Saturday, June 30, 2007

Potty Training, Marriage Symbols, and Boston Cook Outs

It's Ed's turn this month to be in the Northwest. His brother, Steve, is getting married-actually *just* said his vows about an hour ago. Ed's probably about to give his best man speech -- I wonder if he drank a few rum and cokes to ease into the speech-making (like the three gin and tonics I drank before my speech at Nicole's wedding earlier this month). At any rate, I hope Steve, his new bride, Leslie, and my tried-and-true groom, are currently enjoying some good food and good tunes.

My day was eventful, but not like a wedding. Jack wore underwear ALL DAY (I say again: no diapers) and masterfully held both Pee and Poop pretty much all day (I capitalize those words because of their pronoun status in the household today). Other than an accident (pee) outside, he managed to sit on the pot a total of about 10 times and let all but a few drops out. Amazing. I think the diaper I put on him for bed is chock full. He told me right after an overtired tantrum, and right before crashing, that tomorrow he wanted to wear his diaper again. I went online and took some quiz and realized that the kid probably isn't quite ready yet. Our landlords hosted a "cook out" (that's Hub slang for "BBQ") and Jack and I, in good crashing form, joined them. I made mental note that returning to the Northwest means having BBQs with family and friends, rather than dropping in on the nearest family gathering to suck whatever laid back family love and vibes we are missing, particulalry when most of Ed's family is celebrating the ultimate cookout at Steve and Leslie's wedding.

Speaking of marriages, which, are honestly, as far from a wedding in definition that you can get (besides maybe potty-training of course), I haven't worn my wedding ring in a few weeks. I've never had it off this long and even the indendation of 10+ years of wear is barely recognizable. Our wedding vows are still in tact and the marriage still strong, but after reading a link to an article from one of my new favorite blogs,, I looked down at the ring that I've never liked (the engagement part is fine- it's the band, which took all of about 30 seconds to agree to when designing with a Tacoma jewelwer because I had much more interesting things to do like read Willa Cather and Virginia Woolf for my senior seminar classes) and realized I wasn't going to wear something that represented many more shameful ideals than those to hold in esteem. The top of which is not the branding element (or the blatantly pornographic sexual representation, both which are bad enough), but the fact that I just don't like the thing. So, I'm now on the look out for a new wedding band; something inexpensive but local (wherever local may be) and one that I'm hoping Ed & I can find together. It might take years to find, which is quite fine; I don't know any marriage that was held together by a symbol. Besides, I always felt like I was wearing the ring for other people- and people I didn't know. Because, if you know me or Ed, you know we're married. So, really, the ring was to let people who meant nothing to me know that I was a spouse. Which, seems quite pessimistic, if you think about it. Funny, though, that I still want one. I might be a hypocrite. Or, just a slave to blind culture. One seems to be the definition of the other.

God, I hope Ed's speech wasn't anything like my ramblings here. I'm pee-pee weary. And, ready to shed my early-20s notion of marriage with the one I'm coming to know in my 30s. Which is indefineable --or in the least needs a new symbol. A more honest, hard-earned, soil rich one.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

This is what I think about when I don't have class to plan for

I fall into that category of people who tend not to label themselves religious, but rather "spiritual" because religion has too close a connotation to dogma, which by the way, is the name of a fabulous movie by Kevin Smith. In that movie, Chris Rock plays the roll of the 13th disciple who has a great mini-speech about how everything got fucked up by religion, how Jesus is generally pissed off about what gets carried out in his name (wars, persecution, misogyny, injustice, to name a few) under the guise of religious doctrine. Rock asks why can't we just have a "good idea" about something- which implies openmindedness, which, really, is a common value of many of the ongoing religions worldwide, if we look close enough.

But enough spewing about all what my mother calls my 'anger management' issues with religion (fair enough). Truth is, I'm quite faithful and have a strong idea that something akin to the Holy Spirit, Divine Inspiration, or something along those lines breathes through the current of our lives. Bottom line, how else could I explain the fact that so much has worked out for us? That's not to say that there's so much that HASN'T worked out for the majority of the people in the world, and while I'm still agonizing over that, I can't ignore the FACT that when we had NO IDEA how we would move through the coming days, weeks, or months, things did work out. OF COURSE, we didn't just sit back and let it all work itself out; like prayer, we put our two cents in and hoped we we doing/saying the right thing.

I'm not one of these people who can spout of Bible verses verbatim, but there's some probably over-used one that I have been thinking about. Apparently, the Bible reminds us that the sparrow (or any bird for that matter) doesn't look too far ahead and worry. They wake up, do their good work with what they have and the knowledge of their life up to that point, and have no choice but to do otherwise. As humans in the United States with resources that easily lends itself to overconsumption and obesity, we tend to have the opposite problem -- too much security, or better yet, too much of a sense of what may or may not be true security. (To be clear, by "we" I mean the middle-class and higher).

Last night Ed, Jack, and I visited the home of a family who is willing to sublet their condo to us for a very reasonable price the first two weeks in August. We met them through one of Ed's co-horts at BU whose husband plays for the Boston Symphony. What are the odds that Ed would
meet someone from Germany whose husband is best friends with a Romanian who just happens to live in Boston but works in Western Mass in August? They are a lovely family-open warm and generous (even if they aren't leaving their $2000 espresso machine for us). Only two days ago we really weren't sure how to navigate the month of August. Do we put all our eggs in one basket and just buy plane tickets for Seattle, thinking that I'll get the job? Or, do we play it safe and try to live here at least through mid-August in order to have the space to buy not-too-overpriced plane tickets OR look for a new place in Boston? So much of that decision came clear last night when we knew we could live here for two weeks and not pay a full month's rent.

There is still a lot in the air-for example, just how quickly I'll know either way whether or not South Seattle will hire me, how quickly we can sell my Honda to cover the moving expenses in case they do- but YET AGAIN, a piece of the future puzzle fell together wonderfully. The evidence of faith in SOMETHING shines again.

Jack and I are headed to Hull where our friends are adjusting to their new one-week-old baby. And, tomorrow Ed heads to Seattle to celebrate his brother's wedding. It's a weekend of blessings. I should plan for my online class that starts in two weeks, but I can do that next week.


Friday, June 22, 2007


My mom gave Jack some Disney DVDs for Christmas. The first few months he watched old Chip-n-Dale cartoons, but lately he's been a fan of old Mickey Mouse cartoons. His favorite is "The Little Whirlwind" where Mickey's attempts to win Minnie Mouse's favor is thwrarted by a small yet cleverly annoying tornado. This cartoon is a very early Disney cartoon where the leaves get up and march reminiscent to the broomsticks in Fantasia. While I have many issues with the Disneyfication of America, I grew up on early Disney and don't mind that Jack likes the cartoons- particularly because he's more interested in acting out the cartoon (blankie is the notorious whirlwind) about 10 times for every 1 time he watches the show.

Whirlwind is the best way to describe this summer. And, the last two years in Boston. If I ever stay at the same job for more than a year AND live in the same place at THE SAME TIME I'm living in the same place, I'm not sure what I will do with all that time on my hands.

The community college I interviewed with back in early June (well, it was really only two weeks ago, but waiting time is like dog years) is flying me back for a second interview mid-July. They called Monday and since then we've been trying to figure out the logistics of our pending move. We need to move out of this place by the end of July, but because I won't know until just about then WHAT TOWN we'll be moving to, we're not sure how to navigate. The current plan is to find a place to sublet for the first one or two weeks in August so that once we know if I got the job, we can look for a place in Seattle, buy plane tickets for me & Jack, and Ed's brother, Steve, can head out for the long drive back. If I didn't get the job, we'll have those two weeks to find a place here in Boston.

If I did live in Disneyworld and needed to make a wish on a star, it would not necessarily be that I got the job in Seattle, but that what I wanted was absolutely clear. The last two years has taught me to take in life and make it what I need it to be -- not wait to be happy based on outside events. The strange side-effect is a dulled sense of what external events would make me most happy. I've become accustomed to Pollyanna-ing everything (freelance: GREAT- more time at home even if I don't know when/what the next job will be or how much it will pay; teach fulltime: EVEN BETTER: get paid more for teaching than I ever have even if the load is 5 classes at a time and I work at one of the most dysfunctional places that exists). So much so that the idea of moving back is a careful low rumble of relief. When the thunderstorms strike (as they have the last two days), I revel in the extreme weather knowing the grey humdrum of the Northwest might be replacing New England fall colors. July will be hot and humid. I won't revel in the hazy heat, but I bet I'll have more patience for everyone's sticky skin.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Waiting Game

I should hear in the next day or so if I got a second interview with South Seattle CC. If I do get the interview, there's a strong chance I'll get the job and we'll move to Seattle in August. We've got our potential new landlords on hold, hoping that they'll put up with our waiting and hold the place just in case I don't get the job and we stay in Boston for another year. And, since Ed starts teaching everyday next week, the best time for us to move (if I don't get the Seattle job) is this week. SO, I'm home today packing the non-essentials- books, frames, files, etc- just in case we have to move later this week.

The upside to all of this waiting \ is that TNT's series, The Closer, starts its third season tonight. It's my favorite show. And, with all the impending changes, I almost forgot all about it- that is, until last night when battling insomnia, I stumbled upon the beginning of a 19 hour Closer marathon. Thank God that I can decide to let today's biggest battle become the fine balancing act of packing while taking in as many episodes as possible.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Job Updates

The family's reunited again. Laura came home Sunday night. Jack and I drove out to the airport to get her. Jack had been excited all day on Sunday. I tried to put him down for a cat nap before we had to leave for the airport around 10:30pm. But after an hour, he called from his room. I went in there and asked what was wrong. "I can't sleep," he said. Can't blame the little guy - so he got up. On the way to the airport Jack asked, "are you so excited Dada? I'm really excited."

When did he learn the word "excited"?

Laura's convinced her interview in Seattle went - just ok. The further she gets from the interview, the more she's convinced she didn't do so well. I pointed out it's a good thing she's not on the hiring committee then, or she'd definitely not get the job. The next step is they'll call (hopefully) for a second interview over the phone. Then they'll be more waiting before we hear if she gets the job or not.

In the category of "Things I Didn't Expect" - I got a full-time teaching job at CWU-Lynnwood (near Seattle). I'd be teaching a bunch of psych classes to undergrads at the branch campus. I didn't expect to get it because I'm ABD (All But Dissertation). ABD is this grey area of being smart enough to get through all your course work, but not smart enough to actually have your degree yet (you have to write your dissertation to get that). The university teaching jobs usually go to those people with their doctoral degrees. The fact that the job is on a branch campus and not the main university campus probably gave me a better shot. Think of it like an academic outpost of sorts - probably beneath some psych people. I'll be CWU Psych department's representive in the wilderness.

Still - it's not a bad gig since the afternoon and evening classes would allow me to a) gain some university teaching experience, b) take time to write my dissertation and c) start cultivating some sport psych work around the Puget Sound on the side. Anyway, it's good to know I'd have a job lined up if we did move.

So we're left waiting to hear on Laura's job - it's hard because I get the feeling that neither of us want to talk about it, fearing we might jinx something - so it's a little like saying Voldemort's name, you know, The Job That Must Not Be Named.

We'll let you know when we know something.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Crossin' off the days

Today's the last day of single-parenthood. Laura's been in Seattle since Wednesday - she flies back tonight. A friend from college asked her to be in her wedding. I'll let her to you all about it.

But my hat's off to every single parent out there. It's. Not. Easy. And I've only been doing it for four days. The tough thing is there's really no "off" switch to Jack. Not that I want an "off" switch - I'd settle for a "chill" switch. One game leads to another game and that leads to another game and then oh, let's play that game we played 30 minutes ago and blocks, let's play blocks....

There's never an appropriate time to say, "hey Jack, let's just hang out and watch 30-minute Meals together..."

I'm not complaining though. Jack and I went to the beach on Friday and the day was great. Jack and I built a mini-city of sand castles. Yesterday, Jack and I ventured to Franklin Zoo. Seventeen dollars and 15 minutes later I was informed it was time to go while on our way to see the lions.

I could feel that stubborn, foot-down feeling of fatherhood seething inside of me.

"Sit back in your stroller Jack, we're seeing some lions..."

We even had time to see the gorillas. The baby gorilla had a green blanket he was carrying around. He came right up to the window to where Jack and I were standing. Jack held up his Blankie for the gorilla to see. It reminded me of that scene in Close Encounters where the scientist and the alien stand face to face and communicate through sign language. It was kind of cool.

"I want to go."

So we came home.

Today, we'll probably walk to the playground. Maybe we'll feed some ducks at Jamaica Pond.