Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I am the id to your superego

I've been taking photos of flowers.
Pardon my hyperbole, but I have the best dang friends. Rulebreakers, the lot of you. And thank you for that. Thank you for the emails and Facebook comments when I wouldn't let you comment on that last post. Today I'm still as dull as ever, but feeling better even if the house is shrouded against the predicted heat. Man, I hate having the house closed up and worse - hate shutting blinds and putting up curtains (or makeshift curtains) - but with predicted highs near 90 degrees, it's either that or be a whining puddle of perspiration by 2p.m. because that thermostat is set at 80 and it's staying there even if I have to break every bone in Sophie's fingers. (She's the thermostat fiddler around here.)

Such is my cross. There are people without enough food to eat, Lisa, you goon.

But back to my friends. They offer understanding, care, their stories of similar feelings. There really is something to that old adage Misery loves company. It really is nice to know you're not alone while you're in full wallow mode. Unless, of course, thinking you're alone is part of the fun.

I also received a gentle ass-kicking from a friend who's been in and out of my life for longer than I care to mention. If you've read the Ethan stories under the Little Love Stories tab, you already know him. His real name is Craig and, aside from MathMan, he's probably my best friend. While this might seem odd and dangerously dangerous due to my proclivities toward bad behavior, it's turned out surprising well. Plus and bonus, he lives an ocean away so safe gets even safer. Add to that the fact that I've sworn off cybersex because typing all those mmmmms and oh yeah, babies, right there gets so bloody boring. If I'm going to type out a blow job, I may as well - - - oh nevermind.

Anyway, Craig read yesterday's post and got in touch with me via Skype. Shortly into the conversation, he made an important point: If MathMan had gone quiet, couldn't I offer him some understanding? Wasn't there a better way to handle things?

"Let's see, he's working three jobs, money is tight, his wife can't find a job, he can't finance his daughter's trip to England or even pay the rest of her tuition and, you said it yourself, it's that time of year with the end of school stuff. That shit is hard on a man."

Who asked him anyway?

Of course he's right. He then went on to note that we're doomed as a species because of our horrible communications skills. "Someone wants to talk when the other person doesn't want to listen. Women want to vent while men want to jump in and fix things. We're a mess."

When the man is right, he's right.

Thinking about what Craig had said, I did the simple thing. I asked MathMan how things were going. And he told me. I swear this relationship stuff can be so easy if we're not stupid about it.

Which brings me to Mother's Day. I'm just going to say this - I motherfucking hate that day. And MathMan summed up why. "I can never get it right," he growled at me after I fussed that it was just another day around here. No gift, two hand written cards, which were lovely, but I opened them in between running the restaurant and doing another load of laundry. I couldn't go on Facebook because of all the dumbass Mother's Day posts. I pretty much stayed off the blogs, too, because I was busy being angry and giving my family the silent treatment.

We went to a matinee showing of Water for Elephants and on the way there, I read a book because I didn't want to be myself - I'm a terrible backseat driver to MathMan. With added snark for giggles. I thought I did really well, but when I related this bit of family trivia to Craig as an example of how I'm trying to do things differently, Chloe, who was in the room at the time, reported that I couldn't help myself.  As MathMan barreled down on the stopped traffic ahead of us, I repeated the word "brakes" without ever looking up from my book. Fuck.

But I really hate that day. Who am I kidding? I a total curmuddgeon. I'm not fond of any holiday and partly because of the highflying expectations for magic and, oh god, I am my father's daughter.

The highlight of Mother's Day may have been dinner on the deck with Sophie and Chloe. Sophie is having trouble finding reading material that suits her and holds her attention. At twelve going on fifty-three, she's a tough nut. Chloe rummaged through the box of books she'd lugged home from school and came up with Jane Eyre, Chronicle of a Death Foretold and Eve Ensler's I Am An Emotional Creature. Really.

Sophie opened Jane Eyre, cocked an eyebrow and closed the book. Chloe clucked her tongue in disgust. "You have to get through the first part. And just ignore the marginalia."

"What's marginalia?"

"The stuff I've written in the margins."

As an aside to Chloe, I said, "I want to make a joke about the marginalia I added to Stephen Elliot's book."

"Mother, you're forgetting that you're the mom, not the friend," she replied with a hint of a smile.

"Is Stephen Elliot the guy who's into S&M?" Sophie laid the book on the table. Jane Eyre couldn't hold a precious candle to Stephen.

Chloe turned and gave me a look.

"Point taken," I said.

Chloe read to us from Jane Eyre. I really like being read to. Sophie declared the book beyond her grasp and asked if we had any Agatha Christie. What a kidder she is. I also gave her A.A. Milne's The Red House Mystery so here's hoping. Too bad I don't have any adult Judy Blume or Sidney Sheldon she can find and read on the sly like I did at her age. I wonder if my old copy of Flowers in the Attic is in one of those boxes in the garage?

We're watching too much political television around here again. Could that be it? Anyway, Chloe noticed yesterday that Howard Dean appears to have lost weight. MathMan mentioned that Newt Gingrich has gained weight or, porked up, as he put it so eloquently. I keep track of Howard Fineman's haircuts. Frankly, I liked it when his hair curled at his collar. It was middle-aged Jewish guy sexy and I'm into that obviously.

A text exchange with another friend also reminded me of how social media has changed the way peer pressure continues into adulthood. Before Facebook, twitter, and blogging, I suppose, lots of us went to work or did our thing around the house, and at the end of the day, did whatever we did, but most of us weren't interacting with a handful or more of people unless one was lucky enough to be a regular at a bar or gym or a joiner of clubs. Okay, well, I wasn't. I went home, did the housework, lavished my kids with fifteen minutes of attention, watched television, read or dicked around in the garden. Aside from not wanting to assault the world with my face without make up or the stray pube at the public swimming facility, I didn't much care what other people thought about me. Sure I followed the social norms to get by at work, but I didn't much follow the crowd. Hell, I didn't even know which crowds there were. I was in the phase of life where you just don't care. You don't even care that you don't care, you're so busy. Peer pressure was mostly a curse of the teen years.

Now peer pressure is served up in the form of Facebook, Twitter, and the other social media that create the brackets around our lives. Were you a shit heel who didn't offer all your fb friends a happy mother's day? I was. The hell with that peer pressure that can render things pretty meaningless after a while. I called my mother and left her a voicemail. Want to know where I got my attitude about holidays? You don't have to look far. Growing up, we just didn't make a big deal out of things in our household, if you know what I mean.

And while I'm at it - um, listen, it's Facebook - noting the fb is redundant. See, there I go. It's like repeating the word brakes except someone should be saying that to me and my mouth.

And what about this #FF bullshit on Twitter? We sure can take something fun and easy and load it with all kinds of obligations in no time flat, can't we? I mean, I get it. It's a way of giving, but criminy, can't anything just be fun without being weighed down with all this Have to stuff? I quote Steve Martin in the movie Parenthood "My whole life is have to" which was more true when I had a paying job, but you should see the frowny face texts I get if someone's favorite pair of socks aren't clean so I stick by that quote.

Why can't we just leave well enough alone? 140 characters, light, fun, maybe profound, if you're into that, a link to something you found interesting, but do we have to create structure and rules? Yes, yes, we do. It's how we know what to do next and with which hand to do it. And how not to wear white shoes while doing it, too. Unless it's between May and September. Wheat and chaff and all that. I'm chaff, nice to meet you.

I think my inner anarchist needs some Funions and red pop to make her quiet down.

I never should have turned on the television this morning. The things you see. Our elected dumbasses (possibly my new favorite word) running around repeating their new favorite catchphrase "An adult moment." I'm sure someone or three hundred and sixty-seven someones have already made this joke on Facebook and Twitter, but An Adult Moment for me would probably include the typed out blow job (referenced above). And I sure as hell don't want to pay taxes on that. Unless I'm making over $250k and then go right ahead and tax dollars 250,001 and above because I'm reasonable even if foulmouthed and vulgar.

Your turn. Unleash your inner (fill in the blank) because I think I've said more than enough.


  1. I also hate Mother's Day. Although this year Rich overheard me telling a neighbor I hate Mother's Day, and mitigated some of those. So it was more like every other day, only I didn't have to think up what to cook or cook it. So it was pretty good!

    As for your previous post, nobody has a life like that. A desert sunset sounds nice, until a scorpion crawls in your sleeping bag, and sand blows in your eyes. And you have to drive for hours and hours.

    There is no perfect life, even if people try to project one for selling purposes (and that includes the people glossing over reality on FB, too, to sell you the idea they are happy.) But there can be content, and that is inwardly, not outwardly, driven.

    And since I am often depressed, I'm still working on the content thing myself.

  2. I meant to say "I hate Mother's Day for many reasons."

  3. ya.... I never get cards on mother's day either. nasy kids. but i like marginalia... on whole wheat, with a side apple butter.

  4. I try not to let all the "have to's" get to me...lately that is hard.

    Hope you stay cool and keep on eye on Newt Gingrich for me please. More worried about him than Sarah Palin lately....

  5. 'Unless, of course, thinking you're alone is part of the fun.'

    I'm sorry I interpreted your remarks from the point of view of one of those - in reality that description fits me quite accurately. I couldn't complain online if all the hounds of hell were dragging me to a fiery pit which they have indeed done on several occasions but I haul myself out, dust of the ashes, and assume the burns won't leave too many scars. There, that's my adult moment. I'm glad so many fine friends got in touch and reminded you that life isn't always skittles and beer - except for okjimm.

  6. I like Mother's Day okay, but I consider it a wasted holiday. I am a mum EVERY DAY...why not make it a 24/7 celebration?

    I've turned off the news lately, and seem to be better for it. My blood pressure thanks me, anyway...

    I have come very close to blocking people on Facebook (from both ends of the political spectrum) for their excessive hatred towards each other. As the Lone Libertarian in the group, my views aren't welcome in any conversation/fight they're having...

    I ignore the fighting and talk about what I'm baking instead.

  7. That guy who called you vulgar the other day really got under your skin, didn't he? Look, who cares what some anonymous bored dude thinks about one? You studied French and know how to make pie from scratch. That makes you classy in my book. That and the proclivities toward good mysteries and Anglophilia. And because you used pubes in a sentence without sounding puerile.

  8. I have no opinion on Mother's Day as I am not a mother.

    But what did stick out for me is the lack of Sophie's ideas for books. I seem to be recommending these books to most everyone especially the children of friends, but has she tried the Hunger Games trilogy. It might interest her and then again she might not give a shit about it. I thought it was interesting and a fun read.

  9. Sue - I'm glad it's not just me and I'm glad you had a pretty good day!

    And you're right. What GE is doing is selling an idea, an aspiration, a dream. I can't buy it. I can do things differently, but I don't have to buy their ideal of a life well-lived.

    Okjimm - I really thought you might take that comment in a different direction. Phew!

    MommyLisa - We're watching Newt. And it hurts!

    susan - You're one of my favorite grown ups. I mean that.

    renratt - I think it's time to take a break from all the shouting. You're right. Bake on, sister.

    Summer - Yes, he did get under my skin. It's silly, I know. Thank you for thinking better of me. Pie? It's homemade.

    Josh - I ran it by her and she said she tried to read one and didn't like it. What a stinker she is. I'm going to make her read Wifey now. And then Valley of the Dolls.

  10. Oh Lisa, I'm sorry I haven't been around and didn't weigh in on whatever it was you were writing yesterday (I'll read it after I write this comment, because... well, I'm too lazy to do things the right way tonight.)

    I was busy having my own Mother's Day Melt Down, which, given the pace of things around here I'll just stuff down for lack of time to write it out.

    I found it interesting today to read in my beautifully photocopied handout about hypertension from the company clinic that journaling is actually a recommended stress reliever. They don't make any mention of blogging or other social media venting opportunities, so I'm have to assume the article is ever so old. Still, I'm figuring out a way to use this as evidence based practice for returning to my way of spending hours venting through my little piece of the blogosphere.

    Or apparently, in your comments.

  11. I too hate Mother's Day, and Valentine's Day. Father's Day, etc. Any sort of Hallmark bullshit holiday when love suddenly becomes obligatory. My little guy gave me a book he made at school and a handful of flowers he'd picked in our front yard, and my heart did grow a size or two, but whatever. It was a sneak attack.

    You know what you need to do, right? Finish the manuscript. Or start another and finish that instead. You need to haul your ass up the hill and start singing like Maria, because you are a fabulous writer and I believe you know it, and there is nothing more satisfying in life than smacking down the big one.

    Also, Facebook and Twitter are optional and they seem to be working your last nerve. Ditch 'em. Fuck 'em. Life is too short for anything that doesn't pull its weight in terms of personal satisfaction or professional growth. I drop-kicked Facebook last year and I'm grateful for the freedom every day.

  12. Howard Dean HAS lost weight. I saw him a couple months ago at our conference. He's actually quite cute, up close and personal. And super smart.

    So I didn't spend my Mother's Day with a kid or a parent, but I did enjoy my day all the same. I saw Thor, and let me tell you, he is the reason I enjoyed my day. There's a reason I like men with big hammers. :-)

    Sorry I haven't been around much. I've been trying to get my life together, and the universe is fighting me... Heh. And giving me some good things too, I guess. Maybe it's the other way around. I've been fighting the universe. You too?


  13. My son drove home from school just to have breakfast with me - so I cannpt complain abut my Mother's Day. People felt sorry for me because I had to go to work - women work all the time so what is the difference if I am home at "at work"? I titally get that our lives are nothing but have to. And when my husband tried to say his is like that I want to scalp him...

  14. VC Andrews. How I loved those twisted books when I was that age.

    Facebook. I just don't get it. I have an account because my some of my dearest told me it was a way for us to keep up to date with pics of our kids. Then I have people I barely knew in high school friend me just to add to their numbers, and I agree because, well, I'd feel bad not to. But, as we know, I can't think in small dribs and drabs, and I can't function in a space of people needing a hug, and smiles all around, and Farmtown, and the running commentary about it being Monday again? It makes me feel like I walked into a party dressed as Sarah Palin and people think it's because I adore her. Just. Don't. Get. It.
    Twitter. Oh, man, if I can't figure out Facebook, there is no way I can condense to 140 characters.

    I just don't speak the language. Alas.

  15. VC Andrews. How I loved those twisted books when I was that age.

    Facebook. I just don't get it. I have an account because my some of my dearest told me it was a way for us to keep up to date with pics of our kids. Then I have people I barely knew in high school friend me just to add to their numbers, and I agree because, well, I'd feel bad not to. But, as we know, I can't think in small dribs and drabs, and I can't function in a space of people needing a hug, and smiles all around, and Farmtown, and the running commentary about it being Monday again? It makes me feel like I walked into a party dressed as Sarah Palin and people think it's because I adore her. Just. Don't. Get. It.
    Twitter. Oh, man, if I can't figure out Facebook, there is no way I can condense to 140 characters.

    I just don't speak the language. Alas.

  16. Well I had a horrible mother's day. Not the kids fault though.

    Anyway, hey Lisa I like your writing more and more. You are digging deeper, or maybe it's just me, but I can so relate. I like snark and I like this sassy but reflective attitude you've got going here. :)

  17. Okay. Today you are going to turn everything off. The tv, the radio, the internet. Don't make the beds, don't empty the dishwasher. For one hour you are going to put your bum in the chair and work on your story.

    You may not publish another blog post until this is done.

    Am I clear?

  18. I really detest Hallmark holidays. This year, I was very sad that I would no longer be buying cards for my mother, as she died last December. My husband thought I was cranky this year because of this. Actually, I was cranky because he did something (forgettable) to irritate me.

    There's only been one mother's day of great anger. That was my first. After adopting our daughter in China. Not a damn fool sent a card! I informed my family and closest friends that they'd better acknowledge the whole thing the following year.

    It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who obsesses over Howard Fineman's hair. I was SO thrilled when it became a natural color.

  19. Why don't you guys just become a family of traveling acrobats?

  20. I totally read the adult books as a teen, looking for sex or a scare--Stephen King is a good one at that age. I love how you sound with your family. and I am totally with you on the Twitter thing... It's NICE to get a #FF, but I just can't be bothered to pay that kind of attention!

    I did wish the Happy Mothers Day, but the same post also promoted Hooray Hooray the 8th of May (National Outdoor Intercourse Day) so I hope I'm forgiven for telling all the moms I know to go outside and have sex.

  21. Have her read some Anaïs Nin! That outta get her attention! Or yours. Fuck it, I'm always going to suggest people read the Harry Potter series front to back, over and over and over again. There are nothing in the world that is worth your time except those books. I say that as someone who hasn't picked up a decent book since...oh...the Harry Potter series....

  22. Lisa, my comment on that last post is that your life isn't mundane if you think of yourself as a writer, it's extraordinary! And besides, didn't you say you liked cleaning and all kinds of other details of daily life? I know that I do.

    Mother's Day isn't a focus for me, but my grown kids and one of their sweeties surprised me with a visit and that was really fun. Lots of silly laughing.


  23. sometimes i tell my daughter, "you're my favorite friend" and she says, "no i'm not, i'm your daughter." and then i feel like she's the adult and i'm the non-adult trying too hard. she's seven; it's going to kill me when she's a teen and doesn't want me laying on her bed reading while she's on the floor doing her homework.

  24. I hated Mother's Day growing up because we went to church to hear about the prevailing cultural picture of what motherhood was supposed to be about -- and yet in our family, Mom was the professional, the main breadwinner, and Dad did all those nurturing, home-based tasks. So Mom would end up crying and feeling bad about herself. Father's Day was even worse, when Dad would come home feeling guilty because he wasn't "providing." Blech! Once I started celebrating my parents for exactly who they are, sans cultural expectations, the holiday grew on me somewhat. But it's definitely one of those with some pressure built in; isn't it?

    Now that I'm doing tutoring, I've been rediscovering teen and young adult literature, and there's some amazing stuff out there now, more grown-up in many ways than what we had access to. Check out Tales from Outer Suburbia, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Say the Word, The Unnameables, Hate List, The Devil's Paintbox, Thirteen Reasons Why, and (my own personal favorite new discovery) The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie -- which also, coincidentally, features a heroine who's 11 going on 45.


And then you say....

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