Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What's Your Dream Job?

At a recent party a coworker of mine randomly turned and asked,
"What's your dream job?"

After I recovered from the surrealism of a serious inquiry from a man
dressed in a toga surrounded by people eating rice krispy treats (me
being one of them) and playing beer pong, I fumbled to think of an

I must admit the question left me at a bit at a loss.

I've always known I want to be a photographer. A photojournalist
specifically. I love doing that, but I don't feel it's all of me.

My impulse answer is "To be a mom," but I squelched my answer - as
though stating it would ruin my image.  What image? And when have I
ever given a crap about maintaining it? I can be traditional but I am
a feminist for the most part and there is that mystique of being
career driven. While I think it's bunk and I don't feel the word
"feminist" defines me, my hesitation to state claim on my dream job
got me thinking.

I remember years ago a fellow intern at the Evansville Courier and
Press asked me where I ultimately wanted to work. Knowing the field of
photojournalism has its limitations and not wanting to set myself up
for disappointment, I told him I didn't aspire to anywhere in
particular. I just wanted to take pictures. At the moment, it didn't
matter where. He was appalled by this - how could I not have a
"goal'?!  I don't remember the last time I was so angry with someone
for judging me.

I have never seen it as not having a goal. I see it as smart
(non)planning. Why aspire to be in a place that may not be in reality
what you think it is? Or even worse, you can't get there at all?
(Today, eight years later, I am happy at the location I have seemingly
stumbled upon, and he is happy at the location he specifically worked
to be.)

I want to be a parent, but there are very relevant (and currently
missing) elements necessary to achieve this role. The combination of
not wanting to jinx myself, not wanting to hear an isn't-that-a-sweet
"awww" from those listening in on my answer (or some other response
which translates to "Ohhh, I see... her clock is ticking"), and being
unsure about whether or not parenting counted in this line of
questioning in the first place, I admitted being stumped.

After some thought, I've decided it comes to this (with plenty of room
for alterations, of course)...
I want to be a silversmithing sewing teaching writing
furniture-building multi-media producing photo-taking well-traveled
MOM. Not necessarily in that order.

'You hiring?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Guide to Carrying On a Conversation

Works for restaurant, bar, coffee shop, in line at the movies (a long
line, or course), etc.

A - Compliment or subtle wit towards person B.
B - Appreciation and returned compliment if warranted.
A - Question about A?
B - Answer followed by returned question about B?
A - Answer followed by related fact.
B - Interject turning on to another topic. Provide opinion about topic
showing passion but not zealousness.
A - Nod head. Question about new topic at least sort-of related to first topic?
B - Answer question thoroughly. Inquire about person A's interest in new topic?
A - Admit lack of extensive knowledge of new topic and change subject
to something of equal importance.
B - Ignorance about new subject admitted using humorous
self-deprecating joke that shows wit but not self-loathing.
A and B - Laugh.

This is NOT rocket science, people.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mom chapter 1: Know Your Vocab, Kids!

"When I was a kid, there used to be signs on cigarette vending
machines that said 'Not for Minors'," Mom told me once, "I couldn't
understand why they wouldn't allow minors to have cigarettes. It was
years before I realized they meant underage people, not miners as in
coal miners!".

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

As a school kid, my Mom always insisted I hand-make all of my
Valentine's for my classmates.  This tradition left me feeling
annoyance and pride simultaneously.  I would often have over 22 kids
in my class, and when you are eight years old, that's a lot of hearts
to cut-out and doilies to paste (aw, Mom, do I have to?).

A lot of important decisions needed to be made, too; Will Jaime KNOW I
like him if I put an extra heart on his? 'Cause I don't really want
him to know. And, do I have to put the same amount of work into the
Valentine of that jerk of a bully as I do everyone else?...hmm, I'll
give him one less heart and a smaller doily.

That'll show him.

I have never to this day (that I recall), bought "over-the-counter"
Valentine's. I don't have a problem with them of course, but old, very
nice, habits die hard I think. And there is something special about
making them by hand. Not many people do it, and it continues to make
me feel good (as soon as the
frustration wears-off).

This year is no different. And while there are no doilies or even
cutout hearts, it was made by me just the same.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Captain Picky may get junk in the trunk after all

It started months ago when I brought Oliver to the vet for the
eleventy trillionth time for his allergies. Dr. Garcia took one look
at him and said, "He's too skinny. You can feed him more".

Once I got over my complex that I was a terrible mother (no wire
hangers!)  I looked forward beefing up my little boney wimplette.

But about a month ago, he stopped eating normally. I would set his
food out and maybe he'd eat some and maybe he wouldn't. I tried adding
rice in and that worked one day but not the following. I even resorted
to sitting on the floor and teaching him that if he eats some of the
kibble, he can have another scrumptious, tiny piece of cheese. Isn't
THAT wonderful!?  That, he understood and enjoyed. Christ, it's
cheese, who wouldn't?

But I ain't livin' a life of cheese sharing.

I called the vet and the vet tech, May, said he may be bored with his
food. I could get another brand and start to introduce the new kibble
slowly (otherwise, they get sick).

So, I mixed a bit of new kibble in and he turned his nose up at it and
looked up at me, "News flash lady, it's STILL boring."

OK, I'll try something else. I read online that it's smart to put the
food down and take it away within a minute if they don't start eating.
They learn schedule and learn that if they don't eat now, they won't

He went a day and a half with no food.

The morning after the first foodless day, I woke to the sound of
little puppy barfing in the kitchen. Concerned that he was sick and
that this wasn't just a random puking incident, I called the vet and
made an appointment for later that morning. When I grabbed his leash
to take him for a stroll he did his typical bouncing off the walls
going-for-a-walk dance.

This is NOT a sick dog.

I called again and told May I really didn't want to be taking him in
for a (over-priced) visit unless he seems sick or lethargic. Which he
hadn't been. Get him a Zantac, she said, he may have been throwing up
because of heartburn.

I gave my dog Zantac....I gave my DOG Zantac.

And then she told me something I really didn't want to hear. Oliver
may just be a picky eater. You may have to cook him some rice and meat
and mix it in.

I have been trying to wean him off the kibble and wet food combo
because I thought, He's a dog! The wet food thing is a pain in the
ass. Just eat your kibble, damn it.

But, that night I folded. Its three parts kibble, one part rice and
ground beef. And we have found the magic combo. His bowl was cleaner
than it has ever been after I've washed it.  And, he took pleasure in
returning to the bowl from time to time just to lick at it and
remember the luscious fun he'd had earlier in the evening.

The I-used-to-live-on-South-Beach-and-you're-crazy-if-you-think-
kibble-is-good-enough-for-me brat has finally eaten! I hear the chorus singing!

The day after I had made a little tub of the magic mixture, I took it
out of the fridge to mix it with his morning food. Thank the mighty
Picky Eater god that he likes it cold too, but cause if little punk
needed it heated to eat, we would have had to have some words.

Friday, February 9, 2007

A conversation with Rachel

Me - They always want to know on these websites if you're a
glass-half-full person or a glass-half-empty kind of person.

Rachel - Uh-huh.

Me - I don't think I'm either, really.

Rachel - No, you're more like a 'Hey, who drank my milk?' kind of person.

Calling All Davie Crocket Fans

My parents have always had fun stories about their childhoods. Mom in
particular was a crack-up. When a story about them comes up in some
way or another, I write it down as accurately as possible after they
tell it.  I want to keep these stories. So, I've decided to share some
of them.

Hopefully they won't mind. I should ask them. Maybe later.

I'm telling a short one because it's late, I'm tired and I have a cold
that's making me feel foggy. And I wanna watch TV and snuggle with my
hairy 4-legged boyfriend.

I was talking to Dad a while back about childhood stories.
"Dad, didn't you try to cut the tail off a cat so you could tie it to your hat?"

"Yeah. I was about seven or eight, around there. Davie Crocket was big
those days and I wanted one of those hats with the tail on the back.
Mima (his mom) was really mad I used her good scissors."

"But, the cat was dead." I said, wanting to visualize accurately.


(Relax, animal loving tree huggers - there was a wink in his voice.)

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Wrong Lyrics

After a 2:30AM call from my neighbor and friend Kat , who had also
been woken-up by the upstairs neighbor's dog and was calling to
partake in a session of mutual grumbling, I remembered something...

My dear childhood friend Rachel (who is now a mom of two with another
on the way) and I have been friends since we were 11. There was a
point in high school when we never saw each other. One day, we decided
we would catch up in the middle of the night when we would be long
done with our homework and studying.
We'll talk at midnight, we agreed.
And we did.

Somehow, Rachel and I, who were around sixteen at the time, got to
talking about music.
"Why does sex have to be messy?" Rachel inquired.
"What do you mean?" I replied, when really, I should have asked 'How
the hell should I know?'
"You know, that Michael Bolton song? It says 'How can we make love if
we can't make a mess?"

"Um. Rachel...It's 'How can we make love if we can't make AMENDS'."