Sweet Dreams

Apparently I’m stressed about something lately, because I keep having my current stress dream.  The one that my brain defaults to now is this:  I’m somehow called back to my former job as a hospitalist, taking care of sick kids in the hospital along with a team of residents and medical students.  My dream brain somehow knows that I can’t do this job anymore, I don’t currently hold hospital privileges anywhere.  As I maneuver through the complexities of the dream, I’m always slightly worried that someone will figure out that I can’t really be doing this anymore.  But I’m never THAT worried because, hey, it’s their fault for putting me on the schedule!

hospital

Good Lord, they expect me to know what’s going on!

In the dream I’m taking over a panel of patients that I know absolutely nothing about.  Permutations of the dream involve my never having been to the hospital, not being able to log onto a computer, getting locked in the call room, falling asleep, or sitting down at 8 p.m. and realizing that I haven’t even begun to chart on any of the 32 patients on my service.  Oh wait, that last one is an actual memory, never mind.  Last night’s dream I added in an extra nuance of having to take care of one of my infant patients while working and someone misplacing the patient.  You know, the usual.  Occasionally I’ll have enough dreaming awareness and announce to everyone that I don’t actually work there anymore and walk away.  Thank God for sentient dreaming.

The only other two worry dreams that I still have with any regularity are the “All the teeth have come loose in my jaw and I’m spitting them out like a character on Hee Haw”  and “Back to High School.”  The first one I can’t make sense of, but apparently I’m not the only one who has it.  The second one always has a flavor of my subconscious reconciling the impossibility of that dream with the fact that it’s happening anyway.  I have been sent back to high school because I’d registered for a class that I never bothered showing up for and never dropped, so my high school transcript is “incomplete” and this needs to be rectified.  So I’m my 42 year old self, back in high school.  I have the same locker, and of course most of the dream revolves around not remembering the combination or, if I do get into it, realizing that all of my school supplies aren’t there anymore.  Shocking.

Last night I had a completely new worry dream, and I’m not sure what to make of it.  I’m in a TV cooking show, and I’ve somehow progressed far beyond my abilities.  This is more Top Chef than Worst Cooks in America.  The other contestants are already plating and I haven’t even managed to locate a cutting board.  So I woke up this morning with pressing need to do some relaxation.  And organize the cupboards.

cutting board

Stuff of nightmares

The Ol’ Deer Snare

Last weekend the girls stayed at my mom and dad’s.  Staying at Grandma and Grandpa’s is always an interesting experience.  In addition to the treats that are only available there, being in your parent’s childhood home unaccompanied makes for prime snooping time.  When I was little, overnights meant staying up late to watch bowling over a dish of ice milk.  I could stumble across books my mom read as a child, or toys my dad played with, or leftover adolescent residue in their bedrooms. My own parents have moved from my childhood home, so my and my siblings’ childhood detritus has been neatened up a bit.  Still, the Fischer Price farm set is available for my girls, just as when I was a kid, and the same recycled crafts are dragged out for Grandma’s instruction. This time, the gals and Grandma produced pom poms.

The girls also learned about Davy Crockett;  my parents figured out how to use the DVR.  In addition to catching up on Monk and Gunsmoke, they recorded a couple of the Disney Davy Crockett classics.  Growing up, my entire family was well versed in Davy Crockett, thanks to my brother Pete.  The kid was obsessed.  He had a fake coonskin cap and musket by age four, and was devoted to the movies.  We saw all of them multiple times, having recorded them onto VHS during Sunday night Disney Family Movie time.

Dad chose to introduce the girls to the classic, Davy Crockett and the River Pirates, featuring such seminal scenes as the trick shootout with Davy’s nemesis, Mike Fink, and the battle with the injuns, now shockingly inappropriate.  The best scene, though, is when Mike Fink sings his personal anthem, Mike Fink, King of the River.  Dad queued up the scene, and he and I joined in the singing, much to the girls slack-jawed amazement, complete with saucy hip twitches.

After I’d gone, they must have really dug into the Davy Crockett lore.  Most notably Pete’s penchant for setting deer snares to try and catch my mother.  After supper, while mom cleaned up in the kitchen, Pete donned his coonskin cap and fashioned snares out of jump ropes.  Then he and my dad would give each other the signal–the old hoot owl–and shimmy on their bellies into the kitchen to set the snare behind mom at the sink.  She was required to pretend not to notice the grown man and child slithering loudly on the linoleum behind her.  We girls would have been in the other room, studiously ignoring the proceedings. When the signal was given, mom would somehow step into the jump rope snare, fall dramatically to the floor, and be strung up.  I can’t remember what usually happened after that, but God bless her, right?  I can’t stress enough:  THIS HAPPENED REPEATEDLY!

So this morning, I opened the bathroom door and stepped neatly over the jump rope lying on my bedroom floor.  I’m used to unexpected debris magically appearing in otherwise clean rooms. Then I noticed my 8-year-old attached to the end of the rope, looking at me with a look of malignant disappointment.  Noted.  The ol’ deer snare had been resurrected.

When I came down the stairs I noticed another hot pink loop of rope at the bottom of the stairs.  Shoving aside my thoughts of lunches to be made and time running short, I made my way down, paused dramatically in the snare, and fell victim to the newest iteration of Davy Crockett, kind of the wild frontier.  

 

Summer Feet

“They feel too small!” exclaimed my 8 year old, complaining over the gym shoes that were actually a size too large.  “Give me back my sandals. It’s only the first day of school, nobody will care.”

******

Growing up, back to school shoe shopping was a rare treat.  The Bier kids were allotted two pairs of shoes each: a pair of athletic shoes and a pair of “nicer” shoes.  Additional, activity- related shoes were acquired second hand. Some classmates might see an additional pair of shoes or two throughout the year depending on sales and whims.  I, however, knew that those two September pairs were it, so they better be good.

 

As much as I loved those back-to-school shoes, putting them on was a mournful rite.  We spent summers largely barefoot, a pair of flip flops tossed in the heap by the back door.  These were reserved for those occasions when actual footwear was required: church, the once-per-week trip into town to the library, or a visit into the barn.  Otherwise we marauded the yard in barefooted glee. Our feet were uniformly black by the end of those summer days. Mom may not have always had the energy to force full baths on all of us kids, but every summer night concluded with us perched on the side of the bathtub for a footbath, transferring our grime to the black bathwater.  My soles grew tough, and by the end of the summer I was able to run across the gravel driveway without missing a beat. Those free summer feet rebelled against the new, stiff, back-to-school shoes. They were smothering, way too tight. Rest assured there’s no way they were ACTUALLY too tight. Mom made sure we all had a full thumb’s width of space at the toe, all the better to guarantee a full season’s usage on the rapidly growing Bier brood.  

 

 

Hiding away those summer toes might as well have occurred alongside corset application.  My feet felt stiff and choked. After a few days, the feeling of the ground faded away, dampened by thick soles.  My toes got used to their sardine-can existence and stopped straining to stretch. My summer tanned feet began their inexorable slide into the soft, pinkish pallor of February.

Intense, Vivid, Saturated

Main Hall

Lawrence University’s Main Hall, a view on my way to Reunion Convocation

Note:  I was asked to give the toast at my 20 year reunion at Lawrence University this past weekend.  People seemed to enjoy it, so I’ve reprinted the text below.

 

It’s always so magical to get back here and grapple with the simultaneous reality of permanence and change.  I am always happy to be reminded, too, that Lawrence is, at it’s very core, just a place. That is in contrast to the many permutations that Lawrence has taken in my dreaming mind since graduating.  That Lawrence is some sort of Stranger Things Upside Down that I need to get over.  Here are some things that I still have dreams about:

  1. I parked my car somewhere and now can’t remember where I parked it.  It is usually winter. It might be under one of those unidentifiable snowdrifts.  
  2. I forgot to drop a class and have been registered for a mysteriously titled class, usually in Main Hall, the entire term.  The final is tomorrow. I have never attended and don’t even really know how to find the classroom because it’s in Main Hall.
  3. I haven’t checked my mailbox the entire term and can’t actually remember how to open it.  This is a variant on the high school “can’t open the locker” dream
  4. I can’t lock my dorm room and when I come back it’s been
    1. Ransacked
    2. Emptied
    3. Taken over by squatters
  5. My dorm room has a secret annex that I never noticed that includes among other things a small kitchen, deck space, an atrium, and a full appliance package.

 

sage hall

My friend and I chose to stay back on campus for reunion, perhaps adding fuel to the fire of my dorm-related anxiety dreams.

So in my dreaming life, apparently Lawrence serves as little more than a conduit for all of my waking anxieties.  Because these anxieties are numerous, I rotate these Lawrence stress dreams with other favorites, including the one where all of my teeth fall out one by one like one of those Hillbillies on Hee Haw.

 

These weird dreams stand in stark contrast to my actual daytime memories of Lawrence  They’re so very vivid and numerous. Vivid, intense, saturated. I think for most of us gathered here, some of our most purely distilled emotional moments happened on these 88 acres.  My fiercest friendships grew up here. My most mind-blowing realizations. The shell of my small-town existence was chipped and ripped away here. We loved wholeheartedly, idealized unjadedly, grew unrestrainedly.  We have never been so terribly hung-over either before or since. It was intense, vivid, saturated. And so, like you all, I come back to take a restoring sip from the fountain, to bring back into focus the moments from the faded photographs, to make out the echoes of laughter and tears and oratory in these walls.  

 

So, with that common, perhaps terribly sentimental thought in mind, let’s all raise our glasses:  

 

May our lives continue to be blessed with intense loves and vivid moments.  May our lives be saturated with Light, More Light!\

Veritas Est Lux

Nostalgia for the Present

nos·tal·gia
näˈstaljə,nəˈstaljə
noun
  1. a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

The word nostalgia is learned formation of a Greek compound, consisting of νόστος(nóstos), meaning “homecoming” and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning “pain” or “ache”, and was coined by a 17th-century medical student to describe the anxieties displayed by Swiss mercenaries fighting away from home.

 

So-this-is-my-life.-And-I-want-you-to-know-that-I-am-both-happy-and-sad-and-Im-still-trying-to-figure-out-how-that-could-be.

 

Today is the last day of elementary school for my oldest daughter.  My social media feeds are swamped with “look back” photos.  The teachers sent out an album and video last night.  I looked at the pictures;  a bunch were of the gang from Kindergarten.  I went back to Facebook.  People are doing the “first day of Kindergarten / last day of sixth grade” thing.  I’m a mess.  I’m afraid to even OPEN the teachers’ video, because I know what it will be.  A series of charming pictures that might push me over the edge in the static form.  But set them to music and gently dissolve between shots?  I will be rendered a hopeless mass.

Some of this is clearly plain old nostalgia for the past.  The platitudes are so universal at this point that they are almost meaningless:  blink and they’re 16!  slow down, time!  boom, they’re graduating!  I wonder if the ease and ubiquitous nature of photos these days makes these comparisons almost too easy.  It only took me about 30 seconds to locate the picture of her starting Kindergarten.  Slap it next to this morning’s picture and I have a recipe for parental nostalgia.

Does everyone suffer this way?  I really don’t deal well with the passage of time.  I’ve written about it before, and practically every days affords me an opportunity to be ripped from the moment and reminded that this, too, is fleeting.  As I attempted to recover from my Facebook reading this morning, I settled on a phrase that I think captures this particular affliction well:  nostalgia for the present.

Lo and behold, a simple search of this phrase reveals I’m not alone in my pathology.  Sia’s first tour was named “Nostalgia for the Present.”  It’s been used as a title for a book on postmodernism and a Berber village.  It is the subject of thoughtful essays on digital media and modern life.  Apparently this is even a field of study in the social sciences where it is termed “anticipatory nostalgia.”

In an attempt to wrench myself from a sobbing fetal position, I read a review article by Krystine I. Bacho, PhD,   It’s titled “Missing the Present Before It’s Gone,” and it did a good job helping me to unpack my feelings this morning.  She talks about work on people, apparently there are more like me, who suffer this affliction.

Recent research suggests that people who have a greater need to belong and less assurance of social acceptance are more prone to anticipatory nostalgia.  It isn’t clear whether a tendency to consider the future can mentally distance a person from ongoing social interactions or whether feeling less integrated encourages one to consider the future.  According to current research, anticipatory nostalgia is neither dissatisfaction with the present nor a gloomy view of the future, but a reluctance to let go of the present.  -Bacho, Psych. Today, 2016

 

Check, check, and….check.  “A reluctance to let go of the present.”  I clutch fiercely to those moments that, as I experience them, I know they will be the snapshots that comprise the flipbook of my life.  The CliffsNotes version of the full story.  The only bits of the constant thrum of daily life that I’ll even be able to recall at the end of it all.  How can I not miss them before they are finished?  Who doesn’t mourn a good book when you arrive at the last chapter?  The last morning of vacation?  The first day of summer?  The good stuff is still happening, but the shutter is clicking.

The writer of this article touches on whether this nostalgia for the present is, essentially, a good thing or a bad thing.  Does it help one in the present, or prevent one from truly experiencing it at all?  All I know is my own experience.  If it weren’t for this heartbreaking affliction, there’s no way I would be able to write.  It stinks to always be a little bit melancholy, but I suppose it’s the trade off for whatever bit of an artist’s eye that I have.

Thank God for poetry.  My searches also led me to a poem by Jorge Luis Borge, a fully fledged, similarly afflicted soul.  It’s so comforting when someone can disassemble your current state, identify its constituent parts, polish them and render them precious, and assemble them into something greater and more universal.  Perhaps you fellow parents suffering from both nostalgia for the past and nostalgia for the present can find solace in his words as well:

Nostalgia for the present

At that very instant:
Oh, what I would not give for the joy
of being at your side in Iceland
inside the great unmoving daytime
and of sharing this now
the way one shares music
or the taste of fruit.
At that very instant
the man was at her side in Iceland.

-Jorge Luis Borges (from the Spanish)

 

Oh well.  If that doesn’t work, I’m pretty sure that’s also why they invented wine.

 

 

 

 

I Went To The Woods To Live Peripherally: Random thoughts on sixth grade camp

Last week I chaperoned sixth grade camp.  This is a thing wherein all of the 350-odd sixth graders in our school district’s five elementary schools are combined prior to heading off to middle school, where they will officially become one class.  The kids are carefully assigned to cabins and groups so that maximum mixing of unknown variables occurs over the time period.  They do a lot of camp-ish activities, but I’m pretty sure that the main goal is to meet new people and break down the elementary school tribal barriers.  In addition to geocaching and a preferred method to tie-dye, here’s a few things I learned:  

Sixth graders still make friends by kid rules, i.e., easily and quickly.  The first day, the kids stuck fiercely by the people that they knew from their own schools, come hell or high water.  Unlike adults, however, they had pretty much gotten over themselves by the dawn of the second day. At the end, when the camp leader asked for everyone who had made a new friend or met a new person to raise their hand, every hand was raised.  Phone numbers were exchanged and, much to my locked-down-phone daughter’s chagrin, Snapchat handles were shared.

They make friends quickly, but the taxonomy has already been established.  I don’t mean to suggest that camp consisted of one big, happy, homogenous, kumbaya group.  The other thing I was amazed by was the sorting that happened. See, the whole bunch of kids were shaken out of their standard school social groups, dumped in a big bucket, shaken around, and then dumped back out.  The less jaded among us might hope that friendships would then coalesce randomly. Far from it.  All of the usual groups that were there when I was in school?  They were reformed and replicated almost as soon as the proverbial bucket turned over.  I especially noticed this among the girls, although to be fair it could be that I’m simply better able to identify the calling cards of girl social groups.  The socially elite, all wearing the same hairstyle and striding confidently in a clutch through camp. The sporty girls, all slightly differently yet similarly attired;  they seemed to be the girl group that had mastered interacting with the boys in a social setting most effectively.  The solid middle class, which would have been my people, mostly sticking to themselves but having fun.  The confident outsiders, banning together and wearing their weirdness proudly. The oblivious. The lost. It was hard for me to see my own daughter and her longtime friends from way back re-sorting in this way.  I settled on my message for the inevitable re-sort: I don’t care if you are best friends with everyone, but you better darn well be kind to everyone.

sixth grade camp Sean

Frenemies with Sean since 3K….

sixth grade camp canoeing

they paddled back safely.

I’m not sure why I work so hard on meals.  I don’t make something gourmet every night, but I try cook seasonally and thoughtfully.  I consider myself a moderately accomplished home cook.  My daughter requested that I start cooking more like camp, which I guess means heating up individual pizzas and making institutional mac and cheese.

 

Sixth grade girls are very into personal hygiene, and yet they kind of aren’t.  I had girls scanning their schedules as soon as we arrived, planning when they were going to shower.  They discussed which showers they were going to use, and planned showering dates with friends with the urgency of a debutante ball.  They compared notes on what they’d wear to and from the shower, and compared the scent of overwhelmingly fruity scented products in the impossibly steamy bathrooms.  So, yeah, they were into it. (Aside: I was reminded why I don’t love dorm style showering. I attended a residential college, so dorm showers were my lot for four straight years.  And I’ll still have an occasional nightmare about showering, ranging from arriving at the shower area without any products, to the general condition of the showers come Sunday evening after a day and half without janitorial attention).  But they don’t really have the details down. For example:  removing one’s wet shoes and socks before they are allowed to ferment on one’s feet over an entire day. They didn’t quite master that detail.  The smell that greeted me upon returning to the cabin that second night was just rank.  We immediately banned any and all footwear to the outdoors, and the girls attempted to mitigated with fruity scented products. It helped…a little. I can only imagine the situation in the boys’ cabins.

sixth grade camp shoes

Ewwwww

Sixth grade is a time of great leaps of maturation, both physically and otherwise.  

sixth-grade-camp-height-e1527621077513.jpg

I managed to capture this shot one night during game time–these are both sixth graders!  The range of physicality in the room was astonishing, from kids who look like they still need a booster seat to ride in the car safely to those that I wouldn’t bat an eye at if they showed up as my Uber driver.  Along with the size, boy does a lot of change happen during this year. I don’t even know how to describe or capture it exactly, but some invisible divide is crossed, imperceptibly for most of them. For example, back in October when parents were asked to volunteer to chaperone, I swear that my daughter gave me an enthusiastic “yesyesyes.”  However several weeks ago, I was met with mild eye rolling and “Okaaaaay.” Same kid. Same trip. Same mom. Six months. I can barely keep up with where she’s at mentally and emotionally. Parenting through tricky moments feels like a craps shoot–I never know who I’m going to get! Which reminds me to point out:  sixth grade teachers an amazing breed.  Those that have stayed with it are so nimble with these kids, they seem to be able to meet them wherever they’re at, sometimes this means addressing different audiences in the same actual audience simultaneously. It looks exhausting.

 

sixth-grade-camp-molnar.jpg

sixth grade camp Molnar 2

Mr. Molnar, the guy in the blue shirt, has this crowd eating out of the palm of his hand.

 

I have found my spirit animal and she wears a green khaki shirt.  One evening we had campfire time, which was led by a no-nonsense, extraordinarily loud woman with a practical gray haircut.  I’d put her in her early 60s. She’s been doing this for over 30 years, and she had it down. Sure the kids rolled their eyes at the overly dramatic enunciation of the campfire songs, but by golly they all learned the words!  And all but the most jaded were forced to laugh and participate in the end. She even taught me a few I didn’t know, which is amazing. Then she ran the most militarized s’mores situation I’ve ever witnessed. It took 10 minutes to debrief the kids on the exact steps necessary to accomplish getting s’mores into 85 kids without anyone being burned or impaled.  But again, by golly she did it. Afterward Natalie informed me that she knew that’s what I’m going to be like someday. Well, CLEARLY.

sixth grade camp smores'

Note:  all s’mores are to be cooked from A KNEELING POSITION.

 

The adults really can’t hang.  We need ice. We need more sleep.  We need ready access to toilet facilities.  We need to not be awoken late at night because our cabin is having a farting competition and then, shockingly, needs to be chaperoned to the bathrooms to poop.  We need sleep! It felt like how I used to feel after 36 hours of call during intern year, complete with interludes on a desperately uncomfortable mattress with half-sleep punctuated by periods of being jerked awake.  By the last morning we looked rough. The adults started to perk up, however, when the countdown to camp ending reached the minutes phase. I got home and slept for three hours. My daughter watched a little TV and launched into a Memorial Day Weekend of a full social calendar.  

muppet.gif

Another mom shared this accurate portrayal of the final morning’s mood amongst the parents

 

So, I was exhausted.  But I’m so glad that I got to go.  For one, I had a Big Emotional Moment with my daughter.  This girl is as even keel as they come. She doesn’t enter into a whole lot of negative drama, which is great.  But she doesn’t give me a whole lot of positive emotion either, aside from the automated “love you’s” that echo my own.  On the last day, she spontaneously gave me a little half hug and told me that “you’re not the worst mom here.” Seriously, cross-stitch that on a throw pillow, because it made it all worthwhile.  On a less personal note, I got a real sense of where my daughter’s at and the social milieu that awaits her when she enters middle school. I felt like I got to see the last glimpse of these kids, many of whom I’ve known since they were three, for the last time, at least as a group.  As they milled about in a scrum waiting for their buses to take them back for what will surely be the eight most useless days of school of their lives, I teared up. It’s the end of an era.

sixth grade camp selfie

She finally agreed to a selfie

sixth grade camp

Stepping up to the invisible divide.

Like A Book

things-that-annoy-mom.jpgNatalie forgot to make me a mother’s day card.  This wasn’t a big deal, though, because she made me a little sketch during church service.  Our church kindly provides little cardboard card stock slips that are meant to be used for newcomers’ to fill out.  I believe that the bulk actually are used by small, bored children.  I always keep pens in my purse, including some of those cool “four colors in one” pens that haven’t changed at all since I was a kid.  Between the card stock, the quad-color pen, and her own ingenuity, she came up with something far better than a standard card.  She made a visual representation of things that annoy me.   And holy cow, does my 11-year-old have me pegged.  Here’s what she came up with:

things-that-annoy-mom1.jpg

People who don’t know how to work four way stops.  Heading north out of our subdivision I hit two heavily trafficked four-ways in rapid succession.  And it’s rare that I exit them without muttering and cursing under my breath.  The most annoying to me are the sneaky people who get to the intersection before you, even though it happened three cars before you’re both to the front of your respective lines.  They keep track and assume that, once you’re both to the front, they get to go first. Now, if I happen to pull up to empty intersection concurrent with or a bit after someone who’s been in line for a few rounds?  Clearly they get precedence and can go out of the “my turn / your turn” order.  But those jackasses that attempt to sneak out out of turn because they happened to have been waiting in a longer line than me?  Nononono.  I hope you understand my explanation, because if you attempt to argue with me, it’s not going to go well.

 

Things that annoy mom

Chalk.  This isn’t so much annoyance as pure revulsion.  I know there was a time when I looooved to be called to the front to write on the black, slate chalkboards of St. Mary’s school, preferably with white, not yellow, chalk.  Something has changed, and now I hate thinking about it, seeing it, and I really hate touching it.  The thought of drawing with chalk sends me into apoplexy.

 

things-that-annoy-mom3.jpg

When the dog vomits up underwear.  I’ve shared this previously, but I can’t remember if I told you that he’s vomited up at least 6 pairs at this point.  I don’t think that this particular dislike is unique to me, but I like the drawing.

 

When the dog jumps on the bed.  Obi attended puppy training when he was about 3 months old, and we’ve sort of winged it since then.  We enrolled in a formal obedience class about a month ago, and the instructor is big into all of the environmental controls and cues that should be instituted to remind the dog who is the head of the pack.  One of these is keeping the dog off the bed.  Some of us are buying into this philosophy more than others, and it’s not so much the dog getting on the bed, but when it’s coupled with said non-adopter hanging out on the bed with the dog.

 

 

When the girls sleep on the floor next to the bed.  It’s not so much their being there.  I admit that I relish those nights when everyone goes to bed easily, in their own beds, on the first request, and sleeps there all night.  Those three nights were great.  But I accept that due to fear or a strange desire to hang out, they like to sleep in sleeping bags on the floor of our room on the weekends.  Fine.  But they shuffle directly next to the bed and squeeze in there in such a way that my nightly trip to the bathroom is way too tricky.  I don’t need a Double Dare Physical Challenge at 2 a.m.

 

Things that annoy mom

When the girls ask me about food.  This includes constantly begging to stop at Starbucks as soon as they enter the car, asking what’s for the next meal as soon as the previous one was finished, complaining about said meals, and requesting a different meal than what is already being cooked.  Stop talking to me about food until you’re asking “where can I take you for dinner, mom?”  This is one of the big benefits of cooking in a crock pot:  they can easily identify what’s for dinner early in the day and begin to complain about it in advance without needing my input.

 

Things that annoy mom

The never ending stream of Amazon boxes.  I have to admit, I am a fan of the Prime.  However, Jimmy has a problem.  I have opened entire shipping crates packed to accommodate a single bottle of salad dressing.  This doesn’t seem necessary.  Or he accidentally buys in bulk:  a case of 36 car-compatible tissue boxes.  Or he buys a giant inflatable yard Yoda.  The one that pushed me over the edge, though, was the time I opened a large box to discover a 2-foot high vinyl replica of a bust of Shakespeare in which the head could be raised to reveal a safe.  This is apparently a nod to something from the original Batman TV series.  To me, it was a crazy thing to arrive on a random September day.  The neighbors joke about us and are slightly concerned that the constant traffic is illegal in some way.  I always say, though, if this is his worst vice, I can live with it.  I just take every-other-day trips to the recycling center for all of the flattened boxes…

So, that was my mother’s day card, highlighting all of my best, most charming traits.  Once I realized what she was doing, I asked that she draw just as many items that make me happy as she had items that irritate me.  I hoped that my daughter’s image of me was more than a summation of a list of things that rub me the wrong way.   I hoped she’d come up with all sorts of sweet things  like “being with me” and “warm hugs.”  As we’ve already seen, she knows me far too well.  I’m apparently quite bitter and jaded, because she barely came up with the requisite number, but they’re pretty spot on, and I’ll take what I can get.

“Things that don’t annoy mom:”

  • The Great British Baking Show
  • Laughing
  • Flowers
  • Family Tree / Genealogy
  • FB 24 / 7 (soooo not true)
  • Piano
  • Korean Soap Operas
  • Cooking
  • My Cup of Coffee

 

things mom likes