Thursday, April 30, 2009

I got nothing

Today was pretty blahhhhhhhh. Did a little work, picked up some groceries, and heated up some leftovers. We'll be in front of the tv for the rest of the evening and while I'm sure you all would be RIVETED by me liveblogging through Parks and Recreation I don't think it would be my most productive use of time. After all, Thatdog has destroyed another teddy bear which means I need to spend my precious commercial time vacuuming.

Instead I'll leave you with some vital updates from the world around you.
1) The trailer for Julie and Julia is out!!!! I'm VERY excited about this. See, in general I am sorely disappointed in books turned into movies. From Jurassic Park to In Her Shoes. The books are always so much better. And I really loved this book. I connected with the Buffy watching, apartment cooking, blogging heroine and connecting to a character makes or breaks a book for me. I have no doubt that the movie won't be as good as the book, but I still think this movie is going to be PHENOM! Thatmom and I spent a good portion of an evening a few weeks ago waxing philosophic about how wonderful Meryl Streep was. And her and Amy Adams already proved how well they work together in Doubt (which is every bit as wonderful as the play). Speaking of which - anyone else notice that Amy Adams is the "it" girl of the year? She never stops working!

2)Continuing on my "books turned into movies" trend - I took Laura's advice to look up the book "Stardust" and imagine my surprise that it's written by the same guy who wrote "Coraline"...which is the movie we saw instead of "Confessions of a Shopaholic" another book turned movie I wanted to see. But back to the story. So it turns out that they're making a musical of Coraline! It opens next week in New York. And the music is all by Stephin Merrit!!! You don't know who Stephin Merritt is? I'll give you a little taste.

I hope that it does really well and gets picked up and then goes on a national tour!!!!

3)My fun legal fact of the day comes from a case I read - who says judges are out of touch with reality? "When anger and alcohol intersect, unfortunate results can ensue."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I got an email from my dad yesterday -

except obviously it wasn't from him. It was a forward from my mom, from his email address, but nevertheless my heart jumped to my throat when I saw it. Realistically I know it can't be from him, yet somehow there is still that feeling of hope that maybe in some miraculously way it is. That I'll open it up and feel his humor and warmth. Thatmom and I joke about what kind of message he would send if he had access to the mail system or email, but in reality neither of us is really sure what he would say if he had the chance. Seeing an email from him is a reminder all over again of how I won't be getting his quick notes checking in on me because he hasn't heard from me for a day or two.

I've been incredibly stressed, anxious, and irritable this week, so I decided this evening would be a good time to pamper myself a little bit. Especially since Thatboy was going surfing with one friend and then out for drinks with another, leaving me the evening to myself. First stop was Bloomies for the Lancome bonus. I picked up some new mascara I was in DESPARATE need of (I swear by the Definicils high definition) and I got all these goodies!:

(That's a pretty summer tote - perfect for the beach or pool, sunglasses, Crème Radiance Clarifying Cream-to-Foam Cleanser, Eye Shadow Quad, Virtuose Mascara, High Résolution Refill-3X Anti-Wrinkle Cream SPF 15, and Juicy Tubes Lip Gloss!)

Then it was off to the nail salon for a mani-pedi. The last pedicure I remember getting was in September, and while I'm better about manicures it has still been quite a few weeks and I more than needed it. I went suitably dark and moody on my toes - OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark which I discovered this summer - and am probably the last person on Earth to make that discovery. Thatboy HATES it because it's so dark. I can't be quite as dark on my nails though, so in my typical mutipersonality way I stuck with a nice neutral - Essie's Limo-scene. I love it because it looks white in the bottle, but on my nails it's a nice pale pink that looks just a little cleaner than natural.

I got home JUST in time for Top Model and since I obviously can't be distracted from that I needed something quick for dinner. I had found a package of Lipton Spanish Rice in the pantry the other day when I was fishing around for tomato paste - I have no idea how long that's been there, but it sounded just perfect for tonight. I added some garlic, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper and smoked turkey sausage and set it to simmer while the show started. By the time they started blurring out the pieces of models that were not covered by the itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikinis, dinner was served! Have I told any of you lately how much I LOVE turkey sausage? I cut it up and throw it in our lunches, toss it into pasta, with rice - it's my favorite precooked meat. AND you will all be very pleased to hear I refrained from overspicing this time - I don't think my digestive system is loving me right now. Either that or it could be the swine flu.........

Fun Legal Fact of the day: If you give a man money to buy a house for the two of you because he says he's going to marry you and he turns out to already be married and refuses to give you your money back you CAN bring a lawsuit against him.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Last night I dreamt of pirates and cupcakes...

But not Somalia pirates include the kind played by Robert DeNiro in Stardust. In fact it was Robert DeNiro...except his name was Angie. And if you haven't seen that movie yet - you're missing out. It makes me very happy. I like fairy tales. Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies and this is along the same lines.

Even with dreams of pirates and cupcakes my day started out VERY hectic. Today was a carpool day. Thatboy and I are so green that days where he doesn't go surfing after work we carpool. And today we had a date planned which means a free ride to work for me! But it also means I have to get my butt in gear in the mornings because Thatboy leaves for work earlier than I do.

Tuesdays are also our museum days. On Tuesdays we meet for lunch at Balboa Park and go to a museum. I love Balboa Park. Sometimes we meet for lunch there and just walk around the trails and gardens, but Tuesdays are culture days. Today we headed to the San Diego Automotive museum. I forgot my camera at home, so I'll just paint you a picture. The museum has some really cool cars. You don't realize how big cars used to be back in the "early days" of automotives. And the early cars were all convertibles. I was definitely born in the wrong era. In the back are motorcyles - the early ones were much more similar to bikes than cars. And right now there's a hot rod exhibit - there is no way you could ever get me in one of those things. I wouldn't even drive Thatmom's mini without sending up multiple prayers for my well being. At one point in time Thatboy got really excited.

TB: Now THIS is a sexy car.
TG: Really? What makes it so sexy? Just because it's a convertible jag? Does it look like something Bond would drive?
TB: No! Look at it! Look at the lines, the curves - it looks like the lower half of a woman's body.

And then I saw it. And my mouth dropped open. And I laughed SO hard that the woman beside me started laughing and I'm not even sure she heard Thatboy and I pray her small children didn't hear him. Do you see it? Fear not if you don't, it just means you don't have the mind of a thirteen year old boy.

For our dinner tonight Thatboy and I headed to our favorite local Italian restaurant. On Tuesdays and Thursdays they do half price bottles of wine....and a bottle of wine goes a looooong way with me. (Apparently it goes a long way with Thatboy too since he just told me I spelled dreamt wrong...I'm missing the p......yup, he thinks it's spelled dreampt.....and he keeps insisting I check the dictionary)

Tonight we went with a Super Toscana which is a chianti like wine, but MUCH smoother than chianti. Thatboy likes the finish - after you're done with your sip it's not done with you. It's a very full bodied red.

I'm SO boring when I go to my favorite restaurants. I always get the same thing once I find my favorite. Here it's the gnocchi. Sometimes it's light and fluffy, sometimes it's dense (like a matzah ball according to Thatboy), but it's always good.

Thatboy is more adventurous. Tonight he had the penne with peas and pancetta. He was more than pleased informing me he had made a good choice. I had a bite (you can't blame me right?) and it was good and salty and cheesey - two of my favorite food qualities.

Afterwards we grabbed some sushi from the fantastic sushi place next door for lunch tomorrow. It's half off in the evenings which means delicious and cheap!

By the way, I learned today that San Diego is one of the top 11 best-hair cities in the country - so I really have no excuse for having no control over this mop on top of my head.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekend Update

What's cute about this picture? Thatdog is on TMD's bed, and TMD is on Thatdog's bed. Sharing's nice.

On Friday morning I snuggled into the car seat as Thatboy drove us to work, thinking how nice it was going to be to take a little nap on the way up to Thatmom's house that evening. Then I remembered - I was going to be driving - grrrr. Thatboy had a hearing on Monday morning so we were taking two cars up and I was going to get to come home myself on Sunday night. It was no consolation that I got to have Thatdog as my companion. He's not very good company in the car - spending most of the time sleeping. The only thing that makes it a bit better is that he manages to contort himself into the strangest, most uncomfortable looking positions. Next time I drive up with him I'm going to try to snap a picture.

Saturday we had discussed going up to the LA Festival of books. It's something Thatmom has enjoyed going to in the past, but that was back when she had a faculty parking permit making parking a breeze. She was having mixed feelings about going, since it was something she always did with Thatdad. Then she started having sympathy pains in her back. Thatmom and I are so connected that whatever ails me, also ails her. So we decided to skip out on the festival so we could run errands and go see a movie. We saw Sunshine Cleaning which was so much better than I'd heard. The reviews compared it to Little Miss Sunshine and were disappointed in the movie. As for me, I wasn't a huge fan of Little Miss Sunshine to begin with and going in with low expectations definitely helped. Amy Adams and Emily Blunt were adorable and dysfunctional and the little boy who played Adams' son was adorable. Thatmom remarked that he looked like Thatdog in human form. We came home and I got to work at making dinner - grilled shrimp fajitas. After dinner Thatbrother and UDubb went back to work and we settled in to watch Grey Gardens. What an interesting story. Thatmom is beyond fascinated and has already added the documentary to her blockbuster que. She also believes Drew Barrymore deserves an Oscar for her performance. We spent the rest of the weekend making references to the movie and the bizarre relationship between Edith and Edie Beale.

Sunday we all got together for breakfast - I am becoming well adept at cooking for 5. Then I went for a run again. It's been a while since I could run because of my back, but I get so antsy when I don't. If you run, you'll understand how good it feels your first day back. I ran for over 7 miles which is the longest run I've done in a while. In general I run 3 miles a day, 5 days a week, but the first day back, I always feel like I could run forever. Thatboy got me a cute pink waterbelt for Valentine's Day and I hadn't had the opportunity to test it out yet. The rest of the day was more "around the house" chores until it was time to get dinner ready. It was a request from Thatmom, her favorite of my recent cooking - grilled chicken with avocado salsa and honeyed corn bread. Then it was back in the car with Thatdog and on the road.

This morning I went back to my 3 miles. I brought my usual running partner with me - Thatdog. I had left him out Sunday because I didn't want the extra strain on my back. This morning I realized that as much as I love the company, sometimes it's nice to run without him. Especially when he gets into one of his moods. This morning as we approached the trail behind my place where we run I noticed a power walker. The man was older, stoop shouldered and moving his arms and hips back and forth as he heel-toed it. Thatdog wasn't quite sure what to make of it, and since Thatboy takes on a similar position when he's playing "creepy scary chasey guy" around our place I think it spooked Thatdog. He began barking at this man like he was going to eat him - my sweet little dog! I knew he wouldn't do anything to the man, but the man didn't know that and he hightailed it in the other direction. How embarrassing!

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful - I only had one tearful moment in my office which is a vast improvement over this weekend. By the end of the day my legs were feeling all 10 miles over the past two days and so Thatboy ran me a bath to soak. We've been doing a ton of "accidently on purpose" spicy food lately and tonight was no different. Last week I accidently over red-pepper flaked our chili, and tonight I realized I had bought the extreme spicy version of enchilada sauce. Good thing we like spice. Thatboy said these enchiladas are the best I've ever made. But oh so messy!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

For those who've hung in there

Everyone kept telling me it would get worse before it got better. I was dismissive. To begin with, they were all talking about Thatmom, and my need to be there for her. The words were ominous in tone, a foreboding warning. But I also didn't believe it could get worse. How could things get any darker? How could my grief ever surpass the pain I felt at the hospital? The instant loss, the learning to be without. Things could only get easier.

And then about two weeks ago, it hit me. Unexpectedly, without warning. It was as if the curtain had risen letting the theater of my life begin. Since then, there hasn't been a day without tears. I find myself crying in public at inopportune times. Just last week the mere sound of Thatmom's voice on the phone broke me down in a matter of seconds.

I remember the days after the funeral as a blur and, with one very specific exception of a hysterical breakdown in Macys, oddly still waters. It wasn't that I didn't cry or grieve, but it was at appropriate times, or in conversations with Thatboy - remaining strong for the person who needed me most. I overheard Thatboy telling more than one of his friends that I was handling things "a little too well" and I felt frustrated. I didn't know any other way to handle them and I figured I'd get my own shot at dealing with my grief once I got Thatmom settled. But the weeks went by and although I had moments of sadness and tears, I was definitely functional - at an impaired level. I went through the motions, and did what was expected, things that had to be done. Then there was an improvement where I went above what had to be done. I went out, I cleaned the house.....and I honestly believed things were getting better. Which explains why I was so blindsided.

Thatmom sent me an article from Slate by Meghan O'Rourke: The Long Goodbye which I instantly connected with. The article was written in several installments following the death of the author's mom December 25. Although our situtations differ in that her mother lost the battle she had been facing with colorectal cancer, the feelings and emotions that she expresses are not diminished by the fact that she had weeks to say goodbye, instead of minutes with an unresponsive body.

"Since my mother's death, I have been in grief. I walk down the street; I answer my phone; I brush my hair; I manage, at times, to look like a normal person, but I don't feel normal. I am not surprised to find that it is a lonely life: After all, the person who brought me into the world is gone. But it is more than that. I feel not just that I am but that the world around me is deeply unprepared to deal with grief. Nearly every day I get e-mails from people who write: "I hope you're doing well." It's a kind sentiment, and yet sometimes it angers me. I am not OK. Nor do I find much relief in the well-meant refrain that at least my mother is "no longer suffering." Mainly, I feel one thing: My mother is dead, and I want her back. I really want her back—sometimes so intensely that I don't even want to heal. At least, not yet."

And the lit nut in me loves the analysis she does with Hamlet - a play centered around a son mourning his father. Ms. Rourke is a few months ahead of me in the grieving process and it's good to read that things will get better - although her clouds began lifting around 4 months, which means I have two more months of suffering ahead.

I mentioned in February that I wasn't exactly sure where this blog was going to be heading and I'm starting to get more of an idea. I'm going to go back to using the blog for "thoughts I feel like sharing." (I have a separate space for thoughts I don't feel like sharing) There are those who have expressed that they don't like the things I put on here when it starts getting personal, but I'm pretty sure a majority of them don't read this anymore, and I save my thoughts on them for that separate space. I will continue to post recipes and food - but probably not to the same extent I did before, which I know will lose me one reader for sure, and possibly others who aren't as vocal about the types of blogs they read. But at this time, it's useful for me to have a space for me - recounting day to day activities, feelings, thoughts, adventures (we're working on getting Thatmom to come down to San Diego next weekend if we can work something out with Thatbrother tonight at dinner). I'm hoping that I'll be able to see things in a more positive light if I'm able to take a step back from them as I write.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's Me Again

What a weird turn these entries have taken. I know eventually I'll get back to cooking and showcasing meals from my kitchen, but I also know it won't be anytime soon. I definitely keep having that feeling that things aren't ever going to be the same, and frankly I'm not sure when things will ever be "normal" - my new schedule is so far from my normal schedule and shows no signs of ever returning that perhaps I just need a new definition of what normal is. I can't even remember what it was like to spend a weekend at home, not consumed with a million things to do for Thatmom.

In the past two weeks I've done so much better with socialization though. I even went out to lunch with H! I'm so lucky that we love the same restaurants - she suggested my favorite and I decided to take her up on it. Then I had a very short open opportunity where I was able to grab some coffee with K1 who luckily was able to deal with the incredibly short notice I'm reduced to these days. She informed me that I'm far too hard on myself and the things I'm feeling right now. She gave me permission to be passive aggressive and a mega bitch, but I'm still reluctant to follow through.

With every step forward though there is always a step back. Last weekend was not so great for my lower back and I spent most of Sunday crying and immobile as I grew faint and nauseous whenever I would stand. Muscular in nature there is very little I can do other than a consistent regiment of ibuprofen. I come home from work and the last thing I want to do is....pretty much anything. So I haven't been cooking, returning emails or phone calls, cleaning, any of the normal things people do. And this is SO not the week for ailment! We've been carpooling to work so that we can leave straight after for far reaching destinations. Thatboy has taken over driving which is a plus, but attending seders in LA and Orange County in the evening means we're spending a lot of time in the car, and not so much time sleeping. And since he's gone to his parents this weekend I got to make the drive up to OC all by myself. Well, that's not quite true. Thatdog is one heck of a navigator! I'm very much looking forward to his return this evening so he can go back to the heavy lifting and dog walking.