Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Hell is made of cinderblocks

Julianna and a friend Little Jeff (everybody we know is named Jeff, esp. the gay guys) spent the weekend constructing a massive trench in the back yard. Eventually, and I use "eventually" in the sense of "God I hope it's soon," this monstrosity will be filled with topsoil and then planted with ornamentals of various types. Seriously, this thing is 2 cinderblocks high in the front, which is sixteen inches, (and 3 in the back just to conceal more of the ugly wood fence), six feet wide from front to back, and (brace yourself) forty seven feet long.

How many cinderblocks might it take to build the Great Wall of Vancouver, you ask? Well, I can answer that. One hundred ninety-seven. I know this not because I counted each one as it was placed, tempting though that was, but because we had 210 of them delivered to the driveway. That was cool -- Lowe's sends a truck with canvas sides and a really nifty all-terrain forklift hanging from the back, and this big burly broad with a volleyball-team ponytail (if you know what I mean, wink wink) jumps out and climbs into the forklift and whips those pallets of cinderblock right off the truck and into the driveway, lickety damn split. Our neighbor Dave will be relating the story to other neighbors in four-part harmony with diagrams and 8x10 color glossy photographs for years to come.

Anyway there were 13 left over.

I personally had to shift only about ten of them, because I was watching Delia pretty much the whole weekend. She's at that independent forehead-smashing-into-cinderblock age wherein she spends all her time seeking out peril and facing it head-on.

Sunday, May 29, 2005


How cool is it that not only does my Mom get to go see Macchu Pichu but that she can also ping me on our direct-connect walkie talkie phone feature from LIMA, PERU?!

Nextel, I freaking love you. Love. You.

Air travel freaks me out these days so any chance to be in touch is a good thing. The world is so uncertain...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Do they make jogbras for your ass?

Right. Went for a walk/run today. Or a walk/"hurry." I don't think it qualifies as running if you are going almost the same speed as you were when you were walking.

As I was feeling self-conscious, I walked to the park which is heavily wooded and ran within the heavily wooded parts where nobody could see me. I'm sure the neighbors noticed the wildlife stampeding away as I thundered through the forest like an arthritic rhinoceros... Anyway I "ran" in 30-second to 1-minute increments within a lot of huffy-puffy walking. There was sweating. There was panting. There was a whole lot of jiggling, especially in the back 40. See, this is why I wanted to run where nobody could see me: as a courtesy to others.

Anybody who has met me can confirm that, ahem, Baby Got Back. And I can't blame it on the actual baby, either. I am the same size now as before getting pregnant, although some parts have settled during shipping. Anyway I got this super-strappy double-reinforced flying-buttressed running bra to keep the upper parts from wobbling, but how to keep the rest of the island from collapsing into the sea? It feels like my butt is going to calve off like an iceberg, which would be totally okay with me if it could really happen, but since it's not likely to, I would like someone to draft up a sort of elastic sling I can wear under my shorts. Sure, sure, I could order up one of those "slimming" mummy garments from the Carol Wright catalog (along with some marital aids since I'm ordering and all, wink wink), but I need something a little more comfortable which will allow me to actually breathe while running. Or hurrying. So, you enterprising types get on that and get back to me, mmkay?

Delia of course came along in the jogging stroller which we borrowed from J's sister across the street. She was happy to munch crackers and guzzle from her sippy cup, watching the scenery inching by.

Now I am busy tidying up and getting dinner ready like a good little Suzy Homemaker. Except that I'm really blogging. Ha! Some hausfrau I am.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Happy Birthday to Pinky

Had Delia's party today. Invited more or less everyone we know who I thought might be mildly interested in attending, and more than a few of them showed up! So between our families and friends, we had quite the gang.

My Mom
My brother, his wife, three of their sons ages 9, 7, and 4
My Aunt and her son age 16 (Mom's side)
My cousin, her two daughters ages 15 and 11, and the daughter age 2.5 of another cousin (all Dad's side),
My Grandmother (Dad's side)
Old friend and her daughter age 6, son age 14 months
J's Mom & Dad
J's sister, her husband, son age 5, daughter age 5 months
J's other sister, her husband, son age almost 5, daughter age 21 months, daughter age 9 weeks
J's yet another sister
J's old friend and her son age almost 2
Pastor Dave and Marie (aka Mrs. Pastor Dave) from church
Old friends Mark and Eric

Mmmm, I think that's it. We had kids everywhere. Not counting anyone over the age of 11, we had 13 of them. Delia toddled around after the other kids and was charming and sweet, and all of the kids were pretty well-behaved.

Delia declined her usual afternoon nap so was completely exhausted by the time it was all over, and crashed hard when I went to put her down for the night.

She got many lovely gifts: doll and doll buggy, books, clothes (some handmade by my Mom), toys. And an electronic drum set! From J's sister Amy and her family, a retaliatory response to a drum set that J and I gave their son for Christmas 2003. It was a little drum filled with other instruments -- tambourine, maracas, toy trumpet. They gleefully gave Delia a Leapfrog Learning Drum for Christmas as a warm-up for the day she could handle a larger drum... Which evidently is now.

We put her in the highchair with a cake of her very own to maul, which could have gone better. We had put a dinky little birthday candle in it and were singing Happy Birthday to her and despite my (apparently ineffectual) efforts, her little hand shot out and grabbed that candle. She got a bit of hot wax on her finger which resulted in much wailing... I felt so bad. Once we got it cooled off and I sneaked a smidgen of frosting into her mouth, she calmed down and got to work on the cake. Really she didn't eat that much of it, just a bit of frosting, but took her time and seemed content. And, um, did you know that green frosting stains skin? At any rate, she was a great little birthday girl and enjoyed her day I think.

I am so beat. Time for bed, methinks.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Got an email from a friend stating that she had read my blog (since I outed myself as a blogger) and decided to try it out just for grins, despite some serious doubts as to its worthiness as a pursuit. Does the world need another blog? No, probably not. And I don't need a (fancy trinket which changes regularly but often concerns diamonds and platinum), but I still want one, and that doesn't make me a bad person. It's a blog, not a fashion statement. Call it a blanket phone call to anyone who cares to listen. It's like one of those 3am shows on non-commercial radio, some chump playing you his favorite (usually obscure and often really, really boring) music and expanding on topics nobody is interested in but him (and maybe you), but you don't have to stay up all night to hear it. Who does it hurt? No one. Who does it help? Maybe the chump. Maybe you. Maybe nobody. There are worse vanities. Here was my reply, in part:

FWIW, I blog mainly as a way to keep from going insane, and not because I believe anyone needs to see my drivel. It's like DIY spam... I'm not nearly as hip and swell as a person really ought to be to keep a blog. My blog is not especially thought-provoking and serves mainly to reveal my self-centeredness, my naivete, my ignorance and my severe case of utter dullness. So really it's kind of a self-bullying exercise. :)

... I went on to state that I was so average that it pleased me a little to think that anyone ever read it or was mildly entertained by it.

I was thinking earlier about how having a blog is like having a sort of censored version of your diary laying around. You probably wouldn't discuss that pesky foot fungus or mysterious rash on a blog (vs. a diary), but you may write about things that not all your friends know about you. Like, a couple of friends now know that we go to church. GASP!

But they still remain friends, thus far anyway. Wonder if they are waiting for us to pull some born-again move -- "Would you like this badly written and terribly acted videotape of the Greatest Story Ever Told, free of charge and with no strings attached?" Not to worry. Not all Christians are weirdos. For more on this, read Ann Lamott's Traveling Mercies.

Well, I'm in trouble once again. Must finish cleaning. Wife about to start beating me. And I would deserve it. Party tomorrow and house so close to being clean...

Monday, May 16, 2005

Old People Have Needs Too

Bet you thought I'd be writing about my own needs, but you're wrong. And I'm not old!

Julianna ended up on The Mailing List From Hell recently by ordering plants off the internet. So today we received a Carol Wright Gifts catalog. You know, the funky catalog with all the goofy shit in it like "Slimming Shapers (tm)," the allegedly comfortable and lightweight garment that looks like an elastic mummy costume and is meant to smooth out those "unsightly lumps and bumps." They show saggy before and perky after shots of roly-poly middle aged women whose lumps and bumps are to the naked eye less noticeable in the after shots but who are probably hypoxic since they certainly can't breathe swaddled in that tight gidle. You know this catalog -- chenille bedspreads, country lace curtains, kitchen rugs featuring your choice of lighthouse or barnyard scenes, vinyl hanger covers, and (among my favorites) "Spring Fancy Clamdiggers."

Some of the items are rather intriguing, or at least would seem to fill a need you may not be able to fill elsewhere -- I don't know of anyplace else you might be able to get a sturdy, polystyrene shelf for the top of your tv, with adjustable legs, to hold your vcr or similar. Nor a slug & snail trap "shaped like an adorable frog." Or -- and try to deny you want one, go ahead -- a "Tighty Whities Farting Key Chain."

But where it gets interesting is a page near the back. They segue into it by having some fairly benign personal care products on the page preceding. Hair growth cream, ear wax removal tool (lighted, no less), fingernail strengthener polish. Then they hit you with -- gasp! -- the Sexual Aids and Videos.

I dig the three different types of vibrators, two of which feature photos of women using them to "massage" their neck areas. (Good heavens, where do they get models for this? "Okay, now, use the vibrator to massage your neck. That's what it's for, after all. And try to look insipid!") They evidently "stimulate circulation and soothe tired, aching muscles on your neck, back, shoulders, arms and legs," and to suggest otherwise brands you as the perverted sicko that you are! For shame!

One, however, actually comes right out and states graphically that it is designed to serve "dual pleasure points," and is shaped accordingly. Probably couldn't really be coy about something that specific and obvious.

So my theory, and this both amuses and saddens me, is that a person could be in deep denial that they were purchasing a marital aid. See, it's for my neck! But you know that they would be stocking up on batteries and checking the mail twice a day for four to six breathless weeks, then drawing the curtains and taking the phone off the hook when it finally arrived in its plain brown wrapper...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Twenty YEARS?!

Okay, a twenty year high school reunion is something that happens to Other People, old people, for instance my brother. Whose hair is almost entirely white and who has huge, knobby hands like a geezer.

But, um, suddenly I'm not just fat, but evidently old too.

As in, I'm on the committee for my 20 year high school reunion.

And weird, weird things are happening. Like, my mama's-boy high school boyfriend is supposedly on the committee too. (It turns out he isn't, or not to his knowledge anyway.) So I swallowed my pride and did the hard thing which was to email him and apologize for being a total bitch to him when we parted company, in freaking 1987 for God's sake, and not only did he email me back right away, it wasn't to tell me to f*ck off and die, it was to say "Ah, I was an ass too and it doesn't matter and how the hell are you?"

Oh. My. God. I have been carrying around such guilt and regret -- I was such a cow to him, and so had my head way up my ass. I mean, don't get me wrong, we needed to split up and bad, but I was a jerk and as a result lost not only what friendship I might have had with him (not much, realistically) but also with my best friend Allison. Who had the nerve to rat me out to him for stepping out without first decently breaking it off with him, and then the unmitigated gall to act as if I -- gasp! -- deserved it! And was even willing to -- gaaaah! -- carry on as if I was a human being allowed to make mistakes!

For this, naturally, I chewed her out and wrote her off. Hey, I did say my head was way up my ass, right?

And now he's sending me a pleasant email and acting all nice.

Wonders never cease.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I'm baaaaack

Phoenix was fun, although the nasty stomach bug I got right as I returned home was not so great. Delia is a great traveler and has been sleeping practically non stop, catching up on all the missed naps. She had the nerve to fall asleep on the plane as we took off for home, slept an hour and a half -- and I'd packed all my reading materials since I'd had no time at all to look at them on the way to Phoenix.

Man, they have some weird shit in that Skymall catalog, that's all I'm going to say.

Friend Patti sent me this, I don't generally send them out to friends but I did return it to her and will post it here. Feel free to comment with your answers!

1. LAST MOVIE YOU SAW IN A THEATER: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
2. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? The Nanny (the one about a New York nanny, nothing to do with Fran Drescher) -- it's supposed to be funny but I mostly find it kind of sad.
3. FAVORITE BOARD GAME? Scrabble, Monopoly in a pinch although it brings back memories of playing with my mercenary brother and living in fear of landing on any of his properties which naturally was most of the board, and all heavily hotel'ed.
4. FAVORITE MAGAZINE? Smithsonian, National Geographic
5. FAVORITE SMELLS? vanilla, lavender, apple pie
6. FAVORITE FOODS? chocolate, strawberries, caesar salad, tapioca pudding (homemade preferably), ribeye steak cooked rare, mmmmm.... hungry now...
7. FAVORITE SOUND? Rain on the roof, surf, frogs in a marsh
8. WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD? Rug-pulled-out-from-under-you when something goes bad all of a sudden
9. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE? Ugh, what time is it? (usually awakened by baby around 5:30 am)
11. FUTURE CHILD'S NAME? Grace, William
12. FINISH THIS STATEMENT. "If I had a lot of money" I would travel a lot and set up college funds for all the children in my family
13. DO YOU DRIVE FAST? Sometimes but not as much as I used to. I don't like getting tickets.
14. DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL? Not unless you count Wilbur (cat), she's kind of tubby but I don't think you could call her stuffed.
15. STORMS-COOL OR SCARY? Cool now, but when I was little I was terrified of the power going off, it felt like the end of the world. We lived in Florida so it happened frequently. I have had bad dreams about that.
16. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR? Severely oxidized blue 1966 Chevy Bel-Air four-door sedan that I bought from (a mutual work friend), which had been in (another mutual work friend)'s family I think since it was new! The dashboard was metal and a mile long and I'm sure would have killed us all in a crash. I liked to say it had a three-dead-body trunk...
17. FAVORITE DRINK? Hot: vanilla latte, cold: real Coke with sugar and everything, over crushed ice if available.
18. FINISH THIS STATEMENT, "IF I HAD THE TIME I WOULD" do more calligraphy and scrapbooking
I wouldn't......I love my red hair. (ditto, Patti!)
Oak Harbor WA; Rota, Spain; Jacksonville, FL; Tigard/Beaverton/Silverton/West Linn/Portland OR (same general vicinity for thirty odd years); Vancouver WA
22. GLASS - HALF EMPTY OR FULL? Depends on how my PMS/Seasonal Affective is doing. Half full most of the time...
23. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Um, I don't watch sports. Except a little during the Olympics. Sometimes.
24. ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Sweet as the day is long and would give you the shirt off her back if it'd help you out.
25. WHAT IS UNDER YOUR BED? A box with art paper in it, and probably some dust bunnies
27. MORNING PERSON, OR NIGHT OWL? Forced to be a morning person, naturally tend toward night owl
28. OVER EASY, OR SUNNY SIDE UP? Ugh! Over medium at least!
29. FAVORITE PLACE TO RELAX? In a cheap plastic adirondack chair on the front porch of my old house. Now that we've moved, the couch until we get a back porch going that is relax-worthy.
30. FAVORITE PIE? Apple crumb, or cherry if somebody else makes it!
RESPOND? I didn't email it to anybody but you, but I'm sticking it in my blog (www.impetua.blogspot.com)