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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Full Moon Fever (Sept. 23, 2010)

Let me present Crime Scene Evidence, Exhibit A.

Blame it on the moon, which will be full tonight.

The mess that my day became started in the middle of the night with choppy sleep. Hubby woke in the dark for his business trip, our middle child came into the room and I had weird dreams. I got up before six, when my youngest woke up. The morning was harder than most, since Hubby wasn’t there to help get everyone dressed. With him gone, I’d be bringing all three as I took my oldest to school by eight. Not impossible but not easy. We got through the morning scramble.

But then things unraveled. We walked to preschool and the baby’s blanket kept slipping off the stroller, getting caught in the wheels, which annoyed me to no end. I was mid-rant about it when a neighbor and her daughter caught up to us, on their way to school. She must have thought I was nuts but sometimes you just can’t put on a happy face. She asked if I was okay and I told her the truth, a vehement “No!” I told her I’d already had quite a day—nothing catastrophic but as my friend Sandy says, death by 1000 paper cuts. Finally we made it to school. Two kids taken care of, only one left.

In the parking lot, I reached under the stroller to get something to quiet the baby. Everything was covered in red goo. It looked like blood. What had my kids put under the stroller? I moved to the edge of the parking lot and began tossing items out of the stroller onto the parking lot. Everything seemed to have at least some red goo on it. With each messy item my frustration rose, especially since I couldn’t even figure out what the goo was. My kids’ hats had goo on them. A diaper with goo. Random stuff had goo. I managed to empty my full purse into the stroller’s lower storage area. Of course. Literally a hundred items now into the mysterious red goo. Began crying. Just so frustrated. (Some people would rather die than cry in public but sometimes, you just can't take it any more and you have to let it out. It was theraputic!) My friend arrived like a fairy godmother, to help. A teacher brought plastic bags so I could get the clean(ish) stuff away from the goo, which was pooled at the bottom of the under-stroller storage area. Finally figured out the source of the mess: a Tupperware container I’d put into the stroller this morning and forgotten. It had some frozen raspberries in it, and as they thawed they oozed some juice, which oozed out of the container too, EVEN THOUGH THE LID WAS ON AS TIGHTLY AS POSSIBLE. My friend and the teacher helped, and eventually I began laughing a little. I dried my eyes on the juice-spattered diaper, and turned down the offer for a tissue (after all, diapers are much more absorbent). What was it about today? It was only 9:10am and I’d already had a tough day. If, as the saying goes, tragedy plus time equals comedy—well, I’d need a few weeks before I could laugh about today.

Later, as I took the stroller out of my car, I managed to spill the remaining contents (all juice-saturated) out of the bottom of it onto the ground. My baby bit me on the same nipple twice within ten minutes. Serious pain. Today just seemed to be a tough one: spills in the car, fights between the kids, random small frustrations clustered into a day. On a happier note, my sweet friend Roxie left me a potted plant outside my door, with a note of encouragement attached. She’d been the one to scrape me up off the parking lot earlier, and I’m so grateful for her support. (Thanks, Rox.)

It’s been eight hours since the red goo began oozing, and I’m less annoyed. Even laughed a little as I described it to a friend. But I tell you, maybe next month I’ll block off on my calendar the day of the full moon, and as a public service to my city, maybe I won’t even try to leave the house that day!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cecil and the Yuccas (Sept. 17, 2010)

Yucca blossoms remind me of my next-door neighbor Cecil, because there are several Yucca trees on his property. I'd noticed Yuccas a little bit in the past, but really came to appreciate them once I moved next door to Cecil and his Yuccas, seven years ago. I love how they suddenly sprout a luminous white flower in August and February. Since it's September, the blossoms are starting to go. But they'll be back.

Cecil died 12 days ago. It seems so fitting to me that he died during Yucca blossom season. I think he was 85, which is pretty impressive. I saw him for the last time a few weeks ago, and he laughed a little at my jokes. Despite his declining health, he still had his humor. The symbolism feels so right-on: Cecil's soul left his broken body to soar, just as the gorgeous Yucca flower rises from a dull, grayish tree. This sturdy flower is proof of life.

Monday, September 13, 2010

All Hail the Mighty Dot (Sept. 13, 2010)

Ok, are you feeling happier now? I am! Do not tell me that polka dots are not cheerful. I won’t have it. I love this pattern! As always, I must pinpoint why I love something. It’s not that I have to be scientific about my preferences, but haven’t you noticed that things you like make you FEEL a certain way? So it’s no coincidence. We like what we like, yes, but WHY?

Polka dots are simply fun. This idea floated to the surface for me relatively recently. I’ve been attracted to polka dots for a while, but lately I’ve been thinking about them more. Here are some thoughts:

· This pattern is playful. Occasionally you see them in a more formal context but for the most part, they have a whimsical vibe. For me, fashion should be fun, not serious.

· Usually either the dot or the background is a happy color. You haven’t seen a lot of gray dots, right? And I love happy colors: red, pink, yellow, etc. Bright colors cheer us up.

· I recently noticed that polka dots are often used in little girls’ clothing, which is inherently much more fun than grown-up clothing (which generally believes it needs to be serious). Why do kids get all the fun? Maybe grown-ups would be happier if they had more FUN clothing!

· Perhaps I associate dots with fun because of memories from my childhood, when I wasn’t consciously studying things. Perhaps it is the images from those years that make associations so strong. For instance, Minnie Mouse wears a red dress with polka dots, and her character brings up happy thoughts. She’s cheerful. Disneyland is a happy place. And I know that some people hate clowns, but clowns have fun outfits, often polka-dotted. You get the picture.

· Could my appreciation involve associations with 1950s and 60s design? Polka dots were big then, and I do like midcentury design for its playfulness.

I did a little research on why we call this pattern the Polka Dot. Some sources claim that the name comes from the mid to late-1800s, when Polka music and dancing were invented. Polka dancers sometimes wore clothing that had dots on it, and the name stuck. Another site says that there was no connection between Polka music and dotted fabric. It may not matter, really, because the dot is here to stay. So thank you, whoever you are, for giving us dots!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sept. 11, 2010

I wasn’t planning to blog about 9-11 today. Seems too predictable. Also, the 9-11 footage I saw on tv last week disturbed me so much, and it’s hard to find words to fit it. But I read someone’s blog today and it inspired me to write. I’ll keep it brief. Long-winded isn’t always better, I’m finally discovering.

All I could do on 9-11 was get through the day. It was so shocking, and so horrifying. I had a part-time job working with young kids, and they talked about it at school. I remember feeling compelled to watch the coverage, but at the same time, feeling like it was too much to see.

One year later we’d moved back to Southern California and I participated in a remembrance at the stadium, organized by a radio show. Each of us was given a name to read into a microphone, and it was broadcast all over the city. A bell rang after each name was read. The names were in plastic-sleeved name tags. This presentation felt meaningful: with someone else’s name pinned to your shirt, there was a deeper connection to the person who had died.

I still have the name tag. It reads Paul R. Salvio, World Trade Center. He was 27 when he was killed. I felt a connection to him not only as an American, but also because I was 27 when 9-11 happened. Coincidence, yes, but whatever. We find significance where we find it.

Amid all the heartache surrounding 9-11, it was beautiful how people reached out to others, and how people all over the world mourned with America. That date changed the world. But the world isn’t broken, and neither is America.