Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Why can't we be immortal?

It's just not fair. I grew up knowing that if my dad was nearby, I was safe. We were all safe. He'd make sure of it.

Even when the danger took the form of a stray skunk in the yard, he was out there in the wee hours trying to run it out of the yard. He didn't even get sprayed! (disclaimer: in hindsight, we weren't sure it wasn' somebody's pet, but he didn't know it then!)

He knew the answers to everything. Smart, smart man, who always knew the right thing to do. He taught me all sorts of things, like how to shoot, fish, do multiplication, and act like a lady in public (although we could belch like champs in private). He teaches my kids now.

My parents are getting old. It's particularly difficult to watch it happen to my dad. Diabetes is eating his muscles and his brain. He's always been so large and strong, but his legs are now thin. His thought process slow and flawed. He's often cranky.

He never complains when he feels bad. This week, he complained. The pain kept him from walking. He's been in the hospital for three nights. They found the problem and fixed it, although it required major surgery. Seeing him in that bed, hooked up to all sorts of things, drugged up on pain medication....that was hard. He was so vulnerable. Helpless. He was talking nonsense and we had to intervene to keep him from hurting himself inadvertently.

It all scares me. That's not the Dad I've known. Sometimes, I've been hard on him for traveling and working so much when we were kids. I shouldn't have been that way. He was working for us, not because he liked being away. He regrets, and that makes me sad for him.

My parents are getting old. I dread the day when they are gone. I dread what's happening to them, for their sake. And that's why I ask....can't they be immortal? Can't they always be the people in the pictures in my photo album? Laughing and playing with their children, forever young and healthy.

Dad settling into his bed at home as I write this. My sister is coming to help during his recovery, and a little beyond. I wonder what she'll think?

My parents are getting old. They are still the best grandparents, and parents, any kid of any age could ask for. I just want them to be happy. I want them to know only the love of their family. It's funny -- I want to protect them as they've always protected me.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Blogget vs SWDWIAP

You've heard me complain about the weather in my office. It's either sweltering hot or a meat locker in there. I work for a major university, but our offices are in a satellite space, rented from the biggest money-grubbing cheapskates in the region, I swear.

The university decided that it's time to bring the wayward children back into the fold. After decades of bouncing us from space to space, we are getting our own building. A brand-spankin'-new building to call our very own. Our offices will even be a bit bigger. This picture is the artist's rendition of the new place.

All good things come with consequences, though. A new building means new decor. We've seen the furniture, wallcovering, and flooring samples. Now, we must deal with The Interior Decorator, or She Who Decides What Is Asthetically Pleasing. (SWDWIAP)

Apparently, George Strait isn't asthetically pleasing. His posters have been deep sixed by SWDWIAP. There was a vague mention of her being concerned about the decor in some offices not being what they want to public to see, so SWDWIAP will select art for some offices.

The art is immoveable. You can't take it down. I'm thinking, hey, no one said I can't cover it up....

I think I might be on the "let us decorate for you" list. I'm sure my office "decor" about gave her a coronary. At first glance, SWDWIAP probably smiled, seeing what I call my comfy corner. See? Comfy!

I love my comfy chair. I must have my comfy chair. I can even start a petition. Lots of people come to see my chair and feel it's healing powers. They are actually more interested in having the chair there than having me there.

Anyhow, SWDWIAP must have turned a little more and gasped in horror. There, in an its unbridled un-aesthetically pleasing hideosity is my collection wall. Of Star Wars beanies. With my Darth Vader mosaic print.

Hey! It's framed!

But it is only part of the Star Wars-ness that is my office. There's the top of the file cabinet with Yoda, Spud Trooper, and Darth Tater. There's the top of the hutch with the remaining beanies. There's the little Galactic Heroes sets that I think are so adorable. SWDWIAP's worst nightmare.

And I have art! I have the painting by the artist who is engaged to the Muse Killer. (sidebar: he noted the other night, on his own, that he hasn't produced any art since knowing her.)

I wonder if that'll fit over whatever mass-produced art - excuse me...I mean "art" - they put in our offices?

"You don't know the POWER...."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Twue Wuv

A fourteen-year-old does not know the nature of true love. I believe that and I'm sticking to it.

Especially not a fourteen-year-old son of mine who has been dragged around by the nose by a twelve-year-old (going on twenty) chippy for the last few months. Well, maybe not by the nose, but by something much more hormonal.

She's a well-developed twelve-year-old, but not just in the obvious way. She's highly manipulative and sexually-oriented. And my poor guy wasn't at all equipped to handle what she dished out. Fell for it and fell hard.

She played him for the status. An older, tall, cute boyfriend plays well on the popularity circuit. And if there's anything she wants, it's status among her friends. He catches a lot of hell for having a girfriend in a younger grade. She's so sympathetic: "If you don't like the jokes, then you'll just have to break up with me." Touching.

He was shocked to see her blog page, screaming such slogans as "I shake my Jello so the boys say Hello" and "I've got style, I've got class, I'm the white girl with the ghetto ass." Yeah, I see the style and class part, chickadee. My personal favorite was the animated .gif of cherries that said "Pop me." Her mother was really fond of that one, too, right before deleting the page.

I can only imagine what went through his mind when he saw the one and only blogring her site was in: "Do you want a hot girlfriend? Cum here!" There's devotion for you. She told him she didn't know what that meant. He bought it, but no one else did.

So, another guy enters the picture. She flirts with lots of them in front of him, but this one sticks around. He gets mad about it, so she tells my son that she's so confused and upset that she tried to cut her wrists. He gets very concerned and she promises to never try it again.

Her mother heard about it and checked her out. Not a mark on the child. At twelve, she's using a suicide ploy to keep a guy from getting mad at her. Something's rotten.

She pushes him into a more physical relationship. He's fourteen -- it didn't take much pushing. I catch them making out at a pizza place. He is in HUGE trouble, on the spot, and is very repentent. She's laughing about it. At home, she's confronted and says -- get this -- that *I* made it all up because I hate her.

Her mother new better and said, "His mom has better things to do in her life than follow you to a pizza place and make up stories. AND if she hates you, it's your own fault. No one could see that Web site and want you around their son."

And so it is. After the school year, they won't be in contact. He's furious with me because I don't want him to "be with the love of [his] life!" Oh, the drama! I told him to get a grip. He's been on this earth fourteen years. He has no idea what "life" really is. More importantly, I would hope the love of your life would respect your love for her and "forsake all others," and not lie and deceive.

That's not love. And that's not life. But he isn't equipped to understand that yet. It's up to me to help him find some perspective on the situation. He's still at an age where mothers can step in and help. Soon, he will be beyond that. He needs to be ready to battle for himself. Then, all I can do is hope and pray.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Makes me mad...and sad

I know an artist. He's brilliant and very "up and coming." I've been to a couple of his shows here. He's had others in Chicago and Denver. I have one of his paintings in my office and love it. He's abso-effing-lutely brilliant.

Then, he met a girl.

For awhile, they said they didn't even like each other that much, but the sex was just too great. They were all over each other, all the time, to the point of ooging out their friends.

Still, to hear him talk she was an idiot. He laughed at the stupid things she'd say and the pouts she'd throw. He laughed at how she dressed like every other college girl around, down to the makeup and hair. She's a clone, he'd say. A million more out there like her.

She talked about other men hitting on her, brought men back to his apartment to party with them, refused to participate in conversations in which someone disagreed with her. But he liked having a sure thing around, if you know what I mean.

Then, she became jealous of the time he spent doing other things. Like his art.

He started to care that she was mad about it. He started to listen to her stupid things. He stopped thinking for himself. He lost himself in what she wanted him to be. He became a clone, too, on the inside.

This is something that forever irritates me about some people who date creative types. For someone who is truly creative, whether it be music, art, writing or whatever, they are at the mercy of their talent. When inspiration hits, it's an overwhelming presence. You follow that muse or the muse leaves you.

To be involved with this person means sharing their attention with that muse, tht lightning bolt of inspiration. You must understand that they need to follow it. It's ingrained in them. It's who they are. It's not something to be jealous of. It's who they are.

It's part of that person you're in love with. Don't change it or you take away their core.

They've been together over a year now. I miss seeing his door open and him working away at his latest art on the living room floor. I haven't seen any new creations from over a year.

They just announced their engagement. I'm mad and sad at the same time. Mad that he let himself, his talent, down. Sad that she chased that muse away. Mad that he didn't fight for it. Sad that he might not see that happiness again. I can't imagine him doing anything else.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Along my travels

I took a trip recently with my child's class. The kids rode busses and the parents drove along behind. I learned a few things along the way.

Before getting into all that, I must say that the trip generally worked like an well-oiled machine. With about 100 kids and 40 adults, that saying something. The only time it didn't go smoothly was when someone was being stupid. So, props to the school for that.

However, some people ARE stupid. Okay, no news flash there. As you know, that's a favorite soapbox of mine. I don't really know why I'm still amazed by this. This time, though, I was a little disheartened to realize that most of the stupid people on the trip were women. We had a grand total of two stupid men on the trip, and one was the school principal.

I saw the first bit of stupid on the highway. When you're traveling with two greyhound busses, do not get in between them. It messes up their stopping distance because they have to compensate for your stopping distance, too. This rule is especially true when Bus #2 looks like it's been in a serious accident before. Do you really want to be between him and another BIG bus? Just stupid.

You had to really pay attention to the bus drivers or you'd be left behind. Speed limits figured into the equation about as much as red lights did. They'd either leave you in the dust of the open highway or lose you when they ran that almost-red light.

I laughed my ass off when they got pulled over. They'd left us all behind again, but we caught them when those flashing red and blue lights came into view. Laughed. My. Ass. Off. They didn't push the speed limit anymore.

One dad didn't get that being assigned a group in the dorm at night meant you were the leader of that group. After the trouble of the water fight (with the water intended to get us through desert heat the next day) and his boys peeking in the girls' windows (these are 10-year-olds) at 11:30 at night, he finally realized (in his own words), "They apparently want us to be some sort of [finger quotes] role model here."

And if you ever see that commercial about how great a place Alamogordo, NM, is to take the family, don't buy the bit about the kiddie mini-train. The "conductor" is a loon. Kids were watching the train go around as we ate lunch. He stopped the train, full of little passengers, and berated them for not being 20 feet away from the track and if they didn't move, he was calling the cops on them. On 10-year-olds. Watching the train. Sitting in the grass. Then, he completed the route at break-neck speed. What a stable man, driving kids around the park, eh?

I officially can't stand my child's teacher. The kids had two activities that required hikes in the desert heat. They were supplied with plenty of water, but one boy didn't drink it. Upon arrival at the second hike site, he began vomiting and complaining of a headache. Hmmm...can anyone say heat stroke? One lady got him some water and sat him at a table in the shade. He put his head down while she went to get wet towels to put on him.

In the meantime, here comes this teacher. She wants to take away his water because he doesn't have the lid! AND she wants to send him out on the second hike! The child is listless, with his head on the table, obviously in distress. A parent intervenes: "No, he's sick."
"Aw, he's fine. Just get up and go."
"No, really! He might have heat stroke."
Teacher makes a snotty, how-stupid-are-you face. "I'm sure it's nothing like that."
"He's vomiting."
That stopped her. "Oh yeah? Well, how much water have you had?"
He confesses the small amount. She says, "That's ALL?!" and began berating him for not drinking more water.

Just can't stand that woman. He did not go out on the trail.

She got mad at me later for telling my child and her friend to come away from the edge of a large drop. She scolded a few for the same thing a few minutes later, but had a big surprise.

See, Mr. Principal made sure the kids knew the rules of the hike. Stay on the path. Don't climb things. Stay with your group. When nasty teacher saw those other kids at the edge, she assumed they were looking down it. Wrong, they were hiking UP it. And who was their leader? The bright one leading them (remember, they had to stay with their group) off the path and up a cliff they shouldn't climb? The principal. Stupid.

I also learned that I'm competitive to a nearly unhealthy level. When we departed the school, I looked at the situation and maneuvered myself to a position that assured I would be first behind the busses. I did that the entire trip. As long as I did that, I wasn't left behind at a light.

We had to make a u-turn once and a soccer mom in an SUV cut me off to get ahead of me. Oh, it's a mistake to piss me off like that. I spent the rest of the trip not caring who was ahead of me, as long as it wasn't her. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities I had to cut her off throughout the trip.

One last thing I have to share. While passing through one of the many little towns along the way, I saw something that made me double-take. You often see vendors along the streets of these towns, selling rugs, fruit, rocking chairs, velvet paintings, etc. We passed one of these stands...selling acchordians. Wow.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

What do Canadian bands have against me?

I just have to wonder. I have three favorite bands: Nickelback, Three Days Grace, and Theory of a Deadman. They all happen to be Canadian.

First, Nickelback puts Lubbock on their tour -- on a Monday night. I don't think I've explained this before, but weeknights are a nightmare for me. Sunday-Thursday is work night, school night, homework night, and/or baseball night. I'm a single mom, so it keeps me pretty booked. Not much else happens at my house on those days.

Nickelback I managed because I was supposed to be gone from home anyhow. Another weeknight concert would be really hard to manage.

Well, someone clued me in that Three Days Grace (aka "3DG") is coming to Lubbock. Oh joy!!!! When? I look it up.

Monday. THIS Monday, May 8th.

Triple whammy: school, work, AND baseball night. What really sucks is that I know a cop working the concert. It could not only have been my son's first concert, but we would have gone backstage. Ouch.

Out of curiosity, or an innate desire to torture myself, I checked Theory of a Deadman's tour dates. Yep, they are coming here! Oh joy, again!

Sunday. THIS Sunday, May 7th.

They stuck it to me two days in a row. Can you believe it? I'm wounded.

By the way, here's 3DG's banner for their new song. Click on it and turn up your speakers!

See how much I love ya, guys? Even after you stuck it to me so bad. :::sniff:::