Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Parties and Balls and Gowns, Oh My!

I have some of my most memorable and humorous marital conversations in the dark of our bedroom at night.  Here is a snippet of one such conversation from the other day.

Jeremy: So, there's this dental officer's ball next month, do you want to go?

Me: If I say yes does that mean I can get a new dress?

Jeremy: I guess so, I have to wear my white uniform.

Me: You mean the one they call "The Lady Killer"?

Jeremy: That would be the one.

Me: OK, I'll go, but you have to promise me one thing.

Jeremy: And what's that?

Me:  At some point you have to turn to me and yell, "I WANT THE TRUTH!", and then I'll yell back, "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"

And then at this point the bed began shaking because I was laughing at my own hilarious idea just imagining that scene played out in front of all kinds of Admirals and senior officers.

Jeremy: You want the truth?

Me: (still giggling) Yeah.

Jeremy: I think that is a horrible idea.

Me:  Ok, but you have to refer to my bodacious ta-tas.

Jeremy: (Sighs, and gives into my game) And then I'll get down on my knee and sing, "You've Lost That Lovin Feeling"

Me: Now you're talking.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

An Epic Weekend


Well dear readers, we certainly had an eventful weekend.  And to tell you all about it with the gusto in which it was experienced I have just consumed several cups of coffee and a pot of Earl Grey tea.  Which comes in at a very close third for my affections, after Jeremy and Elsbeth.

Jeremy got the crazy idea on Saturday morning that we should bike the entire length of the Capitol Crescent Trail.  All the way from Silver Spring, MD to Georgetown in D.C.  It's about 11 miles one way.  I was all, sure, but if I die on the way can you throw my bike and body on the metro and shuttle me home for a decent burial.  And make sure those undertakers don't make me look like a hooker!  

Jeremy was all, OH come on don't you think you can make it?  And I casually informed him that while it may be one thing for me to do a spinning class, this was an undertaking of another caliber, but I would try my best...as long as he let me have some ice cream.

So I agreed and then we set out and all the while in the back of my mind I was going DUN DUN DUN waiting for that Really big hill that I just wouldn't be able to huff it over.  But surprisingly that never happened.  The trail is stunning and there were so many people out enjoying the beautiful day.  My only problem was trying not to crash while admiring all of them.  
I have to say though, that the only problem I ever experience with my bike is when going over bumps in the road occasionally the skirt guard  pops loose and begins to rattle.  And while it is easily remedied, it can tend to be annoying.  Other than that, I still make passionate love to it in my dreams every day.
So we rode, and we rode, and we rode, and we passed the place in the photo above that rents canoes and kayaks on the Potomac.  It smelled like hamburgers and sunscreen and everything that is summer.  I wanted to stop and jump in the river, but I had no bathing suit.  I will remember that next time.
We finally made it to Georgetown and I got my ice cream.  Which was quickly hijacked by Elsbeth, but lucky for me she is a very giving little girl.  Jeremy asked me if I thought I could make it back and I said that actually I felt fine and thought I would have no problem.  Had the sugar gone to my brain already?  DUN DUN DUN
But I did it.  And I lived.  I did eat many small insects unwittingly on the ride back, but they were thankfully not of the crunchy variety.  When it was all said and done we had biked 24 miles in a couple of hours.  I was in the passionate throes of patting myself on the back when some killjoy had to go and say that he commutes that every day.  AND he was older than my Dad.  So I got in the car seat next to Ellie and we sucked our "fumbs" together because we're just widdle baby bikers.
The next day I was running up all of our stairs two at a time like an Olympian and Jeremy mentioned several times that he was sore and how he was impressed with my endurance and recovery.  Yeah, I said, you shoot a watermelon sized person out of your crotch and see what pales in comparison.  He was heard mumbling something to the effect of, Ummmmmm NO.
Then on Sunday after church we went to a local orchard to pick blackberries.  We picked about six pounds and I believe Ellie managed to eat three or four (AHEM, three of four POUNDS) that didn't make it into the bucket.
Then we took a hay ride because what's more fun on a sweltering summer day than sitting in a pile of itchy straw?  Come on?  Ellie had the hots for the tractor man who looked to be about 80 give or take a decade.  The made goo goo faces at one another while he drove the tractor WITHOUT LOOKING and I stood by suffering about a dozen mild strokes.
And then there was this slide.  Jeremy and Ellie rode it over and over and over and each time the grin on their faces was priceless.  I didn't get near it because I am still suffering from flashbacks of the time I fell of one of these as a child at the state fair.  Damn carnies.

And we did it all for less than thirty bucks.  Yes, I borrowed money from our parents.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dear Mom,

I would like to declare to you in a public and binding statement that you in no way played a part in the corruption of my mind. Nor did you ever influence my vocabulary with potty words. I think we should blame all of that on Dad. And the T.V. Especially MTV because as everyone knows, it's run by satan.

You made it clear to me on the phone the other day after you read my recent post that you did not find my colorful language very humorous, or lady like for that matter. And we who know you know that being a lady is something you value very much. You did a very good job of teaching me to act like a lady and so my "roughness" has nothing to do with you. It's my inner man. I call him Frank. Frank has a mind of his own, and even when I tell him to shush, I'm trying to act like a lady, he eventually pops out and I say something that makes just about everyone either chuckle or blush.

Mother, I am sorry that I am only 98% perfect and you have to chide me for my lack of grace. At least now you finally know that I'm human. I admire that you've never lowered your standards and resorted to abusing the English language like the rest of our family. You are content to sit innocently on the side lines and say, "what, what's so funny about the word tea bag?", and that is why we love you. Well, that is one of the many, many reasons we love you. The other reasons are because of all the ways you're perfect.

I hope that in time you'll be able to accept my potty mouth and inappropriate conversations because you know what's in my heart. Lots of love. And lots of inappropriate jokes. But mostly love. You know I don't make fun of other people (unless they're members of my family) and that if anyone is the brunt of a joke it's usually me. Me making fun of me. Or me making fun of Gordon. Or everyone making fun of Dad. I think it's just how we love each other. That and punching each other in the leg.

For the record, I love you to infinity and when I was a little girl and wanted to make myself cry all I had to do was think about moving out of the house and tears would start flying out of my eyes. Now all I have to do to cry is think about cleaning the house.

You should win an award.

Which award?

The award for the way people should be.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Ice Cream Truck

When we first moved in I noticed that this neighborhood had an ice cream truck that came by in the evenings and I couldn't wait to share this wonderful experience from my childhood with Ellie.  As a kid I would always get the sherbert cup with a gumball at the bottom and I loved to eat the gum while it was still frozen and hear it crack apart in my mouth.  That's probably the reason Jeremy says my teeth have cracks in them now.  It was worth it though!

When Jeremy was deployed to Kuwait and I moved back in with my parents, Ellie was just a few months old.  My dad and I would spend many lazy summer afternoons on their wrap around porch lined with white rocking chairs and sip on Arnold Palmers.  We would often wait for the ice cream truck to come by so my Father could get something.   He would say, "I want you to look at this guy, really look at him.  He's on something, I just know it.  I betcha he's selling more than ice cream out of this truck."  But that never stopped him from getting a sweet.  He's never met an ice cream he didn't like.  While I on the other hand was bound and determined to get rid of the whale's ass I had developed during pregnancy.  So I would just watch him eat his patriot pop and wave it in my face saying, "Are you surrrrrrre you don't want some?"  To which I would reply, "Look at me!  I have cellulite on my eyelids, NO I DON'T want any!"  And he would dance away with a Cheshire cat grin and blue syrup running down his hand.


The ice cream truck is so intrinsically tied to everything that is good about summer and even now that I'm an adult and don't usually get anything, I love to hear it's music as it goes by and watch the children run to it like it is some kind of vehicular pied piper.

A couple of days ago I mentioned to Ellie that after dinner the ice cream man would come and we would get some ice cream.  Something about those three words must have unlocked her infant memories of my Dad giving her licks of his Popsicle while I stood by having a nervous breakdown about the sugar "destroying her pure system".  She acted as though it was the most tragic thing a person could have said and threw herself on the floor and sobbed for the "ice keem maaaaayyyyyyy-uuuuunnnnn!"


None of my attempts to console her worked.  I offered candy, ponies, hell I even offered to let her get a tattoo when she turns five, but she continued to cry.  And this wasn't your run of the mill temper tantrum cry with alligator tears.  This was "I am Juliette and I have just awoken to discover Romeo dead beside me" crying.  

There was nothing we could do but try to get through dinner and wait for him.  And whatever we did we had to avoid saying anything that even rhymed with ice cream.  So we waited.  And we waited.  And he never came.  I wanted to go find him and scream, "There is a child dying of a broken heart in here because she's in love with the ice cream truck and you go around every day with your pretty chimes and promises of a sugar induced buzz and then you DON'T come!  What kind of monster are you?"  But he just never came and it was lucky for him too.  I put Ellie to bed and wiped her little red eyes and told her that maybe he would come tomorrow.

SO the next day I was in the middle of folding laundry upstairs when I hear the chimes off in the distance.  It's two o'clock for the love 'O laundry, what the heck is this guy playing at?  (Aside: I have ALWAYS wanted to grab someone, glare at them and say, "Just what are you playin at?")  I yelled at Ellie who was in the basement watching a movie, that the ice cream man was here and then I ran up three flights of stairs two at a time, flung my purse open and frantically searched for my wallet.  I found it, ran down four flights of stairs into the basement, grabbed my kid, jumped over two dogs and ran to the front door.  Because, by God, we weren't going to miss this.  Even if it meant I was going to give myself a heart attack.

When she saw the truck with all it's sugary delights plastered on the side and heard the music,  the grin on her face was well worth the tears of the night before.  We ordered a patriot pop in honor of all the summers of my childhood, and my dad, and America Goddamn it!  And my beautiful child when handed the popsicle yelled, "FANK YEWWWWWW!" And then waved bye.

I relished every moment of her enjoying that huge, sugary thing and I didn't once think about the sugar or the mess or anything other than how precious this moment was.  




Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Have Become "That" Mom

Getting out of the house is a big deal for me and so I usually try to make myself look presentable.  The other day I was getting crazy with my wardrobe and decided to turn a skirt that I had worn during pregnancy into a mini dress with a chunky leather belt high on my waist.  I had to wear my only strapless bra and it is very ill-fitting but it does the trick.

I felt great walking into Target thinking about all the things I was going to look at while I was there.  Just as I entered the store Elsbeth broke into a spastic tantrum and made it nearly impossible to put her into the cart.  I would twist her one way and try to bend her legs and she would scream and twist the other way.  People began to look in my direction and cast judgemental glares.  I know those glares, I used to hand them out carelessly to anyone with a kid that they obviously couldn't "control".  That was before I had a child, Ahem, a two year old of my own.  I just smirked and shrugged and bent casually down to Ellie and whispered menacingly in her ear, "If you do not STOP IT RIGHT NOW I am gong to spank you."

Because, yes, I AM a spanker.....gasp!  Cue the sirens!  Call animal, I mean child welfare services!  You know what?  All I have to do is threaten one now and the mere threat does the trick.  As soon as the words passed my lips she said, "Sowwie Mama" and reached out for a hug.  I let out a sigh of relief at the briefness of that battle of the wills and adjusted her in the cart.

As I made me way through the accessories and cast lustful glances at all of the things I couldn't buy, I kept noticing people staring at me.  I congratulated myself on my daring outfit because I was sure that's what had the people looking and I looked down to admire it myself.  And that's when I died.

I believe that at some point during our altercation, Elsbeth had somehow managed to kick my dress, skirt, whatever it was and manage to knock it down.  Unbelievably I had been wandering through Target with my entire bra on display for the world.  How did I not feel that?  It must have been the endorphin rush I got from all the pretty things I was admiring.  And the best part of the whole story?  Right where my nipple would have been had I not been wearing a bra ( NO, not my knee cap)  sat a perfectly round spaghetti-O gasping in mock horror at my public embarrassment.  

I laughed out loud because what else could I do?  And then I fixed my skress, that is what we are now calling that abomination of an outfit, and looked at Ellie.  I said, "Thank you for giving me a story to write about."  She pointed at the spaghetti-O in the baby wipe I was holding and said, "New-Null".  "Yes", I said, "we are all noodles."  And then we moved on to the shoes.  A place where both of us can be happy.



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Story of the Mirrors (Or It's Variant Title: The Unhumorous Humor of Those Now Dead)

To properly understand this story we must first go back in time a few years. As a child I was very bookish.  In fact, I preferred reading books to almost any activity. Most evenings my Mother would have to come into my room and tell me to stop reading and go to bed and she would then turn the lights off. And I would attempt to read in the dark. I have a sneaking suspicion that is why I am now legally blind, or close to it without contacts.

Because I lived in so many worlds inside my mind I never much paid attention to how I looked in the real world, or the physical one, however you look at it. Aside: There is your dose of existentialism for the day. Another effect of my bookish ways was my propensity towards chubbiness. I never played sports or ran around with the other kids much because I preferred to lay on the couch or under a tree and read.  And because of this I garnered the lovely nickname of "Baby manatee".

When I look at pictures of myself (and I'm OH SO sorry that I can't figure my scanner out to post some of them for you here today) from that era it is almost painful. I can usually be found with huge round frame glasses Ala Sally Jessee Raphael, and some random large T-shirt tucked into a lovely pair of high waisted, tapered leg pants. The term wallflower was an understatement.  Wall catastrophe would be a more apt description.

And then puberty hit. And I got boobs, really big boobs. It seemed almost overnight that my height shot up a foot and I became lean. I also finally got contact lenses and it was possible to view my face for once. I started high school and for the first time boys were taking a notice in me. Alot of boys it seemed. This new found attention caused me to take a bigger interest in my wardrobe and Jillian discovered the Gap. What wonders these changes wrought in me.

So our story of the mirrors begins at the onset of my transformation from the ugly bookworm. My maternal Grandparents had come to Pennsylvania for a visit and had not seen me in a while. They always did have a strange sense of humor. Mostly it was my Grandmother, but my Grandfather seemed to willingly play along. Every year for Christmas it was some strange thing that they would do for every one's present. I remember once getting one hundred one dollar bills sewn together in one giant roll and a box that contained a seam ripper and a note that read: Anything worth having is worth working for. I tried to take it to the bank in the roll in the hopes that they might take pity on me and cash them. When I got to the counter, the teller took one look at it and yelled, "OH NO!" and pointed her finger to the door. It took me over a year to sit down and carefully rip apart all of those bills.

But the visit we are speaking of happened in the fall, months before Christmas. During that time of metamorphoses I could be found around the house almost always singing, applying makeup, and even dramatically reciting Shakespeare. In. The. Mirror. I was always looking at myself. And not just in mirrors, in anything that might reflect my image. I believe that the Grandparents thought that I was perhaps a little too vain, and maybe I was, but I don't remember it that way.

I looked at myself so many times in the way that you might pinch yourself to make sure you're not dreaming when something unbelievable happens. Because although my outside had transformed before my eyes without my attempts to make it so, or even a desire for it to happen, inside I was still the bookish, chubby little girl with the big glasses. In a time in most girl's lives that can be very painful, I was having an incredible adventure. And I would look at myself and wonder what it was that had changed, and what it was that people took notice of now. I would ask myself why, and then go back to the singing and the applying of makeup.

The months came and went as months always do, and soon Christmas had arrived. A very large brown box came for me in the mail. It was from the Grandparents and I couldn't wait to open it. I cut it open and sifted through the tissue paper and found...a mirror. I thought that perhaps they had made a beauty package with makeup and hair accessories so I dug through the box for more and found...another mirror. When the box was emptied I sat on the kitchen floor surrounded by over 25 mirrors of varying shapes and sizes. I didn't understand why they had sent me all the mirrors until my mother explained it to me. I remember wanting to cry and telling my Mom she could have all of them as I headed up to my room.

In hindsight perhaps it was a good thing for them to point out my innocent vanity instead of letting me continue to unwittingly embarrass myself. After all when Elsbeth slaps her diaper front in the store and screams, "I GO PEE-PEE!" I quietly shush her and explain the privacy of such matters. I suppose it's all in the delivery. Mary Poppins truly said it best when she said, "A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down."

Both of my Grandparents have passed away now and I hold nothing against them. I don't think there was malice in their intent when they sent me all those mirrors. And while it hurt my feelings at the time, I think it is important to attempt to examine the heart of someone who hurts us, many times it is done without knowing it.

Dear "Aged One", I know that may not have been the barrel 'O laughs you were anticipating, but "thems the facts" as I recall them anyway. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and look at myself.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Transformed by the Renewing of My Mind

Dear "Aged One"  I will indulge your request and tell the story of the mirrors, but not today.  That will probably be tomorrow.  Today I want you to enter the dark recesses of my mind with me.  Please put your happy faces on because this is going to be a departure from my usual heavy on the optimism posts.

I often find it an indiscretion to talk about money, but hey, when have I ever been called discreet?  During the course of this move and adjustment period we have been faced with some very large and out of the ordinary expenses.  Last month saw us pay for the security deposit and first month's rent of our home here in addition to the mortgage for our home in Mississippi as the tenants don't move in until later this week.  On the way up from Mississippi during the move the alternator went out on the BMW (No, we have not sold it yet) and that is an expensive thing to fix.  On top of all of this we paid for all of the move ourselves knowing that we would be reimbursed by the Navy at a later date.

What I'm saying is that for the first time in a long time, we have no money.  I know money is coming and everything will be OK, but for the next few weeks, I have basically just a few dollars a week to live on.  When I came here I had a vision in my head of how this life would be.  It would be completely new and everything would go according to my perfect little plan.  My fridge would be filled with fresh produce and organic meat, my floors would sparkle and my baby would never cry.

And then life happened.  How many times will my fantasies be proven frivolous before I will learn that not everything goes according to "my" plan?  Life keeps me on my toes and forces me to make a new game plan.  But before I accept it there is usually a giant, grown up sized temper tantrum.  And that is exactly what happened yesterday.

All day long I wallowed in self pity and pined for just one chance to go down to Zara and buy some new clothes.  Because although my closet is full, I have NOTHING to wear!  As the day progressed my pity turned into self loathing and every time I looked in the mirror I became disgusted with what I saw.  The mouse brown roots of my hair seemed to be mocking my pitiful state and my neglected, pedicure craving feet were a burden to drag around this house.   I pinched a layer of fat that sits on the top of my pants and I might as well have slapped myself and yelled I hate you!

I watched as my thundercloud mood darkened this whole house and affected the demeanor of everyone, including the dogs.  I wanted so badly to break free of my mental state but I didn't know how.  It was oppressive and I was mad at Jeremy before he even walked in the door.  I fed everyone tacos and ate in silence while the real me that was locked away somewhere in the prison of my mind screamed for Jeremy to hear her and find a way to set her free.  He asked me what was wrong and I couldn't bring myself to say anything.  I mentally chastised him for not just KNOWING what was wrong with me and having the key to fix it without me saying how.  Because the truth was I really didn't know how.  



After dinner we took a walk on a trail through the woods near our house.  I was walking at a brisk pace and soon Elsbeth and Jeremy were some distance behind me.  I felt the bitter, painful knot rise in the back of my throat and this time I couldn't choke it down.  Hot tears of pity and anger bled from my eyes and I started to pray.  I complained to God that it wasn't fair, I had a plan!  Things weren't supposed to work out like this.  I was supposed to be eating free range chicken for Pete's sake!  I griped about how my feet looked ugly and my hair was growing out and I wasn't getting in shape quickly enough because I can't afford a gym membership! As the tears flowed out of my body  so did the anger, and the pity, and the self loathing.  And then I was quiet.  And I listened for that still, small voice inside of me.


From above the sound of the rustling leaves and the song of the cicadas came the beautiful voice of a bird.  It's song for the world, the woods, for me washed away the last traces of my tantrum and I heard the voice say:  Listen to the bird sing it's song, it has not a care in this world and yet it has no home, it has no fridge that needs stocked with organic food, it has no gym membership, and it has no desire for a closet full of pretty dresses and shiny adornments, and YET it sits in that tree singing.  Singing with all it's heart.


For the first time that hike I looked around me and saw beauty every where.  The dappled evening sun light danced in a thousand diamond fragments on the canopy of leaves while fireflies looked for love with their blinking green glow.  I felt ashamed as I remembered the poor people of Belize and their smiles and laughter despite their circumstances.  I looked down at my feet and noticed the soft green carpet of moss that I love so much and the small voice within me said:  Look at this moss, it grows on the hard, black asphalt surface of this trail path, and yet it GROWS.  In that moment the door to mind was unlocked and the real me was set free.  I wiped away the last tear and chuckled at the smile that was now fixed, once again, to my face.

As Jeremy and Elsbeth rounded the corner and found me, they found me smiling, ready to start over with a new attitude.  We went home and I formed a "new plan" while I gave myself a manicure and home made face scrub of honey and sugar.  And then I soaked in the tub with a steaming cup of chamomile tea and thanked God that although I am able to pinch fat on my belly, there is not one stretch  mark present.  And even though my feet need a pedicure, they are still beautiful and I am thankful that they carry me up and down these many flights of stairs faithfully every day.

Today  I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle this situation with an open mind.  I made my grocery list and headed to Aldi, where for 21 dollars I bought enough food to feed this family for a week.  It may not be organic and it may not be gourmet, but it will keep us satisfied and I am thankful for it.







Monday, July 21, 2008

I Care What You Think....No, seriously

Dear Readers,
In an effort to make you happy and keep you entertained, (Because I LIVE to Service, I mean Serve you) I  would like to have your feedback on what you would like to hear more or less about.  Is there a topic you think I should discuss more frequently, it could be anything....except me in the nude.  I am So not going there.  Or should I shut up about something?  Maybe there is a topic I have never discussed and you think I should tackle it.  I want to know what you think.

So please, you can either email me at jillian@buttonsmcsweet.com or just leave a comment on this post with your suggestions, opinions, whatever.

As an afterthought perhaps I should add some of the Dilettante's illustrious and sometimes shady ventures that perhaps you would like me to elaborate on.
At one time or another I have been:

A makeup artist for small and profitless, yet altogether true to artistic vision independent films.

A chef in training

A beverage cart girl on a golf course

An intern for a congressman (no, there were no cigars you pervs)

A ticket taker for a fundraiser and two feet from the Prez (Dub-Ya that is) which led me to be able to meet him. (and No, there were no cigars there either, SHEESH)

A Nanny

A spokesmodel for a company that sponsored an Indycar Driver at the Indianapolis 500

An ice cream scooper

An Ebayer (I had a successful ebay store that specialized in vintage goods)

A deep thinking waitress that drank way too much after her shifts at various upscale restaraunts







Jillian

Planes, Trains, and Elephants

One of the greatest joys for me about being a parent is the ability to shape a young mind and impress my views of the world upon it.  People give me the strangest looks when I compare having a toddler to owning a parrot.  It is though, except eventually the toddler actually knows what it's saying, and "Hot Damn" is no longer cute or funny.

This past weekend we took the metro to the Museum of Natural History (my personal favorite of the Smithsonian's) and she seemed to enjoy it, although she was in no way getting in that line to see the silly Hope Diamond.  Who wants to be weighed down by senseless gajillions of carats like that???  Now, a pacifier made of diamonds or sand, perhaps.

We had watched Ratatouille the night before and I'm afraid I kept referring to the rat as a mouse.  I just couldn't bring myself to call something cute a rat.  Even though, as many of my friends would point out to you, I used to have a hairless rat for a pet in High School.  And his name was...Fetus, yes Fetus, because that's what he resembled.  But that is another story entirely and not one for breakfast reading.  Nevertheless, I called the rat in the movie a mouse and my dear child, upon seeing any small animal in the glass cases would shout "Mouse".  

I knew that all those Zoo Books I read as a child would eventually pay off one day and it was at this point that I would  clear my throat and affect a professorial like tone while saying, "actually Elsbeth that is a pygmy marmoset.  They are indigenous to South America, and Mommy would LOVE to have one!  Would Ellie love to have one?  Yes?  Well, go and tell Daddy you would like a Mar-Mo-Set."  Because, while my feminine wiles no longer cast the powerful spell over Jeremy that they once did, Elsbeth has him wrapped around her leetle finger.  Alas, still no marmoset.


We had a quick snack on the mall under some trees and although the thermostat read: Hell, it was nice and breezy in the shade.  At one point Ellie reached into the bag of trail mix that we were sharing and stuffed a handful of almonds into her mouth.  I thought from her facial expression that she was beginning to choke and so I gave her a hearty slap on the back.  She spit the nuts out casually, turned her head slowly in my direction, and gave me a venomous glare.  A tiny index finger was raised in my face and she quietly said "Don't".  It was as if she knew that the slap was unwarranted and she was having none of it.  Jeremy was all: Thas my girrrrl!  Have I mentioned he likes his women with a hearty splash of sauciness and venom.  It's all fun and games when you're on the same playing field (as in husband and wife) but when it's your kid I think it needs to be more like coach and player.  I attempted to stifle a laugh and tried not to think of the adolescent years that lay ahead.






Thursday, July 17, 2008

And Then I Fell in Love With Her Yet Again


Ever since Elsbeth and I rode the bus and train a couple of days ago, I have not heard the end of the recounting on her part.  Oh, to be a baby again!  She tells the story as I would tell you about being invited into the Paris Flea Market before anyone else arrived and  then given an unlimited amount of money to spend.  

Yesterday she told me all day long, how : The bus coming, and then I get ON and I get ON and I get ON , and  I RIIIIDEEEEEEEE, YAY!  That was followed by a a puppy dog stare and a plea of Ride bus?  I told her that we weren't going to ride the bus, but that maybe we could ride it another day.  Since that plan had failed her, she started in on the train.  She would say: I wait, the train coming, and I get ON and I get ON and I get ON  and I RIIIIIIIIDDDDDEEEEE, YAY!  As she is describing this memory she is still until the part about getting on and then she proceeds to run in a circle doing some sort of gallop and hand gesture that looks like she's trying to catch something or wave, I haven't quite figured it out.  It ends with vigorous hand clapping to accompany the heartfelt YAAAAAYYYY!  Every time she does this it has the same effect.  I laugh until I am crying.

It is in those moments that every weird and disgusting  thing that happened during pregnancy and childbirth is worth it.  I MADE A HUMAN, PEOPLE!  And it talks to me!  I will admit that Jeremy contributed to the conception, but I did all the hard work, right?  

Every time she stands there and cocks her little head with her arms stretched out to me and her fingers beckoning me over, with a call of "Come 'ere, come 'ere, huggles", I melt into a puddle of adoration on the floor.  Before I became pregnant I used to joke that having a child would be the ultimate experiment in vanity because I wanted a little me to run around.  But it's not like that, it's so much better.

I remind myself of these things when I am rolling my sagging boobs like an old sock back into their bra.




Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Schlepping the Schlep

I looked everywhere.  they were not in any of the places they were supposed to be and not in any of the places they might have been either.  My car keys.  Jeremy moved it the other day and now his nasty little habit of not ever putting things back in "their home" had affected me and my mobility.

I felt like a prisoner this morning and all my little fantasies of going to whole foods grocery were squelched.  I sat and pouted for a few minutes and in the midst of my pouting I got really mad.  And when Jillian gets mad, things usually get accomplished.  After I had Ellie and the scale still said I weighed close to 200 lbs, everyone was all:  Oh, but you just had a baby, you're supposed to be fat.  And I was all:  I freaking hate you Angelina Jolie!  And then I got pissed off enough to change myself.  And I got skinny again...skinny(ish).

On this morning I decided that I wasn't going to let a little thing like not having a car at my disposal stop me from doing what I wanted to do.  I live in a city with great public transportation, so I decided to take advantage of it.  I put Ellie in her carrier (it's like being pregnant all over again) and got out my reusable and quite cute grocery bags from Trader Joe's and walked to the bus stop by my house.  I am unaccustomed to riding the bus.  But I had gone online and read as much as I could find out about how it worked, so I just did it.  

I have never been one to let fear keep me from doing something.  Was I afraid to ride the bus?  In a way, yes.  I was afraid that I would miss my stop, or that I wouldn't have the right change and look like a fool.  I was afraid I would get lost.  But I WENT ANYWAY.  If I am anything I am a good faker of bravery and stubborn as a mule when I get my mind set on something.  And I have learned from experience that whatever air you project, that is what people generally perceive about you.

And would you believe that the bus actually took me to the metro like it said it would?  And then we rode the train the three stops to where the Whole foods is, and I went in and didn't buy a thing.  I realized while I was in there that most of what they sell, with the exception of just a few items, can be purchased at the farmers markets or my local grocery.  And then right there in the stinky cheese section, Jillian had an epiphany.  It came to me that while I have dropped some serious bucks in that store in the past, what I really went there to do was to buy into their "message" and more or less feel cool for being one of "those people".  And I do have to admit, I could look at all the people in that store for hours, but at the end of the day, the local peaches from the farmers market taste just as good as the ones purchased from the kid with the faux-hawk and a lip ring at Whole foods.

So, we walked back to the train just as we had come, empty handed.  When we got home I felt proud of myself for stepping outside of my comfort zone, and I was actually grateful that Jeremy had left my keys God knows where.  I do kind of wish I had gotten that brocolini though.  It sounds so good right about now.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Green Experiment Update:

Well, well, well, have you been anxiously awaiting with baited breath to hear of my trials and triumphs in this undertaking of drastic life-changing proportions? NO? Well, too bad you're going to hear about it anyway. I have yet to decide how frequently I will post updates of this little thing that I am doing. Right now I am thinking weekly, but if something note worthy occurs, then perhaps that will change.

Let me first begin by telling you something of where exactly I am and what it is like. We are living in a town home in a beautiful suburb of D.C. This place has four floors and five sets of stairs! Bless my aching legs, but hey, it's exercise right? Upon our arrival with the great yellow monster of a truck, we were greeted most warmly by anyone who happened to be walking by, and there are alot of people walking here. I was struck by the broad range of nationalities represented and how everyone seemed to live in friendly harmony together in one area.

I have lived in metropolitan areas before, Chicago being the largest among them, and never have I seen anything like this. Especially the kindness of these people. When I lived in Chicago, I would notice many different cultures and there was some assimilation, but for the most part, everyone kept to themselves and each ethnic group had it's various neighborhoods where they lived and frequented.

Here, everyone just coexists in this strange Utopian kind of existence. I find it quite fitting that as the melting pot of the world, our nations capitol could represent such a wonderful example of this.

Now, on to the experiment. My bicycle has sat forlornly in the garage since our arrival. I still have no child seat for Ellie. I am waiting to try the streets on my bike while Jeremy transports her. I actually have not seen many cyclists, many more people I see taking public transit or walking. Which is exactly what I have been doing.

Jillian's Green Experiment Progress Report:

A+ for walking to the grocery on all but one occasion and purchasing locally grown peaches and grass-fed beef and organic cheese at the markets.

A+ for walking to the post office and drug store with a 22lb baby strapped to her chest.

A++ For living without cable and resisting the urge to put a movie in every night, and instead engaging her husband in lengthy conversations about the future and what it may hold. (A little surprise for you, Dear readers, the future may soon hold a baby)

C for taking the metro but driving the 2 miles to the metro stop. I vow to take the bus to the metro or ride my bike there in the future

A+ For joining a gym, but C for only going 2X last week

A+ for diligently recycling and making good use of empty glass jars as storage containers for various small things.

I am still busily in the throes of nesting this ginormous place, so my venturing out has been minimal.  But I hope to have everything done by the end of this week and then we shall have more fun.

Stay tuned...DUN DUN DUN

This is for You Amanda

**Please press play on this song and listen to it as you read this post, and for Pete's sake please disregard the video and just listen to the song...do you have any IDEA how hard it is to find this song?**


Many moons ago when I was still a young idiot, I used to work at this place. Beer cart girl ranks at the top of The Dilettante's list of most fun jobs that make lots 'o cash. On one particular day, I was making a pit stop in the snack bar for a restocking of my candy bars when I met her.

She was describing the experience of her meet and greet with Dave Matthews...as in THE Dave Matthews Band. I made a feeble attempt to pick my sagging jaw up from the floor covered in the corpses of so many bees and  just stared at her awesomeness. When I had regained enough brain matter to form a cohesive sentence, I offered to bear all of her children and serve in her place for the draft. And ever since then, we've been "like tight".




As if the job of cart girl couldn't get any more fun, Amanda had a way of bringing a light and joy into any room she entered. The days when we worked together were my favorite because we would engage in some serious celebrity oggling in any one of the hundred gossip magazines she would bring in, or entertain ourselves through a slow patch listening to music and having a dance off outside the snack bar.

I have had three musical mentors in my life and Amanda is the most recent. Her ipod was filled with strange and beautiful stuff I had never heard before, but soaked up readily. You can tell when someone really enjoys music because they see it as something to be shared with others and will gladly pass along anything new and exciting they have discovered. And that's just what Amanda Did. She made me some of my favorite mixes and even added her artistic touch to the CD cases with pictures and handwriiten song lists. Of everything I lost in the hurricane, I still have almost all of the mixes she made for me, because they were in my car.

Amanda has the kind of heart that radiates warmth and kindness and makes you want to be around her all the time because you think you might absorb some of it through osmosis. She is the kind of girl that can drop two f-bombs in one sentence and still come across as a lady who isn't capable of going "number two" or looking disheveled. Even when she claims to be disheveled, she looks more put together than me after long hours of trying.

She felll in love with my Italian Greyhound Magnum and I felt compelled to give him to her. He has found a loving home with her and Dave and even makes an appearance on their stamps...their MAILING stamps for the love 'O cheerios!



She has been my trusted confidante on many ocassions and my babysitter once at a Ray Lamontagne concert when Jillian had one too many beers and threatened to "FROW UP!" She laughs at all of my jokes and she even thinks I'm cool. But even with all those redeeming qualities, that's not the reason why Amanda is my friend.

She is my friend because she adds a richness of character and a unique and winning personality to my life, and even though I can't share her heart through osmosis, she makes me want to be a better person just by watching the way she lives. When someone asks me if I collect anything I say, "I collect people, beautiful people." And in my prized collection of beautiful people, Amanda has a very special place in my heart. For when all of our outer beauty and youth have faded from us, she will shine with that inner light that makes her so very attractive to others.

Amanda got married Saturday and now she has a new last name...yep, she's one of those girls, but then again, so am I. I'm still going to call her Coop-a-loop no matter what her name is.

So, this is for you Amanda. You can thank me later when I ask you to come and stay with me for two weeks when I have another baby and Jeremy is in school.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Please Forgive Me.

We finally and at last made it to our new home. Things, as I'm sure you can imagine, are a bit crazy around here. Well, more than a bit actually. Alot crazy. Yesterday was the first day I had internet, and also the first day I cleared enough empty boxes out of my room so that I was able to see more than a few inches of the carpet.

I have been feeling very fatigued and unwell for the past week and so settling in has been more slow going than I had anticipated.

So, I am asking you to please bear with me as I take the rest of this week to rest and recuperate and perhaps make something of a home out of this mess of newspaper and boxes.

Beginning on Monday, and sooner if I feel up to it, I will resume my daily(ish) postings and update you on the Green experiment and things around here. It has been nothing if not interesting.

Thank you all so much for the kind and uplifting words in regard to my previous post. I hope that you will come back after my brief hiatus. I promise this can only get better, or worse...whichever way you look at it.
Jillian

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Goodbye Mississippi


Sometimes things happen faster than I can even take the time to stop and really think about what is happening.  And for now that's probably a good thing.  When I pulled out of my driveway for the last time as the resident of my house in Mississippi, I felt just a flutter of  emotional reflux.  It caused a burning lump in my throat that threatened to rise up and turn into a wail and a flood of tears.  Fortunately for my eyes and the ears of my neighbors (former neighbors), I was able to put a clamp on that in a quick hurry.

As we drove away from our neighborhood, I thought about the young newlywed I was when I moved to Mississippi for the third time almost four years ago.  I was filled with dreams and fantasies of the life that lay ahead.  Anything was possible.  We would buy a fixer-upper cottage and I would walk from the beach to rinse the salt off of my skin in our outdoor shower.  

And then my Grandfather got a sore throat, and we all prayed it was only a cold, but it was cancer, and it was aggressive.  In July my Grandmother decided to take her life into her own hands and with those hands she put a month's worth of medication into her body.  A body that was in constant pain for so many years.

And then August came and with it came the hurricane that would serve as the final blow in the complete destruction of the girl who came to Mississippi.  In the losing of everything I owned and of so many people I loved, I found myself.  With each heartbreak, each set back, I grew stronger and more sure of who I was and who I wanted to become.  

As we filled our moving truck to overflowing and wondered where we would fit what remained of our possessions, I remembered moving into the house in Diamondhead with nothing more than a pair of camping chairs and an air mattress and a grin from ear to ear, because this was our house, our own small piece of Earth.  That was almost three years ago.  We had lost everything, but we had each other.  And not long after that we also had a baby.  In that time we lost Jeremy's Grandfather, and only a few months after that his brother was killed in a car wreck.

Each time you think nothing could ever hurt so much again, and each time your soul gets a fresh scar.  The scars can only fade with time, but they will never stop hurting.  Sometimes we run our mind over them and remember with sweet fondness the beauty and the pain of each moment we had with those whom we loved and will never again see on this Earth.  And we remember the life we had begun to build that was so abruptly taken from us by the sea and lay in ruin beneath a 60 foot pile of rubble that contained the broken fragments of the lives of so many others.

It is a pain that was only made bearable by the people that became my dear friends and taught me what it is to survive.  But not only to survive; to survive with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.  Just like the flowers that grow in the red dirt of the south, these women are tough and beautiful, and I love them.

When I drove into Mississippi some years ago I was a girl; fickle and fragile, and with more shoes than were good for me.  As I left it yesterday; I left a woman, and a mother, with a reserve of strength that can withstand whatever comes my way and a smile still on my lips.