Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sugar, Hi.

As I await the ghosts and goblins to materialize upon my doorstep demanding a sugar high, I thought what better way to kill time between the little monsters than to make a list. And while I have recently duly noted that not all of you appreciate lists (I believe the actual wording included the word "despise") I feel that since my tendency towards list-making is yet another facet of my awesomeness, it is crucial that I continue to grace the world at large with said lists. Thus I now give you:


1. The Zombie~The Zombie is a cocktail containing many different liquors, including (but not limited to) brandy, and....well, actually I have no idea because by the time I chose The Zombie as my drink I had already had a very large (potentially triple-sized) Cosmopolitan and a Sam Adams and was far beyond paying much attention to detail. I know it had brandy in it, though, because Blaker mentioned that this morning. Anyway, the point is that I had never had a Zombie before, but after last night, I learned that one should never drink this Zombie (especially after a few other drinks) unless one wants to find, upon reviewing the photographs from the night before, that one stole a red feather boa, partially undressed, and wrapped themselves around a barely legal Hugh Hefner/Cowboy type character who claimed to be dressed as Van Wilder. And then had it photographed.

2. Things Never Quite Go As Planned~ For weeks, I've been hearing from my kids that they wanted to be a Snow Queen with Pink Hair and a Green Power Ranger With Orange Hair, respectively (my children are nothing if not particular). This remained the case up until approximately 20 minutes before trick-or-treating time, when my Snow Queen morphed into a pink fairy then into a princess then into a fairy princess (with no wings) and my Power Ranger became a Transformer then an Evil Genius Bad Guy. Now, having prepared myself for this yet knowing I am not one to embrace last minute changes, I fortified with vodka ahead of time. Unfortunately, it was vodka on am empty stomach, which, combined with huffing spray-on hair color fumes, didn't do much to encourage motor function. Hence, the kids' makeup is slightly askew.

3. Ain't No Party Like A Newport News Party~ B and I attended our first Halloween Extravaganza in six years last night, hosted by the ever-lovely Monica and Chris. Monica and Chris are a fun, childless couple with an incredibly cool house that was used as a Speakeasy during Prohibition. Although I was skeptical about partying with a bunch of engineers, it was a blast. There were cool decorations, tons of food, unbelievable amounts of liquor, and great costumes. I've never seen so many drunk engineers in my life, but as it turns out, engineers get a hell of a lot more fun when they're tanked. Who'd have known?

4. I love carving pumpkins. Usually, I help one kid carve one, and B helps the other kid carve another. This year I got my knives and scoopers and bags together to go outside and commence with the carving, only to be told by my children that they had absolutely zero interest in carving pumpkins. None. Refusing to bow to their ridiculous lack of enthusiasm, I set out carving my own damn pumpkin. B soon joined in. I just knew that the kids would see the crazy amounts of fun we were having and want to help, so our family tradition would be complete. I was wrong. They glanced at us once or twice, but chose to ride their bikes in circles around the driveway, then sweep out the garage. (How messed up is it that my kids would rather SWEEP than participate in McPhail Family Halloween Fun??) On a side note, the pumpkins look fucking fantastic.

5. Coincidental Hauntings~ I rarely watch television, and if I DO watch it, it's never the Biography or SyFy channels. There's just not enough time in my life for a good two hour in-depth exploration of Abigail Adams or the moons of Pluto. So how is it that today, when I'm totally psyched about Halloween tv AND find myself with a few minutes to spare, that I turn on the set to see that the only scary documentary-type ghost show (my favorites--fictional gore doesn't do it for me) is one that I've seen not once, but TWICE before? HOW CAN THAT BE? Does the universe REALLY hate me that much? REALLY? Apparently so.

I'm out of candy. Happy Halloween, Y'all.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Clocking Out

One day while I was bored, I Googled the word "death" just to see what happened. Of course, I received about ten zillion results, ranging from "explaining death to young children" to necrophilia (ew, gross). Since I bore easily, I only made it through the first two pages of sites, but something on Page Number Two caught my eye. Death Clock. Apparently, there is a website you can visit at, at which you enter a few pertinent details about yourself and IT TELLS YOU WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. Insane? Maybe.

Want to hear the kicker?

The few people close to me that I've lost (Dad, my Grandpa) were listed as already deceased when I entered their info. Their death dates were incorrect, but still. Craziness. My own date of future demise? July 15, 2031. That will put me at 54 years old, which is approximately 22 years older than I expected to live (I still hold true to the belief that I shall die while I'm 32) but young, nonetheless. According to Death Clock, my mom, my husband, and pretty much everyone I know will outlive me. Hell, I even went back a few times and re-entered my information, and apparently the best I can hope for is 63 years old, tops.

Kind of makes you want to go base jumping and spirituality seeking, right?

On the deathclock site, you enter your date of birth, sex, outlook, body mass index, and whether or not you are a smoker. While I believe there are many other things that play into one's demise (being hit by a bus, having a meteor fall out of the sky, being struck by lighting while lying in church) you can't help but wonder how much accuracy comes in tidy little Internet packages.

At least, I can't.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Life Is Ours, We Live It Our Way

You know something that drives me totally freakin' insane? Inspirational things. Like those friendship forwards and Jesus emails. Magnets and bookmarks with sunsets and Bible verses on them. Little wall plaques that say cute things about families. They make me want to slit my own throat, while standing at the precipice of a very tall building, so that just in case I don't bleed out quickly enough, the fall will surely kill me. (If now is the time you plan to point out that I'm going to hell, suck it.)

Why is it so hard to find a coffee mug that says, "Fuck off, I hate you," or a sympathy card that says, "It's a shame he/she died instead of you"? I would totally buy both of those things. (Then I would send the card to my uncle, but that's a different story.) Unlike Oprah and Deepak Chopra, I think the people of the world spend way too MUCH time being nice to each other. What happened to honesty? Wouldn't we all feel better if we just let those feelings OUT? I think so (as does my psychologist). I just don't see any point in pretending all the time, especially where other people are concerned.

That is why I am taking it upon myself to start a new movement across America, promoting individual emotional honesty. I want to stamp out Maya Angelou quotes and eliminate all items of clothing with kitten appliques on them. Nobody really likes those things, so quit pretending like you do.

You know who you are.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

No Pain, No Gain

Yesterday was an interesting day.

I woke up in a great mood, despite the fact that three things were a given:
1. I was going to have to drive to Greenbrier (about 20 minutes away) first thing, in traffic
2. I was going to have to have blood drawn
3. I was going to have to do these two things without any coffee in my system, as it had to be a fasting blood draw

Now, I hate traffic with a passion. I get all pissed off in traffic and yell and swear like you wouldn't believe. I tend to whack the steering wheel and the dashboard. Occasionally, I will beat my head against the driver's side window in frustration. I. Hate. Traffic. Additionally, I HATE having blood drawn. Am I afraid of needles? Nope. I just like to be the one in control of the damn needle, and I have yet to figure out how to draw my own blood. Which means I have to trust a total stranger, who may or may not have graduated at the bottom of their unusually large phlebotomy class after dropping out of nursing school because wow, that CNA program is HARDCORE, to come at me with a needle. Between over twenty years of diabetes and two pregnancies, I have had a lot of blood drawn--from some of the best, and definitely some of the worst. When it's one of the lesser talented phlebotomists, I tend to swear, whack the side of the chair, and occasionally bang my head back against the wall behind me. (Are we seeing a pattern here?) Oh, and I don't function without coffee first thing. At all. Period.

Despite these strikes working against me (along with a few extra strikes--like Bellamy running home from the bus stop sobbing because she was tired of waiting on the bus and "so bored!" just as I watched the bus pass by, leading me to have to drive her to school and deal with the crossing guard from hell) I was able to make it to the lab with no permanent injuries to myself or those around me. I settled in, and offered up my left arm. (The veins roll in my right--so I ALWAYS insist on the left. And on the offhand chance I get one of those people who tell me they can ONLY draw from one side or the other because that is what they are used to, I immediately leap from the chair, covering my veins and haul ass outta there.) The lady drawing the blood was a very sweet, older black lady, whom at first seemed to have no idea what she was doing. No request for fist pumping? Tourniquet in a funny spot? However, either she was highly talented or my veins were just ripe for the sticking because all went well. As she filled tube after tube, she explained to Sutt what she was doing, what the blood was for, etc. He was fascinated, and behaving very well (and sitting in my lap). Before long, it was over, she taped down a cotton ball on my arm because I bleed through Band-aids and I was ready to go.

Until Sutton spoke up.

"Hey, what about my surprise? When you go to the doctor you always get a surprise when you're a good boy!" The phlebotomist and I looked at each other. I knelt down to his level, and pointed out to Sutt that HE didn't do anything, Mommy was the one who got stuck, so if anybody should get a surprise it was Mommy. And Mommy just wanted the hell outta there and a straight shot to the nearest Starbucks.

"But I was a good boy! And I had to come to the doctor! And there was blood and shots!" Um, yeah, kid. MY BLOOD. MY SHOTS. You just had to sit there in my lap, holding your hand-me-down Batman and one-armed Robin action figures that somebody somewhere found in their attic and assumed had once been Blaker's, hence should be passed onto you, despite the likelihood they contain crazy-assed 1970's things like lead and asbestos.

At that point, the phlebotomist stepped in and mentioned that he HAD been a good boy, so she DID have a surprise for him, and produced a Garfield Band-Aid, noting that being a boy means he probably gets a lot of boo-boos. (I neglected to tell her that the last boo-boo he got was when he pinched his finger in Barbie's Diamond Castle while pretending that pink fairy Barbie was having a sleepover with Holiday Barbie, circa 2006. I figured, let the kid keep his dignity in public.)

Sutt examined the Band-Aid suspiciously. I gently reprimanded him, "What do you say to the nice lady?"

He sighed, begrudgingly. "Thank you, wady. But I willy willy wanted a wowwy pop."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Many Uses of Me

I recently had a conversation with a friend, during which I made the remark that he should make a list of all the reasons he's useful, because it probably would not be a very long list. Granted, I was (mostly) joking, but it got me to thinking, "For what am I useful?" And I realized I was kind of drawing a blank. Damn.

Here's what I've got so far:


1. Wine recommendations~ I drink a lot. Not like, get up in the morning and break out the Chardonnay (well, not MOST mornings), but more like "Dear Jesus, let's hope livers really do regenerate, otherwise I'm irreversibly screwed." You know, about average. The bright spot in all this organ damage is that I've tried many, many different brands and varietals of wines and have created a decent working knowledge of them all in my head. So, should you be wondering, "What's a good, mid-priced Pinot?" or "What is a spicy red that goes well with rare beef?" I'm the girl to ask.

2. I'm practically fearless~ Need a spider killed? A base jumping partner? Someone to tell your husband to go fuck himself because it's really not fair for him to call you names because you skipped going to the gym today? Other than being Ophidiophobic, I fear essentially nothing, including excruciating pain and impending death. If you're scared to do it, I probably am not. And if you give me vodka beforehand, I definitely am not.

3. High Entertainment Value~ This is likely due to the frequent drunkenness and fearlessness, nevertheless, it gets its own place on the list. I also have a tendency to hit and swear at people who make me angry, which other people seem to enjoy watching (particularly when I'm pregnant, but if you're interested in that show, you've missed the boat because I have no intention of producing another child).

4. I'm the literati~ I have a vast working knowledge of most books AND authors, as well as strong opinions on both. I feel reasonably certain that most people at Barnes & Noble either find me extremely helpful, or excruciatingly obnoxious, because when I see someone looking at a book I've read (which is most of them), it's very difficult for me to hold back my feelings regarding said book. (On a side note, they should really hire me to circulate and make suggestions to people, as I am very, very good at it and would be an asset to their establishment.)

5. I'm intuitive~ Another job at which I would be fabulous would be Justice Operative (yes, I just coined that title). The government could hire me to show up with my Tarot cards and my intuition and gauge the guilt of criminals and/or the outcome of crimes. I have an uncanny ability to read other people, and can tell from the moment I see someone, before he or she even says a word, whether or not I'm going to like him or her. (Usually I don't, because most people suck. From time to time, when I meet someone I feel this way about, as soon as they say "hello," I will say, "I don't care for you," and walk away. Or if I REALLY don't like them, "Get back, you boil upon the face of humanity! Crawl back into the hellhole from which you came!" It's part of my charm.)

6. Size matters~ I'm reasonably small for a grown woman, so I can fit into places that many people cannot. Drop something behind the bookshelf? Never fear, my hands are small enough to fit back there. Need something that's really far up under the bed? No problem, I'm little enough to slide under there. (On a side note, I can also wear clothes from the children's department if they are a size large. This has been known to come in handy for various reasons that we will not get into right now.)

7. I'm fun and easy (and yes, I like the way that sounds)~ I will preface this by saying that I'm USUALLY fun and easy. There are a couple of instances during which I am not fun nor easy, namely times of PMS and high blood sugar. However, those times aside, I'm SUPER FUN and SUPER EASY. I'm not a picky eater, I'm not obsessed with how I look, and I'm pretty much always up for anything. Additionally, if you don't already have a plan, I'm always full of good ideas (potentially strange ideas, but still good ones). Yes. Yes, I am.

Right at this moment, I can't seem to think of anything else. (Also, I really have an attachment to odd numbers, particularly 7 and 13, and since I know that I can't think of enough items to make it to 13, I would like to stop here to stroke my own OCD tendencies. You may have noticed over the years that I am also outrageously fond of parenthesis, but that's totally tangential.) For now, this will have to suffice.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Shards of Infinity

Throughout my life, I've been a girl who hasn't sought out a lot of friends. I have always had tons of acquaintances, but have neither the need or the desire to have many actual friends. I do not like to share my thoughts with people. I do not want to cuddle up with a girlfriend and paint each others' nails and talk about boys (figuratively speaking, of course). Never have. That freaks me out. However, that said, every now and then I stumble across people who I DO want close to me, people that I recognize (though I still do not want to snuggle with them). This has happened all my life.

I like to think of it as soul recognition. (Do not scoff at my theories, because I know what the hell I'm talking about--as I always do.)

It is my belief that there are a handful of people walking this earth for each of us, who are intrinsically important and necessary to us, not only in this lifetime, but in many others. We may not see them every single life we live, but during many of them, they are there. The roles of these people change from life to life--one lifespan they may be a spouse, in another a best friend, or a parent or a child or a neighbor. Regardless, if we are intuitive enough, when we meet (or sometimes even see) them for the first time, we just feel like we know them already. And that's because we do. It doesn't matter how hard you try, you can't untangle yourself from these souls. You're destined to always have them intertwined with you somehow.

I do not believe that everyone close to us in each life is one of our special "people." You do not always marry one of your recognizable souls, and you certainly can love many unrecognizable ones in each life. But our "special" people always have a bit of an edge. You will always have them lurking somewhere in your psyche, in your heart, in your gut. Just as you will be in theirs, whether they realize it or not. And sometimes, they will not. Just as sometimes, you won't either.

In my life thus far, I have found five souls I've known before. I don't know who they were in past lives, or how we were connected, but I do know that I've known them many times over, and I've known them well. I find this comforting and it brings me joy. I look forward to seeing them again someday, wondering how I will find them when I am someone new.

Someday, I think I will die and I will go to my own version of heaven, as will we all. But until I complete the cycle of lives I am to live on this earth, I take heart in knowing that I am not alone, because even if I haven't found them yet, there are always people who already love me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Musings From the Edge

Those of you who follow my blog know I haven't been writing as much lately. I'm going to blame it on my brilliance--all gifted artists tend to work in a manic/depressive form. During manic times, they create with abundance. During the depressive times, not so much. This is a depressive time. Personally, I am pretty damn sure that I'm not manic depressive, but since it's a sign of genius, I'm willing to consider it as a possibility. (I mean, we all realize I'm a genius, right? Right.)

This morning I was sitting on my deck watching the sky and the dogs (not at the same time, as they were in opposite vertical directions), thinking about what I was going to do today when I suddenly realized that maybe I didn't want to do anything at all. Every day I do some combination of about ten million things. I clean, I cook, I chauffeur, I launder, I run errands, I shop, I exercise, I teach, I worry and work and wreak havoc upon my mental facilities to make sure my family continues to function in a proper and necessary way. But what if I stopped? What if I just decided one morning that I was DONE? Would it really matter?

This is where it gets interesting.

Hell, yes, it would matter! My family would fall apart without me. B wouldn't have lunch, he wouldn't have clean clothes, the kids wouldn't be bathed or fed or have their homework done or their hair and teeth brushed or their lunches packed or permission slips signed or tuition checks written. No one would make the doctors appointments or take them TO the appointments or feed/bathe/take out the dogs or sign for the deliveries or buy the groceries or realize that neither of the kids' shoes fit any longer and they both need to be taken shopping. No one would know that Sutton takes a 1/2 a teaspoon of Zyrtec BEFORE bed or that he only eats oatmeal cooked in the microwave (not on the stove!) or that Bellamy has to be checked every morning to make sure she's not trying to go to school without panties (yes, this is a problem in our house).

And this is why I don't get sick days. I'm tired. I have a headache. I vomited four times today. But there is NOBODY who can fill my shoes, no substitute for me. Good or bad, I have no idea, but regardless it's true. There's only one me.