3.10.09

Letters I Write But Don't Have the Cojones to Send (Husband Edition)


I'm once again stealing from Kyslp at Stir-Fry Awesomeness, who recently posted "Letters I Write But Don't Have the Cojones to Send Husband Edition," which you can read here. If you aren't reading/following her, SHAME ON YOU. Get up off your lazy bum & visit her now, she's the best! My lame attempt is below if you don't get too wrapped up in her blog and forget about little ole' me.


Dear Husband,

While I appreciate that you work hard every day to provide us with a lovely home, beautiful things, food to eat, and nice cars to drive, I do not appreciate your frank stupidity and your utter lack of sound judgment.

You are a doctor, a very noble calling to be sure. I admire what you do because I couldn't even get through Intro to Biology in college, let alone Algebra. You are quite talented and there's no doubt in my mind that you are the bee's knees.

That being said, today you clearly left any common sense you had at home in your sock drawer.

Fraternity reunion weekend. I soooooooo get it. You want to be with your friends, consume mass quantities of alcohol and act like idiots (just like you did in college). I generally accept this and don't give you shit about it. You work hard, you deserve to play hard.

But today that all changed. Today you suddenly decided it would be a fabulous idea to play flag football. FAB-U-LOUS. I considered saying something subtle before you left, but (a) I'm not your mother, (b) you are an adult, capable of making your own decisions, and (c) I didn't want to be the naggy wife. So instead I kept my mouth shut.

A little while later, you called. You said, "I broke my shoulder."

I laughed. I knew it was a joke. I mean, c'mon! You're a SURGEON! Surgeons don't do dumb things like play contact sports which could result in serious injuries which in turn could result in not being able to, oh, OPERATE ON PEOPLE?!!?!?!?!?

But it wasn't a joke. You told me it was for realz. So I threw the kids in the car, dropped them at my in-laws, and immediately went to the ER.

You are now on pain meds, in a sling, and I'm livid. Oh, but wait. It gets better. You came home, showered (with my help), got dressed (with my help), and you went back out. With the fraternity guys. To some banquet dinner thing. I am trying to remain calm. But what part of you thinks it's a good idea to go out on the town when you've just suffered a major injury?

For once, could you suck it up and realize you're not 18 anymore and partying like it's 1999 just isn't an option?

If you're not home by 10 p.m. tonight, I am so going to bed and you will have to sleep in your button-down shirt or find someone else to help you re-do your sling and ace bandages.

By the way, if you are feeling well enough to be out on the town tonight, don't think for a second I'm skipping my Girls' Night Out on Monday. No sir. The one saving grace about this little incident is that you will be around more. No work, no golf....hey, maybe I should be grateful this happened?!

No, I think not.

Love,
Your Very Angry and Resentful Wife

2.10.09

Feeling humbled & excited (again)


Kyslp over at Stir-Fry Awesomeness has bestowed this award upon me! Thank you!! She recently blogged about "The One Who Drove Away," which you can read here. She's incredibly witty and I frequently laugh out loud when I read her posts. I discovered her not that long ago through Twitter, and boy am I glad I did! Anyway, I don't think there are any hard & fast rules to this award, so I'm just going to pass it along to:
Charisse & Holly over at Life, Laugh & Latte

Wanted: A friend

Wanted: A good friend who lives nearby (i.e. preferably here in KC). This friend should be funny, intellectual (but not too intellectual), loyal, trustworthy, and patient. This friend should be honest with me, but at the same time know when a teensy white lie is appropriate. Said friend should also want to hang out on a semi-regular basis, whether it means with our kids in tow or at a sushi joint with sake and obnoxious snorting going on. Sure, email, Twitter, and text messages/phone calls are great, but I want to be friends with someone who actually enjoys spending face time with me. I want to be able to confide in you on several levels: the mundane, the serious, the hysterical, the goofy. I want to be able to say to you things like: "My children are driving me batty. Is it 5:00 yet?" or "Do you want to take the kids to the park and catch up on some good gossip?" or "I just ate too much Mexican food and chocolate chip cookies and now I'm having explosive diarrhea." This friend should not cringe to watch me consume copious quantities of cookies, cupcakes, or brownies. Said friend should helpfully dive into the snacks with me and we can then go work out together the next day to burn it off.

If you are considering applying for this position, you might want to know a little bit about who you'll be working for.

Me: I'm a little needy in that I tend to look to others for validation. But I don't like to come across as needy, though. I will often retreat into myself and get pretty absorbed in the daily grind of kids, working out, cooking dinner, running to the grocery store, and doing a trillion loads of laundry. I'm a tad OCD. I over analyze everything. I'm chronically on time or early. I'm not very patient. I really just want someone to hang out with more often, to be my very dear friend. I have several good & old friends, but they don't live nearby. I do have friends here in KC, but I want to be someone's close friend---I want to be someone you confide in, call when you need a shoulder to cry on, a favor, etc. I want you to trust me with your secrets while I trust you with mine. I think it's hard for women to maintain friendships when young kids are in the picture; the dads play golf together every weekend or bond at football games or go out drinking on weekend nights. I don't do any of this. I'm the one who's mostly at home or coming home early to relieve the sitter while Hubby goes out on the town.

I am not good at reaching out a lot. I'm afraid of rejection. I don't put myself out there enough.

Will you be my friend? My biggest fault is that I will probably love you too much.

1.10.09

Books I loved when I was growing up...



Steph in the City posted today about books she loved while she was growing up, and so I thought I'd do the same here.


Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar profoundly touched me in a way I can't begin to explain. Her writing is effortless, engaging, and haunting. The book is autobiographical with fictional elements and chronicles protagonist Esther Greenwood's descent into depression.
Plath has put pieces of herself into Esther. It's abundantly clear that it's essentially her story. That story is sometimes wickedly funny with some horribly painful parts mixed in. She unabashedly bares her soul to the world and I love her for it.
Esther walks a very fine line as a young woman coming of age in the 1950s---to marry and become a housewife, or to seek out a career of her own? I can relate so well to her feelings of isolation and her girlish naivete. The descriptions of her electroshock treatments are striking and wrenching. She tells her tale in the characteristically simple, clear, and concise fashion she's known for. Every time I read this book I have a hard time putting it down. I'm left unable to distinguish between Sylvia and Esther because so many things in the book mirror actual events in the author's life. I catch glimpses of myself in the story.


Plath took her own life at the tender age of 31. She put her head in her oven with the gas on while her two young children were sleeping.


This book makes me want to become a writer. It's so honest and real. You have to read it and see for yourself.

30.9.09

Wordless Wednesday


Abby trying on my Fuggs. Fuggs = Fake Uggs, in case you didn't know.

Izzy's moved on to my new red pumps. Wonder if I'll ever wear them again?



All pajammied up and trying on all of mommy's shoes. This can keep us occupied for at least 15 minutes. Sweet!

Can you stand more memories?

I remember the day the Challenger exploded. I was in 4th grade. Most of the school crowded into the cafeteria where there was a small black and white television. It was very quiet in there. They played it over and over. It was awful. I think we were just old enough to realize what had happened. I remember doing a report on Christa McAuliffe soon after, Teacher in Space.

I remember our teacher then, Mrs. Tocho. She was tough. But she taught us how to study. She kept a small tin of peppermints on her desk. If you had a sore throat, she'd give you one. If you feigned a cough, she'd give you one. She also handed out these really long, hard study guides with 75+ questions. We'd read all about ancient Mesopotamia and then have to do the study guides in our black and white composition books.

I remember struggling with Latin in 8th grade. Everyone else got it except for me. I copied Allison's homework a few times, nearly crying with shame. Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant. Mrs. Troxclair recommended that I get a tutor. Amazingly, I met with said tutor once, and it was like everything clicked. All of a sudden I was conjugating verbs and declining nouns with ease. Whew.

I remember having a string of French teachers in high school. I'm not sure why Ecole couldn't keep one. Maybe we scared them off? I still remember memorizing dialogues for Mrs. Barr (was that her name?). "Ou sont les jeunes filles en chapeaux? Elles ont a la plage." We had to sit in alphabetical order, so I always sat behind Kim and then Riley sat behind me. We had to choose French names for ourselves from a dinky list in our textbooks. I chose "Chantal." Snort.

I remember having to memorize that speech from Julius Caesar for Ms. Foley. We each took turns going up to her desk to quietly repeat it to her. I think it was around 187 lines, beginning with, "Friends, Romans, countrymen: lend me your ears. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him." I remember being very anxious on that day, but I did it. I stopped here and there and drew a blank. Ms. Foley told me to just relax and wait a minute, and assured me it would come. She was right. I amazed myself.

I remember doing this stupid "red book" in sophomore writing. It was a workbook all about improving one's writing with phrases like, "in addition to," "above all," "not only....but also," and words like "nevertheless," "however," and "moreover." It also involved writing and re-writing extensive paragraphs with no mistakes. Back then it was frustrating and stupid. In retrospect I think it was a brilliant thing.

I remember dissecting worms, frogs, and something else---mice, maybe? in Biology class. We had metal trays with cushioning inside that you could use pins with to secure the subject to. The smell was awful. I thought about being one of those students that refused to harm animals, but in the end I was much too curious and interested about seeing the organs and insides.

I remember loathing P.E. I wasn't decent at any sports except for volleyball. And no one dared use the showers afterwards--no doors and very dirty/gross. So we just poured on the deodorant after class. Some of the girls even used Right Guard. The thought of all that aerosol still makes me shudder.

I remember realizing my freshman year that now that I was in high school, I could go to the Homecoming Dance. Only I didn't have a date. I stayed home. When I was a sophomore I really really wanted to go. So I asked the first guy I ever kissed, Scott. I can't believe I had the balls to call him after not talking to him in years. He agreed to go with me. I picked out a black dress with a giant bow along the top that had polka dots. I was very excited. I even got David L. to go with my best friend, Laura. So we doubled. It was an uneventful night. Laura got to spend the night at my house afterwards.

I remember the next morning. My mom made her usual Sunday breakfast: homemade biscuits, fried eggs, bacon, and grapefruit. Honey, butter, and preserves for the biscuits. Coffee for my parents, milk for me, Laura, and my brothers. After we stuffed ourselves, Laura's mom came to pick her up. I remember being upstairs making my bed when my parents called us back down for a "family meeting." Mark and I joked with each other on our way downstairs. "You'd better start pulling your weight around here. Take out the trash!" I jabbed at him with my elbow.

I remember going into the living room and hitting a wall of angst. My mom was sitting there crying and my dad was pacing. I remember wondering what was going on and immediately banishing the idea of more chores from my head. This wasn't going to be your average family meeting.

I remember my dad looking at a legal pad he held in his hand. Usually he reserved those for work, but clearly this was more serious than I thought.

I remember the first things my dad said. He said, "This is about honesty, integrity, respect, and my love for all of you." And then I remember he said, "Your mother and I are getting a divorce. Your father is a homosexual." I remember wondering why he was speaking about himself in the third person. It sounded so strange, like he was talking about someone other than himself. Maybe he wanted it to be about someone else.

I remember the words were thin and airy and they floated up to the ceiling. I instantly left myself. All I wanted was for the speech to be over. I remember as he was wrapping it up I asked if I could be excused. As I left the room, I remember hearing my younger brother, Kevin (who was 9 at the time), start asking a string of silly questions. I bolted upstairs.

I remember calling my best friend, Michelle. She was at a soccer tournament. I called Laura, but she had just left my house and wasn't home yet. I was crying so much I couldn't see the numbers on the phone. Finally someone answered me. Joe. I think I blurted out, "My parents are getting divorced." He suggested we meet at Metairie Playground and do homework. I didn't do any homework. I copied Joe's homework.

I remember it was a cold November day. I couldn't stop crying or shivering. I remember Joe was very patient with me and offered hugs and some wrinkled up handkerchiefs from his pocket. I didn't say much. I just needed someone to be there with me, for me. He may have saved me.

28.9.09

Dear Erin (1994),

(This is me with Marc the Player at Senior Prom in 1994. See below)

**This post is shamelessly copied from Kyslp. Read her version here.

Dear Erin (1994),

Stop sucking in your gut---you don't even have one and have no idea yet what a real gut looks like. Just wait and see. You look skinny and amazing, and you will never be this thin again. Especially without having to exercise or monitor what you eat.

I am so glad you finally stopped obsessing over that other boy who never liked you and instead moved on to Marc the Player. He was a hottie, wasn't he? I can't believe you landed him! He may have been hot, but he wasn't exactly the brightest bulb in the batch. He loved to play with your hair and bring you flowers, so that wooed you. Yet he was a Westbanker and you could never *really* get past that, could you? It's a good thing he blew you off; it was really in your best interests. I think you simply had "gullible" scrawled across your forehead.

I'm glad you've finally let go for your senior year--isn't it nice? You don't care so much what other people think and you've got your eyes on the prize--college. I know you're looking forward to escaping the parental units and the small-town feel of NOLA, but don't get too excited; Jackson, MS is very much its own fishbowl. Yet it will be a treat to be one in a class of 325 as opposed to one in a class of 55. Your high school is entirely too small for its own good.
Say goodbye to the people who were mean to you and called you "Witchnose." The boys who are always telling you to "crawl back into your little Erin shell."
Don't worry about the stupid guys who never gave you a second look--in college you will meet and date several really great guys, but none will be The One. Still, it will be good practice.
Shrug off the seriousness and stress of the last few years at home and try to just have fun. Are you capable of doing that?
Oh, and skip out on the nervous breakdown in college. It's really a bummer for everyone and you should just get some good anti-depressants ahead of time. Don't take on too much at college. You really don't need to teach those 3rd graders French. They won't really be listening or paying much attention to you. Save that time and hang out with your friends or just focus on yourself. Skip tutoring in the Writing Center, too---nobody cares about that shit on your resume!
P.S. Do not drink so much of that punch on fraternity row. It is filled with Everclear and makes you act like a fool.
P.P.S. Overalls are not, were not, nor will they ever be in style. Burn them! Along with those high-waisted pants.
Love,
Erin (2009)

27.9.09

More memories

I remember when the ice cream man would venture into our neighborhood while I was growing up, my mom never let us buy anything from him. She always said, "You never know how long that stuff's been sitting in the back of that nasty old truck!"

I remember all the friends I had growing up on Toby Lane in Metairie, LA. If I knocked on one door and no one was home, I just went on to the next door. I remember Jennifer, Jill, Kacie, Cherie, Michelle, Brennan, and Anne.

I remember Jennifer's mom kept a stash of Blow Pops. My mom never let us have candy (except on Halloween). So I'd just go over to Jennifer's house.

I remember Brennan was a cheerleader at our school and she taught me all of her routines so I could try out when I was in 5th grade. I had to try out first (we drew numbers out of a hat). I was so nervous. I didn't make the cut. Not entirely surprising. But it's the first time I can really remember wanting to belong to something---but being on the outside of it. Not worthy. Not good enough. The cheerleaders were the popular girls.

I remember making green slime with Jill (a la Nickelodeon's "You Can't Do That on Television"). We used oatmeal and green food coloring and made a mess. Jill's mom was less than thrilled. Jill is brilliant and now retired with a hedge fund. I don't even really know what a hedge fund is.

I remember we went to the pet store one day and came home with a Yorkie and two parakeets. My younger brother Kevin was allowed to name the birds (I'm not sure why). He named them "Jack" and "Jack." My parents named the dog Darby. I remember her running around in huge circles in the backyard. We called her "the black blur" because all you'd see was this blur of her fur as she whizzed by.

I remember Darby once got a hold of a pack of gum. I don't have to tell you the rest. It wasn't pretty.

I had a fear of dogs when I was little. Our next door neighbors in Houma had an English Mastiff. His name was Chaos. 'Nuff said. One day Chaos chased me (I didn't understand that dogs chase you when you run) and it was so incredibly scary. He never hurt or bit me, but he was soooo big, and I was soooo little. That sealed the deal. Until we got Darby, I steered clear of dogs. If I was going to a friend's house and she had a dog, I had to ask her to put the dog in another room. Now I can't imagine being afraid of the most lovable creatures on earth!

I remember the awful red plaid skirts we had to wear to school. They were supposed to be knee length, but a lot of the girls wore theirs shorter. I remember getting hand-me-down skirts from some of our babysitters who also lived down the block. They were not the kind of girls who wore short skirts, either.

I remember our favorite babysitters on the block were Natalie and Cathy (sisters). Natalie was older and a Star Trek and Doctor Who fan. I didn't love that about her. But she was fun and actually interacted with us and taught us how to play Sardines (glorified Hide & Seek, you hide with the person when you find him/her...until one person is left looking for everyone else who is hiding together).

I remember my parents traveled to Europe when I was in 6th grade or so and Natalie and Cathy stayed with us. We got to eat Popeye's fried chicken, Domino's pizza, and sloppy joes all week. We rented "Jumpin' Jack Flash" from Blockbuster which was a BIG deal because it was rated R and had curse words in it.

I remember one day when I was 13, I was outside talking to some kids I babysat for when I felt something weird. I went inside to use the bathroom. I'd gotten my first period. I knew what I thought it was, but I wasn't exactly sure, so I called for my mom. Then we had to go to Walgreens with toilet paper stuffed in my underwear. I was so excited to buy my first pack of Always for teens. They came in individual little purple wrappers. Nevermind that I was about the last girl in my class to get it. I was self conscious but very relieved.

I remember my first training bra. My friend Cherie teasing me. She'd snap it in the back and sing, "Erin's got the cotton!" I turned purple with embarrassment. Probably because I didn't really need a training bra. Training for what, anyway? Why can't they just call it a bra?

I remember with my period came an onslaught of other issues. Acne, obsession with my weight/how I looked, terrible self-consciousness, anxiety, and bouts of self-deprecation. Even a little self-mutilation. Does every young girl go through this? Fortunately my mom took me to the dermatologist and Retin-A resolved the acne. But the rest? We found a good therapist who worked predominantly with teenage girls.

I remember seeing my therapist off and on starting at age 13. When things got really rough I went twice a week. After my dad came out of the closet, Robin (my therapist) suggested to me that I had sensed things were not right with my parents. That I was coping with all that stuff. Who really knows?

I remember Robin's office was very cool. Neat artwork. Lots of books on shelves. Quiet. She was always drinking coffee. Nonstop. I wonder how that woman ever slept. She was chronically late, too. Even if I was late, she was later. I remember her taking notes on yellow legal pads. I always wondered what she wrote about me. It would be interesting to see now. But I don't know that I'd really want to. I cringe at the thought.

I remember there were railroad tracks right by her office. When trains passed by, it got so loud and you could feel the vibrations and a slight shudder/shift in the building. Sometimes I wanted to get on that train and let it take me far away to another place.

I remember Robin always perched her two perfect feet on a little stool in front of her swivel chair. Probably something for posture, or to help her deal with sitting all day. She always wore the coolest shoes. I focused on them when I was afraid to speak or wasn't sure where to begin.

I remember seeing other patients in the waiting room, seeing the other therapists walking around in between appointments. Wondering what went on in other offices there. Seeing other people come out with kleenex and runny noses, red faces. Wanting to go up and hug them and tell them they were not alone.

I remember feeling guilty that my parents had to pay for my therapy. I remember the insurance running out and then they had to pay out of pocket. And still I went. It may have saved me.
 

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