Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rescue me (again)

I need some Titty.

Oh, get your mind out of the gutter.  I'm talking, of course, about my hairdresser.

And yes, that's really her name.

I go to this funky little hair place on Colfax where the stylists sport the requisite hip adornments, from piercings to blue hair to baby doll dresses worn with Chuck Taylors and tights with holes in the knees.

But Titty is there.  Titty, who is remarkably normal looking,* and yet who oozes both hipness and tonsorial expertise.  Titty, who rescued my 'do after that last dumbass destroyed it (twice).

Titty, who, when I sit down in her chair, offers me a PBR (and I'm not unique -- all clients enjoy this benefit).

Her fix held up so well that it's been almost 6 months and only now am I thinking I need to go in for a trim, not because the layers haven't grown out proportionally, but because the pieces in the front are hanging in my face.  Titty is *that* good.

Funny story:  Dudley, a mutual friend of ours and Kathleen's was in town visiting a few months back.  His hair was getting a little bushy so Kathleen's husband made an appointment for him with Titty.  But Dudley was all worried that everyone was taking the piss out of him and setting him up for a huge practical joke in which he would go in, ask for "Titty" and promptly be run out of the store on a rail for his effrontery.  He was pleasantly surprised when Titty in fact existed, was a hottie, offered him a beer, and gave him a great haircut.

He, too, became a life-long fan of Titty.  And really, aren't we all?

*I have no idea if this is her given name (I tend to doubt it), but for whatever reason, I assumed Titty would be the name of an older lady (a bitty?) because no one in her 20s would take on such a moniker.  But Titty is indeed in her 20s, and totally adorable, and cool enough to carry it off.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Naked justice

Zeke is going through a bit of a law and order phase.

I don't mean that he is spending his time watching hours of NBC's long running but recently cancelled police procedural drama.  Though if he were, he'd be coming by it honestly -- I was addicted to that show in the later stages of pregnancy with him and during maternity leave.

Rather, he appears to have internalized, with a vengeance, the lessons he has learned from being instructed/disciplined by Jason and me, and by his teachers at school -- no hitting, no pushing, etc., -- and from time-outs consist of sitting in a segregated place, being told why you're there, and being required to apologize afterwards.

I noticed it last week one night when he was sitting in the bathtub with his toys.  Apparently, the toy fish was acting up, because Zeke would take it and emphatically place it on the side of the tub.

"Fish, you're in time out.  Stay right there!"  His voice was stern and serious.

"There's no hitting your friends.  That's not nice.  Stay right there!"

It was like looking at myself in a carnival fun-house mirror.

"Now say you're sorry!"

Eventually, he decided the fish had been punished long enough, so he picked it up to put it back in the water.

And promptly whacked the fish against the snake.  Causing the fish to "earn" another time out.

This scenario repeated itself a number of times.  And has played out in every bath time since.

Then this past weekend, I took Zeke to the Ghetto McDonald's a couple of miles from our house to play at their Playland.  He happily munched his McNuggets and french fries, asked to be excused (!), and then trotted off to play.  I took advantage of the opportunity to read a Michael Connelly novel on my new Kindle, looking up every few minutes to make sure Zeke was OK.

He came over to me a bit later, a look of concern on his little face.

"What's up, honey?"

"Mama, that girl hit me."  He pointed to a little girl who looked to be about a year old.

"Well, sweetie, you're going to have to deal with it.  All you can do is tell her not to hit you and then try to stay away from her."

So he went over to her and said sternly, "Don't hit me!  No hitting!"

She didn't so much as glance in his direction, but he was satisfied.  He looked over at me expectantly.

"That's good, Zeke.  You handled that well.  Now go and have fun and play."

No one is exempt from these dictates.  Last night I was scolded for "pulling at him" when I put my banjo away and told him we weren't going to play with it any more.  He was furious and went over to the closet and tried to open the doors.

"Zeke, the banjo is put away for the night.  We're not playing with it any more tonight.  Get away from the closet."

When he didn't listen, I went over and put my hands under his armpits and gently pulled him away from the closet door.  This prompted more tears, followed by a lecture from him in which I had to gnaw off the insides of my cheeks to keep from laughing while he glared at me, his thin chest heaving with fury, tears on his face, and told me not to pull at him.  I explained that I pulled him away from the closet because he didn't listen to me when I told him that we weren't going to play the banjo anymore, but he wasn't placated.

"You shouldn't pull me, Mama."

"OK, Zeke,"  I sighed.  "You're right.  It obviously hurt your feelings when I pulled you away from the closet, and I'm sorry.  I won't do that again.  You need to listen to me, though, when I tell you to do something."

"You need to say you're sorry."

I already did, you little turkey.  "I'm sorry, Zeke."  I bit my lips to keep from giggling.

But at least he was dressed.  The other night Jason, having just come back from Vail, was tired and frustrated trying to wrangle Zeke into his pajamas after a bath.  Zeke was running around being silly, but Jason just didn't have any patience for it.  Zeke tried to climb on him, but Jason shrugged him off.  Zeke was horribly offended and burst into tears.  He came running over to me where I was sitting on the couch.

"Mama, Daddy pushed me!  Daddy pushed me!"

I hugged him and stroked his hair.

"Mama, it's not nice!  It's not okay!" he sobbed.  "No pushing!"

"Zekey, you're going to have to talk to Daddy about it.  You need to tell him what you're telling me."

Jason was downstairs at the time, but was on his way back up when he was confronted by a little naked 2-year-old standing at the top of the stairs with his hands on his hips.

"Daddy, you shouldn't push me.  It's not nice.  It's not OK!"

I had walked over and was standing behind Zeke, and could see Jason's face start to twitch.  He was having a hard time not busting out laughing.  I gave him a look and mouthed "you can't laugh at him."  He nodded, took a breath to compose himself, and looked back towards Zeke.

Zeke repeated his admonitions.  "No pushing, Daddy."

"You're right, Zeke, I shouldn't have pushed you."  He blinked and pressed his lips together, doing his damndest to keep from guffawing.

"You need to say you're sorry, Daddy."

"I'm sorry, Zeke."

And they hugged it out.

I'm so glad Zeke is learning about following the rules, and is apparently very serious about the mores that govern the social compact.  But good gracious, it's hard to keep a straight face when you're being stared down by a naked pint-sized sheriff.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Can it at least pass quickly?

The other day I was talking to my brother Sam.  I was telling him about how after a month and a half of enjoying life with the family back in Denver, Jason is back working in Vail.

His company totally fucked him.  He agreed to go up there for two weeks only to finish up this part of the job that apparently no one else in the company could figure out how to do.  They said, fine, no problem, just two weeks and then you can go back to Denver.  So he went up there two weeks ago, finished what he needed to do in a week, stayed the extra week to be helpful and because he's a team player, and then found out Friday afternoon that they had staffed out the other job in Denver and were going to make him stay up in Vail until the job is finished.  And, of course, they refuse to be at all specific about long that's going to be.

I was livid when I found out, and have been alternately depressed and angry ever since.  It just makes life so much harder for everyone.  It's hard on me, it's hard on Jason, it's hard on the kids.  But, to quote Tony Soprano, whattayagonnado?

Suck it up, that's what.

So I was talking to Sam and telling him about this, and he was sympathetic and pissed off for us.

"But, whatever,"  I said.  "There's nothing to do but deal with it.  This too shall pass."

"True," he said.  "But why is it that we're constantly having to say that to ourselves?"

He's been dealing with some personal shit lately as well, and it's become his mantra.  "This too shall pass."

"I feel like I'm saying that constantly.  Like God's name should be "This Too Shall Pass."  'Hey, This Too Shall Pass, could I maybe get a month without having to invoke your name?'"

"I know," I said.  "We did this for 10 months, Jason finally came home, Emma had her accident, you've got shit going on, Josh has shit going on.  And right when it seems like things seem to be smoothing out, something else happens.  It's like the shit is endless."



We were both silent for a couple of seconds.

"But at some point, it'll be over.  This too shall pass."

"This too shall pass."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rededication, regimentation and discipline

I never had weight problems growing up.  I was always skinny and athletic as a kid, then I got boobs and was curvy but always in shape.  Some of it is genetics and lifestyle -- everyone in my family exercises and I always played sports or went to the gym or did something -- and some of it is vanity.  I enjoyed being thin and liked the way it looked and felt, and liked the admiring glances from men (and some women) too much to ever let myself gain more than a few pounds.

Then I had two children 23 months apart.  And while I didn't gain huge amounts of weight with either kid, after Josie was born I felt mushy and flabby.  I looked gross in a bathing suit and hated the way clothes fit me.

So I started Weight Watchers in December.  I lost 17 pounds by early March, but then Emma's accident happened and Jason and I were dealing with some other shit and I got distracted.  I wasn't eating well or tracking my points consistently, I was snacking on comfort food, and I wasn't working out.

And it showed.  By the end of April, I had hit a plateau that I had been stuck on for a month and a half.  When I entered my weight on the Weight Watcher's website, I got the pitiful "thanks for playing" message instead of the "yay! way to go!" message.

So I decided that I'd had enough.

Though many of my friends think I'm this foot-loose and fancy-free type who's crazy and flies by the seat of her pants, I actually thrive on regimen and discipline.  That's why I like Weight Watchers -- tracking points appeals to the side of me that probably would have done well in the military.  Same with working out -- when I do really well, when I'm feeling super-fit, it's because I'm doing a program, training for a marathon or doing P90X (which I used to get in shape for my wedding) or something like that.

With two kids, a full-time job, and a husband that sometimes works out of town, I don't have the time for P90X right now -- the workouts are too long (the yoga workout is 90 minutes, and the others are all about an hour) and there simply aren't enough hours in the day.  Maybe when my kids are a little older and require less hands-on attention all the time, I can revisit that program (which I love), but not right now.

So instead I ordered a program that I saw on an infomercial (I'm a sucker for buying things off the teevee).  It's a combination of kickboxing and hip-hop dance set to funky music, with some strength training thrown in.  In addition to being incredibly fun, the workouts top out at about 45 minutes (plus there's a great 20 minute, high intensity workout for when I'm short on time).  I work 2 miles from home, so I can get home, get into my workout togs, do a video, get dressed, have some lunch, and get back to work in about an hour or so.

For the past three weeks, I've been working out 6 days a week and tracking my points religiously.  And the weight is dropping.  My muscle definition is coming back.  I've got abs again.  My clothes are hanging off me.

I'm addicted to the discipline, and I feel fucking awesome.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Hold me, touch me.* Or, on second thought, don't.

It's an interesting thing, how people born of the same parents and raised in the same household can be so totally and utterly different.  My dad and I were talking about this the other day and he observed, "I mean, jeez, could there be two people more different than you and [my middle brother] Josh??"

And I've seen it in my own children as well.  They look incredibly alike -- Josie is basically a daintier version of Zeke -- but their demeanor and countenance (at least as babies, I obviously can't comment on Josie's personality beyond the 7 1/2 months she's been alive) is quite divergent.  Whereas Zeke was and is more emotionally needy and sensitive, Josie is mellow and self-sufficient.

I've never had to sleep-train Josie, even for a night.  From the age of 2 months, I could just put her in her crib, turn on the musical mobile, give her a pat and leave the room, and she'd be asleep within a couple of minutes and sleep through the night.  Zeke still won't do that.  With much cajoling, reading of books, singing of songs, and lying down with him for a few minutes ("lie to me, Mama," he'll say when he wants me to lie in his bed with him - it never fails to crack me up), he'll go to sleep in his own bed.  But he'll invariably wake up crying about needing a clean diaper or wanting to come in my bed, and I'll soothe him and get him back to sleep, and then a few hours later he'll wander in and just crawl in next to me, wanting to snuggle.

Zeke is the one who would be happiest if he could somehow surgically attach himself to my body.  When he was a baby, he liked to take his bottle with the front of his body pressed up against mine, with his head in the crook of my arm.  If we're on the couch watching TV, he's all entwined in my arms and legs, or at least resting a hand or his head on me.  He wants to sit on my lap, snuggle with him in bed, and somehow be touching me as much as possible.  It's so sweet, and he's affectionate and lovely, but sometimes I feel a bit suffocated and have to tell him to get out of my face.

Josie is equally sweet, but far less clingy.  She doesn't like to face me when she takes a bottle, she prefers to sit facing out and lean her back against me.  She's always happy to see me, giving me a big smile and a squeal, but doesn't need to be on me all the time.  She likes to be held, but doesn't fuss if you put her down.

But, Josie is in full-on teething mode.  Her first little bottom tooth popped through over the weekend, and the other one is ready to blow at any minute, so she's in pain and constantly rubbing at her gums.  And last night, for the first time ever, Josie just wouldn't or couldn't put herself to sleep.  She was fed, she was medicated, her eyes were all red-rimmed with exhaustion, but she cried and cried whenever I put her down.  So I sat her in bed with me while I watched Lost, and rubbed her belly while she chewed on a teething ring.  She finally fell asleep at 8:30, an hour and a half past her normal bedtime.

Then at 2 in the morning, she woke up crying again.  I gave her a bottle, dosed it with Tylenol and Motrin, rubbed her gums with Orajel, and put her back in her bed.  Normally, she'd roll over and go to sleep.  Last night, all she wanted was to be touching me, so the minute I put her down she wailed.  I rocked her in the chair for an hour, and then finally just brought her back to bed with me.  As long as she was curled up against my arm or some other part of my body, she was fine.

Of course, Zeke woke up at 4, right after Jason left for Vail (he's back up there for a couple of weeks), and wanted to climb in with us and snuggle.

"Yeah, yeah," I sighed.  "May as well make it a party."

So I dozed, off and on (mostly off), the rest of the night, with two little leeches children pressed up on either side of me.  Both of whom snored.

I need Josie to be done with her teething soon so she can go back to old self.  I don't think I can handle two children who treat me like I'm the mother-ship and they're the barnacles.  

*Fans of The Producers (the original movie with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, not the stupid remake) will recognize the "hold me, touch me" line.  Seriously one of the funniest scenes in one of the funniest movies ever.  I tried to find a clip on YouTube but I guess it's copyrighted.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Aussie Word of the Day: blasphemy edition

Australians tend to come up with highly descriptive expressions for their likes and dislikes.  They tend to be a bit vulgar, and also, somewhat ironically, to invoke the deity.

I've gotten used to it after living with Jason for 6 years, so I tend not to react much when I make him a favorite meal and he takes a bite and exclaims, "aw, baby!  It's like an angel pissed on my tonsils!"

In case you were confused, that means he likes it.

And again, I hear it so often, it usually doesn't faze me much.  But I'm not completely made of stone, people.

The other day when we went grocery shopping, Jason surreptitiously slipped a package of chocolate-chip cookie dough into the cart.  Later, when we were making dinner, he decided he needed a preprandial snack  and busted out the cookie dough.  I'm still doing WeightWatchers, so I limited myself to a single bite.  Jason offered some to his brother, Simon, who was unfamiliar with the practice of eating raw cookie dough.

"Aw, it's the best, mate."

"Yeah?" said Simon, quizzically.

"Definitely.  It's awesome.  It's what God's dog shit would taste like."

It's a good thing I wasn't drinking anything when he said that, or I would have done a total spit-take.

I still haven't been able to stop giggling when I think about it, or to get out of my head the image of a large bearded man in a white robe walking a dog that poops cookie dough.

Monday, May 03, 2010


What is a home without children?

                      - Henny Youngman   

I don't know what was going on on Saturday, but there was something in the air or in the water.  Neither of my children napped, and then both passed out hours before their normal bedtime and slept through the night.  Josie fell asleep at 4:15 in the afternoon.  Zeke followed at about 6:30.  

He had been playing hard all day, started to melt down, and said, "Mama, I need a nap."  I was dubious -- he has a tendency to get exhausted and then spring back to life after chilling out for half an hour.  Plus no one needs a toddler to get a couple of hours of sleep and then wake up all chirpy at 9 at night.  So I said, "why don't you just relax for a little while?  Would you like to sit in my bed and watch The Jungle Book?"  "Yes, please."

He was asleep within 5 minutes.

And that was it.

Jason and I kept checking in on them, waiting for the other shoe to drop, or for one of them to wake up full of energy, but it never happened.

I finished my book.  I made some dinner.  We cleaned the kitchen.  I put away some of Zeke's toys and books.  We watched a movie (Up in the Air, which we've had sitting on our TV stand for weeks but never quite had the opportunity to pop into the DVD player).  

The time do get some things done, without chasing after or entertaining children, was kind of nice.  But the quiet was unnerving.  It felt weird.

"Can you imagine life without the children anymore?" Jason asked.  He was as weirded out as I was.

And as much as I talk about the frequent need for time to myself, and of looking back with longing on my days of being single and childless...

the answer was unequivocally, "no."