Sunday, April 29, 2012

radio, radio

i grew up with the radio always on.  my parents loved public radio, and i literally don't think anything in the whole wide world has made my mother prouder than one of my stories (read by me) being on a npr show.  it was the first thing i heard in the morning, a murmur under my parents having coffee at the kitchen table and my mother blow drying her hair out there.  it was on when i got home, having been left to play for our dog to keep her company.  it was the soundtrack to every sunday i can recall.

i love that i married a man who loves public radio, who listens to it daily, who thinks sending money to them is important.  it also cracks me up how he talks back to the radio, sometimes yelling at it, like my pop used to do.  we all have those moments when we realize we married one of our parents, and that's one of mine.

we also cleaned our living room today, which we don't do often enough.  man, when it is tidy, it is amazing in here!  there's so much room for activities.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

i didn't marry your friends

the thing about being married is that once you draw up that invitation list, you've pretty much staked your claim as far as friends go.  you know if your spouse-to-be puts someone on that list, is willing to shell out cash money for their dinner and booze, that they are serious about them.  i know that no one went on my list that i was ho-hum about, and i can say the same for D. 

some of his friends, though, i'm not such a fan of.  there's one in particular that i have tried my hardest to like over the past three years, but when i'm honest with myself, i don't much care for her.  i think she's pompous and flighty and i know she's only nice to me because i married her friend.  that's okay.  i gave it a shot, i went to a bunch of parties and made a lot of awkward small talk, asked her a lot of questions about herself and was asked three in return, and finally realized that in the real world, without my husband involved, i would not be friends with her.  i'm okay with that.  i've mentioned on more than one occasion to D that i'm fairly certain this person tolerates me at best, and he isn't too troubled that we aren't going to be BFF any time soon.  at the same time, when she invites us to yet another shindig and i'm less than enthused, he does get a bit butthurt.  i think it's because i make a face like i just smelled a turd when he mentions her.  i don't even realize i'm making it, i swear! it happens so fast!  of course, i always get caught, feel contrite, and then agree to whatever plan is in place.

not this time though.  the next party on the agenda he can go to with the kids, while i stay home.  or go out with my own friends.  we're going to be married for a while, and he's already been friends with her for longer, so i figure on occasion i can duck out to save my sanity.  i'm not saying that i'll never go to another lame-ass hippie fest at someone's house, where i will hide in a corner drinking organic, gluten free beer and listening to people talk about how they gave up sugar and now only use agave,* but i will go to fewer of them.  and i won't feel bad about it either. 

*this makes me so crazy!!! agave is sugar! it's just sugar from a different source!  you aren't giving up sugar if you are using agave or honey or molasses or whatever.  also, there can't possibly be as many gluten intolerant folks out there as i have been led to believe.  sheesh. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

whoop whoop

i'm telling you, this blog is quickly become all about how shitty my immune system is and how irritated i am with it.  after the poop debacle, i caught something else.  it started in my lungs and i thought it was bronchitis because i am very good at catching bronchitis, but DAMN the coughing was something else.  i went to see the doctor and he was smug and annoying and told me that basically i was a big baby and he'd prescribe something but that he'd be judging me the whole time he did.  needless to say, i just continued feeling like shit for another two weeks, until i woke up with a major ear ache.  most of the time, when i get an ear ache i just spend some time with a heating pad and some cups of tea and it goes away.  this got worse, and was unlike any ear ache i'd had.  instead of a dull, throbbing pain that slowly built to an agonizing crescendo, this one felt like someone was randomly stabbing my eardrum with a knife, sometimes over and over, sometimes not for five minutes, then boom!  i never knew when it was coming, and it hurt so bad i spent most of time with one side of my face screwed up like popeye.  i kept apologizing for looking insane.  no amount of heating pad or ibuprofen did anything for it, and finally after spending a whole day at work plugged into a phone and a heating pad and with five cups of tea in varying stages of hotness surrounding me, i went to the urgent care clinic.

the thing about urgent care clinics is that they don't give a shit about you. they don't have to.  you aren't at risk of dying, if you were you'd be at an emergency room.  they know you probably have a "real" doctor out there that can't see you, or no insurance.  they know you're probably a bit annoyed and out of sorts, but you aren't going to become a regular.  overall, they have a casual disinterest in you as a person.  it's nothing personal, it's just that you know going into an urgent care clinic that the doctor doesn't have any vested interest in you, and that you are a symptom that needs some relief.  it's a weird situation, but i know when i go see an urgent care doctor, i'm just looking for something to make me feel better right this second.  which is why i was so surprised to hear the doctor say to me, "i think you've had pertussis."

yeah.  i had the whooping cough.  the whole time my doctor was shrugging me off and making me feel like a retard for (gasp!) seeking medical help for feeling like shit, i was actually sick with something pretty contagious and heinous.  i didn't stay home or take care of myself because i felt like such a dope for asking for help only to be told i sounded "fine," i completely ignored my own gut feeling because i'm not-so-secretly worried about being a hypochondriac, and the whole time i'm coughing hard enough to shake loose a filling.  i coughed hard enough to pee myself a little.  (again! with the bathroom talk!) i kept my whole family up nights with the hacking.  i probably gave it to the boychik, who came down with a fever and a beautiful, hacking cough like his stepmom's.  i know i exposed the nice lady who sits in front of me at work, and guess what? she's pregnant, making her at kind of a high risk of the whoop being deadly to her and her spawn.  then, because the whoop had been left untreated, i got a nice, old-fashioned inner ear infection.  that's why the heating pad didn't work, it was way down deep in that ear that was sick.  awesome!

this nice doctor at a clinic i thought would give me some pain pills or antibiotics and send me on my way actually took some time to talk to me, did some tests, and told me i really needed to take some time off work. she offered to write me a goddamn note for work if i needed it.  she explained what i could expect (three more weeks of coughing!) and what to look out for, and told me she was sorry i'd been sick for so long.  she was nice.  i felt like a dick for thinking she would treat me like a number, and angry that my own doctor made $97 just by being an asshole.  i vacillate between being annoyed with him, and for being annoyed with myself for not sticking up for myself.  my ear still hurts too, which is the dickness.  i'm getting better though, and if anything, i learned a lesson.  you need to listen to your body sometimes, even if it does have a habit of being a jerk.  hypochondriacs get sick for real too! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

hippie mama badge

for some reason, this easter my mom and D's parents both thought we had plans elsewhere, meaning we had plans nowhere.  this wasn't terrible; i saw my mom the day before easter along with my aunt and some friends for a pampered chef party i hosted, we ate easter candy and tiny quiches and got to hang out, which was awesome.  D's folks are doing their easter dinner the weekend after this, so his brother and sister can attend, as on the actual day they do churchy stuff, and none of us do.  so we had the day to ourselves, and it was such a freaking beautiful day! seriously.  spring in the pacific northwest has been holding out on us, and on easter sunday it wasn't just warm, it was balmy.  the air smelled fresh and green, there was a warm breeze, every birdie was out singing, the whole she-bang.  it was like waking up in a disney film.  D made a nice big breakfast, and we spent the day lounging and enjoying the weather.
one of the very cool things we did was use this real indigo tie dye kit i'd ordered from amazon.  a few years ago we stopped using paper napkins and paper towels (although to be honest, we do buy paper towels for camping and for the kid's bathroom, so there's no good excuse for them not to clean it up!).  i have a lot of store bought cloth napkins, some home-made ones, and a bunch of really lovely ones i received as wedding presents.  what makes me crazy about my people is that when they open the linen drawer, they are just as likely to use napkins in place of towels for cleaning stuff up, thereby staining them and making the napkins grody.  if you want your visitors to be okay with cloth napkins, it's best that they don't look like you cleaned up mud with them, right?  while reading a martha magazine, there was a little aside about using real indigo dye, and it stuck with me because indigo is DARK, and dark napkins and towels probably get stained less than light ones.  i picked up a 12 pack of 100% cotton napkins in white, which were a deal at $10, and pulled out some flour sack style dish towels i had lying around and we got to work!

we used basic tie dye techniques, and the results were amazing.  using the real indigo is also a process; the dye itself is this bright lemon-green, and after you submerge your piece and get it saturated with the dye, you have to let it oxidize for at least 20 minutes to see how dark the blue will be.  you pull out a lime colored piece of cloth, and watch it get darker and bluer by the moment.  all four of us worked outside, getting some sun, experimenting with patterns and techniques, and generally goofing off.  not only are the napkins and dish towels very pretty and unique, and not only did i totally earn my hippie mama merit badge, but we had the best time hanging out and doing something together.  whenever i look at those napkins and towels, i'll think of that beautiful sunday afternoon, the first day it really felt spring, and having a great time with my little family.   it sounds so hokey to say, but i hope the kids looks back on afternoons like that and think to themselves, "yeah, i had a pretty okay childhood."

*also! i discovered that my husband really is a hippie: he is very good at tie dye.  he did all sorts of cool things that made my circles look like amateur hour! hee hee...

Sunday, April 08, 2012

how do the godless celebrate easter?

you can dye eggs in wine!
eggs and chocolate, of course. i suppose i can't and shouldn't speak for all atheists, but i celebrate major christian holidays.  for easter there are dyed eggs, buckets of chocolate, baskets for the children stuffed with toys and treats.  for me, i grew up with those things, they are fun, the story behind it is pretty amazing, and life is short so why should i miss out on the fun?  plus, i'm not sure where the kids are in their beliefs; they're both at an age where religion interests them, and they're busy making up their minds.  if anything else, i don't ever want to become one of those sour-faced atheists who make all holidays miserable experiences for everyone around them. 

this is one of the things i've thought about more ad more lately.  my husband and i had an interesting conversation like a month ago that i'm still thinking about, because he brought up all kinds of good points.  to start with, he doesn't feel i'm really an atheist, regardless of what i say to him.  this makes me absolutely fucking crazy because i'm a grown-up and i know who i am and how i feel.  at the same time, i know he feels that way because he doesn't see me as conforming to his idea of atheism.  in his head, atheists are angry and aggro and condescending, unhappy and looking to inflict discomfort on those around them.  i am, as my sister has pointed out, pretty jolly.  the fact remains, however, that i do not believe in god.  not the christian, benevolent (if confusing) sky daddy i grew up with, nor any other.  i don't believe in a higher power, i don't believe there's anything out there watching us and tending to us, or anything intelligent that put existence into motion.  i'm not an ass about it either; i don't spend a lot of time making fun of people who do believe, although you have to admit, some of the most fervent believers in anything, be it religion or nascar, are jokes that write themselves.  for me, atheism happened like this: i never felt belief, or faith or any of the things i was supposed to feel at church.  i realized that it wasn't my thing.  i looked back at my life, and could honestly say i never feel comfortable with religion.  instead of hiding that part of myself, i decided to just be open.  well, kind of open. i admit that my in-laws are very religious and i'm okay with not being "out" to them.  not because i'm ashamed, but because i don't want to cause them any grief.  i think they would actively worry about the state of my soul, and they're nice people, i love them, and would feel bad about that.  over the years, i've become a bit more outspoken, and stopped feeling weird when saying "atheist."

i think at this point i have a good opportunity to show that atheists are nice folks, that i am one, it's not so crazy, and that even without any belief in god i'm a good wife, a good stepmom, and an overall good human being.  i think i represent what a lot of atheist look like, and think you might know more than you realize.  in fact, you might be one but not be "out" about it.  so on this big, happy christian, pagan, fertility holiday, i'd like to wish you a good day.  eat some eggs, be with your loved ones, nibble on treats and celebrate spring however you like!     

Thursday, April 05, 2012

ring, ring, banana phone!

i keep waking up before my alarm goes off, which is kind of scary. does this mean even more adulthood is around the corner? am i "growing up" yet again?  i think it's just that we're entering that beautiful, short lived season here in the northwest where it's not pitch black early in the morning.  whew. i'm glad it's not more responsibility calling, because i think i have enough, thank you.

i broke down the other day and bought the girlchild a pay-as-you-go cell phone.  i don't want her to be old enough to have one, but when i was her age i just had to keep a quarter on me so i could call home if i needed a ride.  it's impossible to find payphones now!  i also don't want to admit it, but her "all my friend's have one" argument was fairly valid.  she borrows their phones when she needs to make a call now, but i realized that could be tricky if she were calling, say, because she was having a miserable time and wanted to get out of it.  that's really why i bought her the phone.  i remember being that age, and having some friends who were a bit more adventurous, or older, or who just made different choices than i did and having moments when what i really wanted was for my mom to come and get me.  that part of early teenhood is a weird place to navigate; on one hand you want to be independent and do your own thing, on the other, freddy krueger still freaks you out and OMG no one told me they would be showing this movie at the sleepover!  i figure if we have the one cell phone (another super basic pay-as-you-go), and she had one then if things got shady she could just send us a quick message and we can come and get her.  it's her own, personal, opt-out button.  i told her as much.  not that she cared, she was just thrilled i got her the unlimited texting.