Monday, September 25, 2006

what, me work?

So through the magic of Monster, I have a job interview on Wednesday.

("But you're a freelancer! How can you even THINK about getting a real job?")

I KNOW, it sucks. But it all comes down to money. And I'm flattered that someone even thought to call me after seeing my yawn-inducing resume.

I haven't totally committed to the idea of going back to work fulltime; I haven't worked fulltime in about seven years. I quit to freelance when E was in kindergarten. (Not to mention a couple of years as a teacher's assistant, which I actually enjoyed. I liked the jr. high kids the best; they're wacky and hormonal and rebellious and they don't give a shit about anything but themselves. Just like me! The kindergartners, while very cute and adorable, mostly just wanted me to tie their shoes and help them get the snot out of their noses. Oh, and inspect their heads for lice.)

So I haven't been on a "real job" interview in all those years.

I thought maybe I needed a suit, but then I said the hell with THAT, let them know right off the bat that I'm a confident, capable middle-age woman, and I don't need to wear a corporate monkey suit just to make an impression. Plus, the ones I tried on all made me look dowdy.

I love that word, dowdy. I mean, truly, look at these fucking beat-up softball knees.

So I opted for black low rise trousers and high heel black mules, and a business-appropriate, yet trendy top. It's a good look for me; makes me look about seven feet tall. Just my height ought to scare the shit out of them.

So this is a YOUNG company. Do I flaunt my age and experience? Do I play down my age and experience? Do I play the MILF card? Do I even HAVE a MILF card? AM I a MILF? Maybe I should ask them.

Do I do what I usually do, come up with a ridiculously lame answer to the "what do you want to be doing in 5 years" question? ("uh...uh...well how they hell am I supposed to know that I want to be doing in 5 years?! We'll all be lucky to be alive then.")

"What's your biggest weakness?"

"My knees. My eyesight?"

"What contribution can you make to this company?"

"Well, when the birthday cards get circulated around, I always draw a cute, clever cartoon on them. It's my signature thing, and coworkers usually adore them."

"And I always bring in good candy for Halloween, not those stupid Dum-Dum pops."

So you see what an ill-fated adventure this interview will most likely be.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way

My niece asked me to create a signature cartoon for her wedding reception. I agreed to this because, well, I like drawing cartoons, but I was also thinking of adding yet ANOTHER spoke to the career wheel: if it turned out ok and I enjoyed doing it, then maybe I could make a little money at it. God forbid I should actually try to make a career out of doing something practical, forward-thinking, or something that would make me rich.

I've had close to a year to do it. But because I'm a master procrastinator, I put it off until about month before the wedding. It started to make me crazy. It's all I thought about, yet I couldn't quite bring myself to sit down and start it. I'm project-oriented. I LIKE sitting down and doing this stuff, right? I like drawing, right? Why did I wait so long?

It turned out ok, but: the groom does not really look like the groom. I sketched him out a few times, and when I finally got to the final version, he just didn't quite come out right. Oh, he has the same big head and fuzzy hair that the groom does, but the eyes and the mouth are wrong. It's one of those things that the more you keep screwing around with it, the worse it gets. I keep telling myself nobody really cares about the groom, but the groom does.

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My niece is spot-on. Actually, it looks better in real-life than here.

If someone had paid me to do this, I would feel like a miserable failure. And that, I think, is what kept me from getting right to it: fear of failure. I failed, and it sucks. Well, I failed 50%. So now I have to decide: can/should I try to overcome this fear of failure and the angst this thing caused to perhaps pursue this spoke professionally?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

what, me cook?

When the kids go back to school, it turns my food preparation routine on its ear.

(I make no secret about it: I hate cooking. The dh suggested once that since it's my responsibility to cook for the family, that I should do it "with love." His head still has the dent in it from the frying pan.)

The bad thing is having to make lunches every day. This is a dreary task, often made frustrating when your kids refuse to try something new.

"Hey, how about some lettuce on your sandwich? Live dangerously."

"Ewwww-uh." (When did these simple one-syllable words take on an extra syllable? "No-uh." "Uh-yeah." "It's mine-uh.")

But the flip side of back to school is all the sports practices and games conveniently occur right at dinnertime! Yay! So my obligation to prepare a decent, wholesome dinner is temporarily suspended for a couple of months. Mac 'n cheese, sandwiches, ramen noodles, hot dogs, soup...all now represent the dinner norm. The boys are cool with this, because they don't seem to really appreciate my cooking anyway, and who could blame them. A baloney sandwich, to them, is probably a safer option than some of my other mysterious concoctions like "shepard's pie" and "ham and potato casserole."

So I'm looking forward to these next few weeks of simply "opening" food, not really cooking it: opening cans, packages, the microwave door.

Friday, September 15, 2006


It hit me last night, in a small way, all of the things I might have liked to have done, but didn't. That's where regret lies, right, the things you didn't do, rather than the things you did?

I think about this nearly every day. And it pisses me off, a little, every day. And the list gets longer, every day.

Last night our local PBS channel broadcast a Pink Floyd concert from their Division Bell tour. It was great. A little over the top, but one expects that from Pink Floyd. David Gilmour has the richest, creamiest voice--even hit the high notes. I'm not a rabid fan, but I always liked them.

I never saw them live.

Nor did I ever see Elton John, who I had a crush on back in the early 70s (that is, before the stupid glasses and duck outfits). Pre-1976, he was brilliant. I actually made a sequined pillow with his picture on it. lovedlovedloved him. Back in the day.

In fact, it's getting so I can't remember what concerts I did see. I should be writing this shit down.

And now all these performers who I liked way back when are getting old (hell, even the Half-a-Who just opened in Philly; did I go? No.) may be the last time they're around. But I have other more boring grown-up things to do than get jostled around at a concert.

The regret lingers, of things undone. I'm getting tired of my ordinary life.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

mangled English

I'm on a deadline today, so instead of using what's left of my brain to post something thoughtful, I thought I'd present a list of some of the "isms" I've collected from my youngest son, J.

Kids have a delightful way of mangling the English language, and we all have our favorites. Here are mine:

“Rememberies” (memories)

“Handy Capps” (Andy Capp’s hot fries)

“Squat Team” (SWAT team)

“Bag of lunch” (for bagged, or brown bag, lunch)

“Conolial day” (Colonial day)

“Interrumpting” (interrupting)

“Sticky-ups” (hair that sticks up in the morning)

“Froggy” (foggy)

“Not to be offenseless” (not meaning to offend)

“Underpits” (armpits; this is actually from J's friend)

“I just want some peace and silence” (not wanting the radio on in the van)

“Teenage waistband…it’s only teenage waistband.” (The Who)

"White beater" (wife beater) and "Red beater" (for a red tank top)

"What's the height of me?" (how tall am I?)

“Pepto-Gizmo” (Pepto-Bismol)

J doesn't mangle the language quite as much as he used to; guess I can still count on W to do that for the next couple of years.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

talking to dogs

The first on the list of things I do that my boys find annoying is talking to animals. This point was pounded home during our vacation, when I spent a good part of the time talking with my cousin's dog Liberty.

I never thought much about talking to animals, but after they kept complaining that I was spending WAY too much time talking to the dog, I began to wonder.

I know I enjoy it, most of the time, when people talk to me; animals are no different. Their eyes light up when you talk to them, they wag their tails...I usually don't get that kind of enthusiastic reaction from humans.

I'm always talking to my cat Spooky. It's not just a "you're such a pretty girl" type of cooing, but I'll tell her about my day, what I bought at the supermarket, what I'm pissed at...she doesn't answer, of course, although she's extremely empathetic, to the point it almost makes me believe that she's got the soul of an old dead friend inside her. It's a little, well, spooky.

But dogs are my favorite. They like to please, they like attention, just like kids. So naturally, you start rolling around on the floor with a dog, some conversation is bound to go like this:

"Yes! You're a great doggy aren't you! Yes you are! Yes! Yes, you like to give kisses don't you? With that big wet tongue of yours! Yes! Reminds me of my days in college when I dated a guy whose idea of kissing was to ram his tongue down my throat like an angry serpent! Yes! You must know dogs who do that, right? Oh, you're so CUTE! But then HE went on to dump me unceremoniously--or did I dump him, I forget? Anyway, I never really achieved my potential in college! Did you know that? Boy, I regret that NOW! Now that I'm freelancing in about SIX different careers and still not making any money! I wish I could decide what I want to do! Yes I do! Give me those kisses! Grrrr."

Well, the boys see that and cringe with embarrassment, and later, one actually pulled me aside and said, "Mom, you shouldn't talk so much to the dog."

"Let me guess. Do I embarrass you?"



I guess talking to dogs is cheaper than therapy.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

down on the farm

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Is this:

a. a hog
b. an old boyfriend
c. my mother-in-law
d. dinner

This is Oreo, the hog from my cousin's farm, and probably the biggest hog I've ever seen. It's as big as a frigging sofa. (My cousin and I came to the conclusion that we are 3rd cousins; with Southern blood coursing through our veins, we're pretty meticulous about lineage and try and sometimes even succeed at placing various cousins in their rightful spot on the family heirarchy, even those who are "removed.") She and her family live in Middletown, Va, home of Rt. 11 potato chips, the best doggone potato chips anywhere, in loads of flavors, created in small batches in a little rundown old building in the middle of nowhere. Delicious!

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This is what people who live in the middle of nowhere do for fun. We went creek dunking (wisely, nobody got any pictures of me flailing about on the rope swing, or anything else for that matter), spelunking (preceded by a couple of 11-year-olds clearing brush with machetes), hay-diving, and the boys enjoyed their first drive-in movie, complete with unimaginably bad popcorn.

We also went horseback riding. I haven't been in decades, and I'd forgotten how intimidating it can be to sit high atop a powerful animal who, if she feels like it, can carelessly toss you off and paralyze you for life. While she didn't do that, she did take me through a small patch of woods and saplings, where not only did I nearly lose my right leg when a sapling found its way between my leg and the horse, I also damn near broke my neck when a branch got stuck between my helmet strap and my chin. How the hell does THAT happen? I came out of the woods mostly unharmed, but with a much greater appreciation for people who ride these damn things often.

Now, I'm a suburban gal all the way, so at first, the idea of spending a few days on the farm seemed a little, well, icky. These animals smell, don't they? What's this thing? A tractor? Is that damn rooster really going to wake us all up at 5am? You can imagine my trepidation.

She has horses and the pig, roosters and chickens, a one-horned goat...natural garbage eaters, I found out. We just tossed our uneaten food over over the fence where the animals ate it up. Corn cobs, apple cores, the works. My cousin works very hard tending to her farm and her animals, and while we had a great time and have already decided to return next year, I'm not sure Green Acres is the life for me.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

this is vacation?

Ok, I'm back, I'm beat. But I'll say this for now:

I hate the word "freshly." As in, "salad, freshly prepared the same day." Or, "enjoy our freshly baked bread."

The scariest part of vacation was not the head-throttling roller coasters or the cost of a bottle of water or the way the bathrooms are hygienically, creepily automatic. It was standing in line for water rides with hundreds of wet skanky people in their ill-fitting bathing suits. Fat people, skinny people, pimply people...all joined together in a sea of pretty unattractive humanity. I mean, they'd brush up against you, wet, clothed--barely--in just their bathing suits. They'd holler over your head at Darnell 20 feet away, like you weren't even there. They'd be hustling their little tykes to the bathroom, smelling of a nasty poopy swim diaper. I mean, it was all way too familiar. I have to LIVE with this; why would I want to vacation with it?

Other than that, of course, I love water rides.