Friday, December 30, 2005

whirling down

The time of reckoning is nearly here. I'm not sure if everyone does this, but at the end of each year I feel obligated to take inventory (ie. self-flagellate). Otherwise, how would I come up with my New Year's resolutions? What pressure!!!! No wonder I actually felt relief after declining my New Year's Eve party invitation just now- the likes of me doesn't deserve any down time!!!

I think back to years past when everything LOOKED OK, even impressive. I had a decent job, I owned a nice house in a happening neighborhood, I owned a reliable car, dressed fairly well and looked reasonably presentable. The only thing which could have been construed as slightly unusual was that I never seemed to have a stable relationship with a MAN. There'd be the occasional boyfriend; that's it. I used to say that I chose to be single. Was it really a conscious choice?

These days, the appearance is not so good. The house in the hip hood was sold and replaced with one more family-oriented, even though we are not a family; we are a diad, my child and I. The house personifies chaos- even the landscaping is quite wild. That same car now looks old, really old. I look disheveled.

The difference is that now the world can witness my struggle. I wear it. I drive it. I show it. What you see is what you get. And if you don't see it, the child will undoubtedly tell you about it, much to my embassassment.

No more secrets.

Happy new year.

Monday, December 26, 2005

my kind of Christmas

No plans had been made. Whirling freely requires a strict lack of scheduling. Think about it, how many people do you know who had NO PLANS for this granddaddy of all holidays?

The Child sleeps in until 8:30 am, having stayed up until 3 am with me while I attempted to fix a computer problem. He runs into the living room to find his Corkscrew Canyon, yo-yo, 3 books, lollipops and Boggle game. He seems satisfied and refrains from his annual questioning regarding the existence of Santa Clause.

The day is mild for December and somewhat rainy. The Child wants to go outside to shoot off rockets (last year's Christmas gift) and explore the park outside of our house. The rain morphs into a foggy mist. We walk for a long time, ending up at a lake with some melting ice to temp our fates with. We prevail.

Back at home I feast on key lime cookies and exquisite chocolates, a gift from friend Joe, and spicy cashews, a gift from friend Steve. The Child, who doesn't eat, builds Corkscrew Canyon free-form (directions be damned). I think about whether or not there is anything I HAVE to do this day in order to be at peace, and I decide that that would be calling my Father in NY. We are not close, never have been, but something compells me.

I call, we make small talk, he puts his wife on the phone, she rambles about her childhood, she rambles about her remarkable adult children, I listen without judgment as I have learned to do, I talk to him again, he says he is having surgery on his eyelid January 18, I say have a nice Christmas, we hang up.

I am off the hook.

I remember that friends Doug and Cathy have sent gifts. I haul them out of their hiding place and alert the Child. He is ecstatic at the prospect of continued gift opening. He rips open his box to find a racing computer game, hoots with glee, and starts playing it.

I open mine. It is Divine Chuckles Life from a Higher Perspective by Lin Martin, forward by Kevin Ryerson. Suffice it to say that this is the PERFECT gift for me in that it is a book, and I have had personal contact with both Lin Martin and Kevin Ryerson. I am ecstatic.

The Child wants to go outside for another walk. This is remarkable. I never knew my Child could be so wholesome.

The Child finally decides, following our second long walk, that he is hungry. I offer to take him to a Chinese buffet, a trick I learned years ago from friend Doug. The Chinese have no reason to shut down on Christmas. I had not planned for the Holiday, as you may recall, so I had no food in the house beyond key lime cookies, chocolates and cashews.

We try a new Chinese buffet restaurant near out house. It looks impressive, but the food sucks. Even whirlingbetty can't eat it. This quality of food, however, often mysteriously appeals to kids. The Child fills his plate several times until I put the kibash on it. Embarrassed to waste food, I end up stuffing my pockets with chicken pillows for the Chihuahua. As we exit the restaurant, fellow diners stare at the noticeable grease stains bulging out of the sides of my hot pink down jacket.

Friend David had invited us to stop by. We do. Friends Robert and Joe are there. They cook. I sit. Robert and the Child play Boggle. We eat a meal which includes two desserts: kugel and apple pie. Robert entertains the Child, mercifully, while David , Joe and I go out for a walk. We watch a DVD: The Triplets of Bellville. We leave.

Back home, the Child goes to bed without complaint. I stay up to watch a taped episode of my favorite soap opera.

This was the IDEAL whirlingbetty Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

growing up high tech

There was no way around it- today was the day I had set aside to Christmas shop for my Child. I had to produce, so I set out early for Toys R Us.

The Child wants things which are way beyond what's appropriate for his age. He wants a laptop, an iPod, a digital camera and camcorder, violent computer games.

He's right in line with Society. Society wants the Child to hurry up and grow up. Why? Money. The high tech non-toys he's requesting this Christmas have no place in childhood, but they sure cost a lot of MONEY.

Betty stuck to her GUNS, though. I proudly marched out of that toy store with Corkscrew Canyon, on sale for $49.99. It's a colorful building set which, if used properly, creates something that looks like an elaborate Six Flags type attraction. Just so I can create a real splash on Christmas, I threw in a yo-yo, a Boggle game, and a set of lollipops with Care Bears hugging them.

What makes me think that my 8-year-old Tough Guy will go for this? Well, I really shouldn't tell you this, but last Friday the Child took his stuffed dog, Terry, to school. Terry is no ordinary stuffed dog. He is dressed in denim jeans with a tail hole, a T-shirt with a dragon on the front, and a black leather biker's jacket.

When I picked up the Child at latchkey that day, he wasn't his usual sullen self who hates school. Brazenly hugging Terry in front of Peers, he announced that he had managed to pull off an entire day of school with Terry on his lap the whole time. Later he disclosed that Teacher had tried to put the kibosh on Terry early in the day, but somehow my Child (and Terry) had prevailed.

Besides, Corkscrew Canyon is recommended for ages 9 and up. He's 8, therefore too young. He'll love it.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Dredged from the Depths

Yesterday was D Day. After pondering the possibilities for months, it was time to Dredge.

My computer, you see, had been banished to the basement since I moved into this house nearly 5 years ago. Why? Sometimes it's difficult to guess how my mind operates, but I see several clues. When I moved in, there was a serious lack of phone jacks on the premises. There were 3: one in my bedroom, one in the kitchen and one in the basement.

The bedroom was out of the question for computer placement. Feng Shui principles prohibit electronic devices (especially computers!) in the sleeping area. The kitchen was out because I needed that jack for my phone/answering machine. My only option was the basement.

The house also lacks a reasonable number of grounded electrical outlets. Again, the basement featured one of the 2 available.

Besides, Betty's over-active imagination is hellbent on figuring out how to avoid advertising for thieves. I firmly believed that my PowerSpec PC (Micro Center's bargain basement special) would, if viewed through the window, become a target for any burglar who happened to be peeking in.

The problem is, I hate basements. Those who know me must wonder how I came to I choose this house, because one of its main selling points was its "FULLY FINISHED BASEMENT!!!!"

I hate basements. They harbor mice, spiders, mold, dampness and darkness. Secrets we're better off not knowing are hidden in them.

Two years ago, in anticipation of D day, I had the phone company install a new phone jack in the living room. ( I later came to find out that I could've hired a handyman to do it for a fraction of the price, but then again, the phone company guy was cute.) Back then, the plan was to create the possibility of moving the computer upstairs to the living room.

I had to think about it for 2 more years. Finally yesterday I called TA and asked him to help me move the behemouth computer desk up the stairs. I had already disconnected the computer components and hauled them upstairs.

While waiting for TA to arrive, I inspected the area I had prepared for the computer. With great alarm I noticed that there was no grounded outlet in the living room. I really don't know whether I had ever been aware of this issue in the past, but if so, the information had escaped me.

At this point I gave in. I allowed myself to be overwhelmed. I placed a frantic call to TA, who likes me a lot better when I squelch it. He said I could use an adapter. I argued vehemently against that idea until he convinced me to hang up so that he could eat his lunch.

I called every computer store in the city to ask their opinion on using adapters. The consensus was negative- it would probably set off the surge protector. I ran about the house searching wildly for another option. There it was, in the kitchen where my water cooler used to be plugged in before I realized what a colossal waste of money it was. It was my forgotten first floor grounded outlet which had been concealed by the now absent water cooler.

I'd move the phone/answering machine to the new living room jack and place the computer in the kitchen where, if I ever looked up and out the windows, I'd be able to enjoy the best views in the house.

TA showed up with 3 minutes to spare before he had to leave. When he saw the desk stripped of its components he gasped. "This thing is HEAVY!!!" It's very large and made of a very dense wood and metal. It probably weighs the same as my car.

Not having had a whole lot of experience with moving furniture, I started to fear the task at hand, but it was too late to back out. We couldn't figure out who should be in front. Clearly he was stronger, but we didn't know which position was more demanding. Running out of time, he decided to take the top.

At first it seemed OK. We moved up a few stairs without mishap; then everything changed without notice. The desk stopped moving. TA told me to back up. Back up?! I was barely hanging on. The monstrous desk was trying with all its might to push me back down the stairs and crush me!

At this point my shoe fell off, which did not help matters in the slightest. TA was showing signs of strain and alarm. As the desk started to win the struggle, I had a momentary spell during which it felt as if the life had drained out of me.

When I regained consciousness, the desk was stabilized at the top of the stairs. TA reported that he had strained his back, and I tried to conceal my shaking as he bolted out the door.

The computer happily hums along here in the kitchen where I can watch the snow fall if I look up. My screen is now illuminated by natural light rather than manmade bulbs. The Child and the Chihuahua can no longer tear the house up while Mama holes up in the dungeon. D Day was a smashing success.

Now I'd better call to check on TA's condition.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Extreme Whirling

Moderation is unknown to me. As I went through my modest stock portfolio today I saw all too vividly that I'm both an idiot and a genius. My stock picks were either superstars defying the S&P, or complete abysmal failures. If I sold each of my stocks, the balance would be exactly zero, half of them being duds, half goldmines. (This is the first time I've ever been able to perceive myself as in any way "balanced"!)

My frugality is legendary- I'm the one who always knows when the Salvation Army is holding its next 50% off sale. What most people don't know is that I'm also capable of blowing $99.99 plus tax on a whim, on a robotic dinosaur at Target.

Even my Chihuahua has fallen prey to my extremities. He has no idea what "NO" or "SIT" or "STAY" mean, but he knows "BRAUWNSCHWEIGER".

My house exemplifies my proclivity. It's either immaculate, after hours and hours of deeeeep cleaning, or it's a shambles. As demonstrated by the fact that I rarely allow people inside, you can guess which state it's in most often.

I spend a fortune every time I shop at Wild Oats or Whole Foods Market, on only the very highest quality organic delicacies. Then, as a previous post describes, I'm very likely to devour a box of Oreos, often after consuming (or trashing) the organics.

Sometimes it's hard to be Whirling Betty.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Effect of Robert E.

I met him while indulging in one of my favorite pastimes- attending Sunday open houses. He was a young realtor, and his houses were the type I was most likely to seek out: restored Victorians near downtown. Usually, I dislike realtors (and all salespeople). They seem too busy selling to be authentic.

Yet I was at ease with Robert E. Ever aware of people's judgements and games, I felt free to be myself in his presence, even the time I was his only visitor. We spoke and speculated, marvelling at bygone building standards.

He sent me his newsletter which listed houses he'd sold, offered advice on home buying, and exposed who he was. He was an award-winning body builder and a model. He was crazy about his young niece and documented every milestone of her development. He also happened to be a lawyer, and offered free legal advice concerning real estate.

He took life more seriously than most. Each newsletter featured inspirational messages and tips for setting goals and reaching one's full potential. Robert E. was a motivational figure in the lives he touched. He set an amazing example for those of us wanting to live our best possible lives.

I just found out that Robert E. took his own life. His handsome, smiling face visits me persistently. I'll never know what happened, but whatever it was, it wasn't worthy of this.

Robert, thank you for gracing my life.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Restaurant Parenting

A Chicago cafe owner's sign for parents made the front page in many newspapers today. It read: "Children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices." This sign has sparked a heated debate.

I bet if the cafe owner could do over he'd write the message to "people of all ages." Is there not a tacet expectation for adult behavior? Why should there not be a standard for child behavior as well? Most of us probably would tolerate a certain elevation of noise and activity from a child in a restaurant, but truly, some parents don't seem to know where to draw the line. When other patrons are being distracted by the child(ren), then the parent has failed.

Yes, children are people too, and our society sometimes treats them like nothing more than nuisance. And even the best parents on earth sometimes face irrational outbursts from disgruntled offspring. That's why I limit my restaurant parenting to Chuck E. Cheese and Wendy's. In the former, no temper tantrum would register even the slightest blip on the radar screen, and in the latter, the point is to ingest as much fat, sugar and salt as possible as quickly as possible, so it works for the child as well as his potential audience.

I have a sad memory of one of my only attempts to take my child to an eating establishment other than the above. It had been a long, challenging day at work and I knew I wouldn't have the patience to cook, so after picking up my then 3 year old from the sitter, I had the brilliant idea to go to a little Indian restaurant which I'd been dying to try. My son was not in the greatest state of mind either, having spent the day with his least favorite sitter. I should have ordered carry out, but was too exhausted to drive all the way home on an empty stomach.

After ordering, we sat down at one of the few tables, and that's when the endless crescendo commenced. I did everything I could to squelch it. I was desperate. I sang songs, I made up stories, I made funny faces, I ran out to the car to get books, I bounced him on my lap, I bribed. The crescendo continued, oblivious to my efforts. By the time the food arrived, I was in tears. I couldn't stop the tantrum- I had no choice but to leave. I couldn't even wait for a doggie bag, so loud was the screaming. I threw my money on the table, picked up the monster and rushed out, leaving that luscious Indian cuisine behind.

As a single parent, I am especially careful. Single mothers are judged harshly. The last thing I want to do is provide fuel for the fire, so I grab my child's hand and tread lightly through this society of ours, notwithstanding the above Indian incident. We stick to Wendy's and Chuck E. Cheese and leave fine dining for the rest of you.

Friday, December 02, 2005

My Soulmate's Soulmate

Today seems to be a little different from most. It started with a brawl with my child. He was hellbent on finding a set of tiny locks and keys before leaving for school. I should say he was hellbent on Betty finding a set of tiny locks and keys before leaving for school. A very articulate child, he rebuked me thoroughly for having the audacity to organize his possessions.

Early in the morning I'm not at my best, not unless I've stayed up all night practicing yoga, meditation and random relaxation techniques. I usually spend the pre-schoolbus moments desperately scrambling to fill the child's backpack with whatever items he needs that particular day, dressing him, fighting to force a semblance of breakfast down his throat, and racking my brain to figure where Betty has to be that day and at what time. It's not pleasant.

This day featured the additional pressure of having to tear the house apart in search of miniature locks and keys. As one might imagine, my efforts, extreme though they were, resulted in nothing but a wrecked house and an enraged child.

Yet we didn't miss the bus, miraculously, and I heaved an audible sigh of relief as my child boarded the mercifully late vehicle. Returning home, I hauled out my journal and wrote about what I could have done better this morning. Maybe tomorrow I can perform as a mature adult mastering single parenthood.

With temperatures in the 20's and winds to match, the park outside didn't exactly beckon, but I forced myself to layer up and go out jogging. It's so cold here that my Chihuahua shivers inside the house. (Needless to say, his housebreaking regime has gone to hell.) It's the kind of cold which brings tears to your eyes immediately, and makes their sockets ache for warmth. But I jogged, by golly.

Why? Well, for some reason, I started thinking of my soulmate. He'd want me to carry on, and to jog as long as the weather conditions aren't life-threatening. He'd admire my efforts to consult my conscience this morning about what I could have done better.

Every once in a while, usually when the chips are down in one way or another, I think of him. Maybe, I tell myself, if I keep on doing my best with this day, I'll meet him.

Monday, November 28, 2005

guilty as charged

I can't stop pondering an article I read yesterday about current parenting trends. The author suggested that today's parents are so stressed out that they seek solace in, of all sources, their kids.

In order to render the kids capable of providing such a service, stressed-out moms and dads have to simply pull out the wallet and buy a few bribes, the higher-tech, the better. It further behooves the parents to adopt a general attitude of laissez-faire to ensure the cooperation of the offspring. Additionally, any and all legal numbing techniques are advised; gorging on junk food in front of the TV is an effective tool for the whole family. The author stopped short of recommending Ridalin or Prozac.

Keeping the kids "happy" prevents them from being yet another source of stress for the parents, at least, even if they aren't exactly comforting. At first glance, the idea seemed absurd.

Yet I can't help thinking of my own situation. I constantly feel guilty for buying more "distractions" for my child than is reasonable. That's how I keep the peace. My life seems more liveable if I run a conveyor belt of bribes into my child's world. I'm buying time and sanity. If he clamors for fast food, I give in rather than live according to my values. That way I don't have to listen to his crying and screaming. The latest video game might occupy him for a couple hours tonight. Isn't that worth $50? And if I don't buy him a gift every time we shop, he might sulk. Heaven forbid. I seek solace, not sulking.

Just for today, I will refrain from buying any bribes. I will feed my child only reasonably healthy food. I will tolerate his inevitable whining and crying- in fact, I think I'll double up on my Holy Basil. When he says he's bored, I'll offer a trip to the library, a yoga session, reading, or a walk in the park. I will stick to my guns and go to bed tonight having been a Good Mother No Matter What. Please wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Recipe for Repugnance

I dubbed yesterday "Be Kind to Betty Day". It was one of those rare days when I was off work and my kid was in school. What uncommon freedom! My first inclination was to chuck the running shoes, hit the couch and turn myself over to a regime of bonbons and soap operas.

But instead, Betty's Brain took over and decided that haute health was a better idea. By now I should know better than to listen to that voice...

After depositing the child into his schoolbus I headed for Whole Foods Market. So did most of the population of this city, it turns out. I didn't realize that most people grocery shop for Thanksgiving on the Monday before the holiday. Well, at least I didn't have to stand in the free-range turkey line.

Being a devotee of Dr. Pete D'Adamo's blood type research, I was on a mission to satisfy every single type-A blood cell in my body. I bought up the organic version of just about every food type known to be beneficial for type A blood, and by god, I was going to put it all in a pot and cook it.

I spent a ridiculous amount of money on 10 bags of food, hauled it home, and pulled out the most major extravagance item in my house- my Le Cruset pot. I bought it because it's orange and I thought it might inspire hitherto unknown culinary activity. I've had it three years and this is the second time I've used it.

I filled this pot with my ingredients: amaranth, lentils both red and green, kelp, ginger, carrots, onions both green and yellow, garlic, parsnips, kale, collard greens, apricots, prunes, pumpkin, yellow squash, pumpkin seeds, 7 almonds, tofu, peanut butter, mozzarella cheese, and at the end, miso.

The motley mix emitted a mighty odor impossible to describe. I let it fester for a few minutes, fearful that it might explode.

Glancing at the clock, I saw that it was time for my favorite soap opera, so I turned off the stove, dished out the glittering stew, and, plugging my nose, carried it to the television. It took some time for me to summon the courage, but eventually I did venture a bite.

Mind you, I am the type who will eat anything (despite the dire warnings of Dr. D'Adamo) but this concoction stopped me in my tracks. It may have been the parsnip, I don't know, but honestly, I couldn't eat it. And here's the real coup de grace: the Chihuahua wouldn't eat it. This is the same dog who fishes used tampons out of the trash and devours them.

Be Kind to Betty Day ended with a feast of Oreos.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Attracting Electrons

Today I, Betty, the Dutiful Mother, took my child to the science museum under the assumption that it would be much less crowded than usual right before Thanksgiving vacation. For once (on an issue having to do with child rearing) I guessed correctly. The place was mercifully quiet.

While my budding scientist threw balls at the ceiling, I wandered over to an exhibit which invited me to stick my hand inside. Feeling a bit adventurous, I inserted my hand and watched the blue colored electrons inside a transparent ball rush to my fingertips.

I was oddly flattered by this attention from a cluster of electrons who hardly knew me. They didn't get tired of me, either; each time, they rushed back for more. They didn't care that I was wearing a faded, worn out T-shirt from my kid's preschool or that my hair was windblown. They didn't stop to assess my parenting skills, marital status or income level. They didn't critique my choice of conversational topic or demeanor. Each time I offered my hand, they totally accepted me, as is; no hesitation, no judgment, no question.

Perhaps my new best friends, the electrons, can teach us their ways, of total acceptance, as is.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Lost Post

It's no great loss, to be sure, but I am not amused. The post I thought I published on my blog this afternoon has been lost somehow.

As I've mentioned before, I try to find meaning in whatever happens, so this must mean that I'm supposed to say something else today.

Since whirling is what I do best, that's what I'll do instead of trying to find a topic.

My day started with a tidbit in the newspaper which caught my eye. A man killed his wife, saying that he was mad because they had lived in their house for four years and they still hadn't unpacked. This pointed out several things to me:
  • I guess maybe it's good that I'm not married.
  • There are people crazier than moi out there.
  • Lack of good housekeeping skills can threaten one's well-being.
The main reason I was so taken by the article was because of my own questionable housekeeping habits. Oh, I try; I'm just not terribly effective. Had I been married to that man, I'd have been six feet under a long time ago, probably before my child was born. I guess the murderer would have been my child's father, had I lived long enough. It just goes to show- things can always be worse.

All my life I have speculated as to the source of this problem. It was bad enough when I was alone, sharing the chaos with only my pets. But now a child is having to plow his way through my daunting disorder.

Whenever I think of this problem I recall a long ago conversation with a very good- looking, successful Japanese man from work who liked me. He was trying to invite himself over to my apartment.

"I'm sorry- you can't come over!"

"What?! Can't come over? Why?"

"Well, I have this problem..."

"What problem?"

After much prodding, I finally gave in.

"I'm a slob."


"A slob."


He never did get it, and he eventually moved back to Tokyo. Over there where space is at a premium, slobs do not and cannot exist.

Perhaps I have finally found a solution. I can move to Japan.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Betty Does the Mailman

That's a lie. Betty actually DOESN'T the mailman. You see, my dear neighbor, in a fit of compassion, tried to set me up with the mailman before he left for his winter in Florida.

Until this happened, I used to have a decent relationship with the mailman- as good a relationship as I've ever had with a mailman. He's the friendly sort- always speaks, smiles, and hands me the mail. Like me, he's very jumpy. He and I scared each other many times, accidentally. I'd be sitting on my front patio, reading the newspaper, and suddenly he'd appear out of nowhere, without warning. I'd jump a foot out of my chair, sometimes spilling coffee on myself. Or I'd have heard his truck pull up, and I'd be prepared, posed to look my best. That's when he'd become startled by my unexpected presence. "OH-H-H, you scared me!" he'd laugh.

Then the neighbor took it upon himself to play matchmaker. "You and Joe would make a GREAT couple," he insisted. I was horrified at the thought. The mailman reminds me of my father- short, fit, quick on his feet, Mr. Personality.

I do have one striking memory involving the mailman. It was one of the only times in my life when someone actually stood up for me. I live on a large public park, and many people let their dogs run around off leash. This has caused numerous problems, ranging from the dogs eating my birdseed to the dogs actually entering my house. One frigid Saturday morning I was involved in a shouting match with two dog owners. Their dog had been on my property numerous times, sometimes for hours at a time. Joe arrived on the scene and immediately took my side, even though the two dog owners were also on his mail route. He told them, with just as much rage in his voice as I'd been using, that their dog had prevented my mail from being delivered twice. (I hadn't even known that!) Joe and I won, and the dog owners slithered away with their tails between their legs.

The part of that story which I don't usually tell is that much later I realized that the dog who had been guilty was not their dog at all, but his look-alike. Those two people were actually very nice, meek, law-abiding citizens who wouldn't hurt a flea. To make matters even worse, their dog died shortly after the altercation and I now see them sometimes walking sadly through the park with only the ghost of their innocent dog.

The point is, the mailman defended me. That impresses the hell out of me. People usually steer clear of me when I go off.

Ever since the neighbor started talking about me hooking up with Joe, I've been avoiding Joe. I'm embarrassed. If I'm home when it's time for the mail to arrive, I hide in the basement.

That brings us to tonight, the night my neighbor set up for Joe to meet me. It was Joe's turn to hide, I guess. He never showed up.

Let's hope he brings my mail on Monday.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Chihuahua Chase

The Chihuahua is scheduled to be neutered a week from today. I am counting the moments, hoping that the frighteningly oversexed animal will be more manageable after his procedure.

As it stands now, I can hardly keep him contained. More than once during the past few weeks he has escaped from the house unbeknownst to me. Once when I opened the door to leave for work, there sat the Chihuahua, outdoors, looking up at me expectantly, as if to say,"Where've ya been , bitch? How long didja expect me to sit here waiting?" (I never knew that he was outdoors, not will I ever know how he got there.)

The little devil was waiting for me when I returned from work today. As I opened the door, arms full, he shot out the door like a speeding bullet. I dumped my armload and took off after him, shrieking at the top of my lungs. I attracted the attention of the construction workers building a brick path in the park outside of my house, for sure, but the Chihuahua heeded not my desperate pleas. In fact, the dog was nowhere in sight. I'm sure the workers thought I was pursuing an imaginary escapee.

Deciding that the dog was definitely NOT in the park, I ran around my house to the street on the other side, the only other possible Chihuahua source. First I glanced about wildly to see if his remains were visible in the street. That's when I slipped on some damp leaves and fell backwards into my neighbor's compost heap. By this time I had drawn a crowd, none of whom admitted to having seen a loose Chihuahua.

I've been told that it's not possible to actually feel high blood pressure. Well, I know better. I am certain that mine was pretty much off the map by this time. My screaming was becoming higher pitched, my heart pounding beyond capacity, and I was losing clarity. All the Holy Basil in the world couldn't have saved me.

But I was lucid enough to see that there was no Chihuahua. Breathless, I stumbled back around my house and stood in the entrance to the park. Lo and behold, there was the Chihuahua, basking in the sunlight, pretty as you please, looking at me calmly as if to say," Why, whatever is the matter? Is something wrong?"

I left a message with the veterinarian asking to be contacted if he has any cancellations during the next 6 days.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

examining the unexamined

I read a compelling autobiographical novel recently, in which the main character had to painstakingly examine his past in order to move on spiritually. In his case, the effort was worthwhile- he ended up with a life of abundance, joy and freedom.

The frustrating thing about the book was that the reader was not offered even a glimpse of what was uncovered during the man's self-examination. I have to assume that he had made poor choices, such as greed over fullfilment of destiny, for example.

Regarding my own life, I have many times tried to completely identify any and all problems, issues, and/or shortcomings, covert or overt. I specifically recall once listing over 500 people whom I had "hurt"- sometimes by an offense as trivial as thinking envious thoughts about my "victim". It was actually a list of every person I had ever met- nobody was safe around me.

I was young back then. Now I'm hopefully better equipped to uncover the highlights of my past which led me to where I am now.

I spoke of Miss Bitchard, my Kindergarten teacher in a previous post. Surely starting school before I was ready contributed to my lifetime of shyness, and shaming teachers like Miss B loved to prey upon quiet little children. There were teachers who did the opposite, who built me up like a human skyscraper, unlimited. James Cardin (2 posts ago) was one of those. He ordered me to enter an essay contest which I won. The prize was that I was featured for 30 minutes on TV with a bunch of NY politicians in Washington, D.C. Boosted by the confidence of my admired teacher, I held my own in that terrifying situation, flying back home a foot taller.

The upshot of all that is that I became reliant on others, on outside validation (or disapproval) and direction. I didn't even receive much, if any, direction from my own family. My mother heaved one huge sigh of relief when I first walked through the doors of Lincoln Elementary, considering her work finished forever. I looked to Miss Bitchard for my self-definition.

This is definitely a feature of my current life. Just today I was asking TA if I should sell my house and move closer to downtown. This is a question that most functional adults can answer for themselves, I presume. Not I.

If called upon to identify my main shortcoming today, that would be it, I think- the tendency to look outside myself for direction and even validation. (Fellow bloggers- that means I rely on your comments! Keep 'em coming!)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Like No Other

This is a day like no other. The air is demure- regarding it through a window, it is guessed to be typical November. Those who investigated anyway were in for a surprise of mild sweetness.

Fall has offered its display late this year in the rose garden. I had feared that it would be visually disappointing. Not so.

The trees vary- some are barren, some bountiful with flaming crimson, gold, salmon, maroon, red, yellow, auburn, rust. The occasional bare branches provide lacy framework for the stunning pointillism.

The sunlight truly sparkles on this day like no other. How can such rare, invigorating clarity exist during the season of rot?

A gentle breeze, stirring even greater awareness of the satisfying air, caresses those who enjoy this day like no other. The sky is pregnant with an unmistakeable anticipation- of what? Is that thunder rumbling in the distance?

People are friendlier today, mutual beneficiaries of this day like no other, bonded by awe.

Unbelievably, many of the rose bushes host fresh, perfect flowers, with aromas from June. The bees buzz ecstatically from rose to rose, willing to share with the human nose.

There is gray on the horizon as the breeze begins to inspire a shiver. We accept the necessary brevity of this day like no other.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Effect of James Cardin

I wasn't going to vote tomorrow. Why? The main reason was to avoid jury duty. I was summoned for jury duty a few months ago, much to my extreme displeasure. I wrote a dramatic letter to the jury commission explaining why my participation was out of the question. It actually worked- I think they became suspicious of my mental state.

Then there was my dear friend Wini, who succumbed to breast cancer last year. Wini was a Jehovah's Witness, although she never imposed any of that stuff on me. When I made the decision to become an unwed single mother, Wini was the least judgmental of anyone I knew. It took me a long time to realize that nonjudgment was a key aspect of her religion. Because of her refusal to judge, Wini did not vote.

Wini's nonjudgment, coupled with disdain for jury duty (it's registered voters who make up the jury pool) inspired me to rant and rave for months about how I'd never vote again. Heaven knows the last presidential election didn't go my way, after all. And as Wini's widow says, the last person on earth we'd really want to elect would be a politician!

But guess what? I'm voting tomorrow. Why? Because of James Cardin.

James Cardin was my 10th grade history teacher. He was a rotund, red-faced, white haired Irish-looking kind of guy. He was one of those people who did amazing things prior to teaching later in life. He'd been an ace fighter pilot and a Jesuit priest. He was a zealot. He spoke with emphasis, with enthusiasm, often pounding his fists on his desk in the style of a football coach. To protect his ailing heart, he popped glycerin pills during heated descriptions of bygone battles.

During this very week of my 10th grade year, James Cardin had us debating the election issues. The man knew how to teach. He knew that those 10th grade debates would leave an indelible impression for later, when our childcare schedules seemed somehow more important than jury duty resulting from voter registration. He bellowed at us, fists flying, that voting was A PRIVILEGE, DAMMIT!

Even with all my ranting, I had not been at ease with my defiance. I was lucky enough to have been a student of James Cardin. The uncommon sincerity of his lessons rendered them permanent, and his long ago proclamation rang in my ears today.

See you at the polls.

Friday, November 04, 2005

November rose garden

Even though it's well into November, the roses are still legion. Many have browned, some just around the edges, and wilting is evident. Some have miraculously weathered the frost- the survivors. One hardy crimson variety boasted many.

From a distance, the roses looked like the buds of spring. The foliage on surrounding trees belied such a notion, yet the roses' colors still impressed.

Some of us feel the onset of doldrums. I hope to roll with the flow of nature, like the roses. As we light our fires and unearth woolen blankets, the park workers will arrive to put the roses to bed. Our metabolism slows.

We don't have to fight it. We can rest with the roses and believe in spring.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

under the knife

I thought it would be like getting a tooth filled- no big deal, but now, looking back, I guess that the existence of a pre-operative visit should have tipped me off. And perhaps the 3 prescriptions, for antibiotic, painkiller, and toxic rinse were clues also, not to mention the necessity for 3 follow-up visits.

But I charged fearlessly into the oral surgeon's office yesterday morning, having no idea what I was headed for. The doctor had assertained during my pre-op visit that I had created a "situation" by zealously grinding my teeth. I had slightly dislodged a tooth to the point where I was able to unconsciously use it to dig a pocket in my gums. This is not good- such a pocket can collect bacteria, become infected, and result in all sorts of health problems from tooth loss to heart attacks. So I thought going ahead with the surgery was a no-brainer.

Now I've had novocaine before, but this was ridiculous. The doctor warned me, then inserted the needle, then LEFT IT IN interminably, then STUCK IT IN AGAIN! And AGAIN! And AGAIN! But the real coup de grace was when he stuck it deeply into the ROOF of my mouth! When I was sure the worst was over, he inserted it into my CHEEK!

Right away I realized I couldn't talk, and felt desperate to communicte that fact. All I could do was grunt, moan, flail and point, after figuring how to bring my hand out of the plastic tent I was enclosed in. The oral surgeon glanced at me, eyebrows raised, and said, "Yes, all that novocaine is very disorienting to some people. I think we're going to have to give you a few minutes to get used to it." With that he raised my chair, set me upright, and he and the assistant left.

Perhaps I should have researched this doctor, and the particular procedure he planned to perform on me. This was not the right time to be thinking these thoughts. I became nervous.

They returned, hopefully better able to deal with the likes of me. His goal was to somehow remove part of my gums. I couldn't imagine how he would do that, and now that it's over, I still don't know how he did it. I heard incredible noises- very loud drilling (I needed earplugs), and worse, a very disturbing scraping sound. It sounded as if he was breaking something in my mouth, like a tooth or bone. He worked fast, which I found alarming. Early on I became aware that my heart was racing. The painkiller I had taken before surgury came with a list of dire side effects- fatal heart attack or stroke, bleeding stomach ulcers, heart arrhythmia, convulsions, projectile vomiting, seizures, fainting, and on and on. I worried that if the surgery didn't finish me off, the painkiller would.

He performed surgery for a full half hour (and he was working fast, mind you). Then it took forever for him to apply the sutures. When I finally eased my tortured body out of the surgical chair I glanced around, taking in the sight of splattered blood everywhere. It looked like a murder scene.

Daunted by the list of side effects, I refuse to take the painkiller. The only problem is that I can't smile. Perhaps the novocaine needle permanently damaged one or more of the many tiny facial muscles necessary for expression. Time will tell. Meanwhile, I have an excuse to be grouchy.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Woeful at Wendy's

Having emerged victoriously from our recent visit to Wendy's, I allowed my child to talk me into another. The outcome of this episode was quite different.

There weren't many people in the restaurant, and I felt uninspired to spread the word about the evils of fast food this time. I quietly stood in line, spacing out.

There's something I do on those rare occasions when I visit restaurants these days. I look around at the clientel. Mind you, the only establishments I set foot into now are Chuck. E. Cheese and, of course, Wendy's. But I enjoy looking around at the waistlines of my fellow indulgers, and try to use the information gleaned from such observation to see to it that much time passes before my next visit. Am I making sense?

But this time I was stopped in my tracks. My eyes locked onto a pale man whose hands and face looked bloated. His movements were painfully slow. I know the look. I have seen it before.

He was trying to enjoy a Frosty. It took all of his effort to bring the plastic spoon to his mouth.

I know the look. I've seen it before, in my mother and grandmother, before they succumbed.

This could be his last meal in a restaurant. It could be that the only food which appeals to him is a Wendy's Frosty. This outing undoubtedly means a great deal to him and his companion.

What thoughts occupied his mind? What did he see as he looked about the restaurant? Did he see the need to rant about trans fat?

I wanted to see through his eyes, the eyes of someone who knows how to appreciate. I wanted his perspective, without paying such a dear price.

Whirling at Wendy's

My child can't stand my cooking. He'd rather starve. The Dr. Phil technique simply does not work in my household. Maybe I should contact him and go on his show...

Here's where the Chihuahua comes in handy. He, bless him, loves my amaranth peanut butter gruel and can't seem to get enough of it.

I feel obligated to feed my child somehow. That's how we ended up at Wendy's, after I had forewarned the child that I would be lecturing loudly on the nutritional travesty of fast food while we stood in line. He's good at blocking me out, so he agreed.

We must have hit rush hour at Wendy's, for I ended up with a sizeable audience of bug-eyed people for my lecture. One of them even asked a question: she wanted to know the difference between saturated and trans fat. I gleefully launched into my fat diatribe, one of my alltime favorites.

When I paused to take a breath, I noticed that a couple of fellow customers who had been pretending not to hear stole quick, furtive glances at me during my silence. Good. They were listening.

I concluded my presentation by quizzing my child. Being the bottom-line type, I asked him to identify the most healthy item on the menu. His response caught me by surprise- he named something I didn't even know Wendy's offered- the fruit plate. Sure enough, upon examining the overhead menu I learned that it was a plate of fresh fruit. Zero fat. Smart kid.

Inching closer to the counter, I overheard a senior citizen feebly ordering the fruit plate, with water for her drink. She glanced at my child and winked. He rolled his eyes, drooling for an animal patty with a side of trans fat.

Suddenly, a pudgy, befuddled-looking man awkwardly elbowed his way out of the line and exited the restaurant.

Mission accomplished.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Today I was reminded of the story of the Sorcerer's Apprentice. (The SA, if you'll recall, casts a spell on his broom, which then picks up buckets and hauls water. Come time for the broom to stop, the SA is dumbfounded, not knowing that particular spell. Flooding ensues.)

We want to master what is not ours to master. We are preoccupied with pleasing and protecting ourselves. In striving for security, we make ourselves insecure. In seeking knowledge, we baffle ourselves. Pursuing power, we lose the ability to wield it wisely. Driven by ego, we net the opposite of what we're after.

This may seem like a strange topic for a whirlingbetty post, and indeed it is. Now that I know from my Strengthsfinder test that I am strong in "intellection", I feel free to indulge in thought. (Let's hope this doesn't last too long- I'd really prefer to NOT lose my readership.) Plus, I received inspiration from Garnet's poem about safety on his blog Glittering Muse.

The search for safety is what fuels our society's latest trend: "cocooning". Cocooning causes us to choose to stay home rather than venture out into the world. Fear of terrorism, crime and natural disaster has changed our social behavior. We barricade the doors and cover the windows. We order clothing, movies and pizza online, paying dearly to have it all delivered to our cocoons. We refuse to show up and participate in our own social lives.

OK, so what's the solution? Perhaps the Zen approach would be to stop controlling the world and defending ourselves against it. Just be Here Now, totally, completely, with awareness. Just respond to what is actually happening. ("Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."-John Lennon)

Garnet's poem points out that not only do we seek protection (and pleasure, IMHO) for ourselves; we even seek it for others, which reminds me of a story of Anna Quindlen's about her conversation with a homeless man on the boardwalk at Coney Island. This man described how he "wore" his newspapers when the weather turned brutal. Quindlen asked him why he didn't move to a homeless shelter. He stared out at the ocean for a while, then said, "Look at the view, young lady, just look at the view."

"Live and let live" is going to be my motto for a while, and by "live" I mean Here and Now, with awareness, responding to what really happens, and appreciating the view while I'm at it.

Friday, October 28, 2005

know thyself via world wide web

Feeling a bit peppy during the ascent from my recent plunge into viral vacuity, I decided to cash in on a gift presented to me by a book I bought entitled How Full Is Your Bucket? The gift was a secret code required to take an online test called Strengthsfinder.

Well, heaven knows I could use some strength, so I eagerly signed in and punched in my secret gift numbers. To me, it seemed that the test had an unusual format, but I forged onward, undaunted. My question-answering effort was a small price to pay for the reward of strength, I reasoned.

Fifteen minutes into the test I started to lose steam. Perhaps that virus was sneaking back, or maybe it had never really left.....

The problem was, I was only allowed 20 seconds to answer each question. At first it was a piece of cake. Then I started to feel a little dizzy, even nauseated.

Was it possible that these people, the ones who composed this test, did not want me thinking about the answers? Was that the reason for the time limit? Whoops...they got me again......

I definitely lapsed into a lower level of brain function. Was it mental exhaustion? Would this be happening if I hadn't been sick? Could this be a symptom of caffeine deficiency? How long had it been since my last hit of coffee?

I couldn't figure out how to pause the test so I could take a breather, but I did waste precious time trying. Could this really be a stress test in disguise?

FINALLY the test ended. The result? My main strength, they tell me, is "intellection". I like to think. My "intellection" damn near prevented me from even completing the test. Could that have affected the results, do you think?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Betty succumbs

I did everything imagineable to ward it off. I took 1000 mg of vitamin C every hour. I sucked down liquid echinachea. I bought and ingested zinc capsules. I even took megadoses of vitamin A, not knowing for sure what effect that might have on my liver. I washed my hands hundreds of times per day while singing Happy Birthday. I slept 8 hours each night, and chanted "IWON'TgetsickIWON'TgetsickIWON'Tgetsick" during the waking hours.

I got sick. This is the virus which my child hosted last week, which features every symptom known to man. After 3 days of being totally incapacitated, I have dragged myself, dizzy and delirious with fever, to the computer to let you all know that I have not given up blogging.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

blogged down

I want someone to enlighten me. I am a novice blogger, having been at it for a couple of weeks. I have been frustrated by the fact that I don't have nearly enough time to spend on either writing my blog or reading and commenting on other people's blogs. As a result, my blog is sure to fade into unnoticed oblivion.

Does it matter? What, after all, is the purpose of a blog? I've heard some people say that it's an opportunity for self-discovery. I am fairly certain that when I indulge in posts of that nature, I bore my tiny audience, even though the ever-supportive Liz always manages to cheer me on.

Is blogging about the writer, or about the audience, or both? Should I just write whenever I have time, about whatever topic happens to strike me? Should I care whether anyone reads it? Should I care whether anyone comments? If I lose my readership completely, is it still a blog?

I suspect that my more humerous posts are more appreciated, but for those I really must wait for the material to happen. Just now, for example, my Chihuahua took a flying leap into my lap and missed. His miniscule Halloween bandana caught on the rim of the coffee table and he basically hung himself. His huge, black, bulging eyes, bigger than his entire body, pleaded with me for his life. In the throes of strangulation he was unable to emit his squeaky little bark.

Considering all I've been through with this dog, I actually had to stop and think about how I should respond. Well, I've always believed in the bottom-line benevolence of human nature, even my own, and sure enough, I did the right thing. The dog has bounced back to life and, suspicious as ever, is now protecting me from invisible intruders, except for the ones in my mind.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Effect of Miss Bitchard

As a continuation of yesterday's "Know Thyself" post, I think the time has come for me to expose Miss Bitchard. She was my Kindergarten teacher. I feel compelled to describe at least one life-changing event in which she played a major role.

One day in the girls' bathroom, Miss Bitchard decided she had finally had enough of young Betty's antics. (Young Betty just stood in the room looking like a deer caught in the headlights while the other, more reasonable girls did what they were supposed to do in the bathroom.)

Mind you, Betty was the youngest in the class and the smallest. Today, there would be a question as to whether or not Betty was "Kindergarten-ready".

On that fateful day, Miss Bitchard, who had finally had enough, grabbed Betty by the shoulders and screeched, "Now look! I've had ENOUGH of this! You get into that stall RIGHT NOW and USE the toilet!"

With that she shoved a trembling, alarmed young Betty into the nearest stall.

The rest of the girls in my class were lined up at the door, waiting to leave. Did they leave? Nooooooo. They all stood there, watching, listening, with Miss Bitchard, who had had enough. I could see them through the cracks between the door and the stall sides. Assuming that they also could see me, I tentatively pulled down my underpants and forced my reluctant butt onto that unwelcoming, icy toilet seat.

I knew not what to do. I was shivering and crying (silently so they wouldn't know). Dead silence filled the cavernous room. Time became my enemy, because I could see them becoming more and more impatient with each dreadful moment.

"HURRY UP!!!!!" she bellowed.

I knew my time was up. I was terrified, having failed to perform the function for which I was imprisoned. (How could I ? Nobody could have emptied a bladder under such pressure!)

Panicked, I practically fell off the toilet. This was not one of those wimpy child-sized toilets you see in schools nowadays- it was a full-blown monster. I examined the behemouth, desperate to figure out how to flush, yet very much afraid of it.

"WHAT are you D-O-I-N-G in there?" Boy, she was spitting mad now.

I was cornered. I had no choice but to feebly open the stall door (once I figured out how) and whisper, "H-h-how do you f-f-f-flush it?"

The woman stormed into that stall, spitting blood and venom. Horrified beyond words, I jerked my dress up and spread it out like a canopy over the toilet bowl so she couldn't see that its liquid was not yellow.

" WHAT are you DOING????? Get your DRESS out of it!"

Gales of laughter erupted from the audience as Miss Bitchard flushed.

I don't know how I ever showed my face to the world again.

Monday, October 17, 2005

know thyself

It isn't easy. The person I pretend or wish to be is, unfortunately, not who I am exactly.

Mythical Betty is rather admirable. In fact, her only faults happen to be ones which actually endear her to others. For example, she will occasionally appear overwhelmed. This presents the ideal opportunity for those around her to feel useful. Life's futility is a foreign concept to those who know Betty.

MB likes to read inspirational literature, and in her eyes, she is actually leading the type of life she reads about. She really seems to believe on some level that she harbors only positive, loving thoughts, and that her words, spoken or written, reflect that. As a result, she attracts nothing but wondrous experiences and people into her existence.

How utterly appealing, right?

I recall asking my mother once to describe me with one word, and with exaspiration and no hesitation, she said,"Willful!"

So that gives me a starting point. I suppose people who consider themselves religious would say that she was insulting me, because they seek only knowledge of God's will and the power to carry that out.

I choose to perceive my willfulness as a virtue- one that catapulted me out of a very stifling, limiting background and into the career which 8-year-old Betty chose.

As Willful Young Betty, I knew I needed certain things to happen early on to ensure acceptance at the college of my choice. To that end, as a teenager I informed my mother that she'd have to jump through certain hoops, such as driving me 300 miles roundtrip each week for special tutoring in my chosen field.

Fortunately, before she died I did manage to appologize for being so unbelievably demanding and controlling. Her response shocked me: she said she had actually enjoyed those outings and the spice they brought to her otherwise dull life.

OK- so far we have identified these characteristics: willful, demanding, controlling, ambitious and remorseful. Lest I lose my readership, I think I'd better save further dredging for a future post.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

better off whirling

People like Whirling Betty are apparently better off busy. Over the past few days I've had a ridiculous work schedule. During that time I was able to mindlessly (or with an empty mind, maybe, if I may so flatter myself) move from task to task, not stirring up any trouble.

Today I have a few hours off before going back to work. I expected that this time would be a welcome relief, but I couldn't have been more mistaken.

First of all, being the mother of a young child, I was not allowed to sleep past 7 a.m. Furthermore, the child is sick with some kind of childhood fever-producing virus-type thing. My main goal, during this time at home, is somehow preventing him from vomiting. Talking him out of eating has worked so far.

Midmorning I was surprised by a phone call from TA, who often sleeps late when given the opportunity. The ensuing conversation summoned a lifelong issue for Whirling Betty- that of insecurity. I have a tendency to be too easily thrown off course by people's "attacks".

Still being on my Krishnamurti kick, I think I know what he'd have to offer on this topic. He'd suggest that the problem boils down to self-image. If the self-image is truly accurate, then criticism doesn't hurt- it's merely accepted as fact. The truth shall render us invulnerable.

I think I am guilty of harboring a mythical self-image, and obviously some serious self-examination is called for.

But luckily for me, I get to leave for work soon, and Whirling Betty's off the hook for a little while longer.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What Would Krishnamurti Do?

I have an annoying habit of trying to find meaning in every damn thing that happens to me. Last night while my child's deadbeat sperm donor bludgeoned me with his completely irrational, vacuous verbage, I tried to imagine what Krishnamurti would do and say.

Well, first of all, our dear Krishnamurti never would have landed himself in a situation like mine. If he had, I suppose he would have listened with his whole being, taking on the poisoned words as his own. He probably would've chuckled more than once at the outrageous histrionics we humans are capable of engaging in. At the end he would have spoken with profound kindness, "Seek only truth, my dear friend. Truth comes to you when your heart and mind are simple- there is love in your heart and your mind is empty. Right now your mind is full and your heart empty."

But Whirling Betty couldn't quite pull it off. The words I needed arrived too late; in fact, they arrived during this post. I guess it's comforting to see that I just need to work on my timing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

non-toxic intoxication

My buddy TA offered espresso with sugar after work today. Hell, I'm no fool- I eagerly accepted.

Upon arriving home I remembered that I hadn't jogged this morning, so I donned the chest-flattening jogging bra and hastened out into the park. Normally I head for the bike trails, but today was different. This particular park is one of the world's largest rose gardens. Even now, the blooms are quite profuse.

The moist, mild autumn air absorbed the rose scents like a massive sponge. I'm in this park every day and I'm usually as beauty-oblivious as the next guy. But today was different.

The roses spoke to me, "This is our last hurrah, and by god, we're going to permeate you and affect you and heal whatever ails you."

Mind you, I was already supercharged from the espresso, and now I was overcome by the roses. I ran through the twists and turns like a mouse in a maze, trapped by a band of roses, yet wanting to never escape. Yes, today was different.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Chihuahua Earns His Keep

Today I decided to get rid of the Chihuahua. Until now I had been tolerant beyond reason, but this was the last straw.

I have read that Chihuahuas are sometimes impossible to housebreak, but it's supposed to be because they can so easily hide their "mistakes". Oh, this was no mistake. This was front and center, in your face. The dog is clearly a master of the art of passive aggression.

He had defecated smack in the center of my bright red sofa, having just grown large enough to launch himself up onto the furniture.

I informed the kid of the Chihuahua's impending departure, and probably because he's tired of being bitten on a daily basis, he said nothing.

A little later I heard gleeful giggles emanating from the room with the red couch. "Mama! Come quick! You've got to see this! The Chihuahua is sumo wrestling!"

The dog was humping a haplesss stuffed animal. Ears flattened, spine arched, the dog pumped his back end up and down like there's no tomorrow. He actually scooted himself and his recipient across the room in this endeavor. (One thing I will say in the Chihuahua's defense is that everything he does, he does with great conviction.)

The kid summed it up this way: "See, mama- it's WORTH having him, for this!"....