Wednesday, June 30, 2010

And when he was 4

Twenty-five years ago, he was already a smarty-pants:

* [Playing with Tinkertoys] "I'm going to make a very marvelous vacuum cleaner. It's very dangerous. It's called the snuffer."

* "Some people are called vegetarians. They grow up to be monsters."

* "I am the doorman. This is my gun. It kills fleas and ticks. I give animals this food. It's called Everything Good for Your Pet. When someone comes to the door, I ask them if they know someone who lives here. If they don't, I kill them."

* J: Mommy, sinkers [submarines] have doors that close automatically.
 M: How did you know that?
   J: I turned my face inside my head, and when I looked I saw a picture, and in the picture the sinkers had a door that closed automatically.

* "Two o'clock in the morning is across the table from two o'clock in the afternoon."

* M: So, overall, did you have a wonderful day or a terrible day at Sesame Place?
   J: It was overall.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Girl time

How perfect does your proctologist need to be? Now that's a question you don't hear every day, I'd guess. My gastroenterologist is wonderfully competent, pleasant, accommodating, prompt, etc. But yesterday when I went for a colonoscopy after the usual purgative (are "purgatory" and "purgative" related?), he asked me, "Are you a clean girl?" It has been more than 40 years since I could accurately be called a girl, but I figured it was just an awkward moment, and he was probably as embarrassed as I was by his comment. And he is, as noted, wonderfully competent, pleasant, accommodating, prompt, etc. But then he said, in answer to a question, "Just call the office, and one of the girls will help you." There are, obviously, no children working in his office. But then he is wonderfully competent, pleasant, accommodating, prompt, etc. But what kind of person calls grown women girls?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

When they were young, part 2

The wisdom of my 3-year-old son:

* [Before bed] "Let's talk about how sweet I am."

* J: Are you going to die soon?
  M: Are you worried I'm going to die?
   J: What happens is you get fatter and fatter and then you die.

* "Encaprin [a pain reliever he'd seen advertised on television] makes your whole body light up!"

* M: Don't wipe your nose on me!
    J: I'm just nuzzling you, Mommy.

* "When things are far away they look smaller."

* "You know why I cover my mouth when I'm eating? Because I don't want you to stuff some more food in."

* [To Other at midnight after waking up from a nightmare] "Where are your pointy little ears?"

* [To his friend Shira] "I am a grandfather. I can fix anything. You are a grandfather too."

* M: I'm not going to talk to you if you don't listen.
   J: Mommy, I am listening. I'm just death.

* J: Did you take all the seeds out of my watermelon?
  M: Yes.
  J: You are a good woman!

* J: Let's just lie here and look at the stars for a minute.
  M: Aren't they beautiful!
  J: Let's not talk. Just look.

* "You know what, Mom? A picture in my head told me you could break that artichoke heart in two and give me half."

* "[About a big bottle of bubble goo] "I think I might die before we use all those bubbles up."

* J: Alex put sand in my mouth!
  M: How dreadful! Did you do anything to him?
  J: Well, my problem was he was so mean.
  M: So ...
  J: So I told him I would make him eat too much sugar.

* "Keep your eye open while I kiss it. I bet girls can't keep their eyes open very long."

* "Mommy, do you think life is but a dream?"

* "Mom, if you want to be grumpy, be grumpy. But do it somewhere else."

* J: I wish I was a girl.
  M: Why?
  J: Because girls get to chew gum but boys have to eat lifesavers.

* J: Mommy, I wish you would have another baby.
  M: Why?
  J: Then we could name him Rupert.

* M: Next week there's no summer camp because there's a holiday.
   J: You mean there's a holiweek!

* M: Time to put on your nighty-nights [pajamas].
   J: I can't. I'm asleep. I'm hibernating.

* "When Daddy throws me in the air, if there's no gravity I won't come down."

Monday, June 21, 2010

When they were young, part 1

When my kids were little, they used to say the darnedest things—and I would write them down. Now the grubby little notebooks in which I recorded their infant wisdom are disintegrating. I hope the firmament of the Web is made of stronger stuff.

In 1983, when my son was 2:

* "When Mommy was a little boy she used to eat parsley riding her bike with the honking horns."

* [Looking at his father's painting] "I look at this and say, Oh, how beautiful!"

* J: Eye hurt.
  M: Close your eyes for a moment.
  J: I can't breathe when I close my eyes. I will drown. But I will not die.

* "Tomorrow you will go to work, and you won't love me anymore."

* "You have eyes, I have eyes. Everybody has eyes. You cannot take them out."

* "If you were a fierce bad rabbit, I would like to give you a carrot absolutely."

* "Some days are very interesting. Some days are not very interesting."

* [To me] "You're driving me up the wall."

* J: I have a friend who gives me junk food.
  M: Who's that?
  J: His name is Granddad.

* "Mommy has a vagina."

* "Good old Daddy."

* "I'm thinking about my belly button."

* [To me] "What nice underpants you have!"

* "Mr. Bump doesn't have a penis."

* "Mommy, if we found a dead pig in the park, could we pick it up?"

* "Could I have those black apricots made out of raisins [dried apricots]"?

* "Thank you for the good-tasting bathwater. It's good for my throat."

* [At the airport] "This place looks like Mommy's office."

* [After eating his first hard candy] "I like this! I like to drink the smell of it!"

* "Mice and rats and children eat cheese."

* "I want to have a half brother."

* "Peepee is fun, but not as fun as poopoo."

* M: Don't bounce on my stomach, please.
   J: I'm going to cover your mouth so you don't say anything terrible to anyone.

Has a child ever been born cuter than these?

And the father and grandfather have their charms too. These are from the home of my deceased sister-in-law. Mostly it has been dreary going: sifting through tax receipts and rummaging through the webby attic and dank basement. But going through the plastic bag o' pix was a pleasure.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Remembrance of friends past

Last night I called my parents to check in. My mom said, "Your father and I had so much fun last night! We tried to remember all our friends in the Stanford Club and figure out whether they were dead or not." How depressing is that!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Last times

Here's what Other says whenever we're about to buy a new appliance: "Let me do some research since this is probably the last one we're going to buy." Here's what he says when we're about to undertake a new project: "Let me do some research since this is probably the last time we're going to build a deck/refinish the floors/whatever." How depressing is that?

Winding up

Yesterday I ran into two friends I'd lost touch with, one for 20 weeks, the other for 20 years. And I left both encounters feeling envious. Which was weird, because both have been through incalculable grief and trauma: R lost her mother to cancer, her husband to divorce, her daughter to maturity and her job to the recession—all in the past year. J endured her husband's life-threatening illness and the loss of their business and their home—all in the past five years.

But like phoenixes (NOT cougars!), they have risen from the ashes of their old lives into new ones. R is writing a book and beginning a new romance. J has put herself through college and is starting a teaching career in a new hometown. These women are no spring phoenixes—and definitely not chickens! They're both in their 50s. Yet they're winding up, not down.

And I'm jealous. Because like a veteran actress, I'm finding that the good roles go to the young. I hate the fact that I'm calculating how much longer I need to work in order to have a secure retirement. How depressing is that!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Urban pastorale

My friend A says I need more pictures in my blog. This is the waste stack that sends sulfurous fumes over our deck.

This is the view of the vertical parking lot next to our deck. It's interesting to eat dinner under the stars as Priuses rise and fall at your elbow.

This is Other's favorite plant: a bamboo that shoots eight feet into the air and shields our bathroom window from the eyes of our neighbors across the way.

This is my favorite plant: a fern. I'm not sure how old it is, but it was on our deck when we moved in almost 30 years ago. I think it's a fiddlehead.

This is a zinnia. Or is it a dahlia? Anyway, we just got it last weekend.

These are called black-eyed Susans. But they're not really black-eyed Susans.

This is a hydrangea. The photograph cannot convey the wonderfully deep blue of that lacy flower.

I can't remember the name of these, but they're adorable, no?

Friday, June 4, 2010

All paths lead to the middle

So today my wonderful PT/Feldenkrais practitioner explained the importance of being in a neutral posture: not canted front or back or to one side. Not only does this prevent injury, he said, but it also puts you in position for action of any kind in any direction. But how do you find the neutral posture? You circle it, like a dog winding down for the night, shifting your weight to and fro, then settling into the center, with your bones neatly stacked.

He likened it to an argument, with the truth being somewhere in the middle. The middle way! But to me, the psychological corollary is avoiding entrapment in awkward corners and alleyways.

Feldenkrais is beginning to have the metaphorical magic of yoga.