Sunday, October 30, 2005

Home Slice

There's nothing like your hometown in the fall. Here's my adopted hometown, Cleveland Heights, Ohio; Coventry Library:

Here's Big Orange's hometown. I'm just posting them in order to make him jealous and give him a little slice of nostalgia:

Wecome to Avon Lake
The Electric Company (or something)
Haute Cinema
The Little Firehouse
Avon Lake High School
Electric Boulevard

A Farm in Sheffield Lake

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Love and Kitties

I hope you can help Madame E find homes for her furry little friends. Check out their story at Tickley Whiskers.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Let's Hear it for Doc!

My baby he don't talk sweet
He ain't got much to say
But he loves me, loves me, loves me
I know that he loves me anyway

And maybe he don't dress fine
But i dont really mind
Because every time he pulls me near
I just want to cheer
Let's hear it for the boy
Let's give the boy a hand
Let's hear it for my baby
You know you go to understand

Whoa, maybe he's no romeo
But he's my lovin one-man show
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa
Let's hear it for the boy

My baby may not be rich
He's wathcin' every dime
But he loves me loves me loves
We always have a real good time

And maybe he sings off key
But that's alright by me
Because what he does he does so well
Makes me wanna yell
Let's hear it for the boy
Let's give the boy a hand
Let's hear it for my baby

You know you go to understand
Maybe he's no romeo
But he's my lovin one man show
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa
Let's hear it for the boy

Maybe he's no casanova
Still his kisses knock me ov-ah
Hear it for the boy
Let's give the boy a hand
Let's hear it for my baby
You know you gotta understand

Oh, he don't score at bowl-a-rama
Still you gotta thank his mama
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa
Let's hear it for the boy
Hear it for my man
Let's hear it for my baby

Denise Williams

Disclaimer: It's my blog and I'll gush if I want to.

Sunday was a shit day. There is no other way to slice it. Doc and I stayed up too late Saturday night and Lucy got up at 6:00 a.m., four short hours after we conked out. Sunday, we agreed, would by my day to sleep in. Unfortunately (for me), Doc is a heavy sleeper and didn't hear Lucy crying. We grumbled at each other and I stomped out of the room in righteous anger, vowing: he owes me for this.

Lucy and I were downstairs on the couch with the TV on. I slipped in and out of consciousness as she entertained herself and watched TV. By 8:30, Riley was up and talking. I don't remember what happened other than she was probably hitting me, pulling on my ears, kicking me or using a combiniation of the above tactics, as I half-drifted on the couch. I got up, stomped upstairs and called Doc out of bed. He came downstairs. (Man, it's amazing how much of this is a blur to me; at one point, I was trying to sleep on the couch in the Library.)

Eventually, at around 9, I think, Doc gathered the girls up and took them out. He promised me an hour of peace and quiet and then swept out of the house with the girls. They went to McDonalds then Borders, where, I heard later, that it was a bit like herding squirrels on cocaine.

At McDonalds, Doc ordered breakfast for everyone and they were just tucking in when Riley declared that she had to go potty. So, Doc gathered up both of the girls and hit the men's room, which had only one stall and it was occupied. Apparently the guy wasn't in much of a hurry. By the time they finished their business and returned to the table, their food was cold and icky. Doc expressed relief, though, for the self-serve coffee pot so that he could warm up his much needed cup of coffee. Three calamities later, and he was ready to call it quits and go home, but still had 20 minutes or so to kill before the hour was up. He gathered the girls up and set them loose on Border's.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

I was just hitting deep REM sleep when I hear the slash of the mini blinds in my bedroom being drawn up with violence and the words "wake-y, wake-y" chirping out of my 3-year-old's mouth. Oh, the rath poured down on me. I am not a morning person, by nature, but start chirpily commanding me to wake up is a short cut to disaster. Fortunately, I've had some practice holding my temper and did not launch her directly through the window.

After 3 or 4 other aborted nap attempts, I finally gave up. I had planned on taking the girls to a pumpkin festival, but I was too tired, cranky and bleary-eyed to drive anywhere. In hindsight, we probably should have gone. A change of scenery might have done us all some good.

During all of the tears and temper tantrums, Doc remained calm and cool. When at Border's, he picked up a copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on DVD. He tidied the house and did the dishes. When nap time rolled around, he popped in the DVD and instantly, my mood lifted. We enjoyed watching the movie again and picking up things we missed the first time through.

After all is said and done, Doc was the only one who kept his head all day. Not only was he able to keep his head during the maelstrom we were, but he was able to find ways to keep us all laughing and smiling. So, here's to you, Doc, the best Morale Officer a girl could ever hope for.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Watching Bowling with my Dad, Getting a Manicure with my Mom

Last Saturday, the girls and I headed down to my parents' house to hang out, shop and have some laughs while Doc went down to the Oaisis to kick it old school with his homies. We spent Saturday afternoon with my Grandma shopping at the mall. We found clothes for the girls and Christmas gift ideas. I got Doc a gift for his birthday, which I'm trying to keep a surprise. Unfortunately, Riley inherited Doc's gift for discretion and now he knows all about it.

That night, we played poker. It was the Miller Gang minus one. We had a lot of fun and I won!!! I had been in a bit of a slump; my self-confidence vis a vis poker was kind of in the dumps. I had nearly convinced myself that my Dad could see through my cards and knew what I had no matter what I did to conceal it. This caused me to be the first one out most of the time. But Saturday night, I decided that he didn't in fact have the power to read me that accurately, especially once I stopped feeling nervous, thinking he could.

I ended up winning by taking him out on an all-in move after my Grandma ran out of chips. Then it was me and my mom in heads-up. I think she and I decided to call it a night rather than duke it out. Since I had the most chips, I won. It felt really good.

By the way, I think I upset Dad when I let him know how intimidated I was by his poker prowress. He doesn't like to bully people and he worries at things like a sore tooth when he thinks he's hurt someone's feelings. I want him to know that I had to go through this. I had to conquer my fear of the poker expert, otherwise, I will never be anything other than an amateur at the game. It is true that the only thing I have to fear is fear itself.

The next morning, we were all kind of frowsy and feeling like this:

Lucy was up all night. She is getting her molars in and has simply been difficult to live with these past few weeks. I love her, I do. But sometimes...nevermind. Anyway, Dad and I were snacking at the kitchen table, watching an ESPN Classic rebroadcast of the 8/13/1994 Seniors Showboat International Bowling Tournament from Las Vegas. I can't for the life of me think of the guy's name that won, but he kind of looked like the host of Password and Password Plus(also Betty White's husband) Allen Ludden:

Just picture him with a little less hair, a stripey polo-style bowling shirt and those awful, polyester, high-waisted, monstrosities called athletic pants and you'll have the idea. They showed this guy play several matches and he eventually won. Wanna know what the kitty was? $24,000. That's not really a lot of dough these days. We are so used to seeing 110k, million dollar payoffs these days for poker. And for poker, you don't even have to stand up, let alone swing a ball around for accuracy.

It was really fun to watch bowling with Dad. He is the only person I know in the world who enjoys watching bowling on TV. I used to resist watching it when I was a kid. It would come on TV on Saturday afternoons and Dad would have it playing. I guess with no M*A*S*H on TV bowling was his second choice. I have to also say that we both bowled on leagues: his was on Tuesday nights and mine was on Saturday mornings. We also played on a father-daughter league together. Bowling was the one sport on television at that time of my life that I really understood and had experience playing.

The thing that is fun about watching bowling with Dad is, it is the first time I remeber having a lingo-laden conversation. We would talk about a ball hitting the pocket or a strike that was a Brooklyn, picking up 7-10 splits and playing aggressively. We were able to judge the bowlers with some expertice. We also had favorites and not so favorites. I know there was one bowler that my Dad detested. A friend of his had seen this bowler (what is it with bowlers and me not remembering their names?) at a tournament. My Dad's only comment was, "Did you kick him in the knees for me?"

As we settled in to chips and salsa at 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday watching bowling from 1994, we began to banter about bowling. It felt familiar, since we talk similarly about poker these days. But it was very nostalgic. I haven't been able to get anyone to watch bowling with me. It's funny. Doc is pretty much game for anything, but not bowling. I don't understand his objections; no one is humiliated. I didn't really realize it was missing from my life until I sat down with Dad and enjoyed a match with him. I'm not sure I could ever convince my girls that bowling was something entertaining. I don't even think I could even get anyone to enjoy it ironically.

Now that I know this, I will be looking for opportunities to tune into the rare bowling match shown on TV. Hopefully, Dad will be around to enjoy it with me. Maybe, I'll make my girls watch. Perhaps I will be alone in the house with nothing else to do (yeah, right). At any rate, I will always enjoy watching bowling because it is entertaining, I know a lot about it, and even if he's not there physically, my Dad will be sitting next to me with a cold can of caffiene-free diet Pepsi, keeping the commentary going in "oooh"-ing in the right places.

When we were able to pull ourselves together Sunday afternoon, my Mom and I went out in search of a manicure and pedicure. She had found a great place and wanted to take me there, having recently seen the state of my toes. As we approached the nail salon, we noticed it was closed, so we moved on to the other location across town. I thought I saw it's neon sign on; it was. But it was not open. This location was situated near the shoe store and I showed her my dream shoes. And she bought them for me. xoxoxoxox It was very nice of her. She and Dad read the previous post and were planning on surprising me with them, but we are an impulsive lot.

We made our way over to the mall, where we knew we could get a manicure. We signed up on the list and discovered we had a ten to fifteen minute wait. Still in search of an audiobook, I convinced her to head over to Boarders Express. No luck on finding any good audiobooks for cheap but I did buy Christmas cards. Mom and I made plans to get together and do our Christmas cards all at once. That way, we can share her address book and I know they will get in the mail. My Mom's drive to see a task through to the end knows no bounds.

We returned to the nail salon and finished waiting. I went first. A young, Asian guy called my name and had me sit at station 7. He asked me what I wanted and I told him just a manicure and I handed him the dark rose colored polish I wanted. He convinced me to get white tips for only $5 more, at least that is what I thought I was getting myself in for. I could barely understand him.

He got a crystal bowl and filled it with sudsy water. He had me put one hand in it while he buffed the nails on the other hand. When he had finished buffing both hands, he told me to soak both my hands for five minutes and he took off into the back of the store. I'm sure he went to have a smoke; when he returned I caught a whiff of cigarettes.

He continued working on my hands in a very deft and clinical manner. I even received a hand massage which felt very good. However, the whole thing sort of made me feel cheap. I think it was his approach. Usually, when women have spa treatments of any kind, it is to be pampered. There is a social aspect to it as well. Part of what I like about getting my hair done is chatting with the stylist. This guy was not interested in me. He didn't even pretend to be interested, which is all I really ask for from personal services people. I believe he was doing this job until something better kicked in. Or until he got permanent citizenship.

But, my nails looked great and I decided to enjoy the experience instead of letting him ruin it for me. Besides, I rarely get to sit still for five minutes while my hands soak in warm water, daydreaming. Mom got the same nail treatment as I did and hers was performed by the world's tiniest manicurist. She was an Asian lady who must have been a size 6x. She did chat a bit with my Mom. The best part of the whole experience was sitting with my hands under warm lights, talking to my Mom. I wish we could have sat together for the manicure. Next time, maybe...

My kids and I had a great time hanging out with Mom and Dad; we always do. I was sad to leave as I always am, but I knew I would see them both soon. Hopefully in the near future, we can live closer together. An hour and 10 minutes doesn't really sound like that long of a drive, but it is. I miss them being close. I miss being in the rhythm of the family. I feel kind of at sea without them close by. I'm lucky to feel this way about my family, to love them so much. And to be loved so much.

Monday, October 03, 2005

I Want These Shoes

Saturday, Madame E and I went shopping. We didn't plan it out or anything; it was spontaneous. I had dropped the girls off at Grandma and Pop's and stopped by Madame E's house to drop off her perscription she had left at my house a few weeks back. She lives in my hometown, which is about 60 miles south of us. My plans were to say hello and visit for a while, have lunch and then skeedaddle back home to Doc and see a movie or something. Madame E's plans were to have lunch with me, visit for a while and then paint her dining room.

We headed over to the Flaming Pit, a local barbeque/Greek restaurant for lunch. Madame E had never been there before and I'm not sure I had either. I just knew it was a place my grandparents liked to go to. And it was totally what I expected/remembered it to be. It is sort of like a diner/greasy spoon, yet they serve beer and wine. Most of the patrons are ederly. There is a salad bar and accoustic tiled celings. It was perfect.

We settled into our burgundy vinyl booth and began to catch up. It had been a few weeks since I had seen her and I've sort of gone underground recently. I have been communicating much with anyone, really. I've been very busy at work and under a great deal of pressure. I was thankful that my Mom and Dad were available to take the girls on such short notice. I'm sure, if they hadn't taken them, I would no longer be eligible for Mother of the Year.

Anyway, E and I ordered hot wings and fries and diet cokes and settled in for what would turn out to be a really long wait. But it was OK. She had a lot of interesting things to say. Once again, her insight into human nature astounded me. I won't get into any details but she was able to characterize something very astutely after being privvy to the situation for a very short time. Whereas I had had years of trying to make sense of the matter and only had a patched-together theory, something along the lines of "Different strokes for different folks."

After we ate our fill, we settled up at the cash register and made a pass through the world's smallest ladies room. Seriously, I barely had room to change my mind in there. E asked me if I'd mind stopping by JC Penney's as she would like to find a new pair of dress shoes in case she got called for an interview. It sounded good to me, so I called Doc and let him know I'd be delayed.

We went over to Canton Centre, formerly Mellet Mall, found a great parking spot and entered Jacques Penney, as my Dad calls it. It was nice and cool and not too crowded. We wandered around the shoe department and nothing really jumped out at us. I was looking for a new purse to replace my summer purse, a Preston York lime green leather bag. I need something autumnal/wintery. I just don't know what it is yet. We scoured the purses and came up empty-handed.

We wandered through the women's clothing and marveled at some of the things that were on the clearance rack; a purple zebra-print dress took the cake as the worst waste of fabric. It was fun to wander around and not be in a rush to get home or to be distracted by having toddlers circling. E was looking for a pair of black, boot-cut jeans in her size. It's somewhat tricky for her, because she needs pettite.

Having had no luck at Penneys, I convinced her to walk over to my favorite store ever: Kaufmann's. We wandered the mostly empty corridors of Canton Centre Mall. It was truly depressing. I swear, the only businesses between J.C. Penney's and Kaufmann's was a beauty parlor and a head shop. This place, in the 70's and 80's had many stores, a food court, a cinema, a bank, and restaurants. Now? Nothing. They built a Super Walmart on the grounds in hopes that other stores would eventually follow. I hope they're not holding their breath.

We did wander through the head shop, though. We expressed relief that our fella's weren't with us. The place was silly with knives and swords and nunchucks. We would not have been able to drag them away. The place also sold E's favorite brand of incense, which she was glad to discover, since she had to order her last batch from Pennsylvania.

This store also offered the most hideous t-shirts with airbrushed designs. You could have Eminem or J-Lo emblazoned on your chest. You could also choose your school team mascot. I saw my alma mater up there: a Golden Eagle, flexing his bicep (correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think eagles have biceps), which was tattooed with some macho slogan like "Fear Me!" It was sad, really. And the worst part of it? There were people waiting in line to buy these attroci-tees! ::shiver::

We moved on to Kaufmann's and it was there that I encountered my dream shoes (see picture above). They are beautiful and look great on me. I have black dress shoes that will do, but these shoes? Made my heart go pitter pat. I did not buy them, though. What I really needed was new loafers for work. The ones I currently have are sad indeed. So, I found these in shiraz (burgundy color):

They are comfortable, stylish and durable enough to wear in the weather we're about to have around here. I also tried on these and loved them:

Madame E rolled snake eyes again and couldn't find anything she liked. So we headed over to Payless Shoes. We walked into the store and were immediatly struck with the most awful smell of vinyl. It was really strong. But we got used to it. We wandered up and down the aisles, she looking for dress shoes and me just looking for something sparkly and fun.

As we were shopping, there was a mother and a her teenaged daughter looking for high heels for her homecoming dress. We kept passing each other in the aisles and eventually we started chatting. I told the girl I liked the shoes that lit up. She liked them too, but they weren't high-heeled enough for her dress, which was really long. I didn't tell her that she could have her dress altered. She seemed set on the high heels.

Eventually, E found a cute pair of navy blue leather loafers with a small silver buckle on them. She couldn't believe how comfortable the were, but she wasn't sure she should buy them. I thought they looked really great. I believed she should get them. She wasn't sure what to wear them with. I explained that navy blue leather shoes are very versitile. These went well with my wedding gown:

She was still all, "I don't know," and I turned to the mother who happened to be standing next to me and said, "Don't they look cute on her?" She said, "Oh, yeah, those are nice." I convinced her that they were too comfortable to pass up. As I was continuing to sing their virtues on the way to the cash register, a sales girl piped in with, "And, we almost never get navy blue shoes in." Sale, Mr. Humphreys!

Still no black dress shoes to be had for E. So we drove on over to DSW, then Famous Footwear, where I again encountered my dream shoe and again resisted buying it. It was a test for me. I'm trying to keep my retail therapy to a minimum. I was trying to prove to myself that I could show some restraint. In a last ditch effort, we headed over to Walmart.

By this time it was nearly six o'clock, the time Doc expected me home. I called him and told him that we would be leaving soon. He wanted me to Bring E back home with me so that we could have a party. Yes, three people can be a party. Snob. Anyway, I told him I'd try and went to find E. I had picked out some winter jammies for my girls and she was trying to find, well, some undies.

Eventually, we wandered the entire store. We kept thinking of things we needed. A floorlamp! An audiobook! A watch battery! New jeans! Well, E found her black jeans in her size and she convinced me to buy two trendy new skirts for the fall. Again, the purses were boring, boring boring. When we left the store it was 7:15. Phew. We were bushed.

As we headed out to the Jeep, I tried one more time to convince her that she should come home with me. She refused, noting that she had to finish painting while the weather was still good and she was planning on reuniting with the Dark Lord, aka Big E, next weekend. I told her I'd let her off the hook if she promised to tell Doc that I begged, pleaded, cajoled and generally twisted her arm before I gave up. She agreed.

On the way back to her place, I said, "It's been a long time since I've shopped til I dropped!"

"Me too!" she said.

And that was about all we had to say for the rest of the way home. I dropped her off and headed home, thinking about how nice it was to spend the day shopping with a girlfriend. It sort of cleared the slate of all the awful things I've been going through this past couple of weeks. Thanks, Betty.

The Lodge