Sunday, May 30, 2010

Graduation 2010

The best commencement speech I've ever heard was Ellen's, to Tulane's 2009 "Katrina Class".
Seriously, when you're done reading this, go back and click on it. It's fantastic.
I attended the UHS graduation yesterday. I was prepared for boring speeches given by the principal, and boring, awkward speeches given by nervous honor students.
At one point, the boring speech went on so long the Graduating Class was covered in cobwebs.
But I was prepared for that.
What I was not prepared for was inflated beach balls popping up from among the graduating students, to be batted about.
It was an impressive feat- smuggling in deflated items, and blowing them up, hunched over, during the boring speeches.
I could imagine a whispered conversation like this:
"Hurry up, man! This is taking too long!"
"Ima pass out soon- here, help me with one of these!"
A couple beach balls went out of bounds and were collected by the stern adults.

But it was only the beginning. A few minutes later, up popped a Party Sheep.

And then a blow-up doll....
Followed by another blow-up doll with a rather large ... er, diploma.
By then, all the audience members were laughing and the boring speech givers had to pause to let the place quiet down before continuing to bore us.

When it was over, there were hugs all around.

In related news, the Groundhog saw his shadow, which means four more years of school, for most of you.
Congratulations UHS 2010 Graduating Class!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Weakest Ink is Mightier than the Strongest Memory.

- Chinese proverb

The white linen pants were a bad call from the beginning. I was shopping at Gabe's, and saw all the gauzy, fluttery white pants and skirts. I easily imagined myself walking along the beach, the wind whipping my skirt hem, or my pant legs, as the sun set.
I described the scene to those around me, and was told, "It sounds like you want to be in a tampon commercial."
True, maybe that's where I got the idea.
But with a beach trip coming up, I couldn't resist the Eileen Fisher cropped white linen pants.
They still had the original $168 store tag, but I got them for far less.

I brought them home, excited to wear them on my vacation.
Then, after further calculations, I realized I'd likely be menstruating the week I was on vacation, and white pants, at the beach, while on my period really would be a tampon commercial, and I wasn't brave enough to star in it. I set the white pants aside.

After yet more calculations, it became obvious I would be able to wear my new pants on vacation, so I decided to wash them, along with some of my other laundry. I asked Ron to bring my laundry up, and I quickly started the load before going out to dinner.

We got back from dinner, and I switched the clothes over. All the clothes had purple smudges on them. My white pants were now grayish pink, with purple smudges. At the bottom of the washer was an ink pen. Ron's good work shirt had ink stains all over it.
I called for my can of hair spray and began scrubbing the ink out of Ron's shirt. He came in and asked what was going on. I showed him the shirt, and asked if it was a favorite. He told me that, yes, it was one of his very favorites. I scrubbed harder.
Paige appeared, asked what happened. "Someone left a pen in the washer, and it ruined the clothes."
Paige looked at her dad. "It was him."
"What?" we said in unison.
"Not me! I check my pockets!" Ron protested.
I held up the pen, a red and silver one unlike any others in the house.
The shocked look of recognition was all I needed to see.
"Oh, god, Lis. I'm sorry!" he said.

I stopped scrubbing the shirt at once and looked at my pants. There was no hope for them.

Ron seemed genuinely sorry, so I couldn't yell at him.

But I did ask,
"Where is my 'scrubber'? You ruined your own shirt, but there I am, trying to scrub it clean for you. Where is that person for me? Who would have seen my pants and quickly begun trying to get the ink out of them, not because they did it, but because they knew I'd be disappointed? Does that person even exist?"

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Men Are From Mars. Women Are Transmorphic

To all my friends and family - it is with a very heavy broken heart that I let you know that my husband of 32 years told me he no longer has feelings for me and asked for a separation. We will be separating for the time being and make a decision in the future. I can only tell you that I am in severe pain and wish for your understanding in dealing with this heart break.

I just got out of a 7 year relationship. My family and many friends have been very supportive. For over a month I was paralyzed but I'm trying to make a comeback now that she is out of my house.

E. announces that I am separating from my husband, B, effective June 1, 2010.

I heard that J was having an affair with B. Did you ever hear this?

This is over because you wanted it to be just as much as I wanted it to be.

K is now listed as "single".

With divorce rates steadily increasing, there is always the phone call, the text, or the facebook message proclaiming something like, "Did you hear about John and Mary?"
I am not shocked.
Marriage and life-long monogamy are not natural states for humans.
How do I know this? Because marriage is so damn hard.
If choosing one person and staying with them forever was natural, it would be easy. There would not be magazine articles in every grocery store check-out line telling us how to stay married if it were a natural state of being.We would not need help from Dr Phil, or John Gray, or Mort Fertel to get through it year after year.
Let's look at an example from life- Eating our young.
Eating our young is not natural. We do not look at our children and think about eating them. There is no need for seminars, self-help books or tv psychologists to tell us how to live each day not eating our young.
Amazon does not have a top ten list of books full of handy tips and tricks you can implement to keep little Susi out of the stock pot.
It's not natural, so we have an easy time not doing it. No one has to convince us to not barbecue little Bobby when he gets fat enough.

I'm not saying that because it's not natural, we shouldn't do it. Driving a car isn't natural. Indoor plumbing isn't natural. Air conditioning isn't natural. And I'll be damned if I'm giving any of them up. However, if my car, toilet, or air conditioner start acting up, become out-dated or become more trouble than they are worth, I'll happily replace them.
The car we have in our college days may not be the car we want or need when we are 30, 40, 50 years old. What if we had only once chance to decide what type of vehicle to buy, and that was it, forever? That pick-up truck may not fit all your children, and you can't haul much hay in that Porsche.
How many of us still have the same friends that we had in high school? How about college? During that first 'real' job?
How many of us changed, morphed, or out-grew those friends? Or watched as those friends changed and out-grew us? We are told that it's okay for that to happen, that people change, and you get to make more friends with interests that suit you now.
I've gone through school friends, roommate friends, vegetarian friends, hippie friends, religious friends, mainstream friends, homeschool friends, wives of Ron's co-worker's friends, homebirthing friends, breastfeeding friends, online friends, drinking friends, vampire erotica friends.... sure there's a lot of overlap, but not one of them has remained constant through my 27 years in this town. They fade in and out as I need them in my life.

But imagine if society expected us at the age of 25 to choose for ourselves a best friend, and 25 years later, that person was still required to be our best friend, our moving help, movie buddy, the person who held our hand through labor, went on vacation with us, and planned our birthday parties?
What 25 year old knows the kind of friends they will need in their lives when they are 50?
The person you need in your life when you are 25 may not be a person you even want in your life at 35.

Granted, some married couples make it look easy. They get along, laugh together, spend time doing the same hobbies and activities.
All the couples I know like that are now divorced.

Some married couples fight constantly (and loudly), while their kids (and neighbors) wish they'd get a divorce, but unfortunately, fighting seems to be the only thing they do well and so they stay together.

Some people 'hermit crab' easily into different marriages and lives, reinventing themselves each time. I have an uncle who did this. He started out with a girl from Montana, was a coal miner with seven kids, and built a large 8 BR house. When the youngest was 12, he left that relationship, moved to a different state and married a woman with a grown daughter, two teen-aged sons and a nine month old. Several years and homes later, she left him for another man; "I deserve to be happy", and he built a boat in his back yard.

He married a woman with three grown children, and put the boat in the water.

Statistics show there is something to the "7 Year Itch".
According to the US Census Bureau, the median duration of first marriages that end in divorce:
Males: 7.8 years
Females: 7.9 years

Median duration of second marriages that end in divorce:
Males: 7.3 years
Females: 6.8 years

Gone are the days where you take a job right out of school and retire from that same job at age 65. Many people live in 7-year 'chunks', buying a new house, or doing major remodeling on the existing one, getting a new partner, having another set of kids, or starting a new career.

What's the secret to a lasting marriage?
Is there one?

Elizabeth Bernstein's sister, a doctor, told her about one of her patients, a 92-year-old woman who showed up for her appointment with her husband, who is 94. They said they have been married for almost 70 years.
Her sister, highly impressed, asked the couple the secret to their union's longevity.
And they looked at each other for a long moment.
Then the wife spoke: "Eh, neither of us died."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Journey to the Center of the Birth

Sonya and Christian are expecting their third child, and we threw a baby shower for them.
Now, I don't normally go in for those "baby word jumble" types of games. I usually choose an elegant venue and have fantastic food, or we have a Blessing Way, where we wash the Mother's feet and make a "belly mask" by casting her large pregnant belly in plaster.
I wasn't sure how Sonya would feel about these activities. I knew she'd want Christian there, and possibly the kids, so I opened it up to everyone, and chose a Sci-Fi theme.

First, pregnant people need to sit down, so we took comfy chairs. My brother made a "redneck minivan" and delivered them for us!

My favorite sci-fi birth scene is from Men In Black, where Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones encounter an alien couple and the woman is having a baby. I decided to recreate this scene on a cake.

I started with a car (bought during the Banana Suit Incident of 2010), and an action figure painted to look like he's wearing a suit. I was told the action figure resembled Chris Rock and Ludacris (and possibly a Wayan brother?) more than Will Smith, but walmart's selection of black action figures is surprisingly limited.
(Besides, in the movie, you can clearly see the stunt double is white.)

I also used wire, gummi caterpillars, the above pic is chocolate for the road... lots of green sprinkles...
The road broke when I put it on the cake!
testing it out...
Finished cake!

At the party we played sci-fi themed games, such as
Tribble Transport

Automatic Baby Writing- a game where everyone put a paper plate on their head and had 60 seconds to draw what they thought Sonya's baby would look like:

The winning plate:

Quadrotriticale Confusion- the goal of this game to to separate small safety pins from a bowl of long-grain rice, while blindfolded:
This game looks so easy and is actually the hardest of them all. Maggie was a great sport after we forced her to play.

The messiest, and thus the last game was called
There is No Spoonfeeding- A 'mommy' had to feed baby food to the 'baby', both blindfolded. The 'baby' in this game wore a protective cover made from a trash bag. We played this game in teams, and the team that emptied their jar won.

Everyone had a great time, Sonya got lots of great baby loot.
And I can add the Men in Black "Congratulations, Reg. It's a... squid." cake to my portfolio.

Congratulations, Sonya and Christian!