Saturday, September 30, 2006

How to tell you're the parent of a teenager:

#1. The only conversations you have go like this:
(words in all caps should be read in complete exasperation)
Him: Can I go with Bailey to something at her church tomorrow?
You: What church?
Him: the very liberal non-dogmatic one right up here by our house.
You: Sure, I'm okay with that.
Him: OK, I need a note so the youth minister, a man that neither you nor I have ever met, can pick me up at school.
You: Umm, I not really comfortable with that. I'm going to need more information.
Him: FINE. FORGET IT. (Begins to walk out of room.)
You: Well let's talk about this.
Him: YOU ALREADY SAID I CAN'T GO. (Walks further out of room.)
You: Please don't walk out when I'm trying to talk to you.
Him: Oh-KAY. (rolls eyes) GOD.
You: Do you want me to call Bailey's mom to get some more information?
Him: NO. GOD, MOM (rolls eyes)
You: Well tomorrow is kind of short notice. Maybe you can find out more information from Bailey?
Him: Oh-KAY.
You: Maybe ask her what she needs in order to ride the van from school?
Him: Oh. KAY.
You: Maybe we can work it out for next week.
Him (realizing he has already spent more than his entire weekly talk-to-mom time allowance): OH. KAY.

#2. Calls you three times at work to find out when you're coming home because all his friends are up at the bowling alley and he's stuck at home with Dad, who's on a conference call and can't take him.

#3 When he comes home, he walks in the door and straight upstairs and gets on the computer to IM his friends that he just spent several hours with. Does not pass go, does not collect $200. You do not say, "What could you possibly have to talk about?? You just spent several hours with them!" because then you will have completely turned into your mother and that's just too humiliating to accept.

#4 He opts out of the football game of the year - Memphis Tigers (yea!) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (boo!) because it's an 11 a.m. game and he "doesn't want to get up that early."

You were expecting a longer list? He's only been a teenager for 30 days. This is ONLY THE BEGINNING.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A whole week's worth of posts in one fell swoop

Well it's been another week at work. That's about all I can say about it. It only gets more crazy and stressful and insane from here on out, I'm afraid.

Luckily, I've got a great technical invention to save me. It goes by the initials DVR.

Tonight, all I wanted to do was come home, crawl into my PJs, camp out on the sofa and watch the shows I've recorded. I watched season premieres of The Office [hilarious!] and Gray's Anatomy [I'm giving it another chance even though I still carry a huge resentment about how they totally sold out in the season 2 finale], two (2) episodes of House [I missed that one with the alien abductions when I was in CA last week] [Dude! Did you see Joel Grey? Is he really that old, or was that make up?] and - what's destined to become my new favorite show this year - Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Well of course I'm going to like this show because it's got Bradley Whitford and I am madly in love with Bradley Whitford so I'd probably watch him reading transcripts of CSpan coverage. But this show is pure Aaron Sorkin and Tommy Salami (I KNOW it's "Schlamme" which is indeed plenty funny as it is, but it's still a lot more funny to say Tommy Salami) - steadicam, shots of people walking down long hallways, quick & witty repartee. I even liked Amanda Peet in the pilot, and she was the one part of the show I was skeptical about. But she was good in this role. And Matthew Perry is easily the best Friends alumni left standing. Watch this show. Trust me - I picked Gray's Anatomy the first season, too.


Every evening for weeks when I've left work I've had the same idea for a post in my head. Its title: Unfounded Fear. I was going to go something like this: "I have this crazy unfounded fear every day when I'm leaving work that I'll drop my keys down the space between the floor and the elevator...What unfounded fear do you have?" Then today, I'm sitting at my desk, frantically working, as usual, when I overhear someone telling someone else about one time when it happened to them!!! Now I'm totally freaked out, because it turns out it's not so unfounded after all.


I did something completely stupid this week. I bought these shoes. That's not the stupid part. No! These shoes are GREAT! I call them my Christina Aguilera shoes, who, BTW, is looking fabulous this days. The stupid part was that I wore them to work on Wednesday, when I had an all-day event going on. And I stood, in those shoes, for 11 and one-half hours. I'm only just now starting to feel my toes again.


The awesomely trashy Mid-South Fair started this week. Tonight when I was on my way home, the sky was dark and stormy. It was warm and muggy and we'd been under all sorts of warnings all day for severe weather like thunderstorms and tornados. Then the traffic report comes on the radio and they're telling people not to take East Parkway or Central Ave. home, because of all the Fair traffic. Now I ask you: who the hell goes to the fair during a tornado watch? That place is more attractive to funnel clouds than a trailer park. And, ironically, they also have funnel cakes.


When I get My Kid up for school, I get a clean towel out from his cabinet and set it out on the toilet for his shower. This week, he said to me, "Could you not put my towel on the toilet? You know, GERMS."

That's my boy!!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The things you miss

Since I went back to work, I hardly have time to do ANYTHING

Five things I hardly do anymore since going back to work:
1. Cook dinner
2. Sleep
3. Blog
4. Vacuum
5. Read blogs

Since this past week was so long and crazy with the travel and all, I am taking the weekend OFF and trying to relax.

Five things I will do this weekend:
1. Deposit refund check from oral surgeon for overpayment
2. Shop (for shoes) For a Cause
3. Look up the words to that new Beyonce song
4. Buy required list of supplies for My Kid's art class
5. Read blogs

And there are hundreds of post just on my Bloglines feed. I can't believe all that's happened while I've been gone:

1. Two babies have started walking! WALKING!
2. Romans sired a batch of puppies.
3. Alice is pregnant?
4. Mrs. Kennedy's Katie died.
5. Sweety has a new name - and a fabulous new design that features the best mother-son photo ever.
6. Pink Pen has completely moved to a new blog.
7. Joelle is taking a break and can now be visited on MySpace (my first visit ever to that site....which I still don't really get.)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Things I could do better than the people on TV (an ongoing list)

1. Red Carpet interviews
2. Duets with music legends

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

About Palm Desert

First, the heat. GOD, the heat. Today's high: 105. I know, right? The "Desert" part of the title should have been a hint. But it's a DRY HEAT which just means that rather unlike Memphis, whose heat feels like every single person in the city took a shower and left the door open, the heat here feels like someone is blowing a hair dryer in your face.

When we arrived yesterday, I was surprised to find my first ever open-air airport. Because it never rains here, I guess. As we descended on the escalator, it felt like someone opened the oven door and a gush of hot, dry air hit me in the face. It was 7 p.m. I can't imagine if we'd been trudging through there in the bright light of day.

Palm Desert is just about half-way between LA and Phoenix, and people here tell me this looks an awful lot like Arizona. Our resort butts right up to the Santa Rosa Mountains, but - because it's the desert - there's no foliage on them. They look like big piles of dirt. Gigantic ant mounds.

Some of the things I would take photos of if I hadn't forgotten to bring my camera:
1. The Killer Bees Removal truck that was servicing the resort this morning.
errm....killer bees???
2. Rock Star vending machines
Big Daddy drinks about six of these a day. I've never seen energy drink vending machines though. Only in California.
3. The flowers

The flowers are beautiful, and so different from anything we have in Memphis. And as I walk through desert landscapes, I keep smelling this smell that I've never smelled before - like an herb or a spice. I don't know what it is, but I've noticed it in a couple of locations.

In the few hours I had open this afternoon, I tried to go shopping. I went down to El Paseo which is supposed to be their Rodeo Drive equivalent, but I couldn't find anything I liked. Mostly they had casual shoe shops and I was looking for dress shoes. From the looks of this place, the majority of their shoppers are over-tan elderly women with really short gray hair anyway. Not much need for pumps, I guess.

Our presentation to the corporate partner went really well today. Last night I met the company's CEO - clean-cut, chiseled features, young. Surprisingly young, in fact. Four kids under the age of 6. I went back to the room and googled him and found him in a Forbes feature on CEOs under the age of 35. He's 33. Thirty. Fucking. Three. Thanks for making me feel like a complete slacker. (I also learned that he went to, there you go.)

I'm pretty sure our new CEO was a trial lawyer before he became our CEO. Watching him do a presentation is a little like watching Sam Waterston on "Law & Order" - dramatic pauses and all. Very effective, though.

My inner-clock is all screwy. This morning I woke up at 5 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep. And I keep thinking we're two hours EARLIER at home and calling at inopportune times. It's nice here, but I'm ready to be home. I miss my family.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I don't think I packed the right clothes!!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Dear Walgreens,

I can appreciate the convenience of a drive-thru pharmacy. I use it myself sometimes. But quite often, when I'm popping in to pick up mother's little helper, I find that I also need other items - like lip balm, feminine hygiene products, or Neosporin. In fact, I can almost always think of something I need from Walgreens. So most times, I come inside.

But I do not understand why I have to wait so long to pick up a prescription that I called in hours ago. It seems that the pharmacy tech (a.k.a. the guy behind the counter who's not the pharmacist) is in charge of taking care of drive-thru customers, and the pharmacist is responsible for inside customers. This makes no sense to me, because the pharmacist is always down there somewhere that we can't really see but we know she's down there filling prescriptions.

So tonight, I waited at the counter through entire renditions of Bryan Adams' "Straight from the Heart," "Winning" by Santana and whatever hair band it was that sang "Can you take me higher" until the pharmacist finished filling someone else's prescription and came over to wait on me. I'm pretty sure every year of my high school career was duly represented. My high school years may have actually passed more quickly.

Which is just to say: I don't think you're system is working.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

California, Here I Come

This week my project at work has two events going on in Southern California. I was very honored to be asked to attend one of them - the first time since I've been back that they've asked me to travel. One of the events is a video shoot in LA with Jennifer Aniston. The other is a presentation by our CEO at a corporate partner's annual meeting in Palm Desert. I was asked to go to Palm Desert. I'm trying not to be bitter about that.

One way to look at it is that it's a new destination for me. I've never been to the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area. And the place we're staying is amazing:

So I figure, this is where celebs go when they want to get away from LA for a weekend of relaxing golf and spa services. At which point I realized the panicking fact that I DO NOT HAVE A PALM SPRINGS WARDROBE.

Ironically enough, the most appropriate thing I own for my time there is probably a pair of white city shorts.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The kindness of strangers

I went this morning to pick up some doughnuts for breakfast, and I took Big Daddy's car because it needed gas. Then I spent like a half-hour at the gas station trying to figure out how to get his gas tank open. I'm looking everywhere for the little button that will pop open the door. I'm sitting in the driver's seat searching the owner's manual because I feel like I SHOULD be able to figure this out for myself. Finally I call Big Daddy (in Chicago).

BD: Hello?
BD: Huh?
Me (screaming into the OnStar speaker phone): HOW. THE. HELL. DO YOU OPEN YOUR FUCKING GAS TANK???
BD: You just push on the door.
Me (quietly): There's no button?
BD: No. You just push on the door. There's no button.
Me: (hangs up)
OnStar Lady: Good. Bye.

I had no idea they still made gas tanks that didn't lock! In this day and age of $3 gas, who makes gas tanks THAT DON'T LOCK??

So I get out to push open the door and pump my gas. And this truck pulls up behind me and parks. Not by any gas pumps or anything. He just parks behind me. Then he gets out and says, "Is everything OK?" I guess he'd seen me sitting there all this time and wanted to make sure I was all right.

"Yeah..." I say. "It's my husband's car. I didn't know how to open the door to the gas tank! I was looking all over for a button and there's not one," I say, pushing on the door to open it, as a bit of a visual aid.

And he says to me, "Do you dye your hair?"

Wha? But, actually, I just had my hair done yesterday so I thought perhaps he was going to compliment me on how glossy and glorious it looks in the sunlight. But he just says to me, ""Cause you could be a blonde."

Friday, September 08, 2006

How to know when you're in a rut

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I need your help, Internets

The big thing this year for My Kid's school is they're not allowed to carry around their backpacks. They say they're trying to teach the kids "organization" by making them use a binder to carry everything. I'm not sure if that's entirely true, but I'm not going to argue it.

Anyway, we bought one of those big binders from Office Depot with pockets and dividers etc. as instructed. And it has lasted ONE MONTH. He's been in school since Aug. 7 and the damn thing is falling apart already. The rings don't stay closed and all his stuff falls out.

Can someone recommend a brand or a place to shop for a good, heavy-duty school binder?

Also, have any of ya'll's kids read the Whangdoodle book? He's telling me his friends are recommending it so I'm wondering if it's the next "Because of Winn Dixie." I'm a little confused because it's written by Julie Andrews (yes, THAT Julie Andrews) but when I was looking for it online, I accidentally came across a different use of the word.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A: Neosporin

Q: What can you never find around your house when you need it?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Book Report

I can't believe the Crocodile Hunter is dead. And I'm right in the middle of this book about Australia, and I had just last night read this passage:

Nearly every day, it seemed, the papers had a story of arresting improbability under a Queensland dateline.
Alan nodded in accord. "There's a reason for that, of course."
"What's that?"
"They're crazy in Queensland. Madder than cut snakes. You'll like it up there."
At the airport he jumped out of the car and helped me haul my bag out of the trunk and said his farewells. He shook my hand. "And remember what I said about watching yourself up north," he said.
"Madder than cut snakes," I repeated, to show that I had been listening.
"Madder than a sack of them."

So thinking about that reminded me that I hadn't ever given you the last installment of my book report. Hope you find something here that interests you.

One look at the cover of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and I recognized right away that it's written by the same guy who wrote Everything is Illuminated, another book that I found it impossible to get through. I can't remember why I couldn't read it, I just remember that I couldn't get past the first chapter. But this one is written in the stream-of-consciousness of a 9-year-old boy who lost his father in the 9/11 attacks in NY. Oskar Schell is a self-confessed "inventor, jewelry designer, jewelry fabricator, amateur entomologist, francophile, vegan, origamist, pacifist, percussionist, amateur astronomer, computer consultant, amateur archeologist, collector of: rare coins, butterflies that died natural deaths, miniature cacti, Beatles memorabilia, semiprecious stones, and other things." He finds a key inside a vase in his dad's closet and undertakes a secret search throughout the buroughs to find the lock that matches the key. I thought Oskar was charming and sweet.

Teacher Man by Frank McCourt is his follow-up to Angela's Ashes and 'Tis. He says in the prologue that he wrote 'Tis about his life in America and how he became a teacher, but after it was published he had the nagging feeling that he'd given teaching short shrift. So he wrote Teacher Man about teaching English and creative writing in NYC schools. McCourt is such an easy writer to read (as long as you don't try to read it with an Irish brogue, which will slow you down a bit). This selection from page 246 will explain the appeal of this book: "Dreaming, wishing, planning: it's all writing, but the difference between you and the man on the street is that you are looking at it, friends, getting it set in your head, realizing the significance of the insignificant, getting it on paper. You might be in the throes of love or grief, but you are ruthless in observation. You are your material. You are writers and one thing is certain: no matter what happens on Saturday night, or any other night, you'll never be bored again. Never. Nothing human in alien to you. Hold your applause and pass up your homework."

I checked out Everyman by Philip Roth because after reading Gatsby last month I thought it would be good practice to read at least one classic author each time. I'm not sure Roth qualifies as a "classic author" but I thought well, one book that delves into the human condition. But don't all the books I read attempt, on some level, to do that? Anyway. I think you know what I mean. This is the story of a man who gets old and dies. The end. Philosophical. Short. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary in this man's life. Thus, the title. Actually, there's something much deeper going on here: Everyman can be seen as a bid to engage conclusively with the core anxieties that the literary novel exists to confront: How, absent the shadow of God, in new and confusing brightness, shall we decide what we are, how we human animals should judge ourselves and whether we can love our species despite everything? Okay, I copied and pasted that from I have no idea what it means really.

Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland is the story of a lonely woman - as she reminds us about 16 times per page - who is home for a week recuperating from having her wisdom teeth removed, when she gets a call from the hospital. She's listed as the next-of-kin contact on someone she's never heard of. Turns out he's the grown child hat she'd given up for adoption when she was 16. The book is a little disjointed and it takes some really odd turns (like when she takes her lucky meteor with her to Germany and shuts down the entire airport). And the end was so improbable it was completely predictable. Still, overall not a bad read.

About a Boy is my latest love affair with Nick Hornby. I don't know what I'll do when I've read all his books and I think Fever Pitch is the only one left. *Sigh* Many of you, like me, have probably seen the movie starring Hugh Grant which was charming, but Hornby's writing is so witty and insightful and unforgettable.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Impossible instructions

Remember when I said that the tooth is all better, so you don't have to listen to that anymore? I lied.

It seems that I am to be plagued with every possible painful and irritating side effect that comes with having a tooth extracted. They had warned me that the bones formerly holding the tooth in place would shift around and possibly jut out from my gums in a hard, bony mass. Which of course happened to me. And now, it's broken through the gum.

Yes, I have a sharp bone poking out of my gum and into the side of my tongue. So I call the doctor and he says, "Those things usually round themselves out. The important thing is to leave it alone and try not to touch it."

Don't touch that sore in your mouth with your tongue??? He might as well tell me, "Close your eyes and don't think about elephants. " Or, "Go try on shoes, but don't buy anything."

I just want to know how it is that one attains such things

Our neighbors occasionally house sit for some friends of theirs and my son spends the night with them over there. All I ever hear about is the saltwater pool with the waterfall. I'm not sure why someone would prefer a saltwater pool, but whatever. Maybe it requires less maintenance or something.

So last night he was invited to go over there with them again. We had plans to go out to eat, so I got driving directions to the house and drove him out there after we ate. Now, we live in the county, just outside the city limits. And this house was about 10 miles out from mine. It felt like lightyears.

I'm driving out this little two-lane, unlit, country road. The speed limit is 45 but you have to keep hitting your brakes because you can't see where the road goes. The directions she gave me were street names only, no landmarks. So it took a lot longer to get out there than it did to get home. On the way out there, I just kept thinking that I was glad to be in Big Daddy's car. If I have one downfall that I will readily admit, it's that I have a lousy sense of direction. I've never, ever, once gotten off an elevator and knew which way to turn. I figured if I got lost out here all alone on my way home, I'd dial in to Daddy's OnStar and tell them to get me the hell home.

When we finally arrive, I couldn't believe the size of this house. It was 10,000 square feet if it was one. In the front was a big fountain. I drove around to the back of the house where he would go in, and there was another house behind this one - about the size of my home - with a big front porch, dormer windows, etc.

"Who lives there?" I ask My Kid.

"That's the stables," he says.