Tuesday, December 30, 2008

let it snow let it snow let it snow

When I woke up this morning, it was snowing. The sky was dark and grey. The wind was howling through the trees, blowing snow into drifts. I was probably the only person in Vermont who thought: oh shit. Snow. Shit. Being with skiers, who live for fresh snow and new powder, I am the biggest damper on enthusiasm you can find. I panic about the ice under the snow. I freak when the car skids half an inch. I hate the thought of being stuck here another night because of inclement weather. A new storm is supposed to start after midnight and I want us to pack our bags and go home today so we're not stuck in the morning. Which is worse? Driving at night or driving through a storm? I'm thinking storm. I'm thinking I'm so done with this trip. I'm thinking I want to sleep in my bed, with my humidifier. My wireless connection that works all the time. Places I can walk to. A floor that isn't almost covered with frost. I've handled 4 nights here and it's actually been far more ok than I ever imagined, but impending winter storm warnings erase my mellow.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

the wired cup

The village at Stratton has a lovely little coffee shop called The Wired Cup. It's lovely to stop in and get coffee, to sip a cup of hot chocolate for awhile, they have delicious butternut squash and apple soup (truly, it was fabulous). But, I've been stuck here for HOURS and I have so little patience for being trapped somewhere with no other options. Ok, there are a few other options here: super expensive shopping, a stinky, sweaty ski lodge, a spa with no amenities. It's like if you don't ski, don't bother being here. My brain is sluggish, my back is aching, and I want to leave. So does Jack. But, Iz wanted to do one last run, after Dee had to do one last run with Jon. How many last runs are there? It's sort of like the Cher/Tina Turner farewell tours. They say it's the end, but it's not even close.

Friday, December 26, 2008

crossed wires

Experiencing Jon and his mother having a conversation is almost like listening to people talk at each other in different languages. Neither can understand what the other one is saying and both desperately want to make their point, so they keep talking and talking and talking, regardless of the fact the other isn't comprehending. It used to make me insane, especially as frustration and anger ramped up each exchange. For some reason, tonight I'm finding the humor within.

We're discussing what time to leave in the morning to ski. Jon's mom wants to leave at 7:30, getting to the mountain at least half an hour before the slopes open. I find that ridiculous. Jon's trying to get her to let go of that insane control and ease up a bit. 15 minutes into the discussion, he's talking about how weather affects crowd turnout and that rain will be good so it won't be so crowded tomorrow. She's still stuck on what time we're leaving. Neither was aware they weren't even remotely close, topic-wise.

On that note, I have to mention the travel humidifier I bought as a Hannukah present for Jon last year, that's been purring away in her living room since last December. I got it so we could leave it in the car, to use whenever we travel. She assumed, when he brought it in the house last winter, that it was a present for her. Even when he said he was taking it back, she refused to let it go. When I put the pieces together, I think Jon must have said the humidifier was a gift, she must have assumed he meant gift for her, and the miscommunication just continued from there. Totally typical. But, this time I said I was taking it back. She is not happy. But there's no misunderstanding with me. We're not leaving at 7:30 tomorrow either, regardless of what she thinks.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

what I love about Christmas morning . . .

is that I don't celebrate Christmas. I don't have this hard deadline written in stone for when my shopping/organizing/wrapping needs to be done. Hannukah's way more flexible—there's just not as much performance pressure for one day. There aren't crazy expectations that have been building for a year for the BEST MORNING EVER. I don't have to expect the inevitable meltdowns after present-mania. We don't have to bundle up and visit assorted relatives so no one's feelings get hurt. We can sleep late, be super lazy, go to the movies, have chinese food. I'm not overwhelmed by mountains of shredded wrapping paper, disappointed egos unhappy with gifts, too many leftovers clogging my fridge. While part of me would love a tree, the lights, the cookies for Santa, the fantasy of Christmas, I'm happy with my scaled back reality.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

displaced anger

Anger hurts but even more, it makes you want to hurt. Scream. Destroy. Make someone else suffer as much as you are. And what's really screwed up is that initial anger comes from fear/frustration/disappointment/sadness/any and everything unresolved that evolves into that rage, that insanity, that meanness burning through your body, your brain, your sanity.

Is it worse to be the angry one or the anger recipient? They both suck. Feeling angry is so destructive on the inside, once you can see how it twists your brain. But when you're in it you can't stop. You just attack. And that poor person in your path is nothing but a target. A target who is kicked behind the knees and thrown into a hurricane of emotional violence. How nasty can you get? How low can you hit? How much pain can you cause? How long can you torture? How much blame can you heap on someone else?

Is there anyone out there who can withstand that attack and stay centered and be helpful? There are people in my life who expect that of me, but it's impossible. How can I not feel and be hurt? And then, how can I help a person in pain when they're hating me? It's not possible to be rational when that force is unleashed. The unfairness of it all makes me crazy. I get pissed. Really super pissed. And then it's a free-for-all that's impossible to escape.

Monday, December 22, 2008

shows I didn't see

Tonight Iz and 4 friends went to their very first Broadway show, on their own. Not entirely on their own—they were escorted to the theater (and literally to their seats) by one friend's mom. And were descended on at the show's end by a total mom squad. But, they lasted the entire show by themselves and were literally giddy both with the ridiculousness of the musical and the fact that they were on their own. It was a very cool school night in my almost 10 and a half year old's life.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

holiday excess

I was all set to write about consumerism and excess (and all too often tackiness) of the Christmas season, when I came across this Hanukkah dog outfit and realized we're all suckers for schlock. Is there no self restraint out there? I thought puppies in reindeer antlers or dressed as elves was just about rock bottom, but a satin yarmulke and tallis set for dogs? How desperate are people to throw money away? On garbage? On junk? If someone, anyone, took more than a second to think about what it is they're spending money on—the garbage they're creating, the landfills that they're filling, the clutter that's clogging their closets and their psyches, maybe they'd think twice and leave the filler on the shelves. Shopping itself can be a visceral thrill, but really, how long is that inflatable fruit cake going to be amusing?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

what can I do?

That's Jack's resounding slogan. I don't think a day of his life has gone by without him saying "what can I do" at least 20 times. Even when he's doing something else, he still can ask what can he do in anticipation of finishing. Before he was uttering complete words, his motto was "what kiy (long i) do?" As if I have a magic answer. Or any answer at all. Generally, no matter what I suggest, he says no. Or, his latest "ah . . . no" in a really disgusted voice. I just suggested playing guitar hero and he shot me down. If I suggest baking cookies, going to Grand Central, to the holiday fair at Union Square, bike riding, doing an art project, roller blading, chess, just anything thing you could think of, I get the "ah . . . no." I'm not the Wizard of Oz, or his entertainment psychic.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

not a very good week

Today I went to the ENT, to make sure my ear was ok—part of my being responsible about the shifting vague pain in the left side of my face. 3 years ago my eardrum ruptured, twice, and I ended up in the hospital on 6 hours of antibiotic drips a day. I had actually seen this doctor for a consult in the hospital and she remembered me. She remembered the room I was in, that I had my laptop with me and was working, that I was a writer. At some point I have to let go of the misconception that I fade in the woodwork and leave no impressions on anyone. So, my eardrum looked "pristine" as doctor noted, but I have a full-fledged sinus infection. Not a surprise. But man, Monday was my cracked molar discovery, yesterday was my dental extravaganza, today a sinus infection. And I completely lost my voice an hour ago. There's nothing left but subtle croaking. What can tomorrow bring?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

it's not a tiara

I've been having shifting pain in my jaw, ear, face, neck for awhile and chose to not quite ignore it, but not quite address it. Until the ear part made me think my eardrum was back on the road to rupturing (it happened twice in 2005—pain a second close to childbirth. without drugs). I'm seeing an ENT tomorrow, but called my dentist before the weekend wondering if there was a tooth component in there as well. And the answer was . . . yes. One of my molars was cracked. How? Most likely clenching my teeth when I sleep. I had no idea I was even doing that. On Monday they poked around in my mouth and there were some dull achy spots, but when the dentist ran an ice cube over the front of my teeth, in one spot if felt like she rammed a burning knife way up my gums into my brain. Not a pretty picture. So, today, after laying out $2400, I spent 2 hours with my feet higher than my head, having my poor tooth drilled like it was pothole and now have a temporary crown to show for it. Aside from the month of low level pain and the very long dentist visit with my mouth wrenched open like it was a gateway to hell, this might not even work. Root canal still is a possibility in my very near future.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

is it me?

Last night, In the spirit of family movie night, I agreed to watch Meet Dave. On one hand, it was one of the stupidest movies I've ever seen. I missed the first 5 minutes, but I'm pretty sure that wouldn't have made a huge difference. The premise: ridiculous. A planet in need of energy wanted to drain all of the earth's oceans. These aliens were inches tall and their spaceship was designed to look like a human. Dressed in an all white suit because the only visual record they had of earth were broadcasts of Fantasy Island. Galaxy Quest did a way better job with that premise. These aliens were devoid of emotion, but being on earth and interacting with a very trusting woman who hit Dave (Eddie Murphy, whose face has gotten even more disturbingly elastic) with her car and her "I think I'm a loser" son, unlocked and unleashed all sorts of typical human behavior, like discovering a secret love of the Village People, hairdressing, ghetto speak, and the need to excel at carnival games. Suddenly, members of the crew turned gay, fashionista, homeboy, and the women's uniforms got exceedingly shorter and tighter. Being a New Yorker, I have to mention that if you hit someone with a car, you don't invite them into your apartment for homemade breakfast. Nor is your apartment, in a tenement walk-up in Soho, filled with 6 or so spacious rooms.

Dave did the most shameless commercial promos I've ever seen in a movie: he must have repeated "Welcome to Old Navy" 30 times at least. The good cop/bad cop, we're being visited by aliens, the maniacal take-over by Ed Helms, channeling Evil, all were so painfully derivative, you'd think it would be hard to watch. But no. We watched until the very end. And laughed out loud through much of it.

So, is my taste slipping? At this point one could argue that I don't have taste anymore. But, in the end, it was a satisfying movie night and everyone was happy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

great expectations

While I'm a huge fan of kids and technology, there's something very disturbing about how they think that it's all meant to be a money-making scheme, with dreams of fortunes pouring in before they've actually done anything. Stores on etsy? I don't see any handmade crafts to sell. Shops on ebay? Stocked (in theory) with items I never said were ok to sell. And then the disappointment about not being a huge success before anything has even been started. Is this just at my house or is this more widespread? I'm supposing this is yet another manifestation of entitlement.

Friday, December 12, 2008

when it's not about me

Today Izzy found out that she got one of the leads in her school play. She's going to be Lina Lamont, the stunning yet stupid silent screen star of Singin' in the Rain. Even though she had an after school class, I went to pickup, thinking she would either be devastated or thrilled by the announcement of roles. I saw her quietly walk across the yard, with a stoic look on her face. She pulled me in close, told me not to show any reaction, and then whispered her part in my ear. I screamed, I was so insanely proud of her and she quickly told me to pull it together and cut it out. Jack had the same reaction—we both screamed, she blushed and then told us we weren't being sensitive to everyone else's feelings.

I had no idea, before these play auditions, that she had any interest in performing. In fact, I had no idea she could sing, or act. That she could channel her sometimes ridiculous behavior into a remarkably comedic performance. It's amazing the joy and pride you can feel that has nothing to do with you. My heart was/is overflowing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

paying for what?

Iz and I weathered the cell phone insanity and got her all set up. The whole thing is ridiculous. My plan with at&t is apparently so good (1500 minutes/$49.99) they don't offer it anymore so to get a family plan I'd have to pay more to get less. That didn't work for me. We headed up to the at&t store where I was shocked to find they don't have phones on display. The salesperson pulled out beat up samples for us to look at. Iz liked a teeny tiny samsung that I was sure she'd lose in 5 minutes, but the color wasn't working and we were told that was the only color available. The woman was trying to sell us on a plan for $39.99 that really would cost $56 per month after taxes. I wanted a go plan, pay by the minute, free to me, but who am I? Just the consumer. Before she could get me to sign on the dotted line, we escaped to a cell phone store on 14th street to see what our options were. They had Iz's phone in a lovely blue, but the guy at this store only wanted us to sign up with t-mobile. He bordered on hostile but I stuck to my guns and went the at&t route. She picked an older motorola—no camera—because it was black and silver which matched what she was wearing. She left it home, charging, two days in a row.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

cell phone dramady

Iz is ready to walk home herself which means it's time to set her up with a cell phone. Even though we live across the street, it's still 3 city corners to cross and I want to make sure I can reach her and vice versa, that entire time. So, I called at&t to add a line. Turns out it's not that simple. To start a family plan I'd have to give up my current plan and then pay more money for less minutes. Not too enticing. I can get her a go phone and pay 30 bucks a month, plus a texting package, which adds up for someone who doesn't talk on the phone. There's also the iphone tangent, as in I want one. That would cost $30 extra a month, plus texting, on top of what I have now. All in all, that's a bunch of extra bucks to throw out every month, not counting the price of the phones. What to do? At the moment, nothing.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

dance party

Sometimes, when the mood is right, we turn off the lights, blast itunes and have a dance party. Both Iz and Jack can groove and their taste in music that moves them is as eclectic as mine. Hey, it is mine. Tonight was all about the Eurythmics (Would I Lie to You–the greatest dance song ever written), Sting Me by the Black Crowes, What I Like About You (the Romantics), and Rubberband Man by the Spinners. By that point we were hot and sweaty and slowed it down with Dancing Queen.

Sometimes life is so good and you feel so blessed you want to capture and remember that moment forever. Tonight's dance party was family bliss.