Monday, June 30, 2008

Back from the void

I've mentioned this before, but sometime in the six weeks between when P died and when we moved, the video iPod he'd given me for our last Christmas together disappeared. I was terribly upset and looked everywhere for it, but it was nowhere to be found, and finally I gave up and started using P's own iPod, which I'd bought him for his birthday because he liked mine so much. Every once in a while, though, the lost one would still nag at me, and I'd try looking for it again -- I even hoped, after I sold my car to a friend last spring, that he'd call to tell me that he'd found it under one of the seats. But it never happened.

Then, earlier this month, I got my boxes of photos out of storage for the first time since we moved here because I was looking for a specific picture of P to put on his plaque at the cemetery. In the top of one of the boxes were a duffel bag and beach bag, which I'd apparently stuffed in there to help fill space. I thought about throwing them away, since G and I have accumulated a lot of other tote bags in the intervening two years, but I ended up changing my mind and sticking them on a shelf in my closet instead.

So today we were going to the beach for G's cousin's birthday party, and I thought "Aha! I'll use that old beach bag for our towels." As I was going to drop my phone down into one of the side pockets, I saw something in a black leather case, and I said "AAAAAAAAGH!" because guess what it was? My iPod!

I had to reboot it, but after an hour plugged into my laptop, it was just as good as new. Actually, it is almost new, because I had only owned it for about six months when it was lost -- there's hardly a scratch on it, and only 462 songs. I've been trying to think how it possibly could have got into that bag, and I think it must have been right after P's ashes were interred. I took G to SeaWorld that weekend (seemed like a good idea at the time, but it was a miserable trip, for me anyway) and on the way home she wanted to stop at the beach in San Clemente. We couldn't find parking there, but later that afternoon I took her to a different beach, and I must have brought that bag with me. It's the only time we went to the beach on our own that summer, and the bag has been buried in a box ever since. But almost exactly two years later, here it is again. Magic!

Friday, June 27, 2008

This sleepover is off the hook, yo

Things G and her friends have done over the last eight hours:

* Played Webkinz on head-to-head laptops
* Been taken to see "Wall•E" at the movie theater
* Consumed popcorn, Sour Patch Kids and chocolate
* Danced down the stairs, through the living room, in one kitchen door and out the other, and back up the stairs ... four times
* Covered themselves in roll-on strawberry body glitter
* Put pink and blue streaks in their hair
* Bedecked themselves in a variety of scarves
* Tried to film themselves doing a Web show with our PC cam
* Eaten pizza
* Played 20Q
* Had a massive pillow fight
* Played "musical pillows" to the strains of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"
* Played Truth or Dare (the innocent version -- the most daring dare was to go downstairs and kiss the cat)
* Played Apples to Apples

I sent them upstairs about half an hour ago (will turn off the lights at midnight), and they're in G's room right now, playing some sort of game they found in the American Girl book about sleepovers. There is giggling involved. Lots and lots of giggling.

Good times!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

En garde, part deux

So, a while back I wrote about G's slightly unorthodox choice of a sport, and my attempts to find a place that would teach it to her. Well, believe it or not, the search eventually yielded a fencing school that a.) isn't too far from where we live, and b.) takes students of all ages. And this evening, she attended her first class. 20 boys and men, and one bad-ass 9-year-old girl. Mine. :)

It's a very serious school -- they're closed next week because most of the team are going to compete at the nationals -- and the instructor is very serious too. However, I had a terrible time containing my laughter when he announced "Female students will wear chest protectors, and male students will wear cups! I wear a cup at all times!" You have no idea how much I wanted to raise my hand and ask "Really? How about at the grocery store? Or while you're making pancakes? Or mowing the lawn?" But, he was holding a weapon at the time, so I controlled myself.

Tonight's class started out from absolute zero, and by the end of the hour, they were all advancing and retreating and lunging with actual blades. It'll be interesting to see how they progress over the next eight weeks. At the next session, the instructor is going to split the group into over-14s and under-14s, so G won't be fighting any grown men, just boys close to her own age. And on that note, I'm thinking it might be useful to have a daughter who knows how to kill people with swords when the dating years come along -- "Going out for the night? Don't forget your saber!" Haha.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

All Spiderwick, all the time

G has spent the last four months waiting for The Spiderwick Chronicles to come out on DVD. (She spent the four months before that waiting for it to be released in the theater.) Today was the magic day, so we stopped on the way home to buy a copy. When we got here, she ran up the stairs to her room, DVD case in hand, calling "I want to watch it alone!" over her shoulder as she went.

She's been in there with the door closed for an hour and a half now, raptly watching every minute of every single special feature. Even though she isn't allowed to eat in her room under normal circumstances, I bent the rules and carried her food up on a tray at dinnertime. You can't expect someone to interrupt a religious experience to come downstairs for pizza.

One thing you can say about G: When she decides to be a fan of something, she doesn't do it by halves. Along with this new DVD -- the two-disc special edition, of course -- she also owns the book series, the three or four companion volumes, the audio books, a copy of Nickelodeon magazine with a cover story dedicated to the movie, a rock with a hole through it that she found at the beach (her "seeing stone") and I'm pretty sure she has some other swag I'm forgetting about. It really is a comprehensive collection of all things Spiderwick-related. The author would be proud!

How only children tattle

G: Maaa! The cat is loitering outside my bedroom!

Yeah, he's a hoodlum all right. LOL

Friday, June 20, 2008


Going outside this week has been like stepping onto the surface of the sun. When G and I left her dentist appointment at 3:00 yesterday afternoon, the thermometer in my car said 115, and we're not even inland. Thank God for central air.

Hot as it is, it's still not the hottest I've ever been. Immediately after P's funeral, G and I went to spend a few days with my mother, who lives in Redlands, in hopes of getting a break from some of the stress of the previous 10 days. It's usually a blast furnace out there in the summer, and that year was no exception. The first or second night we were there, G, my mother, my sister and I went to see a free production of Beauty and the Beast at the Redlands Bowl, and it was just stifling -- still over 100 degrees at 9 p.m., with a hot wind blowing and a thousand bodies packed shoulder to sweaty shoulder into a relatively small space. G was still too short then to see over adult heads, so she had to sit on my lap through most of the three hours, and I spent the whole time thinking that surely I was going to faint the next minute. Somehow we all survived, but I've never been that hot in my life. And I've been to Phoenix in August, where it's so hot that the asphalt in parking lots sticks to your shoes.

Let's see, what else has been going on? G had her bridging ceremony from Brownies to Junior Girl Scouts on Wednesday night, and today was her last day of school. I found out from her teacher earlier this week that they're putting her in the GATE cluster for next year, which I think will be a nice challenge for her. As for me, I've been thinking a lot about the ways I didn't do such a great job this school year and trying to work out how to do better next year. What I really need is just more time -- even getting home an hour earlier every day would help immeasurably. There's got to be a sweet spot where I can catch G before she's too tired and burnt out to deal with homework and other responsibilities. I don't know exactly when that is, but I guarantee you it's long before 6:00 in the evening.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

This is the story of a girl and her dad

Happy Father's Day to the best dad a little girl could ever hope to have. You haven't been forgotten, and you will never be replaced.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Actually, I sprinkled her lunch with Miracle-Gro

As G walked past me just now, I did a double take and said, "Hold on. You look taller all of a sudden. Did you grow in the night or something?"

"I dunno. Let's check," she said.

So I stood her up against the wall in the kitchen where we track her height, and sure enough, she's grown half an inch since the last time I measured her on June 2. Half an inch in twelve days! Is she a kid, or a bamboo forest?

One thing's for sure, I definitely won't be buying any new school clothes until August at least. I doubt she's going to be growing at this rate all summer long -- that would equal almost three inches in 10 weeks, which sounds a bit extreme -- but even so, she could easily go through an entire size between now and then. No wonder I haven't been able to keep the pantry full lately.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The foot fetish post

OK, not really. But I do have to tell you all that the notorious PedEgg actually does work the way it does on television.

I hate socks and wear sandals or some sort of open shoes almost every day of the year, even when it's raining, and I honestly did not think that anything could rid me of the disgusting integument my feet have developed as a result of this habit. Cream, foot scrub, pumice stones -- nothing has ever come close to touching it. But a few minutes with this little cheese-grater-looking thing, and I'm almost callous- and dead skin-free. It'll take another session to get the last of it (I was afraid to do too much at once, plus I have a crack in one of my heels and couldn't go over that area), but this is seriously the best my feet have looked in five years.

I would post a picture of the pile of skin shavings I'm about to throw away, but some things are TMI even for this blog. Oh well.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Imaginary conversations

A few months before P died, he and I gave each other identical black video iPods -- he for what would turn out to be our last Christmas together, and I for his final birthday in February. In all the confusion after his death, my iPod disappeared, never to be found, and I ended up using his, which would have made him laugh and say, Maybe now you'll listen to some real rock and roll for a change.

Anyway, his iPod has been playing up a little lately -- having to be restarted, or threatening to make me restore it from iTunes -- so I thought I ought to back his music up on my laptop, since his computer doesn't work anymore and I can't access the original song files. I was transferring away when I hit a certain section of the iPod's library and said, out loud, "Oh no you don't. I will love you until the end of time, but I am not going to use up my hard-drive space on your Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica collections."

But it's Ozzy! How can you not like Ozzy?

"Sorry. No Ozzy."

You're no fun.

"When was I ever? You were the fun one, if you recall."


We're coming up on two years in less than a month, and I can still hear his voice in my head just as clearly as ever. Sometimes I wonder if when I'm ninety and going senile (if indeed I ever do -- my great-grandmother lived to be ninety-three without ever losing a single marble), I'll start to see him too. I can picture myself sitting there on the porch of the retirement home, cheerfully chatting away to an empty chair, with the nurses whispering to visitors, "Poor thing, she thinks she's talking to her husband ... he died young, you know." And no one but me will know that I can really see him there, with his sunglasses and his cargo shorts and his Skechers, and he'll be asking me, So, have you listened to that Metallica playlist yet? You've got to expand your musical horizons ....

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Words a mother loves to hear

G: Mommmm, you didn't put enough broccoli on my plate!

(But then she had a big bowl of ice cream for dessert. I guess it all balances out.)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

No time to breathe

On the docket for June:

* Buy G's Junior Girl Scout uniform for next year
* Mail the paperwork for G's summer day camp
* Sign G up for the city art class she wants to take
* Buy new sneakers for G
* Buy new iPod car adapter for self
* Make vet appointments for the cats
* Take G to see Kung Fu Panda
* Take G to dentist (for the first time since P died ... I know, bad mom)
* Make dentist appointment for self
* Attend G's bridging ceremony for Juniors
* (Possibly) attend school carnival
* Get oil changed
* Renew Auto Club membership
* Finally see about getting the photo added to P's plaque at the cemetery (would like to have this done by the second anniversary of his death in July)
* Host sleepover and trip to the movies for G and three friends
* Cook
* Clean
* Do laundry
* Exercise
* Work 40+ hours per week

This is why, on the rare occasions when someone asks me if I'm dating anyone these days, I always want to look at them and ask "Are you high?" I mean, really. Even if I wanted to (nope, still don't), where, in the schedule that the above list represents, could anyone possibly think there is time to go out on a date? For that matter, why would I want to add another person's needs and issues to that mix? My God! When I finally make it, gasping, to Friday night, the only male visitor I want to see at my door is the guy who brings the pizza. And then all I want to do is give him twenty dollars to go away again. Srsly.

I did have a rare chunk of free time last weekend while G was on another Girl Scout camping trip. I used it to get my hair colored -- a task I usually have to take a vacation day to accomplish -- and to see Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull. I enjoyed the movie, but I couldn't help thinking of P, who was a huge Indy fan and would have been looking forward to it for months and months. He was on my mind so much that as I was sitting there waiting for the previews to start, I kept glancing over at the empty seat beside me where he should have been, thinking that surely he was going to be there, peanut butter cups in hand, saying "This better not suck." It's a shame he'll never see it -- I think he would have liked it. But it's just as well I didn't take G, even though she wanted to go; she never would have made it through the scenes of cobweb-hung ruins all thick with skeletons. Kung Fu Panda will be much more her speed.