Friday, February 27, 2009

The words "speculum" and "weekend" should never be used in the same sentence

I had my annual exam today. The stirrups kind. I guess I thought it would be fun to kick off the weekend that way.

I peed in the cup, just like every year. I got weighed. Then I got to sit down with the nurse and fill out ye olde questionnaire. Now, why they can't save my responses from year to year, I have no earthly idea.

There is one part of the grilling that chaps my ass. Every year, I grit my teeth and muddle through. This time around, I got kind of pissy and complained to the doctor.

This is the source of my ire:

Nurse (typing away on the laptop): You've had four pregnancy losses?
Me: Yes.
Nurse: And no live births?
Me: No.
Nurse: Okay, so no children then.
Me: Yes, I have a daughter.

The nurse gave me a "does not compute" look (picture her saying it in a robotic voice, cuz it's funnier that way) and kept typing.

When Dr. D came in I told him that I find the questionnaire to be a bit insensitive and to my surprise, he said he would look into it. I mean, I'm sure he won't, but at least he was courteous enough to pretend. It bugs me when people act as though the concept of adoption is wholly new to them. When I first went to meet my daughter's pediatrician (before A was born), I specifically told the staff that I was in the process of adopting a soon-to-be-born child and that I just wanted to meet the doctor and ask a few questions. Dr. B strode in, shook my hand, and . . . asked me when I was due.

As for the questionnaire at my doctor's office . . . I mean, I get it. I understand that they want to know how many rugrats have passed through my hips, because that information is medically relevant. But seriously, I'm 39 and I'm there every year - do they think I am manufacturing humans in my uterus on the sly between visits?

So, enough about that. I guess I'll answer the same moronic questions again next year, and well into my 40s and beyond, I suppose. Just like my asthma doctor will continue to weigh me and MEASURE MY HEIGHT at every visit. My mental list of "things that make no sense to me" grows longer by the minute.

In other news, I've sprouted a torso. I thought you'd like to know. Up until now, my daughter has only drawn bodyless stick people whose limbs sprout directly out from their skull. Apparently this is a normal progression as children learn to draw. One of my nephews went through a stage where he drew everyone as some sort of amorphous amoeba. "Sorry you look like a sperm," my sister would say as she handed me her son's latest portrait of me.

Here I am with my mid-section making its first appearance. Also my tragic club foot.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Spy With My Little Eye

The face that swindled a thousand Meemaws . . .

My mom has gone back from whence she came. My daughter apparently thinks that Oklahoma is conveniently located at the local airport where we left her Meemaw on Tuesday afternoon. I guess that would make life easier - rather than all this jetting around, we could just visit my mom on Concourse B from time to time. We could enjoy a four-dollar pretzel from the food court and catch up.

We did quite a bit of shopping while my mom was here. She's a shoppin' fool, I tell you. We dragged the kid around from store to store, while the little lass did her best to get abducted by making sure she was always around some corner where we could not see her.

On one such shopping excursion, A decided to play "I Spy" in the car. Here's a warning for you if you get sucked into a game with her. The thing she spied with her little eye is usually some object you passed eight miles ago. So, good luck with that. She's wanted to play every day since then, and I'm hoping the trend passes soon. She did get in one zinger at dinner last night, though. She said to her dad, "I spy with my little eye . . . something grey!" It was his hair. He maintains that his hair is brown, but then again he has been legally blind in one eye since his Marine Corps days.

While my daughter does not particularly enjoy shopping, she does seem to view it as a prime opportunity to work on her negotiating skills. And when Meemaw's around, she's got a really good shot at getting whatever piece o'crap she is asking for. We were checking out at one store when my daughter found the candy display by the register - right at her height. She pointed at a clear plastic cell phone full of candy and looked at me pleadingly. "Nope," I told her. "Good try, though." She had plenty of treats at home and plus, she may as well learn now that, like the song says, you can't always get what you want.

I proceeded to pay for my items (which, I should add, included a pair of summer shoes for her). A moment later, my mom came up behind me in the line so that she could check out as well. And what, pray tell, did she have in her hand? A plastic cell phone with candy in it. My daughter skipped around gleefully, victoriously. During her brief five-day trip, my mom also bought her some glow-in-the-dark bracelets, those plastic capsules that expand into small sponges (two sets of those, in fact), an art kit, an Ariel doll, and a plastic birthday cake with candles. And those are just the things I know about.

I spy with my little eye . . . a sucker.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Like a Kid in an (iTunes) Shop

My fabulous siblings bought me iTunes gift cards for my birthday. So, I had $55.00 to spend. I was excited about it - probably abnormally so. I've spent about half of it so far. I got some old stuff (Johnny Cash, New Order), some new stuff (Lily Allen, M. Ward, Animal Collective), and some weird stuff (Who else but Morrissey would release a song called "Something is Squeezing My Skull"?)

I am accepting song recommendations* if you know of a song that will change my life. My friend Leslie told me that the song "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake would change my life and in fact it did not. I had to hound her for the better part of a year until she finally gave me my dollar back. So keep that in mind before you toss some crappy little ditty my way.

I promise I'll post a more meaningful blog entry later this week. Right now most of my energy is being funneled into entertaining my mother, who is visiting from Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping down the plains).

*Unless it's a country song, and then I'm not.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Sign

This sign has been vexing me for a few months now, so I finally had no choice but to take a picture of it (or pitcher, as one of my clients uttered about 50 times during a training session yesterday). The Creative Hair Design joint is right next to the Kindercare that my daughter attends, so I get to enjoy the sign every blessed day. I enjoy it almost as much as I enjoy the "WE RENT HARLEY'S" billboard that's been posted off the highway for several years now.

The lady who cuts my hair (at a different salon) is named Donna. Despite what you've seen me do to my hair on my own, she is a very talented woman. She has been cutting my hair for something like 12 years. Donna is a nice lady, but if I walked in and said, "Hey Donna, I'm here without an appointment. I'm, you know, a walk-in! You take those, right? Oh, and I'd like 25% off in return for inconveniencing the shit out of you like this."

If I did, in fact, have the chutzpah to utter those words to Donna, I would immediately need to a) get stitches for my open wounds and b) find a qualified orthopedic surgeon to reset my mangled limbs. Donna has one hairbrush that she occasionally uses on me to keep me in line. I wait until my scalp is all but bleeding and then meekly ask her if there is any way, if at all possible, if she wouldn't mind . . . not using the owie brush on my head. And that's on a good day, when I show up on time (as always) and pay full price.

I just don't understand the sign. Is this for the people who know full-well that their lane is ending (because there have been at least five signs to that effect) and wait until the last second to cut you off with no turn signal?* Why reward someone for their lack of planning with a hefty discount?

*The guy who does that is my dad. Sorry for calling you out like that, Pop.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Something Else

The kid and I didn't have any particular plans for this afternoon. That is, until someone at church handed us a flyer and invited us to a drum circle at a local cafe. A loves to sing and to play instruments (you'll recall that she is constantly complaining about the fact that she does not own a trombone), so it seemed that our afternoon was suddenly booked after all. I was a wee bit hungover after last night's birthday festivities, so of course a room full of pounding drums sounded . . . perfect.

When we got to the drum circle, we grabbed a couple of instruments and joined in. I can't sing well enough even to warble "Happy Birthday" in tune, but I guess I can bang out a beat at least capably enough to blend in. The kid was in heaven. There were twenty adults or so and exactly one rugrat. At one point, the leader asked, "Does anyone have a song?"

The group was silent and then a single hand shot up. Would you like to guess to whom that hand belonged? Go on, guess. My little shrinking violet was brought to the front and handed a microphone. It seemed to occur to her just then that she hadn't actually selected a song. She just wanted to be chosen . . . for anything, I imagine. I'm guessing she never heard the original question, as listening is not her best skill. The leader suggested "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."

The kid was a bit shy for the first run-through. But by the second time through, she was comfortably singing into the microphone while some twenty adults accompanied her on drums and various other percussion instruments. When she was done singing, she headed back to her spot to bang the drum some more.

Somewhere along the way, the aspirin kicked in and my blood supply agreed to disperse itself throughout my frame and to stop focusing so specifically on my head. I pounded away on a drum and had two simultaneous thoughts in my brain. One: banging a drum is downright therapeutic. Two: if she gets famous someday, I hope she buys me a really nice house. What? The famous people gotta come from somewhere!

I hope it has walk-in closets. And a whirlpool.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How you know you are getting old

Giddy and Gretchen and their geriatric owner

A few days ago, I was tooling around in my uber-cool mini-van, running errands with the kid. I flipped through the radio stations in search of a decent song. I hit the "seek" button and watched the radio's display fly through a few digits and then stop at the oldies station. Just then, "Private Eyes" by Hall and Oates came on. This, my friends, is how you know you are getting old.

See, when I was a kid, the music that played on the local oldies station was recorded in the 50s. We're talkin' Frankie Valli, Dion, and The Chiffons. Indeed, it was OLD. Made perfect sense. Then, as I grew into adulthood, I noticed that songs from the 60s and sometimes 70s made their way into the wayback machine. Still, I thought, those songs are pretty damn old, too.

Now, it seems, songs from the 80s are officially moldy-oldies. When I was in sixth grade, my friends Rachel and Sharon and I sat in Sharon's bedroom and sang "Private Eyes" at the top of our lungs. We timed the claps just right. "PRIVATE EYES! [clap clap] THEY'RE WATCHING YOU!" [clap clap] It was right up there with "I Love Rock-n-Roll" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, a ditty that we also knew by heart.

I'm turning 39 on Saturday, so maybe I was just ripe for a mini-crisis when the oldies station decided to mock me this way.

I'm off to complain about the government, drive dangerously slow in the left lane, and fret about my fiber intake. :::sigh:::

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I gotta move to a bigger city

This is a random sort of story, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

In a previous blog entry, I mentioned that I spent the night at a friend's house a couple weeks ago. Being the generous sort of friend that I am, I stopped to buy a bottle of wine to drink myself share. On my way to pick up the kid, I pulled up at a liquor store that is near her school (I know everyone around here does it, but I just can't bring myself to take my child into chez de la booze - I stop on the way like the fine, upstanding parent I am).

As I stepped into the store, I noticed a man standing behind a table near the entrance. On the table sat a small metal tub with a few beers in it. There was a whiteboard next to him that bore some sort of announcement about "Belgian Beer Tasting with Ralph!" His name may not have been Ralph. I might be making that part up. But it was definitely beer and definitely Belgian.

He smiled at me as I walked by and said, "Hey, would you like to sample a Belgian beer?"

"Ah, no thanks," I replied. "I'm more of a wine girl."

Just then, the owner of the liquor store breezed through behind me, carrying a case of something or other. "Oh," he said to Ralph, "She likes Riesling!"

Oh no he di-int.

Undeterred, Ralph called me over and insisted I try a sample of beer. "You probably won't even think it tastes like beer!" he exclaimed. He poured me a wee plastic cup full of brown liquid. I stood there and sipped it delicately, like the girlie wine drinker I am.

"What do you think?" he asked.

"Well . . . " I paused. "It tastes every bit like beer."

Ralph was itching to tell me about the fermentation process and whatever else happens to beer before it becomes the undrinkable shit that it is. The thing is, though, I couldn't help but like Ralph. He was tall and had blue eyes and disheveled grayish-brown hair. He was just so darned enthusiastic about the beer that I had no choice but to stand there and sip the bitter swill.

Finally, I choked down the last sip, thanked Ralph, and headed to "my" aisle. Just to throw the store owner off the trail, I bought a bottle of apple wine. Take THAT, Mr. I-know-what-you-drink!

Now, I think it's clear that I need to choose another liquor store. I don't want to be like Norm on Cheers when I walk into a booze shop. In fact, I should probably move to another town altogether. Hmph!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Meemaw Mail

My daughter made her Meemaw a Valentine's Day card on Saturday. I took her to an art festival (or festibul, if you prefer), and she spotted the craft table for kids immediately. Its glitter and glue called to her like a siren. She descended upon the table before I could steer her towards . . . well, anything but that. A teenaged volunteer came over to help her decorate a card. "Who is the card for?" she asked.

"It's for my Meemaw," responded my daughter.

The volunteer pulled out a few sheets of small, foam sticky letters. Then I saw her hesitate. I suspected I knew what the problem was.

"You don't know how to spell Meemaw?" She shook her head. I bailed her out.

A few minutes later, a pink glitter greeting card was tucked inside my purse. The card was festooned with multiple foam stickers and the word MEEMAW, except that one E was backwards and the second A was actually an inverted V (A's were in short supply, it turns out.) I stamped and addressed the envelope when we got home. She signed the card, and, much to my amazement, wrote her own name with all eight letters in precisely the correct order. She usually needs a bit of prodding to remember which letter appears where. And then argues with me about it because, you know, I wouldn't know how my own child's name is spelled or anything.

I thought we were all set as far as Meemaws and Valentine's Day goes, until the kid found some old V-Day cards on a shelf next to the computer. She was overcome with the need to send Meemaw another Valentine's greeting. Only this time, she insisted on putting it in the "enbelope" herself. And addressing it herself. Like so:

She handed me the enbelope after sealing it, and instructed me to pop it into the mail for her. No stamp, no address. Nothing but a sketch of my mother.

I guess Meemaws are sort of like Santa Claus when it comes to sending them mail. A name or even a sketch will do just fine. I picture a couple of postal employees trying to figure out what to do with it.

Postal Employee #1 (waving envelope in the air): Steve, where does this go?

Postal Employee #2: Oh, that goes to Meemaw in Oklahoma. You didn't recognize her?

Postal Employee #1: No. It's pretty sad about her not having a torso and all, though.

Postal Employee #2: No kidding.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

We're Adopting!

No, not a child, you dolt. I think we've sufficiently proven that we can scarcely handle the one we've got.

After a bit of negotiating with my reluctant husband, we are officially adopting our foster dog. I am renaming her - she is now Gretchen. Gretchen and Gideon - tres cute, ne c'est pas?

If you're wondering how I pulled off this little feat, here's a little primer for the ladies:
  • Wait until your husband is operating on only three hours sleep. P has a second job and works late two nights a week. Yes, we have 2 1/2 jobs between us and are still broke. Riddle me that, Batman.
  • Tell him that he doesn't have to get you anything at all for your upcoming birthday. He had no earthly idea what to get you, even though he has known you for nearly 17 years, so this will come as a relief to him.
  • Imply, however vaguely, that you might consider fulfilling your marital obligation this Saturday.
I also had to wait until Gretchen was at least partly housebroken before I entered negotiations (P has a low tolerance for freely flowing urine, for whatever reason). For the first two weeks after she arrived in our home, Gretchen made it a point to show our carpet who's boss. When I dropped her off at the veterinary clinic for her spay surgery last week, I asked Dr. Barr if he could go ahead and remove her bladder while he was removing her lady parts. I figured that never giving her fluids again would work okay. A "lesser of two evils" sort of thing, you know.

Finally, after letting her outside 813 times a day, she started to get the hang of it. I knew she didn't have a urinary tract infection, because she can hold it in her crate while we are at work. She just found that peeing inside the house was awfully . . . convenient.

Next up, I need to get my new girl into some training classes. Right now she has a raging case of kennel cough (and a belly full of stitches from her spay), so I'll need to wait until she is feeling better before tackling the training. (She was vaccinated for bordetella, but it is only marginally effective - there are many strains of it out there and the vaccine cannot ward off all of them.) I am hoping she will be a good candidate for Agility in the future, as I have been wanting to get back into competing. Gretchen is a purebred Boxer but her conformation is not the greatest, so my first task is to see if the AKC will issue an ILP number to her. An ILP number allows you to compete in events with a purebred dog, even though you do not have the dog's original AKC registration papers in your possession. You have to submit an application and two photos of the dog (from two different angles).

She has a wonderful temperament so I think she would be an excellent candidate for therapy dog certification (and subsequent employment) if my other goals do not pan out.

I'm excited to have a new little companion, though I do miss my Karl Lee terribly. He was such a sweet, quiet presence in our home. I think he probably would have found Gretchen irritating, as he was generally crabby towards crazy young upstarts (and, after a lifetime of tolerating an unending procession of foster dogs in our home, I couldn't fault him for that). Nonetheless, Gretchen is pure of heart and goofy of brain, and I know that somehow . . . she was meant to be our girl.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Much Ado About Poop

It's no secret that the average three-year-old's sense of humor leans towards the scatological. Bodily functions, after all, are inherently funny - I mean, a fart is its own punchline. When male kids grow up, they continue to find amusement there. There are days, though, when all the talk of burping, farting, and pooping does start to wear a bit thin.

The other night at dinner, our sweet little petunia sang this:

Little Bo Peep, she lost her sheep
And then Little Bo Peep pooped in Father's butt!

[Insert raucous laughter here.]

We've tried explaining that such topics aren't really acceptable anywhere, much less at the dinner table. In the car, she holds Minnie Mouse in her lap and then pulls Minnie's tail up so that the mouse can fart. Over and over and over again. That Minnie - she's no lady. I don't care if she does wear high heels and a polka-dot dress.

Our daughter is prone to making random comments like, "Giddy has poop in his heinie." Or, when I am changing into my pajamas: "I see your butty-butt-butt!" Modesty and social graces have gone out the window. No topic is off limits. "Father has a butt right on his back!" she told me recently.

Oddly enough, for all the talk of bodily output, she doesn't want us looking at hers. She uses the, um, facilities with the door wide open but then shouts, "DON'T LOOK AT MY POOP!" if we happen to walk by.

My little sunshine buttercup. :::sigh:::

Monday, February 2, 2009

Desert Island Music

Apropos of nothing . . . let's chat about music, shall we? A lot of good music came out in 2008 and I'm excited to see what will turn up this year. Some of my favorite songs from last year:

  • TV on the Radio: Dancing Choose
  • Bon Iver: Skinny Love
  • Mates of State: My Only Offer
  • Thao: Bag of Hammers
  • Fleet Foxes: White Winter Hymnal
  • Vampire Weekend: A-Punk
  • Santogold: Lights Out
  • Sigur Ros: Inni mer syngur vitleysingur
  • The Ting Tings: That's Not My Name

Making this list got me to thinking: would any of these appear on my list of "Desert Island Albums?" You know, the music the stands the test of time, that you'd want to have with you if you were stranded on an island and could never again listen to anything else? With the advent of MP3 players and iTunes, it's easier than ever to grab the songs you like and leave behind the ones you don't. Gone are the days of bringing home a $15.00 CD because you like a single track. (What? I'm the only one who did that?) But, now that we can buy songs one by one, it's harder to think of a given album as an artist's project or body of work.

Anywho, here is my Desert Island list as it stands at the moment:

Marshall Crenshaw: Marshall Crenshaw
The Replacements: Pleased to Meet Me
Bruce Springsteen: The River
The Connells: Fun and Games
Supertramp: Breakfast in America
Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
Fountains of Wayne: Fountains of Wayne
REM: Life's Rich Pageant
The Police: Ghost in the Machine

What else would you add? (I pose this to both of my readers.)

I've had this song stuck in my head since November, so let me infect you with it:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I sat on an ice throne this weekend

I just thought you'd like to know. No, I'm serious. Check me out:


It was a fairly eventful weekend. On Friday, I spent the night at my friend Kathy's house. I took Fritz along with me. I had to be at a pet expo Saturday morning, and Kathy lives about an hour and a half closer to it than I do. So I loaded up a bottle of wine and a chick flick and headed down to her house after work on Friday. Sleeping in a bed by myself every so often is not all that bad, I gotta confess. We drank wine and ate pizza while five fawn Boxers milled about.

Generally speaking, the service at Kathy's is pretty good. She will not, however, feed you breakfast. "You didn't want coffee, did you?" she'll ask. I do not drink coffee (one of the few vices I never acquired), so it's all good. I ate the granola bar that I'd tossed into my purse and I was set.

Fritz and I arrived at the pet expo at around 8:45 a.m. This was a huge event, with at least a hundred exhibitors. There were rows and rows of rescues like ours, pet treat bakeries, pet supply places, etc. I bought a four-dollar soda (and that was for the SMALL) and a fairly inexpensive pet bed (a lot of times you can get wholesale prices at these huge expos). Then I spent the rest of the morning tethered to Fritz and answering questions about Boxers and rescue. Most of what we hear is more akin to comments than questions: he must smell my dogs, I had a Boxer when I was a kid, we used to breed Boxers, Boxers have a face only a mother can love. (Dude, he's standing RIGHT HERE.)

Fritz did really well. I was so proud of him. He stood in front of our booth while throngs of people petted him and fed him treats. We left just after 1 p.m. Our shift was over and Fritz was pooped. Usually it is my luck that I manage to bring along a foster dog who seems innocuous enough around the house, but who loses his/her mind in public. Fritz, however, was a wonderful ambassador for the rescue and for the breed itself. I was hoping he would catch someone's eye but at his age I have to be realistic - I know he will be tough to place.

When I got back home, P and I decided to take the kid downtown to check out a winter festival. He had dressed her that morning so I decided to spruce her up and fix her hair. "But Father already dood it!" she protested.

I nodded. "Yeah, I know."

We didn't stay too long at the festival. We checked out some ice sculptures, loitered in a candy store, and listened to a band for a while. And, of course, sat on the ice throne.

Today I took the kid to church and then to a dog show (this one was for conformation, not a pet expo like I attended yesterday). I've never gotten into the conformation world, but it's fun to go and hang out. I was still working on scrubbing off yesterday's hand stamp, and now I've got another one on top of it. We shared a Maui Wowi (I saw that there was an option to have a shot added for a few extra bucks and I am happy to report that I gave it only the briefest consideration) and watched the fancy dogs do their thing. I thought of my crew at home: Giddy with his gimpy leg (broken long before he became my dog), Brin with her droopy eyes and dew claws, and Fritz with the majority of his years behind him.

To top off the weekend, I decided to let A play with her Play-Doh sets from Christmas this afternoon. Now I'll bet you're wondering if I really did have that shot.