Sunday, April 24, 2011

Oh! Easter happened, didn't it?

I suppose I should at least mention the festivities of yesterday, right?  Yes, I know that technically TODAY is zombie Jesus day, but Oliver isn't home today... so we did everything yesterday.

Oliver woke up bright and early, and found his basket of stuff on the coffee table.  In true Oliver form, he wasn't sure what to do with it.  It took quite a while to get him into all of it...and it was mostly toys, because I think that having excessive amounts of candy in the house is bad for both of us!  I've also decided that he's going to be getting tooth brushes for Easter every that I'll feel a little better about the sugary stuff, I guess.  Also, he really likes them.

I put a few M&Ms in plastic eggs...and he shook them.  He was thrilled when he found out there was candy inside... he likes M&Ms.  I like M&Ms too, because I can really regulate how much he's getting.  Same goes for jelly beans.  He doesn't feel ripped off, and I don't feel like I'm feeding him too much crap.  I got him one big chocolate rabbit.  He hasn't eaten it yet.  I sort of figure I'll strip him down to his diaper and give it to him outside.  He won't finish it...but the mess will be spectacular!  There were 2 Reeces pieces carrot-shaped things...and he tried to eat through the bag, so I took them away.  He also got some peeps, and was very excited about them, but forgot that they were food....and that was it for edibles.

Crayola Washable Colored Bubbles -Wild Blue YonderZhu Zhu Pets Toy Rocco the Raccoon Wild BunchI also got him some ZhuZhu pets.  A racoon and a green hamster.  They're adorable!  Oliver runs from them and claims to be scared.  I'm not sure he's actually scared, because he's the one who turns them on, and he'll help them when they get stuck on the edge of the carpet or against a wall... but he's adorable when he runs away from them anyway.  He also got a couple Matchbox cars...and loved them.  He lost interest in everything else for a while because of them.  There were some bubbles (one bottle of the colored looking, but a bit too messy) and a beach ball.  He loved the ball...we played catch for a very long time.

Crayola Color Wonder Metallic Paper & MarkersThe thing I was most excited about was the Crayola marker set that makes metallic pictures.  It's some kind of special paper/marker combo that makes whatever you draw all shiny.  The advertising got to me... I admit it... I thought the little kid with the robot costume looked awesome.  Anyway, it's like $8 for 18 sheets of paper and 5 markers (Amazon says $15, ouch...don't buy it there!).  The markers are ambiguously colored, for the most part (the yellow and orange both look a lot like tan...until you draw with them).  The results ARE metallic...they look cool...BUT!  There is a huge problem with them - they smudge like crazy.  It's not just for a minute, either.  They still smudged about and HOUR after we finished coloring.  I just picked up one of the pictures, and was able to wipe the color right off... and it's been a full 24 hours.  Also, the paper doesn't lay flat.  after about 10 minutes of being out of the plastic wrapping, it curls up into a tube.  And to make matters worse, Oliver wasn't at all impressed.  He was into it for a full 5 minutes and then went right back to playing with his cars.  Needless to say, we probably won't be getting any more of these sets.

Anyway... I wanted to hide eggs all over the back yard for Oliver to hunt.  I had filled a bunch of little plastic eggs with jelly beans (well, put 4 or 5 in each) and was all ready to hide 'em... but nature had other ideas.  We have a tree that is particularly delicious to bees...and the whole thing was covered with bees.  I don't mean a few bees.  I mean the entire tree was covered with hundreds...maybe a thousand...bees.  So, the back yard was avoided for the whole day.  Oliver loves being outside, so that was awful.  I ended up hiding the eggs in the carport.  Grandma has enough crap out there that there were plenty of places to hide things.  He loved it :)

Then it was time to dye eggs.  I think this activity was a bit beyond the kid... he loves to sit on the counter and be my helper when I make bread or anything else.  He didn't seem to love to sit on the counter and be told to put down the cups of dye every couple seconds.  He chose the colors for the eggs, but didn't do any more.  He didn't even want to put stickers on them.  I wonder if he'll want to eat them...

Speaking of eating... I made a ham.  I've never made a ham before, so I decided to keep it simple and not do any glazing or anything else...just stick it in the oven and wait.  I got the thing not even knowing if I like ham.  It's literally been years since I've eaten one.  I tend to avoid pig products, and with the exception of a couple bites of a not-so-great zoo hotdog, I haven't eaten pork at all in years.  Anyway, as it turns out, I like ham.  And so does Oliver!  He's not a big meat eater...but he ate every bite of ham I gave him...cleaned his plate, actually!  I was shocked...but happy :)  It's always nice when he eats the food I put in front of him and seems to really like it :)

Now that I've written more than 2000 words today, I think I'll go do something else.  I have some fencing to put up in the yard, and some plants to move...and some rabbits to scare off, I'm sure.  Oh, and there's always the homework... blah.  Being a professional student is really a bummer sometimes.  It's better than being a professional something else, but still.  The more I learn, the less I know.  I want to take something practical, like carpentry or welding...welding would probably give me migraines.  But, carpentry would be very useful.  Maybe some mechanic classes would be good, too.  Some basic medical stuff would be great... like how to give stitches and treat chemical to set a broken bone or pop one back in if it's been dislocated.  I know how to write a research paper, but only have a vague understanding of how electricity works.  After my computer class and finding out more about how computers do what they much stuff is going on at much stuff has to happen for anything to happen at all... well, now I'm inclined to believe that computers are magic.  Also, my religion class is turning me into a more active atheist than ever before.  I want to start movements and revolutions and stuff... because I don't want my kid to have to pledge allegiance to anything...and because I don't want to send him off to school hoping for a solid education in rational scientific evaluation and have him come home to tell me that his teacher told them about god or creationism or something like that.

OK!  Really gonna go do something else now.  Really.  I am.  And it won't be Farmville.  I swear.

I wish it wouldn't change...

For everything my son's accomplished, I've been so proud.  When I found out I was pregnant, I was proud of him for growing arms and legs.  I've been proud of his walking, talking, helping, sharing, being sweet, being smart... everything he's done has been awesome.  As much as I miss my tiny, cuddly little baby, I love my big boy.  But there's something I'd like to stay the same... His innocent honesty when it comes to girls.

The other day we were getting ready to go to his friend Taylor's birthday party.  I told him where we where going and who we'd be seeing.  His response was, "I see Taylor... I kiss Taylor."  It was adorable, and being that they're both 2, completely innocent and sweet.  The thing is, it made me realize that he won't always be so up-front with me.  There'll come a time when he stops telling me about girls.  He'll be cool, then... too cool to tell his mom he's got a crush on whatever girl (probably the daughter of someone I went to school with... so, those of you to whom this applies, here's your forewarning: my son might be in love with your daughter someday...and we may never know).  He's going to kiss girls, and I won't know.  He certainly won't be telling me beforehand.  He'll probably want to do (or actually do...) much more (not that I'll ever be fully comfortable with that... probably won't accept it until he's married and hands me a grandkid...when he's over 30, of course).  Scary.  He's such a good kid, and I so badly want to keep this communication open.  Maybe not entirely open...I don't think I'll ever want the gory details, but I want to know enough to know he's safe.

Right now I have a sweet little boy who loves his mama and tells me everything... Guess I should just enjoy this part of parenting while I can, right?

Something else I think I should talk about here is the sweetness of childhood fears.  My kid isn't afraid of the dark.  He's not bothered by most strangers, though this could just be because we're from a small town and there aren't too many strangers here.  Loud sounds don't bother him much.  Fire doesn't bother him (though he's never been formally introduced).  He's a bit apprehensive when it comes to trying new things (jumping castles, power wheels...), but ends up enjoying them.  He likes storms.  But he is terrified of moths.  And flies.

A couple weeks ago, the front door was open after dark and quite a few moths got in.  One took up residence on the couch...and as I am indifferent toward moths, I let it be.  It was 2 or 3 days before Oliver noticed it... the little brown moth crawling along....toward the cars and trucks that Oliver usually piles on the couch.  He started squealing... yelling, "noooo noooo mama noooo," and ran over to me, pointing at the couch.  I didn't know it was the moth that was scaring him at first (it was small and pretty much the same color as the couch cover...).  Once I figured it out, I tried explaining that moths aren't dangerous... they don't bite... they're fuzzy...etc.  I picked it up on a piece of paper and moved it outside.  Oliver watched with lots of interest, but wasn't any less scared.  A few nights later, a moth landed on the table while he was eating dinner, and he was so bothered by it that he couldn't finish his meal.  He HAD to get out of his booster fast as possible.  At least he's learned what they're called so that he can tell me what's bothering him.

The fear of flies came about during a recent trip to the zoo with Taylor and her family.  Taylor had sprayed some juice on herself, and as a result, she got a little fly friend.  It was crawling around on her hand and she was watching it...she wasn't at all bothered by its presence, seemed kind of interested.  The fly may or may not have been stuck to her hand...she was able to move her arm around quite a bit without the fly flying away.    She wanted to show Oliver the fly, and held her arm out to him.  The fly flew a bit, and Oliver screamed.  He tried to get out of the wagon (which has seat-belts...).  He squealed and said "nooooo" a few times...until I freed him from the wagon.

As scared as he is by tiny flying things, it's very hard not to laugh.

He reads his Halloween book quite a bit...and on the bug pages, he talks about not eating bugs..."No eat beetles.  No eat worms.  No eat spiders."  This is all because of bean sprouts being present in Chinese food... and looking suspiciously like worms.

Oliver's innocence is just so sweet... Maybe I'm clinging to the last bit of baby in him.  I really do hope that the fear of tiny winged bugs passes soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cry in the Sun/Rain King

When I was 14 years old, I had my first real summer romance.  It wasn't the stuff of trashy novels featuring Fabio on their covers... it was truly the love affair of a 14-year-old.  I was visiting family in Kansas and had this overwhelming desire to go find some daisies.  I may have just wanted out of the house.  Whatever the case, I remembered that my father had a bunch of daisies in front of his trailer a few years earlier...and I also knew that he didn't live there anymore.

I chose to walk down the alley, because I was a sneaky kid like that.  As I neared the place I was sure the daisies would be, I started to wonder if I was lost.  Getting lost in tiny Osborne, Kansas is nearly impossible, but there was no trailer, and no daisies.  There were some cement stairs and a large slab where a trailer had once stood.  I just stopped and stared.

"The revolution is over!" someone yelled.

I turned around to see a tall, skinny boy.  He had dark hair and deep blue eyes, and while he was as dreamy as 15-year-old boy could possibly be, he was also every bit a country boy.  He had dirty jeans and a red t-shirt.  He'd been working on his car.

"You don't like my pants?" I asked, referring to my rainbow plaid bell-bottoms.  I was also wearing a skin-tight shiny blue shirt, 3 inch blue platforms, and carrying a small, black lunch box.  My hair was in pigtails.  And, if I remember that time in my life correctly, I bet I even had blue glittery lipstick match the chipped nail polish.  I probably would have had a better response, but was sort of in shock because of the complete absence of an entire house and all its landscaping.

"Didn't say that.  Just not something you see around here."

"I'm from Arizona."

"What are you doing here?"

"Looking for daisies.  My dad used to live there, and there were daisies in front."

"A hippie looking for flowers?" he laughed.  "They've been gone a while.  Guess we'll have to find you some somewhere else."

His name was JR.

We met to take a walk the next day.  We went all around the town.  He told me about himself...I told him about myself.  We ended up following the railroad tracks out past the fairgrounds and race track to the edge of town.  I was afraid of heights, so he held my hand as we walked on the boards as the tracks rose up to cross the river.  As we sat on the edge of the train bridge, looking down over the river, we shared all those teenage dreams that I believe most kids have.  He told me he played guitar...I fell in love...and then it started to rain.  He said we should probably head back to town.  By the time we made it a few steps, the rain was so heavy that we couldn't see a few feet ahead.  The boards were slippery, and we were trying to run.  After a minute, JR said we would have to jump.  I was terrified, but did it anyway.  Once on the ground, we ran into the trees to get out of the rain.  It didn't help much.  We held each other and leaned against a tree.  He said that if I heard a tree snap, to run...don't stop to look around or think...just run.

We stayed there, in each others arms, mostly silent, until the rain slowed.  The walk back into town was actually funny because we were soaked.  We held hands, we balanced on the train tracks, we laughed... And when we showed up on my grandmother's front steps we were met by my terrified mother and grandmother.  Evidently we'd missed the tornado that'd happened during the storm.  From that day on, he was my Rain King.

I don't know how many days we spent together.  I remember sitting on my grandma's front steps with him... sitting in the grass in her front yard...walking up and down the streets together.  I remember his shiny red car - a Nova.  I remember going through CDs in the guest bedroom at my grandma's house... talking about loving Counting Crows and Better Than Ezra... and even Shudder to Think.  He gave me (or he allowed me to steal) a hat.  It may have been 3 days that we knew each may have been a week.

After I came back to Arizona, we wrote to each other and called all the time.  We talked about joining the Air Force together and running away together and being together forever... We talked about how we probably should have kissed, but that we always had the next summer for that.

It was five years before I went back. We only saw each other momentarily.  We saw each other again after a couple more years had passed.  He was taller, still skinny, and handsome in his police uniform.

I wish I still had the letters.  I wish I still had his hat!  I do have the pictures.  I loved JR as much as any 14yr old girl could love.  He's not one of the ones I wonder "what if" about... I feel like all that we had was all that we needed.  He's just meant to be a really good memory for me...and I'm so grateful for that.  I don't know much about where he is now, or what he's doing...but I hope he's happy :)  Every single time I hear the song Cry in the Sun by Better Than Ezra, I think of him... and I'm happy :)  Like, really happy.  Butterflies happy :)

(The picture is him in 7th was an old picture even then.  He still looked like this in his 20s, and I bet he hasn't changed much now that he's 30.)

Just thinking about all this has made me insanely happy... :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I'm still awake.

It's 10:41PM...and I'm sitting here listening to Pantera, wishing my microwave were closer because I don't want to get out from under my warm blankets to heat my coffee.  My phone is beside me...dead.  I also don't feel like getting up to go plug it in...

Today has been exceptionally uneventful.  I watched a few episodes of Lost and read some of a textbook.  I wrote a small assignment that seemed too easy.  It was the kind of easy that makes me worry.  What if it was all trick questions?  Oh well.  I've been such a terrible student this semester that I'm not sure it matters anymore.  I'm registered for Fall and sort of afraid of what I've gotten myself into.  Two 8-week courses that are 5 credits each.  Yeah...that sounds like pure torture.  I worry that I should take some other classes first to better prepare myself.  It's all computer stuff, and despite the fact that I am doing very well in my current class, I don't feel that I've really learned anything.  There's reading it from a book and there's actually doing it - and I haven't done it.  I want to, but...not on my own machines, y'know?  I kind of need them.  And, until I've done the stuff in the books, I don't think I'll feel comfortable saying I know any of it.  :|  What a shame.  I guess I'm not used to a field in which a theoretical understanding of how something functions isn't enough.  I'll have to figure something out, because Fall will be here soon... with the way time is going lately, it'll be here in a week.

Anyway, I also updated the layout here.  It's so difficult to work within the confines of someone else's system.  Using this is sort of like using a page builder program... Their names all escape me because I hate them.  Nothing is ever perfectly centered and it drives me INSANE.  When you do things by hand, the right way, you can get them exactly how you want them.  This annoyance is the price I'll have to pay for the convenience of having this nice box in which I can type entries and then quickly post them.  Whatever the case, though, it was time to stop using their stock images and themes.  I thought about doing something prettier...something fancy with actual photos, but... when it comes down to it, I just like things simple.

While I was making a burrito earlier, I had a sort of revelation.  There is really only one thing that I want.  Just one.  And I want it in a way that I don't quite understand.  I want a huge family.  I don't mean that I want to breed like a rodent.  I want the kind of big, close, warm family that you see on TV (which I know is probably based on an ideal that everyone has and the reality of very, very few).  I even want the dysfunctional aspects of it.  Being an only child is very lonely.  I don't like that my son wasn't born into a giant network of people.  I worry that he'll always have this tiny little family.  I worry that I won't be able to give him a brother or sister someday.  It'd just be really nice to have siblings of my own, and numerous other family members...all living near each other and actually interacting.  We're really not meant to be solitary creatures.  And no, I'm not interested in joining a cult.  Wouldn't mind creating a commune with like-minded individuals and super-green goals, though :)

Anyway... anyone ever hear the song "Is There a Ghost" by Band of Horses??  That's about where I am right now...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

This is not the time for that...

I would absolutely love to be sitting down to write all about Oliver's wonderful 2nd birthday (and it was wonderful)...or review his presents (most good, one I need to contact the company about, and one that's unintentionally least I hope it's unintentional).  But, no... I will not be writing about wonderful happy things right now.  I'm also not going to be writing about our most recent zoo trip...which was great.  Those are things for another day.

Tonight, I'm going to complain about having just spent two days of my life writing something I did not want to write.  When I was an undergrad, I loved my papers.  Writing them was still a hassle, but I generally really enjoyed the topics.  I was also very inclined to take my work seriously (as seriously as I take anything, anyway).  Research was so much fun...  When I was working on my master's degree, I didn't want to write my papers.  Working in libraries is a lot of fun, but learning about them and writing about anything having to do with them is not very fun.  I suppose it's also fair to say that I don't like writing when I have a kid I could be playing with... ANYWAY.  Now that I'm a community college student, with my primary focus being not repaying student loans... it is so difficult to care enough to do anything.  I guess that's not entirely true.  I am planning to get some certificates...Networking I think... maybe something else, too.  It'll depend on the job market.  It's just that this doesn't seem real.  I didn't intend to be in college...still.  I didn't plan to be writing papers about religion.  I'm only taking a religion class because there was no required textbook.  So, I've been sitting here for two days trying to come up with a thesis for a paper that I just realized was due tonight.  My superior organizational skills have fallen to the wayside lately... I've written it and turned it in...and it was probably awful.  Oh well.  I just wish I had a Type A personality all the time.  I'm really Type A about some things...but generally I like to be in a laid back state that's somewhere close to catatonic.  I think I am a Type AB.

Yesterday, while writing the probably awful paper, Oliver walked up to me and opened his arms really big and said, "Ug, mama."  Then he gave me a big hug.  :)  It's simply not possible to continue working when THAT is my alternative.  The only time I feel no guilt for doing something like homework is while he's asleep or at his dad's.  When he's sleeping, I'd rather sleep or clean or take a shower or something.  Like, right now he's asleep (it's 10:30..of course he's asleep).  I think right this second, doing this writing, is the only time in the last two days that I've written more than a sentence without feeling like I should be doing something else.

Did I mention that I've been looking for jobs almost DAILY for what seems like forever and haven't found anything??  How exactly is one to get a bunch of supervisory experience??  It seems that's what disqualifies me from all the decent jobs that'd be worth the time I'd have to spend at them.  But then, I fear no job will ever feel like it's really worth my time... now that I have Oliver, I just can't come up with a job or amount of pay or...anything...that I'd be willing to trade for time with him.  And that's what it is, really.  How much is my time worth?  More than anyone's willing to pay.  I think I'd rather be dirt poor, do only what needs to be done, because it's preferable to paying a day care center to raise my child.

I guess all the unemployment has been good in one respect... I've started a novel.  I don't know where it's going yet...but it'll most likely be violent and upsetting.

Also, I think I want to start writing some reviews for movies.  I watch just about everything that comes out (so long as it's not too much of a boy movie...), and it's been brought to my attention that I hate everything.  If I give something a good review, it comes as a surprise.  I dunno.  I really do dislike most movies.  It's not that there's really something terribly wrong with them... it's just that they could probably be better.

I'm still not over how much I love District 9.  The last scene of that movie was so perfect... The movie doesn't get nearly the credit it deserves.

But...anyway...I should be asleep.  It's going to freeze tonight...possibly snow.  Yes, snow.  In Arizona.  In April.  A week ago it was 95 it was 45...with wind chill. that tomorrow I can wake up and write about properly installing video cards and...something else.