buy a melon; how to how to budget sensibly; how to save for long-away dreams;

how bear an injustice; how not to;

how to drive a car; how to take care of your things;

how to change a fuse; how to write a research paper in a single night; how to patch drywall; how to make a paper airplane;

how to travel; how to pack lightly;

how to make a good first impression; how to get back up when you fall down; how to dress for the occcasion; how to waltz; how to iron a dress shirt;

how to have a conversation; how to forgive; how to be grateful; how to be still.

11. We promise to honor your dreams more than the ones we will have for you

12. We promise you our honesty. We promise that we will squirm and blush, but we will not hide from answering the questions you may have

13. We promise you that there will be rules; and we won't back down from our expectations that you follow them

14. We promise to read you a story

15. We promise to proudly pull out those baby pictures of you - especially the ones in the bathtub - with the least amount of provocation and whenever possible

And because RP asked
: We give ourselves a B-.

We both find it harder to stay "present" to Bear that we'd thought. Sometimes we find ourselves "unplugging" from him much more than we ever thought. Oh, the guilt, the GUILT! Using the TV or letting him slip into his own world in his room or at the playground.

And we TOTALLY dropped off the list all the things we thought we'd do SOOOO well - like NOT having TV, or making all his food (From scratch! Organic!) and never letting him see the inside of a McDonalds (Yeah, right - he can tell you what kind of toy he wants in his Happy Meal *groan*) or things like crafts (Tie-Dying his clothes! With vegetable dyes we make ourselves! From things gathered on our nature walks! That we take in protest of strip mining!).

This was inspired by someone, can't remember who.... Tell me and I will credit you

Posted on November 11, 2004 at 09:40 AM | Comments (7) | Permalink

Smarter than your average Bear

November 09, 2004 | Category: Mother to the First Power

Picture by Elizabeth: Bear, in the rain. 2004.

Bear comes into my office this morning and announces that he doesn't want to go to preschool.

The same preschool morning program that he's been in since he was 2. The one that cost us an arm, a leg, and 3 eyeballs to pay for. The one he begged to go back to, when we didn't re-enroll him at the start of this school year.

I pulled him on my lap and asked why.

"Because XBoy doesn't want to be my friend anymore. He said so."

Note: XBoy is this amazingly charismatic and popular little boy in Bear's class who will, undoubtably, be President some day. Or a rock star. Everyone wants to be his friend, and he uses that power about as kindly as you would expect. His mother, FormerModel, doesn't do play dates and doesn't make eye contact with us lesser parents. It's all very "As the World Turns".

So I reminded Bear that he hadn't wanted to put on his rain boots last time it rained, but then he did and he had a blast playing in the puddles. And that sometimes doing things that we don't think will be good turns out to be great.

Bear looked at me a long while. And then sighed. Because I am, after all, the MOST exasperating parent on this or any planet.

"Um, no," Bear informed me in his best 'DUH!' voice. "Mommy, School isn't boots."

So. There.

Posted on November 09, 2004 at 09:41 AM | Comments (10) | Permalink

On how I can make Farscape relevent to infertility

| Category:

[start: yes another "To Be or Not To Be" entry. Because even escapist science fiction can be twisted up in the cause of additional angst.]

Let me explain.

No, is too much.

Let me sum up.

I was rewatching the Farscape - PeaceKeeper MiniSeries last night (oh, TiVO, how I love thee) and I realized something.

The parts that I really like are very true. You know, the moment when the hero and heroine are reanimated and they pull their guns in unison? Instinctively covering each other's backs. A ballet of movement as they protect each other and themselves.

This picture, motion and still, belongs to the Henson Company. I am not using it for profit, I make no money from this site. So please don't sue me.

Not that I run around space with CD wearing size 2 leathers (JeevusMary as if).

But that orchestration, that practiced touch and motion, that's the part that I could watch over and over again because it rings so true.

It exists in life here on Earth. It exists as CD carries a sleeping Bear from the car as I move ahead opening doors and pulling down the blankets on his bed. As we pass the grocery cart back and forth as one of us goes on ahead with Bear to find the next thing. As we decide with a glance which one of us will be the designated driver home from a party. In the touch of our fingers as we pass each other - "I am here, we are a team".

How sappy am I? Those are the moments when my heart jiggles like Jell-O and my knees get weak. When I feel so amazingly good - like my blood is heated in my veins.

CD hears me tell this theory with a raised eyebrow. He looks at the John Crichton character - brunette, tall, smart-mouthed - and looks back at me. Yeah, OK, CD is also brunette, tall, and smart-mouthed (or smart-eyebrowed even). Guilty as charged, he's yummy, they're yummy, and I'm shallow.

But. Really.

And then I get sad. Thinking about how our indecision - MY indecision - is pulling us away from our rythym. Because usually, even in our arguments, ours is a practiced dance.

CD: What's your problem?

Me: OK, that's a question designed not to get you an answer, just an opponent.

CD: (long look)

Me: (long look)

CD: What's wrong?

Me: (in frustration) I wish I knew...

Even in disagreement we are usually coordinated. We snap and joust and then move to the heart of the matter. We ask forgiveness, grant it, reach out, hold.

But not this time. Not on this topic. And that's why it hurts so much. Because not only is my heart is ripped up over it. But also because it is coming between us.

It. Another baby.

This morning, CD calls me after dropping Bear off at preschool. He retells their conversation in the car:

Bear: Daddy? I want to grow a new baby.

CD: No, honey. Only grown-up girls can grow babies.

Bear: Oh. ...Then I want Nana to grow me a new baby.

CD: No honey, Nana is too old.

Bear: Oh. OK. Then I want Mommy to grow a new baby.

And normally, I would know - this is CD telling me a little Bear story. Only, I'm also wondering - is this his way of pressuring? But he wouldn't do that. Would he?

Crazy thoughts. Doubts. I want to get past this, but there is no script. Just love. And charity towards each other.

And faith, that we'll find our dance again.

And hope, that it's soon.

[end: angsty baby-making-or-not post with gratituitous eye-candy and sci-fi references.]

Posted on November 09, 2004 at 09:26 AM | Comments (5) | Permalink

SPAM that makes you want to hunt the bastards down

November 08, 2004 | Category:

I get these almost weekly, and it always pisses me off when I think of what happens to the people who think they're legit.

If the spam comes into my work account, I can forward them to our counter-fraud unit. Otherwise, all I can do is delete them. All I want to do is hunt these spammers down like the stealing bastards they are and leave them naked, penniless, in Yukon Territory, in winter, wearing "Eau de New York Strip".

Dear Washington Mutual user,

We are performing system maintenance, wich may interfere with access to your Online Services. Due to these technical updates your online account has been deactivate. Washington Mutual recommend you to reactivate your online account. Go to Internet Banking by clicking this link, verify your identity as a customer of Washington Mutual and your online account access will be reactivate by our system.

1. Go to https://"This is a fake link!".asp

2. Enter your Username and Password.

3. You will be taken to the " Security Measures" page to confirm your identity

4. After your verification process is completed you will be able to access your account again.

Posted on November 08, 2004 at 08:27 AM | Comments (7) | Permalink

Excuse me, Mr. President

November 04, 2004 | Category:

Excuse me, Mr. President.

Just a few things, on behalf of those of us that didn't vote for you. And when I say "didn't vote for you" I don't mean, was torn and really agonized. I mean, walk a mile in hot coals to vote for anyone else. Kermit the flipping frog. Kukla . Ollie. Svengooli. The freaky looking chick that is famous for having too much plastic surgery.

We didn't even come close to voting for you. We're snarling with disappointment. SNARLING. When you look into the camera with that pseudo-earnest warm fuzzy look that you think telegraphs "olive branch" all we're think is "Hey! Is it possible he's stoned?"

You are scientifically incapable of warming our cockles or anything else with your speeches. You are having the opposite effect.

In fact, when you say things like "I've earned capital in this election and I'm going to spend it for what I've told the people I'd spend it on" almost half this country craps its collective Levi's in terror.

We're imagining being herded up in pens and strip-searched for contraband - you know, stuff like Michael Moore DVD's and bottles of Napa Zin - before being drop-shipped into a war zone with a neon uniform and a cardboard tank.

Dude, you want to earn real capital? I mean the hard stuff - the goodwill and faith of this polarized country?


Here's what you do. Pay attention now:
1) Recap interest rates on credit cards and the rules around raising them. Federally bitch slap the worst offenders.
2) Do something about Social Security.
3) Don't pull funding for PBS. Leave Big Bird alone.
4) Empower Colin. No shit. Let him go build a coalition after the fact.
5) Get the twins a Prius. Get each of them one. Extra credit if you can get Dick in one.
6) Quietly start pulling our troops out of the Middle East, especially the National Guardsmen who have been compelled there months beyond standard assignment.
7) And, finally, for the LOVE OF GOD, get Osama. Hand him over to the Hague. Bruised a little in transit? Hey that happens. Dead happens too. Whoops.

OK, I've got to get back to my French lessons. Freaking Canadian immigration requirements.

Good luck, Mr. President. We're going to need it.

Posted on November 04, 2004 at 09:55 AM | Comments (18) | Permalink

There's No Place Like

November 03, 2004 | Category:

11012004 186.jpg
Picture by Elizabeth: Bear walking along the shore, 11/2004

What a trip.

Bear, as usual, was an excellent companion.

I was emotionally overwhelmed, and that confused him. Otherwise, he was curious and affectionate and bright like a new penny. A freckled balm to a painful situation.

There were some good moments. Another trip for Bear to gather even more memories in the same earth that generations of family before him have walked, and explored, and laughed, and lived.

But it was a long, long 3 days.

Then yesterday morning we returned the rental car, raced Bear to the potty, and schlepped to our gate. To discover the flight was slightly delayed.

They boarded us 30 minutes later - front of the plane first and working their way back. Stunningly, this did not prove to be the quickest way to get everyone seated.

Meanwhile, the flight attendants announced no fewer than a dozen times - "We are trying for an on-time departure. Please get out of the aisles and find your seats." Because we were actually having a cocktail party in the aisle. Oh yeah, we were all about dawdling our asses and mingling over Bloody Marys.

Bear, bless him, sunnily said "Good morning" to every row we passed.

Last year, Bear and I were trapped in a 737 on a taxiway for 6 hours. When we finally landed (some 9 hours after boarding) and made our way off the plane, the flight crew and some of the passengers turned and broke out in applause for Bear as we were exiting. I get misty remembering it.

The captain kneeled down and pinned wings on Bear. He said "You are, in the 20 years I have been flying, the best behaved kid I have ever had the pleasure to have on my plane."

Bear had turned 3 years old a few weeks before.

In the 25 or so flights he's been on since he was born, Bear has always made us proud with his calm attitude. So I wasn't worried this time when were stuck awhile waiting our turn for the runway that he would get flustered or whiny.

But then Bear's laptop battery died in the middle of his Scooby Doo movie. And there was not so much a package of peanuts served in Coach despite our 3 hours on the plane and we exhausted the bags of snacks we'd brought. The flight attendants read the paper and chatted, ignoring my ring to please bring some napkins when his juice spilled. And with me trapped in a middle seat (children's safety seats must be placed in a window seat), I was stuck letting the juice soak into my clothes.

We're used to the extra legroom in American, and when the seat in front of Bear reclined - it actually crushed Bear's legs bewteen the laptop on his tray and his hard plastic safety seat. He cried out and I physically pushed the lady's head back up. She turned and gave me a uncomprehending nasty look and tried to recline again.

Yeah, I fixed that.

(Just as an aside, I may need a lawyer.)

We both hung on by a thread. A really really thin thread. When we finally landed and exited, Bear thanked the crew nicely and asked if there was a badge for this flight (on American, they always give him a sticker shaped like pilot's wings). They said no and asked us to move along.

By that point, I'd sworn off United Airlines for life. The $40 we saved? So not worth it.

From our arrival gate in O'Hare's hinterlands, it was a mile-long walk to where CD was waiting.

We held hands and resolutely navigated 3 escalators, 4 people movers, a freaky neon light show, and construction detours. Both of us in our backpacks (Bear's is a preschooler-sized Spiderman one, mine is a behemoth but it's our only luggage). Bear's safety seat tucked under my free arm.

Finally we spotted CD on the other side of security and started running.

The security lady snapped over and over again "He can't come in here! He can't come in here!" referring to CD - who is, I admit, kind of scary looking when he's anxious. But it was crazy, because he was standing carefully on his side of the line in the empty exit area and making NO move to come to us.

(The better not to be shot by rabid undertrained security personnel.)

"DADDY!" Bear screamed, and shook free of me to leap into CD's arms.

I crashed into the hug a millisecond later.

"Home," CD murmured into my lips.

"Home!" Bear exclaimed, clinging to CD.

"Home," I agreed.

We're Home.

Posted on November 03, 2004 at 02:02 PM | Comments (6) | Permalink