Sunday, January 13, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Monnik, I'm going on a diet with you. I tried to shop for a new wardrobe today. GAAAAH!! I will NOT buy the next pants size up, I WILL NOT! It's like saying "uncle" to the fat cells. Giving up. Nope, I'm a fighter (so I finished off all the carbs in the house tonight...can't just throw them away!).
Anyway, I had a strange dream last night. It was a "waking dream" where I swear I am awake. My eyes are open, and I can see, but I can't move. And I have auditory hallucinations and even visual ones. I identify with "alien abductees." I think the major difference between them and me (other than maybe a firmer grounding in reality) is that my waking dreams don't involve aliens.
Here's my typical waking dream: someone is in the room with me. I can't see them; they are just out of my field of vision. But I KNOW they are there. I can hear them; moreover I can sense them. And it's generally an ominous presence. I know my eyes are open; I think I am awake. But I am paralyzed. The dreams are almost always accompanied by an overwhelming sense of terror, and an escalating ringing in my ears. At some point I wake up, and I realize it was a waking dream. By then, my adrenaline is pumping and I don't want to go back to sleep for fear that I will have the dream again.
Last night, it wasn't a person in the room with me, it was a cat. I don't have a cat. I'm not really a cat person. I mean, I LIKE cats....just other people's cats.
I was lying in bed, in the dark, and I heard a cat meowing. It didn't sound friendly. I remember thinking, "what's a cat doing in my house?" Then I could hear it in the hallway (which is kind of dumb since I have carpet and cats are sneaky). It was meowing low and growly and coming closer. I could sense that it was in the room with me. Then I felt it hop on the foot of the bed and could feel it crouching there, staring. My terror was overwhelming. I could see it's yellow glowing eyes peering at me out of it's furry black face.
I screamed and flung it off the bed with my arm as hard as I could! Then I woke up, realizing that I had just lashed out at a dream. My heart was pounding, I was sweating. Strangely, JeepMan didn't wake up. Maybe I didn't scream? But I definitely lashed out: my covers were all flung off me, and I always sleep buried in my covers up over my head.
Unsettling, but not FREAKY. A unique twist on a familiar (if unwelcome) experience for me.
Here's the FREAKY part. I was talking to JeepMan in the kitchen this morning, telling him about the dream. I asked if I had hit him or anything. He got this strange look on his face, then told me, "No, I don't think you hit me...but I had a dream about cats last night too. I dreamed I was driving home from your grandma's house," (she lives on a farm with lots of cats), "and when I got home there were like FIFTEEN cats hiding in the Jeep. I was so mad, because they had left cat hair everywhere! I opened up the Jeep and told them all to scram, then started cursing and cleaning up the cat hair. That's when I woke up."
Sometimes I think when you're married to someone long enough you get this weird psychic connection. No don't call me Dionne Warwick (for those old enough to remember that fiasco). It's just like we are on the same brainwaves or something. Of course, there are also those days when I am pretty sure the only brainwaves flowing in our household belong to me...
Conversation in the car tonight:
Plato: Lulu, you're not my sister anymore.
Lulu: Oh YES I AM!!
Plato: No. You're. Not.
Lulu: UH HUH!!
Guys, you will always be brother and sister. Since you have the same mom and dad, you are brother and sister. Forever. Whether you like it or not.
Plato: ...Okay, but I call the house when we grow up. Lulu has to move out.
Lulu: MOOOOM! I GET THE HOUSE!
Guys, when you grow up you are BOTH moving out. Daddy and I get the house.
Plato: Well, I guess I will have to move into my girlfriend's house. With the kids.
(alert, alert, alert) Kids? What kids?
Plato: (eyeroll) Mom, of course I am going to have kids someday! I already have names for them picked out and everything.
(glance at JeepMan who is trying to keep a straight face).........Really. What are they?
Plato: HotShot and Kickoff.
Aren't they a little young to be thinking about this stuff? Maybe not. But I think I was at least 14 when I started thinking of names for my future kids. Lucky for Plato and Lulu, I grew out of that stage, otherwise their names would have been Akasha and Acadia.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
For Christmas at the in-law's house, MIL always goes waaay overboard. Which is fine. It's Christmas after all! One of the areas where she really splurges is the 5-foot buffet table that she dedicates entirely to sweets. Cookies, candies, fudge...it's all there. There truly isn't a square inch of space. A pack of ravenous teenage boys couldn't demolish that table in one day. There are always leftovers that she freezes and re-gifts, and re-gifts....until at least April.
One reason she has so many goodies is that she is a hairstylist. Many of her clients give her treats as thank-you gifts for the services she gives them. Some of her clients sell their goodies once a year, like the client who takes orders every Christmas from all the ladies in the shop for his famous peanut brittle.
This year she had a new treat. Of all the sweets out there, I am a cookie fiend. Chewy, crunchy, crispy, gooey: I've met very few cookies I didn't like!! On a snowman tray were these innocent-looking cookies:
Ooooooh! But when I tasted them!!! These were the lightest, crispiest cookies I have ever tasted. They almost disintegrated in my mouth when I took a bite! They tasted of butter, sugar, and something a little richer....what was it? Only after I swallowed did I realize there were a few tiny bits of coconut left in my mouth. I generally don't like coconut, but it was somehow perfect in this cookie.
I HAD to have the recipe. I was devastated when I asked my MIL and she informed me that some lady who comes into the shop sells them by the shoebox-full every Christmas. She didn't know what they were called either! The only information she could offer was that there was some weird ingredient in them that you could only buy at the drug store.
Ok, now I was curious. What would you put in a cookie that you would buy at a drugstore? Tums? Laxatives? Gas Drops? What?!? I searched and searched the internet for this cookie. I came up with NOTHING.
Despair. Standing between me and cookie bliss was my MIL. Hopeless.
The next week, we drove up to her place to show off the new Jeep and to get haircuts for Plato and JeepMan. Imagine my surprise and delight when she gave me a bag of these cookies and declared, "I found the recipe, I had it all along!"
She lugged out her giant book of recipes and flipped to the cookie section. There on a handwritten notecard was THE recipe. The secret ingredient? Ammonium Carbonate. The name of the cookie? "Princess Jim's Cookies." Weird, but who cares? I asked my MIL who Princess Jim was. She replied, "I don't know...that's just what they're called." Okay, whatever.
I went home elated! On the way, though, I started thinking....who WAS Princess Jim? Why were they his cookies? What was Ammonium Carbonate? I pictured a drag queen in a kitchen mixing up cookies and accidentally reaching for a bottle of some stomach remedy instead of the baking soda; whoops! But what lovely cookies!!
When I got home, I googled "Princess Jim's Cookies." Nothing. "Princess Cookies." Too much. "Princess Ammonium Carbonate Cookies." Bingo!
Then started laughing hysterically. Here it is:
1 Cup Shortening
1/2 Cup Butter
2 tsp. Ammonia Carbonate (Baker's Ammonia)
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
2 1/2 Cups Sifted Flour
1 Cup Shredded Coconut
Mix in order listed. Form into tiny balls about 3/4" in diameter. Place on cookie sheet 1" apart. Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 min. or until light brown. Dust with powdered sugar while warm.
Yep, that's right. Princess GEMS.
No Drag Queen. No Possessive. A bit boring really.
I don't care what they're called...they'll always be Princess Jim's Cookies to me! And it will always make me giggle.
Anyhow, how does this relate to fish? Ahhh....that is all now to be revealed.
Some things about yourself you try so hard to believe, then one day you are forced to accept are not true. For example, I described myself for years as "spontaneous." In hindsight, I understand that I probably said that because it sounded cool. As I grew older and more aware of myself, I realized that I am about as spontaneous as a rock. The final acceptance of my non-spontaniety came when I was working nights. On my "days off" I would have plans to get all kinds of things done. Frequently JeepMan would call me and ask me to join him for lunch...with about a 15 minute heads-up. I used to get so irritated!! I like things planned, and I like to follow the plan. Any wrench in the plan should be thrown in with plenty of advance notice. I have learned to accept that "spontaneous" is not as glamorous as I thought. You can be sexy and anal-retentive at the same time.
I am Superstitious. There, I said it. I have tried to deny it for years but it just keeps knocking at the door to my inner self. I have invited it in now: not embraced it, not even given it a place at the grown-up table. Superstitious sulks at the kids' table with the other grudgingly accepted characteristics of myself like Anal-Retentive and Blonde. It's there. It's a part of me - I give up. This must be understood for the story to continue.
I bought a fish, a beautiful blue betta, this summer. If I were a good person I guess I wouldn't have bought him. But there he was, in the store, in his tiny little container with about 1/3 cup of water to live in. And Plato "needed" a fish. His betta (a gift from a friend) had just died. As Lulu had her own betta (red), Plato had been reminding me often that it wasn't fair that he didn't have one. I picked him up on an impulse, even bought a second bowl and supplies. He looked so pretty, was a good eater, and Plato and Lulu were thrilled.
For about 2 days.
Time wore on, the fish have been forgotten by everyone but me, and there they sit in their little bowls. I started reading about betta care and the universal opinion is that it is "cruel" to keep them in anything less than a 1-gallon climate-controlled tank. I keep them in 2 bowls that hold about 2 cups of water each; non-climate-controlled. I don't have room for 2 separate gallon-sized luxury fish-condos. I have gotten to the point that I despise even cleaning their bowls. JM isn't about to keep the house a balmy 73 degrees in winter for 2 fish, so they have slipped into a sort of 50-60 degree coma. They don't eat. They don't swim. BUT THEY DON'T DIE!
Plato's fish last year went into a winter coma. I thought he would surely die, but as the weather warmed up, he revived. He went on to live most of the summer before he croaked. In the ICU, we used to wait out our comatose patients, wondering if they would be "saved" by medical technology or if they were destined to die. At some point it would become obvious if it was truly their time to go. We would say at that point that they "declared themselves," and they would often passed away by the end of the shift. Well, Plato's fish declared himself but good. One day he was swimming, the next he was floating and milky-eyed.
These fish are not being so decisive. Neither am I. Here's my inner argument:
Problem: have two fish in comas, in bowls I don't want to clean, in probable state of torture, that kids won't miss if they're gone.
Obvious Solution: wait till the kids are asleep, then gently but efficiently flush them down the toilet. Hide the evidence. Play dumb when kids finally realize that fish are gone.
Problem: that's killing them, technically. Bad Karma. Bad Juju. Superstition. Bad things may happen if I murder fish.
But: could be construed as mercy killing. Euthanasia. Freeing them from cold, restrictive purgatory to swim in the warm oceans of fish eternity.
If: you believe in that sort of thing. Bad karma/juju/superstition may just say if you flush live fish, badness is returned upon you. Maybe won't get great new job...
And so it's been going, back and forth for weeks.
Now I have the job, firmly in my grasp. So why are they still floating in suspended animation on my kitchen counter?
What if something else happened? Like my plane crashed. Or my kids get sick. Superstition!!
What I need is for JM to get an idea in his head about flushing the fish. A plan that he construes with no influence by me, and which he carries out all on his own. An scenario in which I play no part. Meaning it's not going to happen. He's as clueless about the fish as the kids.
It's stupid, really. If I think about it hard enough, it follows that the mere intention of flushing them, the premeditation of it, should have caused the bad karma to be visited upon me already.
Unless karma procrastinates.
Think I will just wait until the fish declare themselves.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
The only function this story serves is that it is drian-o for my brain-o. And it's funny, in a sick-and-twisted sort of way.
So last Saturday JeepMan took Plato to the local Collegeville basketball game. That left me with Lulu for some girl bonding time. As it turned out, she wasn't in the mood to bond, so she ended up in bed rather early. I decided to make myself useful, so I tackled the under-sink cupboard in the bathroom. I'm a product-junkie (in denial), and at least once a year I need to get rid of as many partially used, dust-encrusted products as I can convince myself to throw away.
As luck (read: misfortune) would have it I ran across a tub of wax and waxing accessories in the bottom of one of my storage bins. I used the stuff like once, a loooong time ago, in a botched attempt to wax my legs (a misadventure that, had I recalled of it, might have saved me from having to write this post at all!).
Idea! The oft-unlit lightbulb over my head glowed brightly and somewhere in my mind trumpets were playing fanfare. Why let the wax go to waste? Here in my hands was a lavender tub of opportunity. I could even score a two-fer: I could try something I have always been curious about AND shake things up in the bedroom, hurrah! And so it happened that I entered into the Brazilian Wax Debacle.
For those of you who don't know what a Brazilian Wax is, check it out here real quick. It's necessary for the full appreciation of the story to follow.
Anyhow, I have a friend who told me she does Brazilians (the procedure, not the people) and her man loves it... so does she for that matter. Says it makes her feel sexy all the time. She does it at home, and has done so for years. Interestingly, she always has her eyebrows waxed at the salon, as she is afraid to screw them up.
Heeeeey...I wax my own eyebrows! I also have a relatively high tolerance for pain. So it stands to reason that doing my own Brazilian at home should not be a problem, right? Right?
You bet! I ain't a-scared!
Tragic flaw #1: attitude is everything. And mine was waaaaay too cavalier.
Tragic flaw #2: research is everything else. And I didn't do any.
So I forged ahead, enchanted completely with this idea and the sexy romantic surprise that JeepMan would get later - woo hoo!
I quickly gathered up my supplies and dropped my drawers. Putting on the bikini wax wasn't quite as ergonomically easy as doing eyebrows, but fortunately precision is not key. One foot up on the sink and a carefully placed mirror, and I was moving right along. The wax is supposed to be put on, then covered with a cloth strip; the premise being that the wax will want to stick to the cloth more than you, so when the cloth is ripped off the wax and everything embedded in it (i.e. hair) will come with it. It seemed to make sense to get the most bang for my waxing buck, so I slathered the sticky stuff from all the way back to all the way front and carefully applied the 10-inch cloth strip.
Took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and YANKED for all I was worth.
Then soundlessely screamed obscenities as I fought the growing black spots and tried to stay upright, what with my eyes rolled back in my head and one foot up on the sink and all.
As I was slowly sucked back into the here and now, my first thought (after "HolyShitThatHurt!!"), was that I still had the other side to do (shitshitshit), followed by the incremental comprehension of a steady "drip, drip, drip" sound...
I looked down in that slo-mo state that often accompanies shock and trauma, and after a few seconds realized that the "drip, drip, drip" was synchronous with the red spattery droplets appearing on my white linoleum floor. It took a few seconds to process, but the end result was a simultaneous realization that I was bleeding and vague recollection of a secondary (decidedly more fleshy) ripping sensation during the wax removal.
Oh my god, I ripped a genital artery!!
Exacerbated by the final, horrifying realization that the cloth strip had very little wax and absolutely no hair on it.
For anyone who has tried waxing of any nature, you might see where this is going. For wax virgins, here's the deal: wax does not come off easily. Soap and water? No way. Washcloth and friction? Mmmm - nope. Repeated attempts to remove wax with cloth strips and further rippage may work but I wasn't about to go there. That left solvent. I used the entire bottle of wax solvent that came with that stupid kit. It worked but whoa-momma-yeowza!! Burn baby burn!
As I was rubbing the stinging solvent into the obstinant wax, the nurse in me was pondering: how many morons present to ERs every day with stories like this or worse?
"Hi, I just tried to wax my vagina at home? By myself? Yeah, anyway I think I ripped out a vulvar artery or something. Well...my labia are waxed together, so it's hard to tell...the point is, is there anything you can do about it? Oh, you have a waiting list...okay, I'll just penguin-walk over to this chair and try not to hemorrhage to death while the ingrown toenail patient goes ahead of me...No, no, it's my own stupid fault. Just make sure they bring out some kind of spatula or wax solvent when they're ready for me to come back, 'cause I'll bet you dollars to donuts I'm gonna end up stuck to your nice waiting room chair..."
After I was cleaned and bandaged (Hell's Angels couldn't have dragged me to the ER for something this asinine!), I got this brilliant idea to RESEARCH brazilian waxing, how to do at home (hindsight being 20/20 and all that). After I sorted through the porno results of Googling "Brazilian Wax" and found some educational stuff I found that every single website said the same thing: "This shoud be done by a trained professional!! Don't try this at home!!"
Okay! I get it, I get it. The hard way, but I get it.
I even came across this powerful video. It's a must-see.
And No, JeepMan didn't get any that night, or the next, or the next.
Maybe I can talk him into a Men's Brazilian sometime though.
It's called a "Back, Sack, and Crack." No Shit.
Ok, so that is out. I feel like I just popped a monster brain zit and it splatted all over this page.
Gross, but man does that feel better.
Thanks for tuning in...until next time.
"It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others."