Sunday, February 15, 2009

Time in a Bottle

I have lately been obsessed with my job search. It is coming up on a year of seeking meaningful, long-term employment. The cloud of desperation has parted a few times in the past few months, to reveal what I should actually be focusing on. How truly blessed I actually am (Yes, it is going to be one of THOSE posts).

In spite of the fact that nearly everyone warned us that "three is worse than two) when it comes to The Toddler, he has been a particular joy lately. He is just the most loving, funny kid. I'm not sure there is anyone on earth who enjoys silliness, tickling and laughing as much as our son. Jenny, bless her, was the only one who said that once E hit three, she was having a fantastic time. I have to agree with her. J has come into his own and I marvel daily at what an actual person he is. When did he develop a sense of humor? Opinions on fish ticks and tomatoes? The ability to lie about farting?

After talking to a close friend with a 16 year old, I want to keep Jack right here, right now forever. I want to keep the kid who doesn't want to go downstairs on Saturday morning to watch cartoons, but would rather snuggle in bed with mommy for a half an hour instead. I want to forever keep the kid that, for no reason, grabs my hand and tells me "I hold hands Mommy. I wuv you." I want to keep the tiny, falsetto voice who sings "Baby Mine" and "Hey Jude" - word for word - with me on so many nights before bed. I've stopped wishing for "when will he be potty trained?" and started wishing for time to stand still.

I have mentioned my group of friends here before. This group of fantastic people who make me laugh until I literally pee a little. These good souls who have offered encouragement, hugs and advice. Oh, and I asked earlier "how do I get a kid like that?" It turns out there is a book! A book most of them have read (1,2,3 Magic...reading it now) that will actually help me raise kids as fantastic as theirs! Amazing. I literally thank God every night for these people. No irony there, since I met them all through temple :)

Then there is the Cashmere Mafia. These are the girls who have come and gone, moves through zip codes and area codes, boyfriends and babies and have all come back to me. I say me, because they are my angels. These are the girls I can call at 3 a.m. in a crisis and who would be packing a bag saying reassuringly "I am on my way." We don't see each other as often as we'd like, but the Girl's nights are my treasured oasis, where I can say anything, give true opinions and they love me anyway.

Finally, there is The 'Wald. The man has the patience of a saint. I am a handful. A moody, sarcastic, passive-aggressive handful at my worst. Most days, he takes it in stride. Ours is not the storybook romance or public displays of affection, but it is the comfy "Hey can I grab that deodorant while you're on the potty" kind of contentment. It works for us the vast majority of the time. Osi is a good dad and incredibly supportive. He loves me when I can't stand myself. I'm grateful he kept pursuing me after I told him - many times and in no uncertain terms - that it wasn't gonna happen. Again, the patience of a saint.

So I'd really like to help Jim Croce find out how to put Time in a Bottle. Yesterday was a pretty good day - I'll take that one, please.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Scoop on JFS

I thought this would be easier than answering the phone or e-mails over and over this evening, so I'll give you all the scoop at once.

I feel like I knocked the JFS interview out of the park this afternoon. I talked to four upper management folks at the the agency - all very delightful. We talked for an hour and I feel like I answered all of their questions spot-on and finished up with a real sense of accomplishment...

Until we got to the hours and salary portion of the show. I was originally told that the position would be close to 30 hours/week. Totally doable at the pay they are offering. This afternoon, the gal who would be my supervisor told me she misspoke and it is a static 20 hours a week. Not so doable.

I would so rock this position. I know I could be a phenomenal volunteer coordinator. i would love going to work every day (or on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, since I would be able to set my own hours). Sadly, I just don't think we can make it work financially.

So, I have to call the wonderful woman who is my would-be supervisor and tell her the news tomorrow.

I know another opportunity will come along. I just have to take a quick minute to mourn this loss and move on.

Just wanted to let everyone know. If you know anyone looking for an excellent volunteer coordinator - give me a call!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Motherhood, or, "Gird Your Loins!"

We had dinner this weekend with Bubby and Zayde, also Bubby and Zayde to Jack's friends Chelsea (3 months younger than J) and Emily (1 year). Dinner conversation turned, as it often does with a mother of a toddler, to bodily functions.

I will say it right out loud: Zayde is a big old chicken. The man hunts bucks with a bow and arrow, and then proceeds to field dress them, but I have seen him nearly lose his lunch over a particularly rancid diaper. Don't ask me how we finished dinner over this talk, but apparently snot bubbles are his particular weakness. He finds them the most horrid, offensive things in the universe. Snot bubbles.

I have seen my father - all 6' 5" Italian Stallion of him - break the sound barrier moving in the opposite direction of helpful when Jack starts to gag. I believe he actually left a puff of smoke shaped like his body, like a cartoon character. He maintains that he was just going to get paper towels. Liar. He still believes that anyone with enough moral fiber can talk themselves out of throwing up. He once left the room green and quiet when the dog barfed after eating too much snow.

I mention all of this because this weekend I was awakened by the sound of a vomiting child. At 2 a.m., I was able to change the sheets, and clean, change and comfort said child all by the glow of his Curious George nightlight. Daddy slept through the entire thing. Or pretended to sleep - one of the two.

I think the last time another person's bodily misfortune made me gag was long before Jack was born. Perhaps once you grow an entire person within your person, you are no longer able to be grossed out by the unfortunate things said tiny person does with their body.

I have cleaned up more puke than I like to discuss. Jack, to this day, has texture issues with his food. If there is an unexpected texture to something, he will hork it up without a second thought. I once saw him hit the dog from 10 paces with the remnants of a bologna sandwich. The kid does not mess around.

We have a special term for those diapers that can make any non-parent beg for mercy - it's the ooey gooey pooey. We must laugh, lest we cry and he mere stench. And snot bubbles? God bless them, kids just can't help it until they learn the mechanics of blowing their noses.

So what is with these men? What makes their stomachs turn as they - almost literally in many cases - run screaming from the room? Man up, people! It's just a little (insert favorite excretion here)!

I've said it before and I'll say it again - only your mother loves you enough to pick your nose.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

And She Was

I write this as my palms continue to grow clammy. Isn't that insane? I was on Facebook this morning and in the "People You May Know" box, there she was. Jodi Marshall Boyd. All I need now is Erin Murray and the unholy triumvirate is complete.

I've got a voice in my head that is saying - yelling, really - that it has been 25 years, why are your palms sweating, you idiot? I know exactly why. There is a quote from someone, I don't know whom, that says something like "People will not remember what you did, or what you said,but how you made them feel." That is exactly why my hands are clammy right now. Even though it has been 25 years, the way Jodi, Erin and (sometimes) Annie made me feel was pathetic.

Even more ironic, Annie just posted our 6th grade class picture on Facebook and here's the thing. I wasn't only NORMAL looking, I was kinda cute for a buck-toothed, pony-tailed 11 year old. I was not, in the least, the most homely kid in the class. (Second row from the back, third kid from the left with the red dress and the barrettes. That's me.) So it begs the question "why me?" Out of 30 kids in that 6th grade class, why was I the target? My guess is because a lot of these kids had been together since kindergarten and it was just plain fun to pick on the new girl.

I used to be thrilled to be invited to sleepovers, only to realize that I was only there to be the target of childhood pranks. It's like they invited the human pinata, who was so happy to be invited anywhere, that she just kept going.

My friend J. says that by growing into a decent human being, having a great family, etc., I actually got the last laugh. While I know on some level he is right, I'd still like to pants all three of these gals in front of a large, unfriendly crowd (which is pretty much what junior high felt like for me, thanks to them).

I am hoping this will be my last blog post about these three. I have talked about it pretty frequently, and I don't like to dwell on the past. It is funny to me that Jodi can still get this very real, visceral reaction from me. I have a feeling it is how an abused woman feels when she hears a male voice raised in her direction.

When Columbine happened, and for years afterward, the media was reporting stories about childhood bullying. Intelligent news people seemed supremely shocked that kids could be so horrid. But when you look at the limitless creativity generally found in kids, and couple that with hormones and burgeoning social status, truly heinous things start to happen. Every time I heard a new feature about bullies - girl bullies in particular, I laughed at the media's naivete.

You know why they are surprised? Their kids never got bullied. They were probably the ones doing the bullying.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My Dog is a Hot Mess

When we were looking to obtain a pooch, I said I wanted one "with personality." Frannie the Wonder Mutt has that in spades. In fact, we often joke that she has multiple personalities.

When taken to the dog park, Frannie wants nothing to do with the other dogs. She will, however, go to up to each and every human and greet them. We have decided that Fran thinks she is a person - and she is NOT a dog person.

Ms. Francesca Grace was NOT down with the new addition to the family three years ago. As far as she was concerned, she had been replaced. For the first 2 years, Fran basically let Jack live, because he seemed important to us, and also he drops food. You know the old joke that the kid is so ugly you had to tie a pork chop around his neck to get the dog to play with him? Well, give Jack a cookie and he has Frannie's' undivided attention. The vet once said that, because she is part lab, she is "highly motivated by food." That is the understatement of the decade. I once saw that little bitch complete a cookie-snatching drive-by, snatching a cookie out of our then 1-year-old niece's fingers. She never knew what happened. Fran never even stopped. Just walked by casually and the cookie was gone.

Osi likes to give Fran table scraps. A practice that I am OK with occasionally, but Os views as a "food = love" situation. Because of this, our 60 pound dog ways 85 pounds. She also frequently eats herself sick. Like a little canine bulimic. Ever try scrubbing freshly-regurgitated cottage cheese out of a rug? It is no picnic, friend.

Also on Fran's list of faults, she hates a bath like Cheney hates transparency. Jack and I attempted to bathe her royal highness on Wednesday. It did not go well. First off, her head is about the size of an underdeveloped coconut when wet. Stick that on the body of an 85 pound dog and what you have is just not pretty. he also gets what we call "crazy eyes" in the tub. So the entire time she is being cleaned, Her eyes are wide and they are constantly darting around the room, looking for a quick escape. Jack, for his part, stood in the doorway holding his ears (his sign of worry) and kept backing out of the room, as if to say "I want no part of this. I tried to talk her out of it Dude. I will not be a party to this."

Here's the thing, Frannie has such a cute face. She has come a long way since we got her over 5 years ago, in letting us love her to pieces. She would not tolerate a puppy hug for the first year. Now, she can lay in bed and be spooned and cuddled while only crying quietly. I mean really, what 5 year relationship doesn't have those moments? :)

We love our neurotic, hot mess of a dog. We love her because she is sweet and gentle and is happy to see us when we come home. We love her because even though she pretends to loathe Jack, she goes into his room every morning, tail wagging, to say good morning. We love her because, when we accidentally leave the gate open, we find her on the front porch, hanging out and greeting neighbors.

She's a hot mess, alright. But she's OUR hot mess. Really, she fits right in.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rush Tells Women to Go F%#@ Themselves

So I am sitting at the table this morning, bleary-eyed and trudging through the morning paper while Jack is fascinated by the Noggin website. The assault to my ears that is Rush Limbaugh came on to promote his afternoon show. I usually tune him out, since I have come to expect hyperbole, right-wing crapola and genuine trash to eminate from his pie-hole. Oh, but Rush took it to another level this morning.

Apparently done, for the moment, Obama-bashing, Rush started with Gloria Steinem. And not just her, but all "radical feminists." let's assume, for the sake of argument, that to Rush, "radical feminist" is anyone who a) wants equal pay for equal work, b) would like the goverment to stay the hell away from their uterus and c) maybe sometimes doesn't don a Playtex push-up.

In London, a Komodo Dragon has managed to asexually reproduce. A fact that I think is worth reporting on for the pure "how-the-hell-did-THAT-happen" angle, but as Rush took as a "women don't need men for anything anymore, not even procreation."

The mocking tone first thing in the morning is irritating, but the general gist of his 2 minute rant was that, Hey, why don't you "radical feminists" take a cue from his lizard and go fuck yourselves, since, you know, you don't need men for anything anymore.

I will proudly admit to being a Democrat, so Rush and I see eye-to-eye on exactly nothing, but, wait a minute here. This is 2009, people, how did feminists become a punchline AGAIN? I am baffled and a little sickened.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Two Rabbis Walk Into a Starbucks...

I was at our local Starbucks this morning, awaiting a meeting that never showed. In walked the very lovely Rabbi Sharon Mars, a extraordinarily sweet woman with what I imagine to be an incredibly tough job. Among other things, she ministers to the area's Jewish prisoners. I introduced myself because she had given a lovely sermon a few weeks ago at temple and also, I was hunting her down to speak at the Sisterhood's upcoming Women's Seder . Funny, that, since I managed to track down Rabbi Abrahamson for the same reason on Sunday by lurking in the temple lobby at the right time (shhhh. Be vewy qwuiet. I'm hunting wabbis...).

We were having a cordial conversation when the apparent reason for her Starbucks rendezvous arrived - Rabbi Misha Zinkow. Misha is the Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel. An eloquent writer, academic and, as I am slowly learning, in possession of a sharp and dry sense of humor (not unlike a nice red wine, I suppose, his humor). He joined us briefly.

Had you told me even 5 years ago I would be standing in a Starbucks in the middle of Bexley chatting it up easily with two rabbis, I not only would have laughed you out of your own socks, I would have chided you ceaselessly for the mere suggestion. Lesson learned. Never say never.

This encounter occurred the day after my job interview at Jewish Family Services for the volunteer coordinator position (sounds a lot like community organizer, doesn't it? I like to think so. I suppose Rudy Giuliani will be publicly mocking me next.) I would REALLY like to get this job. Working with volunteers is my passion and I find the Jewish Community endlessly fascinating, if not amusing in its own little way - the way any ethnic community can be.

Example: when I was growing up and before we moved to Marietta, we belonged to a predominantly Italian catholic church. Kids in my class had last names like Frattioli, Maltempi, Sanzone and D'Andrea. Like any close-knit, ethic community, though, there was bickering on how things should be done (I learned this later). Italians, in case you hadn't noticed, have lots of opinions and prefer to share them at a volume that competes with the opera playing in the background. Since I grew up in the stereotype, I don't mind exploiting it.

Back to the Jewish community... Not a lot of people can agree on what is kosher enough, or observant enough. Orthodox Jews don't recognize Reform Jews as Jews at all. What I am saying is that the community, as a whole, has its quirks and I think it would be challenge and a hoot to work with that every day.

So, with my impending conversion, Sisterhood co-presidency beginning in May, and now a possible job at Jewish Family Services, have I achieved my own trifecta? I dunno, but I shake my head and chuckle when I think about where I have come from, where I am now and where I am headed. By the time Jack graduates high school and heads to Brandeis, will I be a full-fledged, wig-wearing, kosher-keeping Chasidim? I don't see it. But never say never.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Learning to Let Go

I've recently had a bit of a revelation. Although it has long been a running joke that I can be bitter, in the last few weeks, I have examined just how angry a person I actually am. And it isn't healthy. Not physically, not emotionally and certainly not for my current relationships.

For some of you, this is no surprise. Others may think I am not that angry at all. Actually, I'm not sure what A LOT of people think about me, but sure do spend way too much time thinking about it.

There is an absurdly long list of people at whom I am livid, dating all the way back to seventh grade. Now, as a realist, I know there is an excellent possibility that these gals have grown up to be decent human beings. That their own children may even be suffering the kind of torment that they put me through and that, as mothers, their hearts are breaking. Even if that is not the case, they may be just decent people now. So I need to let it go. The hurt those seventh-graders did made me who I am today, and I can't really change that. Except I can.

There's the normal list of ex-boyfriends (just one, really) and people who hurt those close to me - some continue to do so an a weekly basis. The point, again, is that is an absurdly long list. I need to forgive those people in my heart and learn to KEEP forgiving (if those people happen to be family) and keep moving forward.

I wondered aloud last night if the funny was tied to the anger. To which Feeb replied "You're not really that funny to begin with." (She's on the list now.) Funny's what I've got. Funny's what I know. Funny is the armor AND the sword.

Then I think about my friend Sandy, who I believe really is centered, has her priorities straight, and doesn't hold grudges. She is literally the funniest person I know. So, that blows my angry = funny theory, which was my security blanket.

So, where to begin? Do I just say out loud: "Jodi Marshall, Erin Murray, I forgive you."? Will the universe accept that? I dunno. I guess that is where I will begin and hope that my heart lifts a little with each name I say aloud. If not, I'll just turn the whole thing into a stand-up routine (which Feeb, apparently, would not pay to see...) ;)