Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mouthy

I have a dentist appointment tomorrow. I'm sort of excited about it because, for the first time in my life, I've been flossing regularly. I'm not sure how I got things to click with me and dental floss, but it's now part of my morning routine. The other day I ran out of dental floss and felt mild panic until I was able to locate some more. Ever find yourself thinking that people will never change? Well, I'm living proof that yes, Virginia, there is hope for the infrequent flossers of the world. Now I no longer have to cower in the judgement of the chatty hygienist as she retrieves particles of roast beef circa 2007 from my teeth while we talk about the weather, the price of gasoline, our respective summer plans and everything but the fact that I'm totally disgusting.

I have to say, though, my history of semi-annual flossing has served me well. I've only had a few cavities as an adult, significantly fewer than Ryan who flosses more often then he has bowel movements. Seriously, the guy is always flossing, even if there is no floss available. He goes into total MacGyver Mode when he feels the need to clear the pathways between his molars. The list of strange items he has used to floss with includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • loose threads from clothing
  • drinking straws
  • paper clips
  • torn pieces of plastic cup lids
  • torn pieces of shopping bags
  • printer paper
  • envelopes
  • business cards
  • elastic
  • fiber optic cable
  • headphone wire
  • pencils
  • car keys
  • tinsel
  • Easter basket grass
  • real grass
  • wheat
  • uncooked spaghetti
  • measuring tape
  • jumper cables
  • fingernails
  • corn husks
  • twist ties
  • fishing wire
  • action figures
  • refrigerator magnets
  • CD covers
  • floppy disks
  • spatulas
  • magazines
  • clotheslines
  • barbed wire
Okay, so maybe a few of those I made up, but the point is that Ryan flosses a lot. And in the most unusual ways. And unfortunately, his extreme flossing practices have brought him little success in the realm of anti-cavity-ism compared to my previous methods of microscopic food storage. His victory has only been in moral superiority.

But, of course, that's all changed. I'm a regular flosser now. Tomorrow it will be noted on my official medical records. The hygienist may even let me take two prizes from the treasure chest filled with an endless supply of neon-colored junk from Oriental Trading Company as a reward. We'll chat about the usual nothingness and really mean it this time, instead of using it as means of avoiding the elephant in the room. Specifically, the one lodged between my #3 and #4 bicuspids.

I'm giddy with anticipation.

What about you? Do you floss regularly?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Today I'm...

Pink for Alyssa

...wearing pink in support of Alyssa's first day of chemotherapy. Funny how those little pink ribbons you see around don't mean much to you until they mean everything to you.

...thinking about Oprah's final episode and her words of wisdom. It gave me a lot to think about and struck a few nerves, especially her thoughts on our feelings of unworthiness. Hadn't considered that before.

...sweaty after my morning walk and likely to be sweaty all day: temperatures in the upper 80s with an abundance of humidity.

...counting down the days until my parents' visit. Can't wait.

...considering starting my own podcast because I'm in love with podcasts and interested in the challenge of learning something new.

...wishing my legs were tan. The pool opens tomorrow.

...missing Ryan. He's out of town and the house feels weird without him.

...listening to music. Oh, Johnny Cash, I love your gravelly old voice.

...finding it hard to write these days. I'm slowly slipping into an uninteresting writing coma.

...glad you're still here. I'll work on reviving myself.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cash, Bakeware, and Bragging Rights

BlogRecipe

Hey there, blog friends. If you're a goddess in the kitchen (and I know many of you are), it's time for you to enter a recipe contest over at Mrs. Fields Secrets, reinventing the chocolate chip cookie.

First prize wins $250 cash, a bakeware package valued at $100, and major bragging rights among your friends and family. Seriously, you can flaunt that kind of win!

Four runners-up will win bakeware packages and bragging rights too, but unfortunately, no flaunting. Womp, womp.

Enter now and help spread the word (please!). You really should do it. Think of the children.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blast from the Past

Last night at dinner I decided to do a dramatic reading from my junior high journal. I can't remember what prompted it, but I left the table and retrieved it from my desk drawer. It's been in there for the past few months, ever since I found it while going through a box of stuff in the basement. I started reading, thinking it would be kind of funny, but it fell a little flat.

I don't remember being an overly dramatic child, but most pages were sprayed with my melodrama. There was a lot of hatred directed toward my mom, which I feel terrible about. There was a lot of complaint about having to clean my room, which was always a disaster. There was an over-arching theme of my plight as the put-upon middle child, the one who nobody understood and yet expected to be perfect.

"Where are the happy parts?" Christian asked.

That's the problem. I didn't write those down. Oops.

I got out the journal in hopes of connecting with Christian, as evidence that I actually was his age once and might have a clue about the thoughts running through his head. And after reading through a few entries together, he and I certainly gained a new understanding of one another. I understand now that he's not nearly as difficult and moody as I'd been thinking, and he now understands that I'm completely nuts.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Prepare Ye More Guacamole!

I have mixed feelings about the world ending on Saturday. On the one hand, it's nice to know things in advance; I hate surprises of the life and death variety. It's also a relief that we'll all be going together, removing the need for any long, sappy goodbyes (something else I dislike). Another plus is that I've cancelled the June car and student loan payments and have more money now for guacamole, which I plan to eat in excess until midnight Friday. I kept the June mortgage payment scheduled as a small show of skepticism, but also because the mortgage industry has been hit so hard, I'd like to throw them a bone. I call it an economic goodwill back-up plan.

However, it's not all fun and guacamole when we're talking about world's end. There are a few down sides to this. I have a familiar feeling from my school days when I'd be really excited about a project, visions of A pluses dancing in my head only to approach the deadline with last-minute scrambling and wishes for at least a B minus. I planned on being a much more accomplished, interesting, and philanthropic before the show was over. I've been scheduling an exciting shoulder pad comeback in 2012. There were life lessons and personality quirks I'd been planning on learning and ironing out in late 2018, followed by a bestselling memoir documenting the process. I'll miss finding out if I actually lose 15 pounds this summer, what Christian and Max grow up to do with their lives, and what travel deals Ryan would have found for us over the next 50 years. Greece? Dollywood? Mars?

It's a mixed bag, I tell ya. Now, pass the guac please and tell me the up and down sides of your imminent demise.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Here's to Big Ideas

Rats. I didn't get the job I interviewed for yesterday. Judging from my portfolio, they didn't think I was capable of big ideas or concepts. Ouch. The sting-y kind of ouch.

Being on the job hunt for an extended period of time does a number on your self-esteem. A number two, to be more specific. Upon each rejection, I face the possibility that the reason I'm not getting hired is that I stink at what I do. And everybody knows it but me.

I cried for two minutes after getting the news today. I was wrapping my mind around the big concept that I'm not good enough. (I even came up with a catchy headline for it: Face It--You Suck!) And then I smacked myself in the forehead and tried to wrap my mind around the bigger idea that I am good enough, even if one or two or thirty-eight employers think I'm not. I've just got to keep at it. (New headline: I Think I Can! I Think I Can!) But I'm telling you, the first concept is getting easier and easier to believe.

In other news, I'm pretty sure my hair could land a job. Everybody seems to love the hair.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Only a Few Years Left to Qualify for the Kids Menu

Kids. They grow up so fast. It seems like one day they're little...
DSCN0347


...and the next day, they're big.
DSCN0351


Yesterday Max turned eight entire years old. Yowza! I'm so far removed now from babydom, I can barely remember how to wipe another person's butt!

We had some friends over for cake and ice cream last night to celebrate and played a little party game, featuring true and false statements about Max. He really enjoyed being the star of the show. You can play along if you like.

True or False? Max...

  • Was a fat baby.
  • Once killed a rabid fox with his bare hands.
  • Wants to be a stand up Canadian.
  • Refused to sing the Mother’s Day song at church because he felt it was “creepy.”
  • Took a little extra time to learn to talk.
  • Can collapse his nostrils on demand.
  • Likes his nails trimmed.
  • Is a BIG fan of Oprah.
  • Is into “skate and rap.”
  • Is rumored to have been part of TEAM SIX.
  • Can correctly identify the make and model of most cars over 100K.
  • Can correctly identify most planes and jets.
  • Can begrudgingly identify Justin Beiber.
  • Is a poet.
  • Likes ketchup, but not mustard.
  • Eats tomato ice cream
  • Has decided not to run for president.
  • Coined the phrase, “Shooby Dooby.”
  • Enjoys kneading fleshy upper arms with his fingers.
  • Feels like starting a new life in France.
  • Loves cheeseburgers and long walks on the beach.
  • Is an amazing traveler.
  • Invented several successful wrestling moves, including: Payback Time, Slimey, Friend, and Takedown.
  • Is best friends with a Pakastani muslim.
  • Has a habit of sticking his face in the sand at the beach.
  • Is a heckuva kayaker, cat-sitter, and Pok√©mon trainer.
  • Is unusually strong.
  • Can build aircraft carriers and model homes out of printer paper.
  • Loves the Vampire State Building.
  • Thinks "hobos" are a great punchline to most jokes.
  • Once dated Betty White.
  • Invented a catchy alternative to “Eeny Meeny Miney Mo" called, "Meeny Miney Dead Bunny."
  • Wrote a popular country song titled, “I Got a Little, Little, Little, Little, Little Banjo.”
  • Is the executive producer of The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
This morning Max woke up and wished that it could be his birthday again because it was "so awesome." Then he qualified his statement by saying that other people could get presents too, because that wouldn't really be fair. This kid appreciates life to the fullest, with arms wide open, and is always looking on the bright side. He is kind and thoughtful and has a hilariously inappropriate sense of humor. (Genetics!) And no matter how big he continues to get, he'll always be my baby. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Like Being a Mom

DSCN9753

I also like being taller than my kids. (For the next five minutes, at least.)


Friday, May 6, 2011

Sharing

I think I will look back on this period of my life as The Time People Felt Bad For Me Because of How Badly I Felt For Other People. And I think that my lack of writing very much has to do with the fact that a lot of the stuff I have been feeling bad about is not really mine to write about, but I also think I've been playing editor with this quirky online history of me. You know, if I don't write about it, it didn't happen!

And in 2278, when my online works are being studied by college students in space, they will write term papers hypothesizing the lack of content in late 2010 and early 2011 on this blog. Most of them will attribute this to there being a constant stream of the Real Housewives of Anywhere on TV. And they would only be partially wrong. (I'm two tablespoons deeper than that.)

So, I am going to tell you something sad that I have been feeling bad about.

I got a text from my friend Alyssa last week, telling me she had some heavy news and would rather tell me on the phone than by text or email. My stomach dropped a little. In the 45 seconds it took between that text and us talking on the phone, I considered a couple of possibilities. Maybe she lost her job? Maybe her dad is sick?

I never in a million years would have predicted that my healthy, active, globe-trotting, smart and sassy friend would tell me that she has breast cancer. She's thirty-five.

And then I said something supremely stupid: "Are you kidding me?" What, because people are always pranking each other with cancer scares? Duh. I immediately wanted to rewind and say something more appropriate, like, "Oh shit." (Which is a special word I save for such occasions.)

And then, in the course of our 30-minute conversation, she explained in calm collectedness how all of this began (with a lump found by her doctor), what she knew about her prognosis, what her plans were regarding treatment, how she'd spent the days between the biopsy and results reading and not-sleeping and gearing herself up for the monumental fight she knew-but-didn't-know was coming. As if to balance out her calm collectedness, I spent the half-hour with tears streaming down my face, choking on the news.

I invited her to come and stay with us for the weekend, and in the only act of emotionally-impaired decision-making I've witnessed thus far, she agreed to come.

I tried to pull my crap together before she arrived and did okay. We had a really nice weekend, one I'll remember forever. I'll especially remember how I've never seen anybody cope with bad news with such a level head and sense of humor. Even if she falls apart later on and becomes a slobbering, whining fool, she will always have five trillion bonus points for the grace and composure she is exhibiting in the moment. (And I'm keeping score, Cancer!) In fact, on that subject, our household psychologist Ryan made a point to tell her that she's been amazing to be around, but that we still want to be around when she's not so amazing. Amen to that.

We sent her home on the train and into the arms of appointments, doctors, consultations, and other scary realities waiting for her this week. In an act of courageous proactivity, she had her hair cut short (anticipating the chemo) and ended up with the sauciest hairdo I've seen in some time. Best cancer makeover ever. Of course, she sent her long, dark hair to Locks of Love. (Is she secretly trying to become the Oprah finale, I wonder? Will the tear-jerking amazing-ness never end?)

Alyssa

Alyssa said something interesting to me while she was here. As she has shared her news with other people, the burden of it felt lighter, she said. I've always known that in theory, but it was amazing to see it happen with my own eyes. The sharing of burdens really does make them possible to carry.

Guess who needs to learn that lesson? Yup, that's me looking sheepish.

So, I'm writing this here. I'm telling you that I'm feeling bad. Sad, but hopeful. Sad for my friend and for many of my loved ones fighting scary fights and unknown outcomes. But, yes, hopeful. Because I can't help it. People are amazing. I should know, I'm surrounded by them. And that includes you.


(You could and should keep up with Alyssa's story. She's making a triumphant return to blogging.)
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