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Monday, October 28, 2002

The Friday Five for the Flat-tired
1. What is your favorite scary movie? Um, Contact? I really don't go in for scary movies. My idea of horror is a commercial for The Anna Nicole Show.

2. What is your favorite Halloween treat?Homemade roasted pumpkin seeds.

3. Do you dress up for Halloween? If so, describe your best Halloween costume. When I have to. My best ever Halloween costume was when I was about seven months pregnant with Alice and I went as the Virgin Mary. I felt inspired and none of my other costume ideas seem as exciting or funny.

4. Do you enjoy going to haunted houses or other spooky events? Not particularly. Especially, what do they call it, Hell House? With the cuckoo fundamentalists using abortion to scare people on Halloween? Appalling. I much prefer the pumpkin patch. One of my first school memories is my mom being a driver for the kindergarten pumpkin patch trip, and it's one of my favorite parts about fall now that I have little ones. That's me, an old whore for the pumpkin patch.

5. Will you dress up for Halloween this year? Probably not. We were invited to a costume party last weekend but missed it because of the very scary tire experience. I have only missed two years, I think, of trick-or-treating in my whole life, since I have brothers and sisters I would take out before I had kids. I usually manage a festive witch's hat or something, but I never know until the last minute.

Saturday was a no-good, terrible, horrible, very bad day. (My ex-husband is an Alexander, and he is the root cause of many of my bad days, so I claim that phrase as my own.) My tire blew out as I was going to drop off the girls at my mother's. Fortunately, we were near my mother's house, but no one was home for hours and hours (we were meeting them at my brother's football game.) I ended up dragging my girls to a neighbor's, and camping there for about four hours. It was very awkward. We had gone to high school together, and we pretty good friends for most of it, but we didn't have much to say. Many thanks and much appreciation to the lovely persons who rushed to my aid, by the way. My mom even bought me two new tires.

One thing my neighbor did say was that a guy we both knew from the "old neighborhood" had killed himself last year. How very sad. This boy and I actually had what one might discreetly call an "interlude," once, mostly an occasion of two kids with too many hormones and too much curiosity. I was quite fond of him. I haven't seen him in years, but we all knew he was deeply troubled, and I would have hoped a happier life for him. Requiatem in Pace.

Friday, October 25, 2002

I've just been sitting here catching up on some of my blog reading when I figured I'd better do a posting while I'm still comparatively fresh. It really is relative; we have a guest overnighting, the lovely Miss Sofia. Add a baby with a pathetic cold, end up with pre-migraine and a sense that time doesn't actually exist. Seriously, there's nothing like some quality time with other people's kids to make you appreciate the good side of your own children. As difficult as Isabel may be, she plays extremely well with others. It's been hard for me to cut the cord lately. Not that Bel and I have ever really been that joined-at-the-hip-you-must-be-sisters-I-tell-my-mother-everything! mother/daughter pair, but I sometimes have to mentally remind myself that she is a person of her own and doesn't need me to interpret for her. You just get used to doing it, I guess. One day you are having to repeat every sentence so others can understand your toddler's mushy speech, and it seems like only the next day when she's telling you exactly why she doesn't like her teacher. I remember being her age, I remember how I felt things and how I saw the world, but it's difficult to remember the way I thought at four and the way she thinks now are different. Although markedly similar. I see so much of her dad in her, and then she goes and says something that sounds exactly like me, and it floors me completely. (Of course, she's her own person, indeed has always been her own person, which is why I am constantly alert for signs that she is in fact my child.)

I'm working on Alice's kitty hat for Halloween. I took some skeins of my nappy-yarn, sort of tie-dyed it with lemonade, tangerine and orange Koolaid, and am knitting it into a kitty hat that is a combo of the devil and kitty hats I found at Mamakate's. (I didn't link right there because I only have, like, a button and you are smart enough to figure it out. Also I am fundamentally lazy but hope to parlay that into a career of doing things "for your own good.") It looks pretty kickass, if I do say so myself. I finished the red watch cap for Isabel last night, just in time for the weather to turn mostly warm again.

Sofia said the F-word! While I was outside, the hilarious P-man was clowning for the girls and Sofia said, "O Isabel, come look. Come see, Keith is so fucking funny!" I have it on good authority that the pronunciation and emphasis were spot-on.

Her mom will love that.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Did you fear I had gone away for good, Dear Reader? Fret not. My return may not be exactly triumphant, but here I am. A quick run-down of my activities lately:

My brother's team beat Grandview 20-6, Teddy has thrush, Isabel got blood drawn (!), my mother had surgery, we're in the babysitting co-op, I made pumpkin muffins for my aide day, I had the worst hangover of my life, we got our equity loan (and a really crappy deal), I made a "kickass" apple pie, Isabel is going to ECE at our local elementary as well as preschool in the afternoon, finished dying the wool for Alice's Halloween kitty hat, bruised my hands rather badly and still don't know how, missed ER twice (twice!), got donations for the preschool, rearranged the furniture in our bedroom, and Heaven knows, a million other things that are even less interesting to read about so I'll leave them out.

Knitwise: working on a RED watch cap for Isabel, as I write. It was so cold today, I was inspired. Still working on Teddy's scarf and Alice's pink ballet wrap. Started a Barbie dress for Isabel's collection, modeled on a pattern I got from knittingabout but turning into something more of my own design. Barbie got back! Finished a watch cap for my brother for Christmas in my beloved green Salsa. I mean to get at least 2 pair of socks done 'ere Christmas, but I need the needles from Barbie's "Mrs. Robinson" dress.

I could really use a resting lifetime right about now.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Similar to what Shetha was saying about Seinfeld and the Law of Averages, a really good day is followed by a bad one followed by a good one. Tuesday, which involved much running around and making copies and speechifying, was a pretty productive day. Yesterday was hell. O crappy day! I nearly signed Isabel over to her dad forever, but instead plans were made to send her to school five mornings a week, in addition to her preschool three afternoons a week. I just don't have what it takes to keep her active mind constantly occupied-and when Isabel is bored, watch out! Today was also pretty productive. I showed the school to a new family, dropped off two applications for our January toddler class, made all my copies, grocery shopped (under budget!), painted with the girls, cleaned up a little, and even made a tasty vegetable beef soup from scratch (the secret is V-8 as soup stock.) Obviously, the knitting suffered a bit. I also got the new Family Circle Easy Knitting. I know some people have trashed this magazine, but I really like to read about knitting, and my orbit is kind of small right now. Plus, if I go to Tattered Cover, I never never come out with just one thing. Anyway, inspiration can come from anywhere, as much from bad design as from good, sometimes even more so because you see the change that needs to be made. And occasionally you need to make a gift or whatnot for aomeone whose taste is very different from yours.

All things under the sun serve a purpose.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

I've been (sort of) quiet lately, gearing up for the preschool's fundraiser. Well, Steele-A-Deal is officially kicked off. Wooliemama is pooped! Yesterday I did next to nothing, though, besides knitting. I made a mitten for Alice (she kept dragging out one particular ball of yarn so I figured that's what she wanted) and part of the second. I also started the sleeve of Little Badger's wrap cardie in cotton-candy pink for Alice. I made one for Isabel in pink acrylic fuzzy stuff and she loves it, although she will only wear it with a long-sleeved shirt. The zippy blue sweater is coming along, albeit slowly.

Thanks for the kind words, ladies. I don't know if I have more problems than most people or if I'm just crankier. But it is nice to have friends.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

F.O. to report! The SARK socks are finished! Of course, they are now in the hands of my mildly-ungrateful sister-in-law, but anyway. At least my brother-in-law and his wife weren't at the birthday party. (They are quite probably the most obnoxious people I know.) I must just be extra-lucky-I have not one but two families of in-laws that provide me with constant low-grade irritation. My SIL manages to work her wedding-which happened a year ago-into 2 out of every 3 conversations and it drives me absolutely batshit. Would you like to know why? Of course you do, honey.

Well, the main reason is: she did not invite Isabel to be a flower girl!

I know! I can hear you all out there gasping in horror. I didn't care about not being asked to be in the wedding myself, since I felt no need to stand up in front of a church wearing an ugly dress with two lumpy ladies, but Isabel would have enjoyed the hell out of it. It's not like there are other kids in the family; mine are the only kids and she asked two little girls she'd been babysitting since, like, the second trimester (basically their stuck-up mom has better things to do than wipe bottoms). I started crying when I first saw them. The sensitive P-man politely asked his mother why delightful Isabel had not been included since she is, mostly, family. Because the flower-girl situation had already been arranged when they first met Isabel, he was told. This is a lie. The bride had not received her proposal when she was first introduced to darling Bella. So I can only believe that Isabel was left out because she was not wanted. How sad.

This whole blended-family thing has been a tough gig, I tell you. It would have meant a great deal to me if Isabel had been asked to be a flower girl. I might have finally felt like my in-laws wanted me in their family. Isabel would have been absolutely over the moon to be a part of a real live wedding, she dearly loves brides and dressing-up and flowers and ceremony. Did they think she would ruin the wedding or something?

Do you want to know what I did? Of course you do.

I got drunk, is what I did. At a dry wedding. I zipped on over to the Walgreen's across from the church and bought a cunning little bottle of vodka, which I mixed with my Diet Coke and sipped while I avoided the flower girls and waited for all the guests to arrive. Thank God I didn't bring Isabel to the wedding. I cried through the whole thing. Not out of happiness, either, as I'm sure you've guessed. Some might think I've overreacted, but it truly upset me. I'm not just angling for attention. My feelings are still honestly hurt; no one ever made even a token apology or acknowledged that Isabel might have been included. And nobody, but nobody, by God, excludes my daughter while I'm alive. It drives me wild to think that they maybe don't consider Isabel as much of a family member as my other two babies, who are daddy P-man's kids. (If this is true, they can just go straight to hell. Express.)

So it really frosts my cookies when she drags the wedding albums to every family gathering, even though we were all there. And you can imagine how difficult it is to work your china pattern into a conversation a year after the wedding, but she does. I get steamed every time she brings it up.

And if this has been too much for you, Innocent Reader, I'm sorry, but I do need to vent about it to someone besides the two gentle people who get to hear about everything that pisses me off. Besides, I am too classy to say what clearly needs to be said, namely, "Jesus God, shut up already about your fucking wedding!"

I am just a bit low today, anyway. Somebody burgled my car last night. All they took was my semi-crappy Discman, but it had a David Gray CD in it that was a gift from the very musical P-man. Thank goodness I didn't leave my cellphone in the car. At least the car was unlocked (if you saw it you wouldn't lock it either) so they didn't have to break in through the sheet of plastic that is my rear window. (Last month, a merry band of assholes marauded through my neighborhood, smashing car windows with vigor. Final tally was about 67 cars, some with two or three windows broken.) How can you help but take that a tiny bit personally? It is a sad thing to have to shake the glass out of your kids' carseats. So, lately it seems the universe is being a little harsh on my self-esteem. Feel free to leave comments cheering me up. Or even hate mail-it would give me something new to get all frothed up over.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Friday Five
1. What size shoe do you wear?
I wear about an 8 1/2, but only because I have really wide feet. If I bought shoes that were wide enough, I'd probably wear a 7 1/2.

2. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Around 13, but don't quote me.

3. What type of shoe do you prefer (boots, sneakers, pumps, etc.)?
Depends. I like a nice heel, but lately I've been into sneakers and more full-coverage shoes. I like the way that tightly-laced sneakers make your feet feel like little missiles.

4. Describe your favorite pair of shoes. Why are they your favorite?
My favorite right now is a pair or brown leather clog-type shoes with little buckles. They are slip-ons with all the toe coverage of a sturdy shoe. The best of both worlds!

5. What's the most you've spent on one pair of shoes?
Probably forty dollars. I never have to go anywhere nice and I don't often shop for myself, so I usually buy my shoes at Payless. When I'm rich maybe I will buy only Steve Maddens.

And now for something completely different...

Finally got the heel turned adequately on the second SARK sock. Turns out they will probably be a birthday gift for my sister-in-law. (If I thought she would ever, ever read this I would die of a heart attack.) At least I will get to see how the handmade-gift thing flies with the in-laws before I invest a lot of time on Christmas gifts. Also, I've got most of the brim done on the green hat for either my brother or the chilly P-man. Maybe on Saturday when I go to my brother's football game I can pick up the other circular size I need at the reputed-to-be-awesome store there. Maybe my mother will decide to reward me for driving her all the way to Boulder...Did you know that John and Sean Lennon have (had?) the same birthday? The universe is just brimming with funny little coincidences.


Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Not much knitting going on around here; there must be some planet in retrograde that is stalling all my projects. The moss-stitch tunic is *gasp* GONE. I was finishing the sleeves and I realized that not only was my gauge completely off, leaving me to wonder what hallucinogenic I accidentally ingested prior to measuring last, but a slight adjustment in my purling halfway through made a huge difference and it looked absolutely horrid. Plus I was starting to just hate the damn thing anyway, I was gritting my teeth the whole time. Alice keeps pulling the blue zippy baby sweater off the needles, and I can't get the second sock heel to come out right. I've actually made amazingly little progress this week. Hmmm.

We went to eat lunch with the delicious P-man today. I know better than anyone that Isabel can be a downright pain in the tuchis, but I have to think that sometimes having Alice as a sister wears thin for her. You see, Alice is very, well, cute. She has a head of golden curls, rosy cheeks, dimples, and an adorable way of scrunching up her nose when she laughs. She is also a very charming, endearing baby who simply loves to flirt with strangers. People are always exclaiming over her, "She's so cute! Look at those dimples! Look at those curls!" Isabel is many wonderful things; beautiful, graceful, clever, curious, and poised. Cute, however, does not exactly leap to mind. (Try willowy and sophisticated. I know, it's a hell of a way to describe a 4-year-old, but trust me.) Personally, I would get tired of it. It's hard when one of your kids reminds you of all the things you love about her father and another reminds you of why you divorced hers. Her Gram assures me she will grow out of it, but into what? This is starting to feel like her personality instead of just a stage, but she's adorable when she wants to be.Yesterday we got Teddy dressed before taking Isabel to school, so preppy in his jeans, knitted sweater and teeny-tiny Adidas, and she said "O mom! He looks just like those babies that can walk!" (She totally nailed it.) Isabel told us last night that her middle name is in case she ever loses her first name. (Now that I am thinking back over the funny things she's said lately, I feel like lying under the desk and giggling until my belly hurts.)
Teddy is entranced by her. He just bubbles with laughter when she talks to him. Tonight, he was in such a good mood, we played Peekaboo and he actually looked around for me when I covered my face with my hands.

Now that I have kids, I guess I'll never be able to have an unconflicted feeling ever again.

A few weeks ago, my friend was trying to think of the name of that PAX tv show with Andy Griffith, and she called it "Prognosis: Murder." I still laugh out loud when I think of it.