vendredi, décembre 14, 2007

Just back from the mall and a fairly expensive run through Aeropostale, I brewed a cup of tea and sat in the wing chair by the computer. For some reason, my kids seem to like sitting in a wing chair instead of a wooden one when they are playing Virtual Villagers or Toontown. Often I will walk through the living room and observe, with some amusement, Sian and Colin and their friend Tyler shoved up against each other. Tyler and Sian are about a year apart-I wonder how long they will remain unself-conscious about that?

Then the phone rang. Around here, this past fall, the ring of a telephone past ten could only signal really bad news. When I picked it up, it was Sian. Sobbing, she said to me that she hadn't been able to sleep last night because of the fight we'd had.

For Sian and for her parents, coping with her ADD is often mentally exhausting. Several days ago she sat in an ADD doc's office and agreed (so I thought) to get her homework book signed by her teachers in exchange for computer and TV time. I speculate now that it was just her mother who agreed. At any rate, she didn't get her books signed, didn't do the math homework-and told the teacher her group would present first on a project. A project she really hadn't done a whole heck of a lot of work on-due in two days.

How strange, I thought when I heard her shaky voice as her dad sped back to his home in the darkness. My Sian is such a strong-willed girl that I hadn't realized our disagreement had affected her at all.

Boy, was I clueless.

I told her that although she needs to get her book signed, I'd overreacted. I told her how much I was looking forward to having time with her on Saturday. I told her I loved her-and then got off the phone, wondering what I could have done differently.

jeudi, décembre 13, 2007

The tipping point

When I get together with friends and we talk in generalities about guys we have met online, they are often surprised by the "unconventional" tastes and personas of the guys with whom I strike up conversations.

Recovering alcoholics. Swingers. Actors and TV pitchmen with father issues.

I don't know if I tend to attract guys who are a bit idiosyncratic or are drawn to them. Probably a mix.It may be that men over 40 just tend to have issues (as do women, of course).

I don't know if I appear slightly eccentric myself, and so they feel safe opening themselves up to me. To be perfectly candid, I don't know if my friends aren't also meeting peculiar (different, not bad) guys, and are so odd themselves that they wouldn't know "normal" if he came up to them with flowers and a box of dark chocolate.

I like complexity in men. But even I have a limit to my bent for Baroque-shame on me that it took me a year or so to discover what it was.

mercredi, décembre 12, 2007

Who has the bigger stick?

So now Dick Cheney (aptly named) is questioning the masculinity of some Democratic pals in the Congress because they decided to go along with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on energy bill. Read the opinion column by the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus linked above and shake your head in disbelief. Or maybe you won't.

The Veep doesn't seem to know any other emotion but anger. He appears like a guy who has contempt for anyone who doesn't agree with his view of the world.

But Cheney accurately reflects the tenor of the White House. They plot out every legislative fight as though it was a battle out of "Left Behind."

Total compliance from conservatives or unconditional surrender (from liberals) are the only options-only sissies compromise.

Yes, his comments were deeply sexist. But more than being offensive to women (who cares what Cheney thinks of women?) they were painful symbols of the way he and his DC mafia let nothing get in their way in pursuit of their paranoid ideas-and miss no opportunity to lash out and hurt anyone, including their former colleagues.

One can only speculate on the events that shaped Cheney and made him the kind of fellow who frightens little children. Let's leave it to the historians.

lundi, décembre 10, 2007

The illusions of grief

When I called my dad's home (I still cannot speak of the house as his "former home") today, I got the answering machine. I've been able to leave messages for my sister before when dad was ill-this time, however, I lost it. How cruel it is to hear that distinctive voice, and yet know that in this life we will never hear it again.

The kid's dad told me that when he lost his father, he kept looking for him on the street in the eyes of strangers.

I can't stand the idea of deleting the tape-although I know that time will come.

Those of you who haven't lost a parent or a sibling-make sure you have recordings or other ways in which you can remember a mother's silvery laugh, a father's flat Michigan "a's"...or his horrible puns. Those twists of personality that used to irritate you so much? You would give practically anything to have them, and the person who made was so much richer and strange, back.

Choking back the sobs, I called my sister again-on her cell phone.

Full fathom five, thy father lies...