Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Call Me Crazy

I wrote back to the woman whose boyfriend is cheating on her. It took me half the night to think up a good answer. I'll use her story as the basis for this week's ezine, so if you'd like to read it, and you haven't already signed up, go for it.


The issue should go out Thursday, I think, because I'm going to New York to see Mom again tomorrow. I won't see her this weekend because it's Child Two's birthday, and you know how that goes. I really don't like to go too long without seeing Mom at this point because we never know when she's going to step over to the other side.

The doctor's predict it will be by summer's end. Last weekend, my sister didn't give her that long. But my mother has gotten through bad patches over the past few months, so you never know.

Tonight V. and I are going downtown to the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting to voice our opposition to the erection of a 171-unit residential complex slated to be plopped just outside Huntington Center, which is the heart of this charming New England town (picture old churches and a cemetery that pre-dates the Revolution). The cars destined to result from the proposed complex would decimate it.

Speaking of cars, I look forward to the day when we can do without them (as Lewis Black once shrieked, "It's 2005! Why can't we teleport?") Cars seem a bit behind the times, if you ask me.

How lovely it would be if more of us actually used the streets for walking, instead of driving, and said hello to one another, rather than lean on our horns and beat each other to the traffic light. Driving is antisocial.

And, if more of us walked, fewer of us would need to drive to the gym.

Monday, May 30, 2005

It's Memorial Day

The saddest letters I get are from women who are trapped in relationships (or almost-relationships) with men who mistreat them. I received one this morning that took my breath away. The writer has two children with a man who cheats on her constantly; she's walked in on him with other women. He's even cheated with her sister. When I get letters like this, it takes me one or two days to fully process them because they just blow my mind.

It would be easy to write back to her, "Leave him! What's the matter with you?" But she says she's in love with him. So I have to think of ways to help her fall out of love with him; once she becomes indifferent to the guy, she'll be free.

Hey, I've been there. A million years ago, I dated a guy who treated me poorly. Today I wouldn't look at him twice, but that man used to be a drug to me. Couldn't get enough. Ever hear that song by Emmy Lou Harris, "I Don't Want to Talk About it Now?" That sums it up.

Went to Mom's on Saturday and came back yesterday afternoon. Sometimes she loses the ability to speak. Then it comes back. She smiled a lot and says she's happy, though. I suppose that's the best all of us can hope for, to die happy and surrounded by loved ones.

Right now, I'm listening to U2. Peter is outside barbecuing chicken, steak, and potatoes. We may go to B's later for another barbecue. I suppose I'll be eating a lot of fruit and not much else this week.

The weather is warm and sunny, a change from the windy March weather of last week. When I woke up this morning, the birds were chittering. Paradise.

I'm reading The Group by Mary McCarthy. My mother, who came from a later generation, was so much more innocent than the characters in the novel, who graduated from Vassar in 1933. I didn't know that girls got up to all that sex back then. I thought my generation invented it.

Andy Rooney's commentary last night about Memorial Day hit the mark. The best thing we can do for the men and women who lost their lives at war would be to end war altogether. It's hard to believe that the human race is still settling its differences in 2005 by killing each other.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Neighborhood Pig Asks For It!

Making serious strides on the revision of my novel today. Also wrote draft for dating newsletter . Will send it tomorrow morning.

Did an interview with Marketing for Her founder Denise Michaels yesterday. First time I've ever been interviewed (as opposed to interviewing). Don't know how articulate I came off; had Mom on my mind, and the blood sugar felt a bit low.

Went to the Huntington Street Cafe this morning with V. and came across a book called Cooking for the Dead, which is crammed with recipes for the foods fans of the band used to make and sell to support their Dead habit. Some of them looked pretty good, but by the time I thought about writing them down, V. had to go home to get her kindergartner off the bus.

Peter's aunt just called to say she will be in town for a golf tournament tomorrow and wants to spend the night at our house. It's fine with me.

Have only asked the neighbor next door (the one who leans her pizza boxes and old furniture on my curb six days before garbage pick-up) to kindly keep her dog on a leash at least five times. Am not the only neighbor who has made this request. Said mangy mutt has bitten at least one person to my knowledge, craps all over lawns, and menaces my children.

This morning, the nasty little creature jumped at Child One and barked in her face, resulting in tears. Minutes ago, after Peter's aunt's call, we found it stalking up and down our driveway.

Would hate to call the police, but neighbor is not being neighborly. She is not being fair to us or her stupid dog, which has run out into traffic more than once.

Monday, May 23, 2005

What Some People Will Do To Promote a Movie

The weekend started well. Child 2's friend invited her over for dinner, so Peter and I took the older one out to The Metro Grill. Had the magnificent Fromaggio Florentine pizza and two glasses of Cabernet. Brilliant!

A couple came in with their cute little boy and sat at the table next to us. The woman's low-rise jeans revealed considerable ass crack all through the meal. Note to females in the market for fashion: waistbands cut just below the navel are best. They flatter the figure without "cracking up" innocent bystanders.

Spent the night at Mom's on Saturday. She seemed a bit out of it, gave lots of one-word answers, and responded, "I'm just feeling wooonderful, thank you!" when anybody phoned. Her eyes don't light up when she sees any of us anymore, although she still recognizes our voices when we call. Sibling 2 cried all through Mass yesterday due to the change in Mom's condition, but who knows? It could be temporary.

I suppose I was upset myself when I woke up in a panic at 2:30 Sunday morning. I like to read a book when I get like that, so I brought one into my parents' kitchen and closed the door. I drank a couple of Guinnesses, too, for their tranquilizing effect. It occurred to me, though, sitting on floor with two bottles in, that I might be more upset about my mother than I've been letting on.

Today I've been subjected to a deluge of ads for today's Oprah, in which America's Best Girlfriend will interview Tom Cruise ("I'VE NEVER SEEN HIM LIKE THIS BEFORE!") about his relationship with Katie Holmes.

Like the majority of the population, I don't believe this romance is real, and nothing Oprah says is going to change my mind about it. Furthermore, even if it is real, why should I care about it?

I do not care about it. Please stop invading my air space with this crap.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Everything Sounds Like Frere Jacques!

Went to school last night to see Child One sing and play the flute in the Spring Concert. The PTO managed to wedge in their annual induction ceremony before it started -- very slick. I felt rotten about not attending PTO meetings, so now I can say I went to at least one.

Spied the fat bully who threw my child to the ground in the Girls' Room last week. She sang with the 5th Grade Chorus, perched on the top bleacher looking like Pugsley from The Addams Family in an unfortunate horizontally-striped polo shirt. Stuck a smile on my face and banished revenge fantasies.

Peter had to attend a meeting of his own, and he arrived home shortly after we did. After the kiddies went to bed, we watched the second episode of Deadwood, which I'd rented from Netflix. Deadwood is kind of like The Sopranos with horses. Lots of prostitutes, violence, and under-the-table commerce. The word "c-sucker" flies out of somebody's mouth at 15-second intervals.

It's a bit silly.

Monday, May 16, 2005

It Has to Be PMS

I just caught the repeat of Conan O'Brien's show from Friday, which had Robert Plant as a guest. I was forced to sit through Conan's latest fat joke first, this time about Star Wars fans.

I heard Robert Plant's new song on the radio and wanted to watch him perform it. He sounded great, and it's a comfort to see he's stopped wearing the tight pants with the big sock in them.

Does anybody care that Everybody Loves Raymond is about to bite the dust? I mean, thank God. That show ceased being funny years ago. Now it's just spiteful and old.

I went to the supermarket after visiting Mommy yesterday and was once again assaulted by images of celebrities I wish would go away. Does anybody really buy the Katie Holmes/Tom Cruise thing? Why are we expected to have an emotional investment in Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Lopez's marriages?

And, now the Stones are about to bless us with their presence again. I saw Keith Richards perform without Mick and the rest when he promoted his solo album, Talk is Cheap, and I have to say, he's the talent behind the band. (I like Charlie Watts, too.) But that bag of bones Mick Jagger? You can keep him.

His voice has more holes in it than a pouch of moldy Swiss cheese, and his relentless pursuit of young models is highly unattractive. I, for one, would be afraid to have sex with him. He's so bony I'd probably lose an eye.

But the media, particularly The Today Show, continue to cover the Stones forthcoming tour as if it were the second coming of Christ. Or as if United Airlines performed the miracle of making restitution to the employees they bilked out of their pensions.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Don't Mess with Texas

After leaving the ceremony at school where Child One accepted her citizenship award this morning, Peter and I went to breakfast. We overheard a man at the table behind us ordering something called Texas Toast.

"What is Texas Toast?" I asked Peter.

"French Toast."

"Why do they call it Texas Toast?"

"Actually, it's really Texas Freedom Toast," he answered. "They stopped calling it French Toast when France refused to back us with the war in Iraq."

I'd heard of Freedom Fries, but... Texas Freedom Toast?

How about Texas Electricutioner's Toast? They sure fry things up in a hurry in that state. Woo. Eee! Our New Haven-born-and-raised Texan president presided over the executions of 150 people as governor there.

In a related note, the state of Connecticut held its first execution in 45 years last night. Don't we all feel better now?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I Would Not House This Man's Baby for All the Cheese in France

I lost two nights' sleep over it, but the Communion party was a success. Nobody commented on the stain on the rug, either.

Went to Manhattan to visit Mom yesterday. She's hanging in there. We ate some of the box of chocolates Aunt I. sent over for Mother's Day while watching Jane Pauley and Lorraine Bracco discuss depression. I wonder if Lorraine is on the Zoloft payroll.

Watched Craig Ferguson instead of Conan last night. Couldn't sleep but couldn't bear another of Conan's fat jokes about Kirstie Alley or Ruben Studdard, either, so I checked Craig out. He did a really clever and on-the-mark impression of Mick Jagger, and Tori Amos sang a song from her new CD. I think I'll visit Craig more often.

I saw the headlines in the supermarket that Jennifer Garner is pregnant with Ben Affleck's baby, but I didn't believe it. Then I heard the reports confirmed on television. When I think of Ben Affleck, I think about the time he went to that Canadian strip club and performed oral sex on a dancer. I can't imagine having sex with somebody with that kind of history, but different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Adventures in Party Planning

We planned to set up tents and tables outside for the Communion party tomorrow, but here's the official forecast, courtesy of Channel 3: "Nasty, windy, wet, and raw."

No way will the weather get in the way of a good time. We'll put the tables inside and remove them after dinner, the way they do at Irish weddings to facilitate drinking and dancing. Can't promise anyone will launch into a reel in my living room, but let's just say we plan to have enough rye on hand to keep Peter's 100-year-old aunt happy.

I forgot to order the cake, by the way. What a knucklehead! I just hope I won't be stuck whipping up something from scratch; every Catholic family within a 40 mile radius has a kid making her First Communion tomorrow (Peter's brother will shuttle between our party and the Communion party for his wife's nephew in Stratford). The bakeries will be jammed.

And it'll be Derby day! My brother-in-law from New Jersey will surely show up in a new hat and take bets.

My aunt and uncle with the house with five bathrooms will here, too. To say I'm intimidated would be an understatement. Every window in their place gleams like a diamond, so I spent a good part of yesterday washing mine. Never get them quite gleamy, though. And there's a stain on the rug where some bright light spilled a cup of tea. Maybe that would be a good place to stick a dinner table.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Goldie Hawn is Nuts

My mother-in-law is staying with us until Child Two's Communion on Saturday, so instead of writing, I've been chatting, drinking tea, and watching inane TV shows. Yesterday, during The View, we were treated to some advice about men from the perpetually smiley Goldie Hawn.

She believes that men are incapable of monogamy. The poor dears suffer from surges of testosterone, which compel them to bang every women in sight. "That's what men do," Goldie squealed. "spread their seed!"

When one of the broads asked her if her longtime love Kurt Russell goes a-spreading, she said, "I don't ask!" And then Joy Behar, I think, remarked that Goldie had lumped men in with animals, who don't have the benefit of a conscience. Goldie responded with something like, "Well, put your head in the sand then!"

The next guest, Canadian sex therapist Sue Johannsen, set poor Goldie straight. Despite what Ms. Hawn makes herself believe to justify bad behavior, men do not have a biological mandate to sleep around.

It's a choice. Some men do it. So do plenty of women. But a lot of people don't.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Lifestyles of the Fat and Stupid

I find the network news reports advising us how to find cheap gas amusing.

Wouldn't it be smarter to drive less? Or to drive a smaller car? Why do we persist in buying vehicles capable of transporting circus animals? How about taking the train instead of driving for a change?

Maybe if we gave walking a try, we would cease to be the fattest people on the planet.

Monday, May 02, 2005

We Have Been Married 13 Years

Instead of going out for dinner to mark our anniversary, Peter painted the shutters after he got home from work. Thank God; the last thing I need is another restaurant meal, and the shutters really needed help.

We celebrated my birthday Friday night. Ditched the offspring and went out to dinner, and I could actually taste my food without some kid popping up to use the bathroom every two minutes. Afterwards, we dropped in to Costco to buy white towels because even the ones Peter bought in November have already been destroyed. Must have fresh stuff in the bathroom when this Communion party goes off on Saturday.

After Costco, we met C and B and half the town at Danny O's. They sold me the filthiest margaritas on the planet, but it didn't stop me from drinking them. Ran into our babysitter's aunt, Child One's religion teacher, and other luminaries in there. Everybody appeared to have been over-served.