Staring Down the Barrel of a (Hot Glue) Gun

Sometimes your mind can be so open that your brain falls out.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More NSA stupidity

OK, so does this make sense to anyone else? Our three bottles of juice are confiscated as we go through security at the airport (I did honestly forget about them in my bag,) Husband has to drain his camelback of water, and they made me run Mags' empty sippy cup through El Machino to make sure it was safe too (WTF?) But do you know what they sent through without blinking their eyes? Play-Doh. Right. Because you really want to confiscate fruit punch ("Ha HA! I've got you now! The world is safe once again!") instead of something that basically looks like colored plasticine. Pull your head out of your asses, nimrods! I was SO INCREDIBLY TEMPTED to just leave a large lump of the stuff (or several?) stuck to the undersides of armrests or under seats or in the lavs to be discovered after arriving in SFO (and once I was safely long gone) just to watch them quarantine the plane and call in the bomb squad. Morons!

Arg. At least they didn't mix the colors. That woulda really pushed me over the edge.

Friday, October 20, 2006

And in case anyone really cares...

The school in Oakland where I first started my flight training is a converted hotel that Amelia Earhart once stayed in; I think before she started her round-the-world attempt, or something. I forget.

Letter from Amelia Earhart to Her Husband

I once found this quote in an on-flight magazine. It was shortly after I was married, and I remember that for a while after I read it that I'd wished I knew myself that well, not to mention to have the courage to actually say what she did. It's all the more amazing and interesting to me if you consider the era as well....

In a letter she gave to her future husband, George Palmer Putnam, just before their wedding in 1931, Earhart wrote:

You must know again my reluctancy to marry, my feeling that I shatter thereby chances in work which means so much to me. In our life together I shall not hold you to any medieval code of faithfulness to me, nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly. I may have to keep some place where I can go to be myself now and then, for I cannot guarantee to endure at all times the confinements of even an attractive cage. I must extract a cruel promise, and that is you will let me go in a year if we find no happiness together.

Marriage definitely made me gunshy as well. I wonder how many women out there get married with similar fears; specifcically the fear of loss of one's self. I've only been in one other real relationship besides that with Husband, and during it I did lose myself. I was too young, and if not a complete ass hole, then at the least he was just stunningly clueless and unclear on the concept. He told me what kind of behavior was ok with him and what wasn't. I was afraid to lose this thing, and so I changed myself to be what I thought he wanted. But I did lose. By the end of it, I'd lost most of my self-confidence, doubted everything I did, had no friends and no life and basically avoided men for years afterwards (well, the straight ones, at least.) I eventually got a foothold on myself during that time, but not a lot. Ironically, it was in hooking up with Husband (did I ever mention he was just suppsed to be a quick roll in the hay? Just look at me now!) that I was given the space and encouragement to be myself again. I waited for the longest time for that other shoe to drop; it was just too good to be true.

Marriage still scared the crap out of me. I dragged my feet and kept Husband at bay as long as I could. Losing one's self is incredibly scary - you don't just set yourself up for that again easily. And what more fertile environment for getting squashed than in a marriage, or at least that's what I believed.

Getting married for me was basically a blind leap of faith that it would all work out. Horribly unromantic, I realize, for which I also felt guilt (hooray! More baggage!) I wish I'd known that it was OK to feel like Earhart did; wish I'd known that you could actually say those things and be truly honest with yourself and your partner; wish I'd known how to put myself first, instead of some social code of beliefs and behaviors.

In the end, it's all pretty much a non issue. While there are of course rough patches, being married is pretty swell. I still am learning that I get to be me, do me stuff, put myself first when necessary, and there really is no other shoe that's going to drop, just because I'm married. Really. I don't know that I'll ever completely trust that the shoe is gone. It still seems too good to be true.

Every parent has some small, if secret hope that their child will grow to follow in their footsteps. If Mags never looks twice at an airplane, I'm fine with that. But I hope I can help her take something from this other pilot when she is old enough. Even if she never flies.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Children are a gift

...and they leave you gifts too.

I just found a nice big TURD on our bathroom rug, conveniently located between the toilet and the training potty. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this was probably the Littlest Streaker, who ran around for a while after her bath this morning. There are other alternatives, but I know that a) it wasn't me, b) that would've KILLED our cat on the way out, and c) I don't think Husband was that tired this morning.

This'd be a milestone, as Mags has never pooed without a diaper before, much less just wherever she happened to be standing. I almost feel like I should bronze it, to make a paperweight out of it or a doorstop for a very small door. Or mark my calendar at the very least: "Mags leaves her mark".

OK, all I did was let it peel off the rug and into the toilet like some unsavory fruit roll up ("Corn? I don't remember eating corn.") Now to clean the rug. And who better to give cleaning advice than - you guessed it! - Dr. Seuss:

He ran into Dad's bedroom
And then the cat said,
"It is good that your dad
Has the right kind of bed."
Then he shook the rug!
Now the bed had the spot!
And all I could say was,
"Now what, Cat?

Ewww. Maybe not. Maybe more like:

"What's under the sink?"
Said Mom to herself.
"There must be something better
right here on the shelf."

Then she picked out a bottle
and began to spray.
The spot came right out
and Mom said, "Hooray!"

When Mags came home later,
Mom saw her and said:
"So that's what has happened -
The diaper's on your head!

That's the LAST time I let
DAD give you a bath.
If he does this again,
he with suffer my wrath!"

"That's it, the last straw!
I can't take any more!
I'll just have to find
a new man at the store!"

Then Mom checked the date,
It held a red dot.
"Maybe Dad's not so bad,"
said Mom, "Maybe not."

Off the wagon

Ahh, sweet plastic therapy, may your black stripe erase my black mood.

There really are fewer finer things in life than losing yourself on an unplanned, untimed, unrestrained shopping spree when you're in a bad mood. Scratch that; make that pretty much any time. I've been trying to curb my spending habits, now that I've got an understanding of want vs. need, and how historically I have been a 'want' spender. For the past several months, I've actually been doing pretty good. But today, my need to check out took me to the cash register. Two of them, in fact. And lo, what a suprise, they were the thrift store and the fabric store. Both of which, I am convinced, conspire against me by putting crack in their ventilation systems. I swear it must be true.

I trolled the thrift store for about an hour. I did spend about $20, but am still feeling ok with that. I have gotten *much* better about buying 'needs' there than ever before. I only got one cookbook for me, and one shirt for whichever of my friends has a baby girl first (dude, sometimes you just have to.) The rest was all books for Mags, a raincoat for next year when she outgrows the ducky one, and a nice rain/polar fleece jacket (reversible!) for us to take on our next trip, so that I only have to pack one jacket. See, always thinking! I've also started going through my basket one last time to see what I really can live without before hitting the cashier. I end up putting back about half the stuff I made on my first pass. Plus, I really try to buy stuff that's half off that day. Justification ahoy! Guilt? What guilt? Let's press on to the next store!

Which brings us to JoAnn's. Ah, yes, you can just smell the fibers in the air: the earthiness of the raw silk, the starchiness of the cottons, the flammability of the polyesters. The JA by our house is quite close; probably under 2 miles. On an ambitious day, I've actually walked there. The catch is, it's pretty ghetto. Crappy selection, messy store, constaly overturning staff, poor organization; this store has got it all. You'd think that'd work to my advantage. Nnnope. At one point I still had about $200 worth of fabrics and patterns in my basket. Hell, I must've spent 45 mninutes in the pattern section alone. My dream store would have private booths in the back like a porn shop so that I could squirrel away with my stack of pattern catalogues in order to have some privacy for knocking some bobbins together, or ricking my rack, or whatever sewing euphamism you'd like to make. Whoo hoo! Oooh! Look at the cute maternity outfits! Say, I have a friend who is pregnant..yeah! I'll just whip together a new wardrobe for her with all of my free time. And these natty looking pants! Why, they don't come in my size and I'll have to spend 14 hours altering them to fit my long bod, but hey! They're cute! You, lady, back off! I'm still using all six of these pattern books! You can have them when you pry them from my cold, dead hands, ok?!?

You see my problem.

Then there are the fabrics. My god, if I could only sew as fast as my brain can see the fabulous clothes inside those bolts, just crying to be let out! You hoo, I'd make a great pair of dress pants! (for all of my many formal/work occasions, you see.) Wouldn't I make a great kitchy retro skirt? You know you want me! And me over here, well, I'm just so cool you can't even decide what you want to make out of me! The possibilities!

It's much harder for me to put stuff back at the fabric store for some reason. I had to make 3 entire passes over my basket in order to whittle it down to a fairly painless stash. In the end I bought 5 yards of a sheer black fabric with a red stitched design on it (for that great holiday dress I'm gong to make and fit into in the next month or so. Ahem.) and some stretch twill to make a pair of pants, which I actually am in desperate need of. True, I'm feeling fat right now, so I'll most likely hold off until I am of a more reasonable weight, by whch time I should be back in school full time, won't have the time, and if they get finished at all, it will be during the wrong season. Isn't sewing great?

It's time to eat some lunch now. I really worked up a sweat while shopping off my funk. Why, my little bag-lifting muscles are positively exhausted!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Don't forget to check for personal items left around your seat

Like, say, your pissy daughter?

Yeah, we flew back home last night. Remember that post where I said I wasn't really expecting the flight home to go well? Well, I forgot about that promise to myself and had expectations that Mags would sleep on part of the DET-SFO portion of our flight, as it started an hour before her normal bedtime. Holy f*** was I wrong. I think she maybe slept an hour of that whole thing. We landed at SFO around 10pm, which is 1 am body time for those of us who have been in a different time zone. Factor in running through an airport to make your nexy flight while lugging two backpacks and trying to herd a two year old who stopped to jump over every crack in the flooring on the way to the plane - yes, I was tired and cranky myself. And yes, I probably stayed in MI too long. I was definitely running on fumes by the end of the week (although the trip went suprisingly well. Husband thinks I should have only gone for 6 days, but I can't help wondering if regardless of how long I travel for, I will always reach my internal limit a day before I am supposed to leave. *shrug* )

Anyhow, back to the plane. Again, Mags just did not want to sleep. Squirm, wiggle, throw, whine. Luckily we sat next to a very patient woman who put up with a lot. But I still had to ride herd on Mags, 'cause she was kicking seats of people who weren't quite as understanding (frankly otherwise I woulda just let her bang around in her seat until she passed out. ) Books only worked so long, plastic animals only worked so long, snacks only worked so long -- hell, even the portable DVD player only worked so long! It was probably a good thing we were sitting next to someone, because it really helped me from completely snapping and going off the handle at Mags (ahh, nothing like a little well-placed social self-consciousness to make one act like a good parent.) I did try, I swear. I kept reminding myself that a) she's only 2, b) she'd been cooped up a lot because of the rain this past week, c) flying can be exciting, and d) *I* don't really want to be stuck on this airplane for 5 hours either. But really, by the 3rd hour, if you listened (not too closely) you could definitely hear rumbles and growls coming out of me. Sort of like listening to the ocean in a shell, except what you hear was more along the lines of 'Oh for the love of god!' and "Jesus f***ing H. Christ!' and 'If you don't sit down, I swear...' Not quite as soothing as the ocean, but with less sand in your underpants.

We eventually made it SF. As soon as I saw Husband waiting for us past security, I yelled, "Go long!" and threw Mags at him. I even managed to get a nice spin on her, too. Husband proceeded to magically get 4 pieces of luggage, a cranky little girl and a crumpled wife all to the car and tucked safely into bed at home. Mags'll be in day care for the next two days - amen, hallelujia - so that I can decompress and regain just a sliver of my sanity and sleep. Just in time for us to leave on *another* plane trip Friday! (possibly Saturday; I need to check.) Yes, you see, I am not real good at learning from my past. Who was it that said, "Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it"? Let me introduce myself as the poster child for *that* particular slogan. I always over-extend myself when it comes to travelling. It's like childbirth: it is a huge, often painful ordeal covering many hours, but afterwards, you forget all the bad stuff and just bask in the ether of your happiness; in this case, just to be home. Except that I have done this since before said baby, so I'm not really sure what my excuse is. Well, at least this time, Husband will be with me on the majority of the trip, and at least on the return flight with Mags and I. I love my daughter, but there are just some times when a litter box and a bowl of food sounds like a really great idea....

In my defense, I appologised to Mags this morning. Even though she woke up screeching about some damn thing or another, I made sure I told her that I was feeling grumpy ("See my grumpy face?") but that I wasn't mad at her. She didn't seem to be too scarred from the whole experience, but just 'cause mama is at her limit doesn't mean I need to crap all over my kid. Or my husband, for that matter. I think he got it though, and is giving me a nice wide, not-taking-it-personally berth until I return to my sanity.

And as long as returning doesn't involve ANYTHING having to do with flying, I hope to arrive shortly.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Offspring for sale -- no, for FREE

Holyfuskingshit I am going to strangle my daughter. I have been trying to get her to go to sleep for an hour and a half now, and still she is awake. at least she's FINALLY STOPPED SCREAMING, which is a big plus. So far, our evening has gone something like this:

me in bed with Mags: Ok, we've read 2 Dora stories, now let's snuggle and go to sleep.
Mags: I want my sippy cup.
I hand her said cup: Here you go, love.
Mags takes a swig: This juice is spicy (just brushed her teeth.)
me: do you want some water?
Mags: No, milk.
I lie through my teeth: We're out of milk, but you can have some water.
Mags: Ok.
Dump out juice, get water, crawl back into bed.
Mags takes a few sips: I want juice.
me (tired, and not gonna refill that f***ing cup 14 times): Uhh, we're gonna have water now.
Mags: Spicy juice? Spicy juice? I want spicy juice!
me: Look, hon, when you said no juice, I dumped it out and now it's all gone.
me: We can ahve some water, hon.
Insert freakout meltdown of the ages here; 20 minutes worth. Mags eventually calms down.
Mags: I want to snuh-huh-huggle (sniffle)
Insert 10 minutes of quiet snuggling.
me: Ok, I'm gonna go in the living room now and do some work. Get some good sleep, ok?
Mags: Snuggle? SNUGGLE?!
me: It's time for mama to go do some work.
Another screaming fit.
me (teeth grinding together): Ok, I love you, but I need to go.
Escape to office. Howls of the damned can be heard from 3 rooms away.
13 year old brother enters: Hey, Mags is crying. It doesn't sound like she's gonna stop either.
Enter step-mother: Did you know Mags is crying? I think she wants you.
me (twitching): YesIknowbutIneedabreakbeforeIstrangleher,sorry.
Screams escalate. I stomp back to the bedroom.
father (in hallway): Don't forget to smile!
me, donning calm parenting voice: What's going on, Mags?
Mags: I want to snuggle.


agr. be right back.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-faa fashion

I had a dream.
I had a dream that I was in a Hollywood movie
and that I was the star of this movie.
This really blew my mind.

Or not. But I did have a dream last night. Like all dreams - or at least all of my dreams - it was fairly scrambled and bizarre. I was in a fabric store. No little JoAnn's for me, though. It was a warehouse, with an upstairs that overlooked the lower portion, with crazy notions and trims and mannequins hanging from the ceiling, and every fabric in every shade of every color imaginable. It was like Willy Wonka meets the SCRAP store in SSF. Drawers and drawers full of patterns - patterns from the 70's and patterns of obscure and useless garments. Wizened and grumpy women walking around with tape measures around their necks, grumpily doling out the locations of mysterious goods with pursed lips. And look! There is my brother-in-law, spinning tunes and harrasing me about not owning a particular track (bossy sprocket.)

I was trying to complete a project for school. Like all my dreams involving school, some enormous project is due in a day, and I've yet to start it. So here I am, frantically trying to find the supplies I need in this huge store. (By the way, do those dreams ever go away? 'Cause the whole I'm-not-gonna-graduate-from-random-school thing is getting really old. Next tape loop, please!) Not suprisingly, everything I need eludes me, and a cranky old lady keeps sending me to the wrong department. And then there was that part where the thing with the stuff happens, and the dream completely wanders off into the weeds. Which reminds me of a dream I had when I was a kid where Godzilla was chasing me down National Avenue near my granparent's house in West Allis, except I was running through invisible maple syrup and oh look there's my dentist's office!

Which is to say that the mind works in mysterious ways. And maybe I should charge admission.

But. I did actually remember at least one idea for a design from my dream when I woke up. Aaaand now I can't remember it. Fuck! *sigh* Ok, thinking on my feet....right. So, I've been thinking that A-HA! I remember! Lamb's wool. Or at least faux lamb's wool. I want to make a coat out of lamb's wool. And for some reason I was dreaming of this very fabric, which I know you can buy in fun colors. And I am also in need of a coat I can wear out that is not a) a raincoat, b) a snowboarding jacket, or c) a shapeless polar fleece jacket that Husband stole from someone in his office. Y'know, a nice coat. For an evening out. Dinner with friends. A date with your Husband (cough, cough.) That sort of thing. I was thinking I'd design something that was sort of a modern spin on a 40's style jacket. Hip length for the tall gal, thank you so much. I'll have to do a little research on the style. I can feel how I want it to look, but I can't see any specific details. Makes it a bit more challenging to make it that way, oui?

I also still want to make one of those skirts that swish around the bottom a la Morticia Addams. I'm pretty sure I know how to do it, and I just lurve the way it looks when someone walks in one of those. I saw a gal at school wearing one once, and I could not take my eyes off of it. I can only wonder what she thought I was doing.

I also have this mad dream of making a dress out of two pieces of fabric (well, maybe some sleeves. I'm not sure yet.) There are plenty of dresses out there made of just two pieces: front and back. Fine. But those dresses are all full of horizontal darts and such. What I'm imagining is starting with two rectangles, basically, and just having nothing but long - possibly even dress-length - parallel darts, evenly spaced, to give the dress its shape. Maybe darts is the wrong word. Contoured pleats maybe? Not sure. Have miniscule darts over hips (widest area.) Deepen darts as they go up and over the waist area. Darts fade out as the chest widens and fade back above bust. Darts get very tight around neck and then abruptly zoom back out, creating a blossoming-like effect. Same sort of idea below the hips, too. Long skirt. I think the effect would be really cool, especially if you could somehow highlight all the seams in a contrasting thread, or with piping or something. Or even more bizarre/fun, have the darts be on the outside. Wow! That'd actually be pretty cool, I think! Talk about texture! And to take that even one step further, you could have two layers of fabric (different colors,) sew the darts so that you caught both layers, then you could slash the top layer so that you could see the color underneath along the dart lines. And you could either slash every inch of each dart to get complete lines, or you could just sporadically slash for a different effect. Hmm, I'm thinking maybe fabric with some sort of stretch would work best...

I have no idea if this would even work. My guess is that you'd also need a very specific body type to wear this design, too. Well, a specific body type to not look ridiculous, anyhow. Maybe someday I'll make it and find out.

Zen and the Art of Airplanes

I think airplane flights are the best. Well, maybe I should clarify that. I'm not talking about the red-eye flights, where you land at your destination bewildered, dazed, and with your head now permanently cocked at an unnatural angle from trying to sleep. Nor am I referring to the incredibly cramped seating that even my normal-sized friends have trouble with, much less a gorgeously tall specimen like myself. Nor am I referring to any flight where you are alone with a bored toddler.

No, what I'm talking is the sort of zone you can enter when on a flight. And maybe this doesn't apply to other people, but for me it works better than any retreat center. On a plane, I am forcibly removed from my usual environment(s) and my incessant running around. I am basically trapped in my seat. I may be surrounded by hundreds of people, but 99% of the time I never have to speak to anyone for hours. The drone of the engines covers most noise, and the white noise acts as a comforting blanket to wrap around myself. On an airplane, once I calm down from the stress of getting my ass to the airport and actually into that seat, it's incredibly relaxing. I can read a book and actually get absorbed into it. I can sleep. I can watch a movie, or I can choose not to. The only thing I have to do is just sit. I am never more present in the here and now than when I'm flying.

I have done some of my best and most productive thinking on planes. I've decided the fates of several relationships while on planes. My decision to actually start flight school was spawned by the realization that my life was basically stuck on a hamster wheel while on a plane. I agonized over whether or not to get married while on a plane. In many ways, I have AA, UA, NWA, and ME to thank for getting me to where I am today -- and I'm not talking about Michigan.

Mags and I flew out to MI on Tuesday to visit my father and his family (whole different blog entry for that story.) Normally, flying with Mags isn't too bad, but it is very tiring, and light years away from relaxing. But the fates were with us this week. Of 4 hours on a flight from SFO to DET, Mags slept almost 3 of them. It was wonderful. It was basically like being alone on a plane, which I have not been on in -- what, 3 years now? She passed out about 30 minures into the flight, and expecting it to be a cat nap, I quickly tried to get some rest myself. An hour and a half later, I woke myself with a huge snort (that I think even the captain heard) and looked down to the seat next to me. Just like I'd been only moments before, Mags was lying there with her head back and her mouth gaping like a landed fish. Still hardly believing my luck, I grabbed my Oprah magazine that I'd bought on a whim and started to read it. Mags slept on, and I soon found myself becoming verklepmt over an article about tuna casserole or something like that. I got to read - and I mean actually read, comprehend and absorb instead of my usual quick-skim-and-forget-everything-in-two-hours - half of the magazine! It was like one of those meals where you look up and you realize you've just taken 4 hours to eat, and you can still recal how every morsel tasted.

And still she slept on.

I put my magazine away and for a while, I just kind of was. Content. Relaxed. At peace with the world.

I seriously doubt our flight home will be a repeat performance of our travels here. Nor do I expect any flights - until Mags is, say, 12 and has plugged herself into some sort of electrical distraction - to provide the same sertatonin producing environment while en route from point A to point B. It may happen, but I'm not holding my breath.

Until then, I'm looking forward to being able to fly by myself again.

Offspring Story of the Day

Mags (to naked nipples): Nipples, do you want some crackers?*

*Proceeds to then poke my nipples with a graham cracker.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I'm only *slightly* OCD

I am having to fight every screaming nerve in my body right now. Mags is sitting across the table from me, gleefully playing with her Play-Doh. And what's killing me is that she's using more than one color at a time. Do you know what this means? Can you possibly grasp the importance of this event?!? That means the colors are going to get mixed! Oh, the horror! Oh, the humanity!

I am trying so hard to let Mags play and not have there be a 'right' way or a 'wrong' way. But seriously, I am grinding my teeth together to keep myself from leaping across the table and performing surgery on the ever-entwined ball of greying Play-Doh that is growing. Ok, I'll be honest -- it's not even hit the grey stage yet. That's just me imaginig the worst case Play-Doh scenario. You heard me right - worst case scenario. As if more proof was needed to show how off my rocker I can be at times.

And really, the only reason I agreed to open multiple colors was because we're on vacation, and somehow or another Mags got two completely new sets of the stuff as gifts while here. My reasoning was that if they got too mixed - and here's where it goes beyond ridiculous - I could just throw them away. No, really! Because as a 2 year old, Mags could not POSSIBLY deal with mixed Play-Doh. No! I am saving her from a toddlers fate worse than having her hair washed! Or possibly even combed!

Somewhere, Mr. Bill is laughing at me hysterically. I'm going to have to go do a Google search on 'control issues'....

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Halloween must be close

I just ran over a rubber foot in the road.

Bears and Bulls

I was reading a friend's blog today and just about peed myself laughing at one of her posts (not difficult to do after having a child. Keep doing those Kegels, Minnie.) I mean, up until then, it had never even OCCURED to me to give myself a bikini wax with a maxi pad!! Oh sure, there's been the stray hair pulled out now and then, but wow! Just think of all the time and money you could save! I'm gonna go buy stock in Kotex right now!

Speaking of stock, I have come to the conclusion that I am just like the stock market. Specifically the stock market during a boom. No, really.

A) I look great on paper. Careful editing of the blog helps there.
B) I too implode after swelling to impossible sizes. And one up on the stock market -- I do it every month.
C) I feel like jumping out of a window during my 30's as well!

There you have it. Plain as the nose on your face.


Ok, I really have no idea what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Offspring Story of the Day

me, sitting naked on the toilet: "Do you want to take a bath with me, Mags?"
Mags: Yeah! Do you want to take a bath, nipples? (grabbing and shaking each breast in turn, uses squeaky voice) 'Yes, I do!' 'Yes, I do!'