January 2012 Archives


My dad in my grandparents' backyard, May 1974

My grandfather, my dad's dad, always made sure to get individual portraits of everyone in the family on a regular basis.  He'd make the rounds during holiday gatherings or at our annual summer camping trips and get everyone to give him a few seconds.  There are a lot of us, so it was a bigger job than it sounds.  He'd send packages to my brother and me in September or so with pictures from the summer and a note inside from him and my grandmother.

I've never much liked posing for photos, but thanks to him I've got pictures of just me from when I was nine, fifteen, nineteen, thirty.  You couldn't ever tell him no.  Sometimes I was a little cranky about it, but of course now I'm glad to have them.  Even more glad to have copies of so many of the shots he got of my dad - from the time he was a baby up until my grandfather passed away several years ago. 

When my dad died, I was in Houston with my stepmom.  We were sleeping and the hospital called after 1 in the morning, telling us to get there quickly.  He maybe died while we were driving there, I'm not sure.  He was asleep when it happened, I know, because the next day the funeral director, who'd grown up with my dad, pulled me aside and told me that his feet were relaxed.  That his toes were pointed down.  People who are awake when they die, she said, have their toes flexed back toward their head.  Resisting.  That was the nicest thing anyone said to me during that time.  Or it made me feel better somehow more than anything.

After the funeral as we were all saying good bye at my grandmother's before going back home, my uncle told me that I'd find myself thinking about my dad all the time, probably much more than I ever did while he was alive.  That's been so true.  Usually the thoughts are more comforting than painful, but I wouldn't say that I'm coping well with his death.  Not at all. 

You know how there are events in your life that mark a shift in your thinking?  In the way you prioritize things and react to things?  This is one of mine:  Going to visit my dad in the hospital in early April and seeing him unable to lift his hand up.  All my life he was so strong.  My brother and I used to arm wrestle him and sit on his feet, holding onto his legs while he walked around the house.  He was the guy you'd hand unopenable jars to.  He had a great handshake.  Seeing him unable to lift his hand up broke something in me, and I felt it right when it happened.  I don't know how to say it, but it's something along the lines of The world isn't really how I think it is.  Nothing lasts.  Nothing is even real.  If I think about it too much, it quickly turns to What's the point?  That's when I get out the old answering machine that has some messages from him.  Hello, he says, this is your Daddy - or Granddaddy, depending on who's listening.  And I remember him saying to me, I sure do love you, kiddo, and rubbing his knuckles on the top of my head. 

It's hard for me to call my stepmom and my grandmother, even though I so much want to talk to them.  I feel like a traitor if I talk to my brother on the phone and we don't talk about our dad.  But talking about him sometimes is too hard.  I'd like to be able to hurt less, and I know he wouldn't want me to spend as much time grieving for him as I do.  But the thought of letting go seems wrong.  I love him so much I should always be this devastated, right?

Today is my mom's mother's birthday.  Tooty.  I miss her like hell, too.  We used to talk a lot, and she'd have me tell her what I was cooking, then she'd tell me about a new thing she tried, usually something one of her church ladies brought to her.  That's goooood eatin' she'd say.  And, my all-time favorite way to describe someone entirely selfish came from her, too.  Well, he's just sweet on hisself, that's all

I miss you both.  Save me a seat.  xo   

| No Comments



Hey.  So.  I started this post and was going to write a little about Scuba and maybe spill the beans that we're looking at houses together and have been for the past 8 months or so, when the babysitter knocks on my bedroom door where I'm working and says, Hey, Jen.  Uh.  You're really not going to like this.

So I walked into the kitchen to this:
So this just happened

And the first thing I thought was how pretty it looked, all that hanging-on broken glass.  Like ice.  I didn't see any blood, so I figured everyone was okay.  

Excuse me if I don't tell this story well.  I have had a lot of wine.

A couple of years ago, Nate became enamored with airsoft guns.  His friends all had them and he loved them and whenever he had money from his birthday or Christmas, he'd save up and buy one.  They were banned from my house, so he had to keep them at his dad's.  Until last month, when he bought a crazy-expensive one and was taking it to his friend's house down the street where they'd go out in all their gear and shoot things in the easement behind his friend's house where the power lines run through.  For some reason, I reversed my ban, and it was suddenly okay for him to have these things here.  When he took the guns to his friend's house, he'd carry them there in a guitar case, just like El Mariachi.   

Whenever they got together to shoot things (and each other), they all wore face masks and gear and I figured it was better than him sitting inside watching TV.  I mean, it's not unreasonable for a 13 year old boy to want to shoot shit up, right?

So.  This year for Christmas Nate got a ridiculous amount of cash.  He gave some to me to put in the bank, but he also marched over to the grocery store around the corner, bought himself an Amazon gift card, and ordered some guns. 

Today as we were sweeping up glass from all over the inside of the kitchen and the backyard, I started asking him how an airsoft gun could BREAK the glass on the sliding door.  He was pretty quiet, basically just telling me that it was his fault, and neither of the two friends he had over had done it.

As we were cleaning, little pieces of glass kept falling out of the door so I took a broom handle and knocked all the loose pieces out, which was - of course- really fun.  Nate wanted to do it, but I told him that since I had to pay for the new sliding door, then I would get to finish destroying this one.

The evening went on and I made a run to the hardware store for tarps and duct tape to cover the door until I can get it replaced.  It was funny, I called the landlord to let him know and he was all: So is everybody okay?  Oh, that's good.  You know you're going to have to pay for that. . .

By the time supper was over I had the entire story.  When Nate ordered his latest gun, a pistol, he assumed it was a regular airsoft gun like his other ones.  When he opened it and looked at the manual, he saw that it took METAL BBs.  (here's the part where I think he should have returned it, but instead he went out and bought METAL BBs)  He was in the backyard today and had taken a lemon from the ground under our tree and put it on top of the skateboard ramp so he could shoot it.  When he shot it, he missed the lemon, and hit a metal bar on the ramp.  The BB ricocheted off the bar, went clean through a cardboard box he was keeping his gun stuff in, hit and broke a drinking glass on the backyard picnic table, and then made a 90 degree turn into the sliding door, blowing a hole in the middle of the glass.

So the new gun is history and all the other guns must be kept in the garage and never EVER fired here again.  Nate wants to pay for the glass out of his money (in addition to working it off by doing some hard labor around here) but I'm going to get an estimate before we work that part out.  I don't think he should have to spend his Christmas and birthday money on it.  If he'd earned the money, it would be different, but I feel like it was given to him as a gift to spend on himself, and it would be weird to take it all.  He may be reimbursing me for the tarps and duct tape I had to get today, though. 

He was pretty hard on himself about the whole thing, but later we were kind of making totally inappropriate jokes about it.  I guess that I relate to my kids too much sometimes and when they mess up like this, it's hard for me to get mad at them, even when it's so costly.  He knows he has to come straight home from school tomorrow (and for however long I say) and do whatever I ask.  And, yes, I'm upset about what happened, but I'm not mad.  It could have been so much worse.  I kind of freaked out when he told me about the gun shooting METAL BBs - there's no way I'd have let him own the stupid thing, much less fire it off in the back yard, but he's learning as he goes just like the rest of us and Lord knows I've made worse mistakes. Thankfully no one was hurt by broken glass or bullets, and we didn't have a nasty fight to make him feel worse than he already does. 

And, thankfully, there was a cheap bottle of pinot waiting for me in the pantry.

| No Comments

Some mornings I do manage to get myself dressed before I take the kids to school, but some hasn't happened in a long time.

Sophie has safety patrol all this week and gets picked up by her best friend's mom at 7:45 every day, so it was just Willow and Lex in the car with me this morning.  We live across the street from Nate's school, so he never gets a ride, even in the rain. 

Willow is going to be nine next month, and is taking the Tween Stage of life dead serious.  She's got headphones and Big Time Rush CDs.  She sits at the computer watching Big Time Rush videos on You Tube.  She hates homework now.  And, as of last night and this morning, she seems to have traded her beloved little stuffed monkey (sleeps with it, takes it to school in her backpack, was HEARTBROKEN when it was lost for a couple of days) for a CD insert from a BTR CD that folds out into a poster on one side and song lyrics on the other.  She slept with it last night.  Honestly.  When we got to her school she hopped out of the van with the folded up CD insert clutched in her little hand and I watched her walk off with my all my days of parenting little kids.  Yes I'm being melodramatic, but whatever - I'm trading in my last sweet little kid for a surly tween. 

Backing up three or four minutes, though, when we all got into the car I thought that it would be fun (and funny since Lex was with us) to put on MMMBop super loud for Willow while we drove to school.  Usually Lex rides his bike to school, but one of his two bikes was stolen and they cut his only bike lock, so that's out until we get a new beefier lock.  I didn't want him to have to ride his skateboard in the icy cold this morning.  Willow doesn't listen to Hansen, but she looooved the song (duh), and Lex was a good sport.  As soon as she got out of the car, I handed him my iPod and let him select the music for the rest of our drive.  So as we went to the high school, it was The Kinks and The Buzzcocks.  We pulled up and before he got out of the car, right in front of God and everyone and a really hot cheerleader, he leaned over and kissed me on the cheek and told me he loved me like he always does when I take him to school.  Then I watched him walk off, wearing his button down shirt and tie since there's a wrestling meet this afternoon, and I said outloud to myself, Dude.  This is why I wanted to become a parent.  Nothing really happened during that little  ten minute stretch, but I enjoyed every single second of it.   
| 1 Comment

Scuba plays uke

We ended up not surfing, renting bikes, or going to Big Sur on Sunday, but instead sat in the warm sun at Lover's Point for awhile and then walked up the trail alongside the shore.  When there were stairs we'd climb down to the rocky beaches and look at the hundreds of hermit crabs in the perfectly-still tide pools and I wondered if they like it better in the tide pools where they're not getting crashed around by waves.  Scuba and I decided that they sit in there and meditate. 

At Lover's there are public restrooms and I saw a woman in there with a starfish on a paper towel.  She was holding the starfish under the faucet to get it wet so she and her kids could take it home.  Strangely enough, she thought she'd be able to keep it alive.  You know, so long as it was on a wet paper towel.  I suggested, but in the nicest way I could, that the starfish wasn't likely to survive the trip home, but to tell the truth I didn't push it because she could have kicked my ass ten ways to Sunday.  Hell, her little kids could have probably taken me and one was still in diapers.  It bothered me, though, being such a coward when what I really wanted to do was tell her what a dumbass she was being and how she was killing this poor little creature. 

Later we saw the kids putting it back in the water.  It made me really happy.  I'm going to assume it was still alive.  And also that they weren't just throwing a rock into the surf. 

Hang in there, little starfish dude.   

| No Comments
I brought my Poppa's Land Camera along again on this trip. I'm wasting a little less film these days, but still have so much to learn. Since our room was in the attic, the windows started right at the floor and in the morning the wood floor under the bed was glowing and lighting up the white bed skirt.  I love that they have the original windows with their warpedy glass. 

pacific grove inn

A ten-year plan to move to Pacific Grove may have been hatched over breakfast.  

Last night Scuba cooked me supper and took me out to a nightclub to see the incredible Dick Dale. There were two opening bands, both on the surf punk side of things.  The first one was Beachkrieg. They wear German WWI outfits, play punk surf polka, and tell mean jokes about French people.  Nuff said, right?  Can't wait to see them again, and luckily they're local.  Next was Fascinating Creatures of the Deep, who I also loved.  

Dick Dale was, well, Dick Dale.  Swoon.

Today we headed over the hill and down the coast to Pacific Grove. Toward the end of last week, Scuba started looking around for someplace inexpensive for us to stay this weekend, and found an online deal at a bitchen Victorian bed & breakfast. We sat on the beach in the sun until check in time. I read and watched other people's kids play in the water while Scuba practiced his ukulele.  Monterey in January is sometimes perfect like today - bright blue skies and nearly 70 degrees.  We are so lucky and spoiled. 

After the sun went over the hill it got a little cold, so we checked in to the b&b.  The owner offered us an upgrade to a less cramped room. Your room is in the attic, he said, and the ceiling is sloped. It's tiny. It sounded perfect to me. Luckily we didn't switch; the minute we stepped through the door we both felt like we could live here. 

Downstairs there was wine and a video library, so we are relaxing and watching The Magnificent Seven on VHS.  Honestly, I can't imagine a better way to spend a Saturday night. 

Tomorrow we might rent bikes or surf or go to Big Sur. But right now I need to go watch Yul Brenner, Charles Bronson, and Steve McQueen. 

| No Comments
keep your shoe laces tied
| No Comments | No TrackBacks
Here's something that I've had magneted to the fridge for ages.  Sophie made it for me at school for Mother's Day a couple of years back:

loving you is enough

When she presented it to me, I had to laugh.  Turns out she thought that the coupon was meant for her to get one of those things from me, so what looks like her being extremely full of herself is really her saying that she's happy for me just to love her, and I don't even have to clean her room or give her an hour to herself. 


Also pulled from the fridge to share:

my pet chicken - very nice!

Willow spent forever making these tiny little drawings and putting them all over the house.  I can't explain why, but I adore the bottom right one: My pet chicken.  Very nice!

I had to ground one of my kids tonight for choosing to get up in my face in a disrespectful way rather than follow the very clear direction I was giving him.  It was a rough night.  I've never grounded him before, but tomorrow after school he's coming straight home to clean the bathroom and his room.  He was so upset with me, both of us near tears, but we talked about why I grounded him and throughout the evening we've made things right.  Funny thing is that we spent more, and much better quality, time together tonight than we have in awhile.  Maybe he just needed a better-defined boundary from me.  I don't usually have the energy or inclination to be a hard ass.  Is there a class I can take? 
Wow.  Okay. I bought new underthings the other day but hadn't taken them out of the bag yet. Tonight after work the kids all left for dinner visits with their dads and so I went to meet Scuba at his favorite coffee shop so we could both work for a couple of hours. (While he worked, I mostly read about Robert Mitchum getting stoned and lost on the way to a movie set. Thanks, Roger Ebert!)

Before I left the house I thought I'd change my clothes and I was all, Oooh, I know, I'll wear my cute new retro looking pinup girl bra.  And then I put it on and I thought some more: Omg, I'm going to take a picture of myself in this fabulous bra and text it to Scuba.  Dude. I know. TMI.  But, it was tasteful and nice and it's not like it we're in the habit of sexting or anything. I was just, you know, trying to be fun. And cute. So I took the photo and sent it and then deleted it from my camera because my girls love to look through the photos on my phone. 

Only, I can't delete the photo. 

It's deleted from the photo album, but there's also this new automagical thing called the "photo stream" where my phone sends pictures I take to my iPad. The photo stream has options for editing and sending photos, but no apparent way to delete them. Now the photo is in the photo stream batch on my phone, and also in the photos on my iPad. 


And, to top it off, I don't think Scuba was exactly bowled over by the whole thing.  Either that or he didn't want to be all, Nice half-naked photo, baby! in front of all the other customers. I'm going with the latter. Lesson learned. I'm off now to Google how to undo this. If Sophie sees it, I'm dead meat. 

Edited to add:
Just as I was about to publish this, like literally right as I was, Scuba sent a nice text.  So, unless I really *cannot* delete it, it's all okay now.

There currently isn't a way to individually delete photos from Photo Stream, but there is a way to completely reset Photo Stream and start over.
| No Comments
So, it's New Year's Eve, just getting dark, and I'm standing at the register at Kohl's while the salesclerk rings up my purchases.  I'd waited in line behind 47 people already with no issues, but now there was a young couple in line practically laughing out loud at me.  I mean, I made eye contact and she looked away, but he looked right at me, at the stuff I was buying, and could not suppress a laugh. 

I was far enough away from them to pass for someone much younger than 41, so I think they were laughing with me, like, Dude, that chick's gonna have a HAPPY NEW YEAR, rather than OH GROSS!  You're too old for that lingerie.  (That's what being five feet tall does for a girl - sometimes when we are out in a crowd, Scuba doesn't see me because I blend in with the children.  True story.)

Anyway.  Just like black-eyed peas, new underpants on New Year's is supposed to be good luck.  I didn't exactly make a trip to Kohl's on New Year's Eve for panties, though, I was there to get a tablecloth for the new table that Scuba bought us.  It's just that Kohl's *had* panties, really really cute ones, and bras! and the last time I bought a new bra was, I swear to God, two thousand and FOUR.  It's not that I didn't try, really.  It's just that, you know, it's hard to find the time and the extra cash to shop.  The last time I tried I nearly spent $124 on ONE gorgeous red lacy bra, (Stanford Shopping Center) but then I thought about how that money could feed the kids for a few days and just couldn't justify it.  (Also?  No matching panties - wtf?)

So, there I was at Kohl's ready to get in the super long line with my four bras and three *matching* little cute panties (all for under $100) and our new butter-colored tablecloth, and I was feeling a little bit, well, embarrassed, I guess, attempting to stand there for twenty five minutes all nonchalant about the fact that right behind the plain tablecloth I'm holding onto there are seven little hangers loaded up with lace and red and polka dots and garter straps.  But then I noticed that the guy behind me had ONE item in his hand: a pair of black cotton underpants with bright pink polka dots.  I felt like he was taking some of the pressure off me, you know?

Now here it is, the 3rd of January, and I've yet to wash and wear any of my new stuff.  Maybe the having will bring luck even if I'm not wearing them?  I could really use some good luck this year.

kohl's panties


Boxing up ornaments

Finally got the ornaments all put away tonight.  I can't figure out how it is that I have been off work (mostly) for the past eleven days and it still felt busy as ever.

Oh, wait.  Maybe it has something to do with having kids. 


Scuba and I are buying new dishes for when we live together.  FiestaSwoon.  He bought us a dining room table and chairs a couple of days after Christmas.  Now we just need to find a house to put all of us and all our stuff in.  That would make it a good year
| No Comments
I watched the boys put fireworks in an apple and explode it on the lawn. 

Happy New Year!
| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks
Partner since June 2006





Powered by Movable Type 4.3-en