Monday, February 23, 2009

two baby butts, dozing

Last night Lola was cranky. It was the last night of her week off from school, and the impending return to kindergarten was not happily anticipated (Lola, grinning devilishly, had the idea of staying home sick, but both last night and this morning her proffered forehead was felt and deemed non-feverish, causing her to shake a tiny fist at her mother). She sulked while her older sister brushed her teeth, then brightened with a thought. "Can I draw Buttopolis on you?"

"Sure," said her tired mother. Lola grabbed a pen and drew on her mother's leg, pausing to inquire about an old, black lion on my foot, "Is this tattoo permanent?"

"Of course it is."

Lola was offended. "You never told me it's permanent! I've seen it there for years, but you never said."

She went back to her art. When she was called to go to bed, she was upset to leave her drawing. She told her father, "I drew Buttopolis! There is a mommy butt and two baby butts, dozing." I haven't washed the butts off my leg yet.

Friday, February 20, 2009

manners at the table

Last night the children were having a bowl of soup while the Sober Husband studied chess problems and I cut out pieces for a new quilt. The conversation was quite lively, focusing on Lola's newest nickname, "Buttseed." Last week Lola asked me to make up a story for her, and, having just logged off the World of Warcraft where one player used the word "buttseed" in a lengthy diatribe on the trade channel against another player, I made up a story about two little children named Buttseed and Hairbrick who had a rather banal adventure. Lola giggled every time I said "Buttseed", and she ended up going off to kindergarten the next day to tell everyone about a new nickname, "Buttseed." She reported back to me that all her kindergarten friends "think Buttseed is a very good name", and she went so far as to sign her Valentine to me as "from Buttseed Lola."

Iris demanded to know, "What kind of person wants to be called 'Buttseed'?" She ended up snorting soup out her nose as Lola defended the nickname and I decided that the children's nicknames would be "Big Buttseed" and "Little Buttseed." "Soup just came out my nose," she said incredulously. Lola and I laughed uproariously, and the Sober Husband silently moved his chess pieces about, his brow furrowed with concentration. I chided him for not joining in the riveting butt-centered conversation at the table.

"Yeah," said Lola firmly. "It is RUDE not to join in the conversation!" He was unmoved.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

a lovely day with the little freaks

Iris and Lola have the week off from school, what is called "ski week" at private schools (and indeed most of their friends are up in Tahoe skiing, but not us). One of our goals for the week was to (finally) go to the new Academy of Sciences, thinking it would be less crowded when the public schools were in session, but we failed. On two consecutive days we drove out to the Academy, only to find that the parking garage was full and there was no street parking within literally a mile. There was no point in having the children hike for one mile to the museum, as they'd then be tired and crabby before they even got inside (and I couldn't contemplate what it would be like leaving).

Today instead we ended up out at the beach, where we ran and frolicked and looked for sand dollars. It was practically like being in a commercial, so adorable and wholesome and happy. Of course, the commercial would have needed a voiceover covering up the actual dialogue. Lola decided to make up a song, and her lovely lyrics featured, "I hate you in the ass! I hate you in the guts!"

"WAIT!" I said. "Did you just say, 'I hate you in the ass'? What kind of kindergartener says 'in the ass'?" Iris laughed hysterically. Lola defended herself by saying, "I also said 'in the guts.'"

"Who taught you to talk that way?" I said with genuine curiosity. "Was it Iris?" Lola didn't know, but she did know that her song was now a big hit, having achieved Parental Offensiveness. "I hate you in the ass, I hate you in the guts," she sang merrily. Later she informed her dear mother that she hated her "in the ass and in the guts."

"I'm not taking any little children who hate me in the ass out for ice cream," I proclaimed.

"Oh! I love you in the ass! I love you in the guts!" said Lola in the voice of a suck-up.

"That's not really all that much better," I said. "No more talk about 'in the ass'!"

Lola changed her song to "I hate you in the eyeballs, I hate you in the earwax", which was deemed acceptable and ice cream was put back on the schedule, although her loving mother did remark, "You are such weird little freaks." Iris agreed. "Especially Lola!" she said, jumping around.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

an update on Cupy

From time to time people ask me how Cupy is doing. (I took kindergartener Lola to see "Wall-E", and she formed a violent attachment to her Slushee cup, which she named "Cupy" and kept, giving him a place of honor on the dining room sideboard, which she named "Cupy's Palace." On another occasion I made her throw out a similar cup while we were out of the house, which later led to tears and accusations that I had stopped her from giving Cupy a brother, "and Cupy wants a brother!" Later Cupy did acquire a brother, a bottle, but heartbreak ensued when our every-other-week cleaning lady recycled Cupy's brother. Cupy himself has been saved from purges as he has been labelled "CUPY" with a post-it note).

Cupy is the same as ever, but now he has a mate/friend/sibling/whatever. Lola brought home a cup from the 7-11, which is of indeterminate gender. This second, nameless cup sports a post-it note reading "CUPY FAMILY."

The other day I referred to Cupy as being in his palace, and Lola cut me off mid-sentence. With the utmost condescension and disgust towards my ignorance, she pronounced carefully, "CUPY HAS A MANSION. Not a palace. A MANSION."

I tried to argue with her. "You SAID it was 'Cupy's Palace.'"

Lola would have none of that and shouted, "MANSION. MANSION. MANSION" until I covered my ears and said, "Okay, okay, okay. Cupy has a mansion."

the heartbreaks of the uncaring public and disobedient talentcats

Six year-old Lola decided to put on a show, and she made a big poster:
hates to be caried
This was illustrated with garish drawings of Henry and Ray Charles, with lots of sunbursts drawn around them and the text.

Lola put up a label behind the couch reading "SEATS" and a label on the coffee table, "CHILD SEATS." She carefully put cushions on the floor for the anticipated child audience. The poster was taped up on our garage door at Lola's direction, for maximal notice by passers-by.

All day Lola was buzzing with anticipation about how great her show would be. The first heartbreak came when, at the appointed hour of the show, no one came except Mommy, Daddy, and pissy old big sister Iris. Lola was greatly saddened and disappointed and could barely bring herself to go on with the show. Next came heartbreak number two: "tallentcat" Henry refused to perform in any satisfactory manner whatsoever. Ray Charles was not much better. Lola cried, deeply, deeply disappointed and frustrated. Iris, ever eager to grab the spotlight, took over and managed to get Ray Charles to chase a toy about briefly. We applauded this greatly and told Lola it was all the talentcats' fault. "Cats will always let you down," I advised her.

Lola was scarred by this failed foray into show business. Days later she muttered unhappily, "If only we lived on Haight Street, then one hundred people would have come!" She felt bitterly towards all our neighbors and all the people who walk their dogs up and down this street, all too important to come to Lola's talent cat show. I pointed out that all one hundred people would have then been disappointed by the failures of the talentcats to perform, but Lola wasn't cheered up.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I hate Mendel's.

I'm taking a class in building little shrines, and one of the techniques I learned was embossing, using those same rubber stamps that people usually just pound into inkpads. Embossing can be a subtle use of imagery, and I was excited about adding it to the little shrine I'm currently building. I wanted stamps in the form of a palm tree and a monkey, not a cheesy, smiling monkey, but an aloof, intelligent monkey, and I've visited virtually every craft and hobby store in San Francisco with no luck. I'm also hunting for the distress ink pads made by Ranger, which I read about in the lastest "Quilting Arts" magazine, which allow you to easily fake the appearance of age for your art.

Yesterday I stopped by the loathed Mendel's on Haight Street in my continuing search (I'd already been to Pearl's the same day with no luck). Mendel's used to have an amazing selection of rubber stamps by the register, and I hoped to have luck there. I didn't see a single rubber stamp, though, which surprised me, but I did score the only Ranger distress pad I've seen anywhere (but in "Mustard Yellow", alas. I would have preferred one of the other colors). When my purchases were being rung up, I asked the snooty sales clerk, "I didn't see any rubber stamps. You don't have those any more?" He arched a supercilious eyebrow at me and said, "They're right there behind you," in a tone of voice that made it clear that I was a complete idiot for asking this question while standing right in front of the rubber stamps. I persevered: "I saw stamp pads there, but I didn't see any rubber stamps. They used to be by the register."

"We're slowly phasing them out," he said, again in a rude voice. After a pause, he then added, again in a tone of voice as though he were addressing a severely retarded person, "We haven't had any rubber stamps in a very long time." So which is it, rude boy: they're right behind me and I'm stupid for not seeing them, they're being "slowly phased out", or you "haven't had any in a very long time?"

I just hate that place. Once a woman in the fabric department was so rude to me that I walked out seething, abandoning my intended three figure fabric purchase. The problem is that the store is so inviting, with fascinating merchandise. Why is it that, unlike other stores on Haight Street, that Mendel's store culture is to be relentlessly condescending and rude to the customer?

Other people used to bitch about rudeness and condescension at the Discount Fabrics close to Mendel's, but I'd bonded with the sales people there. I buy a lot of fabric, and they all love my oversized pirate bag, being admirers of good fabric. Sadly the Discount Fabric people closed the Haight Street store after opening a large, less convenient one in the SoMA (and this store is clearly aimed towards the decorating fabrics market, having a much smaller selection of the solid cottons and wacky trims I buy), leaving Haight Street with only the horribly rude Mendel's for fabrics.

The staff was even rude to me the time I returned a stolen wallet, which turned out to belong to the niece of Mendel's owners. I found that wallet abandoned in a Haight St. gutter, stripped of its cash, but still containing various pieces of ID. At home the Sober Husband and I managed to find the owner's phone number on line, and she was happy to hear she could recover anything from the stolen wallet. "Just drop it off at Mendel's, if you can. My aunt and uncle are the owners." It was a pain to drive back over there, with no parking available and the Sober Husband driving around and around the block while I walked in. I must admit I was hoping for a warm reception, maybe even an offer of a discount on something as a reward for the wallet, but instead all I got was an arched brow from the cashier and a very cold reception indeed, as though I were a leper passing over a fallen-off finger.

I shouldn't have expected any better. The only other time I returned a stolen wallet, chock full of driver's license, credit cards, library cards, etc.., just not cash, the wallet's owner accused me of being the actual thief. That was a bit much on her part, particularly as the wallet had been found by a worshiper exiting church and turned into me, the church's receptionist, and I was seated right there at my post at the venerable old Episcopalian sanctuary. How was I supposed to be picking pockets while manning this desk at a church? And why would I call someone to return their wallet to them if I'd taken it?

In any event, returning wallets seems to be a thankless job, and shopping at Mendel's is a joyless way to spend your money. I should just buy my art supplies online if I can't find them at the delightful Flax, where the art students who work there are always sweet and helpful.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Lola makes her candy taste even sweeter

The other day Lola got a bag of various Chinese New Year-themed treats at kindergarten. In the car, she asked me, "Can I have my candy I got?"

"Sure," I said.

Lola said happily to herself, "I have two pieces of candy. I'll eat one now... and then I'll show one to Iris and eat it in front of her!"

tiny Lola's big drama

I was sick for about a month, with a flu followed by a pair of back-to-back colds. This was the kind of sickness where a person feels miserable and spends most of their time lying around with the appropriate props (ibuprofen, kleenex, generic Benadryl and Sudafed, etc...), but their husband doesn't take time off from work, and they still have to go pick up their squabbling children at school. When I dragged myself out to pick up Lola from kindergarten, I noticed towards the end of the month that her kind teachers were becoming increasingly solicitous of me, asking in gentle voices how I was feeling. I suspected that Lola was talking about me being sick, but I didn't think much of it... until Saturday morning when Lola asked me, "Are you still sick?"

"Not really," I said.

"DAMMIT!" Lola shouted. "I wasn't done with my thing." She stomped off, unconsoled by my saying, "Well, I do still have a sinus headache, and my nose is still runny."

I sneaked a look at Lola's "thing", a piece of paper she had brought home from kindergarten and had been very secretive about the day before. It was labeled "Mommy Newspaper." In the center there was a very flattering drawing of me beaming a happy smile, in a black t-shirt and my old green skirt. Under this it said in very small letters, "Lola's Mother." Written along the sides of the pictures was the newspaper's article:
We all know that tiny Lola's mother is very sick. We have trid everything but she stays sick. We hope she dos'ent die of illnes. So very much we hope only for her.

Friday, February 06, 2009

moi, a prude?

When Lola started kindergarten, I took advantage of having some free time in the day by signing up for ceramics classes (the classes I am taking are horrendously sought after; in order to gain a spot, one must get in line on Sign Up Day by 5 AM and then wait until noonish). Most people in the classes make vases, bowls, and platters, but I've been making a lot of small sculptures. Lately I've been branching out from the usual small animals and making little princesses, usually evil ones.

As I was wrapping up my latest little princess of evil, one of the grandmotherly types in the class, who'd never before initiated a conversation with me, spoke up. "You never make your little ladies naked. It's been bothering me."

Thursday, February 05, 2009

one thing after another

In early January I acquired a rather banal flu, the kind that has you taking far more ibuprofen for that pounding headache than your liver would like and just lying on the sofa feeling like death warmed over, asking the children to PLEASE stop screeching and fetch mommy some more ibuprofen and a glass of water, and for the love of God don't shout in Mommy's ear.

That flu segued seamlessly into a cold. I sent the Sober Husband out for Kleenex and Benadryl, and he came back with one measly box of cheap Kleenex, the kind that sands down your delicate nostrils. "We have plenty of Benadryl, so I didn't get any."

"Plenty" turned out to mean four, so the next day I dragged my grotesque, snot-ridden self down to Walgreen's, where I bought Kleenex and generic Sudafed. The perky cashier said, "Enjoy your Walfed!" as she handed over my bag. I mulled that little pleasantry over for some time. First, pharmacy cashiers should pretend they don't notice what they are ringing up (I really don't want to be bade, "Enjoy your Tampax!" And what about the poor souls buying pregnancy tests, hemorrhoid creams, bunion pads, yeast cures, etc..?) Next, who in the hell enjoys themselves with Kleenex and generic Sudafed? They've changed the Sudafed formula so that one can't use it to make methamphetamines any more.

That cold dragged on, leaving me a snuffling, miserable hulk who still had to drive her children over hell and back and listen to their nonstop squabbling.

I realized last week that I hadn't had a drink in a couple of weeks (I never feel like drinking when I'm sick). I decided that I might as well extend the accidental dryness, as I had a headstart on one of my semi-annual Liver Vacations (I was once told by a doctor friend that social drinkers like her and me already have the beginnings of liver damage, but just one alcohol free month will restore a social drinker's liver to pristine health. I didn't bother to fact check this assertion, but I've lived by it, giving my liver a one month vacation to freshen it up from time to time). I'm not sure exactly when in January I had a drink, so I'm extending this Liver Vacation into February. Sadly though it hasn't been much of a true vacation for the old liver, seeing as how I've been marinating it in Theraflu, Walfed, Waldryl (love those generics) and ibuprofen.

On Monday I started to feel recovered from the flu-following cold, feeling well enough to feel bored and to start getting caught up on laundry. I also went to my evening art class, which I skipped the week before because I was just too sick to get off the couch. Then on Tuesday I woke up, utterly miserable, with either a resurgence of that cold or (more probably) a completely new cold I'd acquired on that one day of near-health.

I've laid in a new supply of Kleenex and Walfed, and I'm walking around carrying a Kleenex box and just feeling disgusting in general. I feel guilty whining about colds and flus, as it's not cancer or HIV, but I'd love to get it over with.

My house is a vivid illustration of the fact that I actually do housework when I feel okay. "See," I said to the Sober Husband. "You can now tell that I normally do housework during the day", that being a point which has been the subject of some scholarly debate in the past. There are those, mostly children, who would contend that I spend all day buying books and playing World of Warcraft. Sadly this month there have been many days when I didn't even log on, because I felt too sick to play Warcraft. The little skeptics refuse to believe that Mommy went a day or two without playing Warcraft.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Lola's fall from grace

For a couple of years now kindergartener Lola has styled herself a god, one with the power to condemn people to hell, but today there was a surprise. Her big sister Iris informed me, "Lola is Satan now."

I looked at Lola for more information. Lola grinned happily and shouted merrily, "I am the Satan Lola!"

"Yeah, she calls herself 'Satan Lola' now," interrupted Iris. "And she has Satan monkeys..."

Interrupting Iris right back, tiny, sweetfaced Lola screamed, "SATAN MONKEYS IN HELL! AND THEY KILL KILL KILL!" She clawed furiously at the air to demonstrate the killing abilities of her Satan monkeys.