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Archive for August, 2008

I was walking down the cereal aisle…oh wait no…

I’ll just go right into it.

Now, I have had only a few yeast infections in my life and when I have, they are due to sitting around in the summer in a wet bathing suit. Or perhaps maybe once in highschool when I was into wearing way too tight jeans. That was the 80s, you know.

Anyway, so this time it was a bathing suit incident, so I found myself in the aisle for vaginal creams and medications.

Yes, that is what I said.

Bold. I know.

So, I am standing there, the aisle is near the pharmacy, and I am shocked at the wide variety of stuff there. It’s like the damn cereal aisle. And it’s not like you go to the counter and say “I’ve got this yeast infection, gimme that one tube that takes care of it.”  And it’s not exactly like choosing between Fruit Loops and Granola.

AN ENTIRE AISLE.

So I stood there before them. 

Did you know Monistat has different treatments? Yes. They have a one day one. A three day one. A seven day one.  They have nighttime ones. They have combo packs.

They have different percentages in each one, of different ingredients, that I can’t pronounce.

Creams and inserts. Prefilled things. Things you fill yourself and then stick inside and then release.

Seriously.

Yeah. I know. Am I really writing about this?

I stood there for half an hour reading each one to figure out what the hell I needed or wanted or should have. 

It was kind of stupid. It was confusing. It kind of sucked.

So I grabbed the seven day combo pack, a tube of cream to fill the inserting plastic thingy, external cream AND those awesome cooling wipes (I have newfound love for those). I figured, the more in there, the better. I want to make sure this gets wiped out. How on earth could ONE DAY get rid of something that’s been apparently growing inside me longer than just one day?

Yeah.

So, I happened to be shopping for this at the drugstore at 7:30 Monday morning, before picking the girls up from their dad’s  house. And I figured “there will be no one else in the store at that time, I can feel comfortable buying it and slapping it down on the counter…and buying my VAGINAL CREAM!”

I managed to stand in front of the Monistat “and friends” for a long time, studying the boxes, reading it all, praying the pharmacist wouldn’t come ’round and offer assistance. Because even though I am comfortable writing about this, I am certainly not comfortable TALKING ABOUT IT TO A STRANGER.

I picked up some Blistex, a candy bar, some nail polish remover, a magazine for the beach that day, a bottle of water…you know, a few things to disguise the Monistat.

I sighed relief when I got to the counter and it was a woman waiting on me. But then this guy…this hot landscaper (I know because he was in his company t-shirt and smelled like fresh dirt) kind of pushed up next to me in a hurry to throw his money down for a pack of cigarettes…and the woman waiting on me said “You’ll have to wait until I am done ringing up this customer”…which means he stood there tapping his foot, looking from me to my stuff on the counter and back again…especially that big box of Monistat.

Drugstore.com next time?

I think yes.

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New Work

How many times have I mentioned that I LOVE MY NEW MAC? Okay, yeah. So, I do. As much as I love toast. And that is alot. I love toast. I could live on it.

So, because I now have iweb, I decided that in the midst of the chaos in my work and shows coming up and life in general, I should redesign my website. Yes. So, I am. It is so easy in iweb but I make it difficult for myself as I over-think it, being a previous pc user. (sounds like drugs, doesn’t it?)

I have nothing more to say about it other than I love it and can’t wait to be done with it. I am getting a basic shell up with alot of new work. I will then slowly create a page for each piece as my old site has, but that will take a while. But soon, it will be transferred over to my mac site. I am excited!

I loaded these new paintings onto it already. So I am just going to put them on here for you to see. If you want more info on them, email me movindowntheroad@gmail.com.

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Something I am trying to teach the girls (and it does not appear to be working yet) is that life is full of choices. That they are in control of much of what goes on around them.

Take a few weeks ago, for instance. We’d driven to a nearby town for an appointment to get their passports (a whole ‘nother story I will write when I stop being so upset at their father) and afterwards walked to our favorite used bookstore to pick out some end of the summer reading for the three of us. By the time we were sitting in a cafe and eating croissants and juice (and I had a big fat latte), I knew they’d be needing to use the restroom. The cafe has an awesome restroom. I doubt you could eat off the floor or lick the trash can but the place is darn clean.

Knowing we’d be hitting the playground next, which was equipped with a rather heinous potty-on-the-spot or whatever they call them here in the East, I announced we’d be using the cafe restroom. They both shook their heads and said they didn’t need to go. In fact, when I went, they followed me there and still refused to sit and try.

So we left and two minutes later, at the playground with the potty-on-the-spot nearby, Red came up to me and let me know she had to do “number two”. 

Seriously.

I refused to take her to the port-a-potty because it was disgusting and full of mosquitos.

She held it for an hour.

When we got home and she went to the bathroom she exclaimed “that’s the last time I don’t take your advice about a bathroom!” 

It reminds me of a saying my grandmother used to day:

“Why stand when you can sit? Why sit when you can lie down? Why pass up a chance to go to the bathroom?”

That same day, we made a trip to my favorite used bookstore. The guy who owns it is probably my age and usually you can find him crouched in a corner behind some huge stack of used dusty old books. There is a “dark and dingy old used book seller” feel about him. I tend to feel that he possibly sleeps on the old Victorian couch in the middle of the gardening book section, every night.

A word that comes to mind to describe him is “squirrelly”. 

But there is something about him and his place that I totally dig. The rare books. The children’s book section of new books. The coffee table books that have ripped covers from sitting in someone else’s living room for thirty years. I can pick up some good chick-lit for a few bucks off the outside table.

I brought the kids to the children’s room and let them each pick out three books. Red, who can read pretty much anything picked out three chapter books. Blue, who can read words like “me”, “love” and “Mommy”, looked around frantically, trying to keep up with the pace of her older sister. Ends up, she chose the same chapter books. Which she refuses to let me read to her. But she has been carrying them around with her proudly for the last three weeks.

I decided that I totally like making out. I mean, I know I liked it, but realize that making out doesn’t happen often…you know, just alot of time sucking face and not having any clothes ripped off or anything. Yeah, piano man reminds me that making out is an okay place to carry on for a while. Granted, time and place has an effect on that. A visit after the girls were in bed a few weeks ago, kept things appropriate.

Because I LOVE my new Mac, and piano man was actually with me when I bought it, we have hooked up via ichat when he goes back up north for the greater portion of the week.

This thing is amazing.

My favorite is when I say “PLAY ME A SONG!” and he sets the laptop up on his piano and I can watch and hear him play and he then he sings to me.

Hawt.

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A big diet

I’m on a diet. I have been for a while. I kind of broke down on the money diet when I bought this MacBook but it is a necessity and am looking forward to writing it off on my taxes for my business as well as using it to do better business.

I’ve had to put myself on an itunes diet. Because my credit card kind of added up to about $50 worth of music last month. Yikes. Instead, this month, I’ve been going through old cds and loading them in…feels like new music since I haven’t listened to some of it since 1990.

My man diet is kind of mediocre. Okay. I broke the man diet. I like the piano man alot. I like that I don’t feel smothered in a big old relationship thingy. But like that we enjoy our time together and I laugh my head off. And he doesn’t think I am weird. And although he is totally weird, I totally get him.

I also have no interest in any other men. I don’t pine for Ohio anymore or wish things were different. I definitely don’t miss psychotic Steam. 

I am on a diet from yelling at the kids. But it’s hard when my 7 year old just doesn’t “hear” me. Yesterday she was cranky and when I begged her to stop, she cried “it’s because with Daddy, we went to bed at nine or ten every night!” (their bedtime at my house is 7:30ish).  We’ve had some good talks the last few days, the girls and I. We talk about how hitting each other or throwing the tape measure across the room at one another, is a BAD IDEA. And I explained that if they were grown up and did that, depending on the circumstance, they could go to jail. For instance, if they were at the local CVS and decided to throw some massive tape measure at some person walking down the aisle, the police would be called and they’d probably get hauled off to jail. Same thing at home. You throw the tape measure, storytime, tv, Polly Pockets and arts and crafts get taken away (yes, arts and crafts taken away are the biggest punishment, apparently) and you go to “jail”. “Jail” in our house is the hallway. There are no toys. No windows. Nothing to do or see. Just a chair and the rug and a mirror to look at your jailed face. Unfortunately, they’ve made do with the mirror and come out of “jail” with a great comedy act they’ve practiced for the last fifteen minutes, in the damn mirror.

I am on a diet from stressing out. On my list is applying for a very stuffy art association membership. I went to the art auction a few weeks ago and about 98 percent of the work, was plain vanilla to me. It was ridiculous. The few pieces I loved that were unique and colorful and stood out, went for pennies. The boring local landscape pastel watercolors and oils, went for thousands and thousands. So, not so sure my work will fit in. The date of submission is the 5th and I am seriously considering on excusing myself this year from applying and waiting until next year, merely because I have 5 other events I am planning and painting and marketing for. The art association is juried for membership. Which means I have to have signatures of other artists who can vouch for me that I am good enough or something. And I submit original work. And I hand deliver it. And then they call me to let me know if I should either a) celebrate and leave the paintings for a year or b) come pick up my work with a big reject stamp on my forehead as I walk away.

It sucks since the sign to the association is across the street from my front windows. If I don’t get accepted, it will continue to stare me in the face, shouting “FAILURE!”

Just to save face, I may bag it for now. And save me some time in the midst of all the shows coming up.

I am on a coffee shop diet.

Back when I was working outside the home years ago, I spent about $30 a week on coffee from Starbucks. And on occasion now, I pick up a good latte or something at a local shop here, for $4.00.

The last few years I indulge in good coffee beans, I pay more, but in the end I am making good coffee at home and not spending $4 a pop.  And today, I was out with the kids and wanted to stop off and get an iced coffee. Instead, I went home, poured the cold coffee remaining in the coffee maker from this morning, into a glass of ice, added half and half and sugar. Wah-lah. Saved myself $4.00 and the potential to buy many many pastries, had I entered the coffee shop.

I am not on an ice cream diet. Nor am I on a root beer diet. Which means, I am definitely not on a root beer float diet. 

I could go on…

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Upon arriving home

 

 

Aside from a yeast infection that likely came from days of swimming at the cove and sitting around in a wet bathing suit and not drinking enough water (glad to know, aren’t ya?), we spent an amazing day at the big beach yesterday. I picked the girls up yesterday morning at their dad’s house and their squeals when I walked in the door reminded me a) how much I missed them and b) how loud it would be for the next two weeks with them home.

As suspected, the girls seems to have grown from summer babies to a certain level of maturity I am not used to. When I picked them up, their dad showed me a video of Red climbing a very large, tall tree. She was fitted with a harnass, attached to a rope and wearing a hard had.  I was quickly reminded of my own upbringing, rock climbing and backpacking and climbing things at a very young age. Watching the video, she was fearless, much like that recent time she ran to the snack bar at the beach on her own to buy her icecream. 

My impression of the week from them on the phone over the course of ten days was that it was effortless an easy for their dad. I’m not sure what I was thinking but when they spend their weekends with him, he always affirms that there were no challenges and I think to myself “great, they behave and get along with him for two days and come home and turn into monsters when they get back with me, what am I doing wrong?” And if I communicate any challenges the girls go through when they are with me, he looks at me as if I am crazy.

I have to say, I gloat a little after he has them for a week and he gets a little taste of the deep end. Not that I want that for my kids, to feel unrest or have tantrums or whine and complain, but I am glad for him to see that I’m not just sitting here eating bon bons and watching Oprah every day.

Their final night with their father was Sunday and they were back home in Boston and went to their grandparent’s house for dinner with their cousins. They have over a dozen cousins (yeah, baby-making family that thrives on chaos and children and manliness-proven-by-potent-sperm) and the stories they come home with are great, considering I have no cousins for them on my side of the family.

They are enthralled with their oldest cousin by far, she is nearing sixteen and often I hear “B didn’t come to the family dinner last night because she was sleeping.” And when I ask why she was sleeping, they respond “Because she’s a teenager.”

And then another time they may say “B drove Auntie and Uncle to church….because she’s a teenager.”

Yesterday, they got in the car and gave me the news.

Red: B was at dinner last night, and she has a BOYFRIEND.

Blue: Yeah, his name is JIMMY.

Red: We saw them kissing.

Blue: And it was pretty gross.

Red: And they both wear alot of black.

Blue: Yeah, ’cause they’re TEENAGERS.

Unfortunately, I totally know what they are talking about because the previous week I had passed B and her boyfriend on the road when I was dropping the girls at their dad’s. 

They aren’t just wearing black, but they are dressed in complete GOTH garb.

Yeah.

White faces.

Black eyeliner.

Black. Black. Black.

Chains.

Piercings.

Seriously.

I remember B when she was my kids’ ages. And I look at Blue and Red, mortified at the thought of Red changing her hair color, adding black eyeliner (or any at all) to her face. Or Blue shaving her head and piercing her nose.

I shudder to think that they will be teenagers before I know it.

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After a great week of making and selling art, sleeping, eating lots of ice cream and Cheetos, sitting on the beach, visiting with friends, the girls come home in the morning. I am chomping at the bit to see them and hold them and smell them and talk to them. In talking to them over the course of the week, they were spending their time on a lake up north and I already know that when they come home to me, they will have grown just a little bit, be talking differently, reasoning differently, even eating differently. I know this because it happens alot. Little changes when they are away from me. Their excitement and pride in what they accomplished, making friends, the zipline, jumping from the dock, passing a float test…all add up to growth and courage and excitement.

In a week and a half, they start school. I did their shopping last week for a few things but wait until the weather actually changes before I buy them clothes. Last year, Red outgrew everything by Thanksgiving and she had barely worn the pants and sweaters. I figure I will find some deals by then too.

At any rate, the week proved to be productive and relaxing and full of insight. It is a shock to the system to go from being full time mom to “officially on vacation” from motherhood. But I did it. And I know I will do it again. 

The band that played on Thursday night was amazing. Meeting the piano man there was exciting. The next day, breakfast out was comforting. 

Sorry, that sounds so gushy but it is hard to explain how uncomplicated but interesting he is.  For once, there isn’t any drama. NO-DRAMA. I’ve seen him occasionally now for a little while in different venues, guitar lessons, which are coming along swimmingly. Breakfast out. Band nights. Piano bar nights. Mama Mia. Swimming at the cove. Walking.

And I am digging the things that are adding up to knowing him.

And the more I laugh.

There is a great familiarity I feel, in keeping it real.

It’s simple. It kind of reminds me on the other side of things, when I knew Ohio for such a short time and how closed in it all felt in such a short time. He used the word “dishonest” once, like things were being hid, and I know the feeling that was there, because I felt he hid from me at least. Yeah, it still hurts. I still hurt over that.  I understand the things like life situations and vulnerability we all share that close us in…breaking through is freedom. And it is awesome.

Saturday night, I went to the piano bar with D and Kat and the house was packed. Upon singing through the night, I found myself at 11:30 singing to a full but silent room, Elton John’s “Sacrifice”. Towards the end, as I was facing the door from the outside to the bar area of the room, two people kind of ran/stumbled through. One was this tiny drunk woman and behind her staggered in…a very familiar face…who lives half an hour away…who should it be, but Steam.

The last time I saw him there or knew him to go there, was over a year ago, and I recently wrote about it here

Fortunately, that mortifying night, my piano man was not playing. It was a substitute piano man.

So, Steam and date, enter the piano bar. Drunk and obnoxious. And in the middle of my song, I find myself face to face with him (and he stopped short and just stared at me, equally shocked, which is ridiculous, considering I was only merely a few blocks from my house, why the hell would he come all this way?)

How did I get through the rest of the song?

First, I looked down at my piano man and felt completely safe where I was.

Then I just closed my eyes and willed Steam and his date, to leave.

And then I turned around and faced the other way to finish the song.

By the time I sat down at the end of the song, he and his date staggered out, left, didn’t come back.

My greatest fear was that he would stay and make a fool of himself.

But alas, he didn’t. For this is my neighborhood. Not his. He is welcome to stay, but nobody’s gonna like it. (this is my hood!)

I let piano man know at the end of the night, what had happened.

After making sure I was okay, he looked me in the face and said “if he’d done anything obnoxious, I would have asked him to leave via the microphone, and after that, I would have stood up and made him leave.”

Regardless, it still shook me up. Having him enter that way, drunk and swaggering, with a girl in an equally compromising situation…and all I can think was “Oh girl (to the girl), you have no idea what you are in for.”

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Dubbing Memories

I’ve had these vhs tapes in my entertainment center from my 9th grade graduation, college graduation, my grandfather’s memorial service, summer camp reunion, and two tapes of footage from old reels from when my grandfather was a baby, my mom and her siblings as a baby, and my sister and me. 

I made a comment to the piano man a few weeks ago about it, about my worry of the tapes eventually disintegrating so they wouldn’t be passed along much further than my own children.

He arrived in town the other night, a day early to hear the band play last night and called to come say hello. When he arrived, he had a big box and said “I have a surprise for you.”

He opened it up and revealed a “dubber”. From vhs to dvd. He had it at home and brought it down, complete with dvds and cases. And then he proceeded to set it up and get the tapes rolling, the dvds recording. Taught me to do it so I could continue while he was playing down at the piano bar tonight.

It was one of the greatest gifts, aside from anything my children have given me, I’ve ever received. 

When I go home to Southern California, I wonder sometimes where what I once knew, has gone. The people who have changed, what happened to them? What happened to me? Nothing is the same and I realize that our memories always differ from what is currently there. The houses are bigger or smaller. The land is drier or greener. The people are nicer or ruder. The roads are more crowded or empty. Regardless, there is very little that is the same.

In watching the videos of my extended family, many have passed away, some have moved out of state as I have, others have disconnected from the family for one reason or another. My 9th grade and college graduations as well as the summer camp videos, I was able to pick out masses of people I am connected with still, some due to something called “Facebook”, others due to email and alumni networks, and some just because we made the effort over the years.

Watching the videos are so small compared to the memories they spark. And I don’t see the videos for the time that they lack, but for what they bring back.

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