Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rock Lobster

Things have been going ok lately. Claire and Emma had their combined birthday party on Saturday, and despite predictions that we would be slammed with rain, there was only a light 15 minute drizzle. Since most of my small guests were on an inflatable water slide, it pretty much went unnoticed.

Claire started her acting workshop this week. She is in a heaven that is specifically designed for Claire. She LOVES it. It's in a building that looks like an old church that's right next to the Norco refinery. It's so right next to it, it looks completely out of place. There's this enormous, stinky, pipe-lined refinery pumping white smog into the air, and off to its left is a two-story Spanish-style building that looks like it's been there for eighty years, with a sign in front of it that says "River Parishes Performing Arts and Cultural Center."

I think Claire has really found something here. When she tried softball, she got all suited up, got out there, took one look at the field and refused to play. I mean that her feet were locked into the earth. I know because I tried to pull her. When she attempted guitar she made it eight lessons in before she finally admitted that she loved music but not enough to form calluses on her fingertips. But when I picked her up the other day from her first acting lesson? She was alive. Something had connected for her and it was all she talked about on the ride home.

Still, I thought, give it a few days and she might lose enthusiasm. But it's only grown, and she was beside herself with 11 year-old glee when she walked out of the workshop yesterday with her eyes locked on a script. She was smiling as she read it.

"Hey, what's that?" I asked, catching her attention.
"It's my lines for a skit. FOUR skits! I'm in four of them!"
"A real actress can do five! Get back in there and demand more lines or no supper!"

I didn't really say that. But the rest of it's true.

What are Emma and Christopher doing? As far as activities go, Christopher hasn't started soccer yet, and Emma enjoys drawing and being anti-organized-group-of-anything which I totally support because it means I don't have to drive her anywhere. Plus, I secretly admire her anti-comformity. They are also getting really cool taste in music. They've discovered The B52's and every time we get in the car, the first song they want to listen to is "Rock Lobster." This makes up for Katy Perry and Kesha, and gives me hope that my children will not develop the musical taste of a stick of sugarless gum. I know, some of you are thinking, "Hey, sugarless gum is pretty good." No. It's not. And now you might be thinking, "You know, Gen, you can really be a snob." Yes. I am. When it comes to music, Top 40 pop generally makes me want to crawl out of my skin.

So what am I up to? I'm working, writing, not drinking, not smoking, not overeating, hanging out with my kids, catching up with my friends when I can, calling a lot of AA and Al-anon people, and later on tonight I plan to watch "The Runaways." I know it doesn't sound exciting, but NOT exciting is just what I'm going for nowadays. There's very little drama, and a lot of clarity. For instance, because of my growing spirituality and sobriety I am quite clear on the fact that Kesha's song "Tik Tok" was written by a five year old Satanist in a mental institution.

I know, I know. Am I saying that "Rock Lobster" DOESN'T sound like it was written by crazy people?

We were at a party
His ear lobe fell in the deep
Someone reached in and grabbed it
It was a rock lobster

I'm not saying that doesn't sound nuts. What I'm saying is, I could hang with those people in that wing of the psycho ward. We all choose our crazies. I'm much more comfortable with the dudes who can come up with "his earlobe fell in the deep" than with the crazies who write lyrics like this:
I'm talkin about everybody gettin crunk crunk
Boys tryin' to touch my junk junk
Gonna smack him if he gettin too drunk drunk

And no, I don't allow that song when it comes on the radio. "Your Love is My Drug" is ok, my kids know that one, and even with that one I find myself reaching for the seek button and thinking, "Am I being too overprotective? What's the line here? She's singing about an unhealthy obsession with someone, but atleast she's leaving her junk out of it."

And now I'm just babbling and I need to get ready for work. Work is a whole other blog post. It's been crazy in there since the beginning of hurricane season, because that's mainly what my department does - makes the game plan for 14 different hospitals spread across the city in the event of a hurricane and/or mass evacuation.

I must now evacuate my bedroom in search of breakfast and more coffee. And if I can't get the song "Tik Tok" out of my head, which is now stuck there, I might be joining my people in the psycho ward sooner than planned.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Morning Share

Good morning, my lovelies!

I was kicking around on IMDB, avoiding work, when I came across this movie title "I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With." So of course, I had to click on it. It seems like an extremely depressing movie about a lonley compulsive overeater, but looks like it could possibly end well. Because sometimes those movies end that way. But then, I think it was an Indie film and sometimes those end even more depressing than they started out. There are no rules! The guy could fall even deeper into his addiction and the movie could end with him stuffing his pockets full of cheese and then jumping off of a bridge, and then no one would notice that he's dead because no one noticed him before anyway. I don't know, I haven't seen this movie or even heard of it before, I'm just speculating about the end of Indie films in general.

Though if I had to guess, "I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With" is a comedy. I'm basing that theory both on the title and the tagline which was this, "Sometimes love is just a big bowl of wrong."

And that was it, that was my share. Sometimes love is just a big bowl of wrong. I love it! Bon appetit!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wild Tomboys

No one else can mow my lawn but me. I might not do the best job, and I might let the grass grow too high before I finally get to it, and I know that I sound like a total dude when I say it, but dammit, no one else is touching my lawn. (wouldn't it be funny if that was the end of my post? But no, I've got more to say.)

I don't exactly know why that is, but it might have something to do with me getting in touch with my inner tomboy. Some people need to get in touch with their inner child. I'm working on getting in touch with the wild little girl inside of me, the one who demanded a Pixie cut in the 2nd grade so she could look like Peter Pan, the one who wanted to play whatever the boys were playing at recess because she thought that jacks, scratch-n-sniff stickers, and My Little Ponies were boring. Though, ok, I did like My Little Ponies. I couldn't resist their mystique and the darling little combs they came with.

But anyway, not only do I love mowing the lawn, I love my lawn mower. I don't know anything about how the engine works, or how to fix it if it breaks, but I love pulling the rip cord that jump starts the machine, and that it takes two or three pulls to get it started. Every time I pull the cord and the engine stirs, like someone groaning when you try to wake them up, my own motor begins to awaken. My heart beats faster and I feel stronger, more powerful. Because every time I pull the cord and the engine doesn't start, I root my feet into the ground, summon all of my upper body strength, and cry, "Machine! I command you to start!" Then I jerk back, the engine roars and I laugh, mad with power. Then the neighbors stop inviting me to their dinner parties for a while. But I don't care because then, once the engine starts, I get to mow the lawn.

The joy goes beyond a love for the smell of freshly mowed grass. I love reshaping the terrain. Running over a patch of long-haired-hippie-like grass and making it a respectable, clean-shaven citizen that can run out there get a job. I even love pushing the machine in rows back and forth across the yard. I do not know why. I would explain it if I could, the thing about pushing the machine. The only thing I can figure is that it takes a certain amount of strength, not a Herculean amount, but some, and I've always prided myself on being strong. I was ashamed of that before because I was afraid that being physically strong made me unfeminine. And now I just don't give a fuck. It makes me who I am - a person who loves wearing the grass and dirt that shoots on my legs, the sweat that drips in my eyes, and the smell of gasoline on my hands when I refill the tank. And then I love taking a shower and smelling like myself again - only a clean self who has accomplished something, something domesticated, responsible, and filled with a motor's hum.

This gives me and the kids a smooth yard to slip n' slide on, which my tomboy also loves. Getting out there in shorts and a T-shirt and belly-racing the kids across the three-lane slide.

My character Pam is a tomboy too. No, she is not me. But she's got a bit of me mixed in there because I'm her momma and my imprint is unavoidable. She's a landscaper and she's good at it. She loves to be outside and when she's inside sometimes she'll stare out of the window with only a vague awareness that she wants to climb out of it.

I was working on a scene with she and her friend Jess, where she's helping Jess address invitations to her ex-inlaw's anniversary party. Pam is a single mom who never married her daughter's father, and Jess has two kids and is in the middle of a divorce. Jess is involved in her ex-inlaw's 40th anniversary party because she and her ex-husband's sister have been talking about throwing it for the last four years. The invitations are ruby red because, after 15 minutes of internet research, the ex-sister-in-law discovered that ruby red is the official 40 year color, symbolizing that their passion is still alive and strong after all those years.

Jess couldn't imagine her ex-in-laws, Carol and Doug, having the amount of passion as suggested by the color of the anniversary invitation. It had a sultry red border with a white background and loopy-script, red lettering. Way too fancy, Jess thought, for a barbecue. "After 40 years they're still hot!" it boasted. Jess thought of Doug in his kahki shorts and gray T-shirt with the big trout on it. His red face and two chins. Carol with her wide hips, that she complained were extra wide from having twins as if she'd delivered them at the same exact time. She had short, curly hair and sparkly silver eye shadow. They were hot for slot machines, Jess thought, but said nothing to her ex-sister-in-law who was glowing with her parent's success at marriage.

"How do people stay together for 40 years?" Jess asked Pam, as they were stuffing invitations into envelopes at Jess's kitchen table.
Pam looked at her as if she'd just asked her the square root of 786,321,094.
"God, I don't know," she said. "I've never been with anybody longer than six months."
Jess set down the invitation she was stuffing. "You've never told me that."
"It's true."
"But Alex's dad-"
"Mason and I weren't together. We just fucked."
"For three years."
"That's like a two week relationship." She thought for a moment. "And relationship is too strong of a word for it."
"So why did you keep sleeping with him?"
Pam shrugged. "I don't know." But she did know and she decided to say it, but she couldn't look at Jess when she did. "He always held me. He was good about that. They don't all do that, but with Mason it was a guarantee. I knew if I stayed with him he'd hold me all night."
"Yeah?" Jess said.
"Yeah." Pam glared at her. "If you tell anybody I'll ram those tacky invitations up your ass."
Jess threw up her hands. "Who would I tell? When would it it even come up?"
"These things sometimes do," said Pam.
Jess laughed. "I'm not gonna tell anybody, loony bird."
Pam knew that. That's why she'd told her.
Both of them looked at that fiery invitation like the color of it could engulf them. They felt like such failures. Jess because her marriage had only made it ten years, and Pam because her six month relationship had been an affair. Not even with someone available.

Don't worry, things don't end sad. I but before they end happily I'm going to make them feel like total shit. Writing is my power trip, like mowing the lawn. This is where my mad laughter rolls in. Mwahahahahahahahahaha!...Awe, dammit,now the neighbors are avoiding me again.

Monday, July 12, 2010

One or some or every or all

My problem with the word whatever isn't with the word itself. Whatever means (and I LOVE this definition) "one or some or every or all without specification." It's the way people use it that makes me want to smack them with one or some or every or all of my limbs.

It's because it's so cocky. Here's an example:
me: "Claire, would you put away the dishes? I can't pay you your allowance on Friday if you don't do what you're supposed to."
Claire [walking towards the sink]: Fine! Whatever!
me: Off with her head!

Do you see how "whatever" was completely unnecessary? She was going to do the dishes, she agreed with what I said, but she was NOT using the word the way it's meant to be used! She did not have a genuine "whatever you want mother, I want one or some or every or all of what you want" attitude! She was sarcastic about it! SARCASTIC! Who does she get THAT from???....oh.

Or "whatever" is used as bait. See if you can relate to the following dialogue:
Genevieve: Grandma, what do you want to do for Mother's Day?
Grandma: (sighs) Oh. Whatever.
Genevieve: What's the matter?

Now, would I had been prompted to ask that if the "whatever" had been a truly carefree statement? Probably not, but then I think I can count on one hand the number of times that it truly has been. My friend Thomas is one of the only people I know who I don't second guess when he says it because if there is some hesitation or problem he says what it is without baiting the other person into trying to find out what's wrong. Which is usually a disastrous quest.

person 1: Do you want to see a movie tonight?
person 2 (shrugs, looking glum): Whatever.
person 1: Um, ok. We don't have to if you don't want to.
person 2 (more emphatic and hostile): I said WHATEVER. I don't care what we do.
person 1: Yeah, but you seem to have an opinion that you're just not telling me. Are you ok?
person 2 evades the question, looks off into the sunset. A tear falls.
person 1: Are you still upset about the fight we had yesterday?
person 2: God! If you don't know - whatever!

Notice how Person 1 clearly does not know? And would like to know? But the constant repetition of the word "whatever" does not help? And see how Person 2 DOES seem to care quite a bit? I would like for those of you in the audience to please write this down, "I will never manipulate another person by misusing what is a fine word in and of itself for the purpose of evil."

Now, the word "whatev" is a different story. Whatev makes fun of whatever with no ill will. Let us explore this theory by tweaking the dialogue between Persons 1 & 2.

person 1: Do you want to see a movie tonight?
person 2: Eh. Whatev.
person 1: Hee hee hee! That still doesn't answer my question, but you are quite obviously playing with me and not being passive aggressive or confusing. I love you.
person 2: I love you too.

SEE? See how different that turned out? See how that could easily end in fantastic sex, which is the ultimate goal of one person asking another person out to see a movie in the first place?...And now my friends who read this will never agree to see a movie with me ever again.

"Whatever" arouses suspicion in the same way that the term "no offense but..." immediately puts me on my guard to be offended.

"No offense, Gen, but I don't want to come over," has a totally different effect than "No, I don't want to come over." A person simply saying that he doesn't want to come over is one thing. Maybe he's tired. Maybe he doesn't feel like driving. But "no offense" sends red flags because I don't trust it. Why would he feel like he has to say no offense? Does he think my house smells like cabbage? And maybe he doesn't, maybe he really does mean, "I hope I don't offend you in my decline of your offer, but I have had a long day and if I have to get in the car one more time I might snap and shoot everybody." Which is understandable. But still, the "no offense" triggers doubt.

And then some people use it to excuse themselves from whatever horrible thing they are about to say.
"No offense, Gen, but I don't want to come over to your house because frankly I don't want to smell like cabbage."

This dude thinks that by starting out that sentence with "no offense" he excuses himself from being offensive. It is, in his mind, a verbal contract. "I will begin this sentence with the words 'no offense' and so whatever words come after it do NOT make me an asshole." Oh, but they still do. Sorry.

Then there are times when people use it in the strangest ways.
"No offense, but can you pass the butter?"
Now I am confused. I will hesitate before I pass the butter because I must pick that question apart to find the offense in it. Surely there must be some or the person who said it would not have had to begin the sentence that way.

Clearly, children, "no offense but" causes mass hysteria. Let us eradicate cockiness by doing away with both "whatever" and "no offense but."

Having said all of this, it is highly entertaining to watch a no offense person paired with a whatever person.
"Hey, no offense, but the reason you don't have any friends is because you're a total bitch."

And this is why reality tv is so popular.

Ok so, no offense, but I have to get ready for work. SEEE! See how bitchy that was? The girl knows what she's talking about! Atleast one or some or every or all of the time.

Friday, July 9, 2010

More coffee is in order

It's morning. I'm thirsty. Thirsty for more coffee. Morning will end soon and I will be one of those people who drink it past the AM hours. And I don't care. Because without it I will be staggering through the halls of the hospital, hand to my aching head, moaning like an un-caffeinated zombie.

I came across an interesting poem by Erica Jong today. This is it:

You are there.
You have always been
Even when you thought
you were climbing
you had already arrived.
Even when you were
breathing hard,
you were at rest.
Even then it was clear
you were there.
Not in our nature
to know what
is journey and what is
Even if we knew
we would not admit.
Even if we lived
we would think
we were just
To live is to be
Certainty comes
at the end.

So according to this poem, I already have coffee...[peeks hopefully into empty mug] Damn it! Poetry has never steered me wrong before! Wait, wait, maybe I'm reading it wrong...maybe it means that the materials to build a mug of coffee are already at my feet. I just have to get up and put it all together...Damn it! No interpretation suits my needs! The whole point of motivational writing is to suit my needs!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to get back to work. This also does not suit my needs. However, a paycheck most indubitably suits my needs. All this talk of suits. I don't like suits. I'm much more of a jeans and T-shirt girl. But to say that something does not jeans-and-T-shirt my needs makes no sense.

More coffee is in order. Then I will blog about how I feel about the word "whatever." Its use is rampant and someone's got to say something, goddammit.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kicking Activities

Ok, so yesterday WAS my only post for the day. I meant to blog more. Really and truly I did. Real life got in the way. It always does that and it's really annoying and she and I are going to have to sit down and have a long talk. It would go like this:

me: Hello, Life. Thank you for coming in to see me on such short notice.
Life (taking a seat across from my big, important desk): Sure. Can we make this quick? I gotta be somewhere.
me: Yes, that's what I wanted to bring up. You're too busy.
Life (getting up and beginning to rearrange the furniture): Uh huh.
me: And it's very stressful and distracting.
Life (repainting the walls a color I don't like): Ok.
me: And I would like it very much if you would stop for a while. You know, maybe take a break?
Life (ripping up the carpet): HA!
me: It's just that...hey, are you listening?
Life: Of course. Go on.
me: Well...see, you're doing it right now.
Life (bringing in dogs off the street who begin to eat my desk): Doing what?
me: Everything! Stop it!
Life (gazing at me, turning her head slightly and then reaching for my hair): You would look fabulous in gray.
me: AHHH!

On second thought maybe I'll cancel that meeting. Anyway, time's is busy. It's about to get busier since I signed Christopher up for soccer and Claire for drama. This means driving to places after work. Oy.

I gave Christopher the choice between football and soccer because they go on at the same time and, though Life thinks that I'm two people, she's wrong, and I can't be both places at once. So I asked him which he preferred, sure that he would say football, and was surprised when he said soccer.

"Really?" I asked. "Not football?"
"No," he said.
"How come? I thought you wanted to play football."
"No," he said, and thought a moment. "I don't wanna be tackled."
"That makes sense," I said.
"And I want to kick things."
"...That makes sense too."

I mean, hell, I'd like to kick things most of the time.

As for Claire, I think it will be fantastic to give her drama a proper outlet. When she begins to fly off the handle at home I will simply pick her up, toss her into the van, deliver her to the stage, and say, "Here. Go nuts. Run free like a dog in the park."

So what is Emma involved in? I need to call back the place where she was taking yoga. She wants to get back into that. What she really wants to do is join a shopping club, but I have told her that there is no such thing. If I could, I would go inside of her brain and erase all memory of what a mall is, and then hide their existence so she never learns.

What am I involved in? Apparently soccer, drama, and shopping. And driving. Lots and lots of driving.