I no longer remember why Jackson asked me to draw a picture of Mr. Freeze. I forgot to give him goggles: (more…)
Jackson got his hair cut in a barber shop where the pampering is old style. You can get a shave with a straight razor (which Jack will not do, as it gives him “the willies”), and a shoulder massage with one of those vibrating hand things that look like they can also polish your shoes and make a milkshake. You can also read an old Playboy and smoke a cigar while you wait. Jackson is only nine and is not allowed to smoke cigars. Jack used to smoke cigars but he gave it up. Hell, I used to smoke cigars and all I can say is that they’re expensive and get you so jacked up on nicotine that it’s hard to hear yourself screaming over the pounding of your own heart.
Jackson thinks putting on a hat is a funny thing to do when I want to take a picture of his new haircut:
I was in New York City last weekend for a couple of . . . all right, maybe seventy-five reasons. Each of them was a compelling one! Behold the dearth of my photography!
1. The annual BlogHer conference which, as you probably know, is a conference for bloggers. Mostly women, but also men, a fair portion of whom seemed to be parents. BlogHer is awash in parenting bloggers, of which about 71% rarely get out of the house (including me). So when you then take these rarely-out people and put them in giant rooms filled with disco balls, unicorns, art, and cheeseburgers, magical things happen. And as long as I have a brain cell to my name I will treasure the memory of Luvvie stomping her feet and shouting while Jenny worked the entire Single Ladies dance at the end of the Sparklecorn party. (That is a video of her SECOND shot at doing the dance, at the subsequent CheeseBurgHer party, which you might have already figured out because of all the people wearing McDonald’s bags on their heads. I can’t explain that. It’s just a thing.)
Two weeks ago Sunday: the second half of the new draft of my and Alice’s now-65,000 word manuscript was due the next morning. (How did we add 15,000 words? When did we find the time?). It needed fourteen more hours of attention before we could send it to our editor and go to bed in our respective time zones. Along with those fourteen hours of editing, Alice had to start packing up her entire apartment and I had to conjure up an additional five hours to take Jackson to his karate testing 20 miles south, in Ventura. I also hoped to find 6 to 8 hours in which to sleep before my new job started at 8:30 the next morning. I have long rued the day that our country rejected the metric system, trapping us in years bloated with 12 months and days that last a mere 24 hours. But I knew that, even though I lacked a clock divided into 100-minute hours, I could cram it all in somehow.
Since Jack had been shopping, cooking, and kid-wrangling for weeks to give me the space to work, and despite the overwhelming pressure that this was the last day Alice and I had to rewrite (and dear God, suddenly it seemed like there was a lot to rewrite), he needed a day off, so I sucked it up to go be a karate mom. It was okay. All that acupuncture I’d been having for my lady parts was having the side-effect of making me supernaturally calm. Plus I heard that some teenage girl black belt was going to be demonstrating the Shaolin Double Chain Whip! It was all going to be very Jackie Chan. I wasn’t going to miss it.
The testing was closed to observers, but after killing an hour (AN HOUR WITH ONLY 60 MINUTES IN IT) at J. C. Penney buying pillowcases and washcloths, I arrived in time to watch the belt-giving-out ceremony. Chinese lion dancers then came out and tossed an orange back and forth between their mouths. Getting hit by the orange would give you good luck for a year! Some karate guy muscled past all the kids to get up front, and then the lion dancers threw the orange right at him. However, the rest of us who had not TOTALLY RIGGED our luck and had thus avoided being bruised by flying fruit could still ask fortune to smile upon us somewhat more safely by sticking dollar bills into the lion’s mouth. Yes, there was shrieking. Adorable shrieking!
And then, of course, there were feats of strength. The sensei brought out a stack of 3/4″ plywood cut into 2′ x 2′ squares for people of various ranks to try and break. Some of the littler yellow belts set boards against concrete stairs and stomped to break them in half. An older brown belt with dyed red hair went KEEYAAAAH! and snapped one in half with her bare hand.
Then Jackson went up to his sensei and said, “My mom wants to break a board.”
Me: “No, I don’t.”
Jackson: “Yes, you do.”
Me: “Why don’t you do it? Mr. Orange Belt. Mr. Bossy Boots.”
Jackson: ‘DO IT, MOM! DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT.”
Sensei, sizing me up: “I can teach you what to do.”
Me: “Buuhhhh . . .”
Sensei: “You can do it.”
This was the guy who’d just performed an archery demonstration wherein he’d shot an arrow through an apple seventy feet away, so I figured maybe if he thought I could do it, I could do it. He told me how to stand and how to pull back with my left arm while thrusting through the board with my right, palm out flat. I took a couple of practice thrusts. They were terrible.
Sensei: “Twenty percent harder.”
I am here to tell you a couple of things about trying to break a board with your hand. One is, don’t close your eyes when you hit it.
Me (hopping up and down and clutching my stinging right hand): “I think I closed my eyes when I hit it.”
Sensei, trying not to smile, holding intact board: “I think you did, too.”
Jackson: “TRY IT AGAIN, MOM!”
Sensei: “You want to try it again?”
Jackson: “DO IT, MOM! DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT!”
Me: “Jesus Christ my hand stings like shit.”
Sensei: “Twenty percent harder.”
Me: “Uh, sorry about the cursing.”
Sensei: “Push through the board.”
And you know what? On the second try, I did it. I DID IT, I BROKE THAT MOTHERFUCKING BOARD INTO THREE GODDAMNED PIECES.
I was high for about a hundred minutes after I did it, too. Adrenaline is no joke, my friends. My hand wouldn’t feel right until Wednesday and I didn’t even care. I went home and edited the CRAP out of that manuscript, and after five hours of sleep, I went and had an absolutely stellar first day at my new job.
I was moving a bunch of Jackson’s baby photos from one digital archive to another when I found this, taken in the fall of 2001 on one of those walks we used to go on at the end of the day when he was cranky. He’d bob along in his baby backpack and I’d take pictures. I was a little depressed at the time, having just lost my job, and having barely any idea of what to do with a tiny person all day. But we survived. Flourished, even, after a fashion.
I am giving away a Flip SlideHD video camera for Mother’s Day, come over here and I’ll tell you what you can to do maybe win it.
Last week I had to take my car in to get the passenger side door lock replaced. Owning a car that was built in the previous century means that as you round the corner into your second decade of ownership all sorts of interesting parts begin to fail. In February the coolant system needed resuscitation. In March the computer brain that causes all the dashboard alerts to light up all at once caused all the dashboard alerts to light up all at once. Then in April Jackson discovered that he could open the passenger side door even when it appeared to be locked. “How do I keep opening a locked door?” he shouted over the sound of the car alarm one day. “YOU’RE DOING WHAT?!” I inquired politely at the top of my lungs.
So one morning last week I left my car at Swedemasters at 8:15 a.m., which gave me 45 minutes until I had to be at the acupuncture office where I’m currently undergoing a series of treatments meant to restore the cyclical functions of my lady parts. (The transition between blithe fertility and never having to look another tampon in the eye comes at a price, ladies. Fortunately, Chinese herbs and tiny little needles strategically placed in my toes/knees/scalp may keep the aging process from killing me HA HA HA.) Anyway, between the garage where I’d left my car and the acupuncture office I had a 20-block city walk to enjoy, so I took some photos! For you!
I’m doing NaBlo this month, posting every day! I don’t know why! The theme is “Look Up.” (I don’t plan on posting photos of the sky 31 days in a row, but it could happen.)
I lost $10 on the Kentucky Derby today. I don’t condone gambling, I’ll have you know, and I’m sure that in some circles horse racing is an abomination on par with professional wrestling and Fashion Week (all three require drug abuse and outfits that don’t make sense in any other context). I can only hope that my $10 served as a karmic deduction, as well.
My great uncle Louis sent out this Christmas card I’m guessing around 1952. He must have been getting a lot of photo cards from couples and families so I’m proud of how he responded: he took a double exposure photo (could a digital camera even do this? I guess we have Photoshop now) and made himself into a family of two.
Louis worked at Wonder Bread in Minneapolis for 30 years. He married a nice girl named Dottie and instead of kids they raised standard poodles and dobermans. I only met him once or twice. I remember him being tall and rather taciturn, but my dad could break him up.
Uncle Louis was born 16 years after his sister, Rose. Rose, my grandmother, had my dad when she was 19, so my dad and Louis were only about three years apart, and consequently they grew up more like brothers than an uncle and nephew.
The men in my family always look like celebrities to me. Louis reminds me of Sid Caesar. In certain photographs my grandfather looks just like Humphrey Bogart. My uncle Harry was a perfect cross between Jack Lemmon and Johnny Carson. My brother Tim is a cheerful mix of Tom Selleck, John Travolta, and Will Ferrell.
Apart from my mother somewhat resembling Ingrid Bergman, however, the women in my family exhibit nothing more than a tendency to snort when surprised by something funny.