Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Annoying Myself for Fun

I'm just having one of those moments in my life, the one where I decide that I hate everything about my life. It happens about every 18 months so I'm due. I hate Tucson, hate the house, hate my parenting, hate being a stay-at-home mom, hate our furniture, hate our summer plans. All of which invariably leads to I.Hate.Me. I'm indulging in all sorts of fantasies revolving around living somewhere else, doing something else, being someone else.

Random annoyance - I've had to look up the spelling on a bizarre numer of words the last few days. Not difficult words or strange words, just regular words that I use all the time.

Up until quite recently Arizona license plates have had the pattern 111-AAA. I have far too much fun coming up with words to fit those last two letters. One of the parents at Quake's school has "MYT". Could be "mighty" or, since it's a Toyota, it could be "my T(oyota)". See? Way too much fun. I once saw "LRG" on a...Hummer. But just last week I saw the plate I should have been issued - WTF. My current life refrain.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Preschool Pressure

I've been shopping around for a new preschool. What a freakin' nightmare. I'm pretty sure preschool used to be the place you sent your kids to learn not to hit or bite other kids. Now your choice of preschool determines whether or not your child gets into college. Perhaps it's just another symptom of my lazy parenting, but I have some serious doubts about preschool being my child's defining educational moment.

Why not just stay where we are? It's sort of a perfect storm scenario. I really love the theories behind Waldorf - the gentle environment, the focus on natural learning, fostering a love of learning. But frankly, Quake is bored and he doesn't seem to be enjoying himself. The school is also moving to a new, larger facility...that's much further away. Have you seen the gas prices lately? So off I go in search of another school.

Does this process get harder as the kids get older? Because I'm pretty sure I won't be able to handle it. One school was all right, nothing special, but we were a little leary of the Bible stories (neither Monkey Man or me being terribly religious). The director of the next school kept saying they really pushed academics. "We're focused on academics." "It's all about the academics." What the fuck does that mean for a four year old? Lectures? Independent research projects? I'm not claiming to be a genius, but if you can't explain your preschool program to me, maybe you should go back to school.

We both had very high hopes for the third school on the list. It's a full immersion foreign language program, and two of Quake's friends go there. Too bad their director could star in the video, "How NOT to Win Friends and Influence People." I felt the need to defend my decision to send Q to Waldorf, and he insinuated that Q would need to be in a younger class because he'd be behind kids already in the program. He all but sneered at the other schools I told him we were visiting, going so far as to claim that his was one of only three quality programs in town (the other two weren't on my list). But what really annoyed me was how my friends who already send their children there told me lots of things that were different than what he had told me. Apparently I have trust issues.

So I've signed the boy up for the last school we considered. I'd first heard of it 10 years ago when a woman I worked with sent her child there - smart woman, smart child. It was also recommended by a local 1st grade teacher I know. After meeting Quake, the pre-K teacher was confident that he would do just fine in her class even though he hasn't had any academics yet. And even while telling me they didn't believe their program was right for every child, they made Quake and I both feel welcome.

Does it make me a bad parent that I've not based this decision on his preschool being the "best" academically? Am I terrible if I don't care that Quake's not going to be doing calculus or reading in French by this time next year? Will Quake spend years in therapy weeping in rage about how I ruined his future because I didn't send him to the "right" preschool? I'm not usually a gambling sort, but I'll take that bet.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sushi and Birthday Cake

I'm supposed to be asleep. My mother-in-law took Quake to the store with her so Cha Cha and I could go down for a nap. Cha Cha...not so much into the nap.

Tomorrow Monkey Man and I will be married for 6 years. He's currently packed into a high tech metal tube hurtling itself around the globe and won't even be on the ground again until tomorrow has come and gone. Next year we'll be able to aruge over whether we're married 6 or 7 years.

My mother-in-law came to town Friday evening so Monkey Man and I could get drunk on grain alcohol and eat obscene amounts of raw fish to celebrate. It's a party! I told him during dinner that I still wanted to be a writer (something I've claimed and then abandoned too many times to count). Do you think that means anything? Anything other than I'm obnoxiously long-winded when I'm drunk? As oppossed to when I'm not drunk, and I'm just almost obnoxiously long-winded. Shut up, it's my fantasy.

Cha Cha, the sweet baby, the wonderful, happy baby, decided last night that he doesn't want to take a bottle anymore. So my mother-in-law, she who can "handle any baby, had three of my own, helped raise a few more, was a labor and delivery nurse for over 20 years", was completely worn out by the time we got back last night. I feel bad. But only because I feel just the tiniest bit gleeful at her trauma. Oh, my world has become small and petty, but I'm getting pleasure where I can.

It's a really good thing she's here though. Otherwise I'd be ordering pizza delivery and picking up a generic cake tomorrow morning for Quake's birthday party. And then being glad I had enough paper towels for the pizza since my dishes are all dirty.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fifi's Breakfast

My favorite breakfast - granola, Greek yogurt, fruit, and milky coffee. This particular morning I had strawberries (frozen and thawed slightly in the microwave), but I really love fresh mango and bananas or cantaloupe.

I fell in love with this breakfast while honeymooning in Mexico. Of course my love affair has gotten even more intense since I discovered Greek yogurt. You know it's love when my cheap ass is willing to spend the extra cash.
And let me couldn't give a rat's ass about my breakfast. I swear before I turned the computer on I had a dozen things to write about. Well at least I thought it was a pretty photo.
Just go check out this post over at Go Fug Yourself. I want to be Mad Auntie Fifi! Please, please, please! Yeah, I know there are lots of evil things about getting old, but frankly I'm looking forward to getting a free pass on being a touch crazy. Let them all whisper behind my back about how I'm going senile; I'll be having a blast.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ms Big Deal

We got an invitation in the mail this weekend to the college graduation of one of Monkey Man's cousins. It was addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Monkey Man and Family. Where do I start with how many ways this offends me?

If this had come from someone of an older generation or from someone who didn't really know me, I would have just rolled my eyes and moved on. But this particular young woman is 10 years younger than me, and I was a bridesmaid in her wedding.

First, those of you who know me personally will know that I did not legally take the name Man, prefering to keep my own. But I don't mind all the mail I get addressed to Passing Man. I understand that some people don't get the whole idea of a woman keeping her last name (I mean really, the audacity of these women - it's a miracle they manage to find someone to marry them at all!). I've gotten used to the looks of utter confusion when I explain to someone that my legal name is different and usually just tell people I was too lazy to do the paperwork. I realize it hurts the cause, but I'm just too tired to explain it some days.

And I'm far from crazy about the title "Mrs." Yes, yes, yes, this is from family and of course they know we're married so being addressed in a marital-status-neutral way isn't important, blah, blah, blah. But don't you think, just maybe, a woman who chooses to keep her last name might prefer being addressed as "Ms"?

But of course it's not just the "Mrs" and the "Man". Rather it's the combination of those two plus not even getting the courtesy of my own damn first name. Go ahead, lump me into a category of crazy, angry feminist. Laugh and roll your eyes and dismiss my consternation as just being too uptight. Then start addressing all the men in your life as "Mr. Wife Wife-Surname". The first time, most of them will think it's sort of cute and funny. Keep doing it. Great fun for all of us angry, ugly feminists! Apparently it's only-a-little-thing-not-really-important to people who are only-a-little-thing-not-really-important.

Oh, but the story gets better. The return address label? It was her first name (with her married name). Now why the hell does she get to be Wife Married-Name while I'm Mrs. Husband Married-Name? Arg! At least if her address label had her listed as Mrs. Husband Married-Name I could grumble about her just needing to join the 21st century.

While I know this might come as a terrible shock, it turns out that this issue isn't just about me. The first woman I heard voice a desire to be addressed by her own name was my mother. A woman who came of age before second wave feminism and who was too busy raising a family to participate. A woman who cooked and cleaned and sewed and always baked birthday cakes from scratch. But also a woman who made her own money and demanded that her daughter get an education and be able to take care of herself. The only thing she asked in return was the luxury of being addressed by her own name.

So I think of her when I look at this envelope. You're right, it's just an envelope. Just one invitation. Just a few silly words dictated by tradition. No big deal.

Well it is a big deal to a woman who deserves so much more than such a little thing, and so it's a big deal to me.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Losing My Mind

Do you ever have one of those days where you are certain you are losing your mind? I have them every hour or so. But usually it's just a sort of passing feeling of being overwhelmed; the other day I seriously, for real, thought I might be losing my mind.

I dropped Quake off at preschool and then headed east to stop off at Petsmart and Trader Joe's before my appointment at another preschool. After driving a bit, it occurs to me that I must not have been paying attention and driven past the shopping center. My inner bitch snickers at me, "Loser."

I turn around. After driving far enough west to pass Quake's school without seeing the shopping center, I realize that I've either developed a very serious case of ADD, or I'm really going crazy. I even start to wonder if I'm on the right road. I drive further west just to assure myself that the shopping center I want really is east of the school. Because at this point I'm starting to question reality in general. I turn around again.

Now hyper aware, I feel a dribble from my coffee cup. I look down to see if any of the dribble made it onto my shirt only to be greeted by a huge, wet coffee stain on my chest. My cup's been leaking for quite a while. And I didn't notice. Oh look! There's Petsmart and Trader Joe's, just 2 miles further east than I drove the first time.

There is no longer enough time to visit both stores before heading to my appointment so I pick up cat food since the cats are truly out of food, and I'm sure we can survive another day or two without yogurt. A few hours later, I get to listen to Quake cry all the way home because I didn't buy any blueberry yogurt. Sorry, Sweetheart, Mommy was busy losing her mind.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Weather At This Very Moment

So, yeah, I suck. But while sitting in my car with nothing to do while Cha Cha napped this morning, I wrote the rough drafts for eight blog entries. One can always hope that I might actually use them. Oh, and this isn't one of them so now I have nine!

I took the above pictures on Monday while taking the boys for a walk. I had really intended to get shots of these gorgeous purple flowers that were everywhere. Turns out the spring bloom is a tiny, precious, little spot of time, and I missed them. That group of pink flowers was the only one left that we found, and even most of the orange ones were looking shabby. Would you like to know the names of these flowers-I-will-pretend-are-wildflowers-even-though-they're-probably-weeds? Yeah, me too.

I was also planning on waxing poetic about the lovely spring weather. Then it hit just shy of 90, and I decided I needed to spend some serious time figuring out how to get myself out of this godforsaken hell before another summer burns away what little sanity I have left. Today I put on shorts (I hate wearing shorts - just another satorial quirk of mine, which gives me an idea for another post...), and then saw on the weather channel that the high would be 71. WTF? Not that I'm complaining, but really, wtf?

And just because I feel I must keep rambling on to, in some lame way, make up for not posting for so long, I must point out the folly of the weather channel's city page. The first big, huge thing it shows you? The weather at this very moment. Holy cripes! I could have just walked outside to know what the weather is at this very moment. Here's an idea - make the first thing I see something useful.