Friday, February 29, 2008

And Guess What I'm Praying For

The kiddo did indeed get to go on his trip to see his favorite baseball team at spring training in Arizona, and so far has called me twice (once upon arrival yesterday and once this morning) to tell me all about the wonderful hotel room he and his dad are in.

"Mom, the carpet is GREEN, just like Daddy's carpet! And there's a DESK in here! And TWO PHONES! And guess what Daddy brought in the cooler -- milk and peanut butter and bread and FROZEN WAFFLES AND SYRUP and lots of other stuff! We're putting it in the refrigerator in our hotel room right now! And there's a fitness center down the hall! And there's a coffee maker! Have you ever been in a hotel, Mom? This hotel is right across from the stadium! And one bad thing, Mom -- there's no Nick Jr. (cartoons) here, but there is the Disney Channel, which really isn't as good, but at least they have that. And guess what else -- you can hook up VIDEO GAMES to the TV and I can tell because there's a CONTROLLER on top of the TV! And we have a KING-SIZE BED! And that's a good thing because we're BOYS, NOT GIRLS!"

I swear, he was over the moon and they hadn't even watched the exhibition game yet. I'm happy for my little monkey, and so glad he called to tell me his exciting news.

Yesterday, when I met him and his dad after school to wish him bon voyage and bring a couple of requested items for the trip, the kiddo ran over, hugged me and quietly said, "When I got out of school and Daddy didn't see you at first, he said, 'Oh, Jesus!'"

I just smiled and let it pass (it's typical behavior for my ex, after all), but I should've told him Daddy must have been praying. Ahem.

Now I think I'll eat some good ice cream and watch grownup shows on television while I have the chance! ;^)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pick a Number

At one point yesterday, the kiddo told me with much frustration, "I can't watch kid shows any more! I'm too old for that! I'm SEVEN!"

Later, when I asked him to put away his toys, he told me, "Mom, I can't do that because I'm ONLY SEVEN!"

I'm only 41, but I feel like 19 or 88, depending.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Critter Kingdom

Suzy-dawg learns what she wants to learn. So far she's learned that when I put on my jeans and grab my keys, but not the leash, she'd best run straight upstairs to try to avoid my putting her in her crate. When she sees me put treats in her crate, she stays upstairs long enough that I have to hunt her down in order to leave the house. Despite my "crate is great" campaign, I'd say she hates the crate, wouldn't you?


Tonight I managed to steal the television from my son for a bit so I could watch the start of the Academy Awards. When the lovely Jennifer Garner took the stage to announce the first award, my son said, "Wow, Mommy, she's almost as pretty as you! And she's really pretty, so that means you're even prettier!" Gotta love that.


Suzy is a tad spoiled, and it's all my fault. I had some leftover soup late last night, so I spooned a bit onto her cheapo, boring dogfood so she'd eat it. Of course, she mostly wanted to lick the soup off each piece of dogfood without eating the actual chunks, but she did eat some. Today I put regular food in her bowl; she sniffed it and looked at me expectantly. No way, girlfriend. We're back to our normal routine now.


The kiddo has a cough. Again. I'm dealing with my second cold in a month, and now he's got it, poor dear. I let him watch the Pokemon marathon today so he could rest up. It's my goal to get him significantly better so he can go with his dad to Arizona for the Padres' spring training as planned. I've been asking God to give me a third cold in exchange for healing the kid sooner rather than later. It's a pretty good deal if you ask me, and I'm hoping He takes me up on it.


This afternoon, I was near the front door and naturally Suzy was right on my heels, so I bent down to pet her. She immediately shied away, no doubt thinking I was about to put her in the crate of doom; I've occasionally had to trick her into thinking we're going outside so I can grab her and completely ruin her day. She seemed to be undecided on whether to beg for a skritch or run upstairs, so she rolled over on her back and pleaded cuteness. I bent down to scratch her belly and she peed! Since she was on her back, you can imagine the logistics of this. That dog is so...special.


I just spent the last twenty minutes "petting" the coughing kiddo's feet to help him fall asleep. It's a little trick I devised when he was a baby and I wanted him to fall asleep quickly; back then, I'd gently tickle his hands or feet, sometimes his belly or back. Occasionally, like tonight, he asks for this before bedtime, and I try to oblige. I love that kid so damn much.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Teeter Without the Totter

My son is quite the smitten kitten. He's had crushes on girls at school before, but right now he has the crush to beat all crushes. He spends time diligently scribbling notes in a notebook at home, making up "blueprints" on how to win this girl's affections. His plans include things like "Make sure to do nice things for [S.] and keep doing nice things." I don't want to laugh and have him think I'm making fun of him, but the cuteness is killing me.

We made valentines for his class and he wanted to make a huge valentine for S., who's in one of the other classes. Not long ago, he waited for her after reading group and held the door open for her. He chases her and her friends on the playground, but when I asked what he'd do if he caught her, he said he didn't know. He told me he feels like he has "hope," because "S. hates J. [another boy who likes her -- apparently a lot of boys like her!], but she at least doesn't hate me." He says he likes her because she's pretty and nice and "always has good behavior." I hope this affinity for good girls continues as he gets older!

Yesterday he told me that S. is one of the girls who changes the lyric sheets on the overhead projector during school assembly singing time. "You know, Mom," he said, "when S. is the one changing the word sheet thingies, I sometimes have an eye problem." Oh? What kind of problem? I asked. The kiddo has mild strabismus in one eye, so I immediately began to worry a little. "Well," he said, "I can't always see the words [uh-oh] because I'm too busy looking at S.!" Ah, okay. Relief.

Once he asked me if I'd ever liked someone who didn't like me back. Oh...HONEY. Boy, have I ever. "Really?" he asked. "How many?" Lots, I said. Remember John G.? "Yeah," he said. "And you liked him since first grade and he didn't even tell you he liked you back until you moved away [after fifth grade], right?" Yep, I said. Like, THANKS, John G.! "Yeah, thanks!" said the kiddo with gusto.

The truth is I've had so many unrequited loves in my life I've lost count. I don't regret them, but I sure remember them. For instance, there was one guy I had a crush on during my senior year of high school; I convinced a younger guy friend of mine to dress up like a delivery person and deliver a rose to the guy's house. That went over like a fart in church.

As an adult, I once had a crush on a handsome, talented local actor who played an angel in a musical I'd seen numerous times. I had flowers sent to the backstage door one night and he called me the next day to thank me, but that was it.

When I worked in aerospace, I fell for a good-looking guy who seemed interested. I asked him to lunch and he accepted, only to cancel on the day we were supposed to go. He said he'd had a flu shot and wasn't feeling good, so I told him I hoped he felt better soon and to call if he wanted to reschedule. He never called back.

And of course there was the kiddo's dad.

Recently, after listening to my son tell me about all the nice things he's been doing for S., I told him it was really great that he was doing so many nice things for S., and asked if S. was doing nice things for him. "Nope," he replied. I told him that it's pretty neat if both people do nice things for each other, and that after a while, if he's the only one doing nice things, he might want to think about spending more time with friends who do nice things back. After all, I can think of several kids, boys as well as girls, who like the kiddo and enjoy spending time with him. I explained that when both people in a friendship do nice things for each other, this is called balance. (I know -- no need to say it.) "I don't care!" he said. "I'm going to keep doing nice things for S. no matter what she does!"

The kid is doomed. ;^)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Request to Television Advertisers

Hello, television advertisers:

I have a little request. Would you please kindly cease making commercials that include the sound of a ringing doorbell? I cannot tell you the number of times I've thought someone was at my front door when in fact I'd heard yet another doorbell on a commercial. Apparently I'm getting old and my hearing is about as wonky as my ditzy dog's.

Thank you for humoring a cranky old lady,

Monday, February 11, 2008

Following the "Teachings of Cathol"

Yesterday I took the kiddo to church. I've taken him to the Catholic church a bit in the past, and taken him to Quaker meetings a handful of times, and his dad has taken him to the Methodist and Baptist churches. His dad has a bible that the kiddo reads once in a while, and I have a book of children's bible stories that we've read as well. Lately, though, the kiddo has been asking, "What am I?" and I've said he's a Christian. His dad's former girlfriend was Jewish, and my son learned about Hannukah (at least) along with Christmas last year at school. He's had a smattering of religious influences, although he was never baptized (except informally by my dad, which I don't believe is considered valid in the Catholic church).

I don't think it's necessary for a person to be baptized to have a relationship with God, nor do I think it's necessary for a person to be a believer to be a good person. A former boyfriend of mine was the most kindhearted, selfless, wonderful person I've ever met, and he didn't believe in God, whereas the people we knew put on a show of going to church and were hateful in their personal lives. Still, I've been wanting the kiddo to have a more formal religious education, so I took him yesterday to the children's liturgy at our nearby Catholic church. I should add that he was adamant about not going, but naturally I win these battles. ;^) It had been a little while since I'd been to that particular church, and it was nice to be able to show my son the ropes. For the first part of the mass, we went into a separate chapel with all the kids, and a teacher conducted a question-and-answer lesson about that day's gospel reading. A couple of kids knew all the answers, and I realized how much I'd absorbed in my lifelong Catholic education -- and how much my son was missing by going to a public school. It's time to correct this.

After the children's liturgy, we rejoined the congration for the consecration, etc., and the kiddo enjoyed learning when to sit, stand and kneel, how to genuflect, and how to find the super-slow hymns* in the hymnal by looking at the numbers on the board at the front of the church. After mass was over, I showed him around the church and he had questions about the Stations of the Cross depicted on the stained glass windows on the walls of the church. As we made our way back to the car, he told me, "You know, that wasn't as boring as I thought it was going to be, but it was less exciting than I hoped it would be, so it was pretty much medium."

I can live with medium right now. ;^)

* Eddie Izzard: "There's something weird, something phenomenally dreary about Christian singing. The gospel singers are the singers who just go PRAISE! and JOY! and it's born out of kidnapping, imprisonment, slavery, murder, and it's joyous singing, and the Church of England, well, all of those sort of Christian religions, mainly Caucasian white people with all the power and money -- enough power and money to make Solomon blush, they'll sing, ',' They're the only people who can sing hallelujah without feeling like it's a hallelujah."

Thursday, February 07, 2008

It's Okay to Hope, Isn't It?

Holy cow. I must have really turned a corner, because this is the first night in over a week that my throat has not been aching by nightfall. I just realized it now! Last night I spent a lot of time awake and coughing, in between having fitful little dreams about a really lovely ex-boyfriend from long ago. Maybe tonight I'll actually get to sleep -- wouldn't mind more dreams, though! ;^)

In other news, I found one of Suzy-dawg's teeth on the floor by her crate. Argh! I don't know if it came out recently or if it was just stuck in the blankets in her crate and was shaken loose when she was stomping around in there (and boy, does she ever stomp! I could hear her down in the garage!). I saved the tooth and showed the kiddo after school today; he was impressed at first, then remembered: GROSS! I jokingly said maybe we should put Suzy's tooth under her pillow and see if the doggie tooth fairy comes, and my son actually looked hopeful. What would the doggie tooth fairy bring? Treats, I guess! Suzy was missing teeth when she first came to us, but has been chewing her dry dog food like a trooper. Just the same, I poured a little warm water on her food tonight and she gobbled it down in half the time. Hmm. I'd better get in touch with her owner and see about taking her to the vet for a dental exam.

I talked with my delightfully analytical client today and had a great conversation. She'd narrowed down her questions to the most pertinent ones, and we still talked about her paper for about 90 minutes. She also said she hadn't slept last night, so I hope she was able to do some writing after we talked. I want to help her meet her deadline, but I need her material. It's too bad she doesn't live nearby -- she seems like someone who'd be nice to know socially.

Ah, finding myself craving company these days and feeling good about it. Lots of positive changes happening. :-)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Okay, I'm Just Going to Say It

Can I just tell you? And will you promise not to hate me? I've lost 13 pounds in the past two months. I made some nifty life changes recently and lately every time I get on the scale, the number is lower. I actually had to grab some weights and test the scale a few days ago to make sure it was working properly. This is a good thing. In fact, my pants were beginning to fall down, so I've had to tighten my belt -- until I can buy some smaller pants.* I expect the weight loss will level out at some point (perhaps soon), so I'm planning the next steps in the process. I think I'd like to lose a total of about 53 pounds, so now I have only (ha! only!) 40 to go. Good stuff.

* That's "trousers" for the Aussies among us -- you with your oddly named treats, like clinkers! ;^)


So I had a very interesting conversation with a client yesterday. After editing a chapter of a thesis, the grad student who'd written it called and said she had a few questions. Well, she did not have a few questions -- she had a million questions! In a nutshell, she wanted to ask me the reason behind every change I'd made to her 35-page document. I'm talking every punctuation change, every word choice -- everything. Nothing was too small for her.

Now, in fairness, she's an extremely nice person. She reminds me a little of my college roommate, partly because she has a very mathematical mind (and math was one of her two majors) and partly because she speaks very quickly and exactly. I like people like this; they're fun. I also feel a bit dull around them sometimes, but I like to think I bring a little lightness and looseness to the party. Anyway, after about 45 minutes on the phone with this lovely woman, we'd managed to cover the first four pages of her paper and I could tell this method of working wasn't going to serve us well. When we ended our conversation (on my initiative), I told her with all due respect that we really need to focus on the big picture; we need to work together to make sure she gets her chapters completed by her Saturday deadline, and we can always discuss the finer points of grammar and style later. Of course, I was extremely gentle and polite about it; she's very sweet and I didn't want to hurt her feelings, but I also didn't want to spend too much time giving grammar lessons. She understood, thank goodness.

I realized after our conversation that she's the first person to question my editing choices in such detail. I feel very comfortable explaining or defending my choices because I've been doing this work for a long time, but it's been a long time since I'd actually been asked to explain why I changed a colon to a semicolon in one place, and changed a semicolon to a colon in another.

This reminded me of a recent experience at a new doctor's office. I went in as a new patient and the clerk gave me the usual history forms to fill out. After filling out all my health information, I reached the final two pages in the stack. These were two forms stating that I'd received the privacy statement and health care directive, respectively, and each required my signature. However, I had, in fact, NOT received those documents, and I told the clerk I couldn't sign the receipts until I received the documents. She sighed and gave me the office copy of the privacy statement to read, and told me it was "basically the same" as the health care directive.

After I read the privacy statement, I asked for a copy. Oh, and I should mention that the clerk was sitting right next to a copy machine and wouldn't have had to get out of her chair to make copies. Once again, she sighed and fulfilled my request. "You're the first person to ask for this," she told me.

I signed the receipt for the privacy statement and tucked my copy of the document into my purse. "You need to sign the other one, too," the clerk said. I explained that I couldn't sign it until I received a copy of the document. "But we need to keep the receipts in our files in case we get audited," she said. I asked if she had an office copy of the health care directive, and she said no. I politely explained that I wouldn't be signing the receipt, then. "You're the first one to ask about this," she repeated. "Everyone else just signs the forms." She sounded reproachful.

Too bad.

Maybe I'll be giving grammar lessons next week. ;^)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

My Favorite Color Used to Be Pink

Hoo-boy. Because my son brings home all germs known to mankind, and because I'm around his school so often, I'm now not only coughing, but I'm also rocking a nice case of pinkeye.

Anyone wanna kiss me? ;^)

I had drops left over from when I had pinkeye last year, so I've been using those. But geez, who gets pinkeye as an adult? Prior to last year, the last time I had pinkeye was when I was about six years old, and now I've had it twice in less than 365 days. Feh.

Last week I visited the kiddo's school at lunchtime to give him his inhaler and some cough medicine. We sat on the retaining wall by the playground and chatted for a bit, and he asked me to watch him play kickball. A few minutes later, a couple of girls who knew me from last year (I volunteered weekly in the kiddo's kindergarten class) ran over to say hello. "Hi, [kiddo]'s mom," said H. "My hair is wavy. It's not really curly. It's really more wavy." She sat down and scooched right up next to me so she could check out my earrings and visitor's badge and watch. The kid is like a little magpie and has always done this; she cracks me up. J. came over to tell me about her cousin, who's "not even one year older" than she, and to tell me her grandmother is going to sign her up for soccer next year. My son ran back and forth between his game and me, grabbing hugs before heading out to kick the ball again.

It's a good thing the little germ-infested monkeys are so gosh-darn cute. I'm just sayin'. ;^)