Monday, December 21, 2009

Grasping at Thin

For my age. For my location. For my peer set, I'm still pretty fit. Not thin. But fit. At Christmas, or really it begins at Thanksgiving, I climb on to a slippery slope known as holiday weight gain. "Hey it's the holidays. I think I'll eat a bunch of nuts covered in crap I used to spackle my bathroom. "

My neighbor just brought over a chocolate mousse. Not an ordinary MOOSE mind you. This is chocolate mousse swimming in Oreos. Like mousse itself wasn't fattening enough. And god love her, I'll eat every bit of it. "Thanks Shelly," I'll wave to her, my arm fat swinging in the wind. (The Hanging Gardens of Babylon according to Erma Bombeck)

Sometimes I think about letting it all go. Bring it. Bring on the skinny legs, huge belly. Bring on the holiday sweaters with stirrup pants. Bring on the "dressy" track suit.

Like a long lost lover, I occasionally glance my gym. I think to myself, "Don't I know you?" Then those horrid recollections come flooding back like the time I took that Pilates mat class and the smell of AXE body spray.

As I sit here blogging, I can feel my muffin top longing to escape my mid-rise jeans. "Please let me out," she says. "I can't breathe. "

Suck it up muffin top. I'm not ready to let it all hang out. I'm picturing a slow descent beginning with Spanx worn daily and then those whale rib numbers that Scarlett O'Hara wore, until one day I walk up to my husband, unzip my velour track suit jacket, and my stomach drops to the floor.

Erma Bombeck also wrote, "Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart. "

Monday, December 14, 2009

My One and Only

Tonight I was rambling around twitter as I often do now, and I came across a friend of a friend @Military_Mom. She'd just posted this message:

"Please pray like never before, my 2 yr old fell in the pool."

Then a friend @ShellyKramer broke the bad news. This mom's 2 year-old, a little boy, drowned.

I have a boy Will and he's 11. I've always been a bit superstitious about Will because he's my only child, despite several failed attempts at pregnancy. He's the boy who finds the rusty tin can if you know what I mean. He's had face glue and stitches and a rotator cuff problem. He's not the injury magnet that some other kids are but he's not exactly treading lightly in this world.

The other thing about Will is that he really is an extraordinary kid. He's just a gem of a human being. So I worry. About Will.

I remember first seeing the movie, "Stand by Me" and then reading the Stephen King short story, "The Body". In that story, a boy, a golden boy like my boy Will, dies while intervening on someone else's behalf. And deep down I've had this fear about my Will. First of all, he's a boy who would intervene. And he's my one and only.

I always worried because Will was my only child. I thought losing your only child would be worse than losing a child when you have other children. But I know now that can't be true. Losing a child, your only or one of three, is the same. It's unfathomable.

This morning I scolded Will for not logging his reading, for missing the bus, for being disorganized. Tonight I feel afraid. I feel thankful and guilty.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Makin' Bacon

Yesterday we had a two hour snow delay. I decided to use that time while my son was still home to make some bacon. That's not code or anything. I actually cooked bacon.

I have this theory that I can put the bacon in the pan, walk away, and come back to turn it from time-to-time. This theory never works but I keep trying. It's an ADD issue. When I'm standing there staring at the bacon, it feels like an eternity. When I walk upstairs to check my email, come back down to check the bacon, I've burned it.

I burned four pieces yesterday right out of the gate. This is organic bacon mind you so that was about $1.50 in bacon straight into the bin. Not Niman Ranch bacon which is so expensive, we'd be forced to eat the burned bits. But I digress.

The whole ADD thing is definitely a family trait, although I can focus for long periods of time if I think it's important. For example, when I'm writing. Cooking and laundry and those types of chores bring out the worst in me. I think I can multi-task when in fact, I cannot.

My son asked me if I'd ever read a book twice. I said, "Sure, lots of books." When I was growing up I loved Little Women. As a swoony teenager, I read Pride and Prejudice repeatedly. I love Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I read that one from time to time for inspiration.

"Wow I can't imagine reading a book twice," he said. Like it would be the equivalent of 40 lashes or being boiled in oil. I was thinking about Little Women and how insanely boring a book like that would probably sound to a modern kid. No gizmos, no high-tech, no sex, no nothing.

My new twitter friend @Ieastmykidzsnack wrote this hysterical blog the other day. She was talking about bad driving habits and that our "forefathers" wouldn't have been so distracted while steering their covered wagons. She referenced Mary Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie "sexting in Braille".

Little House on the Prairie would have about as much appeal for modern kids as say decoupage or tying knots. If it doesn't light up or talk or connect to the Interweb, today's kids don't want it. This thought made me feel very old, like I'm spanning the gap between my generation and iRobot.

When I got out of college, I moved to New York and worked in Midtown. At that time, Horn & Hardart automat was still open for business on 42nd and 3rd. The automat concept must've seemed like XBox to someone in the early 1900's, when they first came on the scene in the US. Early adopters surely feared this food that appeared in a window, like magic. Much as I fear first person shooter games. Horn & Hardart eventually closed. No more magic.

It's no wonder the automat went the way of the dodo. Why stand in line with a tray, pay and eat sitting down when you can grab a Cheesy Gordita Crunch on the Go? I don't need no stinkin' plate. I'll eat standing up while texting and studying for my Master's.

Here's an excerpt from Little Women when the girls wake up Christmas morning and are thrilled to find a book under each of their pillows:

"Mother wants us to read and love and mind these books, and we must begin at once. We used to be faithful about it, but since Father went away and all this war trouble unsettled us, we have neglected many things."

I can't imagine the look on my kid's face if he woke up to a book on Christmas morning. No Wii game. No laser-powered rocket launcher. A book.

I don't know how the kids of my kid's generation will turn out. Despite my ADD issues, I did read Little Women more than once and I loved Little House on the Prairie (until I got older and realized how gay it was compared to say Joanie Loves Chachi). Hey when did Scott Baio start playing the piano?

Sorry I drifted off again. At least I'm not cooking bacon.

NB Click to see the ultimate homage to bacon by Jim Gaffigan

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Vicious Circle

Three of my friends are facing cancer scares. Tomorrow I'm having lunch with one of them. Yesterday a friend had a biopsy. Over Thanksgiving another friend flew to Northern California to say goodbye to her sister who is in stage 4.

It's taken me a long time to make these friends. I'm a pretty shy person at heart. I can talk to anyone one-on-one, but walking into a cocktail party full of people I don't know is like agony. My three friends are all very different, have very different backgrounds but they share a common thread.

At this point in my life, I'm not interested in talking to someone who is all "Up with People". Actually another friend of mine just met an "Up with People" person. That's not for me. Unless she's willing to share some "Up with People" dirt, because you know there's dirt.

My three friends were all willing to share their flaws with me. That's what I like. I've recently become closer to a high school friend I didn't know very well. We ran into each other at the gym and I was explaining my theory of looking for chinks in the armor. She exclaimed, "Oh I love the chinks," which didn't come out right but I totally got it.

I know many women who put on that face, that suburban "my children are perfect, my marriage is perfect, all is perfect" face. Well I am deeply flawed so I don't know what we're going to talk about after I run out of nice things to say about my son. He's perfect or nearly. I am not.

My three new friends, and all of my friends that I have now, are willing to admit their flaws. That quality makes them perfect to me. Those flaws are the things we laugh about or cry about. It's the imperfections, in my humble opinion, that make us interesting and beautiful.

Sometimes when I run or sneeze, I wet my pants. Just a little. Hey I had a ten pound baby, okay? One of my friends lost custody of her young son to a jerk of an ex. But they've spliced together a close relationship as adults. One of my friends admits she's not that close to her dying sister. One of my friends has a daughter that doesn't fit the timeline of her marriage. One of my friends is almost surely getting a divorce.

We're all flawed and imperfect and ridiculous. For me, it's easier to let it all hang out.