Archive for August, 2007

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Not exactly the Brady Bunch

August 30, 2007

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But you already knew that, didn’t you?

First of all, there is no housekeeper (as you have heard me moan about on numerous occasions). This little fact is painfully obvious if you came and saw my house right now. We’ve been home from vacation for two weeks and every person’s bag is still sitting right where we dumped it. I think this means we have too many clothes. That and that we’re shitty housekeepers. Once again, please consider yourselves warned. If you drop by for tea unexpectedly, it will not be nice and neat. If you call an hour ahead, please don’t open the closets as all the clutter will be stashed there until after your departure, probably long after your departure.

Secondly, the color of my kids’ hair matches. This actually comes in handy, and I wouldn’t like to be more Brady in this way. It’s helpful not to always have to explain that it’s Jon’s son and my daughter, as if somehow we don’t all belong together because of the timing. When people see me I can sometimes see them thinking to themselves: “Ah, it’s the mother that’s blond.” I normally don’t correct them unless it feels appropriate.

Thirdly, I work. I work hard, dammit – as hard as I can work with a desk job, anyway. So there’s no casserole in the oven or PTA meetings (or even a chance to break lamps, because we all go our separate ways during the day — except when LJ is here, and then he and Jon try to pack a month’s worth of living into a week).

Fourthly, and most importantly, there is no ex-Mrs. Brady and ex-Mr. Florence Henderson in the TV show, and they are most definitely there, in all their brilliance, in my real life.

Back and forth. Give and take. Joy and nail-biting. Ramifications of their choices. Ramifications of our choices.

Take the lid off. Stir the pot. Put the lid back on and pray for the best.

And you may look at my life and think that it looks neat. Because I like to show you the neat parts. And in many, many, many, many ways I am blessed.

But I’ve been thinking lately that I haven’t done a good enough job of showing you the shit side of my life. The side that has me wondering why everyone is so upset about Larry Craig. Isn’t that just what people do? Oh, I know that there would have been a day when I would have been semi-shocked (if not totally shocked), too. I guess going through something like that changes the level at which you find things shocking. (I love to refer to myself in third person when I’m feeling verklempt.) Oh, you didn’t know I had gone through something like that? Whoops. I guess that’s because I didn’t tell you.

What else would surprise you about my life? Would you think the same of me if you knew the things I don’t tell you? What do you think of me now?

For all the pretty pictures, both mine and those of the Brady family, it helps to remember that the latter is fiction (and the lives of the actors were, in reality, just as difficult as any of ours) and the former are chosen because they are the best parts of my life. I could spend a lot of time transcribing the fights that Jon and I have or rehashing old, hurtful stuff, or post pictures of Jon and me in our glasses, sweats and dirty hair (our regular weekend attire). But as so many people say, “Life is just too damn short.” For the good, bad and everything in between, thank you, God, for letting me have this life — dirty house and hair, fish tank with green water, difficult exes and all — because it’s mine.

From season one: “The Honeymoon”

Desk clerk: Oh, Mr. Brady, you have signed this Mr. Brady, Mrs. Brady and family.
Mike: Hmm, I forgot. It’s force of habit. Kids aren’t with us.
Desk clerk: But you did ask for the honeymoon suite.
Carol: Oh, it’s quite alright Mr. Pringle. You see …
Mike: [interrupts her] It’s quite alright darling. No need to explain. It’s obvious that this gentleman doesn’t dig the modern generation.

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My own particular brand of crazy

August 29, 2007

Have you every noticed patterns about yourself? Quirks that seem to come up over and over, even when you’re willing them not to? It could be that you have to turn around before opening a door, or that every year around a certain time you find yourself more accident prone than normal.

For me, whenever we’re having problems with LJ’s mom (as we are now), I start feeling pregnant.

Now, I realize that nausea can be the result of stress just as much as pregnancy, so I do try to talk myself out of thinking of the pregnancy scenario by telling myself that it’s just plain silly to think that I might be pregnant. Of course it’s just stress and wishful thinking.

And I am keenly aware of the fact that subconsciously (and perhaps not so subconsciously) I wish that the kids were ours and that we didn’t have to share. There. I said it.

So there it is, welling up in my gut in the form of nausea that is not entirely a stress reaction to LJ’s mom’s recent move with no forwarding information, no address, no phone and no plans for any future visits: the biological desire to have a child all our own that can only be screwed up by our imperfect parenting instead of all the help we’re getting on the side.

“Yes, waiter. I’d like a screwed up child with a side of guilt. Make that a double, would ya?”

I’d love to write more, but I have a smashing headache and feel like I need to go pray to the Porcelain God for a little bit. I haven’t actually thrown up yet, which is quite comforting. As much as the idea of a baby thrills me, I don’t think I’m ready for an actual baby.

Hopefully this will all pass in a couple of days. If not, I’ll keep you posted.

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An imperfect life

August 28, 2007

This is a post that I’ve started in one form or another many times. In trying to write about it yesterday, I realized that I don’t really know how to write about my life with authenticity the way I can write about someone else’s. Maybe the truth is that I can’t really write about someone else’s life either — it just sounds more convincing when it’s about someone else.

There’s an objectivity that comes with space, even though, in the end it’s still just my perception. I don’t have that space with myself. And I’m aware of it, sometimes painfully aware.

In trying to think through how to be more real with you, I have come up with the following, which is hopefully less laborious than some of the tripe I’ve been saving as drafts.

I’d like to start out by listing some of the things I am most grateful for. They include:

My imperfect relationship with Jon
My wonderful and imperfect children
My children’s health
The fact that my kids are bright enough and sensitive enough to make it in this world
Our home
My job
Family members who are supportive and loving
Extended family and friends who add joy

That’s the short list.

If I were to add to it, I would add: my health, Jon’s health, the ability to see, hear and feel this incredible world. Music. Laughter. Being able to read. Connection in its many forms. Smokey.

But then there’s the list of things I would change. The “I Wish” list. The “I Want” list. I’m of the understanding that one of the primary beliefs of Buddhism is that life is filled with suffering and that the root of suffering is desire. Take out the desire, and suffering goes with it.

In some ways I feel like I should stop wanting these things. In some ways I feel like working to make these things happen is necessary. I’m still working my way through it — especially the big ones.

But today, here they are. My wish list:

I wish I knew that when my kids were with their other parents that they were safe.

Hmmmm. Wish Number Two.

Hmmmmm.

Hmmmmmmmmm.

Actually, I guess that’s about it.

Seriously. I’m sitting here staring at the computer screen, and if I knew in my heart that my kids were safe and cared for, I think I wouldn’t ask for much more.

Oh, maybe that Jon would be a little more perfect.

Or that I would be a little more perfect.

Or that I didn’t have to deal with LJ’s mom’s temper.

Or that my parents and I got along better.

Or that maybe, just once, my ex would write a check for his half of our daughter’s health insurance the way he’s supposed to.

But you know what?

Nothing really compares to the first want. And I don’t know how to make that wanting go away. I’m not sure that it should. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it shouldn’t.

Finding that balance between what to fight for, what to get a new perspective on and what to let go. That’s the trick. Honestly, I’m still trying to figure that one out and probably will be working on it for quite some time.

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Courtesy Notice

August 27, 2007

Apparently I am in a grumpy, grouchy, not-to-be-pleased mood today, so everyone within 500 miles of me, here’s your warning. She Who Would Like To Be Obeyed is on a rampage again, and it always leaves me feeling nauseous. This time is no exception.

Please also note that you will not see any photos of me looking grumpy and grouchy on my Flickr page — it goes against the image I’m trying to be/create, thank you very little. Suffice it to say that I have this very deep crease between my eyebrows that forms whenever I’m grumpy and serves as an instant warning to anyone who approaches.

Add my Garth glasses to the furrowed brow, and I’m pretty much anyone’s nightmare. (And no, you won’t see pictures of me in my glasses on Flickr either. When you grow up as a cross-eyed kid whose last name rhymes with four-eyes, glasses don’t really have that sexy J-Lo appeal, if you know what I’m sayin.)

Jon caught that look once (just once!) on video when LJ shoved my arm off of his carseat last year in a moment of ownership. Had I realized I was being taped, I bet you I wouldn’t have made that face. I find myself once again thanking God and my lucky stars that he didn’t answer my prayer for fame as an actress. The paparazzi and I would not get along. Of that I am quite certain.

I also was just informed that my blouse was on inside out. It’s nearly 3 p.m.

If that doesn’t tell you my mental state, I don’t know what will. I can see the headline now: “Angela so disoriented that she wears clothing inside out!” (And I wasn’t even drinking — what’s that tell you?!) In my defense, my favorite co-worker pointed it out only because she saw the tag, not because it looked wrong. In fact, it may have actually looked better inside out.

I did get a nice note in my inbox today from the friendly horoscope people who tell me that today is going to be crap because of tomorrow’s lunar eclipse. Since I’d already put my shirt on wrong by the time I read that, I can’t think that it’s all just self-fulfilling prophecy.

I think I’d rather be back on vacation with my kids. Scratch that. I know I’d rather be back on vacation with my kids. Maybe just if I were with my kids, period. Doesn’t need to be vacation.

Such a crick in my neck, I’m telling ya.

More to follow. I promise.

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Must be something in the water

August 25, 2007

So I come home and Jon and I are talking, and out of the blue he says:

“I remember a time when I was told I should run for office, but I thought they said orifice, and so it didn’t really turn out so well.

I still got my hands dirty, though.”

What is it with him, lately?!

😉

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Tree hugging (aka Teaching Children Well)

August 24, 2007

I did it.

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So they wanted to, too.

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How I love them.

(And how I am humbly reminded how closely they watch us.)


Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Teach Your Children (Graham Nash)


You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good bye.

Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you’ll know by.

Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of tender years,
Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.

Teach your parents well,
Their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you’ll know by.

Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

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Lessons from the Nature Boy

August 21, 2007

There was a boy…
A very strange enchanted boy.
They say he wandered very far, very far
Over land and sea,
A little shy and sad of eye
But very wise was he.

And then one day,
A magic day, he passed my way.
And while we spoke of many things,
Fools and kings,
This he said to me,
“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return.”

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First photo together (April 2004)