100% everybody else-serving

Wonderful as Monday was, I find myself now balancing mememe time by mad vacuuming and packing up lunch for a visit to the zoo after I collect the ladies from their H1N1 ridden school at noon. Does crossing your fingers, then washing them–lots–help fight off the horrible scourge of the pandemic? Here’s to hoping it does! YIKES!!! This world is a little too grown-up for me today. Am feelin’ a little like I’d like to be a baby for a few weeks and have other people wait on me and try to keep me pleased, safe and fed. No easy task. Get back to work.


2:30 a.m.

That’s right. Two thirty. Dark outside. Family sleeping. Cats sleeping. Normal people sleeping.

It has been a strange ten days since I last wrote, here. After eight months of me applying to many, many jobs, suddenly within a 24 hour period of time, three people think I may be employable. I don’t want to go into details quite yet, or maybe ever. The interweb is a vast place and a person isn’t so hard to find out about. Not that I have anything to hide, of course. OF COURSE. I’m a mother, for chrissake. How bad can I be? I’m more baffled at the timing of the responses to my resumes and online applications is all. Feast or fucking famine. But that’s always the case with jobs isn’t it? This year isn’t exactly the greatest time to be looking for work. There are jobs. But there are more people applying for these jobs at this moment in time than there are normally. Duh. I know, it’s called a recession. I had a woman from a local public television station call me in response to my cover letter and resume a few weeks back who said over two hundred people applied to the job I had responded to. I told her I was surprised how quickly she responded to my application and she said the last minuted-ness of my submission worked in my favor (I guess she’d had an ad for the job up for weeks or months). And she thought my resume was clean and the cover letter well-written, too. I might’ve pursued this position, because it did sound cool, but the location was outside Baltimore city proper, probably 45 or so minutes away. And that’s just too far considering the ladies also have to be dropped at their preschool beforehand. Plus they needed someone right away. Plus it was full-time and I am really trying not to traumatize them more than necessary this coming fall. Three full days will be plenty at first, which is what it will be come September. Woah. We’re all gonna need help with that transition.

Here are some of the reasons I haven’t had a chance to write much lately:

  1. The girls have been napping only sporadically, and I frequently stay out later in the afternoons because I just don’t feel like forcing them to sleep. Though they will pass out in the car if it is between 1:3o and 4. So if we are out, sometimes I just drive around and listen to the radio for some time to myself. Hard to type and drive at the same time.
  2. I got some crazy kind of 24 hour stomach flu which took me down hard for, um, 24 hours.
  3. Then after the freakish unsolicited cleansing, my brain followed with a full on migraine which lasted two days, and would probably still be in my head now if it weren’t for pseudoephedrine, which now must be purchased from the pharmacy because a bunch of meth doo doo heads ruined this excellent decongestant for the rest of us.
  4. Feast of job possibilities. Then trying to figure out the best scenarios for getting girls to and from childcare.
  5. Two pool outings. With the ladies, who I now know love the baby pool. I managed to get a terrible sunburn on my back on the first pool outing because I am not used to exposing my body to the sun. I actually forgot that I didn’t put sunscreen on my now peeling back. Yuck and owie.
  6. Went to the aquarium where Beenie did not try to jump into a large tank, thankfully, but where Mimi, who now doesn’t listen to me for a cottonpickin’ second ever, anywhere, ran way way far ahead of me while I was also trying to keep an eye on Beenie and it was fucking crowded and I don’t know what to do with that child. One thing I do know, though, is I’m not taking her there or anywhere without lots of extra grownups. We’re hitting the zoo Tuesday and she will be strapped into the stroller if she runs away from me again. I hate that, I fucking hate it. She could get lost or hurt and she thinks it is a big game and I feel completely powerless. I need a book to deal with this situation. I haven’t needed a book for a few years now. But this issue I don’t have the type of common sense knowledge to fix. I am considering some kind of invisible fence scenario for this wayward child.
  7. Moved the octopus painting to my brother’s place so I could actually work on it. Now that my studio no longer exists, there may be a number of satellite, temporary studios popping up at people’s houses in the area, depending on how long these imaginary people can watch my children while I inhale turpentine fumes and mush around a bunch of oil paint with a brush.

It is now 3:00 a.m. The decongestant is keeping me up. I knew it would.

I haven’t had any alcohol in a week. I can’t remember why. It isn’t like I am a lush or anything, but I do like a cocktail every few nights after Mimi and Beenie retire for the evening. Which has been kind of late lately. Why did I stop, anyway? Just lost a taste for the stuff. Booze is a strange thing. Such beautiful stemware, bottles, limes, lemons, cranberry juice, seltzer… mmmm. The accoutrements surrounding a cocktail is what makes it so special. As my dear husband likes to say, when he occasionally embibes, “I’m going to mix myself a liquor drink”. He’s partial to the gin and tonic in the summertime, and when the weather changes, a thimblefull of good scotch does the trick. I’m a scotch fan, too, since a dab really will do ya. Just a taste. My summer drink of late has been a nice vodka drink. Just one. Fruity, refreshing, sometimes with a straw. It is nice to have a summer drink.

Don’t I have some special story to relay to you, my handful of readers? Precious handfull. Got through the NY Times magazine today. That’s something. Chilled out in the house today since yesterday was jam packed. Sundays should be spent quietly. There’s a meditation center nearby that I am considering as a possible place to visit once a week or so. I have never meditated, but think it would be really hard to sit still in quiet and focus on something without sleeping, which is why it seems enticing to me. I would like my head to be a quiet place. Quietly chaotic is fine, too. I’m missing the quiet part, tho. And I know it is in there. I sort of meditated today when I went to the gym. My three month summer membership is up in a month. When I actually make it there it is enjoyable. An hour of rowing or doing the eliptical thing, doing a few of the circuit training machines or the bike. Then some stretches and sit ups. Nothing fancy. Sometimes I’ll even do a little jump rope. My brain does have the occasion to empty and then refill with the nice chemicals that make me feel good and kind of dreamy. I like those chemicals. Who doesn’t?

The deadline for entering some work in the Maryland Council for the Arts individual grant application looms. I think it is less than a week, now. Good thing I waited till the last minute. Again. And wonder why I bother. Then figure I have nothing to lose. Maybe I’ll create some little watercolors or collages special for the submission, what with all the extra time I have. Shit. I’m awake at 3 something in the morning. I should do it now. Or I should go back to bed. Bed. I like bed. Nighty night.

Let go, let nap!

I’ve given in to the fact that every day will not have a nap. The days I like have naps. Today there are naps. One passed out on the purple chair in the living room, the other passed out under the fuzzy purple tent in their bedroom. The morning involved running around the zoo, in the shade, in the sun. With friends. Mimi was especially full of gumption, so much so I had to strap her into her stroller numerous times to highlight the fact that YOU DO NOT RUN AWAY FROM YOUR MOTHER, especially when we are in a large space with lots of people wandering around. I don’t care how insanely cute you are, miss Mimi, I would have to throw myself off a bridge if anything bad happened to you and/or your sweet sister. You are faster and more wiley than I. When I call to you to come back, and I usually say please, PLEASE COME BACK! Last week at the zoo she listened to me more, maybe because it was just us — me and the girls. I think she is cheeky, but also that she hears me yelling all the time to do something or not do something. After a while it just doesn’t seem like it is important, you know? I am sure I felt this way when my own mom told me what to do. Payback is a bitch, so they say. I don’t know how to be scarier. And I’m not going to start hitting them to punctuate things, though this has crossed my mind on more than one occasion. I’m just going to have to strap them into their strollers when they run away and hope this is torture enough.

Dearest darling Damon, one of my oldest friends, has an excellent art and music online magazine, the link to which has been on my “Linkity-link links” to the right for a few months now. He recently published some photos from the Camera Morte collection on his site The Population, along with a eulogy I penned over the past few days. It has almost been one year since my old digital camera stopped capturing the special images, so this ode is somewhat fitting. One year anniversary of the inevitable end of Camera Morte. It only took freaky pics for about five months last year, but boy those pictures packed a punch. I like Damon’s selection from the pile. RIP CAMERA MORTE!

Cruel shoes

we're not in target anymore...
we're not in target anymore...

Having strange days. Wondering if the summer solstice has something to do with it. The skies have been especially tempestuous and the nighttime light especially odd. Despite my usual hate for the summer, there is something special about the beginning of the end of the long days. A desperation of the sun. Blasting during the early hours, then holding on as long as possible in the evening, a little bit less each day till December 21st-ish. It is sad and empowering all at the same time.

I have an octopus painting dry enough to start working on again, except, of course, for the fact that there is no longer a place to paint. There isn’t actually too much left to work on for this piece, so I can paint without making too much of a stink, methinks. I am glad I pulled it out of 4badluckhorseshoes studio two months ago so it would dry. If I hadn’t, I bet it would’ve started to mold like some of the other pieces. Sigh. And sigh again.

Took the girls to Target Wednesday to look at shoes… Beenie woke up saying she needed some high heels. What is it with these girls, anyway? I figured we could check out some play high heels that might satisfy their deep, unexplainable need for stilletoes. Instead we ended up getting some fetching pink sparkle shoes (pictured above), which, in addition to making the day especially magical and full of fairy dust, littered the house with tiny flecks of pink glitter. I know, I know. In what way could this be bad? I ask myself the same question. The shoes were quickly deemed outdoor shoes, much to almost everyone’s shagrin. I took them and their sparkle shoes to the zoo the following day, a glorious day, a cloudy and cool and sunny day. They ran amok and dazzled all of the zoo goers with their immense sparkles. Though 3/4 of the way through the zoo Mimi took her sparkle shoes off and I put her regular comfy sandles on her poor paws. Beenie was even in worse pain, but always a slave to fashion, insisted on keeping her shoes on, rather, and had me push her in the stroller the remainder of the time there. She has some nasty little blisters on her poor girl paws, which should keep her out of those cruel shoes for a few days.

Forty minutes

bassYup. Today it is forty minutes I have until wake-up time. The last hour was spent…hmmmm…. having to pee (which I have yet to do), checking a million emails, looking at….er… ended up having to pee after all. Okay, so I peed, just put a load of laundry in the washing machine, grabbed my bass from the basement, came back upstairs to the kitchen. While I was separating light and dark clothing (that’s right, that is the extent of it), I remembered something about this morning that was so freaky that I shoved it away for a few hours. But I’ll share it here with you, dear reader, now.

Beenie, Mimi and I were Jiyun and Marko’s guests to the National Aquarium in Balmer this morning. We do this on occasion —  exchange our memberships to different fun things around towne. I hope to host them in the next week or two for a morning of sun at the Maryland Zoo. Anyway, we’re in the aquarium, girls and Marko running around, having a great time, and we were walking toward the spiral fish tank that you wind down to a lower floor, but are able to view fish and marine life through the continuous windows along the sides of the winding wall. At the top of this part of the exhibit, there is a fence that someone who likes to climb could possibly construe as a ladder. Which is what Beenie, queen climby pants did, and proceeded to climb almost to the top of said fence/ladder. She did this after I had turned away for about thirty seconds to look for Mimi, who was wandering amok. I turned back and saw my eldest’s silhouette at the second from the top ladder/fence step, about six inches keeping her from tipping over the top and into the extremely deep and jagged tank below. My heart stopped or went full-throttle, both. I uttered her name, but didn’t shout because I didn’t want her to lose her balance or concentration and fall over the edge. Luckily, a lady about five feet in front of me quietly walked over to my monkey child, picked her up off the fence and put her on the floor. What would I have done if she’d fallen in the tank? Would I have jumped in after her? What about Mimi? Jiyun and Marko were a bit behind us, so who would have watched Mimi? I feel like weeping just thinking about it right now. This is one of the most difficult parts of parenting multiples, keeping safety tabs on them. I could have lost my Beenie today. It is terrifying to have so much responsibility. It would be easier if I were younger and not quite so keenly tapped into mortality, or just stupider. More stupid. Duh.

On the other side, however, and there is always another side, friends, both daughters and our friends survived todays trip to the aquarium, and we were able to get a sandwich afterwards like human beings. There were a number of young people at the aquarium this morning who had noticeable brain and/or genetic afflictions, so much so that most were confined to wheelchairs and many of who were in entirely another world. Their parents have other issues to grapple with, larger issues than myself. I am reminded of my incredible luck to have healthy children. And am humbly grateful for the opportunity to raise them. I may have to bring back the monkey backpack/leashes. If Beenie had been wearing her monkey leash and had indeed fallen into the tank of disaster, I would have simply fished her out; soggy, scared and ready to dive again into the deep waters; intact.

According to one of the ticket-taking guys at the exit/entrance to the aquarium, last Monday-Wednesday, Michelle Obama and her daughters were looking at the fishes, too. I bet if one of those little girls fell into the water, there would be fifty secret service personell diving in after her. I should look into hooking myself up an entourage. Sometimes it isn’t enough to have one adult and two toddlers. Is that a benefit of working for the Federal Government? I’ll have to look it up on usajobs.gov.

The animals, the animals…Let’s talk dirty to the animals…

meI’m thinking of a song Gilda Radner had on a comedy record I won on the radio when I was in middle school back in the early 80’s. “Fuck you, mister hippo, eat shit, mister bear…” or something along those lines. Really funny stuff. I only write about animals because we saw a bunch of good ones this morning at the Maryland Zoo, located in beautiful, vast Druid Hill Park, in Baltimore city. Old pal Spoon joined the ladies and myself for a whirlwind tour of the African exhibit. Great, just great. A perfect almost early spring day, too. Foggy and cool in the morning, but after we’d been there about a half hour, the sun broke through and there was a moment we were sitting on a bench, bathed in warm sunshine, eating pb&j sammiches, watching the elephants. Divine. Mimi and Beenie have certainly matured since last we visited the zoo before they closed up shop for the winter last November — their attention span and ability to actually see the animals has increased as has their endurance to walk for very long periods of time.

I have had the song “Emotional Rescue” winding through my head for the past four or five days. Rolling Stones. Why? I have not a clue. Bum bum bum… there’s nothing I can say, nothing I can do… I might have to go downstairs to our basement music studio (which neither of us ever has enough energy to actually go to, ever, especially me) and bang the damned song out on my bass. Maybe that will help it go away. It is a flawless song, except for the annoying ubiquitous 80’s sax solo that weasles its way in, as it did into many songs of the time period. The lyrics are silly, Mich Jagger does funny things with his voice, but I just can’t get it out of my brain. Maybe I am a Cylon and it is my proverbial siren song, much as the final five had their stupid All Along the Watchtower siren song. Mine is better.

Got about an hour left before naptime must cease. The sun is blasting the back of our house. I’ll eat some more vegan, gluten free brownies that I made the other day, which are really frackin’ good, lie on our back yard patio to soak up a minute of sun, then start up with the job searching again. So far, http://www.usajobs.gov has been sending me positions via email for jobs with the Army, Veterans Admin, Social Security Admin. I’m not ready to make a leap into the military, so the Army job is out. Still waiting for Michelle O’s email…

Hello Kitty, Goodbye Goldfish

Since when did Goldfish go out of style? I remember the first time Beenie had a Goldfish… we were on the tram at the Maryland Zoo one late summer evening in 2007. The girls were almost one year old at that point. My husband and I bumped into an old colleague of mine from the ad agency, and he was there, like us, at dusk with his two kids, just before the zoo closed for the evening. Those in the know, who have the very cheap zoo membership, can go just before it gets too late to go, during cranky time, and they’re not losing money because they already have a membership, so it is like it’s free. Anyhoo, his little girl was nibbling on Goldfish and Beenie, always wanting to be on top of what someone else is eating, gestured to the white paper package of Goldfish, cheddar flavor, I believe. The young lady generously shared with my Beenie, and that was that. She was obsessed after that first taste. Mimi, if you remember, used to become quite miserable upon ingestion of dairy products, even small ones, so we let her have one Goldfish and no more. Thank goodness that seems to be over with.

My question is: when did the love for the Goldfish go away? Maybe it was this past summer, after many visits to the zoo (we are about a five-seven minute drive from the Maryland Zoo, by the way, which is why we are always there in the summertime), after copious zip-lock baggies full of Goldfish, my girls grew weary of the little snacks. The death of a snack. It is always sad when an old standby snack loses favor with the toddler. Things you used to be able to count on in a hungry pinch no longer do the job. There is one bag left in the cupboard, top shelf, Original flavor. I will not open this package. I will let it sit up there for a few months till they forget about Goldfish. I will wait until it is warm outside again. Then will try again.

I should start a page in this 20/20 (thx Naptime Writing for the handle) focusing soley on snacks for toddlers, my toddlers. It is kind of, sometimes, all they eat. I will start a list immediately.