Sunday, January 25, 2009

Grandpa: Music Video Connaisseur... Extraordinaire

Recently, I took Grandpa to get his hair cut. I sat in the waiting area, absorbed in brain training on Brad's Nintendo DS. ( It's this little program where you do all these little exercises to keep your brain sharp. Gotta keep that old gray matter in shape, even if the rest of me is one big flabby noodle. ) I started to falter a bit in this endeavor; I lost my concentration, listening to Grandpa's interaction with the girl cutting his hair.

She was asking him if he liked watching sports, and he gave a rather noncommittal reply, and added that he watches videos. "Oh! Like music videos?" said the slightly airheaded young thing. "Yeah!" said Grandpa. I grinned to myself as I pictured what each was thinking, as if they had those little cartoon thought bubbles over their heads. The girl was thinking, "MTV music videos" and Grandpa was thinking, "Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

Girl, what kind of 85 year old man watches MTV?!

I don't know WHAT Grandpa was thinking when she started talking about You-Tube.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cryptic Babblings Which You Can Skip If You Wish and I Will be None the Wiser, Nor Offended... But I felt the Need to Declare This Publically.

I've always been somewhat of a sensitive person. I remember in Kindergarten, when they handed out awards at the end of the year - and it was the type of thing where everyone got an award for SOMEthing, no matter how lame or exalted. And my award said, "Sensitive to other's needs" or something like that. Which, at the time, I was rather ashamed of because it made me sound like a lily-livered baby pansy. ( The mind of a six year old, who can fathom? I don't think I had any secret aspirations to be tough or anything, so what was the big deal?)

ANYWAY... My thinking on the matter has evolved to a more complicated plane. I realize that this capacity to sympathize and empathize can be a great strength, but it can also be a trap. Yes, it's a gift to comfort and help others, but it also tends to get me into trouble because I can "take up a cause" and get all upset FOR SOMEONE ELSE... often in ways that are unnecessary. I think it's a quality that can be exploited by the devil: "Why just get one person upset? I'll make sure Claire hears about it and then TWO people can have a miserable day!" And in that way it's also an invitation for DRAMA.

And guess what?! I'm burned out on drama! I think if one more drama happens, I will quit! Seriously! I will move to Australia and become an ostrich farmer!

I think I'm a codependent person. Wikipedia delves into the subject thusly:

Codependence (or codependency) is a popular psychology concept popularized by Twelve-Step program advocates.[1][2] A "codependent" can be loosely defined as someone who exhibits too much, and often inappropriate, caring for persons who depend on him or her. A "codependent" is one side of a relationship between mutually needy people. The dependent, or obviously needy party(s) may have emotional, physical, financial difficulties, or addictions they seemingly are unable to surmount. The "codependent" party exhibits behaviour which controls, makes excuses for, pities, and takes other actions to perpetuate the obviously needy party's condition, because of their desire to be needed and fear of doing anything that would change the relationship.[citation needed]

A common usage of the term is that codependency occurs when enabling addiction, taking care of another person in a way that is not healthy in the long run to either that person or themselves, or both.[3] Codependency is loss of self for the codependent.[4]

Did you catch that? A LOSS OF SELF? More and more, I think I'm coming to a deeper realization that this is true of me. I know it sounds like a bunch of Dr. Phil mumbo-jumbo, but there is a kernel of truth in there. Disturbing truth. And a kernel may not sound big or important but when you're eating popcorn and suddenly you crunch down on a kernel, it can cause a heap of pain. Sometimes truth can bring pain, but that's no reason to avoid it. I believe the truth, however awful, eventually always leads to something good.

So here's the deal: I'm going to work on not caring as much. It's not a New Year's Resolution. It's a new LIFE resolution. If someone has a problem and I'm not the cause or the solution, please don't tell me about it. Please don't involve me. And if you do, don't be surprised if I don't JUMP into worried/caring/sensitive mode. ( Disclaimer: this does not include making me aware of legitimate prayer requests. I'm all fine with that. Disguising drama as a prayer request...gossip with a tacked on mention of prayer at the end: not fine with it. ) I may have to swing to the opposite end of the pendulum for a while and appear callous and uncaring...I think to end up in a good, healthy, middle of the road place, I might have to go to an opposite extreme for a while, just to extricate myself from this codependent ditch.

I hereby resign from drama, and from being a codependent person. If you want to be all upset about something, go ahead. I am not joining you. Sorry! Oh, wait. No, I'm not sorry. Unless I am at fault. Then I'll feel bad like nobody's business.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Warning - Chai Berry Latte is EVIL

Words to the wise: When you go to Starbucks to indulge yourself and redeem your Christmas stocking gift card, don't be tempted by the strange reddish tea. Don't tell yourself, "You should try something new. Be adventurous. Go out on a limb. Order the Chai Berry Latte." Give me your ears, you simpletons. I beg of you: Do not do it. Be safe. Stay with the good old standbys...the cappuccino. The Caramel Macchiato. The White Chocolate Mocha. Do not associate with a strange new beverage; it is folly in liquid form.

This drink is loathsome. Be warned.

Do not look on the Chai Berry Latte when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly. At the last it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper...and just generally tastes horrible.

And above all, DON'T get a grande size of something you've never tried before! Stupid, stupid, stupid. *smacks forehead in disgust*

Fortunately, I did not spend all of the gift card. I went back today and got my old favorite - the white chocolate mocha- to reassure myself that Starbucks is still my friend. And it was gooood.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rejoice with me

I just need to vent some joy here.

A week or two before Thanksgiving, one of Grandpa's front teeth came out. Long story. Actually, it was a crown that fell out. So he needed to get it replaced. Enter Nanston Dental and Dr. Magurski.

At first there was a temporary crown. But it kept falling out. Oh the tales and painful minutia I could share with you. Tales of days of soups and soft food. He lost weight; I felt bad. Tales of dental adhesive and Brad putting the tooth BACK IN HIS MOUTH FOR HIM! I kid you not. I lost track of how many times we went back to the dentist. With Aiden. Without Aiden. Carrying the temporary crown in a little baggie. And then there was the time it took five hours to re-attach it. Oh, look! I did share all the tales and painful minutia with you. Sort of. In nutshell form.

And then, the piece de resistance. The creme de la creme. The cherry on... okay you get the picture. Dad took him to the dentist to get the permanent crown put on. I think it was the week before Christmas. I was at work. It turns out that the dentist, poor man, dropped the crown into Grandpa's mouth. And Grandpa's mouth did what mouths usually do when you put things in them: swallow. I'm really not kidding. When Dad told me over the phone, I laughed. It was just too crazy. I met him in the ER after I left work. There were X-rays taken to make sure the crown hadn't gone into his lungs. Poor Grandpa. Poor everyone! What a bizarre adventure in this dental saga.

He did have a temporary crown in though. Which fell out about one day later. As I said, it was a few days before Christmas and I just gave up at that point and decided not to go back to the dentist until the permanent crown was ready. Grandpa looked a little bit like a jack o' lantern but he didn't seem to mind a whole lot.

I got a call last week- from Mistress Martha of Nanston Dental, you recall from my last post. The new permanent crown had arrived. So this morning, we went in. I have to admit, I was plain and simple braced for catastrophe. What fresh calamity would befall us today? Well, this time I was ready. Aiden was with Brad, I had my fabulous nail file/buffer thing that I got in my Christmas stocking and cuticle cream so I could indulge myself in a little nail pampering. Also, I had Brad's Nintendo DS with the Brain Age game, so I could challenge the good old grey matter while I waited. We got there early, Grampa got called in early, and the whole thing took about an hour. I was stunned. I think everyone was stunned. That's IT? We can just... walk out?

The tech who escorted him out did half-heartedly mention that he should probably have a cleaning sometime...I stepped toward the elevator and said, "We'll call you." As in, Don't call us, we'll call you. Meaning, It will be a LONG time before we voluntarily darken this door again! Let's let sleeping dogs LIE, woman! We just got this puppy installed, and already you want to barge in that mouth again? Have we not been in here enough times in the last two and a half months to satisfy you?!

So yes. Please share in my joy. To quote Strongbad ( associated with Trogdor and all things Homestarrunner, for those of you who are squinting and saying, "HUH?!"), "It's OVER!"

But is it? Knock on...something. I'm still waiting for the other...tooth to drop.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I have decided that blog-writing is a kind of therapy for me and that the main reason I've been so cranky lately has nothing to do with it being January - which is usually enough to reduce me to a miserable, hopeless blob- and it has nothing to do with the world going to heck in a handbasket...financially, politically, socially, spiritually...No, it's solely due to the fact that I've let blogging rust by the wayside. So now, in the glorious pursuit of my own selfish happiness, I shall subject any and all readers to the minutia of my life once again.

I was working with Philip today, and my phone rang. I answered it, said, "Hello, this is Claire..." and the person on the other end said, " This is Martha." Silence. Blank. Martha? Hmmm... Martha, Martha, Martha...

Now, I have only known one Martha in my life, and I haven't spoken to her for years. Not that we had a falling out or anything; she was a good friend from college and we just lost touch. But this was the kind of thing she would do - call me up out of the blue after years of silence and just say, "This is Martha." I was floored! I was bewildered! How had she gotten my cell number?! I could picture her - her smiling face, her dark eyes behind glasses, her dramatic hair, her feet in open sandals traversing the Saint A's campus, even in the snowy dead of winter, her kind, intelligent, accident-prone self, somewhere in Vermont on the other end of the phone. I said, "MARTHA R-----?!" And she said, "No, Martha from Nanston Dental, calling to confirm Charles' dental appointment on Wednesday." Blaaagh. So matter of factly. As if we spoke all the time and were great old, first-name-basis friends. I felt mentally whiplashed. How dare she sound so familiar! Suddenly, there was this great excitement- here was my dear friend Martha... and then she was snatched away by a stranger. Now I feel a great Martha shaped void in my life and I cannot find her on Facebook. So I am sending out a great Martharic yawp into the cosmic void: MARTHA! How have you been? What are you up to? Do you still live in Vermont among the heathen liberals? I must hear from you!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Trogdor Comes On a Bib!

As we drove home from church today, and I watched Aiden fall asleep, wearing his meat-head hat from Aunt Liane, I was seized with an inspiration. I whipped out my cell phone, got a picture of him and sent it to her. She texted back a moment later, saying that we should be getting a package from her soon. And then I wondered if perhaps it had already come and was waiting for us at home; it occurred to me that we had not gotten the mail yesterday. When we got home, I sprinted up the driveway and lo, there was a package in the mailbox! It was mostly full of something else, but the other thing inside was...a new, knitted bib for Aiden...and yes that is a Trogdor patch on the front! HA HA! ( For the uninitiated, Trogdor is a fearsome, fire-breathing dragon who wreaks havoc and destruction upon feudal countrysides in a faux-videogame within an online cartoon-ish...type...thing. Um, yeah. It's a sort of "guess you had to be there" kind of thing. ) It has just made my day.

The big blurry swath on the left is his hand. He's flailing his arms with exceptionally vigorous joy. And who wouldn't, after all, with a cool, new bib and the green tissue paper it came in to play with!

I apologize for the poor quality picture here. This was taken with a cell phone after all. And I know it looks like I cut Aiden's hair with a weed-whacker, but it actually looks a tad better in real life. Have you ever tried to cut the hair of a small person who won't sit still and who violently resists your bescissored hand's advances? If you haven't, you can't judge me. If you have, and have succeeded better than I, I hereby officially invite you to my house to cut Aiden's hair. Not to discourage you or anything, but I'd liken it to trying to apply lipstick to an eel. Except in this case, you're using sharp instruments. Which renders this task infinitely more dangerous.

And in case anyone cares to know the current video sound emerging from the basement: bagpipes.