Wednesday, August 30, 2006

So Much to Say, and - Well, You Know the Drill

It’s a mishmash today, folks. I warn you now so you can click elsewhere if you so desire.

I watched the first two acts of When the Levees Broke last night, and I did not sleep well. It brought back all the fury, all the feelings of helplessness, all my agonized screaming at my TV: “Why isn’t anyone helping these people?”

On the family front: my grandmother is unwell and has had exploratory surgery and all kinds of tests. We haven’t been speaking to one another, but this is one of those situations where the family feud must be put on the back burner for a bit. I will probably go see her this weekend, but I’m leaving Viva and Sweet William at home.

In happier news, this morning I had a message from a small foundation who apparently has funded my agency before. The message basically amounted to this: “Hey! Why haven’t we heard from you guys? We want to give you some money!” I love funders like that.

In other happy news, a long-lost friend of mine wrote me a really long birthday letter recently, getting me up to speed on what she’s been up to. After focusing pretty much exclusively on her career for many years, and recently quitting her job, she is in love with what sounds like a fantastic guy and they are “talking seriously about the future,” by which I think she means their future together, and not “The Future! Where cars will fly, phones will be next-to-invisible and polar bears will live only in our imaginations!” At any rate, included in their future, she hopes, is a child of some sort, and she asked me how I balance the work/motherhood thing.

Balance? It really isn’t so much of a balance as it is integrating both parts together, I find. I think about work while I’m at home, and I think about home while I’m at work, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I am fortunate that, when I first started back to work, Sweet W stepped up to the plate and proposed a schedule whereby we alternate cooking/picking up Viva/working out. This month, he has been on a crazy work schedule – for example, getting to work at 5 am and leaving at 2 pm, but answering calls about work on his cell phone until 9 pm – so that schedule has fallen away like so many, I don’t know, falling leaves or whatever image-based simile strikes your fancy. We do still alternate who gives Viva her bath/puts her to bed, so that helps, except when Viva is overly tired and wants it to be my night when it’s not.

I think it was also helpful to be very clear when I was searching for a job that I am not going to be the one who can stay late regularly, but I am amenable to working at home if need be. I check my e-mail when I’m at home, I bought a memory stick to transfer files back and forth from PC to laptop, and if I am in the middle of an intense project, I work through lunch so I can leave fairly close to my regular time to pick up Viva. I don’t think I would have been able to do this when Viva was a baby, because I had no clue how to manage it all. But with time and trial and error, I have found what works for me.

Of course, I didn’t say all this in my response to her, but yeah, that’s how I do it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Gratuitous Blogging!

Since I don't have a lot of time to post today, but I'm trying to post more often than I have been, here you go. Welcome to my world.

A Crazy Kind of Love

Viva: I had a dream. I was putting stickers all over you because I love you so much.
Mama: Aw, that’s sweet. What kind of stickers?
Viva: Pillow cloud stickers!

How You Can Tell That Your Daddy Works in the Film Biz

Viva [getting out of the tub]: I want the BLUE towel.
Sweet W: That is not blue. It is CYAN.

Not an Exact Transcription

Viva [mournfully]: I wish I could be married too.
Mama: Married? To who?
Viva: To my mommy and daddy.
Mama: Well, honey, you are kind of married to us. You’re part of this family forever.
Viva: What a completely crazy thing to say. I will never understand you people, not in a million years.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Co-Worker #1 [approaching my next-door cubicle neighbor’s cube, eating out of a bag of microwave popcorn]: I need some chocolate. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Do you have any chocolate?

Co-Worker #2: Mm-hmm. [presumably offers chocolate]

Two seconds pass while CW#1 eats popcorn and chocolate.

Co-Worker #1: Whew, I don’t know what’s wrong with me today. I’m going to go downstairs and get me an ice cream cone. You want one?

I feel sick, and it’s not even me eating it.

I Shall Not Be Moved

I haven’t talked much about the particulars of my job, because, well, hell, there is that whole getting dooced issue. Nonetheless, I think I can say that my workplace is an agency that helps low-income families, and today one of our clients is sitting two cubicles away with an adorable baby that keeps screeching and squealing in delight. I haven’t gone over to say hello because his/her mama is sitting with one of our domestic violence case managers, so I’m thinking perhaps she doesn’t want everyone in her business. But that baby needs to stop sounding so fricking cute because every time it squeals, my womb rockets around in my insides, banging its figurative tiny little fists about and simultaneously reaching up to squeeze my heartstrings in its sticky little paws. Damn biological drive to reproduce. Quit trying to hijack me!

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Prodigal Blogger Returns

All kinds of shit has been going down since I last blogged, and it’s not bad shit, but just a lot of shit that has kept me busy. Rather than blogging about it, because that would be boring, I’m just going to pretend this 10-day hiatus from my blog never happened.

Thus, and verily: Viva has been sick and not her best self, so we are all unhappy. Let me, nonetheless, share some nuggets with you:

Viva [looking into the mirror]: Do I have eyebrows?
Mama Blah: Of course you do. [points to Viva’s admittedly fine and only somewhat discernible eyebrows] See? You have very cute eyebrows.
Viva: Oh. I see them. Does Daddy have eyebrows?
Mama: Yes, baby, Daddy has eyebrows.
Viva: But I can’t see them! Because he is – he is – he is darker brown, so I can’t see them.
Mama: But his eyebrows are darker than his skin.
Viva: But I don’t see them!
Mama: Yes, but they’re there. Take it from me, sister.
Viva: WHAT? I’m not your sister!

File this under, “It Won’t Be So Funny When She’s Thirteen”

[It’s 10:30 pm. Viva goes to bed around 8:00, but keeps getting up to go pee, or because she’s thirsty, or because she had a “bad dream” 5 minutes after I left the room, or because her 45-minute-long CD has stopped. I’m tired, and I’m tired of all her reindeer games. When I hear her open her bedroom door again, I run around the corner in a fury.]

Mama: Viva, why are you still up? Stop playing around in here and go to sleep!
Viva: But I’m not tired!
Mama: I. DON’T. CARE.
Viva: Whatever!
Mama: Whatever, yourself! Go to sleep!
Viva: FINE!
Mama: FINE!
[At the door, I turn and look back at Viva before I turn out the light. She is grinning.]
Viva: Good night, Mama.
Mama: Good night, baby. I love you.
Viva: I love you, too. Even when you’re grumpy.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, it’s been a lovely day so far. Sweet William was awakened at 4 AM by the LA Fire Department apparently doing a drill in front of our building (his theory is that they punish us because someone in our building has pulled the fire alarms several times as a prank), so he got up and baked me brownies. He took them out, waited for them to cool, and then tried one. Gooey inside. He put them back in the oven and rebaked. Still no good:

Because he loves me beyond all reason, he then threw on some clothes and went out to the store and bought me a cake. When I got up at about 6:30 and went out into the dining area, this is what greeted me:

(The picture is a little dark. If you can't see, there's a small cake, two mugs, a carafe of coffee, roses, and a card. The roses are from a couple of days ago. Since he is flying out to day and won’t return until Sunday, he has been doing birthday things for me all week.) He is the sweetest.

And just because, here is a gratuitous shot of Princess Viva:

Many happy returns of the day.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hello? I do like you. Really.

Hey, so something funky is happening with my comment-notifier function. Usually if someone leaves a comment, I get an e-mail, and I generally try to reply soon after. I have noticed that I'm not getting any notifications, and I checked some recent posts, and like what the hell, people are commenting but I'm not being notified. What the bleep?

I feel like I should bitch a bit, but then, you know, Blogger is free.

So instead, I deeply apologize to anyone I may seem to have spurned. It was not my intention to ignore you. It is merely a result of the evils of technology. Love and kisses all around, you know the drill.

Show Me the Money

I think I have to stop reading blogs before I write my own, because as soon as I do, all my semi-coherent ideas for blogging skip merrily out of my pretty little head.

Ah! Now I remember. I have been doing quite a bit of reading lately about socioeconomics – not hardcore theory, but layperson articles about the stuff that impacts all of us, and I have to say, it’s freaking my shit out.

I’ve already mentioned think tank Brookings Institution’s recent report on the shrinking middle class in America, and the scary news that Los Angeles ranks last among 100 metro areas in its percentage of middle-class neighborhoods. Truly here, the rich get richer and the poor get fucked. Conventional wisdom has long held that communities need a solid middle class to be stable and sound, an opinion which certainly resonates with me as smacking of good old common sense.

Recent articles on the war against the homeless have made me bug out a little too: the LA Weekly’s “Dying to Get Off Skid Row” and Salon’s “Skid Row Makeover”, coincidentally posted within a few days of each other, detail exactly how nasty it’s gotten to live in a city of, well, Haves and Have Mores (to borrow a phrase from, yecccch, George Dubya).

I don’t know about you, but first I get pissed, and then I try to find out: is anyone doing anything about it? Well, some L.A. City Council members are trying to pass a moratorium on condo conversions to buy some time to address the thorny issue of affordable housing. And our esteemed mayor, along with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, in April of this year unveiled a comprehensive “$100-million plan to reduce the concentration of homeless services in skid row by establishing five centers across the county that would provide temporary shelter and social services for transients.” (Clicking here brings you to LA’s homeless blog, with detailed coverage of the plan.) And the Economic Roundtable has some ideas, among them “Hey! How about a living wage? And maybe some unions? And hey, let’s try and regulate the informal economy – how about them apples?”

You know, I’ve been poor, and I’ve been not so poor, and not so poor is definitely easier on the stomach lining. Now, to avoid being poor once more, let me get back to work (working from home today, does it show?).

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

If You Have Any Poo, Fling It Now

Viva’s mood of choice these days is hateful. From the second I woke her up this morning (“Go away!” she said, scowling and kicking at me), she has been so fucking mean that I want to ship her off on the next boat to Anywhere But Here. When I dropped her off at school, I drove away as fast as possible. Get! Away! From the Mean, Mean, Kid! Since I am already exhausted due to sleep deprivation caused both by her and by living in a noisy neighborhood, my tolerance for her hatefulness is extremely low. I tried talking to her about why she is in a grumpy mood, and I tried to introduce to her the concept of “You can choose your mood,” but she was determined to be, well, bitchy. I feel beat down by the force of her meanness.

Moving on to other not so interesting news: three days ‘til my birthday. Absolutely nothing is happening. Sweet W had to cancel his vacation this week and is going to Texas on business to meet with two big-name directors (his first big client) on Saturday, which is when I would be having my real birthday celebrations. I have been too busy and too exhausted – why, yes, too beat down – to pull anything together anyway, so it’s no loss.

Okay, I know it’s not that bad. I have been reading all kinds of sociological stuff these days, for work and otherwise, about poverty and abuse and domestic violence, and I realize my concerns are petty.* But damn! I need a day off like you wouldn’t believe.

* And seriously, I’m going to pull all my findings into at least one coherent post someday. If you really start looking closely at this shit, you’ll drop down on your knees. It’s frightening and sad.

Updated to add: Sweet William just called. His flight leaves Friday at 6 pm. He returns Sunday afternoon. Happy birthday weekend to me! Don't forget, I'll be stuck with the hateful, hateful mean babyhead while Sweet W is having drinks with the beautiful people. And last night he told me some pretty hardcore gossip about the director he's meeting with (which involves an actress better known for her work in TV than in film), and I can't even tell anybody. Well, of course I'm going to throw poo at him.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Deep Breaths

Jesus fucking Christ. We are in the middle of cubicle radio wars over here. On one side, we have my next-door cube mate, playing churchy, “The Lord is my Savior” music (“Praise Him! Praise Him!”), which he just turned up the volume on and is singing along with. Across the aisle, in the cube directly across from him, the cute little twenty-something started the morning playing bagpipe music and has moved on to some morning radio show, and behind her, the admin assistant for our department has her radio playing Stevie Wonder (who I fully admit I am partial to, but I can’t fucking hear it over the cacophony of cacophonous fucking noise in between).

Fucking hell. I so need my own fucking office. I feel like my head is going to explode.

Al Swearengen: Sometimes I wish we could just hit 'em over the head, rob 'em, and throw their bodies in the creek.

Cy Tolliver: But that would be wrong.

- courtesy of Deadwood, quite possibly the foulest fucking foulmouths on television. Fuck yeah!

I have no meetings scheduled for tomorrow and see no reason why I can’t work from home. I’m just saying, is all.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

If You Want Something Meaty, Eat Some Mutton

If you don’t care about reading anything of substance this morning, welcome home! Take a load off.

This morning, just after we pulled up outside Viva’s school: “I’m hungry.” I know that you know that Viva had already had breakfast – a yogurt smoothie, part of a bagel, and her vitamins – so this may strike you, as it did me, as surprising.

I grabbed my lunch from the front seat and gave her half of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

An aside: Viva lately has declared a pox on all things sandwich-related, objecting strenuously to any kind of food item placed between two pieces of bread. This has led to me making tortilla wraps, open-faced bagel sandwiches, and when all else fails, sending her to school with meatless chicken nuggets and a container of ketchup. (She also gets a container of fresh fruit, some kind of veggie or salad, crackers or tortilla chips, and usually a treat like a granola bar or banana bread or cookies.) I was skeptical that half of my PB&J would soothe the savage beastie.

Well, shut my mouth, because she grabbed it and chowed down. I left her happily munching away in her classroom. She barely deigned to say goodbye.

So much for my lunch. I just ate the other half and all that’s left of my lunch is fruit salad. It’s 9:15. Woe.

Even less meaty:

My birthday party plans have somewhat petered out. The place where I want to have the party doesn’t take reservations for groups larger than 12 (I was hoping to invite 20 people), and they don’t have a private room. Bastardos! I’m trying to regroup and figure out where to go from here. You know, in between working and parenting and spousing and all that.

And as I am working on my latest writing project – fleshing out someone else’s ideas for a program – I await some flashes of brilliance. Alas, uninspired prose rules the day.

I need to update my blogroll (hello, new friends) and links and what the hell, the blog template too. Are you as bored with it as I am?

Totally meatless:

My favorite headline thus far in the Mel Gibson flap: “Gibson's Newest 'Lethal Weapon' — His Mouth.” Hee hee. What an ass.