Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
My own little Commie Pinko rockin' the Slippers of the Peoples' Princess.
Lately the obsession has taken a turn for the worse and she insists on sleeping in them. Now I know that as the mother I am supposed to have the power in this relationship, but have you ever tried putting a two year old to bed without something she thought she would certainly die without? No? Okay then, have you maybe snuck inside her room after she's fallen asleep to take that item out of her crib? Then have you been awakened at 3am to the blood-curdling rage of said two year old when she realizes the item in question is no longer on her person? That while dreaming of applesauce and the free balloons at Trader Joe's she has been stripped of her possession? Her obsession? Yeah, I think not. Because there is nothing like waking up at 3am to a full-fledged toddler tantrum over PRINCESS SLIPPERS! MY PRINCESS SLIPPERS! WHO TOOK MY PRINCESS SLIPPERS??? If Zoey yet knew how to curse I'm sure she would have done so like a tranny sailor upon realizing some pirate somewhere has made off with his princess boo-tay. WHERE THE FUCK ARE MY GODDAMN PRINCESS SLIPPERS??? I swear her voice dropped a few octaves just like a pissed tranny caught off guard.
I have taken to stretching them on over her footed pajamas on chilly nights. Which is better than warm evenings when she wears them sans socks. Hot days are the worst. Those gold beaded princess slippers? They stink like the old sneakers of a twelve year old boy who does not yet realize hormones have staged a coup on his body. I mean, I never knew a two year old could even have toe jam before the Princess Slippers entered my castle.
But this? The sight of Princess Slippers crowning the toes of two legs soft as sticks of thick butter?This sight is well worth twilight tantrums and the stench of Princess Stinky Shoes, My Maiden of Gilded Butter and Glimmering Toe-Jammed Gems. This sight is mine. --
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
An all-American family portrait: me, my mom and my brother, Andy. I'm guessing this is the summer of '76. A patriotic fashion choice for a Bi-Centennial July.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The Girl Most Likely to Do It All Wrong (But Laugh At Herself Anyway)
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Zoey was also born in San Francisco. Bryan and I bought our first house in the Outer Sunset, near the beach. At night we could hear the rounding squeal of tires as teenagers tagged the streets and burned donuts in the intersections. During the day the fog lay low, still, and our neighborhood smelled like Chinese food.
Once when Zoey was just a tiny baby I stopped at the video store on my way home. I drove around the block a dozen times until I finally found a parking spot, my bumper only a few inches in someone's driveway. Carefully unlatching Zoey from her car set, I held her in my arms as I twisted my body to get out of the car. But my foot caught on the looped strap of my diaper bag and I could not stop the momentum. I fell out of my car holding my baby, fast, hard and flat onto the sidewalk without my arms free to catch my fall. I screamed, Zoey screamed, I saw blood and so I screamed some more. Not ten feet away a man stood talking on his cell phone. He glanced at me and continued his conversation. It was at that moment that I decided we were moving our family to the suburbs, too.
In some ways we are sell outs, Bryan and I, DINKS* who became DIKS* not long after the positive pregnancy test, strictly bridge and tunnel with a car seat in the back. But I love the suburbs. I love easy parking and parks, trees and dogs that aren't all pit bulls with choke chains.
I don't usually regret my decision to move to Marin but this past weekend made me pause. We took Zoey to the watch the Bay to Breakers in the city. For those who might not know this is a race from one end of San Francisco to the other, from the bay up and over hills and through neighborhoods to the breakers of the Pacific Ocean. I believe a man from Kenya usually wins, but that's not what people come to see. People come to see the runners who walk in costume, the outrageous floats that people make, the kegs people carry and the people who run naked. The race as it becomes a city-wide party, a community of freaks and freedom.
I missed my city this weekend. The energy. Zoey, however, was a little dubious at first:
Of course I don't blame her. I also wanted to hide my head in Bryan's chest when this man walked by:
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The post made me think long and hard about my own list. Because the problem with my Free Pass Five is that I would need a time machine for anything to ever materialize. There are too many contingencies in my Free Pass Five, too many if only's and this but never that. There are some ye olde skeleton keys in my bowl but the doors all open with key-less remote.
First out of the gate I have a young Matt Dillon. But the emphasis here is on young. I want Little Darlings Matt Dillion, The Outsiders, Tex. I want tight jeans, a scowl and feathered hair to cover up his elephant ears. I want Matt Dillon before we ever knew about his ugly brother Kevin and saw the resemblance. I want a Matt Dillon I can save.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I am proud to report that I did not buy anything. Honestly it was because I ran out of time, but still. I am jonesing to go shopping. In an effort to curb the shakes I have taken to browsing online and clicking crap into virtual shopping carts and then abandoning them in some internet aisle in the ethers. I feel sort of like a horny guy in prison, licking his lips and gritting his teeth as he talks about all the women he's going to fuck the shit out of when he's finally released. Sorry, but there's really no other way to say that. So here we go, the shit I'm gonna' bang when I get a job:
This Orla Kiely dress. Or any of these Orla Kiely dresses. I'm going to be the biggest Orla Kiely slut out there, rockin' those fun prints and retro fabulousness with my new fangled bi-weekly paychecks and benefits.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
A modern day Mary Cassatt painting, Mother's Day in our garden.
A few years ago on a Southwest flight I sat next to a mother and her daughter. The girl must have been about three and she sat on her mother's lap the whole plane ride, facing her, asking to kiss. Mwah? she would ask. Can we play kiss some more? And her mother would sigh, exasperated--I could tell she wanted to read her book--but she would lean forward just the slightest bit and kiss her daughter. The girl would open her mouth to cover her mother's, giggling, and from my seat not one foot away I exhaled loudly and hogged the arm rest. Why! They were practically making out! I would later tell my friends, although I doubt I said "Why!" because I am not yet eighty years old. The kisses seemed slightly incenstuous. That and the fact that the woman was carrying a John Grisham book loaded me down, heavy with disgust.
How can you not?
Friday, May 9, 2008
And if I were attacked by my own cells multiplying inside my body I would like to think my blood would not turn to lead, that I would not crawl into bed and cower, that I would not cry why? when there would be no reason at all. I would like to think I would not be immobilized by fear but moved to live, that I would laugh at the absurdity of picking my nose with fingernails worn weak and paper-thin by chemo, that I would only cover my bald head if I were cold, that I would still laugh and gossip and watch bad tv, that I would still sing songs even if terribly off-key. In short, if I were diagnosed with breast cancer I would like to think I would kick ass like my very good friend Rosalie.
Rosalie and her baby girl, the Divine Miss Sadie Wren
I was raised without a recognizable god. In a county known for hot tubs and crystal shops, where on late night local cable access television two hippies give each other massages by rhythmically swishing their hair across each other's backs. In this Zen-Zippy Buddhist world of the Yoni it was stranger to be raised with organized religion than without. We were expected to question rather than to have faith in an answer. Subsequently, I don't know how to pray.
But right now, right this very second as I am sitting in my kitchen listening to the relaxed low hum of the refrigerator, right now my friend Rosalie is undergoing a double mastectomy. Somewhere a few miles from here surgeons are cutting away at her chest, taking out the cancer and any affected lymph nodes while one of her sisters is at her house watching her 5 month old baby girl. And in this funny little world where Paris Hilton exists in the same synchronicity as Darfur I am here in my kitchen eating a croissant and wishing I were Catholic. Or Episcopalian. Muslim. Whatever. I don't have a preferance really, I just wish I knew how to pray.
I could go on and on about Rosalie. About how she makes me laugh both intentionally and unintentionally. About how brave I think she is. About how one of the strangest things about her having cancer is that when she lost her hair I could no longer tell if she had just been in a room: there were no tell-tale Rosalie strands of golden curly hair left behind. Throughout this ordeal what I have learned about cancer is that it doesn't give a flying fuck if you question it. It just is. Like faith.
And so I sit and do my own version of prayer. Please god/crystal/princess-swishy-hair. I pray to the good I know is everywhere, to energy and to vibes even though the word vibe makes me think of marital aids and cheap compact Pontiacs. Please give Rosalie the strength to get through this surgery. Please let the doctors find that the cancer has not spread into any lymph nodes. Please grant her baby girl a healthy mother. Please. In the church that is my kitchen the hum of the refrigerator is like a multiple pitch mantra, a spiritual chant to the gods of Whirlpool. Please.
Please go to Rosalie's blog and leave a comment of support. I don't know when she will get around to reading it but I know she will love it. This is my way of praying. Words are my faith and intention my psalm. This is my way of kicking ass.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
We have been holed up in our house wearing as many flower barrettes as we can possibly clip into our hair and eating applesauce straight from the jar. Just two crazy girls at home on a sunny afternoon singing songs in Portuguese even though neither of us speaks the language, courtesy of Zoey's daycare provider.
Despite said mystery illness spirits are high. Zoey has been a living breathing ball of finger pointing love, poking me in the eyes as she emphatically says that I am her mommy, offering me tiny rosebud kisses for no reason at all.
I don't really know what I was so afraid of, staying at home with my daughter. So far so good. So good, in fact, that I suspect somebody might have smeared Vaseline on the lens of my family and in 20 years Zoey and I will be walking down the beach together talking about that, you know, not so fresh feeling? Down there? The hems of our jeans will be rolled up and we will be barefoot and then the logo for Masengill will float across the screen, a breeze will whip through my salt and pepper hair and we will both toss our heads back and laugh in slow motion. That's right, things are so halcyon here at Casa Petunia Face that we resemble a commercial for a feminine hygiene product. Itching has never felt so good.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Yesterday I went to the mall to see if maybe I could find some cute interview attire at my own personal Mecca of the Gimme Gimme, Anthropologie. My reasoning was sort of along the lines of if I dress like it they will come. But I didn't buy anything. Anthro was full of frilly print dresses and embellished sweaters too delicate for my hangnails, J. Crew had silk tops cut too full, Banana was just downright fugly in a Heathers playing croquet kind of way so I left empty handed and now I cannot help but wonder if because I am not dressing like it nothing will come. Just endless days of naps and going to the grocery store because every single day I wear jeans, a sweatshirt and some flip flops, the universal uniform of the unemployed.
Last year at this time I was on a work trip to China where the workers in the factories have to wear vests, each a different color to show what department they work in and at what level. If I were in China this year, right now, then surely I would be wearing the dingy grey smock flecked with metal shavings, my fingers stained with tobacco and machinery oil. But I am not, I am here in the States in my plush ivory bathrobe which is a blessing of sorts considering the next leg on that journey last year was India where somewhere on the road to Moradabad I ate a funky chaat and spent the next two weeks peeing out of my bum bum and cursing in the general direction of Ganesh and the Ganges, to anyone within hearing distance of the closed bathroom door. It was not so auspicious, that chaat I shat.
But no, now I am at home where my bathroom is clean(ish) and there is an abundance of toilet paper. Still I worry.
One month and one day.
In the lexicon of my family we have a word for this discombobulated malaise: derrumba. My dad first spied it on a road in Costa Rica, a street sign to warn drivers of a dip in the road ahead. It works: derrumba. Or if you're feeling particularly dramatic: derrumbatic. Translated literally, it means "to collapse." I hear the irony in this post. Writing about factory workers in Communist China, India where golden-eyed beautiful beggars purposefully hack off an arm so they can make more money on the streets. Places in the world where there is no movement, just the instinct to breathe even if the air is brackish and still. And Anthropologie, my Mecca, where I browse in a fugue state of Yael Naim, where somehow a Visual Team has made apples fall from the sky and the pages of an old book swirl overhead as if caught in a breeze, where a shirt is easily $128 with a first cost of no more than $14. Made in Sri Lanka. I know how it works. And yet this is all I really know, my survival instinct: It has been one month and one day. I have no solid leads and with every passing hour I feel smaller. My house, my car. Health insurance. There was a dip in the road ahead but I never saw the sign; I was driving much too fast. It collapses. Everything collapses.
Because sometimes when I am faced with a full day with just me and the Zo' I feel a sense of unending blankness. Of hours stretched ahead filled with stacking blocks then knocking them down, with picture books that tell simplistic stories and me pretending to wear a sippy cup as a hat. And before it has already begun the day has bored me. Do you know how hard it is to admit that? To come perilously close to admitting that your own daughter might--no. I can't even say it. But picture an hour spent going up and down a staircase and maybe you will understand. Up until now I have planned my weekends carefully. Trips to Target and the park with friends. The beach. Always busy busy busy! When she was a newborn more experienced mothers told me to nap when she naps and although I am fairly certain that advice is not intended for the mother of a toddler still I take it to heart. I take 2 hour naps on the dog days of my daughter. She plum tuckers me out with the constant repetition of more and no and again and more and then more again no! hand outstretched as if I am crimping her style. And so it is with nervous trepidation that I have cut back on Zoey's time at daycare. With me not working it felt silly and costly her going full-time; it felt bad. So tomorrow is my first day with her, just me and the Zo.' I think it will be good for us, for me really. I think I need to learn how to slow down and enjoy the slow drip of the day. I need to enjoy my daughter. I need to learn to take the stairs, even if they don't go anywhere at all. More? Again?--No. In the meantime, please tell me I'm not the only one who sometimes feels bored by--don't make me say it. Just tell me I'm not the only one. That Kraft Mac 'n Cheese is okay every once in a while and that the sippy cup on top of my head really isn't that funny, especially for the jigabillionth time.