Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The beast of honor

Recently, while doing some housekeeping on EP and going through some very old posts that either needed deleted or transferred to the vault, I noticed that there were no complete posts about my first "baby".

Back in 2006 when I started this blog, I needed an outlet to kvetch about breastfeeding and my agony over whether to stop pumping at work, being a working mother to 2 kids, a wife to a stay at home dad, and well, just to kvetch in general. (Boy, things haven't changed much have they?) And it just occurred to me that there's a member of this family that has yet to receive an entire post: my cat.

Her name is Cleo. Or now, affectionately coined by my oldest son a few years back, Coco-B (B is the first letter of my last name, but the kids really call her that with the "B", I'm not editing for anonymity). I first got Cleo, as she was named by me, back in December of 1994 with my ex-husband in NJ. She was a feisty member of an orange and white clan of kitties, and was equally feisty when I brought her home, scarring me up and down my legs and arms with playful, albeit painful, scratches. Even though she was like a sniper on my ankles, she was hard to resist, as she was really cute and had that deep, trembling purr that made your legs vibrate when she curled up next to you.

And so life went on with a divorce, a new apartment, then a new husband and another new apartment. Throughout the mobility, she was a consistent presence; a being that always represented familiarity even though she couldn't trade conversation. She always pissed me off, and yet I wasn't complete without her around. Anywhere we moved, home wasn't complete until the litter box and the food dishes found their designated spots. And she always found them. 10 times since 1994.

And then came the kids, and while she used to be a frequent subject of the camera, she isn't so much anymore. While organizing photographs recently I noticed, just like the youngest kid never has any childhood pictures, she, too has been ignored. And then again, as I leaf through the photographs over time, she's become less and less of the generous subject. These days, I can hardly get her to look at the camera. I wonder why that is.

During the summer months, she enjoys the warm sunshine on the porch during the middle part of the day, and then hovers close when I'm gardening. And like a dog, she follows the kids and I down the street to our local park, while our neighbors marvel at "that cat that follows her family down the street."

She's so light these days I can lift her with one arm. She used to be a burly, butch of a cat, with thick, bristly, bright orange hair. And her personality was equally bristly. Now, the fur on her back is thin, scarce and dull. Her eyes are more tired. Her gait is less frisky. Her attitude less confrontational. She is certainly in the autumn of life at 14. Although she still longs for my lap, like a child needing to be cradled in his mother's arms for comfort. Just one more time.

So she is 14 now. She has most definitely seen it all. Heard it all. Lived it all. If only she could talk, I fear the words that would spill out of her mouth. It is a blessing and sometimes a burden how much a pet can become a part of you, a part of the family. A completely dependent being with unrelenting needs and wants. A blessing that they can give so much joy; a burden that they pass so quickly. I would bet Cleo has a few more years in her to stick around. Just to piss me off. And just to break to my heart when she goes.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I’m very optimistic today that this week will be a fabulous week. What? Not like me to be so optimistic you say? Well, PMS is over, and so my mood is on the upswing, and there’s lots to be thankful for this week.

#1. Today is inauguration day for Barack Obama. Need I say more?

#2. On Wednesday, a new season of “Lost” begins. I may possibly be as excited about the season premiere as I am about inauguration day. While the swearing in of the first black President of the United States is both historic and emotional, it’s got nothing on finding out where in time the island has moved to.

#3. On Thursday, I’m taking a vacation day from work to celebrate my 38th birthday. Nobody likes getting older, but I’m trying to turn a new leaf as I get closer and closer to 40. I’m going to feel thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to live this long, rather than being regretful for years gone past and a body that will never come back. Here's me in my pixie haircut on my birthday in January 1978.

#4. On Friday, I’m taking another vacation day to spend a day with my husband to attend the Warhol exhibit at the Wexner center here in Columbus. Last fall, when Dave was sick, the exhibit just opened, so we never had an opportunity to attend since he was ill for months, then the holidays were here, and well, you get the picture. It’s an exclusive exhibit and the top ten on the list of national exhibitions. And better yet, my friend is watching the kids so it will be some quality one on one time that we rarely get.

And then so after that, it’s the weekend, and I don’t have firm plans for that yet, but I’m sure it will involve a 7 year old and a 3 year old. Perhaps an engaging challenge of Connect Four or Monopoly or Cadoo, and then some slapstick fun with Hungry Hungry Hippos. It will also involve an attempt to get my art/work space better organized, which will be better for my mind and soul. This has to be my year to get organized. I’ll be signing off from posting on EP for the rest of the week, but will still be following my favorite peeps.

So, whether you are Republican or Democrat, I hope you caught a few minutes today to watch the inauguration. Back next week with more fresh and fluffy content. Peace.

Friday, January 16, 2009

PMS + Life Don't Mix

So we’ve all heard the phrase that goes, “Merlot and email don’t mix.” Well, neither does pre-menstrual syndrome. With nothing. Not kids. Not husbands. Not work. Not friends. Not strangers (especially not strangers!). I cannot think of one thing. I feel like I have gotten particularly worse with suffering through PMS as I’ve gotten older. I think the obvious connection is that there is more stress in my life than say, my former chillaxin’ college student days. (And didn’t we all just love getting our periods back then, too? Yeah! The pill worked.)

Now I have absolutely no use for my period at all. None. I do not plan to have anymore children. So done. It took several months after my last child to come to that conclusion, but yes, I’ve confirmed, my husband and I are both done. It was meant to be two boys. No daughters. We’ve done our part in furthering the human race. Much to the shagrin of his elderly, fairly senile, mother, affectionately known as Granny ‘Ledo (the grandma from Toledo), who asks me everytime I see her, “Are you pregnant?” I’m the youngest of all the daughters-in-law, so apparently she’s hoping against hope for another grandchild. Ain’t gonna happen.

So here I am, monthly, raging. I haven’t had much success in the past with the pill at abating my emotional symptoms, and my sister-in-law, who has no uterus anymore, told me that she still gets highs and lows as if she’s getting her period and nothing happens. And when I use the term “raging” I mean mostly silently raging because while I’m suffering with PMS there’s the constant suppression of my emotions because if I were to blurt out everything I really want to say, I would have long ago gotten fired, or kicked out of my house. And while there’s the raging, there’s also the depression part of it. Like I-want-to-drive-my-car-off-the-bridge, kind of depression. It’s awful the things that run through my mind. Again, more suppression and telling myself “this will be over in a few days…”.

And on top of the emotional, there’s the physical. I am not kidding when I say I feel like when I look at myself in the mirror at my peak of PMS, my face has contorted. It is puffier. There’s a different look in my eyes. I have terribly bad hair days. And my skin is dry and itchy. I’m like a completely different human being. Fidgety all over, as if ants were crawling all over my body.

My husband has grown to know this about me, and I’ve gotten several reprieves in our marriage (but word to the wise husband: don’t say “oh you must be getting your period” unless you want sex anytime in the next decade). As for my kids, obviously they don’t understand, and I have to constantly stop myself from resorting into this evil wicked witch of the west, and I know my oldest is getting smarter now and I hate to think of the memories he will collect of his mother sniping at him. There’s just no way of explaining to a 7 year old, “Hang on, when I’m on the rag soon this will all be over.” I’ve gotten much better about it. I just resort to physically excusing myself to a bathroom or something and count to 10. Slowly.

Oh, and don’t get me started on the eating compulsion. For about a week, I eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

So this week? This week has been one of those weeks. A particularly extreme bout of PMS. Seeing as though I’m not the only female in this world with PMS, how extreme is your PMS, and if it’s extreme, how do you cope?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dear Old Man Winter

Dear Old Man Winter,
While we’ve had a very love/hate relationship for most of the last 37 years, I’d like to express my gratitude in finally delivering some measurable snow here in central Ohio.

However, next time, could it please be on a weekend, preferably morning, when I’m in my jammies sipping a hot cup of hot chocolate, as opposed to a workday when I have to brave the icy roads and scrape snow off my windshield while the temperature is 8 degrees?



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Take a Break from School?

While the last thing I need is to add more paper to my ever cluttered house, my son’s school sends home flyers and announcements by way of his school folder occasionally, and they are helpful tidbits of information about upcoming events and fundraisers. As a member of the PTA, I’m familiar with this, and it can be an effective way to get the word out in addition to emails about fundraisers and events. Case in point, I am organizing a craft fair at the school (point gun to my head now), and we just sent a flyer off to the copy center to get ready for distribution. More to come on that in later posts, on what I’m sure will be a fun ride in the handbasket to PTA hell. But I digress.

Anyway, point of the story is that there was this handout that came home the other day. Occasionally there will be flyers that are clearly full-blown advertising that one could bitch and say it’s crossing the line to send that stuff home in my kid’s folder. In my idealistic world, the schools don’t need money to survive and I don’t have to work. I’m hoping the latter pans out for me someday, but there’s a slim chance in hell (there’s that reference again---hmmm, PTA, hell, School, hell; I see a trend here) that levies will ever go away. So, anyway, the flyer that was a full-blown advertisement for the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, advertised that they will be in Columbus May 14-17. And the copy read something like this:

“Hey Kids! Take a Break from School and Come to the Circus!”

The circus on those dates takes place at 7:30 pm, so they wouldn’t really be “taking a break from school”, but what marketing manager approved that copy? As someone in the marketing industry, there could have been a much better phrase. Certainly one less presumptive that parents want their kids to take a break school. Especially a flyer being sent home from the school.

I have a long-standing issue with the circus anyway. While I don’t want to make this post about animal rights, I have issues with their treatment of animals. But it’s not about my bias against circuses. It could have been a flyer about Earth Day.

And before I could scan the flyer for proof, my toddler got a hold of it and torn it up for use as “snow”. Looks like he has something against circuses, too. Either that, or creative repurposing.

Friday, January 09, 2009

I pledge allegiance to the handmade and other randomness

You may have noticed my nifty little widget I just added to my sidebar saying that I pledge to buy handmade. Would you consider pledging, too? No, it doesn't mean you have to wear dark sunglasses and a large brim hat to cover your identity next time you enter Old Navy, but have you checked out Etsy? Poppytalk? Curiosity Shoppe? Design Sponge? And for my Columbus peeps Wholly Craft? Just a few of my favorites. And of course, don't forget to give me some clicky love on my Etsy widget found at my crafty photo blog. Order some handmade cards! OK. Enough links.



The weather says we are supposed to get snow. They have been lying to me all year about the weather so I'm betting against this being true.


I just finished reading "When We Were the Mulvaneys" by Joyce Carol Oates. Anybody else read?

Breaking news: Billy Bush was surprised by the earthquake.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

(My first) Wordless Wednesday

My (digitally-enhanced) invitation to the PTA spaghetti dinner and book fair.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Oh Yeah!

Remember that scene in an early episode of "Family Guy" where the Kool-Aid man crashes through the courtroom wall, shouting "Oh yeah!"? And then after freezing in place, eyes sheepishly surveying the room of speechless on-lookers, he then retreats awkwardly, walking backward out of the huge gaping hole in the wall. Bursting into the scene obtrusively, then needing to retreat like a coward fox. OK, so that would be me right now.

If you are wondering why, read my two previous posts. After not one, but two self-indulgent posts characterizing my disillusionment for the holidays, I'm lacking a good segue to start off the new year after the blog taking a real downer dive into prozac nation.

So just in time for mommy's holiday blues to be over it was time to celebrate Andrew's 3rd birthday. No better segue than that, I suppose.

the friends

the obligatory poorly-lit overhead shot of the cake

the #3 candle

the gifts

the crash

Welcome 2009. A new year and a new age! But really, couldn't I have planned this birth better to NOT be around the holidays? Poor kid will get gypped his entire life.