Thursday, June 30, 2005

Yet Another Shameful Secret

Anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m totally a jeans and T-shirt kind of goddess. This is in spite of being painfully aware that I have three sisters who love clothes and always look hip and stylish and gorgeous. If I’m going out, I’ll put on a shirt with buttons, and that’s about as much time as I want to spend thinking about my attire.

But over the past few months, one of the unexpected side effects of my Old Navy gig has been that I’ve become a little more, um, AWARE of current fashion trends. And since I’m there, like, three times a week, and repeatedly see and touch every item of clothing in the store, I’ve become a little more willing to try something on, just, you know, to SEE. Frequently, I am horrified. Occasionally I am pleasantly surprised.

A couple of months ago, I was pleasantly surprised by this little sweater wrap thingy, long and light and green, with bell sleeves. It was totally unlike anything I have ever tried on before, and even though I thought it looked really ugly on the hanger, it actually looked kind of neat on. Plus, it was cheap. So I ignored the committee in my head (“Who are you trying to kid with that?? Do you think you’re one of these little high school girlies you work with or something? You know you’re never really going to wear that in public…”), sucked it up and bought it. I put it in my closet, and there it sat. For weeks. Day after day, I saw it there, considered, and then passed it over in favor of other, safer articles of clothing.

So this morning, there it was again, and I thought… okay... well… maybe. Maybe today is the day. I put it on. I took it off. I put it on again and resisted the temptation to take it off again, even though I realized I probably looked like a giant wannabe DORK, and resolved to just GO with it already, because I was late anyway and, jeez, it’s really not that big a deal.

The first two people at work who said, “Ooh, cute sweater!” I figured were just saying that, in the way you sometimes get caught staring at someone’s goofy-looking shoes and then feel like you have to say something nice about them, even though it’s totally a lie, so you won’t hurt their feelings. (Everybody does that, right? Right?)

Then I had lunch with my Ho this afternoon, and he whispered oh-so-sweetly in my ear, “Have you lost a little weight or something? You really look good today.” Exceedingly charming, yes, but he’s, like, SMITTEN, so I can hardly trust anything he says. Even if it is awfully, awfully nice.

So I get back from lunch, and in the elevator on the way up to my desk, another someone says, “I really like that sweater,” which I attribute to the fact that I just complimented her on her new haircut and she was just returning the favor. But just now, yet another person who was passing by my cubicle paused to praise my fabulous little sweater, and ALL RIGHT ALREADY. YOU GOT ME. THE THING WAS ON CLEARANCE AT OLD NAVY AND COST $6.99. THAT'S A WHOPPING $5.60 AFTER MY EMPLOYEE DISCOUNT, SO PUH-LEEZE. STOP. LOOKING. AT. MEEE!!

Please pass the meds.

Say Hullo To My Leedle Friend

I have this thing. On my chin. It’s too huge to be a mere “blemish,” I believe an alien life form has imbedded itself in my face. I don’t know if it’s due to stress or hormones or what, but I keep thinking, it can’t possibly get any bigger, and then, good God, it DOES. The horror.

There’s no hiding it. It’s right there, Mount Vesuvius on my chin, a beast that laughs at my pathetic little makeup sponge, and scoffs in the face of my feeble concealer.

I realize it’s the kind of thing that everyone has had to deal with at one time or another. I can lug this monster to work with me, and people will see it (unless they are blind, in which case they will hear it throbbing), and, being adults, they will politely pretend not to notice. But I know. Oh, I know. On the inside, they’ll be thinking to their creamy-faced, blemish-free selves, “Holy GOD look at that GIANT ZIT! Thank the SWEET BABY JESUS that thing’s not on MY face!!”

Finally, in surrender, I said to Demigoddess the Elder, “I’m just going to take a Sharpie and draw a smiley face on this bad boy. And then everywhere I go, I’ll tell people, ‘Say hullo to my leedle friend.’”

To which she said exactly the right thing, which was, “It’s not that big. You should see (Insert Horrible Stepmother’s Name Here)’s.” I have such wonderful children.

I do look younger than I actually am. Over and over again, people say to me, “Your kids are HOW old?? No WAY! You don’t look old enough to even HAVE kids!” Not too long ago, an Old Navy co-worker assumed I was a college student, and the girls in Demigoddess the Younger’s Girl Scout troop thought I was her sister for a while. Which is all good, because I don’t really FEEL as old as I am, anyway.

But honestly. I’m so far beyond pubescent angst. I have a mortgage. I listen to public radio. I do other people’s laundry on a daily basis. I have worked too hard and have come too far to have my junior-high daughter say to me, “Don’t pop it. You’ll just make it worse and leave a scar.”

A scar will not be necessary. This one will be forever in the record books as it is, thanks.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Dome

After all of yesterday’s borderline-nauseating Pollyanna optimism, it turns out that we never did make it to last night's game. I had too much work, Ho had too much work, the tickets turned out to be not so most excellent after all, and it just wasn’t gonna happen.

I was very grumpy about this last night.

But remember that bit about the Hormel Row of Fame?

Right about the time the Twins were two innings into their THRID WIN IN A ROW (never mind the fact that the Royals pretty much beat themselves, ‘cuz it still totally counts as a win for US), I got an unexpected call from…


The ex.

After over a year of conflict, non-resolution, bile, venom, and lawyer’s fees, he called to extend an olive branch. He’s tired of fighting. And he’s scared to go in front of what he called a “man-hating judge.” He wants to make a deal.

I will tell you, it freaked me the hell out.

Bear in mind, my ex is a person whose story changes about every 18.5 minutes. But I am going to take him at his word and call my lawyer this morning.

You just never know.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Two In A Row and Counting

The recent weeks have not been an easy stretch for Twins fans in general, or, in particular, for fans of my friend Batgirl. Mentioning the details of both situations will only give them credibility and thereby reinforce the general crappiness that has been happening lately, so I’m not going to get into it. What I want to point out is that the Twins have now won two games in a row, which, these days, totally counts as a HOT STREAK, and at the same time, some of the Batgirl old-timers have come out of hiding and are once again participating in the witty banter that brought me into the Batling fold in the first place.

Coincidence? Perhaps. If it were anyone else, I would say definitely. But Batgirl, she seems to have an in with the Baseball Gods, and will therefore prevail, even in the face of stupid jealous stats-mongering boys who say mean things about her out of spite, and who should really just mind their own damn blogs, because I’m pretty sure that Torii Hunter has never crossed a room to give THEM a hug.


Which is why I feel so optimistic about the fact that My Ho has acquired most excellent tickets for tonight’s game. It’s not Dollar-a-Dog night, but I have a good feeling. A Hormel Row of Fame kind of feeling. A feeling like yeah, things have been a little off lately. There was thunder, there was hail, there were losses to the freaking BREWERS, but everything is going to be okay.

Real fans don't swan dive off the bandwagon just because of a piddly little ten games out of first place. And real friends don't disappear altogether when things get a little weird. And I have a feeling that by October, we're ALL gonna be weiner winners.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Weekend Recap

The Demigoddesses and I spent most of Saturday at the PRIDE festival, working at a booth for the Mother Bear Project. I found this grass-roots non profit last January through some friends from work who learned that I was a knitter and got me hooked on making bears. A Minnetonka mom named Amy started the project two years ago, and I am convinced that she is an angel. Or, if not an angel, then certainly at least one of them has her back.

I think the original goal of the booth was to drum up general support for the project, get a few new knitters interested, and sell T-shirts. At some point, Amy decided to bring along some of the bears she has received without tags to identify who made them, and without money to pay for their shipping to Africa. The idea would be to try and get people at the festival to “sponsor” these orphan bears by making a $10 donation, choosing a bear, and filling out a tag for the bear with their name, or the name of someone they’d like to honor or remember.

The first of my day's many small miracles happened early, as I found a most amazing parking spot right on Loring Park. It was the kind of parking spot that prompted me to check once… twice… three times to make sure that it wasn’t somehow illegal, because it was just too damn good to be true.

The second miracle came shortly after that, when the attendants at the Big Brothers/Big Sisters booth next door to ours said that they wouldn’t be using two of their tables, and offered them to us to use. The one table we had was covered with brochures and pictures and information. Most of the bears Amy had brought along were in bags underneath. The two extra tables meant that we could bring the bears out and pile them where people would be able to see them.

Thinking it would be a leisurely day, I had brought my knitting. Once the booth was set up, I sat down and took out my needles, prepared to wait for festival-goers to approach us. For about a minute, I watched people walk past and thought, this will never do. I haven’t been hawking Old Navy credit cards for nine months for nothing. So I dropped my knitting, grabbed an armload of bears, and began working the crowd.

“Sponsor a bear for a child in Africa who’s been affected by AIDS! They’ve all been made by volunteer knitters, we’re just looking for people to help us get them to the kids! Sponsor a bear? Sponsor a bear?” It didn’t take long to find a taker. Then another.

Demigoddess the Elder followed my lead, grabbed her own armful of bears, took position at the other side of the booth, and worked it on that side. The two of us got people to stop, and once they were inside, Amy and the other volunteers gave them the details of the program and told stories about the children. Demigoddess the Younger kept count as the pile of sponsored bears grew and grew.

Old people, young people, couples, groups, single people, and families with children… some of them froze in their tracks when they heard the words “child,” and “Aids in Africa,” reaching for their money even before they had heard the rest of the pitch. Others would see the colorful pile of bears and pause, hear what we were doing and waver for a moment, and that’s when I’d slip a pen into their hands, point them toward the tables and say, “Choose any one you like.” Once they were inside the booth, there was no getting out again.

At one point, a man stopped and asked me, “But what are you doing for the children here? Do you have any programs for them?” He was clearly poised to get on my case, and I was not prepared to debate with him, so I called Amy over. She told him that children in emerging nations have no access to the social services that children in more developed countries have, and while she’d like to be able to help everyone, she had to choose the focus of this particular project very carefully. She spoke to him for several minutes before being called away by someone on the other side of the booth. The man turned back to me, apologized for giving me a hard time, and sponsored two bears. Miraculous.

At about 3:30 that afternoon, aching, sunburned, and losing the ability to speak, I realized that my shift was scheduled to have ended at 1:00 p.m. We had handed out hundreds of brochures and business cards, a number of knitting patterns, and had found sponsors for 103 bears (and counting). But I was so jazzed by what I had seen, so moved by how good and generous and kind and caring people can be, and so genuinely amazed that I had played a small part in all of it, that I really didn’t want to go.

I am a single mom who works two jobs. I have a house and dogs and pre-teens and a boyfriend, hobbies and obligations and an enormous extended family. I’m busy. And a lot of the time I’m damn tired. But in spite of the white noise that is my everyday life, somehow this experience found me, and I was willing to be a part of it. In a day that was full of small miracles, that was probably the biggest miracle of all.

Friday, June 24, 2005

And You Thought I Forgot

Yesterday, during a rerun of that creepy Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes interview, which I so made a point of watching since everyone has been talking about how bizarre it was, and I missed it the first time and I HATE it when everyone is talking about something that I haven’t seen, Oprah said something to Tom that I found quite profound.

She said, “…you can tell a man’s character by the kind of woman who is with him.”


If that’s true, then my ex is an immature, emotionally unstable psycho with bad skin who blames me for every evil in the known universe.

That Oprah. She is SO wise.

(You didn't really think a day was going to go by without some venom for my ex, did you?)

I E-Mail, Therefore I Am

I had lunch yesterday with my friend David, who is in the process of writing a book. He already has a publisher waiting for his book to be finished, so David is about to leave for Oregon, where he will spend three weeks in a house that sits 150 yards from the Pacific Ocean, writing. He will not have Internet access.

Three weeks with no e-mail? What??

I actually have several friends who have written books, or chapters of books. I would like to write a book. I’ve taken writing classes to learn how to write a book. A few years ago, in one of those classes, the instructor told me not to write e-mails, because they don’t count as “writing,” and will distract me from the creation of works of any real artistic value.


Either she was correct and I have ruined myself forever, or she was wrong and I am a freaking genius, because while I regularly compose e-mails of astonishing brilliance and wit (ask anyone in my Contacts list), it seems that I am constitutionally incapable of writing anything longer than that. I simply don’t have the attention span. Or the time.

E-mail isn’t just a creative outlet any more, either. I’ve come to rely on electronic communication as my back-up brain. I can’t retain anything unless I’ve sent or received it in an e-mail, which, if you think about it, is BETTER, because that way I can archive everything and read it again later to remind myself of just how astonishingly brilliant and witty I am, as well as the exact dimensions of that freezer that my co-worker is giving me and the directions for how to get to my sister’s friend’s house. I never have to actually think at all any more, which is great, because I wasn't all that good at it to begin with.

But alas, to date, I have produced no book. Not even a really good idea for a book. Not even a really BAD idea for a book. So the question is, which came first, the e-mail or my brain’s limited ability to function? Has the Internet destroyed my potential as an award-winning novelist, or does it provide the perfect forum for people like me, who can’t stay on task at anything for more than twenty-two consecutive minutes?


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thoughts from a Working Mom

My ex is a deadbeat.

I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that after a year of struggling (and mostly failing) to make ends meet, I decided to take a second job in order to keep the Demigoddesses clothed and fed and sheltered in the manner to which they have become accustomed. So last September began my part-time career at Old Navy.

The job itself does not totally suck, which means that working part-time at Old Navy has exceeded my expectations a great deal. What bites is that putting in 55 hours a week between two jobs makes it hard to do much of anything else. Housekeeping has sorta gone out the window, laundry has become sporadic at best, and the Demigoddess have become remarkably self sufficient, especially regarding that whole “dinner” thing. By Thursday night I am almost always tired and surly and eager to point out to anyone who is within earshot the agonizing minutia of the miseries of my life.

Circumstances have improved dramatically since last fall. I hate to credit Old Navy with changing my life, but once I took that step, a lot of things began falling into place, and not just financially. So lately, I have been toying with the idea of quitting the part-time gig. But I find that I’m not quite ready to drop the axe just yet.

I am blessed with bright, healthy children who are still willing to be seen with me in public, and believe me, for that I am very, very grateful. But I have learned something from this whole experience that I will not soon forget: Knowing that your child needs something, and not knowing how you are going to provide that thing for your child, is a special kind of hell that I never want to live in again.

Plus, you know, I get a sweet discount at the GAP.

I’m seriously quitting before the Christmas shopping season, though. Because that REALLY sucks.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I Rule

Thanks to the miracle of Google, I recently learned all sorts of fascinating things about myself that I never knew. For example, did you know that I, along with 600 or so scientists and technicians, was “part of an elite cadre immersed in one episode of the ultimate science project: expanding the art and science of the possible” by working on NASA’s Spirit Mars rover?


It seems that I am also president of a communications company; earned a BFA in visual design from Southeastern Massachusetts University; am an undergraduate academic support tutor at Cardiff Law School; am a gifted artist who creates original oil and acrylic paintings of floral, religion, portraiture, and Sanskrit calligraphy; and am on the board of the Institute of Transportation Engineers in Palm Desert, California.

Damn. No wonder I’m so freakin’ tired all the time.

Last fall, when my Ho first expressed interest in spending some time together, I accepted, mainly because a mutual friend gave him a highly positive endorsement. A short time later, when he seemed WAY too good to be true, I Googled him. Not only did my search confirm all of his stories, but I found a few highly complimentary items that he hadn’t even told me about yet. THAT certainly wasn’t supposed to happen.

A little while after that, curiosity got the better of me and I Googled his ex wife. I admit, that one felt a little creepy. Interesting… but creepy. This time, however, my suspicions were all confirmed. I'm WAY better than her. There wasn't anything about "expanding the art and science of the possible" on her list. She's never been part of an "elite cadre" of anything at all. I totally win.

(I have not Googled my own ex. I already know more than I want to about him.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Thought for My 6:30 A.M. Elevator Ride Companion

Dear Jackie O:

You were Miss South Dakota, like, 20 years ago. Seriously, honey. Let it go. Makeup was never intended to be applied with a spackling knife. Go easy on the hairspray. Trust me on this one.

Cute shoes, though.


My Ho

On Saturday evening, my charming sweetie hooked me up with a fabulous new (to me) TV, which is something I have been PINING for for months and months but have not been able to justify buying new. The parents of a friend of his son's are packing up to move out of state and are in the process of liquidating much of their household. He heard they had a big 'ole TV to unload and thought of me ('cuz yeah, he's exactly THAT thoughtful).

He says one of the reasons he loves me is because I work the remote like a guy. And now, thanks to him, I have an additional eight inches of screen to click at. I ask you, what girl wouldn’t find THAT exciting?

He was very patient, even though there was baseball on, while I painstakingly adjusted the color balance (because it was absolutely necessary that the "Twins" lettering on the jerseys be EXACTLY the correct shade of red) and pondered aloud what the hell a “Lumisponder” setting does. One of the reasons I love him is because, two days later, he actually Googled “Lumisponder.”

From: Ho
Sent: Monday, June 20, 2005 2:40 PM
To: EverydaySuperGoddess
Subject: lumisponders

VIDEO: From here you can change the picture, hue, color, brightness, sharpness, and enable the lumisponder to be on or off (the lumisponder feature adjusts the brightness of the screen automatically according to the ambient brightness

Isn’t he dreamy?

Monday, June 20, 2005

So. Father's Day.

I spent yesterday afternoon at our city pool with my children, getting sunburned and being deeply disappointed (again) by my beloved and, lately, deeply disappointing Minnesota Twins.

And speaking of disappointment, the Demigoddess’ father backed out of taking them for Father’s Day weekend for this reason:

From: Father of the Year
Sent: Friday, June 17, 2005 9:18 AM
To: EverydaySuperGoddess
Subject: This Weekend

…The truth is that I just don't have the gas money (or credit available) to drive there or back. I'm totally broke right now. We'll have to schedule something on a future weekend.

He and the new wife have just bought a house, which they are in the process of finalizing financing on. Apparently that’s where all his money has gone.

The children left him a voicemail around noon. He did not return their call. They do not appear to have noticed that he did not return their call. And that is simultaneously a good and a very sad thing.

So. They had fun at the pool. We left in time for us to get home and change, and then stop at the bookstore to pick up a gift for MY Dad ('cuz yeah, I'm exactly THAT organized), and then we had a lovely barbecue at my parents' house, with my sisters, aunt, cousin, and niece. Steak, cherry pie, and a reworking of the lyrics to "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," which reflected the fact that two of my sisters have been roomies for the past year or so. Here's a snippet:

"You don't clean the bathroom,
You only talk about it...

And your boyfriend
nevers closes the kitchen cupboard doors..."

Or something like that. Our family gatherings almost always involve 70's pop music and quotes from the Little House on the Prairie TV series. My brother-in-law, mysteriously, made a fast and early exit.

Dad liked the book. Thanks again for the gift idea, Ho.


Friday, June 17, 2005

The Goddess' First Post

This Is An A and B Conversation...

What is your rant du jour?