Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Almost Summer

The kids have about ten more days of school. The end can't come soon enough for me. I have a hard time getting myself  up out of bed and out the door, much less two other people. Especially the youngest of the two, who has a morning disposition much like her mother's: unpleasant.

We have nothing planned for summer, but I'm sure the days will be full as soon we only have the work schedules to plan around. I foresee Tuesday hikes, impromptu trips to the beach on a Wednesday, or just lazy days spent not doing much of anything.

The weather here has still been cool, with highs barely reaching the sixties. The sun was out today though so after school I grabbed Lucy and her buddy for some pool action.

What the pictures don't show: Me wearing a sweater, lightweight scarf, and my fuzziest boots. 

I don't mind. Come August, I'll be praying for the day I can put my fuzzy boots back on.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What I've Been Reading Lately

So......I've only read eight books so far this year, which surprises me because I feel like I've been reading pretty regularly. Just reading slower than usual I guess. If this pace continues I'll end the year with my lowest book total in the six years I've been keeping track of titles.

Since I hardly ever write about books anymore, I thought I'd take a few moments to mention the eight (seriously, it's almost June! EIGHT?!) books I've read this year.

*Gone Girl

This book about a husband who may or may not have killed his wife was fantastic. In fact everything Gillian Flynn writes is nothing short of amazing.  Flynn's three books have changed me and if you read nothing else ever, please read them. I'm forever in debt to Daphne for first introducing me to this brilliant author.

*Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors

I love the show and I love Fred and Carrie. I enjoyed the book but I don't know if I would have liked it as much if I didn't live in Portland. At times it just felt like a re-hashing of the show.

*Girl with a Pearl Earring
I always say that I hate historical fiction, but then I read some and find out that it's not so bad. This was read for book club and I did like it, but I would have liked more of it. It ended with me feeling unfulfilled.

*The Language of Flowers
Victoria, a young girl who's aged out of the foster care system, finds a job with a florist and uses her knowledge of floriography to create magical bouquets that have the power to change the lives of those who receive them. Meanwhile, Victoria works to clean up the mess she's made of her own life.

Chick lit is another genre that I like to say I hate, but then I read something beautiful and well written and I'm forced to change my opinion. The Language of Flowers was a book club book although we never had the meeting to discuss it. Sadly, book club is in limbo right now since the general consensus is that most of us find one member hard to be around. I think I might need to find (or create) a new book club.

*The Almost Moon

I enjoyed The Lovely Bones and had high hopes for this book by Alice Sebold about a woman who murders her dying, abusive mother. But the story dragged and I found myself skimming through most of it.

*Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls
Yay for David Sedaris! His last book was a huge, sad disappointment that made no sense to me. This is classic Sedaris and I loved it. I was so excited when Peggy sent me this book along with a box from Godiva. Chocolates and a book? Yes please.

*Attempting Normal

I LOVED this book. But, as mentioned before (in this post), I've loved Marc Maron for a long time. When I was in high school I sent away for an autographed picture. At that time he hosted a show on Comedy Central called Short Attention Span Theatre. About a year ago I found that photo, scanned it, and emailed it to Maron. His response? "Wow." That sort of thing is thrilling to me. But yeah, I loved this book, I love his podcasts, and I love his show on IFC. For what it's worth, Jay likes him too, so I'm not just being a crazy fan. But I am a crazy fan.

*Dad is Fat

I like Gaffigan. Jay and I saw him in Miami once and we laughed until our sides hurt. The book was okay but I didn't love it, but that was most likely because I read it immediately after reading the Maron book. Sorry Jim, I'm a Maron gal all the way.

So that's what I've been reading.

 I recently started I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (sexist, misogynistic, maybe racist) and The Joy Luck Club. It's an odd mix, I'll admit.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


A few weeks ago I received a phone call from the Family Liaison at Lucy's school. Lucy's teacher had expressed some concern that she might need glasses. Lucy had been squinting and she had more than once asked the teacher to make things bigger on the overhead projector.

Let me say straight off that not only do I love that Lucy's teacher was so on top of this situation and cared enough to let me know, but I'm also pleased that there even is someone known as a Family Liaison. But when a stranger calls to tell you something about your child that you probably should know but don't, you get a sinking feeling. Oh. My child is slowly going blind? I had no idea. At that point you know not to check the mail for your Mother of the Year award because it won't be coming anytime soon.

The fact that this phone call coincided with the start of  my new job, a job with different, at times, longer hours, made me feel even worse. Then I started to mentally play the 'Let's List All The Ways I'm A Failure as A Mother' game. A game where there are never any winners. Does the second guessing of every parenting decision ever stop?

Anyway, an appointment was made with the eye doctor and frames were picked out. Lucy was a little upset that they didn't have any with flames on the sides, but she's still pleased with her choice.

In the car on the way home, Lucy kept talking about how clear and crisp everything was and at one point she exclaimed, "The trees look so much more beautiful now!"

I'm an incredibly imperfect parent, but if I can occasionally help to make the world more beautiful for my child, then I guess I'm doing an okay job.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Phone Call

(Note: In case you weren't here for chunks of this story, I used to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses but haven't been for a while. My dad still is. In his eyes, by leaving the organization, I committed the highest sin. He hasn't spoken to me in quite some time. I've written more about this in these posts.)

Today my mom called me to tell me that my dad had called her to inquire about me and the family. Well, me and the kids. He doesn't really care about Jay because he's still convinced that Jay is the reason I'm no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Which isn't true. I was having doubts about the religion long before I mentioned anything to Jay. It's also sad that my dad thinks so little of me, thinks I'm so simple and unable to think for myself, that I would let someone else influence such an important part of my life. As Jay said this afternoon, "Wow. He really doesn't know you at all." No, he doesn't.

Anyway, my mom's conversation with him went something like this:

Mom: Hello.
Dad: Can you tell me anything about Tammie and the kids? Are they dead?
Mom: Wow. That's kind of rude.
Dad: Well, they never answer any of my calls.
Mom: I don't know what to tell you. Sometimes they don't answer my calls either. Tammie works.

The conversation continued with my father listing all the many ways in which I have hurt him. Basically, it's a list of one thing: Me no longer having the same beliefs as him. Because me going on with my life and living it as I choose is clearly a personal attack aimed at him.

For what it's worth my father has called me twice in the past three years. The first time, about 2 1/2 years ago, was because Monty accidentally called him when meaning to call a friend. Upon realizing his mistake he just hung up. My dad called back, Monty answered and said, "Oh sorry Grandpa, I didn't mean to call you. I meant to call someone else." According to my mom, that interaction hurt my dad's feelings, although for the life of us we can't figure out the reasons why. But I'm sure they are illogical. What adult gets upset by the actions of an otherwise well-meaning 12 year old?

His second call came about a month and a half ago. The timing of it coincided with the annual Memorial Meeting at the Jehovah's Witness church. It's a big deal. I knew why he was calling-to nag me about going. No, I didn't answer that call. My mom mentioned it in her chat with him today. He was quiet, so I guess my assumption was correct.

To my mom's credit, she remained calm and reiterated that we are busy people and don't always answer phone calls right away. She then told my dad that he needed to stop acting like a martyr and maybe just try to be nice. To which he yelled into the phone, "Don't you tell me how to act!"

Hmmmm. Why am I not answering his phone calls? WHY do I NOT want to be a part of this conversation?

I have a lot of valid reasons to not want to have a relationship with my father. He wasn't around a lot when I was growing up, basically relying on my mom to maintain any kind of parent/child relationship. He was never truly supportive of anything I've done. He never did anything in his power to make me feel good about myself and he raised me in an organization that thinks women are second class citizens.

But I'm over all of that. Really. On an average day I don't even think about any of it. I have a full life.  I have kids and a husband who I love and enjoy being around. I have a job that has the potential to be the career I've longed for. I have hobbies, go to book signings, have lunch dates with friends, and occasionally I'll sit in a bar and drink a few whiskey sours and stare at Canadian rock stars.  I'm fine. I'm happy.

I truly am at a point in my life where I could overlook all my father's past wrongs. If they were in the past. Therein lies the problem. His conversation with my mom proves that nothing has changed. I don't know if I need any of that in my life.

I guess it dosn't matter anyway. Before my parents ended their phone call, my father said that he was "done trying." Because apparently two weird/loaded phone calls in 3 1/2 years constitutes proper effort.

It is what it is. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hanging With the Band

Last Saturday night Jay and I had a date night and concert tickets to see Born Ruffians. Here is a bulleted list of the evening.

*We arrived at the venue about two hours before the show was to start. Fashionably overeager and mega-early, that's how we roll.

*As we waited in line for our place to open, we looked across the street at the (considerably larger) crowd waiting to get into the Sara Bareilles concert. Sorry Sara,  Ruffians fans are hipper.

*Once in, we headed to the bar because of all the time we had to kill. While Jay was ordering our drinks from the salty bartender, I was trying to not be a dork-wad-Mcspaz-a-tron over the fact that THE BAND was at a table near us. Jay later tried to covertly take a picture. It only sort of worked.

*As noted in the picture, Mitch came and talked to us. Not really because we are exceptionally fabulous  and rock stars want to be near us, but because our table was close to the bar. While Mitch was talking to us, Luke came to the table to bring Mitch his beer. I could have pinched his tiny little butt. I didn't though. Not gonna lie, kinda regrettin' it.

*Also noted in the picture: I'm pretty sure we were the oldest people there. When Mitch was at our table I said, "Be honest, are we the oldest people in this room?" He looked around and said," Nah, but even if you were, that just means you're the coolest." He was totally lying but I'll take what I can get.

*Once the concert began, it was loud and fun and young and I felt alive. As a mom, I sometimes don't feel alive. In fact I feel as if my life is being sucked from me. It's good to return to the land of the living every once in a while.

*You can never escape being a mom though. There was a girl dancing next to me. She was fun and a little dorky. All I could think about was how I wished Monty could meet a girl like her. That's just what moms do.

*Even though Jay and I didn't fall asleep until after 2 and we both had work the next day, all I could think about was how we need to do stuff like this more often.

I always think that. Every time.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day

I don't really love Mother's Day. Every Mother's Day I've ever celebrated has been kind of a disappointment. (Side Note: Jay's Father's Days are shit also. Sorry Jay. I just never know how to make them special.) I always build it up in my head to be this day of relaxation where everyone does everything for me and it never works out that way. I end up washing dishes, the laundry still needs to be cleaned and folded, and inevitably I have to referee a sibling fight. This Mother's Day was no different. It's fine really, I was expecting it so it was ok. But you know what I really want for Mother's Day? To stop being a mother. Not long term of course, but for that one 24 hour period. Or maybe even just those 12-18 awake hours. I'd use that time to sleep, eat alone, drink wine at one in the afternoon, listen to my favorite songs uninterrupted, read chapter upon chapter of whatever book I'm into, watch a TV show with a lot of curse words, you get the idea.

My day really did get better though. Jay made the kids get their shit together and we went and ate french fries in the park. There was extra ketchup and no fighting, which is all I need. Afterwards I made brownies with Lucy and just chilled out. Work called, wanting to know if I'd be interested in coming in. I wasn't.

Later in the evening Jay and I went to Powell's to see Marc Maron. I've loved him since high school and was super excited to see him in person. We were in the second row. Close enough to see all the good details (jewelry, footwear, the variations in beard color, etc) but not so close that I'm forced to make constant eye contact with minor celebrity. (By the way: Maron's book is raw, funny, and real. Get it.)

I didn't wait around to get my book signed. I did not-so-covertly take a picture though.

As far as Mother's Day goes, next year I'm setting my expectations low. If it ends up being fabulous, yay. If not, it's just another day that I didn't die a violent death. Also, yay.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Random Thoughts

* My first few shifts at work have been spent doing research. Hours spent in the back room at my new job reading books, watching videos, and taking quizzes. The new job is pretty strict about the amount of knowledge it expects. Which isn't a bad thing, I'm up for the challenge. But it's been intense. At my last job I had reached the point where I could solve most problems with my eyes closed. It was a no brainer.  So, 'the challenge', while fun and exciting, is also draining. I like it when I reach the point in a job when I know everything. That's a good feeling.

*My new job requires that I wear black. Head to toe, black. This is tough for me because I've spent my lifetime avoiding black. Being the animal lover that I am, I'm pretty much covered in hair that is not my own at any given moment. Not only from my own beloved pets, but from any random scabies covered animal I happen to come across. Plus, have you been shopping lately?! NEON everywhere. It's horrible. Acquiring an ample work wardrobe has also been a challenge.

*Jay and I are going to a Born Ruffians concert next Friday. It doesn't start until 9. I might have to nap earlier in the day. Because I'm old.

*The other day I was joking with Monty, calling him a jerk and saying that he wasn't very nice. He THEN related a story of how a while back he bought, with his own money and by his own initiative, a bag of Taco Bell burritos for the homeless man who panhandles near the grocery store closest to our house. Hello?!!? What?! This is the kind of stuff I'm preaching about all the time! Appreciate that you are so lucky in so many ways and then just be good to other people. The fact that some of what I nag about is sinking in and my self obsessed teenager might actually be a nice person, almost brings tears to my eyes.