Hopeful for Regret

My father chose to skip his sister’s funeral. He had reasons. I call them excuses. Symantics aside, this is an undoable act. He can never get the opportunity to say goodbye back. More importantly, he lost moments, so many moments to cry, to laugh, to hug, to kiss, to bond with the family he still has.
I thought I had gotten use to disappointment in my father. I have always tried to take solice in the amazing family, so many wonderful people, I call my relations. I have been blessed. What is a disappointing father compared to all of them?
Then he finds a new way to break our hearts. I am glad though because each new ache means I haven’t given up. My heart can still break because it is still hopeful and heals and loves.
And more than my problems with his behavior, I wonder about his. I wonder if, and hope when, he realizes what he has missed and lost because of his own weakness, he will regret. Because we, his family, are pretty amazing.

Shifting

Events, both big and small, will make changes to our lives and to us. Sometimes we don’t notice the changes, just absorbing them into our norm. Sometimes they make us pause a moment, adjust and then continue on, forgetting the event and its effects like a dream. Sometimes the changes will shift our reality. We have to make major adjustments to our view of life and our place in the world. An event will shake up our norm, and suddenly everything feels off. It’s that feeling when you have a weekday off so now it feels like a Saturday, only that is temporary. The off feeling from a life changing event is more permanent. Soon we will go back to feeling normal, but it will be a new normal. September 11, 2001 was one of these kinds of events that I think most of us share. The shock has worn off, but our world is different. Normal is less safe than it once was.

Last night my aunt died. My world is different. Everything is off.

Her name was Margaret, but we called her Binki. Bink is Gaelic for baby. She started as The Bink, and at some point became Binki. We do that a lot in my family. She was an eccentric person who collected strays of just about every life form including people. She hated loud noise and like to yell about children being too loud. See? But she laughed a lot and loved good conversation and knew how to debate instead of argue. (though she could do that too.) She was a hoarder and a dreamer and the most amazing knitter and crocheter I ever saw flash the needles. When I showed an interest, and she couldn’t teach me because I was left-handed, she searched until she found a book that would. Kids weren’t her thing, but family was, so we were her little chickens.

She neglected her health for most of her life, and it caught up with her about ten years ago. By the time she started getting the treatments she needed, there was major permanent damage. We watched her deteriorate over the last decade physically and somewhat mentally. In truth, she became a hard person to be around some times. But you stick because it’s family, and her true warm self would come out. For instance, she adored my kids. She saw them for the amazing blessings they are. They visited with her a little yesterday. It makes me happy to know that she had that last time with them. I wish I had been there too.

So here I sit, Saturday librarian, in the middle of the routine that is no longer routine. The day is off. Life is off because there is a hole where once there was an aunt. Soon I will adjust and the hole will be part of the norm, but not today.

 

 

I’m on Fire

Well, a Kindle Fire. John’s Fire to be specific. I have wanted a tablet for a while, but I have been holding out for an iPad for a variety of reasons. No really. There were reasons such as compatability with my iPhone, an OS I knew, screen size, camera, etc. See? Reasons
At the library we have an iPad and several ebook readers to help patrons learn to checkout ebooks. This has become a primary function of my job. The other day a patron came in with her mother’s day Fire still in the box. She didn’t even have an Amazon account. I spent a good bit of my afternoon getting her set up. And I realized the Fire did most of the stuff I wanted. I had never really given it a chance.
At this point, John may have accused me of being an Apple snob. (He is really good at knowing when to make his argument and when to stay silent. The moment when I mentioned making the Fire would work was his right moment. Ahem. I’m not overly proud.) And he may have been right. So he gave let me borrow his to see if it would work for me.
My hope is that it will give me more freedom during the day to blog and write. My phone is too small for real writing, and the kids are all over my laptop if it makes an appearance. I can be more stealthy and quick. I hope.
So to end this post, I am taking a page out of John’s book and jotting down random thoughts.

• The placement of the power button and period key are proving problematic.

• There is nothing more cute than a toddler in a tutu yelling, “Ta Da!”

• Know what would be fantastic? If Good Eats was on Netflix…. Back in a mo (Yes, I’ve been watching BBC.) …. Damn. Off to tweet Alton. I’m going to start a Twitter campaign!

• Trying to get my son to sleep often leaves me feeling battered in a variety of ways.

• Snow peas are so snackable.

• Cooking in someone else’s kitchen is stressful.

• Tonight could be the night the kids sleep through the night. (It wasn’t.)

Girly Girl

I am the first to admit I am not a girly girl. I don’t wear make up every day. My hair needs to take under five minutes or something needs to be cut. I avoid skirts whenever possible. However, I do like to look like a girl. I don’t think about my appearance a lot, but I do think about it.

Apparently, I entered a Mary Kay free facial drawing. (Read: A mom in my MOMS Club is a rep and asked us all to fill out the drawing. I won. I’m all for a free facial, and my bank account will not allow her to talk me into any products. So why not?

I didn’t realize there was going to be homework. (Pre-homework?) I got this questionnaire that made me realize how not girly I am. Let’s break it down, shall we?

1.  Which statement best describes your skin type?

    a. dry – small pores and dull finish, little or no oil or shine

    b. normal – smooth skin, balance of oil and moisture, infrequent blemishes

    c. combination – smooth skin, oiliness in T-zone (forehead/nose) and dryness on outer edges of face

    d. oily – large pores and shiny finish

 Am I suppose to have a map of my face with a color key of type of skin? Is the state of her T-zone something that other women know at all times?

2. My skin tone is:  a.) Ivory (fair)  b.) Beige (medium)  c.) Bronze (dark) 

Because nature is cruel I got the Irish white to red skin instead of the exotic olive Greek skin. So I went with ivory.

   For foundation coverage, I prefer: a.) Full  b.) Medium  c.) Sheer

 I hate foundation. It makes me feel like I am wearing mud at all times. I fear cracking my face if I smile. The most I do is some powder and even that I wash off as soon as I get home. Is my T-zone sad?

3. Which statement best describes what you want in your skin care?

  a.) fight signs of aging

  b.) care for my young skin

  c.) Basic products customized for my needs

 I still get carded because I’m a hobbit. My want in skin care is making sure people are looking at my face than the top of my head.

4. I’m interested in products that (mark all that apply):

  a.) even skin tone, reduce dark spots

  b.) minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles

  c.) provide extra hydration for up to 10 hours

  d.) improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on and around the lip area

  e.) remove eye makeup gently

  f.) help clear and prevent blemishes

  g.) improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles within minutes

  h.) offer a simple solution for my on the go lifestyle

  i.) moisturize, firm, brighten and minimize fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area

  j.) moisturize, firm and minimize the appearance of cellulite

  k.) immediately improve the appearance and texture of my skin

  l.) smooth dry lips

  m.) create a more flawless, rested look

  n.) reduce eye-area puffiness and the appearance of dark circles

 This reminds me of those annoying homework assignment for which you think you have five questions, but each question has ten sub-questions, so instead of taking a half hour it takes an hour and a half while all you want to do is be outside playing Laser Tag. 

5. Hair color? Which ones? The orginal, the dyed or the white?

   Eye color? Yay, an easy one. Brown

   Lips: thin/medium/full I have no idea. Not duck?

   Eyes: deep-set/close-set/wide-set/standard/hooded/asian OK, some I can throw away. Not asian. 

   Face shape: round/square/oval/heart See Hobbit comment above. I can go with round fairly confidently.

Wednesday is the facial. I’ll let you know if I look like a girl at the end.

 

Dating – I Missed Something

In the last month or so, I have read a couple of blog post stories about the blogger’s pre-marriage dating life. It seems that before getting married many people (most?) dated several (many?) individuals before finding (stumbling?) upon the one who stuck.

Huh.

I had two boyfriends in high school, freshman and sophomore year. The next time I was even kissed was junior year of college. The last two years of college I had a couple of guy pals who made sure I didn’t graduate a virgin. Ahem.

None of them were ever referred to as a boyfriend or any kind of significant other, unless friends with benefits counts.

Wait. Does it?!

Two of these guys made brief appearances in my first two adult-type bedrooms.

Add three blind dates to that, and that was the extent of my “dating” life b.j. (That would be before John, you pervs.)

Where did you people find these people to date? If it was in the bars, then I think my height might have been the problem. No one looks down at bars. And to have a conversation with my boobs me, a guy basically had to be looking at his own feet. You know that kinda sexy way two people have to flirt in a crowded bar with a loud band? You know, by leaning into each other and talking into each other’s actual ear in a way that can send shivers all up and down you?

Yeah, I need to stand on the barstool to accomplish this. Or the guy gets on his knees, and there are vast complications to that kind of behavior in a man.

So bars were not places of conquest for me. Parties were kind of out for the same reason. Blind dates lead nowhere. There was one single guy in my office. We were friendly enough just not enough. What else….

(OK. Confession. Part of my problem might have been the rather unhealthy relationship I had with my male roommate in which I wanted him badly, and he wanted to live out Will and Grace if Will had been straight. But I would have gone on any dates if they had presented themselves. There were three blind ones, remember? And two went nowhere as the guys’ choice not mine.)

So I always felt like I was missing something. And also, I felt kinda bad about myself, pretty much sure whatever was wrong was with me. (And part of it was. Read the previous paranthetical.)

Then, people? The internet?

Exploded.

And match.com was born. In its infancy Match was not all about finding someone who liked one night stands while on business trips. It was actually about finding people to date and potentially, I don’t know, marry or something. Having had the shits of my own pathetic behavior, I decided it was time to work myself out of this rut. So I signed up.

Then, people? The cybergods smiled on me and showed that they can be benevolent and romantic.

The very first response I got was from John. I kid you not. The. Very. First. One.

So while I am still baffled by the whole dating scene thing, as of April 2001, it no longer mattered or had any effect on my self esteem. Love has a way of making you feel a whole lot better about just about everything.

Doctor Who

Netflix did it. Having every Doctor Who episode from 2004 to (finally) the present available while I cooked, cleaned and worked out and didn’t sleep was the push I needed to watch this show. Yes, several very witty, fun and all together brilliant people (You know who you are.) had been touting The Doctor’s virtues to me for years, but actually seeing it was more effort than I was willing able to make. But My new best friend, Netflix Streaming, made it easy.
I am so glad.
People, this show now has a place in my heart with Buffy and Firefly. I want to see The Doctor try and convince Mal guns are bad. I want Willow to be his next companion. (Seriously, Allison Hannigan, How I Met Your Mother does not have more than two season left in that dead horse carcass. Go to your hub’s homeland. I bet Joss and Steven would collaborate.)
Doctor Who is the most profound of cheese. First you get to watch Chris Ecclesion gnaw on the scenery for 14 episodes then he sets the stage for David Tennant to devour it for four magnificent seasons until he bows in Matt Smith who is still currently licking it in a weirdly watchable but slightly unseemly way.
And while they are running around entrancing several British women into worshipping accompanying them, The Doctor’s story is the story of humanity. Every major theme that makes life worth living or death a blessing (ie Shakespeare) gets at least one episode while the story revolves around people’s fat coming to life as adorable alien babies or other aliens using GPS to try to take over the Earth.
The Doctor is everything good in people unless he isn’t. Unless his arrogance is not kept in check. We would all be tempted to be corrupted by absolute power. Enter those British women with their true humanity and dazzling, adoring smiles to keep him in check. And the TARDIS. She is one smart police box (bigger on the inside!)
If you don’t get Doctor Who, then you just don’t. Fine. I understand not being able to peel back the cheese or enjoy it. But I dare you to watch either Blink or Human Nature and The Family of Blood two parter, and not first be dry-mouthed with fear or get a good lump in your throat.
The Angels are creepy.

Intrude

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

Motion

Halt

The next prompt response. Not sure if the rabbit hole is hopeless, but definitely not a happy place.

 

She made her way out of the coffee shop and towards her checkpoint without really being aware of the world around her, which could have gotten her killed. If her sergeant had seen her, she would have found herself flat on her ass and a reprimand on her record. She turned the corner into a side alley and made her way to a dumpster in the dark back corner. Quickly, two fast pounds, three slow. The dumpster swung aside, and a man with an automatic rifle stepped out.

She came to attention and barked, “Private Melody Sharp reporting to base from assignment.”

“Produce your id!” the soldier commanded as his gun barrel came to point at her.

Melody slowly lifted up her hair and showed him the small tattoo of a boar’s head on the back of her neck right under the hairline. The guard glanced at it then stepped aside. “ENTER!” As she walked passed him, he whispered, “Well done, Sharp,” and winked.

Her nose twitched, but she did not smile. As the dumpster closed to cover the opening, all light was gone. She pulled a flashlight from her pack and used its beam to light her path down the slight slope in front of her. As she went, it became lighter until she could put the flashlight away. At the bottom was what use to be a basement to the old hotel above. Melody opened a curtain of canvass to reveal military headquarters circa the Korean War. Something out of MASH, the soldiers often joked. Without the still, sadly.

As she entered the people in the room looked up. There was a brief pause, and they all started applauding and cheering. Melody stopped, frozen. After a moment she decided to yet again come to attention and salute, covering her eyes with the palm of her hand than sharply moving it out and to her side.

One man in old khakis and worn boots stepped forward. Melody stood straighter. “Well done, Private, well done. That was the biggest takedown we have ever accomplished. When the rest of the troop arrives, we will debrief.”

“I am the first back, sir?”

“Yes, Private.”

“Sir, I need to debrief now. You need to be aware of something.” Melody came out of attention long enough to flip the card from her pocket.

He glanced at it, then at her. “In my office.” Melody followed him to the far corner that had been curtained off. Inside, Melody succinctly reported her encounter.

“And you have no idea who he was?”

She shook her head. “No, sir, but I don’t think he’s an ally. I think he’s trouble.”

“Well that depends on your prospective,” a voice from behind her said. Melody whirled, and her general looked up. The man from the cafe was standing there. This time Melody was ready. As she whirled, she pulled a pistol from behind her coat. Within a heartbeat the tip was at the man’s temple.

 

 

Halt

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

This is a continuation from Motion which was from another WOE prompt. I have no idea where this story is going or even where it came from. I will….

As the sirens call started in the distance and the feel of chaos was taking over around her, she walked three blocks over and two down to a Starbucks. The tendrils of terror from Twitter had not had quite enough time to make the damage known.

She took her book back out as she waited in the lengthy line. Along with the paperback came a pink highlighter. Using her teeth to pull the cap, she marked two sentences on the page. When it was her turn to order her grande vanilla latte, she place the open book on the counter.

She turned away, blowing into the opening of her cup and watched a police car, ambulance and fire engine drive by the window. The cacaphony of sirenes, horns, and squealing tires were enough to bring the patrons out of their small worlds of computer screens, books and newspapers. She saw several of them turn to their phones, looking for news. It wouldn’t be thirty more seconds before they knew what was happening. It would be less than a minute before they were tweeting that they were mere blocks away.

She slipped into the seat of a table in the corner, letting her book fall open yet again. As she lifted the cup to her lips, she felt along the bottom. She pulled off the small strip of paper secured there with a tiny doughnut of masking tape.

2     5     7     10    3

The 5, 7, and 10 were circled.

Again the noise of emergency response could be heard getting louder. She saw one man take a picture as another ambulance went by.

“Your tiny paper is missing a number.”

She almost dropped her cup. Looking up she realized a man has sat down across from her. Annoyed with herself for not being more aware, she shifted slightly in case she needed to leave in a hurry. Her eyes became slits as she gauged whether she could easily overpower him.

“Relax,” he said. “You are more than capable of overpowering me.” He was sitting casually with his legs crossed, slowly sipping from the white and green cardboard. “As I said, your paper is missing a number.”

Quietly, she replied, “Excuse me?”

He leaned forward. “The number is 47.”

She glanced down. Then looked at him in disbelief. Tentatively, she said, “No way. There have never been that many taken out at once.”

“I wasn’t referring to them, you naive, programmed soldier. I was referring to the people who were killed. 47.” He drew the word out as if it was painful. “And 24 injured.”

He leaned closer and the intensity of his blue eyes bore down on her so that she could not look away. “That is 71 lives you have ruined.” His voice dropped to a hiss. “For. Nothing. Nothing is worth that.” He shoved from his seat and though he did not rush or push, people got out of his way as he left the building.

She looked down at her table. On her book was a card. All it said was, I will be in touch.

 

A Random Thought

We have less than ten pictures of my great grandparents on my mother’s side of the family. There are a few more from my father’s side because they have been in the U.S. a lot longer. My aunt has done some research and can trace Dad’s family back to Ireland. I know nothing past my great-grandparents on the Greek side.

Just imagine what my great-grandchildren will be able to find out about me? They’ll be able to things I made for dinner, when I took the kids to the park, if I had a cold. There will be thousands of pictures of me for them to see.

Social networking has changed personal history a great deal. It will be interesting to see how it effects history on a grander scale.