Friday, February 29, 2008

Round on the Ends, High in the Middle, Sort of Depressed All Over

Mike and Donovan and I are going home this weekend. The translation of that sentence is that we are going to MY home to visit my family in Ohio. This is a trip that is filling me with a modicum of dread. Since we were last there (Christmas?) my folks’ health has declined. My Dad, especially, is not doing well. For the past month, apparently, he’s been slipping back into dementia, asking my 48 year old sister why she isn’t in school or when his dead brother is coming back. He’s been thru this sort of thing on several occasions and usually it means that his oxygen needs to be upped. Its hard on everyone, especially my Mom, who has her own problems.

It’s hard to have two homes. It’s hard to be away from home. I’d almost say that sometimes its unbearable but that’s a bit dramatic and, after all, I do have a well stocked liquor cabinet.

Less traumatic but still wrenching: I grew up in the old part of Elyria. From my street over from behind my folks’ house, the city is tearing down ALL of the houses to build some (most probably) wal-mart looking new mega highschool. That means all the lovely, peeling Victorian houses with deep porches and crazy stained glass are going to be gone. Last time we were home there was a chainlink fence around the pink and white house with the porthole windows and the pagoda roof on the corner of 7th street . I had that feeling I get whenever I see a beautiful tree with a Cut-This-One-Down dot spraypainted on it: I wanted to rip down the fence and set up a squat. Over my dead body, Bulldozer Boy! Go plow down a freakin’ Walgreens or something!

Oh: and one of the houses they’re tearing down belonged to Sherwood Anderson.

At least we’ll have Donovan with us. Babies can’t fix everything but at least they steer the conversation away from "Everybody Loves Raymond," complaints about hearing aids, doctors and the weather.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Left A Good Job In The City

Donovan's Aunt Sheryl picked him up from daycare for me on Monday. She sent me a text the next day saying that he screamed at her, drank a whole bottle and then fell asleep, likening their time together to a date with Ike Turner.

Donovan has not always been Ike Turner but his secret life at daycare is, apparently, rather fraught these days. Mike said that Miss Tekeela and Miss Allison, who is the head honcho, even had a meeting to discuss what to do with Donovan as far as easing his transistion from the infant room to the next room over. Not even a year old yet and he's being discussed in the principal's office. I had'nt realized how much I'd had invested in him being the perfect baby. Part of that, I'll admit, is pride, but part is my natural proclivity to not want to take any responsibility for anything. It was nice to have an auto pilot for a son. Now I actually have to decide what to do for and about him. Come Ooooonnn Cyert Center!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hard Ass No More

In my past life I was a docent and researcher at an historic cemetery here is Pittsburgh. I loved all of it and miss it terribly. If you look at my book collection, you will find such bedtime fare as Sleeping Beauty; American Post Mortem Photography, Lenin's Embalmer, A History of American Funerals and Undertaking, and a variety of books on gravemarkers and burialgrounds. Hell, I even got married in a cemetery.

So imagine how happy I was when, whilst trying to use up 30 songs on eMusic before they expire, I saw this as their featured album. Then I listened to the clip of "Fingerprints on The Windowpane," all about a grieving parent who sees a ghostly little handprint when a window steams up.

WEEEEPweepweepweep! Could'nt do it. I'm losing my street cred.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

House Arrest

I need a haircut. Really, really need a haircut. The otherday I actually felt the wind blowing my hair around and that is something I don't think I've felt since I got the first haircut of my life since 2nd grade. And that would be, I believe, 1995.

Back in the babyfree days getting a haircut worked really well. The salon I go to is on the South Side, just a 54C ride away. I'd hop the bus at my doorstep, get off at the Salon's doorstep and, if I had to wait for the bus, I'd look around Slacker or indulge in my private pleasure of Burger King French Fries.

But now I've got a baby, plus its winter. Yesterday, walking downhill with the stroller from the busstop after work, I actually had to walk in the street due to the icy sidewalks. At one point, I did a little skid on some black ice and I had to actually turn the stroller in the direction of the skid and run into the curb. Luckily the kid slept thru it but I was completely freaked out.

My friend Kirsten is a great gal on all levels and, when I called to see if she could watch Donny while I got my haircut, she said sure. The plan was for her to come over, me to put the base to the car seat in her car, me go get my haircut, the two of them go to Dee's or something, and then we all go out to lunch.

Except the carseat base wouldn't work in her car.

I waited until she left to have a little temper tantrum--I have this professional happy hour on Monday and was hoping the haircut would save me from looking like a crazy lady--but then I settled into the day. The kid needed a bath anyhow so we did that. He now has enough hair that I have to comb it after I wash it and it makes him look so very wholesome and prepschool
I got my latest issue of Allure in the mail and that was of great interest to Donny, tho the whole Kate Beckinsdale thing is just beyond me. She needs a steak. We took a little nap on the big bed, I moved him to his bed and then did some chores.

Now the sun is out and it might be alright to go outside but I'm not convinced.

Is it spring yet?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Childcare Equivalent of Really Wanting a Pony

Mike and I went to an openhouse for the Cyert Center for Early Education on Monday. This is the childcare center that is affiliated at CMU and, as a CMU employee, my son is eligible to attend.

Of course, there's the waiting list. The Two Year waiting list. Plus the price.

We went on a tour with a very nice lady who spoke rather softly. The place, however, did all the speaking it needed to do. It's Stunning: lots of windows, an ART STUDIO for ALL AGES where the kids can come in and get whatever it is they "need." Slide projectors in the infant area to amuse the babies with colored light and shadows, a kitchen where lunch is prepared for everyone everyday. Let not forget the partnership with the Pittsburgh Symphony that brings in French Horn players, violists, and other world class musicians to amuse and educate the kids.

Did I mention that I'm up for review this year? For my job? The job that would qualify my son to go to this well lit, fully equipped, nutritionally balanced wonderland?

Why is everything so loaded with import? Sometimes I miss being negligable.

Please light candles for us getting in. Oh. And for me keeping my job. That too.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Love Song for Valentine's Day

Thanks to Technowiz Aunt Squirrel for telling me how to take the video from my phone and put it online for all to see.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Snow Bound with Sigmund Freud

Donny's daycare closed due to bad weather today which meant I stayed home as well. At one point while we were playing in the living room, he pulled himself up by and held onto one of our vintage coffee tables. We have three of these tables that, I think, date to the 1930s. They are sort of a nondescript maple type wood in somewhat strange shapes with cobalt blue mirrored tops. Donovan has seen them before but today he saw himself in one of them. He cooed, leaned closer and gave himself a big slurpy kiss. When I leaned over and said, "What? A kiss for yourself but none for Mama?" he swung around and planted his drooly, open mouth right on mine.

Genius, Narsacist, or Oedipus? On second thought, don't answer that...

Oh dear--the Blogger spellcheck isn't working. I am soooo busted...

Friday, February 8, 2008

In Which I Miss the Stained Glass But Still Get Mad

Mike and I were raised Catholic. I left the church a long time ago for a number of reasons. We’ve been attending the local Unitarian church, with which we are both more comfortable, but you just don’t become un-Catholic. Neither does your family.

Last time I was home, my very Lutheran Dad asked me about Donovan being baptized. I started to realize what for me was no big deal was to he and my Mom (and I’m sure to Mike’s folks as well) a very big deal. Well, I thought, OK—let’s do it. I called the church I last went to in Elyria to look into having Donny baptized there.

I was fully expecting to have to wheedle my way into it with whoever I ended up speaking to—I figured it would be like when people want a church wedding but aren’t of the church in question.

What I didn’t expect was for the nun who called to tell me that Donny wasn’t eligible to be baptized there because I wasn’t baptized there. Plus, if I wanted to have him baptized at St. Mary’s where I was baptized they would probably tell me no as well because baptism introduces the child “into the worshipping community.” “Well,” I kind of sputtered, “I was thinking of the worshipping community as transcending brick and mortar, so to speak” I went on to explain to the nun that Sacred Heart was my favorite uncle’s church and that Donovan’s middle name was that uncle’s name and that I felt very connected there because of my Hungarian heritage and I was sort of hoping not to have my frail 83 year old parents to schlep it out to Pittsburgh. She apologized and said, in a consolation prize sort of way, that if I have him baptized in Pittsburgh then I can think of him as having entered the same worshipping community, just on a larger scale.

That’s when I thanked her and hung up.

Denying children baptism because of paperwork: I’m sure that’s what Jesus would do.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Mike and Donovan and I went to see the Dale Chiluly exhibit at Phipps conservatory tonight. I figured Donny is too young to really take any of it in but he was alert and looking around at everything. A couple of times he actually looked at something and went, "Huh!" in a rather thoughtful manner. Whether he "got it" or not, it was fun being in Phipps at night when it was all dark. The lighting was really wonderful and made everything feel very fairylandesque. You may want to enlarge the picture below to get the full effect:

Sometimes I feel like I'm not being the type of parent I want to be or that we can't give Donny the sort of childhood I want him to have. But then we have nights where its 65 degrees out in February and the local conservatory is filled with colored glass and darkness. And then I think, "Yeah, we can do this the way we want to do this." Not all the time but we can make it count.
Mom's looking a bit lumpy here but I'm willing to post the photo so everyone can enjoy the look on Donny's face. I love that kid.
Ooooooohh, ahhhhhh....