The world is too full of things I wish I had written, things I should have made. Here is yet another one. Or two. Three. Okay, a lot. I like a lot of what this guy does. Do you ever do that? Read something you love and instead of just enjoying it you think well, fuck, why didn't I write that? And now it's gone, taken, and you kind of have to force yourself to step back and read it again. Enjoy. The idea now part of the air?
I think I do that too much. Read and research, think, peruse. Analyze. Movement in maybe, my energy potential.
But this post was not supposed to be about that, or me. It's about this art and these words and this guy and his story: Andre Jordan, A Beautiful Revolution. I love what he has done; check it out, maybe you will, too.
Note to self: teach Zoey that the Universe does not hold a limited amount of happiness or creativity, even words, ideas. For every great success somebody else experiences does not mean there is less success for her to achieve.
I spent a good portion of my childhood with the uneven halves of a L'eggs pantyhose egg stuck under my shirt, one round boob, one pointy boob, all eventual woman. I was a little infatuated with boobs, breasts. Tits. Really there is no word I am comfortable with. With which I am comfortable, suddenly the Church Lady, in the face of mammaries unable to end my sentence with a preposition. Rack!
But October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and yesterday Zoey put on my bra and stared at herself in the mirror. It's funny, the very human interest we all have in them. Melons, tomatoes, puppies. And so today I talk about jugs, and the many ways in which we celebrate them.
They come in all sizes, though something tells me this very tired lady did not come by hers naturally. Nor did he, though strangely his are more realistic. In high school I thought I HAD to wear cute little bras, tiny Calvin Klein triangles of sheer cotton blush. So I did and spent grades 9 through 12 with my arms over my chest hiding the tiniest hint of nipple. Another word that is hard to say. Highbeams, what can I say? I run cold. If only I had these breast warmers to stuff into my Calvins.Often our infatuation with boobs causes us to do stoopid things. Like this shirt. A cod piece for cans, a Don't for Danny Devitos. (And yes, I found a list of slang for breasts and some people do call them Danny Devitos. Pia Zadoras. Isaac Newtons? Where have I been that mine have no proper given name?) And the men who love us so, even when we wear stoopid shit, perhaps because we wear stoopid shit. Let us not forget, for they have chi chis, too. Even this little man, cute as can be. Sizzle chest, at three? And then this. The reason we are all slightly afraid of them. Knockers (Fuckers). Those beautiful funbags that sometimes are not so. I wish I could say something here to celebrate the courage of women diagnosed with breast cancer but I think this woman says it all. It is what it is, staring straight at the camera. One day Zoey will grow up to knead her breasts the week after her period. But they are always lumpy, she will think, her fingers searching for nothing, please let there be nothing, wait--isthatsomething? One round boob, two round boobs, this girl who spilled from my egg like a secret, all eventual woman staring into a mirror. I want her sentence to end with a preposition, an exclamation point, ellipses... I want my daughter to end her sentence on her own terms, not interrupted with a question mark. Please celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month; click here to learn how you can help.
Did you know that approximately 5.8% of all the people ever born are alive right now? Kind of an interesting fact to toss out to your office mates on this fine Monday morning. You know, "How was your weekend? Do anything fun?" Then you: "Went to a bbq, got some cute jeans at the Gap! Then I thought about how 5.8% of the world's population is alive right this very minute, the population growing from a mere 1 billion in 1850 to 6 billion + today. Yeah, just that bbq and some light ruminations on the end of the world. Don't these jeans make my ass look great?"
I don't know. Information like that. What else is there to do other than dangle it from a cocktail pick at a party? Things like population explosion and my bank account--lately I find that I must restrict the light that reaches each of my eyes in order to find any sort of depth. Reality. All weekend long we have been out of toilet paper at my house, wiping with course paper towels, that sort of thing. What can I say? It's Monday and almost October--really I must remember to buy me some Charmin.
September 24, 2009: Today I have 14 problems. March 4, 1986: I had 14 problems. June 18, 1997: I also had 14 problems.
Perhaps you see a pattern here? 'Cause here's what I'm thinking: All of us have 14 problems. At any given time: 14. Perhaps I've got the number wrong. Maybe it's 5 or 37 problems. But the gist is that we all have the same number of problems, a mathematical constant, the Golden Ratio of Aw, Fuck, if you will. Your car broke down? Problem. You get it fixed, down to 13? Then oops! You leave a cherry flavored Chapstick in your pocket and it goes through the dryer. Your whites are now pink and you're back at 14 problems.
I don't know if I made this up or if I heard it somewhere. A dream, a thought that came to me while driving in a fugue state down 101. 14 problems. (Then suddenly I realized that I had been listening to some inane Ashley Parker Angel song, 2 minutes of my life that I will never get back, so I turned the station, problem solved! Just as suddenly the truck in front of me spat out some gravel and ding, a tiny spider of a crack on my windshield. Tomorrow the sun will rise and you will have 14 motherfuckin' problems, guaranteed.) This past week has been hard. Working, Zoey adjusting to preschool, Bryan's back out, no whammies, no whammies, no! (Please tell me you know where that is from.) And I can't help but think if I just had more money almost all of my problems would be gone. Not to bore you with 14, but seriously, all but three of the problems I can think of stem from not having money. Enough money. More. What?
So what if suddenly I did have money? Won the lottery, stumbled upon a drug deal gone awry with everyone dead and a pile of millions and a square cut humongous emerald ring on a finger that had been quite ceremoniously chopped off and cast into the dirt, what? What if?
In mathematics and the arts two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger one equals the ratio of the larger one to the smaller. I could read that sentence a thousand pi r squared times over and I still wouldn't be able to draw it. But this much I get: in life there exists math, numbers and slices of light, fractals, and that all of it--math and trees and music and me--all of it is somehow connected to beauty. Humanity. What we find to be good. And so it doesn't surprise me that we should all have a constant number of problems. 14 or 67: I'm not sure. Me and you. There is a woman in Darien, Connecticut right now upset that a neighbor's dog keeps shitting in her soft downy bushes of prized lamb's ear. Meanwhile a woman in Angola is worried about her children playing in a field of landmines, her husband already an amputee.
Now before you get all anonymous on me, let me be clear: obviously a landmine is worse than dog shit, la la la, that is not the point. The point is that both of those women have 14 problems. Right now Zoey is pissed that today is not her day for Show and Tell--try telling her that is hardly a problem.
I guess what I am saying is this: I like my problems. All 14 of them. Because the What If is becoming quite clear. I will always have 14 problems and these ones that I've got now are really not so bad. No money, no money, wham! There is a beauty in the shared humanity of it, how I will drive to work this morning and glance into the car next to me, a man with a face bored and fat. He has 14 problems, too.
In other news: Jesus Christ, can you imagine if I smoked pot?
I'm not sure what sucks the most: the frizzy hair, "flesh" colored tights, oversized glasses or the fact that her pantyliner is showing. I do know that she more than makes up for all of it with oodles of panache (and the jazz hands don't hurt, either).
That is all I have today. A visible pantyliner and a husband who right this very minute is complaining on the couch that his back hurts, he didn't sleep, he feels funny and why didn't I get any 2% milk? Sometimes that is all anyone ever has, really. Jazz hands.
Today is the kind of day that makes me wish for airbrushing. Or at the very least gobs of shiny lipgloss and earrings that glint, vaseline smeared liberally across the lens of anybody that dares look at me.
Today is the kind of day that makes me wish for a best side, a profile, when honestly? Today my best side feels as if it may well be my feet. And so it is that today I wish I had these shoes because they are cheap and they are awesome, (a little like yours truly). But even at cheap they are above my spending hiatus, so if you buy them please don't tell me. Or get me a pair, too, size 7.5; as with everything, they'd look super cute with jeans.
But then there's this: I’m not afraid to get sand on my tuxedo, if you’re not afraid to let the wind mess your hair up a little bit when I take the top down. Jesus Christ, the Day just doesn't get any Humpier than this. (I call dibs on dressing up as the mustachioed guy in the blue-checkered sweater for Halloween!)
So please, lick the vaseline off the lens here and enjoy your Wednesday. xo, S
I stand beneath the yellow tree losing its leaves and think to hell with people who think we have no Fall, crunch crunch and that smell. That smell! Of paper and the promise of earthworms. I am in love, and beneath that tree I am an asshole, one hand holding a paper aardvark, or maybe it's an armadillo, an anteater. 'A' for the way my daughter scribbled hard with the purple crayon, the way her preschool teacher told me she is so smart, how she knows her alphabet and answers first, what would we think about moving her into pre-K? ('A' for allegory, me suddenly the potential of a mom with bumper stickers boasting honor student, a line drawing decal depicting each member of the family stuck across the back window, flip flops at the end like a vacation we took for the story.) 'A' is for aloha, aardvark, asshole and apple. 'A' is for Autumnal Equinox, and, believe it or not, Happy. Hook, line, and sinker, construction paper cinnamon simmering sweet hot on the stove.
I got a job. I mean, not a job job, but it's not sticking my head and shoulders into the arse of an elephant either. It's a freelance job for the next few weeks. So it'll be interesting, once again, to balance the blog and motherhood, writing, life and work, even if that work is only from 10am to 4pm and I don't have to get involved with office politics. (Knowing me I will be too shy within these two weeks to ever put my yogurt in the fridge, eating my lunch instead at room temperature and iffy, home in a jiffy should things spoil.)
So that's that, my friends. A half-assed post on a half-assed gig on a Monday that I start my period. What more do you want at the end of this post? An apology, a warning, a precursor to something, an ish at the end of a statement. (Hopefully you won't even notice that I am gone. Kinda' sorta' half-time, juggling balls that are not quite full; like footballs, no way of knowing where and how they will bounce.)
Happy Monday. xo, S
*A MUST READ only if you are waiting at the mechanic to get your tires aligned, or possibly in a Christian Scientist Reading Room, though truth be told I have never set foot in such a place and perhaps they have stacks of good porn in there, who's to say?
8am-ish: Bryan stands right in front of me at the bathroom sink. I ask him to please move and he says, "but I have to go to work. You don't need to get ready because you're not going anywhere." And he is right. 9 or so: I drop Zoey off at preschool and stop at the grocery store on my way home to buy milk. See! I think. I totally have places to go! People to see! I nod at the man unloading a pallet of cheese, my friend, my colleague even if I have chosen to come to Safeway at 9 on a Wednesday morning and he is working. Semantics. As I'm getting into my car in the parking lot I hear a woman calling, "Ma'am? Ma'am!" I turn around, thinking maybe I dropped something. "Can I see your receipt?" she asks. I paid in cash, carried my milk out sans bag. I do not have the receipt, I tell her. "I saw you walk from the back of the store. I need to see your receipt." It's funny really, that in the second between the first time she asked and this second time I still don't have the receipt. "Which check out stand did you go through?" I wave my hand in the general direction of the store, you know? The one in there? "I need to see your receipt." I think maybe I have stuffed a chicken breast down my pants without realizing it. I still don't have the receipt. We both stand there in the parking lot not knowing what comes next. As in most cases when I am faced with a question to which I do not know the answer, I get in my car and drive home.
9:30 ~ 11ish: I wait for the po-po to arrive at my house with a search warrant for dairy products. Did she get my license plate? I check my pants but still there is no sign that I have stuffed poultry in my drawers. Oh! And in the driveway I step in dog shit. (The carton of milk hidden deep behind the juice.)
Sometime later, who cares: I decide to take a nap. (When you're unemployed, naps are kinda' like Taco Bell: they seems like an excellent idea until you are finished, at which point you just feel bloated, greasy and dumb.) Halfway through my nap a shelf in my bedroom falls, ripping deep silver dollar-sized chunks out of the wall. This is the same shelf Bryan refused to put up for me when we moved in, saying the lath and plaster would not hold any weight. So I put it up myself. Blearily I look at what was once wall sprayed across the floor like snow. Like dandruff. I fall back asleep.
Sometime in the afternoon: I show Zoey the above pictures of Brigitte Bardot and ask her which one looks like mommy. She points to the one on the right. Somehow I know that simply because I asked her this question we are both going to need years of therapy.
All day long: Every time I check my email there is that annoying banner ad telling me that Obama Wants Moms To Go Back To School! For the life of me I cannot figure out why this ad shows a gif of animated shadow ladies dancing in front of a rainbow background. And while I am all for Obama and Moms and yes, even School (god, how I loved school!), one thing I am sure of is that I do not need more school, I need a job. Preferably one that does not have me dancing in front of rainbows, but, you know? If the pay was right?
But I'm fine. Really, I am. Because somewhere in this same world where people think I have shoplifted organic milk and the walls are falling down all around me, there is this: a cat enjoying a lollipop. I am fine.
I'm kinda' in a foul mood today, simultaneously pitying myself and generally not liking the world at large. So it's a good thing today is Hump Day. Happy or not, you don't have to hear much from me. (Why do I sound like Eeyore in my head??)
Anyhoo, this video is disturbing in an oh my god, it's true, exercise works and apparently makes you super tan kind of way. (I just like to watch his arms blow away from his torso like a douche balloon.)
Off to bed to feel sorry for myself. (I am allowing myself the morning, 2 more hours 'til noon.) See you tomorrow with a smile! xo, S
First day of preschool. (In all honesty it is the second day of preschool as I forgot to take a photo on the first day, the beginning of a long tradition: second day school pictures.)
Safety pins, nuts, bees, string, buttons, paint, medicine, cars, bikes, jungle gyms, twirling, dancing, sleeping, water, earth, breathing, blood and oxygen. This is just a partial list of what can kill a child. Your child, my child, a child so perfect I get angry that the world itself does not match her.
Electrical outlets and plastic bags. I am not trying to scare you, but oleander, azalea, wisteria, even buttercup, a name so sweet it actually does catch flies. Poisonous flowers admired by a race with a 100% mortality rate, annual or perennial no matter. From the moment Zoey was born I have been picking up stray bobby pins from the carpet.
Shopping carts. Improper use of child seat can lead to head injury, even death. I need cereal, milk, pasta, and Zoey is so big now she likes to walk. Hold onto the cart, I tell her, capellini, fettuccini, fusilli, and when I turn around she is gone.
She is more likely to die of a heart attack. And yet I worry about the monster in the closet, on the corner, the monster in aisle 5 perusing the bread while wearing Dockers and a baseball hat. I am a worrier, always have been, wielding my power of what if. Of course this power is blunt, fuzzy, flaccid to be frank. I pick up bobby pins because they glint in the light; the man in aisle 5 does not even look up at me.
But what if is a question, and I don't want to parent in the unknown. How then do I mother in a world that at times seems so dark? 800,000 kids reported missing each year, 203,000 of which were family abductions, 58,000 non-family abductions, only 115 of which were stereotypical kidnappings. Somewhere in there is a number that is supposed to make me feel better, I think, a percent for the supposed masses like me who read People magazine. (But I am not a mass and my child is #1. A 1 in however many, I don't care, the solution to parenting not in denial but in acceptance of reality. Shopping carts kill.)
This is very hard for me, a woman who gets strength from worry. Nothing is more difficult than the powerlessness of parenting, plastic bags and marbles, chasing balls across the street. But what if is hardly preventative and worry is only the fear we manufacture. If I spend my time worrying then I miss that first day of preschool, the sundress she wore that reminds me of Fruit Stripes gum, how she came home chattering about her new friend named Ellie, a paper caterpillar colored red in one hand. Which is not to say that I have gone lax, but without imagined worry perhaps I will be more sensitive to sensing real danger.
Trans-fats and glycerides. She was in the cookie aisle all along.
I included this video because if anything ever does happen to my child I am totally tossing someone up in the air like this motherfucking water buffalo. Just sayin.'
For weeks now I have had Danger Zone in my head. Sometimes it's Footloose, I'm Alright, Playin' With the Boys, don't ask me how I know so many of these songs, I just do. Michael Mcdonald--I'll be darned if he hasn't squeezed into my head, too, other times Kenny Rogers, but mostly it has been Kenny Loggins, my life a soundtrack to an 80's movie wherein boy meets girl and irritates the fuck out of her skin what with his bitchin' beard and then some. Because of this, my husband:
Last week was the regatta de beard and I could not have been happier to see the finish line. Unfortunately on the first day Bryan torqued his back (so laden down with facial hair was he), and was forced to sit out the majority of the race. And by "sit out" I mean he laid on the couch at home and watched gladiator movies while making soft gristly downright maggot-y noises with his fingertips raking his beard. Sometime around Friday afternoon I reminded him that he was free to shave now that he was out of the race, but he said he wanted to support his team in spirit which means I got to spend my weekend with this man:
One bottom lip gained! It was kind of sexy in a Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers kind of way. Except soon, the civility of this:
Turned to this:
A man possessed by bad grooming, one gladiator movie too many. Who's to say if it was the Porn 'Stache or High Hilarity Brought On by Bedrest, but Bryan really went with it:
At one point during the weekend as I was asking him to stand against the wall for yet another photo Bryan said, "I feel like you're making fun of me." Which kinda' broke my heart.
Because I'm not making fun of him. I mean, he's in on the joke, right? Plus, while I am not one for mustaches and never ever once got the whole mystique of Tom Selleck 5-0, I do think Bryan rocked the Ned Flanders walrus pushbroom, don't you?
I am so totally NOT making fun of him.
And when Sunday night finally rolled around, I was so happy to gain a top lip. A mouth. That smile.
And then we made out. The End.
UPDATED TO ADD: My sister-in-law just sent this awesome pic of Zoey proving that yes, Zoey DOES take after her daddy, and I do have a fantabulous sister-in-law.
I used to be a girl who did not like tomatoes. A girl who never wore gold jewelry, who wore pajamas to bed, a girl who slept in 'til noon. Then one year I went to Italy and ate tomatoes, simple as that, the before and after of a girl defined by citrus. Now my very favorite food is insalate caprese, could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, heirloom all the better but I will eat winter romas in a pinch, hard and admittedly a little bit bland. I wear gold jewelry now, never silver; I wake up early every morning naked in my bed.
I used to be a girl who did not like Disneyland. Nothing against Mickey and the gang, although Daisy does annoy. No, I simply don't like crowds, the ugliness of the human race en masse and under the sun like that sweaty. Too many tattoos, fingertips, pores enlarged and fat, everything a surface touched by so many, sticky systems of skin, eating and breathing and pooping and then eating some more. Oh, but I am a joy at street fairs!
And now this: a before and after of a girl defined by a petunia. I thought I would hate Disneyland, but I didn't. Because of this, because of her, my very own sticky system of skin that found the est in that place of the Happi: First stop was the Bippity Boppity Boutique where Zoey was transformed into a betrothed Cinderella, the politics of the princessification of girls be damned. Here she had a personal shopper who helped her pick out her dress, glass (plastic) slippers, gloves and jewelry, then she was whisked off to have her nails polished and hair done, adding a shiny blond ringletted fall that would make Kim Zolciak proud. (Someday her Big Poppa will come, second verse, same as the first.)
Followed by a photo shoot, natch, in the grand tradition of Glamour Shots complete with resin woodland creatures and carriage. It was all a little disturbing in a Toddlers and Tiaras sense, but honestly? Zoey was so damn pleased I didn't care. All day long she licked mouse-eared lollipops and stared at herself in the reflections cast by Toon Town glass, her green eyes glowing with the magic of it all. Or maybe it was the purple eyeshadow that made her eyes pop, I don't know. But here's the thing: I didn't care. Don't care, the elbow length white gloves now brown with what. Zoey LOVED Disneyland and when I say loved I mean she was possessed by it all, a girl who danced with Goofy in front of a crowd of strangers, a girl who hates tomatoes and sleeps in 'til six am.
And I am left to wonder what this means to me, a girl who now loves Disneyland. Who is this person? Do I wear pajamas to bed, a Mickey Mouse print with a seasonal theme? Do I don pleated pants, a fanny pack, rat my bangs even though I don't actually have bangs? Do I say don?? Dot my i's with smiley faces, the est in a world that is no longer seen as sticky sick and fat, too crowded? A before and after of a petunia face of a girl who found herself a princess in a world without pragmatism or politic.
In LA today. Or rather the O.C. (bitch). Anaheim. The Happiest Place on Earth, the superlative of which might come into question come 3 o'clock considering Zoey was so excited last night she hardly slept. Wish us luck, dear internet.
I once read a rant about blogging, although for the life of me I cannot remember where I read it or who it was or even why I read it or when. But what I do remember is that the person was going off on how self-important it is to have guest bloggers when you go on vacation. As if the whole world might implode if your blog is not updated. Which is totally not the point. I know you all are not out there eagerly anticipating my next post like some bad Mervyn's commercial, fingers tapping at refresh. Openopenopen. Postpostpost. If I missed a day you might not even notice, the tree in the forest still standing. Or not. I'm not sure what's going on with that metaphor. Simile. Smile! Potayto, potahto, ladies and gentlemen of the www I am going on vacation and was too lazy to line up any guest bloggers. (Run for cover, the world is imploding!) Today we are driving down to San Diego for a friend's wedding, then up to LA to visit my brother. Once in LA, we are taking Zoey to Disneyland whereupon she will quite possibly seek legal emancipation so that she may live in the Princess' castle forever and ever, living happily ever after in a world where pink sparkley bubble baths do not cause vaginitis. Which would totally give me more time to blog when I get back, which is next Thursday.
In the meantime, I may shoot off some half-assed posts here and there knowing full well you do not need them. But here's the thing: I need them. I need you. I need your stats, your comments; I need you to pat me on the head and scritch behind my ears the way you do, not too sharp but just right. Which is a whole other rant about blogging, something about that self same tree and the forest and if I do not post do I fall? Another day, my friends. For now I am driving down I-5 on the way to somewhere that is not here.
And while I would love to turn that opening into a trompe l'oeil of words--just kidding! a theoretical crime scene! all the world a metaphor!--alas, I cannot. (Alas is something you get to say when your mother's house is a crime scene.) No, there is actual yellow police tape cordoning off my mother's living room, which is kind of ironic considering someone died in there. Get it? Living room? Alas, again, alas. I am not cut out for this type of tragedy, a church giggler had I ever gone to church, the girl in the movie theater who turns to her friend to ask if she, too, saw the goof, blood on the car windshield seconds before the blast.
Nothing is real.
I did not know the woman. She was a caregiver of Allen's, a woman provided by the county. She was slightly broken, strange, and so she had been living upstairs. (Allen likes to collect strange broken people, pretty leaves, in the last three years he has given me four hand mixers that he found discarded on the side of the street and yet still I buy cookie dough in tubes). Maybe I met this woman, I don't know--the caregivers, they come and go so quickly, most of them somehow damaged or Fijian and large, never damaged Fijians or damaged large people, just damaged people and then other people who just so happen to be from Fiji and thus rather large. What I do know is that this woman was found lying on the floor with her head in a bucket. What I do know is that she was dead, is dead, the verb tense a little tricky, although no one knows how or why or exactly when she died, the who and the where the only bright spots in the case. (Scant whisperings that she had been stealing prescription drugs, a prison record, Medicare not well known for vetting or caring, the living room now taped off yellow until the official autopsy report.)
And that is all I have to say about that, its notability not so much in the grim details of a story as in the lack of one. It is Wednesday and my mother's house is a crime scene. These things happen. Or they do not, the world cleanly divided, it would seem, between those people who tell these stories and those that live them. Get it? Live? Alas, poor Yorick! All morning I have listened to the gutteral hack of my neighbor coughing, my other neighbor playing Mozart on the piano. It is my intention to stay on the side of the teller.
And if that wasn't Hump Day enough for you, I give you this: Absurd, I'm telling you. The world is full of it.
I could not make this shit up if I tried. xoxo, Susannah
And just like that! Everything about her long and loping. Legs and arms, neck and hair. The way she uses her hands now to talk. Sometimes, she said, I like to just stand with my eyes closed, and I smiled, agreed.
Hi, I'm Susannah and I love shiny things, swimming, the smell of fresh cut grass, orange blossoms and horse shit. The feel of my children's eyelashes on my cheek is a live virus that grows in me, multiplies and sustains. I will never understand Amish Friendship Bread.
I write for love but money works, too. Email me for more info, or just to say hello.