Archive for Personal Crap

26 Oct 2010

I’ll never be popular (A sad tale of a Twitter Dork.)

14 Comments Personal Crap, Uncategorized

I am about as popular on Twitter as I was in high school. If you time-travel back to me in high school, you’ll realize that I was not popular. Not even a little. It seems Twitter utilizes the same kind of social tests that were used back in the 80’s to make my life a living hell. I keep failing. Except this time it’s not because I have a big nose. Well, that’s not the ONLY reason at least.

Twitter is literally set up to make people like me feel terrible about themselves. The whole goal is to get as many followers as possible, and I’ve never been able to get followers in LIFE, let alone the world wide web of social disgrace.

First of all, when I first logged on I stupidly asked a hilarious woman who had her twitter shit together if she could help me get followers. I had no idea that was a “no no” because I had no idea how much work it actually is to get people to follow you.  I’m sure she was like, “Up yours, Lady! I worked my ass off to get my 35,000 followers and now YOU want me to help YOU when you’ve only been here for three freaking days??” Of course, as soon as I realized my idiotic mistake I tried to make up for it, but she has alienated me ever since. I guess I understand.

Then I’m supposed to craft the perfect “tweets” to get people to respond and follow me and love me. And I rarely do, because I’m a dork. As usual, I have no idea how to be one of the popular chicks because I’ve never been one of the cheerleaders or on student council. I’m a drama geek and only the very few people who “get” me are on my side. And, seriously… The fact that I’m whining about TWITTER is EMBARRASSING!!  A month ago I didn’t even want to know what Twitter was! I had no desire to be a part of it. But as soon as I started, I wanted to be liked. Because that, my friends, is human nature. And as much as I really don’t care if someone doesn’t like me, I care about these faceless, random Twitter people. That is pure insanity.

So, should I try to be one of the popular hot girls? Should I stick with it and figure out the ways of the Twitterverse? Should I start dressing differently and put on lipstick and high heels to get the boys (and girls) to notice me? Should I take hip-hop lessons so I can learn the dance-team cheers? Should I get contact lenses so I can lose the glasses? Should I put out? You see where I’m going here, I’m sure. Do I fight for my Twitter popularity or do I just give up? Do I stay and hang out in the corner with my loyal, awesome friends who like me for ME? Or should I log out and move on with my life?

Tweet me and let me know what you think. HA! See what I did there?

I wrote this post earlier today and here is a side note:

Today a hot, popular guy tweeted that his followers should follow me. It was a classic “super hot, popular jock who also happens to be INSANELY SWEET feels bad for the dorky girl he cares about” move. It got me 25 followers, which is a 10% jump in under 12 hours. But I just know they’re all talking behind my back, wondering what’s “so great” about me and why the hot guy is my friend. One of them probably even thinks I slept with him. Well, I DIDN’T! I just helped him write his essay about “Catcher in the Rye”.

25 Oct 2010

Rituals

12 Comments Personal Crap

I keep wondering what my son’s rituals are going to be. We all have them, and as a kid I had nothing BUT them! I know Garrett already has some, like the stuff he does before bed. But I think I created some of those, like saying goodnight to the shadows because he used to be scared of them.

But when I was a kid, it probably really got under way when I was around five or six, I had a litany of things I’d do to get through the day. I did the typical “step on a crack, break your mother’s back” stuff. I’d accidentally step on a crack and go back to the beginning to fix it. Sometimes my 5 minute walk home from elementary school took 20. I’d play basketball on my driveway at home and say things like, “If I miss this basket, Mom will die.” Then I’d miss it and say, “I have to make three baskets in a row, and she’ll be okay.” Miss again. “I have to make five baskets in a row.” This would go on until I’d get however many baskets in a row I’d need to make everything right again. I’d rush to make sure I got it done before it was time for my mom to leave work. I didn’t want her driving home before I had saved her life.

I think that’s all fairly basic stuff. I also did the constant hand-washing, checking everything 100 times, making sure doors were locked… Oh WAIT! I still do all that stuff NOW! I’m not OCD, just slightly OCD. I’m SOCD. It clearly started years ago.

So, here’s where it gets weird. Please take this all in and try not to laugh at me. Not too hard, at least.

I prayed a lot. A whole lot. I’d pray for hours. I’d cry and pray until I fell asleep. Every night. Mom, if you’re reading this I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. It was just something I had to do. I’d pray that my family would be safe. I’d pray that Russia wouldn’t get us with the nuclear bombs. (Reminder to self: Don’t watch the news with Garrett around until he’s a teenager.) (Other not to self: You don’t watch the news, remember?) (Last note to self: Watch the news occasionally. You should be more informed.) I would pray and pray and pray. I’d say the same thing over and over hundreds of times, really fast. It involved people not being raped or murdered or harmed or looked at wrong or underdressed at a fancy event. No, seriously. It was odd. I think I thought of everything bad that could happen to a person, and prayed that it wouldn’t happen to anyone in my family or friends, or any “good, god-fearing people in the whole world.” I was a very concerned little girl. And sleep deprived from all the friggin’ praying. I still pray a lot, but sleep is more important to me now.

Here’s the thing I did that I never thought I’d admit to the world. I told my sis-in-law about it years ago, and she still brings it up today. I had over 100 stuffed animals. I knew all their names and I gave them each a sip of water before bed. But that’s not the thing. The thing is, whenever I’d go out of the house I’d talk to them. Here’s what I’d do: I’d say, “Tune in, tune in, tune in”, and then all of them could hear me. I’d talk to them in my head and I’d also let them in on all of my conversations and classes, because they could hear what was going on around me. If I wanted them to stop listening I’d say, “Tune out, tune out, tune out”. Here’s where the HILARIOUS part comes in. A lot of times I’d tune them in at the beginning of the day, then hours later I’d realize, “Oh SHIT! I never said ‘tune out!'” And I’d think, “Did I say anything horrible that I wouldn’t want MY STUFFED ANIMALS to hear?” Then I’d tune them in, just in case I HAD tuned them out, and I’d apologize for anything that might have offended them.

Oh my god. I just read that back. I’m a tool.

So, Garrett will obviously not be a normal child. My husband and I are both nut-bags when it comes to locking doors, setting alarms, waking up to make sure the oven is turned off… So I’m sure some of that will be passed on. And I can only assume the other crazy shit will somehow make it into his genes as well. I hope someday he writes a blog so I can find out what his rituals are, because otherwise I’ll never know. Unless I start a new ritual: Watching and listening to every little thing Garrett does or says. Oh wait, I already do that!

Please share some of your own childhood rituals so I can feel a little less crazy.

23 Oct 2010

What I Learned Today From My Zit

6 Comments Personal Crap, Uncategorized

It’s amazing how many lessons a person can learn every day, if they’re up for it. Since having Garrett I’ve discovered things about the world and myself that are constantly surprising. Tonight, for example, I learned the difference between a Spinosaurus and a Dimetrodon. In the last three years, I’ve learned I’m capable of bathing, clothing, feeding and loving a child in ways I never knew I could. And I’m constantly learning how to be less worried about every little stupid thing that’s wrong with me, because I’m more concerned with what’s going on with someone else now.

These last two summers were eye-openers for me. When you have a kid and you live in Los Angeles and you go places that have  pools, that kid usually wants to get into the pools and swim. Apparently it’s not okay for infants and toddlers to swim by themselves, so an adult usually has to be with them.  Guess who swims with Garrett? ME! After the age of 30, it was rare that I would ever get into a bathing suit because the thought of someone seeing me in it gave me the chills. But now, when Garrett wants to swim, Mama puts on her suit and swims! It’s a matter of me thinking about G having fun instead of who’s staring at my unbelievably white and not-very-toned upper legs.

This brings me to today. I have a zit on my chin that’s so big, a family of four could live there comfortably. I am not exaggerating. Okay, maybe a family of three. But there would be so much room for them! This thing is huge. My husband can literally not look at me without starting at IT. He doesn’t even try. It’s like my face is a hot chick and the zit is her huge boobs. “Hello!  My eyes are up HERE!” Get the point? It’s big. It’s really unfair to people for me to even leave the house because I’m putting everyone in the terrible position of having to act like they don’t see it. They DO see it. Believe me.

Years ago, there is no way I would have left the house with this thing on my face. I would have been ashamed and disgusted. I would have tried to hide it, worn my hair as huge as possible, worn a scarf too high on my neck… And this would have all been in the HOUSE. But I have a son and he had a dentist appointment and I also promised him a trip to the mall and a special pancake lunch with Daddy. And I didn’t even think for one second about anything else but getting him up and dressed and taking him all over town. We even stopped in on our friend who owns a store and said hello. I pointed out the zit (as if I even had to) and told him it was ok if he couldn’t look away. But I seriously didn’t care! I had a great day. No one pointed and laughed (to my face), no one ran screaming from any room I was in. And I wouldn’t have cared if they did because Garrett and I were having a blast, he got a great report from the dentist, and pancakes make me happy.

I know it sounds silly, but to me it’s a major victory. My stupid vanity takes a backseat now to things that are far more important. And that’s awesome. I’m not saying I no longer care about this stuff, because I do. Of course I do. But I don’t let it take over my life like it used to. I’m actually sad about all the time I wasted in my life, hiding because there were things I didn’t like about myself. It only took 38 years to stop that. Now I have the rest of my life to inflict my hideousness on the world. And I will. Because I have a son and, according to various studies, I can’t sit in the house watching Nick Jr. with him all day.

I hope you enjoyed the artist’s rendering of my zit, drawn by my darling husband, Russell Arch.

21 Oct 2010

Jesus Loves Target

5 Comments Personal Crap, Uncategorized

Yesterday I was at the Church of Target, getting my staples: cereal, bread, bunny grahams. You know the drill. Garrett and I were having a really good time, running down the aisles and eating food out of boxes we hadn’t yet purchased.
When it was time to check out, a lovely African-American woman said, “I can take you over here!” I have to be honest, I’ve never heard those words uttered at Target before. Usually the lines are long and slow, but I deal with it because I love it there. So I made my way over to her register and said, “Thanks! How are you today!” “I’m great”, she replied. “I’ve gotta keep it light and happy around here, there are so many angry people coming through.” “Oh. I bet you get a lot of jerks”, says I. “Well, that’s why I turn to Jesus. He makes it all good.”

This is where I usually stop listening. I’m Jewish and I probably am not going to be converted by a woman in a red polo scanning my Cottonelle toilet paper. But she kept talking. “I’m 56 and I’ve been married 21 years”, she continued, “Jesus transformed me. If anyone ever asks how I do it, it’s because I keep my eyes on the Lord and he transformed me. I’m happy and blessed every day.” I said, “Good for you!” And I meant it. This 56-year-old didn’t look a day over 40 and she clearly was living what she was preaching. “He cured me of Lupus.” “He did?” “Yes Ma’am, he did. I had it since I was 23 and he cleared me of it. My doctors couldn’t understand. But I knew it was Jesus.”

Well! You can not argue with those results! This woman was happy, youthful, obviously enjoying her job, and was rid of a horrible disorder. “That’s amazing”, I said as she finished bagging my stuff. “Good talking to you. Hope you continue to have a blessed day!” A BLESSED DAY???? Did that just come out of my mouth? I never say, “Have a blessed day” to anyone! But the truth is, she was awesome. I felt uplifted. I had already been in a great mood, getting to spend the day with my son, getting errands done… But she made it even better. Happy people do that. Whether they’re happy because of Jesus or chocolate cake is beside the point. However you can find that happiness, without hurting others or yourself, is good enough for me. Frankly, I wish more people would find something to believe in that makes them kind to people, makes them laugh and makes them joyful.

I’m not a huge fan of organized religion. I think a lot of it is bullshit and financially driven. But I am a huge fan of enjoying life and living it to its fullest. So if there’s a Jesus and he’s looking down on this woman, I’m very pleased for her. I pray to my own God and I pretty much keep it to myself. But my God and her Jesus have a lot in common. And they were both at Target yesterday around 11:00 AM.

20 Oct 2010

It can’t all be bagels and cream cheese

5 Comments Family, Personal Crap

Growing up, my Grandma used to have us over frequently for Sunday brunch. It was a long drive from Woodland Hills to Fullerton, but just the thought of the bagels and lox, and blintzes and goodies that Grandma would make was totally worth the drive. She and my Grandpa (these are my dad’s folks) lived in a delightfully cozy little house that was immaculately kept and always smelled like something baking and my grandpa’s cologne. Oh, and pipe tobacco.

We always ate at the dining room table in front of the dry sink with the big, wooden salad bowl on it that now sits in my dining room, beneath a picture my dad painted when he was in his twenties. There was always a ton of laughter at the table and a lot of eating. Grandma always made the best coffee, too. A teaspoon for each cup of water plus one for the pot. I still do that today. My grandpa would sit at the head of the table and cut all of our bagels with a giant, serrated knife. I would watch his hands, tanned from golfing with long fingers and thin knuckles. There was something incredibly deliberate and delicate about the way he cut a bagel. I can see it so vividly now.

Grandma would have everything prepared and get up constantly to make sure we all had what we needed. She’d always make sure our elbows were off the table, our napkins were on our laps, and we weren’t talking with our mouths full. Grandpa would usually tell some brilliantly hilarious story, complete with 9 different accents. He was one of the last great story tellers. After we ate, she’d bring out homemade cookies or rice pudding or chocolate cake. Then we’d all go into the family room where there would be a newspaper opened to the bridge section on the table and a book that someone was in the middle of reading. My parents and grandparents would talk about life and politics and my brother and I would play with their metal tic tac toe set or watch TV, or go into the office and look at Grandpa’s things.

I swear I look back at these times as “Rockwellian”. I feel like you could paint a picture of any of these brunch Sundays and hang it in a store that sells Americana. And it would sell. My grandpa passed away when I was 14 and I was devastated. For weeks I felt like I was walking through fog. The next ten years, my grandma and I became very good friends. As soon as I got my driver’s license, I would drive to Fullerton for lunches or dinners just to hang out and talk. She was still cooking and baking, but we’d eat at the kitchen table now; the dining room saved for only very special occasions. She loved to know everything that was going on with me, with boys, and with friends. We’d shop for clothes together. I still have a skirt I bought the last time I shopped with her. I can’t throw it out. That was 15 or 16 years ago.

After my grandpa passed away, my grandma was still very social, very active. She dressed beautifully and exercised daily. But there was a tiny bit of her that had clearly changed. A part of her that was lost. I wonder what my niece and nephew see in my mom now. Is she different to them? She isn’t to me. She’s just in mourning. Grandma passed away when I was 24. She did it gracefully, just like she lived her life. One day I’ll tell you the story.

Tonight Garrett was walking around using his baseball bat as a cane. He put on a different voice and came into the kitchen saying, “Hello!” I said hi and asked him who he was. “I’m Grandpa! The one with Grandma Joan!” I asked if he meant Grandpa Art. “Yes! Grandpa Art! Do you want to come with me?” I said, “Sure! Where are we going?” “Just to my room”, he said. I bent down and hugged him a little too hard. “I miss you, Grandpa Art”, I said. “It’s good to see you.”

Garrett won’t remember much about his Grandpa. Heck, he only knows him walking with a cane or a walker, and that didn’t happen until the last year or so. I hate that he won’t have a memory of him like I do of my grandfather. I hate that he won’t know what my mom was like when she was around my dad. But I sure as hell hope he knows her until he’s well into his teens. I’m so lucky I was able to know my grandparents as long as I did. I had my mom’s mom around until I was 21, too. She was sweet and beautiful and could cook anything better than I’ll ever be able to. I can’t stand that Garrett won’t have stories about my dad. But I’ll tell him as many as I can, and I hope he can see him in those stories the way I see my grandpa still today. At least he’s thinking about him. And he let me see him for a minute tonight, too. That’s a start.

I’ll tell you what I just realized reading this post back. Garrett will have all of these people in his life forever. The way I make my coffee, and will teach him to make it. The way we laugh at meal time (and ALL the time), the traditions we have that will be passed down. The storytelling and the discipline. The foods that we love, the games that we play. All of this is a part of me because of Them. And all of it will be a part of Garrett. That is a very comforting thought. As comforting as a bagel with cream cheese on a Sunday morning in Fullerton.

18 Oct 2010

Becoming a Man

4 Comments Family, Personal Crap, Toddler

This weekend my family celebrated my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah, a Jewish ceremony marking a boy’s (or girl’s) 13th birthday and the fact that he is becoming a man. It represents the change from a boy with little social responsibility to a man with the onus to do good in the world and to affect positive change. It’s a lovely service at temple where the young man reads from the Torah, surrounded by all of his friends and family.

A Bar Mitzvah is also a big, fat party with music, food, dancing and pure chaos. It was an absolute blast, and I saw my kid do some stuff that blew my mind. First of all, he was in a suit. Garrett, my adorable little man, looked like a lady killer in his pin-stripe jacket and tie. When we got into the tent that held the festivities, incredibly loud music poured out of the speakers… And Garrett promptly covered his ears and scrunched up his nose. “It’s too loud!”, he screamed. And I thought we were in for a very long, frustrating night. But then a song came on that must have been “his jam”, because all of a sudden he ran to the dance floor and started rocking out. I mean, he wasn’t merely dancing, he was feeling the music and busting a freakin’ move! This dance fest lasted for about an hour, and I’m still sore. I danced with him (well, NEAR him) the entire time and I had the sweat pouring down my face to prove it.

I finally pried him away from the dance floor long enough to say hi to some folks and have a little drink. Then the DJ started playing a song I requested at the beginning of the night: “The Final Countdown”. If you haven’t read my post on this little ditty, now might be a good time to do it. Suffice it to say, it’s Garrett’s favorite song. And as soon as he heard it, he ran full speed onto the dance floor and started going nuts! Within seconds, he was surrounded by every one of the 80 tweens attending the party. Outside of them were the rest of us, staring in wide-eyed awe at the three-year-old in the middle of the floor. At the chorus Garrett started to jump up and down, and so did all the kids around him. It was like he was their short, blond czar and they all had to do exactly what he was doing. Then they all started chanting, “Go Garrett, Go Garrett, Go Garrett!” and he kept dancing. Read more

15 Oct 2010

Toddler Senility

2 Comments Personal Crap, Toddler

You know what gets me? Garrett won’t remember any of this time in his life. I guess he’ll remember a feeling, a general sense of well-being and security (hopefully). But he won’t remember all the cool stuff we do together or all the amazing things he does on a daily basis. He won’t remember how much he loves dinosaurs or how he wakes me up in the morning by saying, “Mom! Ma! Mommy? Mama! Mom. Mom. Mommy?” He won’t remember how proud we were of him when he got potty trained or how much we laugh when he does his “crazy run” in the living room. I hate that he won’t remember the first time he actually liked his broccoli or how we try to get him to tell us about his day at the dinner table.

He won’t remember how excited he was when he saw a Blue’s Clues bouncy in our backyard on the day of his second birthday, or how much fun he had spraying his friends with water on his third. He won’t remember how it felt to feed a cow an apple for the first time or how hot it was the day we went to the Oregon State Fair.

It seems so odd to me that he’s living so much life every day and he won’t remember a damn thing about it. I mean, at three you’re learning new words, new sensations, new tastes and smells. You’re meeting new people and seeing things daily for the very first time. Garrett’s excited to see airplanes and the moon and he loves to pet dogs and ask people their name. How do you take in so much information and not remember later on in life how it all got there?

I think part of it makes me sad because I love the moments we share, and I wish he’d know years from now how great they were. But he won’t. And that’s just odd to me. I wonder why it’s set up that way? Are we not meant to remember this time because it’s too precious? Is it because everything else that comes after this part is so dull that remembering the majesty of the beginning would destroy our souls? Or maybe there’s just not room in our brains to hold all the new stuff we’re learning AND bank it all in our memories.

I try to write as much as possible in his baby book and make some albums of photos. But I wish he was going to remember how perfect he is right now. I wish he’d be able to look back and see how much he makes us laugh and how lucky I feel to be with him, even at 6:30 in the morning when all I really want is a cup of coffee or to go back to sleep… Even in those times, maybe especially in those times, I wish he was going to remember.

But the years will go on and, God willing, we will create new memories as a family. And I will do my damndest to make those times memorable for us and for Garrett.

14 Oct 2010

Eating My Feelings and Feeling Like Crap

5 Comments Personal Crap

I really can not stop eating since my father passed away.  I never thought I’d be the kind of person who eats when depressed or anxious. But OH MY GOD AM I THAT KIND OF PERSON!!  I just sat down to write this because I polished off a huge bag of kettle corn without even knowing I was doing it, and I don’t do those things. I don’t. I never have. But now I do. I always do.

I recently lost about 9 pounds and felt thinner than I ever had in my whole life. I’ve never been fat, but I’ve always felt fat. That’s one of those truly American neuroses to have. It’s stupid and a waste of time, but I do feel fat about 90% of the time. The other 10% I’m just too busy to think about it.  But in this small window of time after I lost the 9 pounds, I felt thin.  I really, actually felt thin for the first time ever. Even when I was 5’5” and 98 pounds in high school I didn’t feel anywhere near this thin.  I was liking the way I looked in clothes, and I was strutting around the house naked. Okay, strutting might be an overstatement.  Naked might be an overstatement, too.  But I was walking around the house in boy shorts and tank tops feeling pretty MILF-like.  I think I might have even told my husband he was a lucky guy at one point.  Yup.  I was feeling thin.

But then my father died and I haven’t stopped eating since. Really, anything that’s been put in front of me, I’ve eaten.  I put a lot of the weight back on, and now I’m feeling fat again and afraid I don’t know how to get back to where I was before. If you were to ask anyone who knows me, they would tell you that any time I say I’m fat they want to slap me in my face. And I understand that.  I’m not fat. But I do feel like a stranger in my own body sometimes, and when my jeans get tight and my stomach seems to be hanging over my pants a little, and I have love handles and my arms aren’t tight… Well, I just kind of hate myself. So, what do I do? Do I figure out how to love myself with a few extra pounds on me? Or do I go back to being strict and take the weight off again?

In the past there wouldn’t have been any debate her, so maybe I’m making some progress. I’m grateful for the comfort that food gave me when I needed it, but now I want to find something comforting that isn’t as damaging to my body or self esteem. I thought it might be a good idea to start taking walks, doing some deep breathing, and trying to drink a glass of water when I think I need a snack.  These would be good starts.

But more than that, I think I need to learn to be more forgiving of myself, and more understanding. Why can’t I love me no matter what my jeans feel like?  My husband does. My son does. My family and friends sure do.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think one of them would give a rip if I was to put on 100 pounds. Well, they might worry about my health, but it wouldn’t make them love me any less.  How can I give myself the same consideration? I honestly can’t think of a way. Isn’t that stupid? I certainly don’t want to pass on these self-hating feelings to my son. So how does one begin to stop feeling this way?

I have no answers but I think I might be starting a journey that began at the bottom of a bag of kettle corn. Really good kettle corn. It was delicious… Salty, sweet, crunchy… Where’s that water?

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