Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Little Obsessions

I am not by nature an obsessive person, at least on the compulsive level. I like my house tidy, but I don't think about what you don't see. If dust bunnies under the bed don't bother me, I don't bother them. I don't need to have pens lined up or my kids' toys stored exactly the right way. My time is better spent playing with my kids than worrying about the carpet fringe.
I have found some odd habits forming since becoming a mother. First, I started counting bottles. There are eight. At all times I must know where each bottle is, and nothing makes me happier than having all eight clean at the same time. I actually get a little annoyed with my kids if they decide not to finish one, and I have to store it in the fridge instead of washing it.
And now this has transfered to my daughter's binkies. Our son used Soothies, all rubber pacifiers. These things seemed to disappear on a daily basis or show up in bits if the dogs found one. I would just buy another pack. And then he stopped really being interested in them around four months.
My daughter is different. She didn't like the Soothies. She likes the Mams. Mams have these plastic knobs on which the company often places cute pictures such as a baby angel, a heart, or a seahorse. Also they can be pretty colors like pink. We have seven of them. We have always had seven of them. I am obsessed with not losing one. I have made myself late looking under the sofa and crib trying to find one that is missing even though I don't need it to go somewhere. I have the other six, you see. I will mentally go over where each one is at least twice a day. Pink and white in the crib. Angel and heart in the diaper bag. She's sucking away on the all pink one right now.
I know it is a relatively easy issue to psychoanalyze. The bottles and pacifiers are something easy to control, and in a life with two children just seven months apart, there isn't much I can control.
Someday, one of these binkies is going to go missing for real, hidden under a rack of baby clothes at Target, or will experience death as a chew toy.
I hope my sanity will survive.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sex is My Prozac

I, like many people, am a worrier. Now, my worrying is not the what if kind of worry. What if the car crashes? What is my cough is really cancer? What if I get fired? These are not the questions that keep me up at night. My worry is more guilt based. I have been known to drive from one end of the guilt turnpike to the other because someone didn't like the movie or book I recommended. I wasted his/her time, you see.
I will often leave social settings and spend the drive home over-analyzing minor comments I made or someone else made thinking that it wasn't as successful a fun time as I thought at the time. I have taken this one so far as to really think that my closest friends only tolerate me because they don't know how to break up with me.
My family isn't even safe from this crazy. I make myself responsible for my family members' moods, especially my husband. Now since he came into my life, my guilt issues are not nearly as debilitating. My husband has a very logical side that enables him to end my guilt trip with one mild statement of common sense. It has been one of the most wonderful gifts he has given me. However, sometimes it can still sneak up on me. Somehow I become responsible if he has a bad day. If he is still carrying a bad mood from the day, it is now my duty to fix it. At this point I start to watch him for every little potential change in mood status. Better mood, yay me. Same or worse, all my fault. Poor guy.
But once the kids are in bed, and it is just us, in the dark, skin to skin, the layers of guilt fall off my shoulders along with my clothes. We know each other so well when the eyes are closed and the lips are open, I can not question anything. When there are no words, my mind stops yammering and just feels. It's quiet. And finally when I lay there, thanks to my husband, yet again, I realize how pointless guilt is.
And it's been almost ten years that we have been together. The guilt has reached such a low simmer that mostly, I can ignore it. And what I can't, I have awfully good help dealing with it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jon Stewart Saves My Sanity

I am an NPR junkie. More years ago than I am comfortable sharing, I completely gave up on popular music radio. This was in the dark ages when your only alternative to radio was a cassette tape. As someone trying to become an adult type member of society, I gravitated to NPR on my commute. Sometimes this is a bad thing. During the 2008 elections, starting in 2006, I often ended up at school in an irate, Americans-Are-Too-Stupid-And-Idiocracy-Is-Happening-Now mood. My eighth graders did nothing to dispel this mood.
But one thing did.
The Daily Show.
It is the Prozac that tips my scales back into a slightly optimistic balance. It makes me realize that there are millions of like minded people out there laughing at the nuts in the world. Laughing at them is much better than being scared to death of them.
If I stay up for the first airing of a Daily Show episode, I usually end up listening to just a part of it from the bathroom. We all have our schedules. So this entry is just to give you a little idea of where I stand on politics.
I am one of those left leaning centrists that always has shit to do that Jon Stewart is always talking about. Hence, I will be watching the Rally to Restore Sanity on TV instead of being there.
I think the way I see the heath care issues in our country is a good example of where I usually fall.
I have no problem paying more taxes for an institute that will be a trade off for another bill like health insurance, especially if it means that there is health care coverage for everyone. This is how most of the first an second world countries do things. However, I do not feel that the partisan bureaucracy that is our current federal government is capable of running such a system efficiently. Though I know that the insurance companies and medical conglomerates are doing a terrible job, so I'm willing to give someone new a chance.
And I think when the only way you can turn people off of an idea is to make them afraid of it instead of using legitimate arguments, it's a better-than-average idea.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Technology Woes

Social networking is one of those things that most of us use but about which we all make fun. Because the home button on my iPhone died, I have learned that Facebook and Twitter are rather more important to me than I at one time thought.
See without a working home button, I have to shut the phone on and off to go between apps. This now makes me think really hard about what I need to do on my phone. Is it really worth going through the shutdown and startup cycle? So I really just leave it on the phone or text messaging because after all those are suppose to be its main functions, you know necessary communication with family and friends and doctor's offices. And because if I sit down with my laptop my son decides he needs to not only push the buttons but also to pull them off and eat them, I am not on Facebook and Twitter as much as I was. (They were my main bathroom distraction. After all, I can hold my phone out of my son's reach and still use it.) And I miss them. I always thought that it wouldn't be a big deal to give them up if I wanted. They were frivolous distractions.
I was wrong.
I did not realize how much I depended on them for a connection to the outside world. Don't get me wrong, I am pretty proud of how much I manage to get out of the house with two kids under a year, but still I am home with two people who can't talk a lot. I try not to have the TV on too much. Facebook and Twitter are a good way to keep the need for adult conversation at bay without going back to work and paying for daycare. Plus, I can have conversations online that are not about my kids. When I go out of the house in the real world, most of my time and talk are still devoted my kids. Not online. I can talk about them if I want, but there are lots of other topics floating around out there. Like boobs.
So I miss you guys out there.
Anyone want to send me an iPhone 4?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

We Love Someone Who Is Different.... In Theory

I do not shut the bathroom door. It's just easier that way. Really. I swear. OK, OK, I admit it. I am deathly afraid of slipping and falling and being stuck in the bathroom. Don't judge. I am sure you have something silly like that too.
Anyway, they are doing a 25 year anniversary edition of Beauty and the Beast. We can get into how old that makes me feel at some other post. Plus, the theater troupe I sometimes stage manage is doing a staging of the Broadway musical. During my door-wide-open interlude today, a commercial for the DVD re-release came on the TV in the living room, and it got me thinking. We love stories and movies about the outsider, the person who doesn't fit in. We spend the whole book or two hours in the theater rooting for their success. Yet, in real life, how often do we do that? I think most of us would be one of the villagers who think Belle is weird and doesn't fit in. We wouldn't really take the time to get to know her and definitely wouldn't try and look at the world from the outsider's point of view.
It was one of my favorite things as a teacher, to befriend the goof ball. They always made the day more interesting.
I don't think I am as tolerant of adults in this way. It is something I would like to work on. Good thing there are a lot of weirdos at the library on which to practice.

Monday, September 27, 2010

First Thoughts from the Loo

Disclaimer: I did not actually write this while indisposed. It was a busy day. The laptop did not make it into the bathroom. However, these were my thoughts while attending to the most natural of needs.
Jeans are one of those pieces of clothing that can often tell you a lot about the person wearing them. Shoes do the same thing, but they are accessories. Plus I wasn't wearing shoes today, so they didn't cross my mind until just now. Anyway, today, I realized that while the jeans I was wearing were from before my pregnancy (Please, take a moment to give me props for being back into them.), they definitely represent the changes in my life. Mostly because they were covered in slobbery little apple bits from the snack my son and I had just shared. And I was still wearing them. I didn't take them off until I put my PJs on about 15 minutes ago.
I know a year ago if something like that ended up on my jeans, I would have been changing them, or at least running into the laundry room or bathroom to get as much of it off as possible. Now, apple bits are tame compared to some of the other baby byproducts that usually adorn my ensembles (if by ensemble you mean jeans and a t-shirt).
At least I did put them in the hamper which was tough because I firmly believe that jeans should never be worn just once. There is nothing as comfortable as a pair of jeans on the second day. But I have not sunk to the level on which I would re-wear apple bits. Yet.
Now I have to sleep because the new season of Sesame Street premieres tomorrow, and I want to make sure I am well rested.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Revamp of the Blog

OK, I really want to try and be better about posting. I decided that I needed some kind of direction for the blog, something to tie posts together. I couldn't come up with anything. Plus I don't have a lot of time between needy babies. Plus Twitter and Facebook have ruined my ability to be creative over more than a 140 characters or a short paragraph.
Yeah, yeah, excuses, excuses.
Then I realized that the at least one time of a day that I have to myself is in the bathroom. OK, not really to myself, but at least I am sitting and my hands are free. And my mind stops long enough to have a thought other than is that smell just me or the kid's diaper?
So the laptop is gonna start living in the bathroom.
And if it goes well, it's a good excuse to get an iPad.

Oops Said God, Chapter One

This is the first seven pages of a story/novel/novella/whatever I have been working on for a couple of years, off and on. I am hoping putting it out there will make me work on it more. I have not done any editing really, so please think of it as in its raw form.

God stood with his hands clasped behind his back, watching the scene that was playing across his office window. He gave a long sigh and the image disappeared. God closed his eyes briefly then opened them, trying to let the beautiful visage of clouds and sky that had replaced the violent escapades calm his nerves. His shoulders slumped. It hadn’t worked. Rubbing his temples he said out loud, “Peter, could you please send Adam and Eve along with Lassie the First to my office, please?”
“Of course, sir,” Peter’s efficient voice replied.
For the hundredth googolplex time, God wondered why he had created humans. Zox made having sentient beings in his universe look like so much fun. Zox, Fum, Tob, Rog, and God had spent hours watching their antics and laughing. And Zox had more populated planets than even he could count. God could barely handle the one. He knew it made him Infinity’s joke, but really. No one had bothered to explain independent thought and free will to him. Zox just snorted and told him he should have gone for his masters in Deitism before populating his world. He said they spent a millennium alone on creating pre-destination and fate. To give himself some credit, God had been in the middle of a correspondence course and had really only created Adam and Eve as a model for what he was reading. It wasn’t his fault if while he took a nap between cramming sessions they had gone and eaten a node from one of the Earth’s computer antennas. He had never even fathomed that they might find it eatable. Another lesson he had apparently not reached in his course, sentient beings will try anything once. He had had to change his whole ecosystem after that. Zox still got a kick out of having computer parts delivered by the pizza guy.
Once that “apple” as Adam and Eve had coined it (language was another thing that had gotten out of hand) had been damaged, the whole system had gotten skewed. The computer started spewing out a whole history for the planet complete with natural disasters, genocides, and TV evangelists. At first God was just annoyed. It looked like it was going to take a lot of programming to undo the problem, but there was too much. Change one line of code, and everything fell apart. So he had tried a new hard drive, and the damned system wouldn’t recognize it. Finally, he had gone to the Central Omniscient Beings Office for help. They had dumped a huge ancient book in his lap. It was the Laws of Creation. The clerk had highlighted one subparagraph on the last page for him. It stated, “Once an Omniscient Being has decided to become a deity and create a planet that includes sentient life, said life can not be destroy. It would damage the structure of the multi-universes and all that. Plus, it’s really messy. The planet and its contents must play out the original course laid out until its conclusion. Such actions will be closely monitored and regularly audited by the COBC.”
So God was stuck with the Earth and the damned smart yet determined-to-be-ignorant Homo Sapiens. He had tried to make things better. He had bent the rules and tweaked history a little and inserted a nice and enthusiastic carpenter to try and explain to everyone how much better the world would be if everyone lightened up and loved each other more. The death toll from that had been so large that the COBC police force had come along asking questions about his intentions for this small planet. They had threatened an audit of his galactic taxes to make sure he wasn’t trying to somehow use his planet for fraud.
And each time he tried to make things better, something else was made even worse. The trials over religion verse evolution had given God the worst headaches. Therefore he had to content himself with just keeping things on track until the end of what his humans called "time". (It was their problem if they wanted to make that time as miserable as possible.) With all of that free thought and whatnot, they kept trying to screw it up themselves and make changes for, what they were always sure, was the better.
God had done one thing right. He had created Heaven. Thankfully he had read the chapter on mortality before making Adam and Eve. So each time one of those things stopped breathing, the computer grabbed the essential signal, or “soul”, and put it into service helping to keep everything running smoothly. Adam and Eve had been the first in this mission, as they were the first in everything. And they were among the best, along with Lassie the First. He should have stopped when he had created the dog, God thought, not for the first time. The dolphins were OK too. Animals often made the best recruits. Their sense of right and wrong was much less complicated. Anything based on smell usually was.
*          *          *
As these thoughts ran through God’s head, Adam and Eve and Lassie were in an elevator on their way to his office, as ordered. Eve smoothed her skirt a bit, even though it wasn’t wrinkled. There were no wrinkles in Heaven. That did not pertain to noses though, and she wrinkled hers as Adam light up a cigarette. Lassie thumped her agreement to Eve.
“Must you?” She asked Adam.
“Well, it’s not like it is going to kill me, is it?” He replied threw a stream of smoke. He slipped his lighter back into the inside pocket of his flannel double-breasted, navy blue, pin striped suit jacket. If there was one thing Adam and Eve were, it was well dressed. Lassie figured it was a subconscious reaction to running around in fig leaves for a lifetime. Along with the impeccably tailored suit (Adam could talk Versace into anything) his wingtips were shined to within an inch of their lives. Eve had on a suit as well, but it was gray silk, also highly tailored without any flare. She had on chunky blue heels, and her still very long light brown hair was pulled into an artful bun at the nap of her neck. Eve always favored the look of the forties.  
“You would think he would get rid of the smell, though.”
Adam gave her a sidelong glance and a crooked grin. “You would think. Suits me though. It covers up the smell of his office. I hate going up there.”
“You need to get over it already,” Eve replied.
“Look, I haven’t eaten an apple in, what, well, since The Apple, and just the smell of them is enough to put me in a foul mood.”
“It’s not like he makes his office smell that way on purpose. It’s the computer system. You just smoke to annoy him.”
Adam took a long draw on the cigarette and considered Eve’s comment. “True, I suppose. But do you really think it was necessary to make his desk out of The Tree?”
Eve frowned a little and said, “Well, I suppose even God needs a bit of old fashioned vengeance therapy. It could have been worse. We could be his dining room centerpieces instead of the snake.”
Adam just humphed in reply. Lassie felt a headache coming on. This was the usual reaction to working with humans. She rubbed up against Eve’s leg, and Eve reached down and scratched behind Lassie’s large, pointed eyes. That was better. They were good for some pampering at least.
The elevator door opened and the original couple looked out into God’s reception lobby. The floors and wall were all clear, except the right side where there was a door and opaque brown wall, giving the occupants a spectacular view of the clouds and sky of Heaven. There were several people sitting around in the brightly colored overstuffed chairs that sat around the perimeter of the perfectly circular room, reading any number of magazines. Straight ahead of the elevator was a large brown lacquered desk where Peter stay with his back to the room, looking out of the wall behind him. Lassie moved to the right and lay down in front of the door to God’s office. Eve and Adam walked to the front of Peter’s desk. They glanced out of the window to see what had the usually diligent Peter distracted. There was a volleyball game going on outside. In Heaven, this was always an interesting sport, as the players would play with wings attached. It made for some very exciting spikes. Adam cleared his throat. Peter jumped and turned quickly around.
“Oh, sorry about that,” he said as he shuffled some papers around his desk. “This is a big game. Gabriel and I have a bet on.”
“Really? Do tell,” Adam said.
Peter went slightly pink and cleared his throat. “Well if the gold halos win, I do as well. Gab’s got his bet on the silvers.”
“And what, pray tell, does the winner get?”
At this Peter blushed even more and cleared his throat. “The winner gets to be god.”
As seriously as he got, Adam replied, “Don’t we have more than enough of those around here?”
“Oh, not God, but god,” Peter said in a rush. “Whoever wins gets to go down to Earth and put on the show next time some fanatic gets into an overzealous and/or drunken state. I really hope I win, because I really want to outdo Gab’s Joseph Smith performance. It’s legendary.”
“It should be,” Eve said. “It’s caused enough problems.”
“Yes, well, be that as it may…you are, naturally, expected.” And with that Peter went back to the papers on his desk. “Mr. Nixon, I will now hear your appeal for entrance into Heaven. Do you have all the necessary paperwork?”
*          *          *
God was still standing looking out the window when the trio entered. Adam and Eve sat down in the two chairs that were placed before the desk. Adam lounged back and put his feet up on the desk. Lassie went to God’s side and licked his hand. He patted her on the head.
“It looks like Peter is going to get his chance. The golds are about to pull ahead. Mary Magdalene just joined the team, and she has a killer serve.”
“Among other talents,” Adam replied. Eve crossed her arms and raised her eyebrow at him. He added, “Or so I have hear, Darling. Jesus will run at the mouth if you get enough tequila into him.”
God cleared his throat as he turned. He coughed a touch and glowered at Adam’s cigarette. “On to business.” The window behind him darkened and the battle scenes God had been watching before the volleyball game had distracted him appeared again. “What are you are looking at is New York City for alternative history date April 27th, 1938.”
Adam sat up and dropped his feet to the floor, leaving scuffmarks on the desk. Eve’s eyes widen, “Who in the world is attacking the United States in 1938? Did something change to give the Austrian twit a head start and advantage?”
As this God blushed, shook his head a little, and mumbled something.
Adam leaned back again, took a long drawl on his smoke, and said, “Sorry, didn’t catch that.”
“It’s Canada, alright?” God exploded. “Canada.”
A laugh burst from Adam’s lips. “How did you manage to let anything between the U.S. of A and Canada get bad enough to lead to war? That’s like getting Tony Blaire to disagree with George Bush.”
God’s eye’s narrowed. “Well, it was such a round-about cause that the computer could not compute the outcome before it happened. You see, it’s all about a girl.”
“It always is,” Eve sighed. “I am really tired of getting the blame for these things.”
“Dearest, no one is blaming you,” Adam comforted her. “At least no one in this room.”
There was a pause. Adam looked up at God, who jumped a little and replied, “Of course not.”
Eve smoothed her skirt with her hands. “Anyway, proceed.”
“It all really starts at a ball in 1910,” God continued, and the picture changed to a huge ballroom light by massive chandeliers, with a band and people in fancy dress dancing a waltz. Then the image zoomed in on a group of young men surrounding a particular young woman. She was talking animatedly which made her elaborately styled, shiny brown curls dance. When she laughed her violet eyes twinkled. She was definitely a beauty, especially decked out in a dazzling cream colored dress patterned with golden embroidery, showing off a tantalizing shoulder and the hint of cleavage.
“You are looking at Mademoiselle Annabella Dione, the belle of Montreal. Now here are the young men we are interested in.” The picture zoomed in on the two young men who were the closest to Annabella, and obviously the most rapt. “The blonde is Gregory Finch. He is an up and coming American. Currently he is working on the staff of the American ambassador. Eventually he will be an adviser to Herbert Hoover. The dark haired fellow is Jonathan Goodling. He is a member of the Canadian Parliament.” Eve walked closer to the screen and tilted her head as she studied the two boys. Men, she corrected herself. She always had trouble calling males around this age men. To her, Gregory Finch looked like a twelve-year-old dressed up in his father’s suit. His hair was curly, almost ringlets, and his nose and cheeks were speckled with faint freckles. His face had an earnest, serious expression as if Miss Dione’s conversation carried the weight of the world. Which, Eve reminded herself, it did in a round about way. Adam came up next to her and turned the attention toward Jonathan. While he shared Gregory’s fair skin, Jonathan had very dark hair, cut in a very straight, severe fashion. His eyes were a very dark blue that seemed to change shade with his mood, which seemed to jump rather quickly. They watch him change from laughing to smoldering rage as Annabella touched the lapel of Gregory’s jacket and then to adoration and passion as her should brushed his when she turned to gesture at the painting behind her. Both men wore very stylish tuxedoes that were tailored to perfection.       
God said, "Originally, Jonathan did not make it to the party. It all starts with a feather."
"Oh this is the part of the story I love," Adam declared as he plopped himself down in God's chair. "Let me get comfortable. So what random series of events has led to this catastrophe?"
God squinted at him, but continued. "Well it starts with Goodling's tailor. He's rather fond of the seedier side of town, mostly underground, bare-knuckled fighting. He's a big gambler. Anyway, we have to go back to a round of fights the night before he made the tux Goodling is wearing. Originally, the fights broke up early as no one would come forward to challenge the champion." The image on the wall turned to a smoke filled basement filled with sweaty and cheering men. In the middle was a human mountain with a shaved head and a face like a bull. He snorted and Adam could have sworn he saw steam leave the nostrils. He gave a long, low whistle. "I can see why." The man also looked like he hadn't bathe in a, well, ever.
"Yes, well, in the alternative, a short man with a feather in his hat, walks by a taller man. The feather tickles the taller man's nose, making him sneeze. As he sneezes he stumbles into the ring, and the challenger immediately pounces." Again the scene played out in front of them. A tall, thin man was doing his best to stay out of the monster's grasp, trying to get out of the ring, but the men surrounding kept pushing him back in, shouting and laughing. Money was quickly changing hands. “Now, if only this unfortunate man had just gotten knocked out, and everyone gone home, but alas, no.” For a few panicked moments, the tall thin man scrambled around, barely dodging punches, then suddenly his defense seemed to become more structured. He focused on his opponent and got his defense up. His strategy seemed to be, don’t get hit. This went on for fifteen minutes. The champion was wearing down. Slowly his punches got sloppier, and his defenses were lowering. Suddenly the tall thin man threw one punch right at the champions jaw. The champion blocked it with a forearm and his other fist took the tall thin man in the gut throwing him up in the air and across the ring. He didn’t get up, though a small groan escaped his lips before he lost consciousness. A few of the other men, picked him up and carried him away.
With a grimace on her face Eve said, “That was unfortunate.”
“Yes,” God replied. “Especially in that it set this whole sequence of events in motion. See the old man in the back that looks like he is made out of toothpicks and sandpaper?” Both Adam and Eve nodded, and Lassie gave a little affirmative woof. “That is the tailor.” He was jumping up and down and giggling. “He just won a lot of money. This will cause him to spent the rest of the evening spending his winnings getting himself and several mates drunk.” The picture changed to a pub and a raucous group of men surrounding the tailor who was obviously a shot away from passing out, but still had a huge grin on his withered, old face.
“This night of partying leaves him tired the next day, but he is on a deadline to finish the tuxedo for Mr. Goodling.” Now the old man was sitting cross-legged in his shop, desperately trying to keep his eyes open as he put in the hem of a pant leg. He still had the grin on his face. “Right here, during this yawn, he is going to drop a stitch.” The audience in God’s office watched it happen. Then in fast forward, a delivery boy picked up the suit and took it to the Goodling residence. They watched Jonathan Goodling meticulously prep himself for the ball. “What a girl,” Adam muttered under his breath. Lassie growled as him. Finally Goodling was coming out of his dressing room and heading for the staircase in his home when God slowed back to normal speed. “Here is where the feather, the winning bet, and the missed stitch become significant. Right before he reached the first stair, Goodling stopped and leaned down to pick at the string hanging from his cuff. As he did that a cat came streaking across the top stair. God paused the picture and pointed at the cat, saying, “In the original time line there was no string. Goodling kept going and ended up tripping over the cat, taking a spill down the stairs and breaking a leg. Instead he ends up as we saw him at first.” The wall was back to Annabella and her suitors.
Finally Adam said, “Not to spoil a perfectly good story, but why don’t we just go and steal the short man’s hat, or stop him or the tall thin man from going to the fights?”
God shook his head, “Somehow a change in the original code for Earth’s history happened. It is very tiny, within an acceptable margin of error. A glitch, if you will. No matter what scenarios I run, that fight ends up happening. One way or another the tailor ends up drunk and missing that stitch. Even sneaking into Goodling’s room and cutting the thread can’t work. He doesn’t leave the suit from the time it arrives until he dresses, and he won’t no matter what happens in the house. I even tried pushing him down the stairs or a trip wire, and it always ends worse than the broken leg. I even briefly contemplated setting a small kitchen fire, but that leads to a changes well outside parameters.”
“I didn’t think a glitch like that was possible,” Eve commented.
“Neither did I,” God said in a troubled tone. “We will be working on that while you are on the ground.”
The room was silent for a moment as Adam, Eve, and Lassie absorbed the information and watched the characters in their latest drama interact.
“Well, they both have the look of men who would rather draw pistols at dawn than share a beer,” Adam quipped as he turned from the screen back to God. “So, we are looking at the beginning of a jealousy. Which of them gets the girl and which starts a war?”
“Neither of them and both.”
God and Adam started when Eve spoke. God replied quizzically, “That’s right. How did you know?”
“Because our Mdm. Dione has been doing her best to make this young waiter, here, jealous. She is laughing a little too loudly, and every time she touches one of her admirers, she glances at him. And he has been carrying around those canap├ęs on his tray for an hour without serving one of them. He looks more like he would like to see them dumped on the floor as he bashed Mr. Goodling over the head with the tray.”
Adam and God turned their attention to the servant as well.
Adam whistled lowly and said, “My goodness, Danielle Steele couldn’t have created a better boy for her cover art fodder.”
He was an intense fellow with eyes that Danielle Steele often described as dark and smoldering. His black hair was wavy and had a perpetual swept back look as if he had just dismounted from a galloping horse. And he didn’t so much walk, as stalk.
God sighed, “Dear Eve, you have excellent perception. If only you could have developed if before the apple.”
“It’s not her fault you made the damned nodes to your planet computer edible, my dear creator,” Adam retorted. He took one last puff on the cigarette, then dropped it to the floor where he stamped it out. “I’d say that makes us all even.”
“Well, I couldn’t have…”
There was a whine from behind him, and Lassie butted her head against his knees. God cleared his throat, “Right, well, no use going over that territory again.”
God smiled, a little sadly, at Eve. “Very perceptive, my dear. In three days, Annabella will be running away with the dashing waiter, Henri.”
Adam clapped God on the shoulder, “You know you have to be thankful for one thing.”
God arched an eyeball at him, “And that would be?”
“At least when the planet computer went crazy, it only spewed out a finite amount of basic human predicaments.”
God folded his arms across his chest, “Yes, I suppose that is something, but they do excel at making them all tangled messes.”
Lassie reached up to the screen and scratched at the feet of Gregory and Jonathan and a low whine escaped her lips.
“I agree, Lassie,” Adam said nodding and giving the dog a quick scratch behind the ears. “And instead of commiserating over my suggested plethora of beers, they choose to blame each other?”
After a thoughtful pause, God replied, “Well, I suppose it is something more along the lines of hurt pride. You see, as these stories often go, Annabella’s family would never approve of the waiter. To keep everyone from finding out before the elopement, Annabella is leading both men around by the nose hairs, rather publicly. Then to add to the confusion, she accepts both of their marriage proposals the evening before she and Henri make their escape. Again, this wouldn’t have happened originally as Goodling was convalescing at the time. One Finch was given the chance to proposed and consequently was the only one spurned.” At this point the screen started flipping through the various scenes of the drama as God explained them. It should Gregory and then Jonathan both down on one knee in front of a flushed and giddy Annabella, followed by Annabella climbing down a ladder from a bedroom window with Henri waiting at the bottom, looking around anxiously. “Once the truth is discovered, both men are humiliated, naturally. The only target to take that humiliation out on is each other as Annabella and Henri are happily on a ship to France with all of her and most of her mother’s jewels.” Here an image of Annabella and Henri in a stateroom, half clothed, laughing, surrounded by a scatter of excessively large and gaudy jewelry.
“Hm, you have to give the eloping couple credit for style and out and out, well, balls,” Adam said. Both Lassie and Eve nodded in agreement.
“More than you may realize. Annabella and Henri will open a hotel and dance hall when they get to Paris. It will become rather well known. Come World War Two, it will be a favorite of the Nazis.” Again the screen flicked. Henri and Annabella change into a middle-aged, well-dressed couple welcoming men in SS uniforms with French ladies on their arms. “However, they are also high ranking members of the French resistance. Thanks to their free flowing liquor and charisma, they become a top source of crucial information that will be used against the Nazis. Their elopement and presence in Paris is essential.” The classy middle aged couple was shown going through the pockets and luggage of one of the officers while he was passed out on the bed, snoring. A half-clad young lady was aiding them.
“The Nazis certainly knew how to appreciate a nice set of bosoms,” Adam commented as the prostitute turned freedom fighter leaned over, giving her unknown audience a view of nicely spaced breasts.
Eve glared at him, “You know, for someone who was never a baby or breast feed, your breast obsession is rather disturbing.”
“It comes from having access to the very first pair ever made, darling,” Adam replied to appease her. He wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her close, making sure to notice the objects of conversation in the process, for a quick peck on the lips. They pulled apart at the slam of a desk drawer and turned their attention back to God, in time to seem him plop two Alka-Seltzers into a glass of water that had appeared on the desk in front of him.
“So run along to Montreal, keep Misters Finch and Goodling from becoming bitter enemies while making sure the future of the object of their shared love or hatred, however you choose to look at it, is not changed.”
Adam and Eve exchanged a glance. Lassie emitted a series of short barks and then whined inquiringly. 
The screen changed to a chart. “Well, Lassie, that area of concern should make you feel a little better,” God directed to the dog as he changed to screen one more time. This time it was covered with complicated looking equations and charts. “After calculating it out, I think that you can get away with a relatively large margin of change for these two young men’s lives. We should be safe if we stay within 7.4354 and 10 percent.”
Eve let out a long breath. “Well, that is greater than usual, I suppose.”
“Yes, they lead rather boring lives as moderate level bureaucrats in the original timeline, so changing that a little either way isn’t too terribly complicated. It shouldn’t be enough to bring the COBC down on us. As long as they don’t manage to get anyone killed.”
“But bureaucrats are so good at that,” Adam commented.
"Yes, well, your job is to keep them from doing what they are good at." God paused. "Or something like that. Anyway, Lassie will be your researcher and point of contact. Tech has wings waiting for you. And Peter will have all of your luggage at his desk.”

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thoughts on Childbirth (Not Graphic, I Swear.)

In a picture I saw today an adorable toddler in tidy overalls and a sweet smile that just shows off a row of perfect baby teeth is holding a picture of her own messy birth. The picture inside the picture is taken from an angle slightly higher than the mother's hip aimed in such a way that the baby and midwife are framed by the mother's legs. I know how it sounds, but actually, the mother's part in the picture is almost demure. The midwife's face is great with an expression of tired elation. What made this picture stick in my head and take me to my laptop at 12:45 AM is how in a very quiet way if represents the profound nature of birth. Together this mother, child and midwife complete a triangle of strength, so that when I look at the photo the first word that comes to mind is Life.
This experience was beyond my grasp when I had my daughter via c-section.
During my pregnancy, I often thought about the birth process, and it was never in fear of the pain or the unknown. I was excited. I knew that nature must balance the scales, and the pain of labor would be a small price to pay for the bond of a child. Also I knew what an amazing support system I would have, starting with my husband, who I knew, would be there for me every second, completely focused on me and the baby, suppressing his own fears and concerns to get us through.
And I was also anticipating how female the experience would be. With the exception of my husband, everyone else involved would be a woman. I was going to see that same look from the picture on a midwife's face as she held up my daughter for me to see for the first time. The world over since people started forming communities birth has been the womens' domain. Even with the advent of male dominated western medicine, in the grand scheme of human evolution, women have banded together to bring children in to the world for only other women share the secret. All women whether they have given birth, will give birth, will never give birth or even desire to give birth, are bond together in the knowledge that we are the only ones who can. We alone have been given the strength to endure through labor to nurture our children.
Then at 32 weeks, the midwife said the baby was breech. Nothing to worry about at this point. But she was still breech at 34 and 36 and 38. I tried the music, hot and cold compresses, trips to the chiropractor, different position, but to no avail. I think she just missed her window to get her long self turned around inside my not long body, so I never got to experience the birthing plan I had in my head.
Now I am glad that I live in a time and place where there was an option that allowed my daughter to come into the world in a safe manner for both of us. Her very existence was a miracle I had given up on years before she was conceived, so I didn't dwell on the lost of my birthing experience. But I do think about it every now and then like when I saw this picture today.
I know there are women reading this thinking I am nuts. I know there are women reading this thinking I am totally right on. While it is on the basic level the same for all of us, each of us has our own ideas about our experiences. These are just my thoughts on mine. And no matter how any woman and her child come to meet, even though adoption (which I have also been lucky enough to experience), the moment of meeting is what makes us fight for the best world possible.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Valor of Red Robin Employees

Picture it, Mechanicsburg, PA, 2010.
Sorry, had to get the Sophia homage in there.
Anyway, I got to have a night out last night with a friend! YAY ME! YAY HUBBY home with the kids.
A friend and I decided to meet to have a late dinner at Red Robin. With a husband who is "off the meat", I don't get dead cow a whole lot, and every once in a while I crave it. In this case it was dead buffalo, but equally as tasty and a little less guilt creating.
However, the burger comes later.
On the way, I stopped for gas. Once we sat down at our booth (Remember BOOTH. It is being introduced in the first act.), I realized my hands smelled like the fuel I had recently procured (I've been playing a lot of Words with Friends.), so I went to the bathroom to wash them, leaving my rings in front pocket of my purse which was sitting on the BOOTH seat.
Or so I thought.
When I came back to the BOOTH, I got my rings out to put back on. Except one was missing. My. Engagement. Ring.
Within in a minute my friend and I the BOOTH seat off. That's when the poor host decided to intervene. Bless him, he was even polite as he approached the crazy lady, and when he found out I was looking for my ring, he didn't act like he had a cornered animal on his hands anymore. He went into action!
Unfortunately, the ring was not in the BOOTH seat. It was in this little crack between the booth and the wall.
My friend was all into trying to fish it out, she was on a mission, but I think the Red Robin staff was afraid of a lawsuit or something, and they kinda got her out of the way. So the two of us sat munching sandwiches while at least four Red Robin employees fashioned device after device trying to fish the ring out.
Finally, several straws wrapped with a napkin and duct tape, natch, in the hands of the manager did the trick. I hugged each and every one of them, completely ignoring their various levels of discomfort.
I needed a brownie sundae to calm my nerves.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Finding Me Again

It is really hard having two children under one year. Hard. But I have decided it is not as hard as being pregnant with a newborn/infant. As I emerge from that state of being, I am realizing that I was in survival mode as I fought nausea, discomfort, exhaustion, sleeplessness, etc. from not just one source but two. There was nothing that wasn't about the baby or the fetus. Aspects of my wellbeing and independence became secondary. The funny thing was, I didn't realize any of this at the time. It wasn't until I came out the other side of my c-section and started being able to do more for myself, that I figured it out.
Yes, the majority of my day is spent keeping small people alive, but it's different as I can do more for myself and more things that are not about babies.
Today I weeded beds that desperately needed it. In our neighborhood of yard obsessed retirees, the excuse of giving birth is only going to last so long. It was sweaty, dirty, muscle stiffening work, but I had the time and strength to do it. I pushed around a fully loaded wheelbarrow, and it didn't put the fetus is danger. It was something I did totally unrelated to babies or worrying how it would affected them. This was my household job before I was a mom, and even though I kinda hate it, it was good to get back to it.
It was a physical representation of finding my way back to Duffy not just Mommy.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Like most little kids, I changed what I wanted to be when I grew up at least every other day. I know firefighter lasted a while, and veterinarian lasted through middle school all the way until I hit chemistry in college. The constant though was mommihood. I never even considered not having kids. Even when I was going through maudlin phases, despairing of ever finding A Man, I had thoughts of sperm banks. In other words, it was important to me.
So when I got my dog, Hobbes, in 2000, let's say I was a little ridiculous with him. I never made it to Paris Hilton dog in the purse status, but I was close. This did not get any better when John and I started dating and lavished the same attention on the dog he bought, Snickelfritz. Then in 2005, my then stepmother made an impulsive purchase of a puppy for my seven-year-old brother. Cosmo, the yorkiepoo, spent about seven months in my father's home before he begged us to take him. By he, I mean the dog. Seriously, we visited one Sunday, and Cosmo tried to follow us out to the car. This pretty much sums up the care he was getting at home. So now we had three dogs, and since we were having trouble conceiving, he was added to the furry children substitutes. We dealt with a lot of dominance issues with three male dogs (Don't let anyone ever tell you fixing them changes that.), but just like with real children, we dealt with it.
Then the real kids showed up. And I became a stay at home mom for actual humans.
Two kids plus three dogs can be wearing. The dominance issues meant lots of barking that naturally led to interrupted naps. There was territory marking which became really inconvenient when my son learned to crawl. And while I know Cesar would come in and explain everything I was doing wrong, my time for dog training was limited.
As I pointed out, the purchaser of Cosmo is no longer married to my father, and he is living with a woman who has drastically changed the atmosphere of the household to the point that I started to consider sending Cosmo back to his original home.
That was a really hard thing to do. He was our dog now, mostly, though he still really loved my brother. Plus, I was starting to realize he really didn't like being a member of a pack. Yet the responsibility I felt for the little guy made me only thinking these things for a long time. Then the peeing, the barking, the jumping on the baby just got too much one day.
Cosmo is back with my dad. He's happy. We're happy. They're happy.
I still feel responsible and guilty. I couldn't do it all. I should be able to. Why do we seem to be hardwired to think we should do it all? Why should a solution that is working for everyone leave me with guilt?
I don't have the answers to those questions. Until I find them, I am just trying to breath deeply when the guilt pangs start and remember how much easier things are now. Then I text my little brother to ask about the dog.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Who Uses Maxi Pads? (Warning: Probably TMI)

Besides women like me who just had a baby? Why would someone choose to be this uncomfortable and, well, "dirty" once a month? I guess there could be medical reason, but to me that is the only excuse.
We have evolved passed maxi pads. It just seems like a throwback to time when women had less options in all aspects of their lives. They restrict the activities a woman can participate in. And more than that is still a way to feel ashamed and unclean about the most natural of processes, the process that allows us to have children.
Or maybe I am over analyzing.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Awesomeness of My Life

I have two great loves, my husband and my son. In a couple of months there will be a third to add to that list. The true blessing is that I have come to realize that what I always thought I wanted in life, is indeed, what I really want. I don't know if there is anything in life that is as contenting as knowing that. It is a quest we seek to complete most of our lives, many of us never really finding it, or even more sadly, ignoring it when we have. Being a wife and a mother is exactly why I am here. It makes every day, good or bad, completely meaningful even the spitting up, endless bottle cleaning, and the dirty laundry all over the floor of John's side of the bedroom. Heck, it's taken me a week to try and write this blog entry.
What makes everything so worthwhile has nothing to do with what a lot of books, TV shows, or movies are trying to sell. Contentment is so much more internal that we are led to believe. It is my responsibility to appreciate what I have. It is not anyone else's responsibility to make me happy. That is the key to my life. I expect to love my life, so I do. It's pretty cool.