The Texture Of Things

Currently, bored. Also hungry.

May 16th, 2008

I’m sitting here, not doing what I need to be doing.

Things I should be doing, in no particular order:
*cleaning any part of my house (truly – the entire thing needs a good mucking out)
*showering
*getting an oil change and new wipers for the daily driver
*wrapping a bday present for our neighbor girl, whose party the tot will attend this evening
*laundry
*changing the linens on my bed
*class prep
*bringing up from the basement and going through maternity clothes, newborn-wear
*restoring order to the garage, post-garage sale
*playing with my daughter (although I did feed her)
*going to pick up my prescription for thyroid meds, the dosage of which has gone up AGAIN because my body just can’t seem to cooperate, like, ever
*everything else

What I’m preoccupied with (ergo, what’s keeping me from doing any one thing):
*I am hungry, but lunchtime is a solid 30 minutes away
*I have heartburn, but I took the maximum dosage of z@nt@c hours ago

This is going to be a long day.

insert head-wag here

May 14th, 2008

song chart memes
more song chart memes

Dos: Brains – I needs ’em

May 9th, 2008

Click here to find out what “Dos” means.

So, seriously. My brain is teh swiss cheese lately. Stuff goes straight through. Common sense stuff, too – not just unusual things that anyone could forget. Stuff like driving skills.

OMG, I cannot believe I’m about to admit this.

Yesterday I needed to move a car in the driveway. I told HG before he left in the morning, and we hit on the genius idea of me putting it neutral and rolling it down a bit instead of starting it up just to move it 10-20 feet.

Genius!

And yes, for those of you thinking it already, our driveway is on slight incline, so it wouldn’t take much than a gentle push-off or a mild to vigorous side-to-side steer to get it rolling. I opted for the one-foot-out-the-driver-door push-off.

Except it didn’t work. I pushed and I pushed and I went nowhere, not even an inch. I pushed harder, I grunted I pushed so hard. Nothing. WTF?

I added steering, to no avail.

And then I realized I had my foot on the brake.

Wheels

May 6th, 2008

This week, the tot has gone from not pedaling her trike to pedaling her trike everywhere. She has had this trike for over a year – what the hell happened this week that triggered the change?

In the beginning I thought she didn’t pedal because she didn’t get how it worked and/or her legs were too short to reach. In some ways that was true, but she grew and still she didn’t pedal.

A couple of weeks ago, HG chased us outside, put the tot on her trike (complete with parent handle bar), and we went for a walk around the neighborhood. The tot was clearly excited, so I blew off the fact that she cannot steer. She just does not get it, which surprised me since she knows left from right. Watching her that day, I thought the missing piece of that puzzle seemed to be hand-eye coordination.

The next week, I took her with me to a local camping and hiking store so that I could buy into the hysteria. We were just barely through the door when the tot saw the bicycles and insisted on riding one. I took her to a miniature bike (12″ wheel, with training wheels), and she climbed on. She desparately wanted to ride this bike, but she could barely get the pedals to turn. She simply didn’t have enough mass or strength to make it move, so I pushed her around the aisle, much to her delight. In that moment, I thought maybe the missing piece was not hand-eye, but power, and perhaps the struggle for forward motion interfered with her ability to steer.

BTW, she had her first in-store, public crying tantrum fit when I told her (for the fiftieth time, as we were leaving) that no, we were not taking the bike home with us, but maybe she’ll get one for her birthday. She really wanted that bike. She still reminds me of it any time we talk about bikes.

So then yesterday, actually, the day before yesterday, I took her for a short walk and on the way up the driveway, she started pedaling – really pedaling. What she figured out that day escapes me. Was it the coordination or simply the knowledge that she can do it – she can make her body do it?

Whatever it was, yesterday something clicked in both her head and body. We were at the Occupational Therapy Center for an evaluation (more on that in another post), and at the start of the session, she was encouraged to play in the indoor playground. One of the things they offer there is a path and a huge choice of wheeled things to ride on. The tot hopped on and tooled through the place like she’s been doing it for a year. First a strange two-footed pedaling device, then a trike, then a two-wheeler with training wheels. What’s more is she steered. Accurately. Without crashing.

WTF? Where is my daughter and what have you done with the pod?

We got home, and she started up on her trike like she’s preparing for a cross-county ride. The transformation is amazing and awesome, but weird.

I foresee a lot of outdoor time this summer, don’t you?

At the very least, this experience is a good reminder that whenever I get frustrated with the tot being stuck at a level of competence in something, or when I completely give up and say something like “So she’ll go to college in pull ups – I’m fine with that”, she bursts through it. Her pace is not my pace, and I need to remember that. She’ll get it, by and by.

I am currently screwing up dinner

May 1st, 2008

I’m pretty sure I don’t know how to cook, and to make matters worse, I just bought myself a spankin’ new slow cooker, which I don’t know how to use. I just put a roast in, and I hope I’m not screwing it up too much.

The recipe is a 4 pound roast in the slow cooker on low for 5 hours, with 1 Cup red wine, 1 Cup water, and a packet of onion soup mix. The reviews said to skip the water and use beef broth, but that sounded too salty to me, so I just doubled the wine (which other reviewers suggested – I’m using Cabernet) and skipped the water. Except then the roast (which I browned first) is too big for the cooker, so I cut a chunk off. The roast didn’t rest all evenly in the liquid, and I was worried it would dry out up there like a little sandbar, so I added a Cup of water. Now the major part of the roast is submerged.

How bad is this gonna turn out? Egad, I’m afraid to think about it.

I guess I should just be glad there’s food in this house today. And we can always get take out, if it’s that bad.

Update!!
I just got home and it has, like, 20 minutes left on the timer, and it smells SO GOOOD.
Will report back on turnout.

As a Rite of Passage

May 1st, 2008

For background: this post follows this post.

A wedding for me was more about the rite of passage than any religious meaning. In fact, I didn’t have any need or want for a religious ceremony – I just wanted to publicly acknowledged transition from child to adult, from dependent to independent. And I wanted to be married, meaning joined, with Boyfriend Guy (now Husband Guy).

At least, that’s what I think I thought I wanted, but now I know there was another critical, secret aspect to it: if I simply moved in with BG and chose not to marry him, I would be disowned by my family. Who knows if that was merely a threat or not, but at the time, I tended to cave to family threats.

Anyway, so my thoughts on a wedding today is about Rite of Passage.

A wedding is a ritual, complete with symbolic gestures (rings, for instance, as a symbol of love and promise – or, if you prefer, ownership). A woman walks in alone or accompanied by someone “giving her away”, and she walks out with her partner. Because growing up I always felt like my family owned me, I craved the public nature of the wedding that essentially shouts to the world through invitations, announcements, ceremony, and party, “Hey – I am not theirs anymore! Huzzah!”

The fact that I was walking out with another person, rather than on my own, is/was not important because I chose him. I controlled that choice and I was happy with it.

So I needed the whole business in order to feel like the transition was legitimate, real, solid, whole. The wedding ceremony fed some part of my mind and heart that needed the validation of the world.

Where did that need come from? Culture and family are my guesses. Sure, I had seen the Disney princess movies (Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast were the most influential) where a huge wedding and being married to a handsome prince are the goals, the ideal life for a young woman, but I actually think the intersection between culture and family was where the strongest messages were sent. There were always weddings in my extended family, and they were a big damn deal. Joyful, to be sure, but serious, as in – there are rules that must be followed, even to the extent that a participant might not get exactly what s/he wants.

For instance, my aunt and uncle who got married in our family church in the 1980s were told they could not alter or amend their vows because that’s just not how it’s done. This same aunt begged and begged our pastor to at least adjust how he asked them for their commitment to each other so that she could answer “I do” instead of “I will”. All the woman wanted was to say “I do” to the love of her life. That’s it. But no, the pastor promised her he would allow that and then didn’t deliver during the actual ceremony. Did he lie? Did he forget?* We will never truly know.

HG and I took control of our wedding. On the recommendation of a friend, we got this book and tore into it. We took apart the ritual of wedding ceremony and built one that suited us. We kept the overall shape and structure of a wedding, but we gutted it. Out with the traditional material and in with a message of union, of co-independence.

Looking back on it, this was the first step I truly took in taking control of my life, and this was a silent need I could never have predicted a wedding would fulfill.

I don’t mean to make it sound like the whole thing came off without a hitch, because there were many hitches, but they were only superficial things. (Heat index of 104 degrees; shortage of shade for an outdoor wedding; shortage of beer and water for such a hot day; less-than-planned entrances, toasts, songs, and dances all spring to mind.) On a deeper level, everything was perfect even in its imperfections because it was ours. It was our passage from one life to another. The after-party was secondary.

This is on my mind lately because of the weddings being planned around me. They seem so different to me. For instance, my next door neighbor’s mother in law is getting married this year. She’s a widow and she has found someone to spend the rest of her life with. I love that, and even though I don’t know the lady, I wish her all the happiness possible. The part that perplexes me is that they’re preparing to throw a huge wedding ceremony and reception. But they’ve both been married before. That seems foreign to me, so it makes me wonder what needs (silent or otherwise) does the wedding ceremony and reception fulfill for other people.

My only guess at this time, based on the little to no information I have, is that it’s really all about the party. There is something about the celebration that attracts others to the giant and expensive affair. Heck, maybe that’s the key: expensive. Maybe in America these days, is a wedding made more legitimate somehow by costing a lot of money? Or are we so convinced that we always, always, always have to feel like we’re super-special, and the way to accomplish that is through a super-huge wedding?

Or maybe it is about money, but from the other side – the getting side. I know HG and I have been invited to weddings of people we barely know, and my thought each time was, “I don’t even know these people, we’re not even going, but now I have to give them something.” Because the proper thing to do is to send a gift when you’ve been invited. Gah!

But I know I’m guilty of this, too. A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked if she and another friend could throw me a baby shower. This is my second kid, so honestly, I’m pretty much set (unless it’s a boy – then I’ll need clothes eventually), and I told my friend this, but ultimately my response went something more like this:
“Hell Yeah. Cash and prizes, baby. Cash and prizes.”

So, I’m as guilty as the next person.

I have strayed from my point, if I ever had one – other than the fact I’m just trying to get my head around this. I wish I understood it better, because I think if I did, I could be a better friend to my friend who is planning a gala herself. When she tells me, excitedly, about engraved this and calligraphied that, I often find I am lost for how to respond. I smile, I validate, I clap and squee, and I hope it’s enough for her.

*He was kind of an ass, so I would not put it past him to imagine he would have lied to my aunt. This is the same pastor who a few years later would not allow my brother’s funeral to be held in the church because my brother and he had one hell of an argument a couple of years before my brother entered the military. The fallout of that argument was an unspoken unofficial understanding that my brother was not welcome back in that church. The entire family left that church after that.

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