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June 23, 2014

pour a little salt

i forced a call with the ex-boss today.

i let him hear my broken heart, spirit. i made him hear it.

it wasn't cathartic, and it wasn't fruitful, but it was nice to hear him grovel even if it didn't really mean anything.

June 8, 2014

burdens

yesterday my mother took me to meet her financial planner.

it was as oddly intimate, i would think, as meeting a new spouse.

i wasn't there to judge him--rather, he had her bring me to him so he could judge me. and apparently i was found reasonably worthy because he suggested that she add me to her bank account as a joint owner. he didn't, he said, generally make that suggestion lightly, but my refusal to take money from her, my job ("decent amount of dollars"), cam's salary, the bits of character that he could glean from this tiny encounter... all added up to the idea of a trustworthy sort, i suppose.

then he talked to me about the best way to deal with her retirement money in the event of her death.

for the love of god. i'm not an idiot, i understand that time marches unceaselessly and the waves continue to crash in neverending patterns upon wet sand on all coasts, but must. we. talk. about. how i'm going to collect when i'm the last one standing? when i was 18, i knew my brother had killed himself before my parents could tell me; at 23 i told the doctors not to attempt to resuscitate my father; you'd think at 39 i wouldn't quake at discussions of trusts and minimum required distributions and taxes.

May 5, 2014

with every worthless word we get so far away

two months to the day after i gave notice and one month since i last heard from him:

You have time to catch up today? Back from 2 weeks living out of a suitcase and catching up. [mentor] is in NY and just bought me a delicious ice cream. Wanted to see how you are doing and what's going on in sunny California.

speechlessness.

how dare you try to waltz back into my life and act like NOTHING has happened?

you know what's going on in sunny california? the breaking of my heart into a thousand pieces and the painfully slow process of rebuilding it.

i shot an email to my mentor to inquire:
I heard you bought a tall stranger a "delicious ice cream."

he responded in the affirmative, so i went on:
He wants to catch up. I don't know if I can talk to him without tears or rage.

he replied:
Both are good. You might both end up crying, however.

so i girded up my loins and wrote back:
Yes. You know the number.

of course, it was kind of late by then, so the window had passed and he was no longer available. i responded that we could chat earlier in the day later in the week.

omfg. omg. why now? did the mentor prod him? did he gently suggest that speaking to me was something that he needed to do?

March 23, 2014

warped priorities

i should have known it was time to go when i realized i no longer apologized to family for time-consuming work drama--but i instead apologized to work for time-consuming family drama.

March 20, 2014

torn

i do not like where things are going at work. i do not like the way people are talking about my old boss. i don't like the way i'm starting to wonder about my old boss.

i thought we were going to be best work buddies 4eva. on his way out the door, he declared i was "the best colleague and friend" he had ever worked with. he was the work-husband, for chrissakes.

people have asked if i thought he may have been the obstacle--not HIS boss--keeping me from getting the help i needed. someone suggested to me that he didn't do anything because he knew i would "soldier on." i have no proof of this, but i do have proof that i gave notice and he told no one.

well. such concern for my welfare, bestie. but he was a man who seemed to think that all issues could be resolved by the taking of vacations, knowing full well that the firm ip phone accompanied him on any trip. he got me one, too. the idea that one should not actually broadcast that they are away--if you need me, call my extension! i could be in goddamned fucking timbuktu but YOU would think i'm in la and that is ALL. THAT. MATTERS. since 2009, i never saw an out-of-office for him until after he left. (someone set up a bounceback.)

i don't want to be angry with him. it's pointless. but i can't stop feeling sad and abandoned.

March 15, 2014

a story, attempted

i just realized my last post may have given the wrong impression. THIS was sent to my boss on the thursday morning before he quit. he just beat me to the punch, and i don't even know if he turned in my letter to the proper authorities before he took off. the other email was meant to be something he could share with others--this letter was for him.

i am at a loss now. his departure means previously unthinkable things, and i have no idea how this will shake out. part of me is ready to accelerate my own departure. another part of me is sobbing that part of my own acceptance of enough being enough was based on the fact that he would still be there for the department. i don't know.

i am grieving. i don't know what to do. my mentor shakes off my comments about leaving, and we scarcely acknowledge that my boss is gone. my work-bff airily says he wasn't really surprised. I WAS SURPRISED. if that means i was just tremendously unobservant, so be it. it's little bit difficult to be all that close when exchanges are limited to email and the occasional call because his boss is too much of a control/budget freak to let him travel for any other reason than to see him.

but i am happy for him. it's a brilliant move and i wish him every success.

I regret to inform you that I will be leaving [firm] once [project] goes live and I am comfortable that the current remaining staff can handle the basic demands of the system.

I would not be entirely truthful if I said that I've enjoyed the past 16 years. It hasn't been all bad--some of it has actually been rather stellar--but the fact remains that I've spent a goodly part of the last several years thinking:


  • I can stick it out for one more year

  • I can't let the team down

  • what will become of my team, my work-children, if I leave?

  • when is it my turn to be protected?

  • my family won't mind if I'm absent/distracted/cranky

  • my family won't mind that we never go on vacations

  • my children won't mind if I miss another event/party/movie/meal

  • I'm a failure because delegation is not my strong suit, and maybe if I give up sleep in order to meet deadlines no one will notice that I'm doing all the work myself

  • I'm an ungrateful bastard because I don't understand that all of this work I'm doing is allegedly for MY benefit

  • I'm a terrible person because personal loyalty to beloved colleagues just isn't enough

The last few years have turned me into a whiner and I don't like what I see. The last few years have shown me that a reputation for being "nice" and "efficient" means I get left on my own to hold off the angry mobs while people of higher rank either scatter or passive-aggressively fight amongst themselves. The last few years have proved to me that I must be a pathetic dinosaur with no sense of what it takes to survive here with wits and sanity intact.

Years ago we joked that when I don't end an email with "thanks!" something is wrong--that I don't complain often, but when I do, people should take notice! I've spent the last year(s) complaining about [project] and the unreasonable demands on my time, and the response I've received has been sighs, superficial expressions of sorrow that I have to work so hard, pressure to make on-the-spot wide-ranging decisions during large-group conference calls, and tighter deadlines. I've complained about the way other departments push work to me, the way higher ranked people in other departments have completely lost any sense of boundary where I am concerned. I have done my damnedest to get to know these products, understand these processes, put aside my resentment, embrace change--and I'm tired, and my family is tired.

Because it's typical of [firm], I expect the overall reaction to this announcement to be "if only she knew how to delegate," and after all of these years there is really nothing more I can say about that. But I do wish you every success in locating a replacement with that very valuable skill.

Thank you.

a story, denied

i was writing this to send to my boss when i got the news that he quit. can't leave it in my outlook drafts folder forever, so i'll post it here instead.

when i was in high school, i was a proud staffer on our weekly newspaper. i learned about meeting deadlines, investigating leads, taking responsibility for one's own words. when what you write goes under your byline, you can't really hide.

every thursday night we went to press. every friday afternoon we held a post-mortem for the newly published issue. we gave feedback and talked about things that worked and things that didn't. at one of my first post-mortems--a nervous sophomore--i pointed out a typo, thinking that my adviser would be proud that a mere baby was showing a keen eye.

she looked at me and asked sharply, "where were you on thursday night?" if i had really cared about the paper and its staff, she said, i would have shown up the night before and helped proofread. maybe i could have used that keen eye to catch that typo before the paper was delivered to the printers.

in my own way, i've always tried to live by these rules: never show up on the fringes of something the day after and complain if you had every opportunity to get in the middle and HELP. don't pass judgment on the people doing the best they can. you only deserve a voice if you're involved, but make sure your involvement is justified. don't be the problem. don't add to the problem.

it wasn't until this past year that these loosely linked statements crystalized "where were you on thursday night?" into my mantra. i'd chant it to myself under my breath after conference calls and frustrating meetings. i had them tattooed on my wrist as a reminder.

there are plenty of like-minded people at work. or rather, maybe there used to be, and that's why i find myself almost constantly swinging on the pendulum between despair and rage. there is so much pressure and so little help. people nosing their way into things that they can't or won't grasp. blame being passed around more freely than praise. respect, a thing of the past. but i sucked it up and pushed it down because i cared.

i was, figuratively speaking, always here on thursday nights. but those thursday nights soon non-figuratively bled into friday nights and monday nights and saturday at dawn and sunday after breakfast and then every night when the kids went to bed. yet the more i did, the worse the pressure (and the behavior around the firm) became.

so i coped by working later, sleeping less, drinking more, and crying at every opportunity.

this is how the firm treats the people who care. THIS has become our firm culture. i don't believe there is a turning back, and this is why i am choosing to leave.

March 2, 2014

it doesn't have to be like this

i feel like i have been enduring the longest beginning of the end in the history of man.

this weekend cam introduced me to the concept of the death march. i felt almost relieved that this suffering has a name.

January 26, 2014

breadloser

cam thinks i am closer to my breaking point at work than ever before. he says i'm less tolerant than usual. tolerant of whom? i know i'm a bitch to the kids sometimes, but something tells me i wouldn't generally be all mother theresa'ing them anyway under different circumstances, based on their behavior as of late. and poor cam, witnessing his wife burst into tears at the delivery of an aeron chair for her birthday. (it had been a rough morning, what can i say.)

how can i be the breadwinner if i'm ready to snap so shortly after winning the salary battle?

August 2, 2013

househunting

i think about this blog frequently, but rather than turn to it in downtime, i shop for a new house.

nothing personal, lfc, but... i want a new house.

a few months ago cam and i came across a house that immediately piqued our interest. so much that cam called and asked to see it (we NEVER do that... waiting for open houses is always enough for us because we've never been interested enough to sell our house).

it had so many things going for it. the bedrooms were small and the whole house needed work, but it was architecturally what we had been longing for but didn't expect to find in our area, closer to cam's parents than we are now (down the street from the kids' school), big lovely yard with big pretty pool.

we dithered
we chatted with the realtor
we came back to see the house a thousand times
we introduced the house to the kids
cam talked to mortgage lenders
we started putting stuff in storage to get an idea of what our house looked like without toys all over the place
then the realtor said a few things about the sellers that scared us
we started to get a weird feeling about the realtor
we put things on hold
we couldn't forget the house
i dreamed of house colors and new furniture
we called a realtor
the realtor freaked us out with her zealotry
we made an appointment with a house-staging company
someone made an offer on *our* house, one we couldn't beat
we sent the stager and the realtor away
we checked the house online obsessively to look for the red "pending" banner
i sniffled
we checked the house online regularly to see if it fell out of escrow
we went through the seven stages of grief
escrow closed
we shrugged

check out my stream-of-consciousness prose!

for a while i felt stupidly despondent because i was finally able to LOUDLY voice my issues with our house, and here we were, stuck in it. i couldn't see living there anymore and was continually frustrated because nothing of interest was showing up on the market. one night i said as much to cam, and his disbelief and disgust with my attitude folded me in on myself. such is life.

two good things came out of the experience: 1) we got our house cleaned (yay!), and 2) i found out that apparently i could qualify--all by myself--with the debt of a family of four--with my lone income--for the loan we needed. it would be tight, but i could do it, and i would need to do it if we were to proceed because of cam's employment history (not enough time with current company as independent contractor). go me.

i continued to look for houses, but eventually i kind of shrugged and stopped checking so obsessively... because we went to hawaii for the BEST WEDDING EVER.

more on that later.

April 5, 2013

too drained to think

it was a rough work week, but i don't want to whine. to quote one of my best friends, "further affiant sayeth not."

in other news... tickets to see mumford & sons in june. am i too old?

April 2, 2013

twenty

friday marked the 20th anniversary of my brother's death.

and i, quite unintentionally, have found myself engrossed in a johnlock story in which grief counseling heavily figures.

there's a joke in there somewhere, i think.

March 4, 2013

gallows humor, part 2

when i was younger--well, let's be more specific, somewhere between 15-20 years ago--i made a point to mention to people that my brother had committed suicide. to my confused mind, it made sense for the people in my life to know this fact. it would behoove them to be more understanding, more sensitive, more kind. i think today people may call my pre-emptive strike a way to avoid "triggering"? i don't know.

but as i get older, the less important it becomes... the key concept here is that he is dead. how he died is background noise. when i think of him, i don't give a flying fuck anymore about what he did, why he did it, how he did it. what matters is that once i had a brother, a living, breathing, wisecracking, genuinely kind being, and 20 years later, i've been an only child for 20 years.

so i don't volunteer the info. if someone asks, i answer, but i don't lead off with it like THIS IS MY REALITY AND YOU NEED TO TREAT ME ACCORDINGLY. like it was ever really all about me. i had no business making it all about me.

March 3, 2013

gallows humor

last year a retired colleague (i didn't know him very well) ended his life by jumping from a window of his office.

a dear (much older) friend gave me the news, adding earnestly, "i'll never make suicide jokes again."

i assumed he didn't know anything about my history--indeed, if he had, i'm sure he would have gone out of his way to refrain from suicide jokes in my presence because he can be sensitive like that. wonder how he would have responded if i had actually said what was on my mind: "sweetheart, to survivors--of all kinds--sometimes the jokes are all we have left."

thistles

i remind myself regularly, sometimes hourly, that my life is close to perfect.

i have a wonderful husband, two beautiful and brilliant children, good friends, a lovely home, a good job, strong work relationships. my mother gave up her home to live with me and help me with my children. we have limited debt. i am well-respected and well-liked. i can't remember the last time i took a sick day. i think i laugh a lot.

and yet some days i can feel such misery and frustration sweeping over me that my arms go numb while my heart rages hard enough to rip itself from my chest. then i want to curl up in a ball in my bed/the closet/under my desk at work--or if i can bite back my fear of being seen, i might actually venture past the low-walled cubicles--eyes glued to blackberry so as to avoid eye contact--to lock myself in a stall in the bathroom down the hall. i have anxiety attacks in the car, in crowded restaurants. i rely on surface tension to keep the tears in check. i hope cam won't notice but he always does.

i have no right to be so unhappy. part of me feels like i'm having a meltdown over my SHEER BALLSY LACK of right to have a meltdown. people in my circles (and just outside them) have real problems. when i start to feel the agony under the skin, i remind myself that i'm just self-indulgent. i try to shame myself out of my "moods"--how dare i weep over being overworked when i know people unemployed for far too long? how can i be so exhausted when i sit at a desk all day long? how i can i feel worn out and stressed by my kids when i know people who would do anything to have children? how i can complain about the behavior of my children when my own inability to communicate effectively has created the barrier between us? how can i be upset at my boss when he has so clearly made his priorities known? where do i get off being miserable about a headache when just about everyone i know has a serious health concern? i can't do anything right.

but i have good days, weeks, even, when the quality of life rises above sea level and i feel normal. fun. sassy. even my hair looks livelier than usual. my zingers have more zing. in those moments, i am ashamed for thinking that i have any kind of true emotional upset. self-indulgent prattle, indeed. call it pms, call it hormones. i do, and i hate myself for being so conventional.

and then back into the pit. cam's worried eyes haunt me. i would do better, i would try to be better, for him. the kids know to be quiet when mommy is crying. soft hugs and clumsy pats. i would try to be better for them, too, if i knew what to do. one day they'll look back at my mood swings and be scornful when they grasp the lack of reason behind them, but for now they are kind.

February 9, 2013

another bad friend: ambivalence

the guy formerly known as work-bff and i have been restored to original levels of friendship. more or less. we chatter about inconsequentials, we natter about his upcoming nuptials and discuss what we're going to wear, we vent about work. we conduct ongoing conversations by email and instant message all day long. we're closely associated in enough office circles to make it totally appropriate for me to send out emails from our hivemind of two, and for him to send out emails actually signed "[him] & [me]."

but i don't trust it and i don't trust him the way i used to. when i feel like i'm veering dangerously beyond ranty/whiny to true despair, i back off and make cute. it's less... cathartic than i might like, but it's safer. i can live with that. it was hard living without him, even when i felt justified in wanting to pretend he didn't exist. but things have sort of slid back into place, so i'm just not willing to jeopardize that by wanting too much.

February 8, 2013

bad friend

discovered a few weeks ago that i missed a former assistant's wedding by months and months--and that i was actually in the state where his wedding was held about two weeks prior for another wedding. funny how that worked out. out of guilt and embarrassment, i purchased a moderately priced item still available on one of their MANY registries and wrote a cheery congratulatory message about pleasant internet surprises.

i cringe. it would have been more appropriate if i could have written, "dude. sorry i never replied to your last email and that i sort of offered you employment and then fell off the face of the earth. yeah."

October 1, 2012

gleemonex

heavy self-loathing period going on. i wish i could shut it down, but it's like crazy voices in my head. make it stop.

this happens more often than i care to admit. i want to be the woman who makes people wonder how i do it. i don't want to be the woman who makes people wonder why i'm not on mood-altering pills.

September 11, 2012

sept

september is always a busy month. it is also a heartbreaking month.

every september we do the labor day family get-together thing. usually there is a first day of school in there somewhere. (now that lausd has shifted to an earlier start, this may be our very last post-labor day first day of school.)

september is a month of beginnings and ends. my brother and mother were born in september. the guy formerly known as my work-bff was born in september. my childhood rival (and cousin) was born in september. my father died in september.

september 11, 2001 was one of the most tragic days in the history of the united states.

what do i think of when i think of september? my brother's birthday, hands down. i don't know why this is, but that's just how it's always been and probably forever will be. he would be 41 this year had he lived. therein lies my biggest single regret: that i never knew him as an adult. when he died, he was an adult, but i was something less, doing what sheltered 18-year-olds do, pretending we fucking know it all.

funny how we never do actually get to know it all. at what age does one finally take a step back and admit that "you know what, i talk a good game, but underneath it all i know nothing"? at 37, i admit i know nothing ALL. THE. TIME.

(geek alert: i also like to say: "you know nothing, jon snow.")

this--above all months--is the month i want to run through quickly. this month--above all months--drags.

September 2, 2012

an almost-note to my friend

was perusing the labor day sales online.

the text on the splash page for brooks brothers was "best practices in men's suiting."

almost gagged.

hope you're having a good weekend.

September 1, 2012

severed

a couple of weeks ago my best friend at work blew up at me. i guess my whining got to be too much. the attack came out of nowhere, i thought. but i suspect i don't want to examine the whys too closely.

we've sort of moved on and have resumed contact, but we're nowhere near where we've been over the last 6-7 years. it's getting better now, but there are still half a million times a day when i think, "oh, i should tell him about this," or "OMG, that person pissed me off... i'm going to go vent to him," or "he'll love this; can't wait until he gets out of the meeting so i can tell him," and then i realize we're not quite on those terms anymore. in the first week, it happened two million times a day, so... improvement. he still messages me when crazy things happen to him, but i am so, so gunshy right now. i had decided to stop complaining to him so much before the explosion, so i have really been making the effort to be ms. zen ALL THE TIME around him. because i used him as my outlet (not that it was all one-sided; i was clearly his outlet, too), i swallow a lot more work stress and grief than i had in the past, but nobody likes a whiner. (indeed, my assistant says i've been "off the charts" this week in terms of bringing the funny.)

i told the boss about the "break-up," and he was very sad. he thinks he can fix the relationship by taking us out to dinner or drinks, which is very sweet.

my friend and i used to talk nonstop. the emails were a steady stream--multiple chains going on at once. when the firm introduced office communicator, the emails stopped, more or less, but we were constantly in touch. i suppose my productivity has gone up even as my spirits have gone down.

cam and i are supposed to attend his wedding in hawaii next summer, but i am now seriously wondering if we'll recover in time. it feels melodramatic to say that, but these are melodramatic times. even when we didn't agree, we've never been this distant. sometimes the grief is a little overwhelming.

August 23, 2012

back-to-school night

in single file, slightly apprehensive parents shuffled into the 4th grade classroom.

teacher: paul's mom and dad?
cam: how did you know?
teacher: i looked at your face.

as paul's math/science teacher started to talk, i suddenly felt more than slightly apprehensive. i was full-on apprehensive. i was suddenly in the fourth grade again and reminded anew of how much i hated math and science. math and science hated me. did i hate them because i was stupid? or was i stupid because i hated them? either way, the irony of sending a math/science-phobic child to a math/science school NEVER escaped me.

as the teachers' presentation continued (the 4th grade supports a tag team approach: classes are taught in pairs--each teacher covers the same topic twice a day), the apprehension continued. worries about paul's very sweet, coddling third grade teacher were bearing fruit in front of my face: the "as long as he understands the material and is doing it correctly, it doesn't matter if he only finishes less than half of an assignment" attitude of all of last year wasn't going to do paul any favors in a classroom environment where math success would come through repetition and drill and regular practice. cam liked the math/science teacher quite a bit. can't remember how many times i heard that "mr. x doesn't fuck around."

the teachers require a rather complicated paperwork system involving 13-compartment accordion files. i'm assuming it will work out okay because it sounded like this was the teachers' regular practice, but paul has a lot to learn about organization before he will be able to successfully implement something like this.

i don't mean to sound pessimistic, but i am torn between the concept of letting paul fail so he can learn the right lessons and taking all of the blame for the failures of my children. i could be completely wrong: forced to listen and do, he could flourish in this environment. but he could also get completely frustrated and shut down. i just don't know. time will tell, i suppose.

June 2, 2012

longest post ever, or why i'm amazed i haven't quit yet

late summer last year i wrote a long post about why i love my job.

i reread it today. the calm before the [latest shit]storm. i sound SO young.

i read back even farther, and was astonished to realize that i never even fully described the situation that changed everything in my life. sure, i've made some comments about work from time to time, but i never really explained why things were the way they were. as i type this, i remember, rather vaguely, that i had made a decision to not write about it because, well, management, but in retrospect i suspect that the outlet possibly could have helped my sanity.

just under three years ago, my boss' boss and the head of hr told me by phone--while i sat on the floor of my bedroom (it was paul's first day of first grade, i think, so i took him to school)--that they had just laid off my boss. in the same breath: would i be interested in taking his place with regard to my department? (my boss oversaw--nominally--three departments. he had been with us since late 1998, but picked up the other two within the last few years.) speechless. um, YES? but i wasn't really taking over... i was getting a salary bump, but my title would remain the same (supervisor). and three members of the department would be spun-off into their own little group for the boss' boss to oversee.

whatever. as my assistant said, "congrats! you've been promoted from supervisor to supervisor!"

we managed to survive the first year (september to september), and sometime into the second i realized that i wasn't half-bad at this management shit, and life settled down. i grew a thicker skin and developed a combative streak. also at some point into the second year my former boss' boss--now MY boss--became a micromanaging jerk, stopped being a micromanaging jerk, and became my friend. we settled into the roles and learned how to play them, but then he got promoted, and our time to connect dwindled to almost nothing. it was frustrating enough having a boss on the opposite coast, but having a boss who suddenly needed to hold HIS boss' hand 24/7 meant that there was no one to even consider holding mine when i needed it. (for that, i learned to rely on the other members of my trinity.)

i'm not a needy female. but sometimes i long for some support, maybe a little validation.

the second year brought me two of my greatest successes--one, the turning a longtime enemy into a staunch supporter and friend, and two, the reuniting of the two separate groups of the department under my management. it also signaled a beginning of a trend i couldn't have foreseen: the loss of one of my researchers (to a transfer).

the third year brought me the painful conclusion of that trend: the loss of two more employees (to a reduction in force). and because of the timing and several previously scheduled projects, i couldn't immediately regroup to reassign their duties--so i took on the bulk of them myself.

it worked, off and on. when things would slow down, i'd catch up. when things sped up, i'd get behind. when things were good, i did things like... sleep. i started taking a lunchtime yoga class with some of my employees. when things were bad, i did my best brit impression and downplayed my unhappiness.

but then things got very very bad.

my relationship with my boss has been rather complicated. he's a nice guy, an awesome drinking buddy, and we openly do the work-wife/work-husband thing. (yeah, so i'm the favorite work-wife, but what does that mean? he has at least three.) he's hardworking, a creative thinker, a convincing speaker, etc. etc. etc. but he's so busy he doesn't have the time to think about the things he says he'll think about, much less do the things he says he's going to do. his follow-through, both personal and professional, sucks. and yet... because he's been so kind to me, and because he's been so [occasionally] helpful, i feel like there's a debt i can't repay. logic tells me this is stupid, but i can never fully shut down that feeling. even after everything has gone to hell and i'm livid and hysterical and shouting at cam that i owe my boss nothing, well, he'll call and tell me something he did for me, and i all but fold and whisper that my love for him knows no bounds. and if he shows up in person, forget it. cam says it's like magic. he's like an anti-depressant. he shows up, the sun shines, i feel sassy and optimistic. it usually takes a week or so for the feeling to fade, but in a life of lows, a temporary high can be... worth it. to this day, he calls, i roll my eyes, but he brings a tiny sunshiny spot in a dark day, even when i know he's not saying anything substantive or even realistic.

for a long time, i scoffed at the idea of leaving because i couldn't bear the idea of leaving my group. the spun-off group, they could survive on their own, but the others are my children. but after the worst year ever, i finally admitted to myself that maybe they would survive under new management, but if i kept at this pace without support, i wouldn't survive my own. my work bff has been ranting for ages that what i've been doing is just not sustainable, which i know and understand, but all this ranting ever does is frustrate me or fill me with despair.

paul is usually too obsessed with himself or his dad to notice that things are bad with me, but nola notices when the "nola, please" moments increase in frequency.

nola: let's play a game.
me: okay.
nola: you ask me to play a game.
me: okay--nola, let's play a game!
nola: [turning away, pretending to type on a blackberry] no, please, i'm working.
me: oh my god.

i often felt torn talking to cam about his work situation because he was clearly unhappy enough to have an actual quitting timeframe (the end of a project), even though he was supportive of me leaving my job. i never wanted him to feel trapped by my misery. i felt that his situation was possibly worse because the pain came with one person, and it came on fast. i reasoned with myself. well, my descent into hell has been slower, so i can bear it. when things came to a head, i felt entirely comfortable telling him i thought he should quit. i'm glad he did. i do think his situation was intolerable in a way mine wasn't.

right now we're coming off the worst month of my working life. i thought nothing could beat october, but i was so totally wrong. may was so amazingly, astonishingly awful, so painful, so sleepless, so alcoholic, so... wearying and soul-killing and heart-sickening. i almost quit on thursday, the very last day of the month. little sleep, lots of coffee, lots of tears. there were so many different projects, emergencies, problems, challenges, issues. most of them probably would have been fine on their own, but the combination was overwhelming. opportunistic hiring, planned hiring, contract hiring, new business, training, teaching, an injury to one of my employees, another department overstepping boundaries.... it wouldn't end. the lack of support from higher levels felt even more painful than usual.

in retrospect, i feel like i sound melodramatic and trite, but i was probably averaging 14-15 hours of work a day, 6-7 days a week, for weeks. sometimes (and this covers the last three years) i get to the point on weekends that i need to get out, but i spend much of that time glued to my blackberry in tears so it's almost a total waste. this past month was no exception. nights didn't belong to anyone but work, but i struggled to try to at least pretend there was balance. one night i remember (and it was a weeknight, so i felt decadent) agreeing to go for a 15-minute walk with cam and kids sometime before 8 pm, and i spent the entire time pushing nola's tricycle and barely noticing where we were going because i was looking at my blackberry for most of the time. i think i even mentioned to someone that i was on a walk, feeling guilty that i was on my blackberry and not on my computer, knowing that everyone else was sitting in front of a computer.

after one particularly wretched day, i told the senior member of my trinity that i would quit when the latest project was all over. then i said something similar to my boss, who kinda sorta talked me off that ledge for that moment. but then on the next to last day of the month, something else happened that put me teetering on the edge again. someone was hired in another office to perform a function my department without my consent or even my input. i sent a very politely questioning email in response. i told cam that if it was just a misunderstanding, i'd shrug it off and not worry about it, but if it wasn't a misunderstanding--if i actually did have an accurate read of the situation--it was a fucking quitting offense and to hell with them. i saw the email come into my inbox in the middle of the night, gritted my teeth and refused to look at it.

of course it wasn't a misunderstanding. the next morning, i read the email, burst into angry tears and forwarded it to my bff. then i sent it to gc and waited. he indicated that he hadn't been asked to approve the situation, which immediately put all the burden on my boss. then, true to my sense of him, he very rationally laid out reasons why we should let it work. i knew he would respond that way, and i rely on him to behave the way he does. it's balance. then he told me to call him, and he proceeded to fill me in on an entire year's worth of crap above my paygrade. and he made me promise to not quit that day.

with the bff's help, i wrote another very polite email--this time to my boss to express my disappointment. (i originally wrote "resent," but he made me change it.) i set it up to be delivered at 6:30, so my boss possibly wouldn't get it until the next morning. but he got it immediately and responded that it was news to him. the next morning, he called and said that he understood my concerns and shared them--and also talked about how he had voiced the same concerns when talk of the hire had originally come up, and how he had essentially shouted down the proposal initially, so he, too, was totally surprised that it had gone through.

so off the ledge i stepped. my boss has the amazing ability to make me fall in love in him while simultaneously hating him for what feels like years of neglect. it's a skill. he will go far, if he can ever get out from under of the thumb of his boss.

i also found out that my boss sort of lied (omission? or did i believe what i wanted to believe? so heathers.) to me about my role with the spin-off group from my department. how and when did i find out? when i logged into the review system so i could start drafting annual reviews. well.

the hits, they kept on coming.

so what to do? who fucking knows. but the ledge gets narrower and narrower, and i suspect that it's just going to get harder and harder to keep me from stepping off, and maybe if i continue my current trend of whining like a wee baby when times get rough, those who care may cease to care at some point.

June 1, 2012

the dumps

i suck at blogging. i should really just take this down.

these days i just suck at life.

i suck at being a mom. i suck at my job. i'm putting on weight. i'm not getting enough sleep. my hair is kind of ratty. i'm pimply. my house is a shambles. i drink too much. i work too much.

i am very good at self-pity.

November 6, 2011

so much to do.

it's my first late night awake and not working in a long while, but that's mostly because my remote desktop access isn't working. i drown in guilt.

June 12, 2011

the sting never goes away

i am saddened to admit that fat comments at 36 hurt just as much as they did at 12. or 8. or 24.

April 5, 2011

trying times

i am having some challenging times at work. by "challenging," i mean rough, and by "rough" i mean sucky.

i love being a manager, being responsible for my weird little group, being responsible for policies, being in a position of trust despite the wrong turn i apparently made 15 years ago that brought me to grad school instead of law school.

i love that i have a supportive boss, that i am pretty much left to my own devices to do what i need to do. i love that i have a fabulous mentor-type and a wonderful work-bff, and the mentor, the bff and the manager make up the best trinity a non-religious girl could ever ask for.

but i don't love that my manager lives on the freaking other side of the country, and therefore gets dragged into meetings galore during the few trips he makes to la. said sucky times are sapping my will to live, and i can't even break through the wall of meetings to talk to him.

March 25, 2011

now featuring sizes larger than 000P

i find the world of teeny-tiny petite bloggers to be vastly dispiriting. it's bad enough that i feel fat in the real world, but it's decidedly uncool that i feel fatter in the virtual one where no one can actually see me.

January 1, 2011

inauspicious

this year has not gotten off to the best start (meltdowns over photoshop, anyone?), but it can only get better from here.

right?

July 16, 2010

inky

i am semi-obsessed with designing a tattoo.

it's not so much that i MUST have one, i think it's more because i'm (hate to so publicly admit it) growing weary of the demands of toddler breastfeeding.

don't get me wrong -- i love that i am able to still nourish and comfort my daughter with my body, but she's 26 months old now and sometimes i long for the things i gave up in order to do this for her (and that includes the right to not be chewed by a fierce half-asleep little jaw). i don't plan to wean her -- weaning should be her idea.

while i'm waiting, i might as well draw.

July 3, 2010

innerspace

it's funny and sad how the bursts of self-confidence are exactly that -- bursts. not promising flames that may turn into something lasting and meaningful, just quick showy flashes. it's hard to get away from self-loathing when it's all that you know.

June 6, 2010

bumps and scrapes

today my poor boy ate it.

running (in crocs) out at the new outdoor section of del amo mall, he stumbled and fell, scraped an arm and banged his forehead on the ground. he is now the unhappy owner of a big bump on his forehead.

i was a few yards behind him with nola in my arms, and when he went down and started to wail, i ran to his side. a nice older lady stopped by to tell me he had hit his head pretty hard.

he cried a lot at first, but he was back to normal pretty quickly. within an hour of returning home, he was trying to convince me that drinking cold soda was required for his convalescence because the cold liquid would rush to his bloodstream and then move up to his head and make the bump feel better. um, sure?

now, that doesn't mean we won't be checking on him during the night, but i think it was a pretty good sign all was reasonably well in paulville.

April 22, 2010

bosslady

i am at a place in my life where i have to be able to say -- with absolute sincerity, "i'm sorry i didn't think of EVERYTHING."

February 21, 2010

not the greatest news

i am a little alarmed to discover that the federal "age discrimination in employment act" protects employees 40 years and older from harassment and discrimination. um, how am i just five scant years away from being a protected group based on AGE? should i start touching up my gray?

January 23, 2010

raining inside and out

these have been painful days.

i have been prone to tiny weeping fits, as brief and impetuous and fitful as the rain that has been messing up commutes and plans and funerals all week long.

a few days ago, my mother told me that her sisters wanted me to write up a little thing to be read at the funeral. she said her siblings would send me their remembrances of their mother and they wanted me to somehow put them all together. then she added that it could be read by someone else, so i murmured something about how maybe one of the other cousins could read it because public speaking isn't my thing. she didn't comment.

on monday, my aunt told me that they wanted me to speak at the funeral and that they would write up something for me. okay. i can live with changes of plans. my aunt, mother and cousin sat in my living room and worked on the document. at the end of the evening, they emailed it to me to review later.

on tuesday, i looked at it and sighed. what i was expecting was a statement or something along those lines. what i got was a page of bullet points. so in between phone calls and emails and work, i wrote something that felt like a high school feature. tuesday night i polished it up a little and turned it into maybe a junior college feature.

the next day i stood, shaking, at a podium in a chapel, and turned it into a eulogy.

my aunts told me it was beautiful. i asked my mother if it was too long -- she said it was "just right." (that was all the praise i got from her.) not sure what my uncles thought.

after the memorial service, we stood at the grave. prayers were said, and then we watched as my grandmother was buried. it took a long time, even with a backhoe. it started to rain -- a light sprinkle, off and on. at one point cam took nola to the car (paul was at school). i was glad because shortly afterwards it started to pour. my heels sank into the mud. we were under a little canopy, and occasionally the wind would blow hard enough to shake the collected water off the top and down in front of us. there was hail, but i didn't see it. we stayed until the very end. my mother's friend and former neighbor kept a running commentary and tried to keep me from getting too wet.

i'm not sure if i've ever seen a total burial. i may have seen my grandfather's, but i was ten. i know i didn't get to stay that long for my brother or father.

thursday i was back at work. i hadn't told any of my direct reports where i was, so i'm sure they all assumed my absence was kid-related. there were lots of things that irritated me, so i know i was a little snappish. i told a friend that it was really rough -- "i stood in the freezing, pouring rain watching a man in a backhoe dump tons of dirt on a little box holding my tiny grandmother, and you're bitching because someone sent you an email you didn't like?" i ran out of kleenex.

friday was more of the same, but also a little less. i felt a little less on edge (but in some ways i felt more on edge because cam was not so nice in the morning), so i wasn't nearly as bitchy-feeling.

i have a lot of guilt for not being a good daughter or granddaughter. i'm not sure i can ever make it up to my mother, and i obviously can't make it up to any of my grandparents or my father. these past two weeks have been like the ripping open of wounds you didn't even realize weren't completely healed. i'm seeing these relatives i don't often see and wanting them closer yet wanting them gone at the same time. i'm reminded of how i felt so distant and separate in my youth because of the age gap between my cousins and myself. i was never like them, and they were never like me. i'm reminded of how my aunts used to adore me until they had children of their own. i'm reminded of the lack of FIT... like being the lone brunette in a family of redheads. who cheated?

(but i suppose it works out. there was drama that i did not know about. upon hearing it, cam asked if i was really a part of that family. it's nice to know my husband doesn't consider me petty.)

i am hoping that things will calm down a little now. i could use some time to recover.

January 21, 2010

unhappy birthday

it's the day after the funeral and i am wondering how to feel. this was not exactly a birthday i was looking forward to, and well, it's now even less of one.

i took my birthday off facebook because i didn't want to deal with well-wishers.

so now i'm back at work and i just want to crawl under my desk.

January 19, 2010

eulogize

i am working on a little speech for my grandmother's funeral. i dread this.

January 17, 2010

rainy

today was my grandmother's viewing. it started at 9 am. we arrived at about 8:50 and were still late. whatever happened to filipino time?

i don't know why, i'm not so comfortable saying "grandma" in terms of my own unless i am (was) talking to her. i can say "grandma" to the kids when talking about their grandmothers, but i am... relentlessly formal about my own. (i refer to my other grandmother as "my father's mother," but that is for a different reason. formality is one thing, dislike for an entire branch of "family" -- i only refer to them as "family" so as to not offend my father's memory -- is another.)

we only stayed for about three hours. nola woke up with a fever, so i wasn't so keen on having her out there for that long. my mom, intentionally or not, made me feel bad about not planning on staying longer, but please -- the children have to come first. if the family doesn't understand that i can't stick around because of a sick child, well, to hell with them. (later my mom called and said that other people showed up sans husbands because the men were staying home with sick kids. well.) and then it started to rain, which kept me from wanting to return later. she said it was okay, and the guilt dissipated, sort of.

one of my cousins put together a lovely video full of family pictures -- i hadn't realized my grandmother was so photogenic. some of those pictures were really nice. i teared up at a lot of them -- but i think the worst tear-inducing ones were the ones taken at the hospital and one picture of my grandparents, father, brother and mother at our old house. the house is gone, all of them but my mom are gone... i felt like wailing at the top of my lungs. my situation is hardly unusual -- people DIE, for crissakes, but there was something about that picture that hurt.

my aunt's ex-husband showed up (because he had to sign some paperwork for the gravesites -- i don't quite understand this, but since he was still married to my aunt when the other three people in their plots died, i guess maybe he signed something then, too?) and that was a bit of a shock. haven't seen him since his youngest daughter's wedding about 3-4 years ago. he stopped by to see me before he left and said that he missed only two of us (a cousin and myself) from the family -- hope he wasn't including his own children in that grouping -- and it made me cry a little bit. he was my favorite uncle once. not sure that i ever replaced him, but the time for that sort of labeling has come and gone.

after we left the viewing, we stopped by the gravesites (oh dear god, they had marked out my grandmother's spot in bright orange paint), then went out for lunch at a nearby outdoor outlet mall (stayed there until moments before the rain started), then dropped off paul at his grandparents' house. we headed home with the intention of cleaning, but it didn't really work out that way. i felt bad about not returning to the cemetery, but the rain put an end to that.

what a tiring day. no wonder cam thought it needed to be finished off with alcohol. i think i agree with him (i say with gin and tonic in hand). more than that, i think this day just needs to be over.

January 12, 2010

farewell

my grandmother died today.

my cousin and her fiance picked up my mom and brought her back to moreno valley.

my mother called me while i was at work and told me that her mother was unlikely to survive the night. i asked her if she was going to go to the hospital, and she said she was thinking about it.

within an hour or so, it was determined that she was going, but that my cousin from moreno valley (currently living and working in la) was going to pick her up. i was relieved because i don't like her driving at night.

by the time we got home, my mother said, "i talked to [my mom's sister] and she said her last breath..."

me: what?
my mother: she died already.
me: you didn't tell me!

probably not the most grown-up response, but i was so surprised. then we had to behave like everything was the same and make dinner for the kids. my cousin showed up a while later and they left. i'm not sure when my mom will be back, but i suspect it will be pretty soon because she and her siblings really shouldn't all be in the same part of the country at once.

best wishes, grandma. i'm glad we saw you on saturday. (i've already thanked cam for suggesting the trip.) i'm sorry we didn't see you more often.

mythical sea beasts

am watching "mega shark vs. giant octopus" to get my mind off things. am not sure if it's working.

January 10, 2010

through the woods

yesterday, we went to visit my grandmother in the hospital. she has pneumonia, and at her age and in her state of decline, it could be fatal.

well, actually, my mother and i went to visit my grandmother -- cam stayed behind with the kids at my aunt's house because the kids weren't old enough to come along. i realized that perhaps i could have gotten a ride with my mom (and let cam stay at home with the kids), but cam pointed out correctly that if i had done so, he would have been in trouble because my mom intended to spend the night out there.

my grandmother is so frail and so exhausted. i look at her, and i'm not sure how i feel. naturally i don't want her to die, but i think she wants to, even though there's an event coming up that she's been waiting a long time to see. i can't really judge the quality of her life, but i have to wonder if this sickly existence is really the life she wants to be living.

when the mind and the body are both willing, how long until the end?

December 31, 2009

trapped

i think "be careful what you wish for" has been the theme of the past six months. i swore i wouldn"t talk about work once i got "promoted," but i'm in a bad place and i don't know how to get out.

productive year-end thinking

i hate my job today.

December 20, 2009

unrosy

today we went to the cemetery to decorate graves. it was unseasonably hot for a saturday morning in december, my allergies all but knocked me out, and i missed an urgent work request (but my boss handled it). jesus. what a day.

November 14, 2009

fear

my mother has been asked to come back for a follow-up on a recent mammogram. i am terrified. she can't have cancer again. i don't want her to go through that again. i don't want to go through that again. i don't want my children to go through this.

harsh conditions

this has been an extremely trying week.

(apparently nola is having a trying morning. she just grumped at me because she was having a hard time shoving obama back into the barack-in-the-box (which i understand is a collectible and not a toy).)

work totally kicked my ass. early mornings, late nights, high-stress/high-profile projects, misery. people were difficult. there just weren't enough hours in the day. of course, i was a little chastened to realize that part of my unhappiness could have been, ahem, pms-related (goddamn female hormones), but there was enough crap flying that i think i would have behaved the same way regardless.

i hope next week is better. my boss will be in town, so i suspect it will probably be worse.

November 10, 2009

coughs and hives, oh my

about two weeks ago, cam got concerned about paul's lingering cough, so we went to the doctor. a nasal infection was the cause of the cough. the doctor put paul on a two-week course of amoxicillin and off we went.

over this past weekend, paul started to complain of an itch. cam woke me in the middle of the night to show me a series of raised welts on paul's chest. he had recently discovered sesame balls (the kind with sweet bean paste in the middle), so we wondered if perhaps there had been an allergen in them. since his breathing wasn't affected, we thought we'd give it a day or so to clear out of his system.

my second thought was chicken pox, but it wasn't scabbing.

but then the hives spread to his legs and his arms. he was itchy and miserable. cam debated with himself about taking paul to the doctor, when it seemed to me that he was futzing for no reason. i mean, look, the child is covered in welts.

so cam took him to back to the hospital and discovered that the poor thing was having a reaction to the amoxicillin. they took him off that (his infection had cleared, yay) and put him on atarax (antihistamine) instead. and they gave him a note to stay home from school.

yesterday the rash had moved up to his face, but today his skin is much clearer. he's not as itchy and life seems sunnier. he should be back at school by thursday.

my poor boy. don't you ever get a break?

October 11, 2009

73

happy birthday, dad. we'll be bringing you flowers in a few short hours.

October 4, 2009

very sensitive

i wish paul wasn't so thin-skinned. not every single comment is a rebuke. my poor boy has some toughening up to do. it feels like he's saying "i give up!" or wrapping his arms around himself (self-protection? this one breaks my heart) a zillion times a day.

September 13, 2009

bottleless

finally put all the baby bottles into the recycling bin. it was largely symbolic because nola gave up on bottles about seven months ago, but it was still a little wrenching.

September 6, 2009

why do i bother?

the other day at work i got myself pulled into a new project. my boss' new boss and i spoke on the phone for about 15-20 minutes about it, and i promised to have some data ready in time for our monthly departmental conference call the next day.

during the call he did indeed talk about the new project, but he called me by the wrong name -- twice. dude, get my name straight. we're not exactly a large department by any means. my boss corrected him and he apologized, but i think he apologized more to the woman whose name he used instead of to me. as my boss was now involved in the project, i promised to send him my findings sometime within the next day.

so. the next day i was not-so-merrily plugging away when my boss sent out an email informing his departments that he was leaving early for a doctor's appointment and that he would be out of the office the next day (but monitoring email). since i had planned to get him the data by the end of the day, i was less than pleased to discover that his end of the day was much going to be much sooner than my end of the day. i worked feverishly, skipping lunch and breaks, until the spreadsheet was done and my arms and wrists were numb. i sent it to him with a good 20 minutes to spare and a nice little explanatory note.

his response was to forward the spreadsheet to his boss with "this is the info from grace" and his own contribution to the project (a suggestion from someone in another department). not a word of thanks for me.

his boss' reaction was to leap on the suggestion and praise it. again, not a word of thanks for me. he had a question for my boss. my boss answered it. why did they even cc me on this?

i stood up in my chair, walked to a corner of my office not easily seen by passers-by (i leave my door open all the time), and fought back angry tears as i rubbed my aching wrists.

a few minutes later, once again composed, i sat in front of my computer and got back to work on another project.

August 17, 2009

poor fit

why is it so hard to buy a bathing suit? buy my size, it's not quite right, go up a size and drown in excess fabric. how is it that i'm only pear-shaped when i'm in a swimsuit? i must have better instincts for dressing myself/camouflaging my true shape than i realized.

August 11, 2009

changing plans and priorities

we finally made our plans to visit cam's family in hawaii. it finally seemed like the right time. cam found a nice package including air and hotel, and we were set.

but then our plumbing suddenly went to hell. completely and totally to hell.

we lived in a weird state of limited water usage for well over a week. as the plumbers worked to fix one thing, they'd find another that needed work. jackhammers at night. plumbing repairs by moonlight. turned out the plumbers worked swing. that made it less upsetting that they didn't show up until late afternoon each day.

we cancelled our hotel and got vouchers for the airfare. (i don't even want to talk about that debacle.) we got an emergency loan. we grumped a lot. yes, my mom's house has a perfectly nice little bathroom, but having to use it in the middle of the night made me feel like i had an outhouse. (they were able to restore water to her house earlier than to ours.)

so. no hawaii, so we're going to take a few days off and go to san diego. legoland and assorted museums. it's more a paul trip than a family trip, but at least it's something. maybe we'll go to hawaii in december or something. christmas in hawaii sounds nice.

June 6, 2009

green, gold and blue

there are a lot of pictures on facebook from my high school. i look at some of them and it completely saddens me that i can't show them to my brother. would he have liked fb? i would do anything to be his fb friend now.

May 20, 2009

sniffling through the fog in my head

i hate being sick. i hate it when the kids are sick. i hate it when cam's sick. life kind of sucks at the moment.

April 25, 2009

goodbyes

i took friday off for my aunt's funeral.

she was a good woman. she taught her children the value of faith and friendship. she shared her love of life and laughter and food ("where can you find a woman who loves to eat and doesn't weigh more than 50 pounds?" someone asked fondly) with everyone she knew.

i wept through the majority of the service. i kept it mostly under control until the end when i got to my uncle and cousins. then i was a teary-eyed/runny-nosed mess.

the morning turned my thoughts in a direction i wasn't really comfortable with. quite a few people -- including friends of her children -- shared their memories of my aunt. two of her three children spoke. one of her nieces. one of my uncle's cousins (i think). a cousin. i didn't speak at my brother's funeral. i didn't speak at my father's funeral. i might be able to organize a funeral for my mother when that time comes, but i know i won't be able to speak. it's not that i wouldn't want to, it's more that i won't be able to. i talked to cam about it later. he says he'll speak for me. i appreciate it while i deplore the necessity.

cam missed most of the service because nola was in a talkative mood. my silly girl.

afterwards, some of the family went out to lunch (including my mother and her brother and sister -- it was so nice they could attend). cam and i took nola home.

i used to say that i wanted to live a life in which i could truthfully say that i regretted nothing -- i wanted to be able to just say i was sorry for stuff i did/said/thought and then just leave it at that. but as i get older i see that such a thing is not really possible. i am sorry and i do regret. i regret i wasn't closer to my aunt and i am sorry for it. i am sorry i didn't visit her more often and i regret that i let too much time go by without reconnecting. semantics. it's just semantics.

April 20, 2009

frail

a few weeks back i missed a party for my aunt and uncle because i was sick. as my aunt is dying and i am running out of time in which to visit her, we went to see her yesterday.

gone was the vivacious firecracker i once knew, the five-foot spitfire who could control a room with a wave of a cigarette. gone was the smiling bundle of sass and style. in her place was a gaunt but puffy-faced old woman with crippled old woman arms and hands. when did this happen? my god, she's younger than my mother but looks as worn as my grandmother.

my uncle told her we were there, but i don't know if she understood. she moaned a few times -- because of the pain, i was told -- but made no other sounds. her eyes were glassy.

why does the end of life have to look like this?

postscript: before i got to post this entry, my mother called. my aunt died this morning. no more pain.

April 10, 2009

more precious than gold

the milk situation with nola has become very stressful.

pumping for nola has never been as productive as pumping for paul, but i also haven't worked as hard. i guess i felt i didn't need to because her demand for milk while i'm away from her has never been very great. so this time around, i haven't kept up with the mother's milk pills or the lactation tea (i couldn't find the brand i used to buy, so i tried something else that made me feel like vomiting -- so i cried foul and went without). i figured that as long as i could keep up with her daily needs and not have to regularly rely on stash, i'd be fine.

it was working until about 2-3 months ago. my supply suddenly went to shit. i think i was sick. my already low output went shockingly low. pumping was horrible while i had nola at the backup daycare. i pumped and dumped in dc -- good results one day, awful the next. then i got sicker and it dropped even more. for a while i was having to hit up the stash each and every day to fill nola's daily bottles.

but then i started to get better and production went up to about 50-60% of normal (normal being about 50% of what i used to get with paul in the same amount of time). my mom startled me by having me reduce nola's daily milk supply to a mere nine oz a day (three bottles of three) from 12 (three of four). she was drinking the milk from her bottles happily, but then she'd discard them with an oz or so left. so my mom decided that to cut down on waste, we might as cut down on what i was leaving her. i could keep up with that, yes.

it's a far cry from paul. at his peak, he was drinking 22+ oz a day while i was at work.

earlier this week my mother informed that nola had apparently weaned herself from the bottle. it's now the end of the week and the bottles i put in the fridge back then are still there. it'll be time to toss them soon. she absolutely refuses bottles. she absolutely refuses milk while i'm away.

this weekend i'm planning on picking up some simple straw cups and we'll try the milk in that. my stash is still going strong (i've added to it this week, obviously), so i'm hoping she'll drink it all over the next few months. i'm starting to wonder how much longer i should pump, and if i should try to push the bottle a little longer. since i planned to wean her from bottles at a year, it hardly seems worth it to encourage bottle use for less than a month.

she nurses happily throughout the night, but daytime nursing isn't always easy. there's too much going on and nola is a very active child. we can hide in a room with the windows closed and lights off, but unless she's really sleepy, her tolerance for that isn't very good. she screams, she twists, she bites (three and a half teeth). this has been going on for a while now.

i had always assumed i'd get to nurse for (at least) 18 months with nola the way i did with paul, but i'm not so sure anymore. is this just a phase? or is this really the beginning of the end?

March 26, 2009

cloudy lungs

i am so sick. i am so tired of being sick. why can't we postpone illness or perhaps get an exemption from it -- like jury duty?

March 20, 2009

playing the game

paul is registered in a local tee-ball league. he had his first practice the other day, and from what i heard and what i saw (my mother picked me up from work so that cam could take paul -- and nola -- to practice; we arrived at the park at the tail-end), it was not the most successful mission ever.

on the way to the park, my mother and i discussed pauls and sports. i am not particularly keen on tee-ball. i am not particularly keen on team sports in general. i had kind of figured maybe we'd enroll paul in a martial art, maybe something academic, i don't know, something a little less prone to be populated by sports-parents and blame.

my brother spent a very short period of time in little league. i remember him with a red face, wheezing, big-eyed. i always thought he quit because of the asthma attacks, but my mother fondly and nostalgically dispelled that notion.

my mom: he thought if he knew...
me: statistics?
my mom: he thought if he knew everything about it, he would be able to play.
my mom: he thought if he knew all the rules... who was the best...
my mom: if he knew statistics, he thought he'd be able to hit the ball.

she laughed a little ruefully. he was so nervous, so anxious, so plainly miserable that my mother convinced my father to take him out of little league. my dad didn't believe her at first, but he eventually saw what she saw. it was not fun; it was disillusionment and confusion. that was the end of paul's baseball career. he continued to have a fondness for the sport, watching, studying, but not playing. he was no athlete. he just wasn't.

it was a sad, sad little story. i look at my own little paul and wonder what his experience will be like. will he be a good player? it's a little early to tell, but i fear for him. when i tried to talk to him about tee-ball a few months ago, he boasted of skill without ever having tested it. now that he's going to see that there's a lot to learn, he is not going to take it so well. (oh god, and how i dread the kids and parents and what they'll say to my poor sensitive boy.) people may think i'm overreacting -- maybe i am overreacting -- but this is not a child who stomps blithely through life. this is a child who screamed about failure because he couldn't draw a dinosaur the way he saw it in his head. no child is a failure, especially at the age of five. (yes yes, i understand this is supposedly common for kids this age, but i don't care about all kids this age. i don't need to care about all kids this age.) i fear the road of disillusionment and confusion that may lie ahead.

February 25, 2009

glass wholly empty

the other day it hit me that i am a negative thinker. i don't do shades of gray.

i'm defined by what i don't like, don't eat, don't wear. i'm known for amazing willpower -- for what i won't do. there needs to be a negative component to everything. i love my family, but sometimes i don't like them. i enjoy shopping, but i hate shopping for this body. when i drink alcohol, it starts out well and good, but then i degenerate into a teary, mopey drunk.

maybe that should have been my new year's resolution -- to become a positive thinker. to think about myself in brighter, more pleasant terms. to think about what i like and not in terms of what i don't. to not hate my job with such passion, but to focus on what good there is to be found there.

already i'm feeling skeptical.

February 7, 2009

league

cam and paul just went to t-ball sign-ups.

i'm happy that our boy is interested in an activity involving other kids, but i have to say that i am very wary and very nervous about this. i get that most kids this age are not necessarily athletically gifted or even coordinated. i get that a lot of kids this age are going to be prone to perfectionist meltdowns. i get that t-ball is much more lowkey than baseball. i get that this could be very good for paul. but goddammit if i'm not freaking out inside that my very sensitive, very hard-on-himself little boy wants to thrust himself into the world of organized team sports. i kind of expected that maybe he'd start with a martial art or something. something a bit more, i don't know, solo?

i've tried to talk to him about the importance of practice and how it's okay to not be perfect at something from the very beginning, but he dismisses me. i ache with the fears of anticipated tantrums and slights. will the other little kids be nice to paul? will their parents? i appreciate how his bravery levels have so drastically improved (after all, this child once cried at school everyday), but that doesn't mean i can't be scared for him as he ventures further out into the world. i read once that being a parent is like having no skin. every nerve is exposed, tingling. some days i can laugh it off, but other days i cry even before the hurt comes.

December 26, 2008

sick time

a good employee always times illnesses to coincide with holidays and weekends. sigh.

November 21, 2008

tgif, indeed

as tiring as yesterday was -- nola was down the street at backup daycare, so i had to take her down there at 7:30, go at lunch to nurse her, pick her up at 3:30, nurse her again in the office at 4:30 -- i prefer it to today. not just because i had my wee baby so close by, but because today? totally sucks.

November 5, 2008

writing history, part 3

i guess i shouldn't be surprised (you should have seen the number of yes on 8 people yelling on street corners the other night), but i am still choked-up-and-teary-eyed disappointed.

October 22, 2008

malaise

i am too sick and too depressed to write.

October 9, 2008

hairless

i am so over this postpartum hair loss thing. SO OVER. the other day i was thinking my hair looked a little greasy after washing, so i took a closer look in the mirror. it wasn't greasy -- it was thin. thinner than thin. it just won't stop falling out. there is hair all over the floor. when loading and unloading the dishwasher i spend too much time picking out the hairs that have just spontaneously fallen off my head. i think i need bangs to help disguise the fact that my hairline appears to be receding. the feeling of a single hair falling on my arm is enough to start the inner boil (or the inner tears). will this never end?

October 4, 2008

not quite varsity blues

paul is not the biggest fan of school. he doesn't like the fact that we can't be there with him. if he had friends, it would be better, i think, but when he talks to us about school, he doesn't seem to be interested in forging friendships -- all he wants to tell me is that kid x and kid y got in trouble.

paul: do i have school today?
me: yes.
paul: waaaahhhhh!

paul: do i have school today?
me: no, it's saturday.
paul: do i have school the day after tomorrow?
me: yes.
paul: waaaahhhhh!

on thursday night he was miserable. he was dreading school because his teacher was to attend an all-day meeting, thus necessitating a substitute teacher. paul is very attached to his teacher. when we met her at back to school night, she said very matter-of-factly that paul wasn't happy at lunch because she wasn't there with him.

friday went better than he expected, but he's still not so happy about school on monday. i do feel for him -- i was afraid of everything as child, shyer than shy (little has changed) -- but i'm worn out by his whining. i try to be sympathetic, but he's clearly wanting me to say that he doesn't have to go to school and i can't say that. i can't rescue him from this. i've started saying, "i'm sorry, but you don't have a choice." (then cam comes in and is so understanding and kind-sounding that i feel like bad cop.) i've tried talking him about taking what he's unhappy about and trying to make it better, but he's so stuck on the notion that he's alone at school. i wish he was happier, i wish i could do something for him, but isn't school something he needs to do on his own?

September 29, 2008

secret voice

every once in a while i revisit my decision to make my blog semi-secret. i'm hardly anonymous (god, just google "grace cam paul"), but i do try to keep last names out of it. i haven't told my family (aside from cam, of course, and i've alluded to it to my mother, who is not exactly net savvy) about this blog, and i think i've only told two friends. as a result, i feel pretty free to write what i want. a long time ago, cam told me that if i would feel like there were things i couldn't write about if certain people were reading it, then i shouldn't tell those certain people. i've taken that to heart. yes, i am linked off joel's blog, but my teenytiny share of that audience is far enough away from my life that i don't feel too constrained.

but sometimes -- like with the new facebook obsession i've been nuturing -- i start to think that it wouldn't be so bad to be more public. maintaining a "private" blog can be a little lonely, especially when you know people that are much, much more open about their writing endeavors. i don't get to express any public pride or joy in my blog, and sometimes that is much more difficult to bear than i would have thought.

sometimes i want to share a post with people because i know it will amuse them, but then i have to draw back at the last minute because people aren't stupid and i can't afford to have them read anything other than what i've hand-picked. taking text from a page and pasting it into an email -- that is the safer way to do it, but there's something so weird about that. "hey, check out this thing i wrote... um, for the sake of writing."

but i can tamp these feelings down. i've done it before and i will do it over and over again. this blog is not private, but it's not really public, either.

September 15, 2008

and a happy birthday to you

today is my mother's birthday. she was very huffy when informed we had bought her a gift ("i TOLD you not to get me anything"), but she changed her tune when she discovered the gift in question was a louis vuitton bag. still, i wanted to just go back to bed. i can't do anything right when it comes to her.

September 7, 2008

1971

today my brother would have been 37. i can't even begin to imagine what kind of person he'd be now. would he be single? would he have kids? would he love his job? would he love his life? what kinds of things would be most important to him?

September 5, 2008

the milk/bottle saga

after two weeks of bottles, it looked like we were set.

my mother discovered that the bottles themselves were not the issue -- apparently, if a girl is hungry, then all that matters is that the bottles have milk in 'em. since we were all set to drop a bundle on born-free bottles ($18 for two?), this discovery was particularly sweet. i would have liked to use the sassy mam bottles ($12 for three) we had, but my mother said they leaked (plus she thought they were too hard to warm up) so that was out of the question. we were initially pleased by the idea of avent's bpa-free bottles, but the price was stupid (and, to be honest, avent bottles are kind of a bitch to pour from). instead we bought a set of medela bottles ($15 for three) and they work great. i prefer evenflo glass bottles with slow-flow comfi nipples (can't remember how much the bottles were, but the nipples were 2 for $1.99 at bru), but the bottles are a bit heavy. nola drinks her way through 5 bottles of 3 oz each while i'm away. right now we're rotating four medela bottles, two evenflo and two born-free. eventually i'd like to get at least two more bottles so that we have two complete sets, but eh, this will do for now.

today cam and i were talking about how i was managing to keep up with her demand. i was feeling pretty good about it. i nurse/manual pump at 4:45 am (i get between 3-4 oz from one side while feeding on the other), go to work, pump at 9/12/3 (get between 10-13 oz total), and if i'm a bit short, i might do a manual pump session in the evening at home or i could take from the stash. (ideally, i'd keep my stash numbers stable by using a bag of frozen ebf and replacing it with new.) when paul was a baby, i felt like i was pumping all the time. i was drinking mother's milk tea, taking fenugreek capsules, drinking a lot of water, stressing and crying that i couldn't keep up. i pumped until i bled (pink milk = bad). but this time is different -- nola doesn't eat as much as paul.

but out of the blue my mother declared today that she wanted to up the bottles again (we started out at 2 oz per bottle) to 4 oz. she wants 4 bottles of 4 oz each with a just-in-case 4 oz spare. jesu cristo. i'm not convinced that nola needs that much -- i think it's more likely that my mom is using milk as comfort. when she was telling me she needed MORE milk, i could feel the old anxiety building up again. i never wanted to be that stressed again, and here i was, having to get ready to hop on that old train.

i ordered fenugreek capsules this evening. we'll see how this goes. i guess as long as i can keep the blood out of the bottles, we should be fine.

September 4, 2008

day two

cam talked to the teacher -- she said paul had a better dya, but he cried during snack and lunch. my poor, poor sweetie. everyone says, "oh, he'll get used to it," but that doesn't mean i have to like the tears.

August 12, 2008

aches, pains and boylessness

i seem to have caught myself a minor case of mastitis or something along those lines. been feeling feverish and achy lately -- it actually started on saturday, but five tylenol later i was feeling fine all sunday through monday evening. i had cold sweats before bed, was freezing throughout the night, and then was dripping with sweat in the morning. lovely.

even though i wanted to keep paul with me, cam was adamant that he spend the day with his grandfather so that i could rest. paul was pretty happy to hear his change of plans! (he was such a sweetie this morning -- he got up while we were asleep and watched tv without sound so as to not wake me up. when i got up, he brought out some little dishes so we could have a tea party.) he's gone now, so nola and i are just slumming about the house. i want to tidy up, but i feel pretty crappy. maybe after a nap...

August 10, 2008

blue pond

the raccoons struck again and this time it was much worse. they chewed (and spat out) a lot of foam from the bottom of my lily fountain, knocked over the papyrus and broke some of the stalks, tore off some parrot feather stems and caused disarray and minor damage to the lilies. my mother climbed into the pond and rearranged all the plants to make them a little more stable. i wonder if maybe i was stupid to try to do this again.

August 9, 2008

bottled

cam is trying to feed nola a bottle (she needs to learn how for when i go back to work). i don't think it's going so well. the screaming is breaking my heart.

yesterday cam tried to use a glass evenflo bottle and nipple, today he has a playtex drop-in. if she doesn't like either, maybe we'll try born free or green to grow.

postscript: she figured out the drop-in! yay! but poor cam looks like hell.

August 3, 2008

new chances

my mother just stopped by with some cool news about her favorite niece -- and it just reminded me how i have failed my mother in every way. maybe she'll have more success with her grandchildren.

August 1, 2008

disney sans us

on friday paul is going to disneyland with cam's folks and sister. they'll be picking him up mid-morning and he'll be spending the night at their house. i think it's great that he gets to go, considering that nola's not ready for anything like that yet, but it still makes me sad that he's going without us.

July 10, 2008

temper, temper

i am ashamed of the way i can barely control my emotions when it comes to paul's constant whining. i know that he's still maneuvering through the world of boundaries and expectations. i know that he's still figuring out his own capabilities and abilities. i know all this. i know he's supposed to be testing me - that's what little kids do. so why am i failing so miserably?

July 9, 2008

the lost weekday(s)

i keep losing days.

this morning i woke up in a panic because i thought we had forgotten to put out the trash. cam has decided to change his work-from-home day from wednesday to friday, but hasn't done it yet. trash day is friday. cam was here today, so i automatically assumed it was friday. riiight.

yesterday i was looking at the sell-by date on a raw veggie tray - 7/13. i looked at the calendar. knowing it was tuesday, i assumed it was the 15th and the veggies were therefore past the date. eh, i thought, and put them back in the fridge. good thing i did because i would have been so freaking mad at myself if i had thrown them out prematurely.

maybe the first thing i need to do each morning is actually think about the date. when i was at work, i date-stamped everything so i always knew what day it was, but something tells me that the children would not appreciate being date-stamped.

wii fail

i realized about a week ago that for someone with a bad body image and terrible self-esteem, perhaps weighing oneself every single day was kind of a bad idea. losing the pregnancy weight feels harder this time. would it be such a bad thing to just give up and stay stocky forever?

July 6, 2008

old age

i think it's fabulous that paul (and nola will, too, eventually) has such a great relationship with his grandparents. he adores his grandfather most of all, but his grandmothers will do in a pinch.

for this reason, it makes me really sad to think about how he'll be affected when the inevitable happens -- our parents aren't exactly young, and my mother, in particular, has been making noises about being old. i've always known that she wasn't very interested in living to the ripe old age of a hundred, but it hadn't really occurred to me until recently that her desire to die before creakingly old age set in meant that she may not necessarily be around for great-grandchildren.

my own relationship with my grandparents has been rather spotty. my father's parents viewed us as pretenders to the throne -- plus they lived in another country -- so obviously we weren't close. my mother's father died when i was ten. my mother's mother is my only living grandparent, and we were never all that close. she lived with us for a while when i was a child, and again when i was in grad school, but both times i think i was too set in my ways at the time to really try to foster a good bond. i don't get to see her as much as i'd like because she lives pretty far away and it's hard to shlep the kids out there, but i honestly don't feel the lack as much as i feel like i should. i don't remember this, but apparently i was really nasty to her as a kid. when confronted with this fact several years ago (by a cousin) i felt badly, but it was all rather academic because, like i said, i don't remember it. not that that excuses it, but what else can i say?

the situation of my mother is filled with a certain poignancy because we two are the end of an era. the idea of her death fills me with total dread. even though i now have a family of my own (that expression sounds rather ridiculous, i've always thought), knowing that one day i'll be all that remains of that family never fails to bring a lump to my throat. it's not supposed to be like that. my brother should be here. children are never supposed to die before their parents.

i fear for my babies. when the time comes, will we be ready? will there be a way to help them get ready? when my mom goes, will i be too utterly devastated to help them?

June 27, 2008

silently watching

there's a mommy blogger out there who is blissfully unaware of my presence in the blogworld -- and i infinitely prefer it that way.

i was raised to feel like i needed to compete with her. i don't think she got the same treatment as a child, or maybe she was just taught the power of good self-esteem. in any case, i've been practically bred to feel inferior to her. when you teach a child that another child is the "enemy," that's what happens. if you need to compete directly at school or in another activity, fine. if we were, uh, competing gymnasts, well, obviously we need to compete. but we were set up as being life opponents, and it all boiled down to being a test of who had the greater parenting skills.

if she excelled in one thing i couldn't, i had to exploit a skill she didn't have. but because i didn't know how to believe in myself, i couldn't think of any skills she didn't have -- so my only option was to swallow my personal shame and just scoff at her. my family did the same. how delighted they all were when she didn't appear at her best. all this mean-spirited "fun" at her expense. it seems so stupid now.

so now we're grown up and in similar places in our lives. we're both married working moms with young kids. i don't feel the need to actively compete anymore, but when i read her blog i tend to feel a little blue about my own. we don't do as many kid activities, i don't have the kinds of relationships that she does, i don't... seem as happy. am i doing something wrong?

but i'm happy that she seems happy. good for her. good for her and her great life.

my mother, on the other hand, doesn't want to be happy for her. i say she's trying to lose a few pounds, my mother greedily wants to know how much she weighs. i say her kid is really cute, my mother sniffs and says she's a bad eater.

sometimes i read her blog and i think it rings a little false, but maybe that's just how truly happy people sound. if so, maybe i need to look a little more closely at myself and not just my blog.

June 21, 2008

second choice

this afternoon i came across a gift book from my mother -- you know the type: small, pastel, usually hardcover, full of poems and quotes on a theme. she's given me quite a few of these over the years (since i graduated from high school), but the one i'm referring to is called "to a wonderful daughter" or something along those lines.

my brother and my mother had a special relationship. as a child and as a teenager, i never felt like anything i could ever do would ever elevate me in her eyes. if i did something, he did it better. he was the nice and smart one. i, i proclaimed to anyone who would listen, was the village idiot. every household needs one.

thrown together by circumstance, i've wondered many, many times over the last 15 years -- if my brother were still alive, would she even give me a second look? you may think i'm being unfair to her -- i probably am -- but i grew up with these people and i know how i felt.

May 30, 2008

fit and flatter

today my mother, nola and i went to the mall to buy me some transitional clothes (i just can't stand the way maternity pants fit right now). it was a disaster on so many levels.

1) my mother thinks i'm fat and wants me in my pre-pregnancy size NOW. um, i'm four weeks postpartum. i thought i looked pretty good for this stage. guess not.

2) nola's scream can fill an entire department store.

3) not all women's restrooms in department stores are equipped with "lounges." hence... poor child had to be fed in a stall.

4) cute tops are not necessarily easy access. also, many cute tops are not made to fit newly postpartum boobs.

5) you can't effectively try on anything when you're slinging a sleeping baby. now i know why people use strollers.

6) a miserable baby can scream all the way home.

i think it'll be a while before we attempt another such trip. maybe by then i'll be back (more or less) to what my mother considers to be a reasonable size. i think i could have taken more of these things in stride if i felt a little happier about myself. talk about kicking a girl when she's down.

March 29, 2008

if it were a marriage, i'd have to buy crystal

today is the fifteenth anniversary of my brother's death. we brought flowers to the cemetery this morning with my mom, but we skipped our usual brunch afterwards because we had to attend a baby shower for cam's cousin. it's not like there's anything special about fifteen, but for some reason i felt bluer than usual today.

March 12, 2008

sticky situation

i hate to be the living embodiment of a cliche, but i am on the verge of tears because i knocked my milk thermos off my desk. milk everywhere. i stole my assistant's 409 cleaner because my desk, my chair and the floormat are all sticky -- used the dregs. (i will buy him a new bottle.) my pants are sticky and wet, too, but something tells me 409 probably isn't so useful with cotton and skin. i should have known something was going to happen. about five minutes before i knocked it off the table, i looked at my bag and noticed that the thermos had been leaking. little did i realize it would soon be leaking all over my freaking office.

sigh. sniffle.

February 27, 2008

tiny coal heart

i have the unpleasant feeling that i am entirely too selfish for parenthood.

cubbyhole

last night my nerves were shot.

paul wouldn't go to sleep. the cat outside the house wouldn't stop crying out. the dishwasher wouldn't work. cam was preoccupied.

i burst into tears trying to read paul to sleep. i gave up and went to my room and let him whine, whine, whine. cam appeared ready to jump in to save paul from me and my cruel heart, but i prevented him.

cam got the dishwasher working and got paul to settle down as i tried to cry myself to sleep. but i wasn't even successful at that, so i sat in my bedroom closet for an hour and cried there, looking for a little corner where at least if nobody liked me, then maybe i could be sad and alone. i got up and went to bed around midnight.

i didn't feel like talking this morning, so cam was mad at me. i wish i could go back to the closet.

February 17, 2008

wallowing

because we've all been sick, i feel like i have wasted the weekend. (i don't think cam and paul have wasted the weekend because they don't have the same self-expectations that i do.) sure, we have one day left, but we're not going to suddenly be well and full of energy. today, in an attempt to make up for yesterday's flu-induced sloth, i've organized the kitchen junk drawer, made a shelf from a cardboard box for paul's snack cabinet, scrubbed down the cooktop, put up a decorative tray above the stove and rearranged the cookbook cabinet. can i do enough tomorrow to make myself feel better about all the time i've spent doing not much of anything?

solo dining

i know you didn't mean any harm, but i think the proper response to "when you wake up [after a nap], you can think about dinner" might be something along the lines of "okay, sure," or "what would you like for dinner?" -- not "i thought i already had it." what about me? have you not noticed i have served and cleaned up after you and paul all day long? did you not even wonder if i've eaten today? i know i'm somewhat overemotional and cloudy of mind because i'm sick and that i need to make similar allowances for you because you're sick, too, but i still think you could have thought about me for a second.

February 5, 2008

sniffle

am sick at home today. i could tell i was really not feeling so well when i put up only token resistance to cam's suggestion that i stay home. although i should be glad for the rest, am sad on two counts: 1) i'm lonely, and 2) paul wouldn't hug me goodbye for fear of germs.

January 19, 2008

unsmiling

i don't know why, but i've been feeling really terrible lately. not sickly, not physically pained (although i am really tired), but just miserable. i just want to cry and cry and cry.

i'm so useless these days.

i can barely keep an eye on paul, and his preference for everyone but me is really blindingly clear. i try not to be hurt by it because i know he's just reacting to my own behavior, but it does still wound me.

my house is a mess. i have so many ideas, but absolutely no follow-through.

i haven't been following my diet the last few days.

i don't feel like i'm ready for another child in my house at all.

some days i get to feeling like i need a break, but honestly, with the little amount of caretaking i'm providing either my husband or my child, i might as well already be on vacation.

i wish i could control this unhappiness. it doesn't hit me at work, so maybe that's key. maybe i need to just keep so busy that i don't have time to dwell. i hate being a whiner.

January 13, 2008

new motto

if there is a situation and nobody thinks there is a problem but me, then perhaps i am the problem.

December 29, 2007

so cold

sometimes i'll just be sitting around -- or washing dishes -- or watching tv -- something mundane -- and i'll get a little choked up and it occurs to me that i'm so lonely i could cry. and then i do.

these sudden fits of the blues always baffle me. first i'd start to feel guilty for feeling so sad. i mean, i'm the antisocial one, the introverted one. i'm admittedly not so good about keeping in touch with people. clearly, i'm happiest by myself or with my immediate family. how dare i feel miserable? but i do, and i can't help it. then i start to think that because maybe i leave such a very small footprint on the world, nobody would notice if i wasn't there anymore.

but this is where things begin to smack so loudly of self-pity that i force myself out of it.

and then i go to bed.

December 19, 2007

missed holiday festivities

today is the holiday party at paul's preschool. it's a potluck, so i was up late cooking a tomato-sauced pasta (nemo-shaped, even) and tree-shaped chocolate cookies. the sad part is that i don't even get to go -- i'm stuck at work because one of my assistants needed to be out today. oh well. it's not the first time i've missed out on a preschool party.

December 12, 2007

supposed to be a big day

i took the day off work because i had my big ultrasound scheduled for today.

took advantage of the free morning by attending preschool with paul and cam. preschool was an interesting experience. paul was up-and-down, but i think it was a pretty good day. he did, however, not listen to cam when it was time to return inside after playground time, and that was a little stressful. when the teacher snapped at me for asking paul if he needed help on a ladder, that was also stressful. meh. what did she think i was going to do, grab him off the ladder and spoonfeed him pureed peas? he was stuck. i just asked if he needed help. the "working" parents that day made me feel in the way, so i tried to stick to the wall and be unobtrusive as possible. the children themselves -- when they noticed me -- were a bit more welcoming.

during a playtime, a girl yelled at paul he was playing hopscotch incorrectly. he raised his arm as if to strike her, then hid behind me with his usual, "i don't want ANYTHING."

me: [yelling girl] is brutal.
cam: paul is a ninny.

as soon as class was over, i headed to the car to drink a quart of water before the appointment.

when paul finally finished his goodbyes, we all went to kaiser for my ultrasound appointment. the lab tech called me in quickly (half an hour prior to my actual appointment!) and told cam and paul that he'd call them in to see pictures after the exam. the exam part took about 15 minutes, mostly spent in silence. then the tech left to bring in cam and paul. after several minutes, he returned alone, saying he was unable to find them. i was really disappointed, but what could i do? he rushed through some shots, then asked me if i wanted to know the sex. i said yes, and he indicated that he was "leaning towards a girl." then it was all over. i asked if i'd get pictures, and he breezily said his printer was broken. there i was, disappointed about cam and paul missing out, disappointed about his lack of certainly re gender and disappointed by the lack of pictures. well. it wasn't that the tech wasn't nice, because he was, but he was awfully cavalier about the whole thing.

as i opened the door to the waiting room, cam and paul walked up. they took one look at me and realized that the appointment was over. cam looked pissed and paul started wailing. they were so clearly upset about missing the ultrasound that i started to cry. i didn't even get to the bathroom, even though i was on the verge of desperation (the bladder of a pregnant woman is no laughing matter). i was too busy apologizing to paul.

but, as usual, out of the wreckage came a few moments of hilarity.

paul: [tearful] but how do they know it's a girl?
cam: they're looking for something.
paul: what?
cam: uh, okay, they're looking for a thing -- like yours.
cam: if they don't find one, then it's a girl.
cam: because little girls don't have one.
paul: but big girls do?
cam: um, no, they don't.
paul: [practically sobbing] but how do they pee?
me: can we please not have this conversation NOW?

we dropped paul off with his grandfather (and i had my much needed bathroom break), then we went home to take a nap. cam explained he wasn't mad at me, but i wasn't really convinced. if i hadn't been lying on a table with gel all over my stomach, i would have told the tech i'd find them myself (they were in the bathroom, by the way).

it was a pretty exhausting day. as nice as it was to take a day off work, enough bummerish things happened to make it less than fully pleasant. i guess i just had idealized visions of how the day was supposed to be.

December 9, 2007

up late for once

i would not be entirely truthful if i said that i wasn't bothered by paul's occasional outright rejection. about half an hour ago, i woke up to paul crying out "daddy, daddy" -- i asked cam's sleeping figure if i should go check on him. being asleep, he didn't respond, so i got up.

usually these days when paul calls out for his father in the middle of the night, he doesn't mind when i show up instead. tonight was different.

paul: [screaming] not you!
paul: [takes a swing] where's daddy!?
me: he's asleep.
me: i'll go get him, okay?
paul: [still mad] okay.

so i woke cam up, then had my bedtime snack. not really sleepy, i cleaned up the living room a little and here i am, sitting on the couch and watching the discovery times network. i know i shouldn't let it bother me, but cam was kind of a git before bedtime and i was already feeling sort of sick and hormonal. i'm just... a little tired of it all.

November 1, 2007

trick

paul had a great time trick-or-treating. of course, sickly, exhausted, self-pitying me missed it because i was at home. i begged out of going to cam's parents' house at the last minute because i wasn't feeling well, plus i didn't think paul would want to go trick-or-treating. foolish me.

cam told me a little about their adventures. i'm glad they had such fun, but i am rather bummed to have missed it.

October 19, 2007

ruined my day

my mom called me a little while ago to tell me that someone had called from the hospital about my test results. i called back and learned that i have to attend a gestational diabetes class, meet with a nutritionist, have some bloodwork done, start testing my blood sugars and attend a follow-up with a diabetes ob/gyn. all because my fasting blood sugar measured four points higher than they'd like. well. shit.

October 8, 2007

drowning in hormones

i am having a hard time dealing with the guilt associated with the fatigue of pregnancy. i am not the kind of preschool mom that i wanted to be. i'm not even the mom i want to be. my house is a shambles. dishes are always in the sink (unless my mom does them). everyone's clothes are all over the place. shoes, too. we're eating crap food because former healthy favorites no longer appeal to me and i'm usually too tired to cook, anyway.

i am constantly ashamed and/or constantly asleep. my family doesn't even know me anymore.

September 29, 2007

glucola

went in for the 3-hour glucose tolerance test today. all i can say is this:

1) glucola is gross.
2) that video of the westminster dog show was not helping.
3) when drawing blood, please don't wiggle the needle.
4) when drawing blood a second time, please don't use the EXACT SAME HOLE IN MY ARM you made the first time around.
5) who knew that lab techs watch medical dramas like "house"? (i know that i refuse to watch lawyer dramas.)
6) who knew that divine worked as a lab tech?
7) who knew that pynchon's newest would be entirely too heavy reading for a lab waiting room? (i would have been better off with an issue of domino or something like that.)

hope i passed.

September 26, 2007

tearful (and my nose is bleeding, too)

this morning traffic was really bad, so cam was really late to work -- to make up for it, in the way that people do if they DON'T work in my department, he stayed late. like two hours late. now it's a quarter to six and he just called to tell me that he's looking at 6:30-7 pm before he gets here. i didn't mean to, but i'm just so tired and beat that i started crying. i better close the door to my office before somebody sees me.

September 16, 2007

not yet glowing

i hate to be mopey when we planned this pregnancy, but god, i feel like crap. the sour taste, the overproduction of saliva, the heartburn, the fatigue, the moodiness... eeesh.

September 11, 2007

incredible hulk

some folks here finally pushed a coworker over the edge. i had to step in. not to calm him down, because i don't have a whole lot of faith in my ability to do so, but to remove him from the situation so he could simmer himself down. we went outside and he vented and vented and vented. i felt bad that there wasn't really anything i could say because i don't have a whole lot of influence anywhere. i hate people.

September 7, 2007

namesake

this afternoon my assistant was telling me about some family drama (his term: "nigger mess"). when he finally paused, i nodded and made "go on" faces, but i inwardly said, "you know what? how's this for drama? today my brother would have turned 36."

i don't remember what you sound like. i don't have a good internal picture of you. but every september 7, when i think "paul," it means you, not my son.

August 2, 2007

one thing doesn't mean another

i wasted a lot of brain power today over misleadingly simple directions. i should be mad at the giver of the directions (who, to his credit, did apologize), but instead i just feel stupid and blue.

July 9, 2007

escape

a lot of random crap has happened over the last several months. not all of it to me, you understand, but (obviously) all of it involving me in some fashion.

as a result, i sort of lost the will to write. i would start posts most half-heartedly, then save them after completing a line or sometimes even half a line. in some cases, i'd get as far as a title and a word.

some people have been unusually cruel. some have been mind-bogglingly stupid. at least one appears to have lost her mind. honestly.

to get away from this crap, i have sought my solace in television. it's kind of embarrassing how much i've sunk my soul into tv. csi: miami reruns, in particular. but now that it seems that we have caught up on all of the eps a&e has to offer, i'm feeling a little lost. i've been reading twop recaps for shows i don't even watch. i've been rewatching scenes of tivo'd shows i've already seen countless times. thank goodness we've got that new jeffrey donovan show coming up.

June 29, 2007

muddled

life has been exhausting lately. work is stressful enough as it is, but my assistant's life has become very complicated. very, very complicated. not to be a me-me-me kind of person, but his need to be out of the office to take care of certain issues is wearing me down. i don't begrudge him the time -- he certainly should deal with his personal problems. speaking as a friend, hell yeah, he should take off all the time he needs. but admittedly, as his boss, it's a little hard on me to have to work two jobs. i feel like a bitch for even wanting him to be in the office when there's so much going on in his life. in fact, i feel like a traitor for even writing it down. it's an uncomfortable fence to straddle.

June 9, 2007

thankfully it's not my wedding

i've been shopping for a dress to wear to cam's boss' wedding for a while now. i ordered a really pretty dress from garnet hill, but it looked awful on me. i've looked and looked and looked online and actually ventured into some stores, but nothing is appealing to me, on me.

the truth is that i've been an awful eater for the last few months. i haven't done anything remotely resembling exercise. i'm drink nothing but coffee and alcohol. i'm smoking. i'm working long hours and combing my hair less than usual. i look, quite frankly, like shit.

how on earth am i going to clean up nicely in time for a wedding in mid-july?

June 8, 2007

vocation

so. it's a friday night. cam is asleep. paul is asleep. i'm working. that's what i do.

May 31, 2007

unclose

this is absolutely stupidly petty, so i'm writing it down so that i can forget about it.

this morning i got a vm from the wife of a friend about a potential health problem that my friend might be having. it was very direct and businesslike. i called her back and we talked about my friend for a bit. then i tried to inject a tiny note of levity by mildly teasing her for such an all-business vm.

her: i don't show much emotion when dealing with people i'm not close to.
me: um, yes, of course.

now, i never claimed to be close to my friend's wife. (if i was, then she'd be my friend and not just my friend's wife.) i know she's terrified about this potential medical issue and that is making her a bit more clipped than usual, but i'll be damned if i wasn't a little stung by that comment.

okay, it's out. now i can proceed with my day in peace.

May 29, 2007

singing the lack of OT blues

if overtime pay was still a part of my life, i'd be happy to be doing research in the middle of the night. since it isn't, well, this sucks. i have a headache. i'm going to bed.

May 3, 2007

uncomfortable balance

was in the shower this morning when i heard the doorknob rattle. thinking cam wanted to put his toothbrush back or something, i stuck my arm out of the shower and unlocked the door.

much to my surprise, a small hand pushed the door open. i peeked out and saw paul standing there most solemnly.

paul: what are you doing?
me: i'm taking a shower.
paul: but what are you going to do?
me: i'm taking a shower because i've got to get ready for work.
paul: waaaaaahhhhhhhhh!

poor baby. how tempted i was to just turn off the water and stay home. but instead i called for cam to look after him so i could continue to be the good little worker bee i've always been. jesus. even though i know the tears stop as soon as we turn the corner and stop waving from the car, it's still wrenching.

April 13, 2007

isolato

sometimes at work i feel so lonely i start conversations with a known womanizer just because i know he'll talk to me.

call me a leper

i am feeling very low, very self-pitying right now. i am just not fitting into the world today.

March 29, 2007

almost a decade and a half

my brother has been dead for 14 years now.

it's hard to fathom sometimes, you know? 14 years. i was a child then... of course, according to most of the world i was an adult. 18 years, two months, eight days. i had reached the age of majority. i could buy lotto tickets. i could vote. i could sign my own absence notes from school. but i was still a child -- and child or adult or whatever, i was completely unprepared for his death.

14 years later, i still feel unprepared.

i was unprepared for the way a person -- a living, breathing college student with a fondness for computers and tomato sauce -- became a footnote.

i'm unprepared for the way it still stings when i tell strangers i'm an only child because i don't want to explain how i had a brother and he died, and oh my god, isn't it so painfully sad but it was so long ago so we're all properly adjusted now, thanks.

i will always be unprepared for that bittersweet tinge when i say the name paul and i mean my brother instead of my child.

March 26, 2007

sickly

i was sick all weekend. i'm still sick. i would have been pretty much okay by saturday night (i speculate) if i hadn't taken some [insert name of otc medication] on saturday morning.

at around a quarter to 11, i took a dose. i woke up cam at 11 (he had a rough night with paul), then collapsed into bed. at about 11:40, i suddenly woke up in a panic, unable to breathe. i rolled back and forth for a moment, trying to figure out if i could breathe if i only hit the right position. starting to hyperventilate a little, i called for cam. he didn't come. i tried again and he showed up.

things got all wonky from that moment on. breathing got harder and my arms and legs went all tingly numb. i was crying and cam was getting upset and threatening to call the hospital. we ended up in the living room and he wanted me to drink some juice. he had to hold the glass because my hands weren't working. eventually things settled down and feeling returned to my limbs.

the rest of the weekend i slept as much as i could to recover from that freakish moment. today i'm still suffering from nausea and a foul taste in my mouth, two things i didn't have going into the weekend. at least the headache is more or less gone, and the tingliness hasn't come back. (it was a little scary.)

my assistant scolded me, of course. "just great," he scowled at me. "my boss almost kicked the bucket." it's always nice to know you care, sweetie.

i'm hoping the lingering effects of whatever this is will be gone by the end of the week. it just will not do to have this ruin another weekend, even if i am getting more sleep than i have since before paul was born.

March 25, 2007

shrink

after years surviving relatively unassisted through familial unhappiness and death and stress and self-image problems and self-destructive behavior, i do believe that work -- WORK -- has finally put the final nail in the coffin. i think i will finally be seeking professional help.

March 9, 2007

somewhat intimidated

cam: wow, you have an archnemesis.
cam: congratulations.

it has come to my attention recently that someone really hates my guts. i knew she disliked me and has for years, but i had thought that perhaps time had mellowed the animosity so that she could at least function around me. as far as i knew, we had finally reached the point of civility and so that was that.

guess i was wrong. huh.

it's a very creepy thing to know that someone hates you enough that they are willing to blame you for things that are obviously in no way your fault -- indeed, even going so far as to blame you for things that haven't happened (can't even say "yet" because there's no way of knowing that these things ever will happen until, you know, they happen). if she had had some distant relatives on the hindenburg or the titanic, i guess it wouldn't surprise me to find out that she blamed me for that, too.

i don't care if she likes me. i don't. i have been on this freaking merry-go-round for too fucking long ("we had a conversation today! maybe she likes me now?") to care. i know i've been stewing about this, but it's not because my feelings are hurt -- rather, it's because i am just so utterly astonished by the sheer violence that she must have in her heart that she feels the need to vent to MY allies -- as if, by the mere expression of that violence, she could convert them to her side. but the thing is that i don't want sides. i just want to coexist. if not peacefully, then at least without overt ugliness.

February 6, 2007

dough

yesterday we discovered that paul can't play with play-doh because it contains wheat. not being a big proponent of play-doh (or any clay, for that matter), i am not really that disappointed, but... come on, play-doh! it's part of the tradition of the american childhood, isn't it?

February 1, 2007

why is it ONLY thursday?

i am having a very bad day. i would like to take my accumulated benefit time (13.4 weeks) and use it all at once -- starting now.

January 26, 2007

headcold

i am officially sick. damn.

January 20, 2007

bringing her up to speed

i was trying to write a letter to a mommy friend and failing miserably. could barely get past the "how were your holidays?" before just trailing off and letting myself get distracted by stuff... like keyboard lint.

it's not that i don't like writing to my friend. it's just that she wants paul updates (she doesn't even know about this blog -- if she does, she's not sayin') and the competitive little bitch in me is all, "riiiight, so you can compare my little stinker against your perfect little one and then feel like you're winning the mommy stakes" -- which is totally unfair because she has never been like that, but other moms just bring out the sad and angry in me.

i told cam today that although sometimes i feel like of lonely, i'm mostly glad to not have other moms and kids around because i can forget about the milestones that paul is missing. there are yardsticks i can ignore. i can concentrate on stuff like paul's burgeoning lexiconnoisseurness --

paul: look at this syringe. [pointing at imaginary needles on the floor -- gah, what an image]
paul: there are two of them.
paul: i built this trebuchet all by myself.
cam: paul, you have the most amazing vocabulary.
cam: i don't even know how old i was when i learned words like "syringe" and "trebuchet."
me: i think i just learned "trebuchet" last year.

no, paul does not dress himself. no, paul does not pick up after himself. yes, he still fights the toothbrushing. yes, he drinks far too much milk. no, he doesn't like to draw. no, he is not potty-trained. no, he's not reading words yet. no, he's afraid of other children.

when distilling the life and progress of a child down to a single page of single-spaced 10-pt arial, we grasp at the obvious. is he developing the way that he should? based on charts and studies and books and experts, is he doing all the things a three-year-old should be doing? i get insecure. i make jokes. i paint less-than-flattering pictures. i don't want to be the gushy mommy, talking about my son's latest habit of drawing on the wall and isn't that cute, he's a pint-sized picasso. huh. i veer to the other side. (leave the heavy praise to my mom -- it's her right as a grandmother.) i mock my mothering skills. if he's not hitting those high notes, it's because i've failed him.

he's a normal kid, i say. he runs, he jumps, he scores! he whines, he fights bedtime, he throws tinkertoys!

yes, i know your tot has been helping you put away the silverware since he was a year and a half. yes, i know that my son's inability to understand what goes where in the kitchen reflects poorly on me. give me a break.

talking to another friend, the dejection sets in. "i have a really great core relationship with my kids, so i'm not worried about what they'll be like when they're teenagers," she chirps. can i hang up on you now? this doesn't make me want to talk to other parents (aside from cam, of course).

i will just have to try again next week. maybe something will happen over the weekend to put me in the communicating mood.

January 7, 2007

somewhat painful truths revisited

went through two cabinets (two short billy bookcases with doors) in the library today to see if i could clear up some space to store toys. yeah, i know. don't say it. paul has enough toys to keep an entire third-world country entertained. yeah.

was able to ditch a some catalogs and assorted magazines, but the greatest amount of space came from the disposal of grad school paperwork. as i enter my last year of repayment for my student loan, it seemed like maybe it was time to admit that i would never ever reread my old papers because, well, let's face it, i wasn't the greatest student. my grades were good, but it was all diligence, not brilliance. the comments on my papers would bear me out -- "you write very well, but..." all style, all earnestness -- flimsy theses, simplistic arguments. i knew this about myself back then and i know it now... never claimed to be particularly deep or even particularly bright. still, it does sort of sting. i knew i wasn't cut out for the academic life, but seeing those old notations don't exactly make me want to say, "yep, so true, so true!"

i ended up keeping just a few mementos from the past -- jr./high school journalism records (my mom made me keep a notebook of everything i published back then), a reader for tagalog class, notes from an intensive beginning spanish course at cal state dominguez (i needed a language course for grad school, and i wasn't about to pay for a class at any other of the claremont colleges), some high school creative writing papers kept solely for amusement value at the extravagance of praise, and some aphio stuff i should probably toss (including my pledge notebook).

almost got rid of a pile of 2003 better homes & gardens, but i was weak and they looked so pretty.

in the end, i managed to clear up two and a half shelves. it's so nice to be able to put some of paul's toys out of sight. with luck, he'll forget about them and i'll be able to sneak them out the door...

January 4, 2007

pizzeria

the other day i fulfilled my goal of making a pizza for paul.

i had a brand new box of wheat-free pizza crust mix, so i used that. don't know what happened, but after adding the liquid, the dough turned out far wetter than it should have been. it wasn't a familiar brand, so it felt a little strange to my hands. they recommended adding their own branded rice flour to bulk it up if the dough was sticky, but i just used some all-purpose wheat-free flour that i had on hand. turned out all right, but i wasn't very happy with it.

cooked up some tomato sauce, grated some casein-free cheese, added some mushrooms and tossed the whole thing in the oven for maybe 20 minutes. moved it up to the broiler so the cheese would melt. when it was done, it actually looked and smelled pretty nice. tasted all right, too. BUT... paul would not eat it. he ran away. i was ready to cry. cam and i ended up eating half and putting the rest in the fridge.

i used the remaining dough to make soft breadsticks, which he did eat (sliced in half lengthwise with jelly), so the work wasn't a complete waste, but... it was pretty heartbreaking to have my efforts rejected like that.

December 22, 2006

reciprocity

i tried really hard to figure out what to get my assistant's wife and eventually gave up -- now i feel bad because she's been shopping for paul AND cam. good lord, such generosity.

December 20, 2006

the horror

a while ago i resuscitated my old handspring visor with the intent of being a more organized human being. cam downloaded the newest software and i was on my way.

it was going pretty well, even though my purse looked pretty stuffed with a big wallet, a blackberry, a cell phone, a card case and my visor. oh well, all the more reason to buy a bigger purse. i had all kinds of info stored in the visor, not the least of which was my very neat and tidy christmas gift list.

i let far too long go between hotsync sessions. in fact, i only did it once. the second time i tried it, my computer acted like i had never done it before, so i filed that away in my head and planned to have cam look into it before because i clearly must have messed something up the first time.

the other day i reached into my bag and pulled out my visor. it wouldn't turn on. i don't remember how i got it to turn on, but it finally did -- and all my info was gone, gone, gone. i was practically in tears.

but i managed to get by without it until last night when i realized i had several tiny boxes of candy and no idea who my intended recipients might be. almost in tears yet again. i had been thinking that i was just going to change the batteries and hotsync every night, but i just decided that i no longer trust the visor. it's silly to take out my frustrations on a tiny electronic thing, but i never claimed to be wholly rational.

fatty

yesterday a secretary friend i see about once or twice a year visited me in my office. she came bearing gifts and a quizzical expression.

her: have you gained weight?
me: [stunned silence]
her: [nervous chuckle] you look bigger than the last time i saw you!
me: oh yeah, sure, i'm always gaining weight [nonchalant hand gesture].

i could have cried. my coworkers were disappointed that i didn't smack her for her rudeness.

December 17, 2006

feh on all of this

am working on christmas cards, reading a dick francis novel, drinking cold tea, listening to cam snore -- and am feeling absolutely wretched. maybe it's the cheese overindulgence, maybe it's the tedium of christmas cards, maybe it's the onset of pms. whatever it is, it sucks.

December 14, 2006

another grace

last night i was rereading l.m. montgomery's a tangled web when i came across a passage that positively struck me in the face.

and grace penhallow cried, which was so unusual that her husband whispered testily, "what are you crying for? you always hated her."

"that's why i'm crying," said grace drearily. she could not explain how futile the old hate seemed to her now, and its futility made her feel sad and temporarily bereft of all things.

at my brother's wake, my aunt said the same thing to me (more or less) and i was so shocked i could not speak. i was 18. my brother had been 21. it wasn't like we were middle-aged and had ceased talking for the last twenty years. i know what kind of family she grew up in so it was absolute BULLSHIT that she couldn't comprehend sibling rivalry and sibling discontent. but, as always, we just sort of shrug off her barbed comments and sigh as if to say, "well, that's just her."

truth be told, though, i carried for years the unsettled feeling that maybe i did hate him and that maybe my behavior did warrant such a comment at a wake. looking at the above lines, i felt like i knew what that felt like -- the futility of an old hate. when it's over, it's over and what do you have left? so many times since he died i looked back and i did not know what claim to a relationship i ever had with him. the last thing i said to him was, "can i use your computer?" he said yes and went to his room. never saw him alive again. did i ever say i loved him? i don't remember. ask anyone, we just didn't travel in the same circles. apathy or argument. i have let that overshadow any good memories we may have had together.

so -- was i crying because i cry at funerals (although i couldn't know that back then), was i crying because i was shaken by the ugly presence of death or was i crying because i suddenly saw the emptiness and wrongness in the way i treated my own flesh and blood for the last 15 years?

am i grace penhallow? maybe i am.

December 13, 2006

narrow perch

this morning paul asked cam if he would carry him.

paul: i keep slipping off mommy's shoulder.

cam blamed my winter coat and scarf, but i know the truth: i'm just not built for carrying a big toddler. how much longer before paul won't want me to hold him at all?

December 8, 2006

seeing a ghost

i swear i saw my brother at the auto show on wednesday.

well, okay, maybe not my brother, but somebody who looked an awful lot like him the way i remembered him. god help me if i didn't tear up to the point of almost not being able to watch him walk away.

December 6, 2006

a sad ending

i have been following the story of james kim and his family with great interest and eventually with great sorrow. my condolences to their families and friends -- and especially to kati kim and her daughters -- on their loss.

November 29, 2006

page

we are very sad that greg is leaving the wiggles. a friend is lamenting the fact that her daughter will never see the original yellow wiggle in concert.

her: [semi-accusingly] at least your son got to actually see him.

sigh.

November 28, 2006

underwhelming

it's stupid, but even though we managed to put in a lawn, i still feel underaccomplished for the weekend because the backyard wasn't my project. terrible, huh?

there were all kinds of things that i wanted to do that i didn't do -- because paul wanted attention, because my jigsaw puzzle kept distracting me (a most embarrassing reason), because i was doing laundry, etc. etc. etc.

i guess i can try to get to some of this stuff this weekend, but it's doubtful because at least part of what i wanted to accomplish rests on cam's shoulders and i don't really want to bring him down yet from his post-project high. oh well.

November 21, 2006

deep pockets

just wrote the check for our property taxes. ouch. combined with christmas shopping, random upkeep, etc. etc. etc. -- i need a second job.

November 15, 2006

thursday

working from home tomorrow afternoon because we have a funeral to attend in the morning. there have been far too many funerals lately.

October 31, 2006

haunted by the past

my very first assistant came to visit me a few minutes ago. she's an attorney now. egads, i feel like a wretched underachieving old woman right now.

September 29, 2006

farewells

funerals for babies are just so... heartbreaking.

September 24, 2006

the anti-weekend

this has been a hellish weekend. absolutely hellish. i have no more enthusiasm for the weekend -- i want to go back to work, sort of. friday was miserably busy, but at least it was stuff that i could control (more or less... i did feel like crying a few times). my assistant was out because he had to take his wife to the hospital -- i certainly couldn't begrudge him that!

on saturday my father's sister and her husband came to visit my mom. i have not been looking forward to this weekend. i say this openly (as openly as one can on a blog like this). our relationship -- at least from my perspective -- has not been pleasant. she has ALWAYS rubbed me the wrong way. when they showed up, paul was on the verge of napping. my mother made sheepish sorry faces at cam as she ushered them in. they brought with them a big noisy plastic firetruck. the noise didn't stop all weekend. they were loud. they were shrieky. i was cringing.

on saturday night, my uncle got word of the death of a family friend and had to schedule a flight up north. his wife was less than pleased. ime, got word of a tragedy in my assistant's family. my aunt wouldn't stop griping about my uncle. i just wanted to crawl under my bed or hide in the closet.

sunday morning, my mom and my aunt drove my uncle to the airport. sunday afternoon, my mom, cam and i went to a funeral. (more on that later.) sunday night, my mom and aunt showed up with my uncle's sister. they promptly made me feel guilty for paul not being home (cam had just left to pick him up from his parents' house). luckily, they showed up not long afterwards, so my uncle's sister was able to see paul before she left. then my mom and my aunt went to the airport to pick up my uncle.

i ought to go to bed, but i'm so wound up. so so so wound up.

September 17, 2006

walking wounded

i managed to tweak my back yesterday while working in the backyard. don't know if it was from the digging of trenches for the sprinkler system or the moving of broken concrete/pebble slabs from disarray to a grace-defined standard of tidiness. my guess it would be the latter. cam's back hurts again, too -- mere days after he cheerfully declared that it was so amazing, this life without pain. we're quite a pair.

September 10, 2006

of flowers and worms

we went to the cemetery this morning because my brother's birthday was on thursday and my dad's death anniversary was today.

it was a little startling to realize we hadn't been there in ages. in fact, we had been away for so long that the grass had grown in over the in-ground vases. while cam and my mom valiantly dug around for them, paul and i went for a walk to look for what he called "secret drains" (i guess you could say that those vases -- when not in use, they fit upside down into tubes in the ground -- look kind of like drains, but the idea is rather gruesome to contemplate).

when we returned, they were were still hard at work unearthing those vases. locating them was only half the battle. the tubes had filled with mud (and worms!) that served to lock those damned vases in place. cam bent a hammer trying to pull one out. they ended up only digging up three of the four (my brother had two on his grave at his grandmother's request) because it was just too much work. at least each of the graves would have flowers. nobody would be left out.

we put the flowers together in a hurry. it was already so hot ("i was hoping the sun wouldn't come out," said my mom) and paul was bored (bored enough to want to walk into the street). then we went to breakfast at a hof's hut in cerritos. paul flirted madly with the waitress. i rolled my eyes.

it's interesting to see what distance does... a day formerly wrought with such sorrow eventually becomes just slightly greater than commonplace. in the earlyearly hours of september 10, 1998, i had a father who breathed. snap your fingers and i didn't. crossing the chilly parking lot to the garish warmth of a local hospital it took me years afterwards to look at squarely -- seeing a shell of a man with tubes poking through here and there -- being asked if we wanted those tubes removed -- saying no -- changing our minds -- having our request refused because the proper authorities! needed to see them because he hadn't been in the hospital 24 hours before dying.

how is it that something so heartwrenching is now "celebrated" with pancakes and hasty flower arranging? i miss my dad.

September 1, 2006

perils of age

bought my first pair of mom-ish jeans. i'm rather sad about it, but man, are they ever comfortable.

to be honest, i think what disturbs me most is the size. i'm destined to be chunky forever.

August 28, 2006

bleach

i totally wanted to love the oxiclean detergent ball-thing. i saw it on tv and was intrigued, so when cam came across a display at target, i just went for it. been using oxiclean for years, so wasn't concerned that it would thrash my stuff.

i used it and it was cool. it was a little strange having a scented laundry again, but it wasn't obnoxious. the rubber ball was pleasing. so what was the problem? it had no staying power. it was supposed to be good for at least 25 loads, but after a paltry weekend's use (maybe 6 loads), i already needed a refill. don't think i'll be buying one unless i see them on clearance. alas. i know that my little danby's wash times are quite long, but it's not like the ball is fully submerged for over an hour at a time. a pity. it was an interesting idea.

of course, i think if i used the detergent ball all the time, paul would think something was missing from the wash.

paul: vinegar?
paul: did you put in the vinegar yet?

we take our laundry very seriously in this house.

August 20, 2006

little red house

i hate it when an idea is so abruptly dashed by practical concerns.

on saturday night in ikea's as-is section i saw it and laughed so loud an entire family looked at me in alarm. a little red playhouse store display, the kind scattered around carson ikea with various child-friendly activities tucked within. it was less than $40. i nearly wept with delight. what an opportunity!

the next morning we returned with cam's parents' creaky old van. because we didn't bother to check the night before, we were stunned to discover that the thing was heavy. really heavy. there's no way we'd be able to get it up the stairs. in fact, i doubt we could even get it to the van. i blinked back disappointed tears.

although it wasn't ideal playhouse material (where would i have put it?), it was just so... iconically carson ikea -- paul's favorite store in the world -- that if i only had been a little bit bigger, i would have strapped it to my back and hauled it home on foot.

August 18, 2006

let them eat cake

my department is very noisy sometimes. today they all came back from lunch together, laughing loud enough to wake the dead. it's a small department, and we've seen so many people come and go -- i think this may be one of the few combinations in place with a mimimum of outsiders. i'm an outsider, sure, but i'm a supervisor -- i expect it. just a price one has to pay for the title, the responsibility and the gobs of cash i'm sure the others aren't making.

riiiight.

it would be nice to be included every once in a while, but it's no big deal. i was a little bummed, however, on wednesday when my boss brought in a carrot cake for the departments to share. death in iced and sliced form. i hid in my office until my eyes returned to normal, maybe two hours. there was also a chocolate cake that looked innocuous enough, but only one knife to cut both. the first person to use the knife on the carrot cake apologized after the fact -- "sorry i forgot, just wasn't on my radar" -- and i bear her no grudge, but it did sadden me that my boss didn't remember, either.

August 6, 2006

owie

skinned my knee on saturday morning -- i was trying to get out of bed quickly because a boy was crying. instead i ended up crying, too, bawling like somebody died. and dammit, now i can't wear knee-length skirts until it heals. very inconvenient.

August 2, 2006

cringing

i just realized a few minutes ago that my site has been... um, on the fritz because i apparently have no eye for detail. funny how a thing like a single omission of a slash can do that. apologies.

July 19, 2006

threesome

it's rough covering for two people while still doing my own job. thank goodness my assistant was only out for a day. i'd go mad.

July 8, 2006

accursed

i said something to my friend susan last week that has been sort of haunting me for a few days now -- something about my need to be productive. if i don't get a lot accomplished, i don't consider my weekends to be successful.

it's not that i didn't know this to be true, but there's something about vocalizing a fact like that to make a girl feel like one big fucking control freak.

i get moody when i don't do everything -- or at least a great part of what -- i meant to do. (at least once a month i can blame pms.) i don't mean to be a jerk. it just happens. often i can suppress the outward signs, or, as i told susan, i can break my desired goals into smaller components so i can pretend to myself that i've done more than i've actually done.

really, i wish i weren't so driven about something as ridiculous as whether or not i finished organizing paul's collection of trains. it's kind of embarrassing how worked up i can get. you know, it's actually more than kind of embarrassing, it IS embarrassing.

and it's positively painful how a simple monday morning query like, "hey, how was your weekend?" can put me in the dumps.

July 1, 2006

dry spell

i hate it when i have time to write and the words don't come. i've been thinking and thinking about stuff i've been wanting to put down here and... i don't know where it went. feh!

ambivalence

it's a long weekend and i am already beat.

friday kicked my ass. work started out really slow, but then the afternoon just exploded. it wasn't like that for everybody else, though, aside from my assistant. in fact, we had two people out and two left early. poor damon and i were stalwart workhorses... until 4:30 when he left. from 4:30 to 5, i just cleaned up. my boss came to my office to say goodbye (he left for china last night. three weeks.) and was very amused to discover that we were the only ones left.

i've been looking forward to this long weekend, but now that it's here i don't feel as happy as i thought i would. maybe it's the lack of sleep, maybe it's paul's heat rash (my poor bumpy baby), maybe it's the prospect of working outdoors in the blistering sun. i'm hoping my spirits pick up soon. (maybe with the help of coffee?) this is not the best way to start off this endeavor.

June 19, 2006

agony

between the sunburn and the aching muscles, i think i am ready to die. good god, i hurt.

June 16, 2006

decaf

last night the coffeemaker broke, so i am coffee-free thus far today. my head aches and the day is dragging, dragging, dragged. i feel so pathetic.

June 14, 2006

stretched thin

i think it's a combination of pms, work stress, home-improvement stress and family stress -- i've been a basket case for over a week now. i am sad, freaked out, angry. i get tied up over little things much more easily than usual.

just yesterday i was trying to tell cam a story in the car on the way home. he interrupted, innocently guessing at the reason why i was telling him the story. for some reason, i just got really upset. i told him not to talk to me because i was so angry i was about to cry. my insides were tangled.

cam is on edge, too. we just got into a not-quite-argument that we managed to sigh off.

paul has been quite good -- he has slept without calls for diaper changes and milk for the last two and a half nights. but he has also been his share of trouble, too. no parent of a toddler ever lives a completely stress-free life.

we need a vacation.

June 13, 2006

aches and pains

yesterday i went home early with a migraine. to give you an idea of how bad it was -- i didn't check my email between the hours of 1:45 pm and 6:50 am. unreal. i had cam set up (and take down) my out-of-office message. i never even recorded a vm version.

i awoke from a nap to the sounds of struggle. i went to paul's room to discover that he had a splinter in his finger and was fighting to keep cam from touching it. between the two of us, we were able to remove the splinter before he even realized it was gone. the fuss stopped instantly. (this brought to mind paul's tantrum the day before when cam wanted to bandage his knee. once it was over, paul admitted to cam that it was now, in fact, better. "thank you, daddy," he said, "for cleaning my leg.")

cam then brought paul over to his parents so we could have a peaceful meal.

when cam returned with paul, he brought with him the bad news that paul had an allergic reaction to some cow's milk that he had accidentally drank -- apparently it was in a cup that looked like his. he drank it, he got scared, he threw up. cam's dad drove them home. my poor boy was drooly and sad and swollen. he ate ice and clung to me until he felt a little better. the visible effects of the reaction had faded by the time he went to bed, but he was so worn out that he slept without incident all night long.

my head is better today, and i haven't heard anything from my mom, so paul is most likely symptom-free. what a yucky yesterday we had. glad that day is over.

June 4, 2006

tearful

this morning i felt worn out, even though i had gone to sleep fairly early last night. (the heat is kicking my ass. exhausting. i haven't stayed up past 11 all weekend.) part of the reason for my malaise was that paul had slept poorly yet rejected me at every turn. "no, go 'way! daddy! me want daddy!" it's stressful. even though i should be glad he was demanding cam's attention instead of mine -- so that i could sleep -- i still have this idea that i'm responsible for his nighttime care. i guess it's tied to our breastfeeding days.

when i got up this morning, paul was rolling around and whimpering. i picked him up and he smacked me in the head. "go 'way! go 'way! no! daddy!" so i put him down and went to the bathroom. when i came back, he decided he wanted to go with me. it was a very difficult hour. he didn't want to do anything i wanted to do -- he didn't even really want to do much other than be carried around and complain. twice i felt so awful i broke down.

me: i feel terrible. i want to cry.
paul: no!
me: [crying]
paul: sorry! sorry! sorry!
me: [crying]
paul: sorry! [rubbing my face vigorously] wiping stuff off your face.
me: okay, thank you.

it's only about 8. i hope the rest of the day isn't going to be like this.

May 22, 2006

droopy

even though i slept long and decently well, i still feel like hell. i hope i'm not coming down with something.

May 16, 2006

branch

i don't think i'm a very good daughter-in-law. i try, but perhaps i'm too meek to really fit very well.

raccoon

why am i so sleepy? my coworker has a three-month-old baby girl and i think i look more haggard than she does.

May 6, 2006

unsurprising but still unpleasant

cr-v troubles again. oh joy.

May 3, 2006

ow

my headaches are sometimes worrisome. i think i would have spent this entire past weekend sleeping if i could have.

April 30, 2006

retrospective

it's been a very long and very short couple of days. i can't believe that in a few hours day four of my mini-vacation will be over. one left. i better make the most of it.

April 22, 2006

not mother-of-the-year material

having such easy access to childcare (hello, grandparents!) really does make me feel like a terrible parent sometimes. it's not like we drop paul and run all the time, but having someone else watch him on weekends (even for just an hour or two) sometimes gives me guilt like you wouldn't believe. if i were a stay-at-home parent, sure, no prob, but working fulltime AND not spending every waking weekend minute with him... sometimes i think of myself as akin to unfit.

April 13, 2006

no animals were harmed in the making of this entry

i am trying not to be bummed that the test flashed "not pregnant" before i was even done washing my hands. i think i prefer the old(er) fashioned tests that just had you stare at lines. then there was ambiguity, possibility. then there was hope and the desire to take more than one test. none of this newfangled in-your-faceness.

April 9, 2006

stockpiling paper products

whenever i go into paul's closet, it makes me a little sad. not because i see all of his tiny outgrown clothes (because i don't -- most of them aren't stored there), but because i see how we have less than two-and-a-half boxes left of costco's old kirkland wipes. once they're gone, i don't know what i'll do.

sometime last year i got wind of the fact that costco was changing the supplier for their store-brand baby wipes. because we absolutely loved their wipes and had been using them since paul was born, this was devastating news. my mom started buying an extra box every single time she stopped by there, which was at least twice a month. soon we had a nice little stash built up of those weird pastelly rainbow boxes. when we showed up at costco one day and saw unfamilar boxes, we scoffed in the face of disasters foretold and confidently walked past them without a second look.

as the stash dwindles, i know i should start thinking about a new brand. i hate huggies wipes, even though we love their diapers. i liked pampers wipes for washing my face (i used to buy those from the grocery store for years prior to having a child because i just liked the convenience of them), but thought they might be too rough for their actual intended use. yes, i have a rough tough weatherbeaten old face. i liked the lansinoh wipes included as samples in the big boxes of breast pads, but because i have never bought a full-size box i don't know if they made any changes between beta and production. those might be worth a shot, but the idea of buying wipes in such small quantities makes me very nervous. i've read that the new costco wipes aren't as bad as they could be (considering huggies makes them), but buying them in such large quantities without getting to try them first also makes me very nervous.

i've got some time left before these run out, but i guess i should start shopping around. even though paul is doing pretty well with the potty-training and i almost need more clorox wipes than baby wipes, i have a feeling our need for these is far from over.

April 6, 2006

office services

i need to find a wallpaper for my office. momentum is slipping away.

March 29, 2006

3/29

sleep well.

March 16, 2006

return

i feel like crap. the nausea, oh, the nausea.

a day spent at home spent "resting" off a migraine (courtesy of cam, who put his tiny foot down and in effect said without saying, "dammit, woman, you are not going to work today") had precious little "rest" about it, what with an unusually heavy day of work combined with my mom's constant refrain, "no, paul, mommy is working/sleeping/sick."

i'm better off at work, frankly. if only i had better control over the fluorescents in my office...

March 14, 2006

behind my right eye

i hate migraines, especially when they keep me from enjoying my evenings with my family. this one seems like it's going to last through the morning, too. excuse me while i crawl under my desk. maybe i should have stayed home today.

March 8, 2006

too good to be true

i'm not moving to a new office on friday. with luck, it will be next friday. sounds like someone is dragging their feet on this. i should know by now that optimism spent on work is optimism wasted.

March 6, 2006

i don't like mondays

the system was down all morning. forgot about a project (due tomorrow afternoon) i could have done during that time. got discouraged by a big stack of paperwork. wrote a note of rec for a friend to win an award. qc'd a weekly report. suffered a bad headache. got soaked in an unexpected rainstorm.

February 18, 2006

meh

yuck. woke up half an hour ago with a stomachache. i hate that.

February 4, 2006

the neverending story

we are all still sick, goddammit.

February 1, 2006

bewildered

yesterday i got confirmation that the letter i had posted here a few days ago had made it to its destination. she thanked me for my timing. the letter had provided comforting reading her first night alone with her son since her husband had walked out on them.

the fucking hell?!

i was flabbergasted. tears came to my eyes as i read her email -- which was so very simple and so very heartbroken. her son (a few months younger than mine) was already asking if he was gone.

i've never met him. i've never seen her son in person. actually, i've only seen my friend in person twice. we used to work for the same firm, but in different offices. we've only spoken by phone a handful of times. it's mostly been email and snail mail for us. but i still count her among my dearest friends. not necessarily one of my closest, but one of my dearest. she's a lovely person who has fallen upon horrible luck more times than i can count. i don't know the daily details of her life or even much of the personal ones, but i can still cry for her. even cam was saddened by the news.

from what i could tell, they had a great life together. they weathered ill health, infertility problems and job issues, housing changes and family weirdness. they sent out photo christmas cards even before their son was born -- featuring them and their dogs. they were a beautiful couple.

what happened? she doesn't know. as far as she knew, everything was fine. in her perception, she wrote, this came out of nowhere.

i told my mother about it. she reminded me that something similar had happened to a family friend. "i didn't even know my marriage was in trouble," the friend had lamented, until the day her husband asked for a divorce so he could marry someone else.

is that what happened here? i guess my friend will tell me in her own time. our friendship has always been about quiet empathy and support, not about the spilling of gory details (don't get me wrong, there's definitely a time and place for gory details). her close friends will hear the details and fury as she works through the abandonment. i will hear the sadness as she figures out what to do next.

until she and her husband either reconcile or finalize their split, i wish her peace and clarity to make the right decisions for her and her son.

January 25, 2006

morose

i want to go home.

a summer associate called my dept, asking for a list of the matters he worked on while he was here. i couldn't figure out his name in the voicemail, so i did some minor snooping and figured it out without too much trouble. so far so good. (this has happened to me before -- the oddest case was when someone left a voicemail with a strange asian name there was no way i could guesstimate. i ended up googling the phone number he left, which turned out to be another law firm. i located their site, checked their directory for vaguely familiar names... and there he was!) anyway, just about all the work he did was internal, so my report shows nothing. he called again and i had to stall him while i gathered info from various sources (so i could at least give him something) and am now waiting for a higher-up to determine what to tell him. i have never come across this situation before and i feel bad because the former summer wants an answer now so he can submit his info to another firm. sure, it's not my fault, but still...

someone from hr contacted someone in my dept to see if we could track down a name. apparently someone by that name had told a friend to contact his attorney here in case of an emergency, but the friend didn't have any additional info other than a last name which didn't fit anyone who could have helped. so we had to figure out if this person was a client and if so, who worked on his matters? the emergency is that the person is in the icu in another state and is not expected to live! dear god. so i checked all avenues available to me and came up short. it depresses the hell out of me that some guy is dying in a hospital somewhere, waiting for his attorney to call him and we can't even find out who that might be. the guy in my dept who got the request said to me that "thought it might be fun to solve that one." fun? sure, i like a challenge as much as anyone else, but the man. is. dying.

i hate work today. there are too many random (unhappy) things keeping me from my regular stuff. i just want the day to be over, and these strange requests are making time move too slowly.

January 21, 2006

hex

today i said my unofficial goodbyes to the cr-v.

with one accident still as yet unresolved with insurance, we got hit AGAIN today. rearended on pch near crenshaw. we were stopped with traffic and all seemed well. suddenly there was a big crushing sound and i think i may have shrieked. i don't know. poor paul covered his eyes with one arm and his lips quivered.

cam moved the car over to the right lane and eventually pulled into a driveway of a mobile home park. a white banged-up volvo followed. i moved paul's arm away from his eyes -- sad wet scared eyes -- and he whispered, "crash." after we parked, i took him out of his carseat and he rested his little head on my shoulder.

the other driver had been on his phone and just didn't stop in time. he was sincerely apologetic (as he should have been) and felt really awful paul was so scared.

he and cam exchanged info and we parted ways. cam and i were supposed to go to a fancy joint-birthday dinner at depot, but we didn't feel up to it. instead, we're getting takeout sandwiches and ice cream and spending the evening at home. paul is with cam's parents.

i am now convinced that the car is cursed and i can't wait to get rid of it. cam agrees that the car must go. what we'll replace it with is still up in the air. we've only owned the car since september 2003 and we've already been in four accidents (three times we've been hit -- once head-on, once from the side and now once from the rear -- and once cam rearended someone (but that time resulted in no damage to either car and no insurance claims)). it has to go. it was a fine car, but i was never as attached to it as i was to my civic (which we traded in for the cr-v).

January 15, 2006

oh well

guess that bad feeling was warranted. alas.

January 6, 2006

consumer lament

why are most laptop bags so ugly?

December 27, 2005

aged

lately i've been feeling pretty old.

every once in a while my 24-year-old assistant will drag himself up to my office, looking bleary-eyed and worn because of a late night or a long weekend. me, i look like that every single day. as the full-time working mom of a toddler, it's expected that i look like that. depressing.

when i started working at my current job, i was two months past my 23rd birthday and green, green, green. coworkers called me an ageist because i believed 30 was old and teased me for being young and thinking young. but then they started hiring people my age and younger -- the summer supplementals were practically kids. at 25, i got my first assistant, a nice girl a few years younger than me. just out of school and living with three other girls, she was bright and bubbly and clearly destined for better. we'd chat and i'd feel old, so married, so out of touch, so not going to clubs and movies and doing all sorts of fun la stuff for people in their early twenties.

now i'm almost 31 and my assistant is 24. my assistants will perpetually be 23-24 because the job is marketed to recent college grads who don't yet know what they want to do. i once had an assistant my age, but of course she ditched me for a better-paying job in the same dept. i don't bear her any malice, though, because i would have done the same thing.

it's really hard to believe that i was once the youngest person in my dept. back then i felt like i was only going to stay a year and then be on my new-and-improved way with a shiny new listing on my shiny updated resume. but the years kept on passin' and eventually i found myself to be older than not only the summer supplementals, but the summer associates and the fall ones as well. soon i'll be the same age as the most junior partners. that's a sobering thought. our personnel directory lists degrees for managers/supervisors, paralegals and attorneys. occasionally i'll be looking through it for someone and i'll be struck by recent graduation dates. mine are mid-late 90s and i already see the glint of patina.

sometimes i feel like life is passing me by. i say i'm a lifer here and i fear that this will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. it's not a bad place to be and i have a connection here, but... (almost eight years here. that seems to be pretty rare these days.) a friend recently confided that after a breakup with a longtime boyfriend, she was thinking of quitting and starting over somewhere else. a big change to distract from another big change. she wanted to take classes, improve her standing in her own eyes. i said i too wanted change and wanted to better myself, but privately wondered if this was true or if i was just trying to show empathy. truthfully, it's sometimes painful to think about getting old here in this one spot. it's painful to see the firm hiring younger and younger and to feel like one possesses a most outdated point of view. youth brings change! youth brings rebellion and innovation! i'm hardly old, but yet i sit here, plugging away at the same damn thing i've been doing since i was 24.

i suspect these are just pre-new year doldrums and they'll pass soon enough. at the very least, i am thankful that my job isn't necessarily just a job for young people. at dinner the other night cam told me that in a few years (i won't say how many here in case his boss is reading this) he thinks he'll be unable to program -- the mind for it just won't be there. that's scary. what do old programmers do? all of you developer-types out there, which of you actually want a predestined mid-life career change? youth be damned.

December 23, 2005

bastards

it's the day before a three-day weekend. one of those days happens to be christmas. so tell me, why do i have so much work to do?

December 22, 2005

sadness

poor dungy family.

December 12, 2005

ho-hum

i am afflicted with the blahs. i think it has something to do with the fact that i was sort of sick this weekend. whatever the reason, it sucks.

December 8, 2005

exhaustion

i am back in the office. it is less than 12 hours since i left the office yesterday. i am so tired. i can't believe i used to willingly work these hours and more. but then again, back in those days i never had a child to deal with after work.

December 3, 2005

moody

i'm just so angry-crying today. stupid hormones.

December 1, 2005

unreasonably emotional

the beginning of the month means the beginning of the mood.

my cycle has never been regular, especially not after paul was born. however, the last few months have been fairly standard. once i change the page on the calendar, the hackles rise faster, the tears fall easier and then after a week of grumpiness and discomfort, it's all over for the rest of the month. tonight i felt the whiny set in not long after we arrived home. i felt myself getting desperate when paul repeatedly rejected the monkey harness. i felt stressed when cam started sorting mail when we were supposed to go out. when we finally did go out, we just went to office depot to look at postcard paper, and i nearly bawled when paul decided (after rejecting food at home) he was too hungry to go to ross. cam handed me some french fries to blow on for paul, and i whimpered a bit because i got burned.

when we got home, paul wanted to run around and around with his little grocery cart, running into people and walls. he wanted to hide in the closet to crap. he wanted to brush his dad's teeth and not his own. he did not want to sleep. i wanted him to sleep. cam left to take out the trash, get dinner and gas. i tried to get a boy to sleep. he insisted he wanted to sleep in "our bed," so we got into bed. he said he wanted to listen to wiggles. he rolled around for a few minutes, then cried out for his "own bed, own bed," so we moved to the crib mattress on the floor. he got up and ran away. he came back and sat on me. he pointed at pikachu on the little inflatable bed next to his crib mattress.

paul: that one!
me: pikachu.
paul: that one!
me: pikachu.
paul: a-chu, a-chu, a-chu, A-CHU!
me: [contemplating hiding under the sheet]

he asked to go back to our bed, so we went back. he rolled around, stuck his fingers in my nose and asked for milk. he cried and tried to get off the bed. he asked to go back to his bed. by this point, i was about as angry with him as i had ever been. fine, i said, and we went down to his bed. i pretended to be asleep. he tried to pry my gums off my teeth with his sharp little claws. but then he rolled over and started to fall asleep. it got quiet. he wiggled a little. he made tiny sleepy sounds. i stopped being mad. eyes closed, he rolled back towards me and threw his arms around my neck. i breathed in his warm babyness and nearly started to cry. it's the mood, you know? it's the mood.

November 29, 2005

dad's diner

when i was in grad school (and probably before then and a while afterwards), my dad had two special buddies. they called themselves "the breakfast club" because that's what they did -- they met for breakfast. i'm not entirely sure what they ate when they weren't at my house, but i'm sure no other morning feast could compare to the greasy delights my dad laid before them: fried rice, sausage (maybe even hot dogs occasionally?), eggs, coffee. (probably wasn't exactly the most authentic of filipino breakfasts -- even though i've been a vegetarian for 8-9 years now, i still harbor fond memories of longsilog (loniganisa, sinangag, itlog) -- but it was close.) an uncle was sort of an honorary member of the group, but he wasn't around as frequently as the others.

they had known each other forever. their wives were friends with my mom. these two friends had known each other possibly longer than forever. my dad had helped them get settled when they arrived in the states and we have all lived somewhat close (some closer than others) ever since. after my dad died, i have been grateful to the friends and their families for not dropping my mom from their revels. sure, she may not always be interested in going, but it's very kind of them to invite her.

one friend died this past october (i attended his funeral). the final member of the trio died just a week or so ago (i missed his wake because i was sick, and missed his funeral because i couldn't get off work). my mom has said cheesy things about the breakfast club being reunited now... and you know, i don't believe in the afterlife, but i do like to think of those three old men together again, laughing and bonding over eternally cholesterol-free eggs over easy.

November 28, 2005

aftermath

i was sick all sunday. i think it was the result of being wet/cold at the restaurant and then surrounded by sniffly sorts at the theater. slept for most of the day. i was supposed to attend a viewing in the afternoon -- showered, dressed, sitting in the car -- but cam turned the car around and dropped me off at home because he thought i had a fever. at my request, he and paul went to the viewing with my mom. she offered to go alone, but i persisted. when cam brought me upstairs, i burst into tired, sickly tears. then i crawled into bed and passed out.

when they returned a few hours later, i was awake and bored. after playing with paul for a while, cam drugged me with nyquil and i slept until morning. not a very interesting ending to an otherwise interesting weekend.

November 22, 2005

headache

last night we made some going-out plans in the car on the way home. i spoiled them all when i got a migraine. oh well. i was in bed by 6:15 (with some interruptions, of course). i'm feeling okay today, but i decided to wear glasses instead of my contacts. sometimes that helps. helps what? who cares? all i know is that my head is in one piece today.

November 18, 2005

the creamiest

i cried in the car on the way home from work. i cried because i felt so very lame and so very squandered.

it all came about when i discovered that a new attorney (younger than me) had been involved with an organization i myself had been involved with in high school. i thought, "hey, neat." then i read a bit further and learned that other attorneys (at least one younger than me and at least one older) had also been members. the new attorney had described the organization as only taking "the cream of the crop" (an expression i have never liked). i felt like i was reading a press release, it was so perky.

and then i stopped and really thought about it. at one time we were all on the same level. where are we now?

i am not disappointed with my life. in general, i am not unhappy. i have a wonderful husband and child, a beautiful home, a decently paying job. i am close to my mother, even though she occasionally infuriates me. my in-laws are the sweetest, most normal people i know. i have long-lasting friendships. we all have our health. still, every once in a while i feel like i sold myself short.

i didn't want to move back to the south bay without having made it -- in my own quiet way, i wanted to be local girl makes good. well, i didn't make it. or maybe i did and i'm setting unreasonable standards. who can say? usually it doesn't eat at me too much, but when i'm feeling stung like this, when it comes down to it, i feel like i wasted my own potential and i don't entirely know where i went wrong. laziness or fear of failure?

could i have been an attorney? could i have been somebody? i don't know. i'll never know. by the end of the weekend, i'm sure i won't even be bothered anymore, but it's moments like these that remind me that even this wonderfully placid existence i've created for myself sometimes chafes.

cream of the crop

am suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of failure. i hope it doesn't last. i think i will have to try very hard not to let it spoil my weekend.

November 16, 2005

more vehicular blues

so i get a call from cam while he's driving to come pick me up. "guess who called?" he asked.

a couple of weeks back, we visited two honda dealers. one tried a bait-and-switch on us -- hey, we don't have any civic hybrids, but maybe you'd be interested in buying a regular civic instead? -- the other, well, we just visited because cam's dad was with us and cam was all in the car-researching mindset. the second (which happened to be the second one we visited a few weeks prior -- and also very same dealership where i bought my civic many moons ago, and to top things off, the very same dealership that i've been boycotting ever since i bought my civic there many moons ago) place didn't try to snow us, so that was automatically a point in its favor. cam talked to a different guy than he did the last time and this different guy took cam and his dad for a test drive of the regular civic. cam then took out his wallet and cheerfully gave this different guy a $500 deposit to hold a civic hybrid for us.

why all this background? because that different guy is who called. a civic hybrid in the requested color was now available.

we went to the dealership straight from my office. cam drove us around in the civic and was mightily pleased, so we then proceeded to the salesman's office. then the night went wacky. the salesman asked me to type in our information. wtf? gender-stereotyping much? i originally thought he was trying to be funny, but i realized he was serious when he then pushed a chair around to the side and positioned the keyboard right in front of it. my typing skills are meh. much better than when i was in the ninth grade and learned how to type the alphabet without looking by putting on a blindfold and then putting my glasses on over them, but not by much. really. cam would have done better. since the salesman was an old asian guy, i just did as he said, but cam and i did some nudging each other under the table.

cam's knee: can you believe this shit?
grace's knee: we are in a strange, strange place, my friend.

the salesman praised my typing, seemed surprised by my salary was what it was, tried to be open-minded about the fact that i kept my last name. i kept wondering, "is this guy for real?" then he left us alone for a bit while he consulted another department. free to chat, cam and i did. then he came back and said something really weird about us getting along so well. "um, we got married," cam said. the guy laughed. "before you get married, you talk. after you get married, you don't talk!" he declared. huh. sure.

to make an already long story a little shorter, suffice it to say that we didn't get the car. a carfax report showed something mysterious and detrimental enough to drop the cr-v's value by more than half from blue book -- which meant that the car payments would be alarmingly big unless we could suddenly put down the difference in cash on the spot. the salesman tried to persuade us to buy the civic anyway and then take up the issue with insurance after the fact, but cam held firm.

so here we are, back at home. cam spoke to someone from insurance, who pointed out that the mysterious entry on the carfax report had nothing to do with the current accident at hand, but instead one that happened two years prior. argh. cam will be talking to the appropriate adjuster soon, i think. it's all very strange and frustrating. we were so close...

November 10, 2005

fatted calf

i am glum, glum, glum. it might be time to just give in and admit that my legs are too chunky for boots. i am returning the second pair of boots that didn't zip over my calves. i'm a little perplexed. i never thought my calves were a problem spot. thighs and hips, sure. but calves? do i walk too much? do i need to do calf-slimming exercises? argh. why is it so hard to find a simple flat (or wedge) boot? i never thought it would be this difficult. it's boot season, for chrissakes.

i'm liking these boots by merrell. surely with those stretchy panels they'll fit my big ole fat legs, right? but maybe i should just get some shorter boots -- that would solve this issue by just ignoring it. i don't really need knee-high ones, even though that's what i really want. maybe i am dwelling on this entirely too much.

October 31, 2005

end of the line

i got this email on friday from office services at work. so very sad. so matter-of-fact.

The Redline stop between vermont and wilshire to wilshire/western is closed due to a suicide and there may be additional delays at other station stops as a result.

October 28, 2005

sympathy

a partner at my firm suffered a horrible, terrible tragedy just a few days ago. i was talking to his secretary just a few minutes ago -- and she sounded so sad i got teary.

colorblind

a month or so ago, i bought a box of egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, nut-free vanilla frosting mix. i had intended to mix it with blue food coloring to make a blue's clues-esque cake for a boy's birthday party.

the other night i mixed it up and was disturbed to see it was very strongly yellow. (duh. with the amount of dairy-free margarine in it, what else could it be?) i put in a few drips of food coloring and it turned green. in a fit, i put the frosting in the fridge.

last night, i pulled it out again and added a little more blue. paul looked at it with interest. cam insisted it was blue. i insisted it was green and oh my god what am i going to do? paul and cam left the room. i added more and more blue and bewailed the greenness.

cam called out from the other room that i should bring it over to where they were sitting and let paul decide. it's blue, he told me. paul would know that it's blue.

skeptically, i brought it to them.

cam: paul, what color is that?
paul: green!

defeated, i went back to the kitchen and added more blue.

cam: paul, what color?
paul: green!
cam: the light in here is really yellow!
me: feh.

so i went back into the kitchen and dumped more blue in. cam and paul came into the kitchen to see.

cam: paul, what color is that? it's blue, right?
paul: b...bloo.
cam: see?

it's still green, but it was nice of cam to try. i think, though, that this was a clear example of leading the witness.

October 26, 2005

fragility

we just got the sad news yesterday that my cousin's dear little girl (a scant six weeks older than paul) has a broken leg as a result of an accident. our very best get-well wishes to her.

post-vacation blues

back at work after a four-day weekend. bleah. sucks.

October 12, 2005

paterfamilias

sunday i visited my father's grave. monday i attended the funeral of my father's friend. tuesday was my father's birthday. i need to get out of this funk. i'm so blue i want to crawl under my desk and cry.

one of the saddest moments of the funeral service -- i felt -- involved a eulogy given by a granddaughter. tearfully she admitted that she didn't really "know" her grandfather. she didn't know his favorite color, didn't know his favorite food. she never said that she loved him until he was in the hospital and couldn't respond. (later my mother referred to her as "that girl who said she didn't know her grandfather" -- she remarked rather scathingly, " i don't know why she didn't know him. she was always [at his house].")

what does it mean to know someone? the girl said she didn't know his favorite color. it makes you think, doesn't it? how else do you demonstrate your knowledge of a person other than knowing likes and dislikes? it does make sense to revert to the trivial, especially when you're trying to write out what you know to be true. yes, i know he likes green. no, he didn't like purple very much. if you can't recite such things from memory, perhaps you didn't know that person as well as you thought you did. but who ever said that to you had to know the trivial in order to get to the essential?

did i know my dad's favorite colors? no. did i know his favorite food? no. what was his favorite tv show? i don't know. does any of this matter? i don't think so. i could be wrong, but i don't think so.

when did it not become enough to have a feeling that person was -- in general -- a good person? yes, my father was flawed, but i think he was a good person in his own way. my overall impression of him was that he was not really a nice man, but to say so this plainly isn't really fair. (i am not really a nice person myself, so you might think that for me to say my dad wasn't so nice really begs the response, "um, pot? meet kettle.") but you know, to be honest, it almost doesn't matter that he wasn't that nice. he was dad.

he was a man capable of sewing hems on his own jeans, always with his reading glasses perched at the end of his nose. he was a man who locked people out of his house when he was mad at them. he was a man who quit smoking at the insistence of his daughter. he was a man who got upset reading about crimes against children. he was a man who would rather go to the gym than hang out with his family. he was a man who ended breakfasts out by eating jelly straight out of a single-serving tub. he was a man who brought a parakeet with him everywhere he went. he was a man who made his children's lunches for school every day.

my relationship with my father was complicated. i was a total daddy's girl when i was little, but i lost that when i really opened my eyes to his actions. the adoration turned to scorn, which then in time turned to indifference. mom's word was law, anyway, so what did it matter what he thought? i won't pretend that my father played a large role in my teen life other than to disapprove of what he thought i was doing all the time -- perhaps he thought we were too similar? when he attended my high school graduation, he was apparently in awe because he didn't realize i had been involved in so many activities. i cried because he knew nothing about me. when i went off to college, i determined that he was as good a father as he knew how to be and decided not to be so hard on him. after all, he didn't leave us, he didn't abuse us, he was a good provider, he insisted on regular church attendance.

then he got sick and everything went sort of out of control. i didn't know what to think because this man in my mother's house was not the man i grew up with. suddenly he was concerned with us in ways he hadn't been before and i didn't know if i could be open-minded enough to not feel like it was too little too late. i was all set to be a kinder, gentler daughter, but only to the father i knew. eventually i got used to him and you know what, i actually liked the guy.

when he died, i cried for the different men he had been -- the man i worshipped when i was little, the man who toasted lettuce when i was in the sixth grade, the man who was amazed at my graduation, the man who gave cam the okay to marry me.

and then i went to this funeral and i learned that by conventional means, maybe i never even knew him. surely that can't be right.

October 10, 2005

sigh

there were some things there that could conceivably be considered snarkworthy, but it was a funeral, for chrissakes.

October 5, 2005

change of scenery

there has been a change of environment at work. this puts me so on edge i can't even explain it. got a nosebleed in the shower just thinking about it. someone needs to do something about this because i can't.

change of scenery

there has been a change of environment at work. this puts me so on edge i can't even explain it. got a nosebleed in the shower just thinking about it. someone needs to do something about this because i can't.

September 27, 2005

feh on me.

i just sent a complaining email to a friend -- it's been a long, long day. he replied:

i've suspected you weren't having a good day since our first emails this morning.

um. does this mean i've been a bitch since this morning? god.

September 21, 2005

uphill

i need to learn how to update the look of this site. it looks nice enough, i suppose, thanks to pret-a-porter templates. it wouldn't be so bad if i didn't feel so stupid.

September 13, 2005

mistaken identity

a few years back, a panamanian man worked here. (note how i protect him by not mentioning exactly where he worked.) we got to be friends. one day he announced to me how he had seen someone who looked so much like me we could be siblings. since i don't look like your typical filipino (at least not like the ones i went to church with as a child), i was really curious to know who he was talking about.

much to my surprise, he mentioned a japanese paralegal. huh? but since i had never seen the paralegal in question, i decided to give my friend the benefit of the doubt. of course, i eventually saw him and we look absolutely nothing alike. the only things we have in common would be hair color, eye color and lack of height. hardly enough basis for a familial resemblance.

i was amused because i chose not to take it as an all-asians-look-alike kind of a thing, but i wondered if he would have been offended if i had done something similar to him -- "hey, i saw a black guy on the street and he looked just like you!" oh well.

anyway, i just thought about this because i happened to be in the elevator this morning at the same time as that paralegal. i tell you, it was just like looking into a mirror. uh-huh.

mary poppins

every morning, a friend brings me a snack. sometimes many different snacks. she is very nice.

this morning she gave me a carton of yogurt and a yummy-looking chocolaty swirly cake. i sniffed the cake for the presence of nuts. not detecting any, i took a few bites and found that it tasted as good as it looked. unfortunately, i shouldn't have trusted my nose because i've had some sinus issues lately.

as soon as i put the next bite in my mouth, i knew. almonds, i think. i spit everything out and downed a pack of sugar (old wives' cure?). duh. not smart, considering all the almond residue still in my mouth. i practically ran to the bathroom where i puked my guts out. i rinsed and rinsed and rinsed out my mouth with the hottest water i could stand. then i went back to my office to eat about a quarter cup of sugar. blech.

as disgusting as it sounds, for some reason that i have never, never understood, sugar makes me feel better after an allergic reaction. when i was eight, i visited the philippines with my dad. one of my cousins had a birthday party and the family insisted i eat the cake. they said the cake had no nuts, but of course it did. when i got sick, my father's mother forced me to eat several spoonfuls of sugar. i was grumpy, but i was at least functional. since then i've always tried to have sugar easily accessible, just in case. used to keep a packet in my purse, but when it broke and spilled sugar all over the place, i gave up that practice.

i feel somewhat okay. obviously, i feel a little shaky. i'd love to go home, but cam has a deadline and i'd hate to get in the way of it.

September 12, 2005

powerless

man, power outages particularly suck when you're in an interior office.

September 10, 2005

the guilt

i hate buying new clothes, especially when those clothes are rather expensive. today i bought this cardigan and i feel like i ought to return it, but i've been hunting for a black cardigan for months now and this is the nicest one i've found. i do have a small separate subaccount just for my splurges (so it's not like i took food out of my boy's mouth for this) and i know i'll get lots of use out of it, but...

i love eileen fisher, but i hardly own any of her stuff. (to be completely honest, it's at least partially because i don't feel old enough to wear bridge sportswear!) i feel like i don't deserve to wear nice stuff, though, because... well, just because. i also harbor feelings of inadequacy based on all the times i've gone into nicer stores and been snubbed by uppity salesladies. sometimes i feel like i ought to be equally uppity because -- after all -- they're retail and i have an eminently respectable office job, but the combo of innate shyness and low self-esteem sort of makes that situation improbable.

i know i mentioned earlier that i don't buy things that require dry-cleaning, so that also cuts out a lot of the nicer garments. i recently dropped my old standby dry-cleaners after they messed up the first order i've brought them in a long time, so i don't currently have one i trust. i needed wash-and-go clothes after paul was born (milk spillage. baby spit-up. leaky diapers. need i say more?), so i didn't even bother looking at anything i couldn't crumple into a tiny ball and shove into the washing machine. now that he's older i see that i was kind of foolish because i always change my clothes as soon as i get home from work, so it's not bloody likely i was ever going to be in a position to let the boy urp all over a suit or anything like that. i'm not a big fan of those home dry-cleaning kits, but that's because i didn't like how it worked the one and only time i ever used one (early nineties?).

the new cardigan doesn't require dry-cleaning, but it's recommended. maybe for the price of it, i ought to give in and take it somewhere when it gets dirty. can anyone recommend a good dry-cleaner in the south bay?

September 7, 2005

singing the vehicular blues, part 2

cam and i went to the auto shop last night to visit our poor car. i was pretty misty-eyed, especially when cam pointed out that it was our first car together. (we each brought a car to the relationship and we lived with my civic, max, until 2003. we switched over to the cr-v because we needed a bigger car for the baby.)

wah!

ode to a pen

i have a strange relationship with pens at work. i like to use one and only one at a time (um. i don't mean i can simultaneously write with more than one.) and make it my constant companion until it dries up. i am saddened as it approaches the end of its life... and then i am pleased and happy by how dark the new one writes. i often feel the need to comment to cam: "i'm using a new pen!" (i should also note that i must use the same kind of pen each time -- a sanford uni-ball pen, black, micro point.)

the lifespan of my current pen is just about up. (i wrote some kind of weird analogy between blood and ink, but i deleted it because i don't really need to be so obvious about watching too many crime shows.) i've been noticing a faintness, a scratchiness of late -- i've been trying to resist the end, but i think it's finally time to let go.

farewell, sweet pen. you have served me well.

September 6, 2005

singing the vehicular blues

i have been a snacking fiend lately with a mean sweet tooth -- so i just had to agree to cam's suggestion that we go out for dessert on sunday night. the plan was to drop paul off with his grandparents, then head over to marie callender or something like that for pie and coffee. shouldn't take more than an hour or so.

after dinner, i put on a jacket and a bit of lipstick and off we went.

on the drive over there, paul seemed a little grumpy. it was later than we had planned, so we wondered if maybe this whole thing wasn't a good idea. but then he settled down and all was well.

cam got into the left-turn lane in front of a 7-11 (just minutes from cam's parents' house) and waited patiently for the arrow to turn green. while we were just sitting there, cam saw a pickup truck coming right at us. he had drifted into our lane. cam honked and called out, but nothing doing.

crash.

i fear i didn't exactly impress anyone with my coolness. the opposite, probably. i screamed and burst into tears, making paul cry. i looked up and saw the truck -- two guys inside -- looking straight at us. then they backed up a little (to dislodge us, i guess) and then drove away! i cried some more.

a woman and her little boy and dog were running out of the 7-11, a cop in tow. she had seen the accident and had a feeling the guy would run, so she ran inside and grabbed the cop. he came and checked on us -- we were all fine, just a little scared. i noticed later the big toe on my left foot was bleeding, but oh well. we got out of the mangled car and crossed the street to the parking lot of the 7-11. another police car (all flashing lights) showed up shortly thereafter, much to paul's delight.

the lady in the car behind us was yelling at the cop because she wanted to turn left. i was glad to see her go. the guy in the car behind her was a big surprise -- he had gotten the license plate number of the truck. he pulled into the parking lot and talked to the cops.

we stood around for a while, then went into the 7-11 to call cam's dad to pick up paul and myself. we were only there for about half an hour or so before cam called for a ride. (turns out they caught the guys, but i'm not sure what happens next. cam says he might have to appear in court.)

when cam got there, the two of us went out for pie. marie callender was closed and coco's left us waiting too long for a table. we left, empty-handed.

i'd say it was a sucky evening, wouldn't you?

September 1, 2005

is it really september already?

it’s the first day of a new month, but i don’t feel any new-month zing or anything like that. i’m down in the dumps. i’m tired. i’ve put on weight and am really uncomfortable in my skin. (not that i ever am really comfortable, but this is noticeably swinging towards the neg.) my current work project is causing pains in my right wrist and arm. i want to curl up into a ball and sleep.

August 26, 2005

sad.

talked to a friend for a few minutes today. it was sort of weird and stilted. i guess you could chalk it up to us being at work, but i don’t know. it was just weird. like a person overhearing wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell that we were once close.

August 19, 2005

oops

am kind of embarrassed today. i was upset about something at work yesterday, and in the cold cruel light of a fresh day i saw my behavior for what it was – sheer self-pity. oops. cringe.

August 18, 2005

hair woes (again)

there are few things more depressing than the wad of hair in your hand after combing/brushing your hair. i can’t believe i have any left on my head.

August 17, 2005

stuck at work

yawn, yawn, yawn. it’s after 7 pm on a wednesday night and i am still at work. (this sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? what’s 7 pm? you have to remember i get to work at 6:30 am.) not because i have work to do, but because cam works for a company that insists on having their staff meetings at 5 pm, even though cam normally leaves by 3. what’s a good employee to do?

i am so tired and my arms ache. my wrists are so sore. i’m hungry. i’m sleepy. i miss my son.

August 15, 2005

a weird weekend

it was kind of a weird weekend. i feel rather disconnected from it all. it wasn’t that we did anything strange – the opposite, actually – but i sort of felt like i was a bit in a fog.

cam and his dad took paul to an air show on saturday morning, so i got to putter. i did some reading, sewed a quick skirt out of a funny michael miller koi print (leftovers from a custom shopping cart cover). i wanted to work on my paint project, but we didn’t get a chance to go to smart & final to pick up more jars.* did the usual home-type things: laundry, grocery.

i suspect that the reason for the fog is a simple one: too tired. i couldn’t stay awake. i just could not stay awake to save my life. i am normally a total night owl on weekends, but on friday and saturday nights i was asleep with the baby. no idea why. and to make matters worse, cam was the one awake, so i felt all guilty for not spending time with him. cam and i had dinner out on saturday night and i was completely expecting to sit up half the night (for fear of waking up with heartburn: yes, we did eat an entire vat of crispy fried oil), but i zonked out slightly before paul did. eek.

saturday morning probably affected me far more than i thought it did at the time. paul woke up at a quarter to six and commenced the noisemaking. cam, kind soul, took paul to another room and i went back to sleep. about an hour later, they returned. cam looked half-dead. paul had claimed he was sleepy (hence the return) but really wasn’t, so i got up and took paul to the living room, where we watched tv for a bit. finally it was time to wake cam up, so we went back to the bedroom and did so. he left the room, so i thought he went to take a shower. paul decided he wasn’t interested in lying down, so he went to his favorite spot in the house – the bedroom closet (it’s a tiny walk-in deal). i just sat there and called out, “where’s paul?” a few times (our usual game), but then i got the brilliant (sigh) idea to hide under the sheet. then he wanted to hide under the sheet, too. i don’t understand why this is fun: we hide under the sheet. then i flip up the sheet and yell, “boo!” and he cackles like a maniac. why is this fun? anyway, i then got the bright idea that we should *scare* cam when he returned from the shower. so i told paul we needed to practice our *scaring* techniques.

ow.

in his overwhelming delight (and my overwhelming short-waistedness), he bounced back and forth hard enough to split my lip open on the inside against my teeth. he rattled me twice with his skull-to-teeth hits, then cracked me open with a few skull-to ribs smacks. oy. luckily he got tired of this and crawled off the bed. then i found out cam hadn’t taken a shower yet so if paul hadn’t gotten bored while waiting for cam to come back, i think he would have broken all of my teeth. at that point, i think i started crying. i should have gone back to sleep when they left, but i deemed it too late (it was after ten at the time). i think maybe it would have restored something to me – maybe it would have allowed me to stay up late on saturday. i don’t know.

perhaps it was what i was reading? i read a poirot story while they were gone, then a dick francis thriller. then i picked up angel of darkness by caleb carr. it’s not nearly as gory as the alienist, but it was still fairly unpleasant in that regard. the subject matter was definitely as disturbing if not more, but... this book wasn’t as thrilling to me as its predecessor. i had told cam on saturday not to let me read this book when it was dark out, but by sunday morning i determined that such measures were unnecessary. still, i did do a bit of looking over my shoulder yesterday evening. after paul went to bed, cam and i watched a rerun of ci involving a suicide pact and a carful of folks getting hit by a train. i picked up a willa cather short story collection and was surprised to see that the final story ended with a young man (named paul, alas) jumping in front of a train. sheesh. no happy anywhere. at least eames had yet another good line: “you can go and do your little happy dance in hell now.” i nearly spit out a mouthful of wine.

i don’t know. i just don’t know. i’m just looking for possible reasons. whatever it was, though, i think it had to be one of the few times in my life that i was glad to see the end of a weekend.

*i recently decided that it would be a good idea to get rid of the zillion-and-one paint cans we have lounging outside, so i’ve been transferring the contents to quart canning jars. once the cans are empty, i let them dry outside for a few days and then into the trash they go. so neat and tidy and the jars are pretty (and properly labeled, of course). hurray for the p-touch!

August 8, 2005

it's not obvious i was born in the age of aquarius

i am having a bad hair day. every single day lately has been a bad hair day, but since i’m particularly menstrual at the moment, this bad hair day is the absolute worst. i need a haircut, i’m dying for a haircut, i’d kill someone for a haircut, but i bet if i cut my hair i’d be a crying wreck, longing for that ugly wavy fringe again.

August 4, 2005

baby blues

my son doesn’t seem to like me right now.

whenever he’s with me, he’s always asking for his dad or my mom. he doesn’t want me to carry him when we go out, but he won’t walk. he always wants his dad to carry him.

it’s a little hard not to be hurt by this. the other day i felt really blue and told cam that we needed a new baby so that i could have someone to carry. he just sort of sighed.

August 2, 2005

massive discomfort

ran into an ex and his wife at costco on sunday. to protect the innocent – on the off chance that the innocent is reading this! – i won’t say anything more here other than, “damn, that was uncomfortable.” good lord.

but – is it too much to ask that i not run into people i know (and hope to avoid) when i am dressed like a shlub?

July 28, 2005

when the maternal instinct fails?

i read today about two incredibly horrible mothers.

one pushed her four-year-old out of her car on a busy highway because she was mad at him. then she started to drive away. when he tried to get back in, she hit him with the car, knocking him down, and drove off.

the other was arrested for trying to keep firemen from breaking the window of her new audi after accidentally locking in her 23-month-old son. he was in the locked car for over 20 minutes and was initially unresponsive when rescued. temps apparently went as high as 118 degrees inside the car. she had called 911, but when the dispatcher told her to break the window, she refused and requested that someone be sent to help unlock the car instead. attempts to do that by the firefighters and police proved unsuccessful, so they asked permission to break the window. she refused and said she’d go home for her spare keys. while she was gone, the emergency personnel were ordered to break the window after their captain learned that the child had been locked in for more than 15 minutes. the mother was arrested upon her return.

jesus fucking christ. what is wrong with these women? just reading these stories made me cry.

update: i asked cam for something happy because those stories were so awful. he sent me two stories about foul-mouthed british parrots. bless his heart.

July 21, 2005

disappointment

what do you do when you learn that people are not quite what you thought they were? it’s so disappointing to discover that friends (or well-liked acquaintances, even) have behaved in an atrocious manner. i’m sure if certain people discovered certain things about my past, they’d think the same thing about me – and i’m fine with that, i suppose, even though i have this ridiculous desire to be liked – so i wonder if the friends in question here feel the same way? sure, the past is the past...

i just don’t know.

the grass is always greener

when i was a bit younger, i thought a lot about getting breast implants. i’d look at my sad little chest and think, “dammit, such-and-such shirt would look so much better if only i had something to fill out the front.”

then i got pregnant. and then i started breastfeeding. oh my god, i was suddenly stacked! but it was only occasionally and momentarily fabulous because those damn things got in the way. it was horrifying and amusing at the same time. for so long i had wished for at least a full b-cup (“almost b” is kind of a hard size) and all of a sudden i had these, um, c+ babies. i always felt totally self-conscious in anything remotely fitted.

now i’m back to my almost b-ness (even worse, now i’m lopsided), and i kind of miss those monsters. every once in a while i look down at my sad little chest and think, “dammit, such-and-such shirt would look so much better if only i had something to fill out the front.”

sigh.

July 20, 2005

help, help

a friend, co-worker and ever-so-highly-educated-and-experienced type is out of the office this week, so i’m helping to pick up the slack.

i am dying.

July 18, 2005

fuzzy

holy cow, i am a moron.

i simply cannot deal well with any deviation from the norm on weekday mornings. a month or so back cam asked me what jacket i wanted from the closet. i usually get my own – it’s part of my routine. so i told him which one and he got it for me. because i was thrown off by the question (it was very nice of him, i do not deny that), i didn’t remember that my freaking cardkey was in the pocket of a different jacket. this wouldn’t be a problem if i didn’t work the way-early shift... but i do and therefore the lack of cardkey wroth a horrible chain of events that resulted in both office services and the building management come to unlock my door on two separate occasions. i can’t even describe what a painful day that was, but suffice it to say that there was even a false fire alarm which means that everyone on the floor had to walk down five flights of stairs just to learn there was no fire. i should have set one just to give the walk more meaning. by the end of the day, i was contemplating how hard it would be to implant the stupid thing into my arm. (on second thought, that’s kind of cool. imagine the reaction of others on the elevator as i wave my arm in front of the cardreader.)

this morning i was putting in my contact lenses when cam knocked on the door. this isn’t strange. he will often knock and call out that he is going down to the car. so i said, “what?” (because i’m friendly) and he asked, “can i get my [electric] razor?” i still had the left lens on my fingertip, so i hurried and put it in, then went to open the bathroom door.

a bit later, i think, “what’s wrong with my eyes?” my sight is a little off. i keep blinking, but nothing is happening. i decide to use eyedrops as soon as possible. this happens a few times during the morning. i just keep blinking.

then it dawns on me. oh my god.

i go to the bathroom and look in the mirror... and i see that i am not wearing my left lens at all. when i rushed to put the lens in, it must not have adhered properly. maybe i blinked and it bounced off my lashes. i’m accustomed to a moment of fuzziness as i adjust to my lenses, so i never even realized that the this morning’s fuzzy was different than the others. lord.

so now i am contemplating going home and putting on my glasses. my head is a bit achy, but i feel like such a moe that i don’t really want to go home. my dear secretary friends have provided me with four different pastries this morning -- i normally would just bring them home to my mother -- but maybe i’ll eat them to drown my redfaced sorrows. argh.

July 15, 2005

the office goth

if you came home with me and saw my work wardrobe – or if you work with me and are fairly observant – you’d see that i don’t do color. (i also don’t do dry-clean.) just about all of the components of my work wardrobe are black matte jersey. i love that stuff. wash and wear, just like me, i guess. the basic parts – long skirt, shorter skirt (i don’t do short, either), long pants, cropped pants, buttondown shirt – are all from the same place, and i hate to admit that i got the stuff at petite sophisticate because, well, i am not a fan of that [frumpy] store. i have a few other skirts, black or mostly black, that i wear for variety. then i have a bunch of black or mostly black shirts. i do have one very conspicuous white brooks brothers buttondown, but i have never worn it. i just have it because all the fashion magazines claim you need at least one, and what can i say, i’m a sheep.

today i am wearing a black skirt and a black shirt with white and gray dots. black shoes (the same shoes i wear to work practically every single day, even though they show off my horrendous flip-flop tan). silver watch with a black strap. black handbag. big black sunglasses (a la target).

it’s a uniform.

July 13, 2005

i'm sorry you didn't know

i got up this morning with every intention of writing about the boy’s inability to fall asleep AGAIN (you think it’s tedious reading about this day in day out? try living it.), but when i got to work i saw an email that made me cry. i don’t even think i’m capable of writing about it right now, so suffice it to say that it’s an email from an old friend of my brother’s. i had managed to track her down – and she didn’t even know he was dead. my god.

July 12, 2005

hair woes, revisited

just found gray hair numero dos. sigh.

July 11, 2005

um, thanks

i hate hate hate it when people roll the r in my last name. yeah, yeah, thanks for making me feel like i don’t even know how to say my own name.

July 9, 2005

something that should have been brought to my attention earlier

i am growing out my eyebrows. (yes, i know that sounds weird.) recently i saw some pictures of myself and was horrified by the thinness of them. so… i have retired the tweezers except for cleanup. i mentioned this to cam and was greeted by a pause. after a bit, he admitted that he often thought i overplucked. um, thanks, guy, for not telling me sooner.

July 7, 2005

london

today i -- along with countless others -- looked in sorrow at pictures of tragedy.

rest well and know the world is thinking of you.

July 6, 2005

potential what?

two things made me feel old, old, old yesterday.

1) brochure came in the mail yesterday for my 10-year college reunion.

2) i don’t know the whole story, but from what i can piece together it sounds like the death of ambition – and for whatever reason, it depresses me a little.

i used to know a girl who could do just about anything, she was that smart. (but just because she was that smart doesn’t mean that i liked her, mind you.) i lost track of her after high school, but word of her would surface every now and again. she dated my freshman roommate’s valedictorian, for instance. “her?” joan would say. “you know HER?”

time passed and i heard she went to law school. as i myself was working for a law firm, i scanned the lists of incoming interns, fearing that one day she’d show up on my turf. she never did.

then not too long ago i heard she was working at a nonprofit. hmm, i thought. maybe she turned into a do-gooder. and then i heard she and her fiancé moved from the east coast to the west coast. i shuddered, thinking that maybe there was still a chance she’d show up at my firm. oh, how she would lord it over me – the attorney/staff chasm is pretty wide.

just this past sunday i learned that she had moved for his job, not hers. an internet search for her turned up all but empty. i’m nosy, what can i say? from what i can see, she doesn’t appear to have a job, she hasn’t joined the local asian-american bar association. zip.

i know it seems stupid to even be thinking about this, but i’m disappointed. i don’t like her, haven’t really liked her since we were children together… yet i nevertheless expected great things from her. now it seems like she’s given it all up to be what, a would-be partner’s wife? i know i don’t know the whole story, so i’m almost definitely being judgmental without cause. maybe she’s put her life on hold to get his on track, then she’ll break out and be a shining star. but maybe she didn’t, and this is all she wanted. maybe she went to school to find a man. bleagh. i can’t believe that. i won’t believe that.

i never wished ill on her. maybe i didn’t want her to be all that successful – spite and jealousy, of course – but now it appears that maybe her version of successful and mine are at odds. i don’t know. all i know is that i feel somewhat unsettled and very, very weary about it. i never liked the expression “living up to one’s potential,” but i think maybe now i know what it means.

July 1, 2005

not always tgif

i just had the most obnoxious morning. i do take some of the blame for it – i’m not trying to pin it all on cam, so cam – chill, a’ight?

cam didn’t turn on his alarm last night, so we overslept. i was in the middle of a particularly appalling dream involving simultaneously cleaning up dead people in an apartment and moving out of aforementioned apartment when i heard a whimper that could have only been paul. i shot up, saw paul was still asleep and glared at the clock which read 5:49. 5 fucking 49. sigh. at least one of us is supposed to be awake by 5-ish. it’s particularly crucial on fridays to be on time because cam has to drop paul off at his parents’ house before we go to work. because i was already aggravated from the dream, i rolled over and was not particular polite to cam.

“jesus christ, cam, did you not turn on your alarm?!”

poor thing, what a horrible way to wake up. he jumps up and heads for the shower. i contemplate being a total bitch and going back to sleep, but conscience kicks in and i go to the kitchen.

cam is in charge of the kitchen in the mornings during the week. it’s selfish, but that’s how our schedule works. he never cooks, so it’s mine the rest of the time (except for dishes, which are supposed to be his responsibility because he never cooks). every weekday morning he gets up first, takes a shower, then wakes me when he’s done with the bathroom. then while i’m in the shower, he makes coffee, toasts and butters waffles, makes sure that we have fruit to take to work. if the baby wakes up, he tends to the baby – which often means that he will tote the child around the kitchen while he’s getting ready. sometimes he’ll get the baby another bottle and they’ll lie there until the boy goes back to sleep. when i get out of the bathroom, dressed, made-up but with wet hair, i’ll offer to help. most of the time everything is done, but occasionally he’ll ask me to call my mom if he hasn’t done so yet so that she can come get the baby for the day. so the house alarm goes off, the back door is unlocked and my mom arrives. shortly after that we leave. i would like to leave by 6:05, but that never happens – usually about ten minutes after. i’m not sure how this all got started, but it may stem from when i used to feed paul in the mornings before getting ready for work. now i get up at around 5:30ish, but i used to have to wake up at 4:30 so i could feed and pump. after the early am pumping stopped, i started sleeping later and later. lovely. on fridays, cam gets stuff at least started, then takes the boy to his parents while i’m in the shower. then he comes back and finishes up what i don’t have time to do.

anyway, so this morning i went into the kitchen and discovered the coffeemaker (www.keurig.com) was empty. i filled up the water jug from the bottled water dispenser and started to pour the water into the coffeemaker. i heard paul crying, so i hurriedly turned on the coffeemaker and went to go get him.

he rolled and rolled around until he saw me. he started to sign for milk. i tried to confirm “you want milk?” but he changed his mind and held his arms out. i picked him up and we went back to the kitchen.

i needed waffles. but of course the waffle boxes – both (one whole wheat, one wheat-free) of them! what are the chances of that? – were new and unopened. i could hardly open two boxes and the interior plastic bags and pull out two waffles one-handed while carrying a boy on my hip, so i managed to grab both boxes, shut the freezer and head back for the counter. i set paul down and proceeded to open the boxes. of course, paul unerringly grabbed for the wheat one, but i managed to evade him. i put the waffles in the toaster, paul back on my hip and headed back to the fridge to return the waffle boxes to the freezer. when i opened the freezer door, of course a new package of gluten-free flour* fell to the floor and split open. of course. so there was a big pile of flour on the floor and on my feet. paul was crying. shite. i put paul down, then picked up the flour bag and took it to the trash. cam had emptied the trash the day before and had forgotten to replace the liner. i went and got a trash bag. thankfully paul was only looking at the flour on the floor and not playing with it. the flour bag went into the trash and i grabbed a few paper towels, wet them and started to try to corral the flour on the floor. the boy whimpered, so i picked him up again, filled up a little bottle for him and took him to his room to change his diaper. of course the diaper fell through the grips on the diaper genie and the plastic liner wouldn’t twist. then we went to go make coffee. of course cam didn’t do the dishes last night, so i just rinsed out our travel mugs and dried them. i opened the cabinet and lo! only two coffee pods! so i made those two and took the boy to the pantry to get another box of coffee. (of course it was the last one. ooh, that reminds me, i better buy more coffee.) we were making more coffee when cam finally showed up. i summed up our morning experience. he took the baby from me and just stood there while i continued to make the coffee. i told him to give me the baby and go pull out the car. cam instantly went into sheepish mode and had the audacity to say:

“well, don’t be mad, okay?”

mad? mad? i wasn’t mad, just annoyed. so i said, “i’m not mad, it’s not like i’m throwing the baby at you.” sigh. i put the boy down. when the door closed after cam, of course paul started to cry. so i picked him up again to comfort him. when cam returned, he told paul “hug mom, hug mom” (which he did!) and then cam took him from me. “doesn’t that make your day all better?” cam asked, smiling like a proud parent. um, no, but it was nice. cam told me not to worry about the rest of the stuff, he’d handle it. the rest of the stuff consisted of buttering waffles and toasting them again. i agreed, but then decided to do that stuff myself so we could just leave as soon as he returned and not have to wait for our damnfool slow toaster. they left. i finished up in the kitchen and went to the bedroom to find something to wear. of course everything is either dirty or in the basement. double-sigh.

post-shower i reached for my contact lenses, only to discover that one is nicked. argh. after this, everything else is reasonably fine, though, and we get to work without incident.

of course, once at work is a totally different story… man, i hate busy friday mornings.

*why was the flour in the freezer? to kill the bug eggs in it, of course. bug eggs are fine, but living, swarming bugs are not. i’m not a true vegetarian, you know. mmm, bug eggs! don’t you put your flour in the freezer for at least a few days?

June 30, 2005

the ballad of hope and david

oy. been listening to mazzy star all morning and now i’m depressed.

June 29, 2005

was everybody wrong about the mother-son bond?

my son is not a mama’s boy. at 20 months, i kind of wish he would be.

don’t get me wrong, i absolutely love that paul and cam have such a great relationship. plus i think it’s fabulous that he loves his grandparents and aunt so much. but whatever happened to the mythical bond of a boy and his mom? maybe i expected more, but whenever i read about little kids who are so attached to their mothers that no one else can comfort them, i’m 70% relieved that my boy feels at ease with others and 30% sad that he doesn’t only want mom, mom, mom!

you know, make that 35%. wah!

paul will be satisfied with plain old mom for a while, but then the frantic signing for dad inevitably begins. last night was a prime example of this. (i know that there are other factors at play here, like paul doesn’t want to go to sleep!, but that doesn’t matter to my poor sad rejected feelings.) at bedtime, paul and i retreated to the bedroom. the wiggles bedtime cd was playing softly in the background. he had his bottle of soy milk and all was well. we snuggled. cam came in and snuggled, too. after a bit, cam left. then paul got all wide awake and the signing commenced. i’m surprised he doesn’t have a big dent in his head, he was smacking it so hard while signing for dad. nothing i could do would appease the boy, so we went in search of dad. they ended up watching tv for a while, i think. not too long afterwards they came back to me and paul and i went to sleep.

dad.

dad?

dad!

DAD!

it’s like nemo, screaming. in sign language. if he had hands.

when paul and i are hanging out, it’s always “dad?” then if dad isn’t around, it’s “grandma?” and so poor rejected mom has to resort to silly dancing or tv to cheer a boy up. or letting him walk outside without shoes. he loves that. i have no idea why.

cam claims that paul signs for me when i am not around, but i suspect he is trying to make me feel better. i already felt like the weaning process would take something from our relationship – and it did – but i didn’t expect that weaning from breastfeeding would also mean practically weaning from mom. yikes. in my research, i found lots of people saying that if you continue to breastfeed when you return to work you would never have problems being displaced by the babysitter. (i am not lecturing people who didn’t, so stop looking at me like that.) to some extent this has been true for me. now that the nursing is over, it seems like he cannot even wait one minute for the babysitter (grandparents) to show up and take him away.

i’ve always said that i don’t want paul to be shy. i’ve been shy my whole life and i have always hated it. there’s a disconnect from brain to mouth. things get tangled. i even have a stutter. outgoing people would say to me, “you just have to get out there!” (um, yeah.) the boy seems to be just getting out there and he seems fine. but i am a wreck. maybe i do want my toddler to be shy. maybe i want him to be clinging to my leg (but not humping it). i just don’t know.

i should revisit this issue in a few months. maybe by then he'll be a clingy, whiny brat. that would be heaven. and hell.

June 25, 2005

please?

to contractors who won’t call me back:

i have money! i’m willing to spend it! i’m your stereotypical stupid homeowner with absolutely no idea how things should be done – or priced! i won’t complain when you’re late, when you leave the job site a mess, when your estimate turns out to be way freaking low!

call me! please?

June 24, 2005

bad mama bear

i don’t scare easily. (i get freaked out easily, but that’s not exactly the same thing.) but yesterday i got so scared that i just couldn’t stop crying. in retrospect the whole thing seems stupid and i should have had more chutzpah than that, but i was petrified. i know that what i've written here does not adequately express my terror. upon rereading, i'm just a big fat wuss.

we ran errands last night. we went to do-it-center to look at sheds, then we had to make a stop at an auto parts store because cam had to buy a new bulb for my mom’s one dead headlight. we planned for a run to home depot afterwards. because paul was in a reasonably good mood (and because the idea of restraining those little hands reaching for zillions of auto parts was rather exhausting), i told cam we’d stay in the car. he left the keys in the ignition so that we could listen to music and left.

it was fine, initially. we wiggled to music, we watched this poorly dressed girl get something out of a truck and run back to the auto parts store (mental note: must tell cam about the poorly dressed girl), we watched some kids on skateboards, we made funny sounds at each other. but then i looked up and there was this old-ish guy standing thisclose to the passenger side front door, looking intently into the window.

he was wearing this bright blue blazer, a golf shirt, glasses and a baseball cap. big nose. white. couldn’t see his pants. i vaguely remember seeing him on the sidewalk when we pulled into the store. i could see him staring at the keys in the ignition, at the ipod casually tossed on the cupholder/table-thing. it crossed my mind briefly that he was thinking about damn kids leaving their stuff unprotected. i felt like i could barely move, but i did slip one hand around paul and i managed to lock my door. i wondered if i could reach over to lock the door he was standing in front of. i didn’t want to attract any attention – in retrospect i guess i should have made some noise to scare him off. but how do i know that it wouldn’t have made him panic and try to open the door? people do weird things sometimes when they are on the spot. it felt like hiding in a closet and praying that no one would know we were there. i kept looking at paul, who didn’t seem to notice or care that anything was going on, looking at the guy, looking at the store windows. what would i do if the guy decided to open the door? cam, cam, come out of the store!

it seemed like an eternity before he left. i breathed. paul laughed.

then the guy was back, this time on the driver side. again he was standing really close to the car, mere inches away from the baby. looking at the keys again, looking at the ipod. not once did i see him look towards us. i wondered if i should unbuckle paul from his carseat, unlock the door and run away. i wondered if the guy would make a move to steal the car. i remembered a story i half-read in reader’s digest about a carjacking and babies being left in the car. i wondered if it would be possible to take paul out of the seat and jump out of the car if he opened the door. i wondered if he had any weapons on him.

he backed up and surveyed the car for a few moments, moved in close again. i kept one hand on paul’s carseat harness. he turned and walked around the front of the car. i thought he was going for the passenger side again, but he kept walking. entered the auto parts store, where he stared at the car from the store windows. i looked down at paul, then looked back up at the window. he was gone.

i jumped up, shoved the carseat to the side a bit and jerked the keys out of the ignition. locked the car doors and turned on the alarm. hyperventilated. paul giggled and stared at me. i couldn’t stop the gasp/wheeze, even though i feared it would alarm the baby. tears were stinging my eyes. looked back and forth between paul and the store. i could see cam waiting in line. his red shirt sort of blended in with the store interior, but i knew it was him. no blue blazer anywhere, but i felt like the guy was just going to pop up again any minute just outside the car. finally cam started to come out of the store just as i got my breathing under control. the poorly dressed girl and her boyfriend/brother/male friend/whatever exited the store at the same time cam did, but i took no more amusement in her lack of style.

cam approached the car. i unlocked the doors and he got in. i handed him the keys. he realized something was wrong – my expression, the fact that the car was locked? – so he asked what was up. i totally didn’t mean to, but i just fell apart. paul tried to jam his fingers into my mouth while i cried. it seemed to take a while for the sobbing to end, but i think i was actually much calmer within half an hour or so. we went to home depot (i didn’t want to go home) and the shakes eventually subsided as we walked around. paul determined that we needed a shed with a sliding window. thank goodness for the obliviousness of babies. cam apologized a few times for not locking the car, but i don’t blame him for that. not at all. the only times he’s locked us (or me) in the car would be at 7-11 in the middle of the night with the crazed junkies and homeless types ranting out in front.

when i was trying to get paul to sleep later that night, i’d close my eyes and i’d think, oh my god, he memorized our license plate, he’s going to find out where we live. he’s going to teach us a lesson for not locking anything, oh my god, he is going to come into our house and slaughter us where we sleep. but at the same time, i’d think, he wasn’t young, he wasn’t big – i could have totally taken him down if he tried to harm my child. i was terrified and at the same time mad at myself for being so cowardly. later i busied myself with mundane household tasks and then with the computer until i went to sleep.

i slept surprisingly well, i’m almost embarrassed to admit. today i just feel a little wary – i know soon the whole incident will all but fade from memory. i’m still ashamed of my reaction, though, and i probably will be for a long time. i’m just not a very good mama bear.

June 22, 2005

smile, you're pregnant

as i was looking over pics of pregnant women – related to me and not – i was struck by how happy they seemed. weight gain has always been something to be avoided, but when you’re pregnant, supposedly that’s the time to gain weight without concern. at least that’s what i thought. but when i was pregnant, a doctor totally gave me a hard time about it. i know i put on a lot of weight in one of the early months, but after that i tried really hard to not gain anything. i understand that the doctors need to push the idea of a healthy pregnancy weight, but jesus, make a girl feel like shit. my pregnancy weight was a huge source of trauma for me.

towards the end, it felt like we were eating salads and smoothies all the time. i was constantly paranoid about any weight gain. it was so stressful. plus i had to worry about gestational diabetes because my doctor seemed to think i was always on the edge. it was an unpleasant time. nothing fit, i looked like an elephant, my skin was going insane, i had serious cankles and i was tired all the time.

knowing that, why am i a sad little mess because i’m not currently pregnant?

June 21, 2005

plight of the working parent

the other day a newly pregnant work-friend asked me if i felt if i was missing out of the best part of paul’s life because i work full-time. of course i do! but that’s just the plight of the working parent. that’s just how it is.

i work for three reasons, all of them completely valid to me. others may call me selfish. i don’t care.

1) my firm offers great benefits – especially medical – and it would be really expensive to duplicate them on our own (cam’s benefits aren’t quite as good).

2) we couldn’t live the way we do on cam’s salary alone.

3) i need the self-validation and adult contact that work gives me. this is pretty low on the list, but it’s still very real for me. i went a bit stir-crazy during my maternity leave.

sure, i could quit and we’d survive, but then life would be a constant worry about money. (when money is tight, we fight. ‘tis a story as old as time.) we live in southern california, for chrissakes. everything is expensive here. we live in a pretty old low-key neighborhood – not in a subdivision – and it’s not an even remotely ritzy area, but just a few days ago we discovered a house less than two blocks from us is for sale for $1.25 mil. jesu cristo. we occasionally talk of moving to a cheaper state, but i don’t think we could find jobs as stable and well-paying as the ones we have now. plus we’d have to pay for child care, which could get very pricey. our parents take turns watching paul now and it’s a total win-win situation there – everyone is so in love with the boy.

we’ve made adjustments to our work schedules to maximize our time with paul. we no longer work ridiculous amounts of overtime. in fact, i hardly work any. we go in earlier so we can leave earlier. we don’t work on weekends anymore. if we need to work more than the day allows us, we work from home. we are home every night before 6, sometimes even before 5. the boy goes to sleep somewhere between 8:30 and 11 pm (don’t say a word).

this is what works for us. we have time to work and time to play.

two and a half years since i first discovered i was pregnant, i am finally feeling the twinges of ambition again and i am actually kind of enjoying it. i care about my work. i care about the people (well, maybe not all) i work with. i like problem-solving, i like having the answers, i like answering my phone and writing emails and knowing that the people on the other end appreciate what i do. but now i am thinking more towards the future and wondering what i’ll be doing in five years. i haven’t been promoted in a long time and sometimes i wonder if this is the spot i’ll be sitting in for the rest of my life. i’m not entirely thrilled by that prospect, but in a way it’s not a completely terrible thing because it will always ensure i have time to spend with my son. at least until he decides that he doesn’t want to spend time with mom!

i would love to be a stay-at-home mom, at least for a while. well, at least i think i’d love to be a stay-at-home mom. but would i actually like the reality of it? i don’t know. i won’t know and i can’t know unless it happens. i’m really torn about it. when my mom calls me or cam’s dad IMs cam about the wonderfully fun things paul is doing that day, i think “wow, my life sucks, i should be at home participating in these wonderfully fun things with him.” but when i hear paul is crabby and won’t sleep, won’t eat, a tiny part of me just has to crow, “ha, suckers! better you than me!” so sue me, i’m honest. but that doesn’t keep me from crying a little whenever a friend goes on maternity leave and never comes back.

am i missing out on the best parts of his life? possibly. am i sad about it? damn straight. but would i change things? probably not.

update (22 june 2005): i casually emailed a friend that “the only real problem is that [paul] is growing too fast!” a very casual comment indeed. the standard response to “how is motherhood?” and variations thereof. his response was that “perhaps it's time to consider spending more time with him. i know our bills and dreams are important to us but so is the time (quality time) we spend with them. it is very important for their growth and development of their personality and character.” i know he meant well, but man, i feel freaking crappy now.

June 20, 2005

more hair woes (that, and father's day)

we had a nice father’s day. well, we would have had a better one if a certain well-known gigantic internet retailer hadn’t seemingly LOST cam’s father’s day present. but all was not lost. on friday night while cam and the babe slept, i pulled my shit together and created an overly sentimental photo arrangement with pics taken from my cousin melissa’s wedding (of course we took more pictures of ourselves than the happy couple). thank god for our lovely hp printer. and picasa? you so totally rock.

the day would have actually been just like any other day if it hadn’t been for the momentously shallow event that befell me while i was in the bathroom with paul. (yes, he does come with me to the bathroom. no, not all the time, just when he’s feeling particularly clingy or when no one else is in the house. yes, it is kind of weird trying to actually use the facilities when there are a tiny pair of round eyes just staring at you.) i was washing my hands – with paul signing “wash hands” happily behind me – when i looked in the mirror and gasped. literally gasped. then i opened the door and yelled, “cam, i must buy something expensive. NOW!”

my first gray hair.

cam came into the bathroom and inspected my head. of course. we always have family meetings in the bathroom, don’t you? he was all set to pull the hair out for me (maintaining my pristine blackness of hair?), but i decided to keep it. badge of honor and all that. also a badge of decent genes. i’m 30. two of my closest friends – slightly younger – already have lots of gray. my aunt and my brother were gray in high school. but my grandmother is only now really gray and she’s in her 80s. so… i’ll be rationalizing AND shopping for the next few days.

June 15, 2005

hair woes

currently engrossed in that fascinating pastime known as “growing out the bangs.” god. i hate my hair. it just looks so ass right now, i can’t even describe it. it’s a bad length overall – just below the shoulders – too long to be short, too short to be long. but the bangs, god in heaven, the bangs. they are just fugly. cam is on bang-patrol – if i ask him if i should just give up and cut them, he just says NO and that’s the end of that. if left solely to myself, i know i would have cut them by now and then i would be stuck in this damned cycle of cut/grow a little bit/sulk/grow a little bit more/think about cutting them/sulk/cut. cam, don’t let me cut them!

June 8, 2005

life is but a dream

if a person doesn’t get treatment for a problem and it eventually more or less goes away on its own, does that mean that the problem possibly never really existed?

i’ve had all sorts of “issues” in my life and because i never sought professional help for any of them, i wonder if maybe i made them bigger in my head than they really were. what a mind-blowing concept.

this came up the other day when a work friend asked me about postpartum depression. my memories of life immediately postpartum are extremely fuzzy. i remember being tired and little sad, but mostly it’s all a blur. i remember dealing with mastitis (twice) and i remember the feel of cloth diapers. so i said yes, i thought so, but it wasn’t too bad. “you didn’t have to go to the hospital or anything, right?” she asked. “it must have been pretty mild.” then i was reading one of my daily blog reads and there was something about being hospitalized for this very thing. because one day my fog just lifted without medication or any other intervention, i reasoned, i must have never really been depressed.

i was later startled by cam’s reaction. he was worried about me, he insisted. he didn’t think i’d do harm to myself or the baby, but he was really worried. huh? why didn’t you do anything, say anything? so then again, i have to wonder… maybe you knew that it wasn’t the fabled postpartum depression. maybe i was just in a funk because… oh, just because.

i’m aghast at the possibilities of this. all of that garbage i’ve lived though in my past, was that entirely my own making? all of it… did it just live in my head? am i nothing more than an emotional hypochondriac?

staggering.

getting old

a few weeks back, my father-in-law mentioned that he was officially old because he now has regular meds to take at specific times of the day.

i have this to add to the “officially old” archives:

wine before bed: headache in the morning
pizza for breakfast: heartburn within an hour

man, i feel crappy. no one told me the 30s would be like this.

June 1, 2005

why i don't use ebay anymore

ebay: a story of greed and innocence lost. in two parts.

this all started because i was looking for the perfect black handbag. i hunted and hunted and i sent cam emails with links to various black handbags. i was beginning to feel bad that i was harassing him with so many of these handbag-related emails that i decided to compile all the links into one big email. so off i went, blithely scanning the web for purses that would make the heart a-twitter. much to my amusement, i realized i was looking at the same damn purse on half a dozen sites. in different colors. looking at a red one and thinking, “wow, wish that came in black.” looking at a brown one, thinking, “hmm, if that came in black it would be perfect.” the bag was the prada br1254, commonly referred to by its most distinctive feature, the big shiny pushlock. i hunted and hunted and managed to find it for fairly reasonably prices ($400 and below). but then i happened to read on the cunty fashion board that most of those sites were to be avoided because they sold fakes.

now here’s my stance on fakes/replicas/knockoffs, whatever you want to call them: i really don’t mind them. i don’t care when or why or how you bought one. oh, and please, i don’t want to hear that someone is personally helping the terrorists win because s/he bought a fake whatever. what bothers me about fakes is that all it would take is one person to whisper to another, “the poor dear, she thinks that ugly thing is real” to turn me into a quivering pile of insecurities. so not worth it for my peace of mind.

anyway, so for some reason i completely lost my mind and turned to ebay.

yep.

i found many different auctions running for the bag, noted the various promises of authenticity and gasped at the low prices (somewhere between $150 - $300). so i bid on one. then, as i so often do, suffered instant remorse and did the due diligence that i should have done prior to bidding. i read the seller’s feedback. instant frenzy because out of the 800+ glowing positives (“beautiful authentic bag!”) there happened to be a handful of unhappy folks. fakes. dammit. feh on me and my greed. what was i thinking that i could buy such an expensive bag for cheap? why on earth would i trust a seller in a third-world country for something like this? and feh on the seller for so freely using the word “authentic” like it meant something. so naïve of me.

for the next few days until the bag arrived, i fretted. tried to think of the nicest way to ask for a refund. then tried to think about just settling and keeping the bag. nightmares of my cupidity.

then it showed up and it was so cute – but definitely lightweight and the leather felt funny. much to my relief (lame, yes) one of the snaps was defective. with a slightly lighter heart, i emailed the seller and asked for a refund. she was so nice about it and provided a local address (a relative) for mailing. she said she’d issue a refund as soon as her relative received the package. it was sent off and i waited for my refund.

but i will wait forever in vain. there was a natural disaster in that part of the world and i never heard back from the seller. i hope she is alive and doing well. i wish her no ill, and i don’t really want the refund back. i’m sure she could use the money right now.

dammit.

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