Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What I Did on my January Vacation

  1. Won a plastic Carnival Destiny trophy in "Name That Tune" and a Carnival Destiny medal in "80s Music Trivia" (which should have been called "80s Name That Tune").
  2. Sang "Desperado" (which went well) and "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Crazy For You" (which did not) at a karaoke bar. I have new respect for Madonna if that is the key in which she actually sang Crazy For You. The other disaster was not my fault, as the disc had a three-minute instrumental in the middle of the song. People say I played it off well, but come on, karaoke providers! What the hell?
  3. Won $11 in roulette (made 20 into 40 then lost it all the first night, turned 20 into $51 the next night, cashed in).
  4. Juiced a length of sugar cane, chewed coffee beans fresh off the tree, saw some of the sets for Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3, and drank a Kubuli beer ("It's what we drink," the billboards say) with some Carib Indians in Dominica.
  5. Snorkeled in the vicinity of sea turtles and saw one from the side of the boat. Other members of the family succeeded in seeing the turtles underwater and thus "swimming with sea turtles" as advertised. M. and I were not among them. She told an old lady on the catamaran that "snorkeling isn't my style" and "I like my ocean better." I sort of agree, despite the beautiful warm blueness of the Barbados water.
  6. Gained weight, I suspect.
  7. Drank a pina colada.
  8. Played Bingo.
  9. Laughed too hard at a standup comedian's joke about marijuana, causing my husband to glance nervously at his parents.
  10. Had my first facial and something called a Cleopatra Milk Wrap. Before those treatments and the massage, the aesthetician brushed me all over. I almost asked if I could trade the rest of the package for $119 worth of brushing.
  11. Saw the ugliest church in the world and a variety of other uninspiring sights. I don't recommend the Dominican Republic for your next vacation.

What I didn't do:
  1. Vomit.
  2. Play shuffleboard.
  3. See the Destiny dancers perform.
  4. Go to the disco.

Monday, January 28, 2008

XOXO, MomVee

I'm back! The cruise was great, surprisingly great in some ways.

While I was gone, almost six months of posts mysteriously appeared on Jacob Clifton's blog, Knees Up. As you may recall, Clifton is the writer who so brilliantly recaps Gossip Girl on TWOP. I'm puzzled as to what exactly happened at the blog; it almost seems like a magical occurrence--either that or an attempt to gaslight me.

At any rate, among the posts is a long passage that the TWOP editor (a classmate at Ergo's and my super-secret college, BTW) cut from the official recap, explaining the greatness of GG. It made me run hastily to the handful of emails I've sent Clifton to make sure that I have never actually used the phrase "guilty pleasure." Phew!

Also, he's convinced me to read The Wind in the Willows, and it's really high time since I'm supposedly a children's literature aficionado.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I had to write this tonight, because a Carribean cruise is sliding down the ramp

Remember a year ago, when I was complaining about how no one wants to hear me sing? I'm not linking to it, because it was whiny and embarrassing. Ergo got so pissed at me she had to retract her first comment. Then the universe showed me, because almost exactly a year later I got too drunk to sing for the first time ever. We have a photographic record of how much my own husband did not want to hear me sing.

Anyway, when I start whining about this subject, how SK and CW have better voices than I do, and Misswg is around, she tells me that she loves my voice because it sounds warm and embracing. And I was thinking about that, and I started to form a vague resolution: be as loving as your voice sounds. And when Mary P Jones posted about finding a word of intention for 2008, I thought, maybe "warm."

Also, in the beginning of November (I told you I was ruminating on this post for a long time), R. and I went out to dinner with a group of people, most of whom we didn't know all that well. When we were saying our good-nights one of the men leaned down to kiss me and said, "You are so sweet!" I was puzzled, because by my lights I had not been being sweet. I thought I was being talkative, probably a little too loud, and I allowed myself to hope I had been witty. Witty, I am sorry to relate, being my highest goal when my superego isn't paying enough attention.

So I asked around: what do we think he really meant by "sweet?" L. suggested "sexy." L. proceeds on the assumption that all men find her irresistibly sexy. It was, forgive the expression, sweet of her to let me into the club after 18 years of friendship; but I proceed on the assumption that exactly one man finds me irresistibly sexy, and I am fortunate enough to be married to him. So, no.

I consulted my mother, and she said, "But you are sweet"...blah, blah, blah, embarrassing maternal gushing. So then I thought maybe my word of intention should be "sweet," but I didn't want to let go of "warm" and it started to sound like a molten chocolate cake, or faintly suggestive...I discarded the whole word of intention concept. I thought maybe my resolution should be "Be as sweet as my mother thinks I am."

So then L. was telling me that how much she likes John Mayer's new single, and that her New Year's Resolution was "Say what you need to say." I was inspired, and I blurted out without thinking, "Mine is 'show the love that you feel.'" So I was getting closer.

And then I had another talk with L., my unpaid therapist, about what we want for our children. I told her I had just come across this Henry James quotation, which I love:
"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind." We agreed that we wanted our children to believe this, to know it. But the problem is I have tried to be kind for the New Year and for Lent and for Shavuoth my whole life and I fail, fail, fail. I am especially unkind to the people I love the most.

So I was very glad that I went to Mass on January 9th and heard this:

God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
In this is love brought to perfection among us,
that we have confidence on the day of judgment
because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love,
but perfect love drives out fear
because fear has to do with punishment,
and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.

1 John 4:8-18
And because I'm very dim and slow in these matters, I also needed to go to mass on January 16th and hear the story of the Lord calling Samuel in the night. My grandmother loved to tell this story. I can hear her voice saying, "Samuel! Samuel!" and "Here I am!" Eli told Samuel to say, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

I still do not have a word of intention, a real New Year's resolution (other than Don't Look At The Ramp), or even a list of action items. But I am trying to listen, and to love without being afraid.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Read This

I'm getting very close to completing my mother-of-all-navel-gazes resolution post.

Meanwhile, this Finslippy post made me laugh out loud:


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My Neurology, a Blessing and a Curse

Not-so-little-R. came home from his troop meeting last night and asked, "Would I be able to go to Klondike Derby next Saturday?"

"This weekend or the weekend after?" (Side note: when I am queen of the world, after I buy normal-sized glasses for DFS [note to self: find out if that is still necessary] and electric pencil sharpeners for my high school [ditto], and after I go on television and tell people to move over to the right when they are about to run into someone on the sidewalk, I will make a law that "this weekend" means the one coming up and "next weekend" means the weekend that has another weekend in between us and it.)

"The weekend after." I open my mouth to speak and he adds, "I know that's the day before we leave for the cruise, but I thought I could probably still go, right?"

So it's official. My son has my brain, the one that looks more than twelve hours ahead. This means that he will not drive other people--okay, just people like me--crazy by not knowing that July 8 is my brother's wedding and no, we cannot go to a baptism that day.

It also means that he is prey to something I have (very recently, as in right this minute) taken to calling the ramp neurosis. This is the anxiety-inducing sense that all the future events of your life are sliding down a ramp towards you at uncontrollable speed. Some of those events are extremely heavy, or have sharp corners, or both.

When I was trying to explain to H. and S. why I decided to do the polar bear plunge, I resolved to get the ramp image out of my consciousness. S. suggested that I should try to approach life more like Guitar Hero (there's a writing no-no! employ imagery that only a tiny percentage of your tiny audience will get!): the notes are rushing toward you, but the only possible strategy is to take them one at a time.

Slow Ride. Take it easy.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

If The Fates Allow

We had ourselves a merry little Christmas, and it isn't over yet! Twelfth Night is on Saturday, and the truly freaky don't take down their decorations until the Feast of the Baptism on the 13th, or Candlemas on February 2nd. I belong in the medium "Baptism" category. We are definitely in a quieter period, though, since R.'s parents and grandmother departed on the 26th. We had a nearly perfect holiday, with good food, lots of music and good will and moderate gift quantity. I, personally, got stacks of books and music and something sparkly from my wonderful husband. Not just something sparkly, but the exact something sparkly I asked for, which I think displays a particularly delicious respectful humility that is so rare in husbands. It's easy to think that you can improve on someone else's wish by exceeding or modifying it, but chances are you are wrong.

I have a New Year's Resolution/Navel-gazing post that I've been ruminating over for about three weeks, but it still isn't ready for prime time.

Meanwhile, here's something to watch:

Polar Bear Plunge

You can get a great view of my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. It's possible to spot me for a few seconds here and there: I'm in a teal tank suit and my hair is in a single braid.