A Small Episode of Personal Growth

I met with the spearhead again today (I've got to come up with a better name than that as she's really very nice. Perhaps I'll just call her A.), and had to entertain her for half an hour or so between meetings. I managed to refrain from the personal data dump this time and limited my conversation to amusing anecdotes.

I'm so proud of myself!


We're heading off to my parents' place again tonight - they took the kids yesterday and will keep them next week while Dean & I are at work. Which means 4 whole nights without kids, the longest we've been alone since the monkey child was born.

And, if we are sufficiently decadent, may mean a dearth of posts over the next week or so. If I have to choose between getting nekkid with my beloved and blogging, it's not much of a contest.

On the other hand, my dad's new hobby is rescuing seal pups, so I may have some appallingly cute photos to post on Tuesday.

Have a wonderful weekend, all! I know we will.


Babble-ocity ... Babelousness ... Babblaciousness ... Talking Too Damn Much

Some time in the last 10 years, I've turned into a chatterbox. I used to be a quiet, bookish type. My sister was the talkative one in our family, and my mom. My dad and I were the ones who just smiled and nodded in agreement. I still think of myself that way, until I realize that I've been rambling on like an idiot, or telling my life story (well, maybe not the juicy parts - I save those for here) to someone I just met.

At work, we've hired a creative agency to help us revamp the company image. I'm the main coordinator on our side, and I met today for the second time with the woman who will be spearheading the project on the agency side. We talked about the project for about 90 minutes, then started making small talk. Half an hour later, I'd told her about my kids, my parents, my incomprehensible brother, my sister and why I think she move to London, why Dean and I are together ... As I left the building, I was thinking to myself "What the fuck? Why the hell did I tell her all that?" Granted, she's a lovely person, and a sympathetic listener, but we've spent a little over 3 hours together in total, and I really don't think any of the conversation was relevant to the job that brought us together. Even 5 years ago, admitting I had a child would have been opening up a lot for me. So where did this fountain of confidences come from?

As I drove home (in really ugly traffic, by the way), I came up with the following possibilities:

1. I have a chemical imbalance that has resulted in a dramatic personality change.

2. I'm finally starting to believe Dean when he tells me I'm worth listening to - to the point where I'll inflict personal thoughts and feelings on any innocent bystander in the mistaken belief that they care.

3. I'm so insecure and needy that I'll spill my guts for anyone in hope of garnering a little sympathy/pity/polite yet insincere interaction.

4. I'm turning into my mother (oh no, please, not that. Anything but that! Tapeworms in my brain, even).

5. It's this damn blog. I've gotten used to rambling on and on about whatever I feel like, and the people who wander by and drop off the occasional polite comment have provided just enough random positive feedback that I'm addicted to baring my soul.


Return To Form

I posted a mildly titillating comment on Jim Winter's blog yesterday (he has resurrected the Angelina - Hot or Not? debate) and have received some traffic as a result. Poor souls, looking for more sxKittenish musings, and what do they get? Hallmark moments and a canine obit. Kind of false advertising, really.

So, for any visitors wanting more sx than kitten, I hereby present my Top 5 list, à la Friends, of Celebrities With Whom I Would Sleep, Given The Opportunity:

1. Angelina Jolie
2. Tom Selleck
3. Angelina Jolie
4. George Clooney
5. Angelina Jolie

Tom would have to buy me dinner first. George would have to spring for dinner, flowers, and a really good bottle of red wine. Angelina just has to show up.

So, who's on your list?



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May, 1990 - July, 2005

Good-bye, my friend.


More Cuteness

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The Monkey Child Asleep.

He loves his soccer ball and his new racing car toothbrush (still in its wrapper for safekeeping).

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The Racers

He says he chose Victoria because she had the prettiest face paint. And she did, too:
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Insulin-shock Warning

Photo of almost unbearable sweetness ahead.

Today was my company picnic. It was just the MonkeyBoy and me, which is fine as he gives me the perfect excuse to avoid excessive socializing (something at which I suck). We tormented crabs on the beach, played at the park, ate lunch on a lunch-eating rock (that's what he called it, anyhow. I would have thought you'd want to keep your lunch as far away from a lunch-eating rock as possible, but what do I know?), then we went in a 3-legged parent-&-child race together, which was absolutely hilarious. Then they had a race just for kids, and he paired up a little girl - I can't remember her name, but she's just 3 and adorable. I didn't take many pictures, but this one was just too good to miss:

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Amazingly, they did not come in dead last, despite being the shortest team by many inches. After that, there was a water balloon fight, a candy toss, some more dessert, and then it was time to go. I was sure he'd be asleep in under 10 minutes in the car, but no. We played 620 questions on the way home - Scooby Doo, Jimmy Neutron, and Spy Kids this time. I'm pretty beat, but he was still going strong right up to bedtime.


Responsibility and the Ducking Thereof

I'm tired of being the responsible parent in my daughter's life. The one who makes her do her homework, and practice the piano, and clean her room, and put her laundry away.

My ex-husband signed her up for and takes her to piano lessons, but he expects me to make sure the practicing is done. Ditto for homework - he picked and paid for the private school and goes to all the award ceremonies, but the actual work part is almost always done on my watch.

He's a college instructor and despite the fact that he constantly whines about how hard he has to work and how gruelling his schedule is, he doesn't actually put in more than 35 hours a week, and sets his own schedule so he's not actually on campus more than 3 days a week (Plus he gets 2 weeks off at Christmas and almost 4 months in the summer, but I won't get into that just now). Which means that on the days she's with him, he doesn't work. He bitches about how much work he has to do, but when they're together, his schedule is free and clear. It's just the two of them, and they go hiking, kayaking, fishing, swimming, work in their garden, look after their dog, cat, rabbits and chickens. They took stained glass classes together, then built a workshop in the basement. They go out for dinner at fancy restaurants, have seasons tickets to the opera ... he treats her more like a girlfriend than a daughter, but they do a lot of cool stuff together. And I don't think she's ever cleaned her room at his house.

I'm very glad that she's being exposed to all these wonderful things, but it often makes me feel like the also-ran parent. I work 4 days a week, but can't set my own schedule, so my weekday off is devoted to laundry, grocery-shopping, and cleaning the house. Weekends are a little better, but there are 4 of us to coordinate, money's tighter, and we have other obligations. And this summer, neither Dean nor I can take vacation time.

Chickadee and her dad are heading off for 10 days at a cottage on one of the Gulf Islands this weekend, kayaks, bikes and fishing gear in tow. She'll have a ball. When she gets back, I'm entitled to an equal amount of time with her, but I have to work. So my parents are taking the kids to their place on Mayne for a week and a half. Dean and I will join them on the weekends. She'll have a ball there, too, but all the fun stuff will be courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa, not me.

I worry about how she's going to look back on her time with me when she's older. Will she feel that I didn't value her as much as her father does? That I didn't make time for her? Will she resent my pushing and prodding her to work?

The only consolation I have, and it's a small one, is that it would have been infinitely worse if her father and I had stayed together.


All Out of Answers

This weekend, I figured out why I'm having trouble remembering things. It's not an age thing (or at least it's not just an age thing). It's the children - the shortest one in particular.

I can't remember my grocery list, or what colour carpet we need for our booth at the next trade show, or what products are in group 49, or where I left my keys, because all my RAM has been given over to remembering every single fricken' detail of every single movie the MonkeyChild has every seen. We spent over 2 hours in the car on Saturday, and he spent the entire time peppering me with questions like:
  • Why did Jimmy's mom get mad at him for knocking the chimney off the roof? (Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius)
  • Why did the sand people power R2D2? (Star Wars)
  • How come Scooby Doo got put into the cyber space? (Scooby Doo and the something to do with computers - Grandma rented this one, so I didn't actually watch it but am still expected to know all the answers)
  • Why did the robot blow up when he got into the water? (The Incredibles)
  • What would happen if the sand people powered me and you and dad? (SW)
  • Why did Randall want to steal Boo? (Monsters Inc.)
  • Why did they tell Mr. Incredible to just kill the robot and not destroy it? (TI)
  • Why wasn't Cindy wearing different underpants? (Jimmy Neutron, When Pants Attack)
  • Why did Randall put Mike in that machine thing? (MI)
  • Who was Luke again? (SW)
  • Why did King Goobar steal Jimmy's parents and want to feed them to the giant chicken? And can you say the thing he said when Jimmy was tiny and then wasn't tiny again? (JN, BG)
  • Why didn't Mr. Incredible put Syndrome's gloves in water so they'd blow up? (TI)
  • Who was inside the tar monster? (Scooby Doo and the whatever)
  • Why did Cindy's pants come off all by themselves? (JN, WPA)
  • Why did Syndrome want to kill all the supers so no one was super but him? (TI)
  • What's a virus? (Scooby Doo, I assumed)
  • Why did Jimmy launch the toaster into space? (JN, BG)
Part of the challenge is that the questions come at random - you can't predict what you'll be hit with next. And each answer spawned new lines of questioning - an endlessly branching tree in which he leapt from branch to branch as lightly as a squirrel. I think the lad has a future in the intelligence community - he's utterly relentless, and frequently doubles back to try to catch you in a contradiction. I finally said my brain had run out of answers, that he'd have to wait a day to ask me any more questions. Fortunately, that sounded completely reasonable to him, and every time he started to pose another one, he'd stop and say "Oh, I forgot, your brain is empty."

I wish. I could do so much with all that free space ...


I'm Going To Get You, Christopher W. Murphy ... Someday, Somehow, Somewhere, I'm Going To Get You!

Dude, you almost made me cry at work!

Explanatory note: In what I assume was intended as a thoughtful gesture, the aforementioned CWM sent me the following today, probably meant to express sympathy at the plight of my aging and feeble dog:


Have you a dog in Heaven, Lord?
And do you pat his head?
Does he sit up and beg each night
Before he goes to bed?

Does he look up with soulful eyes
When he sees your smiling face?
Does he wag his feathered tail
When he wants to run a race?

Do you have a dog in Heaven, Lord?
Is there room for just one more?
My faithful dog died today,
He'll be waiting at your door.

Please take him into Heaven, Lord,
And keep him there for me.
Just feed him, pet him, love him, Lord,
That's all he'll ask of thee.

- Anonymous

The problem is, I've gotten weepier as I've gotten older. In my 20's, I cried at nothing. Unless I got really angry. Then I cried. Which made me angrier. So I cried harder, which made me angrier, which made me cry ... you get the picture. The net result was that I very rarely get angry any more. But in the last 5 years, I've started tearing up at the dumbest things. Funerals and weddings, OK, that's socially acceptable. But maudlin birthday cards, touch-feely emails, sappy movies ... things I would have sneered at in my youth now make me tear up. It's really pathetic.

So anyhow, I didn't even make it through the second verse today. I still can't read the whole thing start to finish without getting all sucky and emotional. You've destroyed my stoic facade, Christopher W. Murphy, and you must PAY!!!

PS. Thanks, by the way. He's doing just fine again (well, as fine as a 15-year old, senile, deaf, arthritic, deranged border collie can be) and will probably keep chugging along for another 5 years, just to be perverse.


Death-Defying Dog

I'm at home today, nursing a self-inflicted migraine. Low grade - they've lost most of their punch over the years, and this is the first one I've had since my one and only experiment with pot last fall. I spent most of the morning in bed, wishing whoever was rocking the room back and forth would just fuck off and let me sleep. I had thought about trying to work a half day, but was still pretty dizzy around lunchtime and figured driving wasn't a great idea. Just as well - the big project I was going in to work on was canned this morning.

The joy of the migraine was compounded by Dean's announcement, at around 4 this morning (I'm guessing here - without my contacts, I can't read the clock in our room) that the dog was in distress - incontinent, very confused, and agitated. He's 15 now, and has been failing for almost 2 years - arthritis, paralysis in his back legs, cataracts, profound hearing loss, assorted lumps and unnatural growths ... plus total senile dementia. He was never very sane to begin with (most Border Collies are a little nuts, but he's on the far end of that bell curve) and he's become more and more deranged as he's aged. So I sat with him, feeling utterly wretched, from 4:30 til probably 5:30, stroking his head whenever he stopped his frantic pacing, and wondering what time the vet opened so I could take him in for The Last Visit.

I've always said I'd let him go when he stopped being happy to wake up - it's totally subjective, I know, but I figure I'll know when it's time. This morning, I thought it was. He was so disturbed and frenetic that I knew it wasn't a kindness to keep him like this. I finally lay down on the sofa and drifted off to sleep for 45 minutes or so. When I woke up, he was motionless on the floor beside me, and I really hoped he'd just gone in his sleep. But he woke up, followed me up the stairs without falling (a rarity these days - we've been locking him downstairs at night because his legs are so weak we're afraid he'll fall and break his hip), and went back to sleep in his old spot in our closet.

He's always happy when someone's home sick, and he's been padding around behind me all day, sleeping when I sleep, perfectly happy and serene in his insanity.

So, no trip to the vet. Today.


Summer Randomnicity

A pot pourri of stray thoughts on a warm and wet afternoon. The kids are flaked out on the futon with the guinea pigs (also known as the Jolie Aubergines, an homage to Ursula V's cheerful eggplants), hoovering down pretzels and Yop. I'm staring out at the rain between sentences, pondering the wisdom of agreeing to barbecue shrimp for dinner.

MonkeyBoy is conducting vocabulary experiments again today. I asked him if he wanted a drink this morning and was told "That's a resounding no, Mom." He also told the nice man at Safeway, at some length, about his new intragalactic laser.

We had a lovely long weekend at the cabin. Much food was consumed; a walk to a very high place was executed;
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there was beachness;
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there was playgrounding;
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and we caught some frogs. Teeny, tiny frogs;
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Actual size was less than an inch long. Oh, and both baby eagles are flying now.

That about sums up the weekend, really.