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  • IPOD May or May Not Increase Cool Quotient and Rhythmic Abilities

    March 29, 2007

    The other day I decided that my clunky 1980s Sony Walkman with cassette player and AM/FM radio was seriously dragging down my cool quotient and that I should probably make the leap into the new millennium by purchasing an IPOD.

    Always one to be on the trailing edge of what’s hot, hip and happening, I didn’t really know what an IPOD was exactly. Only that it is some sort of personal music Walkman device. And if there is anything that will ratchet down your cool quotient, it’s using the phrase “Walkman device” in the year 2007.

    The Apple commercials left me with the impression that as soon as I bought an IPOD I would automatically become cool, as well as be able to dance in public like nobody’s business. And then maybe get cast in a Gap commercial or something. I may have inferred the Gap commercial part. But that possibility was appealing, you know, in case my blogging career doesn’t pan out and the Gap starts looking for uncool and out of shape 47-year-old women to dance in their ads.

    When I got to the electronics store, I put Sean in the cart and we went up and down the aisles looking for the IPODs. To me, everything in an electronics store looks the same — rows and rows of silver boxes and black carrying cases for the sliver boxes and then cables to plug into the silver boxes.

    After wandering the store for forty years, a sales boy took pity on me and led me into the land of IPOD where he began techno-evangelizing from the book of Apple. I was impressed because I didn’t know that 13-year-olds could even get jobs! And God bless his geeky little heart. My skinny, pimply, ill-clad, shampoo-challenged sales child, he was as smart and as sweet and as earnest as he could be. But we were not speaking the same language.

    I drifted in and out of consciousness while Sales Child painstakingly and thoroughly explained everything. Everything. Anyone. Including Steve Jobs. Ever. Wanted to know about IPODs. But was afraid to ask. I pretended to listen and tried not to yawn overtly. As I stood there watching him talk about gigs and megs and cylinders, I looked at Sean sitting in the cart and then I looked back at Sales Child. And then I realized that he probably wasn’t born a pimply geeky little Sales Child. No, he was probably a cute little boy at one time too. His mother probably still thinks he’s a cute little boy. And then it occurred to me that his mother is probably ten years younger than me. And has a tattoo. And she is probably on her second or third IPOD. And then that line of thinking became unpleasant so I went to my happy place until his lips stopped moving.

    Then finally! He stopped talking! Amen already! And like a good car salesman, he got around to the most important question of the day — what color would the little lady like?

    Maybe you’ve figured out by now that there is no real point to this post other than to report that I am the proud owner of a lime green IPOD. And I love it. Still waiting for my cool to kick in. In the meantime I’m practicing for my Gap audition. Just in case.

    Living Gesturally

    March 28, 2007

    When I was studying art in college, one of the exercises the professor had us do at the beginning of every class was a series of gestural drawings. A model would come into the studio, disrobe, strike a pose and then we would have 10-15 seconds to capture the line, the attitude and the form before he or she struck another pose.

    The value of this exercise was that it taught me to see – to see what was important, what was essential. I learned to quickly capture the essence of a composition with just a few simple lines.

    Now that I have a three year old, I don’t get to spend much time in my art studio, but I still use this same technique, only now I use words on scraps of paper instead of charcoal on newsprint. Like the gestural drawings, sometimes I’ll see something in what I’ve recorded that can be worked into a greater composition and other times I’ll look at a nonsensical string of words and wonder if Sudafed should really be an over-the-counter drug.

    Earlier this week I opened the drawer of my nightstand so that I could sweep everything off the top and into the waiting drawer with my forearm. Dusting and cleaning all in one economic motion. Down in the dark recesses of the drawer, a small scrap of paper with my own handwriting caught my eye. I picked it up and read it:

    Sean on tricycle, helmet, mails here, chapstick

    While those words would make no sense to anyone else, for me they reconstituted a sweet and previously forgotten moment and brought it back to life.

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    A day or two after I returned home from the hospital last month, I was resting in bed. Bringggg-bringggg! Sean announced his arrival by furiously working the bell on his little red Radio Flyer tricycle. He pedaled into my bedroom wearing a helmet. “Mail’s here ma’am,” he announced. Then he got off of his tricycle, opened the trunk and pulled out some coupons and junk mail. He handed them to me and then extended his other hand so that I could pull him up into bed with me. He was quickly distracted from his postal duties by the tube of Chapstick on my nightstand. “Can I use your Chapstick? My wips are willy willy chapped,” he said somberly. Before I could grant permission, he grabbed the tube and vigorously smeared Chapstick in a big circle around but not on his lips. “Want some?” he offered, holding the waxy stub up for me to see. When I declined, he scampered down out of my bed, got back on his bike and rode out of the room ringing his bell.

    I smiled to myself as I looked at those few words scribbled on the back of a dry cleaning coupon. A verbal snapshot. I was reminded that it is the small, spare and even unremarkable memories that are the very essence of life. And maybe, even more so than grand moments in life — the weddings and the graduations –they are worthy of capturing and preserving.

    And I think that’s why I blog.

    My Cylinders Are Dirty And My Mother Told Me So. For Free.

    March 27, 2007

    For several weeks, I’ve been pretending that I haven’t noticed that our six-year-old freezer is not really freezing. Having recently replaced a 5-year-old washing machine, the thought of our reasonably young major appliances dying off one by one was more than I could bear, so I scampered off to my happy place where appliances never break, my thighs are thin and chin whiskers are only for cats. La-luh-la-luh-lah!

    But then the other day I noticed that the veggie burger that I pulled from the freezer felt more like a sponge than a frozen burger. Although a veggie burger usually tastes like a sponge, it normally doesn’t feel like one until after it’s been nuked. Nonetheless, I convinced myself that Sean had been in the freezer and that he probably hadn’t shut the freezer door all the way. Denial with a twist of logic.

    However. It was hard to persist in my denial when my mother reported that she got an ice cream bar out of the freezer — and drank it.

    “Have you cleaned your cylinders?” she asked. “Your cylinders are probably just dirty.” I tried to not take that personally.

    I just looked at her because I couldn’t think of one thing to say other than “What are cylinders?”

    “About once a year, your father brings in the leaf blower and cleans out our cylinders,” she persisted.

    The image of my father in the kitchen wearing protective goggles, wrangling the leaf blower and giving the refrigerator a hot air enema while my mom, also wearing protective goggles looked on and supervised made me laugh. There’s got to be a Far Side cartoon in there somewhere.

    I seriously doubted that our non-freezing freezer’s problem could be attributed to something as simple as dirt because my theory is that dirt is what’s holding this place together. So I found my owners manual and called the service number and scheduled a repairman out for this morning.

    Mr. Cheerful pulled a panel off the front of the fridge and reported with a little too much satisfaction that my cylinders were dirty. I thought my mom was going to high-five him.

    So then. Recap. I paid $75 plus tax for a strange man to come into my home and tell me what my mother already told me so that she could say she told me so.

    Edited to add: Maybe they’re not cylinders. Maybe their coils. I don’t know. Because I wasn’t paying attention. I’m pretty sure they start with “c”. I only know that this c-word thing is dirty and I paid some guy $80 to tell me so. As if I needed something else to clean. Someone needs to invent self-cleaning cylinders and coils.

    Final Edit: I’ve just been informed by experts who are standing by that it’s a compressor. So I was right. It starts with “c”.

    Dr. Spine

    March 26, 2007

    This morning I had an appointment with a spine doctor. Since last fall, I have been having these nagging pains in my neck that have nothing to do with people in my life who fall into that category.

    All winter I ignored the pain as best I could until finally I couldn’t. Then I paid a visit to my GP who sent me off for an MRI. The MRI revealed mostly good news — the pain wasn’t imaginary and it wasn’t a tumor but I do have a pinched nerve somewhere along my spine. I was kind of glad to learn that the pain was caused by something because if the MRI had shown nothing then I would have had to suffer Dr. GP trying to explain that concept to me in that overly-calm and even tone that doctors use when talking to crazy people, mad dogs and women. And that reeeeally makes my neck hurt.

    Dr. GP referred me to Dr. Spine and so that’s where I found myself this morning.

    I was mightily impressed with Dr. Spine’s operation. I was welcomed into his beautifully appointed high tech cruise-ship style lobby. I was offered a beverage of my choice, a plethora of current magazines from which to choose and a computer with internet access. I thought I had died and gone to Starbucks!

    Without delay I was shown to a lovely exam room where a steward turned down the bed for me and showed me how to work the mini-bar. No not really. But almost. I was given a gift bag (seriously!) and thanked for choosing Dr. Spine to serve my pinched nerve needs. I was instructed to make myself comfortable and to watch a video that would explain all about Dr. Spine and his philosophy on life and what a great and amazing guy he and his partners are. The steward turned on the video and left the room. In keeping with my high school study habits, I promptly picked up a magazine featuring Heather Locklear on the cover and started flipping through the pages, hoping there wouldn’t be a quiz later.

    Since my adventures in cardiology, I figured that I’d probably be waiting for the good doctor for quite some time, so I skipped the “how to have firmer abs in seven days” article and went right for the “Have Better S*x Tonight” article, the one with the picture of the couple where she has her legs playfully wrapped around his head and he’s wearing one of those Mona Lisa smiles. I hadn’t been reading but a minute when Dr. Spine rapped very loudly on the door and scared the life out of me. Startled, I jumped to my feet and the magazine slid out of my lap and onto the floor, open not to the page on abs or even the page with Heather and her gold lamé bikini, but exactly to the page I had been reading. Dr. Spine came in and extended his hand and then looked down to see “Have Better S*x Tonight.”

    “Hmph.” He said. And then he bent down and picked up the magazine and handed it to me. And then he gave me the Mona Lisa smile.

    I cringed the cringe of all cringes. And in a new medical discovery, I learned that embarrassment will make you forget all about the pain of a pinched nerve.

    The Date

    March 25, 2007

    Saturday night, Antique Daddy and I went on a date for the first time in a long, long while.

    Since Sean was born three years ago, we have been woefully negligent in making the time and taking the time to be together as a couple. We even got a nice hotel room and made dinner reservations and made a night of it. We looked forward all week to a night out without a diaper bag and having dinner where we didn’t have to request the check at the same time we ordered our food and drinks. We could relax and focus on each other.

    When we got to the restaurant, we sat at the outside bar to enjoy a glass of wine before dinner. The weather was as lovely as could be, the air was summertime sweet and noisy with chatter and laughter. We had not a care in the world.

    We sat knee to knee, not speaking, just smiling at each other like two shy 4th graders. It seemed almost as though the previous ten years had never happened. Then he casually put his hand on my knee. It felt warm on my leg. I sipped my wine and twirled my hair. I felt the familiar but long-forgotten awkwardness that comes with a first date. I leaned into him in such a way that I could smell his aftershave and he could look down my shirt. It was fun to flirt with my husband. He looked long and deep into my eyes before leaning in so that we were cheek to cheek. I could feel his breath on my neck and in my ear. Then he whispered, “I wonder what Sean’s doing.”

    Which was exactly what I was thinking.

    Things I Don’t Miss And Things I Do Miss

    March 22, 2007

    Things I Don’t Miss:
    Diaper Genie refills
    Bottle washing
    $20/can Nutramigen
    Baby Bjorn Sling Thing Contraption (designed to send post partum women over the edge)
    Rectal thermometers
    Blue Snot Sucker thingee

    Things I Do Miss:
    Bottle feeding, even the 2am feedings
    Nose sucks
    Slobbery ear kisses
    This sound: Mahmahmahmahmahmah!
    Leg hugs
    Morning AND afternoon naps
    Itty bitty baby socks, even though they never stay on.
    The baby with the delicious fat cheeks.

    Photo Temporarily Unavailable

    Proverbs 23:19

    Photo Temporarily Unavailable 

    Listen, my son, and be wise,
    and keep your heart on the right path.

    Rock Star Demands

    March 21, 2007

    I don’t have to ask Sean what he’s going to be when he grows up. I already know – a rock star. Not because he’s some sort of musical genius, but because he already has the “rock star demands” part down:

    – All beverages must be presented in Builder Bob cups.
    – Three specific bath towels must be available – the orange one (that has holes and is frayed), the lavender one that’s 20 years old and a brown one. (I know. That’s a lot of towels for someone who only weighs 28 pounds. But what can I do, I’m his roadie/groupie.)
    – Will only wear socks with the orange band.
    – No human hands are to have touched his gummy bear vitamin – must get his own out of the jar (which of course he can not open.)
    – Never, under any circumstances, shall there be a green bean on his plate. And it would be better if there were none in the room or on the planet.
    – Knows how to trash a room.
    – Can get women to do just about anything he wants.

    Unfortunately, with his DNA, he’s scheduled to be nearly bald by the time he’s 23 and everyone knows that you can’t be a rock star without a good head of hair. Luckily there are a lot of career options for a nearly bald working class kid.

    Not Just Because He Wears A Napkin On His Head

    March 20, 2007

    The prevailing assumption in our culture is that parents can’t wait for their children to grow up and leave home. And yes, there have been a few days when I would have traded Sean for a margarita and a plate of nachos. But not many. At least not too many.

    Maybe most people do feel that way, but I don’t. Maybe because I waited so long and so late in life for him and maybe because I thought I’d never be a mother, but I am not anxious for this time to speed by. I am fully aware that the day he leaves my house will be here too soon.

    I remember one time when Sean was about a year old, we were seated in a restaurant booth and he was enjoying the thrill of wearing a napkin on his head as everyone does. He was having a good time and we were having a good time watching him have a good time. At one point, the lady seated in the booth behind us turned and said, “Don’t worry, only 18 more years to freedom.” Without thinking I blurted, “But I don’t want to be free from him!” Her face contorted in disgust and disbelief, as though I had just stated for the record that I enjoy sticking straight pins in my eyeballs. That was kind of a conversation killer, so she immediately turned back to her margarita and nachos.

    But it’s true, I’m having a great time being a mom even though I’m chronically tired and most of the time I feel like I don’t know what in the heck I’m doing. I mean how often can you take someone to dinner and get them to dance on the table with a napkin on their head purely for your own amusement without buying them drinks? Not that often people. Not since college anyway.

    Sean is a source of joy in my life. I like having him around. He makes me laugh. He makes me remember to breathe long and deep. With or without a napkin on his head.

    Allergies and Love

    March 19, 2007

    I was sitting next to Cleo, my mother-in-law, in church on Sunday. With her head bowed, she dabbed her nose with a tissue and sniffled. I whispered to her, “Are you okay?”

    “Oh, I’m just all choked up,” she said as she fanned her face with her hand.

    I imagined that she was overcome with emotion to be surrounded by her family, to have her grandson sitting on her lap feeding her goldfish.

    So I nodded at her and patted her arm in a knowing and loving gesture. I understood.

    Then she leaned over and said, “Allergies. I’ve got a head full of snot.”

    Allergies and love — apparently both come wrapped in snot.