Squishing About in My Brain

Archive for February 2009

I am a puzzle…wrapped up in an enigma blahblahblah…
  • I am right-handed…and I play pool left-handed.
  • I am very learned in grammar…and I make up words.
  • I am very grounded…but I daydream constantly.
    I love all animals…but I truly hate my daughter’s cat.
  • I love tattoos…but I have none.
  • I have solid self-esteem…but I dislike most pictures of myself.
  • I have an artistic, non-linear, free-for-all personality…but when my mind is frazzled and confused, I do Find-A-Word puzzles in a strict, methodical, regimented way.
  • I adore makeup…but I do not wear it very often.
  • I love seeing movies in the theater…but I only go if someone else takes me.
  • I have a positive outlook…but sometimes I am absolutely certain that the world is both already in hell and positively irredeemable.
  • I love the beach, even in winter…but I rarely go.
  • I am proud of my life, but also prone to POFFs: Profound Overwhelming Feelings of Failure.

Hello again.

It’s been raining here in the Bay area for almost 24 hours now…again…
I like rain, now that I used my Super Secret Skillz to change the flow of the drainspout on my “house”. Although my pug, Emme, does NOT like rain. I barely get her outside to pee, and only if I go ALL the way out with her!, and she saves up her poop for later. (Thankfully, this morning my daughter came upon her doodie gift first, so she had to clean it up.)

But this is not really the point. Get to the Mowie Wowie, maaan, I hear you saying…

Wrong joints, dude.

I have been noticing, increasingly this month, that…my body is acting OLD. There is no other word to use. OLD.
This is SO WRONG.
I am not even 40 yet! (Not til April anyhow.)
But literally every joint in my body aches. Almost all the time. I remember when I was little and achy joints and being affected by cold were things I associated with my great-grandma…and now…here I am. But she was in her 90s at the time!…I am 39. I live in a relatively mild climate. And my body feels like it is disintegrating.
One friend keeps throwing the word “arthritis” around, because she has had it for quite awhile now.
All I know is that my visits to the doctor every June come out okay…but my body hurts like I am old and decrepit.
So, I try to better my health. I take my vitamins. I just started some glucosomine/chondroitin supplements. I drink more water, and I TRY to make myself exercise—when my joints don’t hurt so much it is a struggle to stand up from the couch after 10 minutes!
My left knee is also marfed up…I can feel a tendon? muscle? something flip like a
rubber band in it when I bend it. VERY disturbing.
I want to magically change time in the world, as follows: I think you should only have to be as old as you LOOK.
I would only have to be about 27-30, I am told. That was waaay before I started hurting like THIS!
My 60+ mom could be 50 again!
My 70 year old dad…well…still 70. Sorry, Dad…it was the booze and cigs, I’m thinking.
My daughter…crap. Most days she would be 18. I can’t have that!
I was not upset with 30. (But I did freak out at 31.)
I am not so upset about the number 40 itself.
I do not feel that I am old yet, as I turn 40.
In fact, when I see Facebook ads about “such n such is pushing 40 but looks 28!”, I get offended. Where is she pushing it TO, exactly? And why does 40 seem like a death threat in advertising? I am a more complete and intelligent and loving and together human now than I have ever been, all things considered.
But my body feels like I am already old.
But I don’t think that is about a NUMBER…I think that is about something altogether different.
And as hard as I try, I still don’t feel old.
But some nights when it gets chilly, I still almost wish I had a walker.

Posted on: February 21, 2009

I haven’t blogged in awhile. Not because I have nothing to say, but because I find there are periods of life where nothing but negativity comes out when I attempt to express myself or look on that elusive “bright side” people like to harp upon. So, I’ve just kept my mouth shut, aside from a few very frustrated remarks on Facebook.
When it comes right down to it, here’s the deal:
I chose to have a child “out of wedlock”, even after the father left me, and chose to rear said child alone anyway. (I did the right thing. I will never regret her. EVER.)
BUT this meant a great deal of letting go of dreams and hopes for the future I HAD planned. What I had planned became irrelevant as soon as I decided against an abortion.
The future I planned was NOT the following: to raise a child on welfare, and then without welfare when I had a job that was “too well-paying” for assistance, but not well-paying enough to make ends meet. I did not plan to be 39 and still borrow money from my parents, knowing that THEY aren’t made of money themselves, especially with one of them retired. I did not plan to have no savings, ever. (Okay, I exaggerated: I HAVE a savings account…it has $.011 in it, and I have held onto that balance for 9 months at least. Rah, sis boom bah.) I did not plan to have bills I cannot pay, no matter how much I plan to be and want to be financially responsible. I did not plan to have to choose between gas to go to work and bouncing the rent check, or bouncing the rent to be able feed my child at the end of the month, and paying the bank fees out of the NEXT check if I can get them to pay on the check anyway. (Which they no longer will, regardless. But they USED to do it for me. Why not? It benefitted them to the tune of at least a hundred dollars a month! Desperate poeple are GREAT for business!)
I was SO THRILLED in January because I ended up with $17 left in my checking account for gas, to hold me over until my check got deposited on the 2nd. $17 versus being overdrawn—I practically wanted to have a party to celebrate my success! I was SO proud.
Oh but wait…car registration of $212.00, due January 12, paid a month late out of necessity. So, really…$17 counts for nothing.
And before anyone starts harping on my money-management skills: to manage, one must HAVE money. If you looked at my balance sheet, you would wonder how the hell we eat after the most necessary bills DO get paid…and that’s just bills for the car and a roof over our heads. And, yes, I DO live the cheapest accomodations possible for two people.
Sorry, but I have heard it all, folks. All the “It MUST be your fault!” BS, all the “It must be YOU that is the problem in the equation!” BS, the “YOU must be doing something wrong!” BS…
Ahem…back to what I was saying…
All the things people list to me as things we can do without, we already don’t have: we don’t have cable; we don’t even have TV reception anyhow because we would need cable to get a signal where we live. We don’t have cell phones that we pay for; my daughter is 15 and the only one of her friends without one, and I only have one because my boss pays for it, and rumor has it that THAT arrangement is going to end as well, so we won’t have one at all, as I cannot afford to put any money toward one. We don’t eat out. We don’t buy expensive or unnecessary groceries, or presents for friends’ birthdays or Christmas gifts. We don’t get our nails done, our hair cut, or go to the eye doctor or dentist regularly. We only go to the doctor if we are so sick it is impossible to carry on with our daily lives over for a week. Our internet connection is through our basic phone service, which does not include long distance. Long distance calls to my mom get made on that cell phone that will be disappearing soon. No one else gets called. Ever. Even my mom knows to leave a message that ends in, “Don’t call me back! I will call YOU back!” I do not have a retirement account or investments. I do not have a college account for my daughter for college…although I guess I could give her the $0.11 savings. If she isn’t bright and lucky enough to get assistance to go, I cannot send her. And yes, that DOES make me feel like a failure.
And guess what, folks? I work a full time 9-5 job, and get paid what amounts to a good administrative salary in this area of the country.
And the ends still do not meet. Ever.
And, yes, I AM grateful to HAVE a job in this economy. I KNOW people are getting laid off left and right. I KNOW how hard things are. But I have to tell ya: I saw a blurb about how this “new, lower-standard” of living we are in may last for awhile…and I LAUGHED. I literally laughed until I cried, because THIS IS NOT NEW FOR ME! I HAVE BEEN LIVING LIKE THIS FOR MOST OF 15 YEARS! People are having to sell their boats and their second cars and take pay cuts and not go to movies or eat out as much? PUH-LEEZE! Jesus Christ…I cannot even imagine such a GOOD reality for my life.
Done ranting. Don’t bother to leave bitchy comments…shitting on people at the very bottom of the societal ladder is just cruel.

I am SO giving myself BIG KUDOS in my own blog today!

I am so proud of myself, even though I bitch about it…

It’s amazing, it’s stupendous, it’s life-changing!…


I am drinking SO MUCH MORE WATER, it is shocking to me!

I started at the beginning of the month, deciding I had to take all my vitamins, pills, etc. with water from then on out. (And I have daily meds and vitamins, so, that was a good place to start.)

Then last week, I decided I had to drink a big ole cup of water between my Cherry Pepsis at work.

No matter what.

One day this week, I actually drank more water than Pepsi.

I can see a difference already…my skin’s better. I sleep better.

Of course, I also have to pee all the damn time,

but that’s just how it is when your body gets healthy, I guess.

I’m 39 and 10/12ths years old…and I am finally drinking water.
I feel like such a Water Goddess…

And I’m sure I will eventually start LIKING drinking water…right?

I just joined (another) Iowa group on Facebook. There’s a thread about what people assume and say about Iowa and Iowans that piss us off.
So I thought about it…
I live in California now, going on eight years.
I get the Potato State thing a lot. I have learned to just say, “No, corn.” They usually respond, “Ooooh yeah! Isn’t that over in the east somewhere?” I tell them to check just off-center of any U.S. map.
People also seem to assume that everything in Iowa is tiny…including cities. “You had THREE malls? In IOWA?! No way!” Yep, and that was only in Des Moines, not Iowa overall. I now live in Santa Cruz, which is SMALLER than Des Moines, the capital city, where I grew up. (One mall, by the way. For Santa Cruz AND its suburbs and surrounding towns!)

Also, the farm assumption. I have had to tell even my closest friends here that NO, I did not grow up on a farm, and the only time I was on one was when I went home with someone who did, in college; they are somewhat shocked and aghast.

There has also been surprise that we have so many colleges, and that they are not tiny and backward places, but places where you can actually LEARN and go on to live a good and productive life!

Also that we have art and museums and botanical centers and libraries and shopping and even things NOT about covered bridges!

I have actually read a few books where they say things like, “…the Tony awards…and in case you live in Iowa and have no idea what those are…” and stupid things like that. It makes me sad that the writers need someone to belittle to make them feel good.
I think that it embarrasses people to think that not everyone WANTS to be New York or California….like Iowa must be SO hick because they don’t WANT a huge crowded mass of immoral, self-serving people crowded together. (No offense to the PEOPLE of NY and L.A., but c’mon…that’s all we hear about…and now that I live in California, I can tell you: most of it is justified.)
I have taken to telling people that Iowa is an AWESOME place to raise kids: that we grow up moral and kind, polite and friendly, educated, and less screwed-up in general, and just NICE…and then we go out into the rest of the world and spread it around.

I do not get annoyed anymore, after all these years. I chock it up to other people’s arrogance and lack of knowledge about the country they live in.

I, like most Iowans of my generation, I think, wanted OUT of Iowa in adulthood. I finally left, child in tow, at 31. And y’know what? I am thinking I might just move back.

There is something to be said for a decent, affordable standard of living, thunderstorms, fresh produce, and the Andersen-Erickson Dairy. And you cannot get a better tenderloin than you can get in Iowa. DAMN, I tell ya! Pork and beef ,(not to mention corn), there are the best in the world, bar none. And Iowa is SO GREEN! And you get people who are, more often than not, genuinely NICE and helpful and accepting of others. And y’know what else? I am PROUD to have been raised in Iowa.
I miss it.
If it had an ocean, I probably never would have left.

Now, as much as I joke about my daughter the TEENAGER (insert scary zombie movie music here), she really is NOT a bad kid. Bad for her is not the same as bad for anyone else I know…I DO realize that. I worked hard to get her to this point, and it IS paying off…Like me, Genevieve is NOT a morning person. In fact, we are both of the notion that commerce and such should not start until noonish.

SO, here is the first truly joyous and unexpected morning we have had in YEARS.Happened this morning:

Her cat woke me up at 4 a.m., howling next to my bed…for the second morning in a row. I closed her out of my room, and tried to go back to sleep. MY cat started buggin me at 6. (Note: the alarm does not go off until 7.) Kicked her out too. The pug, wisely, values sleep as much as me and Genevieve, and so went back to bed with me. (None of this is the joy….wait for it.)Genevieve got up early to take a shower. I heard her do it. SO, my alarm goes off at 7, and I ignore it for ten minutes.

But, y’know…the bladder. SO, I get up, blearly-eyed and cotton-brained from the 4 and 6 a.m. wakeup calls by pets who obviously WANT to have their lives ended, and I go into the bathroom and while the dog and I are sitting there (she follows me EVERYWHERE, people…and that early in the morning, I do not care), and suddenly my nose wakes up. What is that smell?! Maybe Genevieve made herself cup o’noodle for breakfast, cuz it smells like FOOD, and that just does NOT happen in our house in the morning.

So we toddle on out to the “Feed me, bitch!” howls of the cats, and…

It will be a shock…

My daughter, clad in a bathrobe and with her hair still in a towel, says, in a cheerful voice (which I never hear before noon usually!), “Good morning, Momma! I made you EGGS!”

I’m sorry…what?

I rub my eyes, and squint at her, and she babbles, “I was up early, and I watched Brianna make fried eggs yesterday at her house, so…I made you eggs! If they are bad, you don’t have to eat them, it’s my first time, and I won’t be mad.You’ll also notice there are SIX eggs missing, and you and I only have two eggs each…”

I’m sorry–are those happy, full sentences coming out of this child at 7:15a.m.?! Where is Rod Serling?

“Buuuut…my first egg like folded itself into an accordian so that was no good. And the second one I dropped on the floor so…yeah. The cats were all over that one, but I stopped them!”

Ooookay. Is my child on drugs?

“So, you go ahead and take the dog out, and I’ll put your plate in the microwave so the cats don’t get it!”


Of course, it is raining outside, so the dog is very UNwilling to do her thing so I can get back to this thing I think is called…”breakfast?” So, a good five minutes later, I’m back. Genevieve is nowhere to be found (which means she has gone to her scary room), so I think maybe I DID imagine it, and I feed the animals.And then I open the microwave.

It’s true. A plate. With two eggs and two pieces of toast. Perfect toast. Waiting to made into the perfect egg sandwich.

I am now awake. Shock will do that to a body, even at 7 a.m.

So I sit on the couch and eat my eggs and toast. The dog comes to make sure I don’t drop any. I don’t. Aside from the fact that my mom always made runny-yolk fried eggs, and these are completely fried, I must say…damn good. A little cold. Not her fault.

Genevieve comes out as I am eating the last few bites. I had TRIED to savor the meal and go slow, but…it was too good. And surprising. I ate like they were going to disappear.

“Mom, are they okay? If they aren’t okay, don’t eat them, it’s OKAY.”

“No, they are wonderful. Thank you. I appreciate them very much!”

“Really? Cuz it’s okay. Did you feed that to the dog?”

“OH hell no, I did not feed that to the dog. It’s good. I’m eatin it all myself.”

“Really? Cuz it’s my first time, so tell me if something is bad.”


“Oh good!”

And then, she hits me with it. The coup de grace. The killing stroke.

“I’ve decided I am going to cook a LOT more, cuz I mean, you dont LIKE to cook, and I DO, so…you buy the food, I’ll cook it for you.”

I’m sorry…I think I feel an aneurism coming on…repeat that?

So, I say the only thing I can think of…”Cool. Does that mean you’ll make those red velvet cupcakes tonight then?”

“Well, I don’t get home from that dance performance until…well I dont know, it doesn’t start until 7:30, so I dont know if I’ll be back in time, but I’ll make them Saturday. And when I DO get back tonight, we’ll have ice cream sundaes!”

I can HEAR my eyelids blinking…plink.plink.plink.


I immediately have to text the friends I text. One has a teenager (well, he is 20 NOW) from hell, and one is a teacher. I get great hoorays from the former; she tells me “There is a human in there with a big heart under all the alien teenager. Awwwww thats more than awesome!” The latter: that’s great. What does she want from you?heh heh

Now, last night I DID just cobble together every ounce of cash I had so the child could go to said dance performance with her friends tonight, BUT…her usual modus operandi is to get what she wants and turn grumpy and unappreciative again immediately. And she IS a generally free child…unless I have a reason, she does get to do what she wants to, after homework, chores, responsibilities held up…she IS poor, but she also DOES get to choose her life for the most part.

So, I am neither getting my hopes up that she WILL cook a lot, nor downplaying the proposed gift I see the offer as. I mean, this IS the child who whined because I asked her to make a Cup o’ Noodle for ME, too, when she made herself one last week…BUT she is also a really great kid, with a wonderful heart.

So, I decided that, just for today, I would live in the moment and appreciate the hell out those eggs she made me.

And I do.

I SO do.
And from now on, I am keeping the freezer stocked with bacon…just in case she does it again. Bacon would make it even better.

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