In order to prepare for Irene I left work early yesterday and headed to my local target for baby food, water & D cell batteries. I drove out of west Philadelphia and it was like all rules of human civilization suddenly no longer applied – people were driving like maniacs and abandoning their cars anywhere they wanted and the hurricane was still two days away…
Target itself looked like what I would imagine a third world market to look like on the eve of the apocalypse – people were panicked, shelves were empty and the lines to check out extended well past the middle of the store. As I walked in they announced that they had run out of water but were in the midst of unloading a new shipment.
I went to get batteries – they had everything but D cells, I gave up and went in search of the promised stacks of new bottled water… It wasn’t anywhere, I finally flagged down a woman in the telltale red shirt and asked her where I coud find water – “Oh, that’s already gone honey…”
I decided at this point that it was time to give up and go get the really important hurricane supplies. I piled Lucy back in the car empty handed, drove to my closest PA state store, bought 5 bottles of wine and a fifth of gin and headed home.
Things I have learned discovered in the recent past:
Yesterday morning in the shower for no apparent reason “Devil Inside” popped into my head and it kicked off a long internal rambling monologue that ended with the realization that INXS is a word play for in excess – sometimes it takes me 20 years to draw conclusions most people get right away.
Last weekend I found out that it is inadvisable to wash your windshield when your sun roof is open… good to know.
I am in the middle of reading Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi – it’s a very good book, a veritable page turner about what she (and probably most female actors) go through to stay thin in Hollywood. It really makes you think about our society as a whole and our unconscious expectations. But what is really makes me wonder, is why can’t I have the strength of will and determination to develop an eating disorder? I simply don’t have the staying power… so sad.
High school sucked. For reasons that had very little to do with high school itself – it was dreadful for me. Literally the morning after I graduated I got in my car (1986 chevy caprice classic, that was already tightly packed) and hightailed it out of there. I never looked back – I went west, and then I went further west and I made a new life for myself and tried agonizingly hard to forget where I came from and who I had been. It seemed perfect that I could reinvent myself – as long as I never ran into anyone from my previous life. And it worked, well it worked until one fateful day two winters ago, when, bored at work, I decided to join facebook.
My goal in the beginning was only to friend those I had met post high school and current acquaintances, but then I started getting friend requests from people in my graduating class… Casual connections at first. Then it dawned on me that there were people I really wanted to get in touch with – and we started talking and it was great to see what direction their lives had taken and to see pictures of their families, they had families these same girls who I used to have sleepovers with.
This summer I was finally able to see them in person. For the first time in 18 years I drove into my old hometown (with my daughter in tow) and sat down with my friends and their families like no time had passed. And it was wonderful, it was wonderful not to have to explain to anyone where I came from and my background – these girls (women!) knew me, they knew me like no one else I have met since could and we talked and laughed and drank a lot of wine and let our kids play together and it made me sad that I had wasted all that time trying to be someone else when all I really needed was people who really knew me.
I don’t regret the decisions I’ve made – life is MUCH too short for that – and I have had some amazing experiences that would never have happened if I hadn’t gone the way I did. But I have to say that its great now realizing that High school/junior high even elementary school wasn’t all bad – sure my circumstances were not what I wanted but we had fun, we had a lot of fun and it’s nice to be able to look back and remember those times now.
Of course now my only wish is that I lived closer so I could be a part of their lives, and they could be a part of mine, but does geography really matter? They are already a part of my life, a missing part that’s good to have whole again.
On Saturday you turned a year old. No longer an infant you are now a toddler and officially too tall to walk under the dining room table anymore. You hate wearing anything on your head, you love attention and zerberts on your stomach.
This month was a wild ride, you learned to walk like you’ve been doing it forever. You are fearless and brave and always inquisitive.
We spent most of this month in Maine at your Nana’s house. I had you all to myself for two weeks and it was wonderful, I think you were too busy and too enamored of your environment to miss your Dad too much. The first day we got there you took one look at the lake and your eyes got big and you started to breathe real fast and you looked at me and then back at the lake as if to say “are you seeing this?” and then you started to laugh and you laughed and laughed and laughed and it was amazing.
I am so surprised how much of a little girl you are, no longer the little baby that I could lay on the couch and walk away from – there is no taking my eyes off you now. I turn my back and I can find you with your thumbs stuck in the electrical sockets or the cat’s tail in your mouth…
We had two birthday parties for you – one in Maine with my parents, your cousins and some friends. And then we had one on Saturday at your Aunt Beth’s house. Your paternal grandparents, my father, your third cousins and some friends also attended this one. You got to have two cakes – TWO and you loved them both. You got so many gifts that our house is barely able to contain all of your stuff. I can’t wait until you are old enough to write your own thank you notes.
As much as you have grown and blossomed in the last year I am so excited to see what amazing things you will be capable of in a year, 3 years, 10 years from now. I never realized that how proud I would be of who you are and what you can do…
Back when I was attending community college out in California I took this communications class where our first assignment was to give a 10 minute speech on anything we wanted. I did mine on memory, how it worked and how best to remember things – it was good (obviously) because I still remember – I got an A+. I got a lot of A+s at community college. I would say that it’s because community college is pretty easy but I also got a lot of A+s in graduate school… which would make you think maybe I’m just really smart, but mostly I think it’s all about the bullshit – and I can bullshit really well.
Anyway, I digress. The reason I bring up this communication class is because right after I gave my very memorable memory speech the next woman to take the podium had just returned from her first trip to Hawaii. She spoke for 10 minutes on what she referred to as the ‘Aloha spirit.’ She talked about how in Hawaii everyone was so laid back and peaceful and she came away from there more relaxed and carefree than she ever had and wanted to cherish the ‘Aloha spirit’ and try to keep it as long as possible. I have never been to Hawaii but I imagine that you can capture this feeling anywhere, especially if you are on vacation and removed the normal stress and worry of your day to day life.
I feel like when I was in Maine I captured the essence of this. 99.9% of my stress comes from work, because I have a truly wonderful and patient husband and the best baby ever. When I first got my job here a friend who had just become my coworker said to me “Working here doesn’t involve diffusing bombs or operating on babies but it’s going to feel like that every day…” and he was right.
Being removed from work was like heaven. Away from the hostility and angst I was able to appreciate the fact that the little college I work for is not in fact the central pivotal access point on which the entire world rotates. I know many of my coworkers would disagree but I’m pretty sure I am right on this.
Since I have been back I have tried to hold on to this aloha spirit and not get sucked into other people’s aggression, so far so good. Yesterday I deleted several emails that were nothing but rants against the system that normally I would feed into. I even let some truly horrible and aggressive drivers in their giant gas guzzling SUVs cut in front of my on the way to work – even though they are ruining the earth and making me late – I decided that was their karmic dilemma not mine and since I’m not really sure what time I’m supposed to actually be at work – does it really matter if I’m a few minutes later?
I feel better – I’ve been sleeping better and even yesterday afternoon when Lucy dumped the dogs bowl full of food upside down for the third time I decided to just laugh instead of yelling at her.
I hope that I can continue to remember that what’s really important is not my bosses’ mood or the crises of the moment that our Dean has invented inside his head but my family and their health and happiness and safety (although she really shouldn’t be eating dog food).
On my drive home last night I saw what appeared to be a band of gypsies huddled under the bridge across the street from the zoo (it was raining really hard, thus the huddling). I thought briefly of stopping and asking if they were taking on any new members. I thought leaving my office job and raising Lucy in a caravan of old gypsy souls might be just the thing that I was searching for, but as I slowed down I began to notice their rag-tag appearance, the notable lack of shoes on their kids and the serious deficiency of teeth in the adults. Upon closer inspection I realized that perhaps these wernt gypsies after all but just a group of Philadelphia homeless that had happened upon some brightly covered scarves.
Disappointed I continued on my way thinking that perhaps I should cast a further net than just the corner of Girard and 34th streets if I want to find a true band of gypsies and also maybe I should clear this with my husband before I quit my job and buy some long skirts.
Note to self: find out when the circus comes to town.
I haven’t had wine in um… 39 hours (I’m not counting) which I guess means vacation is over, I would never go that long if I didnt have to work and drive and deduct reasonably.
Lucy and I had a fantastic time in Maine, most of our days went something like this:
Get up, be cute
Take a hike up the hill (for a little excersice and great views)
Have breakfast, take a nap
Bang pots around for fun
(did you notice how cute those overalls are?)
Go eat ice cream
Take a nap
Play with magnets while Nana tries to make dinner
I don’t have any pictures of the last three because all three require the use of both of my hands. Let’s just say there were many hours spent on the porch watching it get dark, drinking boxed chardonney (don’t judge me) and thinking how nice it was not to have a television.
Coming back home to civilization was really rough – there is traffic here not to mention its freaking hot, there won’t be jean and sweatshirt evenings for months! There are a few things I’m grateful for like consistantly hot showers with water preassure, my simmons beauty rest mattress, and my husband – not in that order.