29 September 2010

I swear I thought I saw...

a squirrel riding a raft down the Willamette River yesterday. A little raft, just a squirrel sized raft. No paddle, no sail, just a couple of pieces of wood lashed together.

I wonder; where was he going?

Teenagers. Go figure.

Come Monday it all turned around. I don’t know if she still wants to move back to Gramma’s house, but her sullen attitude has disappeared and she is back to her good natured self. That’s a relief. I wasn’t looking forward to kicking her and T out of the house. Much.

27 September 2010


Well, after busting our butts to make everything work out for the niece, she wants to move back to Gramma’s house. Sheesh.

She spent the weekend with her grandmother, T’s mom. On Friday afternoon she didn’t want to go at all. But, her granny misses her and we were going out on Saturday night, and it just seemed like a good time to have her spend the weekend over there. So, even though she was dragging her feet, she was hauled over the river for the weekend.

When we picked her up yesterday afternoon, wow, did we ever get the attitude! We walked in the door, she glared at us and said, “I’m not ready.” Ok. Fine. Finish what you are doing and we’ll go when you are ready.

Gramma had treated her like visiting royalty, apparently. Bought her new outfits, took her for a haircut, let her skip church, basically let her do whatever she wanted. I know that since she has grown up there, Gramma’s house is her comfort zone. But, Gramma was on her best behavior and not treating her like she ordinarily does. Ordinary is bossing her around but never letting her make a decision; lots of yelling but very little communication; never going anywhere but Walmart (unless it’s Costco). Gramma also sent her home with bags of junk food ~ a giant box of pop tarts, a giant bag of candy corn, bags of chips. We are not starving the girl by any stretch, but we don’t keep candy or pop tarts in the house and chips are a treat, not a staple.

She is also extremely good at manipulating Gramma and her dad and brother. She is smarter than her dad and brother and knows it and runs them pretty mercilessly. And, since Grandma is nearly deaf, A sasses her all the time and Gramma can’t hear it.

She has also decided that the mainstream classes she fought to get into are too hard and she doesn’t want to go anymore.

So, we head back to the house and she is silent the whole way. Comes in the house, picks up the laptop and marches straight up to her room. Won’t exchange a word with us. T goes up to her room to talk to her and it’s the typical pulling of teeth to get anything from her. Then, the usual method of handling any conflict in their family begins. T calls her sister, and then calls her mom. Mom says, don’t get your sister involved. T calls her sister back and says let’s leave it alone for right now. T goes upstairs to talk to A. Calls back her sister. Her sister then calls the teenager. Round and round and round.

And me? I’m watching football. I don’t care about the Jets or the Dolphins but I’ll find anything engrossing enough to stay out of that mess.

I leave for work before A gets up, so I don’t know how the morning went. I’m sure I’ll get an earful this afternoon, though.

Remind me; why are we doing this?

24 September 2010

Because it’s not always about us… thankfully!

T stuck her nose in someone else’s business last weekend. Not usually a good idea and she almost got it bitten off this time.

T has had a couple of relationships end because of cheating. The most painful was with a woman she really thought she would spend the rest of her life with. And the worst thing? Yep, her girlfriend left her for a man. Ugh. She’s pretty sensitive about the whole issue.

So, last weekend we were supposed to go to a party at an old friend’s house. T has known this woman for decades but had fallen out of touch over the last 5 or 6 years. They reconnected early this year and have been hanging out a little and just having a good time reminiscing about days gone by.

This old gal, Buck and her girlfriend, Tiffany, have been together for about a dozen years. They are an odd pair, but pretty well suited. They like some pretty kinky stuff and it can’t be that easy to find a partner who goes in for that kind of … pleasure.

T called Tiffany on Friday to ask what we should bring to the party and got an earful! It seems that Buck had taken off for the beach with another mutual friend. Not only that, but left with her strap and toys packed to go. She even had the nerve to tell Tiffany to go out and buy a new strap for when she got home! [Insert stunned expression here.]

T immediately called Buck’s cell phone and left a message. Then she left a text for Pam, the mutual “friend.” Both had posted something on their FB walls and T commented on both of them. Ok, here’s my confession: when T read to me what Pam had written, I offered a comment. But, really it was because I thought it sounded more poetic.
Pam said, “What a great day!”
T’s comment, “A beautiful day for betrayal.” That was mine. T was going to say something like: you are a nasty, trashy ho and I hope you drown in the ocean.

Then T called Tiffany back and they talked for quite some time about how horrible it all was. There was some more back and forthing with the cheaters (I’ll just add that Pam is both married to a man and has a steady girlfriend) and with Tiff and eventually Tiffany told T to butt out and let her fight her own battles. Buck and Pam both defriended T on FB.

Now, all of that is just ugly and sordid bad behavior. And who cares, right? T is worried now, though, because tomorrow night we are going to the once-a-month Old Gals dance downtown and she is pretty sure that Buck and Pam will be there. She is such a weenie, she is afraid that they will be mean to her. I find that hilarious. First of all, I’m a black belt and tough little scrapper and not afraid to fight. I know they won’t try anything physical, but if they did I would actually enjoy that. We so rarely get to use our skills! Second of all, what are they going to do? Glare at us? Call us names? I’m sorry but that just doesn’t scare me. And it won’t hurt my feelings, either.

What a bunch of stupid dyke drama. And at our age, for crying out loud! They all need to just grow the hell up. Acting like a bunch of teenagers is not attractive.

23 September 2010

September is Bike Commute Challenge!

I participated last year, but this year I am committed to riding 100% of the month. I rode about half of July and all but one day in August, and so far I have ridden every work day in September. I was wavering one morning last week when the rain was pouring down but one of my coworkers texted me and asked if she could ride with me. What could I say? “Meet me at Multnomah and 16th.” And off we went into the watery world of the Pacific Northwest.

Here are just a few observations from my ride.

I don’t wear makeup and it’s a good thing. The morning of the downpour I reached up to wipe the streaming rain off my chin and could feel the moisturizer running down my neck.

It’s good to wear contacts in the rain. Without windshield wipers for your glasses, it’s a pretty blurry ride.

Men don’t have enough opportunities to wear skin-tight clothing. The fully outfitted, spandex-clad gear heads make up a large part of the biking public around here. I have noticed that men particularly like to wear those full-on bike outfits; you know the ones, with the sport logo jerseys and the skin-tight pants. When they are walking their bikes through a pedestrian area, they can often be seen stroking their legs and prancing just a little. I believe that they like the feel of their legs encased in smooth, clingy fabric. If men were ‘allowed’ to wear clingy fabrics in their every day lives, they would be more likely to bike in ordinary clothes.

I love my bike. Love, love, love my bike. LOVE. MY. BIKE!

My bike is the most elegant thing I own. I don’t wear elegant clothes; I don’t drive an elegant car… when you look at me you are more likely to think ‘practical’ rather than elegant. But my bike, ahh, she is lovely. I’ve named her Helen M*rren because she is elegant, beautiful and tough (and sessy!). She is a Trek Allant, the green women’s version. She has two full fenders, which are essential in this climate. She came with a frame for a front basket and I have found one that suits her just right. My mom is going to give me her collapsible rear baskets but I am hesitating to put them on because I don’t want to mar her beauty. I will put them on eventually though. It’s that practical side of me coming out.

I feel strong when I stand up and pedal. I feel strong and young(ish) and urban. I thought it would be terrifying to ride in downtown traffic but it is not. I feel quite capable and savvy wheeling through the city streets.

I love going fast and taking a corner leaning into the angle. Well, as long as there is not too much gravel on the street.

I wear my helmet all the time, even though I would really rather not.

I don’t think I have lost any weight, dang it, but my thighs are definitely thinner. Those little pouchy saddlebags on the sides are dwindling.

I am kind of a slow rider; I rarely pass anyone. But that’s ok with me. I’m not training for the Tour d’France.

15 September 2010

Weekend round up

A little late, but a weekend round up.

Friday afternoon we went to a high school football game. The niece is attending the same high school that my daughter went to and it continues to be a funny kind of redux to go through all of this again. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that we won the game. :-)

Friday night I went to my book group. I have been in this group for 18 years. Wow. Time just slips by. Not all of the members have kids, but about half of us have daughters the same age who all went to school together. We get the monthly update of what everyone’s kids are doing and although we don’t see them often it’s great to stay connected. We are a very lax and accepting book group and usually only half of us have read the book. Someone once suggested that we call ourselves the Book Admirers. We like the name!

Saturday morning taught a couple of little kids martial art classes, then went back to the school in the afternoon to teach a women and teen girls self defense class. There were several teenagers who were getting ready to go off to college and their moms had insisted that they take the class before they go. Thank god for moms. The teenagers never want to be there, but almost always end up enjoying it and feeling empowered. I had my usual struggle with overwhelming emotion but was able to keep moving through it. Some day the past will lose its hold over me but in the meantime I will just have to keep working at it.

On Saturday night we went to the neighborhood party that occurs at the end of summer. We live in a small neighborhood and instead of individual block parties we have one big one. We definitely wanted to go and introduce the niece to various people. She absolutely amazed me on Saturday! She is ordinarily a shy person, but at the party she really stepped out of her comfort zone. A woman I know came over to say hi and I introduced her to T and the niece. I asked her if she knew any kids who were freshmen at the same high school. She said that her twin boys were freshmen but going to different schools. She then said that there were three girls over at the house and two of them went to A’s school and would she like to come over and meet them. Amazingly, A said yes, looked at us for confirmation, and off she went. (I will add that the house was across the street from where we were sitting and the kids in full view in the living room.) I was very surprised and very proud of her for going.

Sunday we stayed home and did chores. While it’s nice to have an extra hand at the clean up, there’s more need for that extra hand in the amount of clutter, laundry, dishes, etc. But, we have divided up the chores into a rotating duty roster and everyone will get a turn to do something they don’t like. :-)

All in all it was a pretty good weekend. Not enough down time for me and I am still feeling a little beset by their family. I really must work on finding ways to create some solitude for myself. Just haven’t figured that out yet.

09 September 2010

The First Week

Here’s where I confess that I am not perfect.*

T and the niece are driving me crazy! It’s not anything specific that either of them are doing, it’s just that they are so very… there. T has a big personality and I’ve pretty much adjusted to her. But, she is unsure of herself in this new role as parent, and that is making her question me constantly about whether or not she should do this, that, or the other. Just because I have raised one kid doesn’t make me an expert! Sure, she turned out pretty well, but I made plenty of mistakes.

And the niece. She has this habit of standing right behind us. I’ve actually turned around in the kitchen and bumped into her, she was so close. I understand that she is in a new environment, that she doesn’t know me all that well, that everything in her life has changed, but please child, give me some room! She is following me around like a puppy.

And then there’s the rest of the family! T’s sister is on the phone every day and has been over to the house several times. T’s mom and brother and nephew have been over. Of course they miss the girl and want to see her room and all of that stuff, and it’s all good in general, but there is just no break from them. I feel like it’s ten thousand of them versus one of me. I’m outnumbered!

The topper? T offered to dog-sit for an ex of hers this week. We have an elderly miniature dachshund underfoot as well. ARGH! One that is pampered and treated like a baby and expects to sleep IN the BED with me and T. Under the covers! And came to our house stinky and with FLEAS! It’s too much.

One week down, three years and fifty one weeks to go…

*Just for the record, I do not think that I am perfect. I am a flawed individual who is showing signs of strain.