Thursday, June 08, 2006

Interpreting signs.

When Geoff was choosing a job, and I was his closest advisor, we agonized over every possible option. We thought about housing, schools, atmosphere, lifestyles, and commutes, air quality and beach access, friends, family... we tried to project our dreams and hopes onto each circumstance and to devine the most ideal future for all. Sometimes when a job offer, like LucasArts', was a little too challenging to accomodate, when housing or relocating seemed too daunting, I assumed that this was a sign that we needed to consider something else. The Santa Monica job seemed impossible from a housing/commute stand too. By "impossible" I mean expensive and difficult to decipher in one weekend. I decided to believe that difficult meant we had an opportunity to realize that we should simplify our lives by staying on familiar ground and accepting our seemingly least stressful option.

Or did *difficult* actually mean *rise to the occasion, challenge yourselves, think outside the box, be adventurous, take the path less well trod, strike forth brave souls?* We went for less stressful, or so we thought. I would quit whining, boring all with our tale of woe, but there are new chapters and I can't help but spill. At this point I think we may as well have gone to San Francisco, set up in our Presidio apartment and slaved away at the Yoda altar...

Geoff has been working 6 days a week. The darkest, predawn hours he spends in the RV, so that he can devote all of his strength and soul to the company. But the property manager has made a firm decision that no RVs can park in the company lot, ever. Crap. So. Well, now we have to reduce our search area for housing to eliminate Geoff's commute as much as possible, so that when he's worked 18 hours and has to be back to do it again he won't flog his brain and car driving half way across the county. If we can't find a rental in 12 areas, what are the odds we'll find something looking in 4 areas? The RV solution was also helpful, because of gas savings (he drove it only twice a week) and because it's a safe and dependable ride. The Chevy on the other hand is a gas snorting heap with many faults and failings, and would have to be driven 12 times per week.

I was crumbling under the strain before. Now I am just stunned and confused.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"Enter if you dare... " Anne's warning, not mine: Shopping is Important. Okay, I know she's going to share some meaningful, important information, but she has to promise to wait about two years before she says anything about diapers in landfills!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

On Max's Small Screen...

Max has been sketching monsters on the Magna Doodle.

Janece and I were talking about television... I have cable. She has Netflix. I have Netflix too, but I also have 300-400-500 channels and three remotes. I grew up with the *Unplug Your Television Campaign,* and I totally subscribe to the idea that television desiccates brain juices, but Oh, it feels so good! Every time I become appalled by 1. The violence 2. The Expense and/or 3. The shocking number of hours wasted, I determine to QUIT. I determine to cutback to whatever signal I can pick up from the ether. No more CBS “Sunday Morning.” No more PBS ”Nature.” No more “NOVA,” “Masterpiece Theater,” “California’s Gold.” No more “Pimp My Ride” or “Malcom in The Middle…” Oh my God. Can you believe how much television I watch, or think about watching? And, truthfully, I have not fully disclosed all my guilty pleasures. Couldn’t miss the Oscars, love to catch Oprah, you know I like Noggin, and I bounce between all three network morning shows to catch the news.

In 2001, when ABC aired “The Charlie Brown Christmas” special and kept showing “Alias” promos during commercial breaks, my poor children asked whether we were having more terrorist attacks. I was ready to quit then. Gratuitous violence, particularly during programming for children really pisses me off. I wrote a letter to every company that advertised during that program and to ABC. I never heard anything back, and that pissed me off too.

Why can’t we watch more programming and stations for less money? Why aren’t we allowed to choose between cable companies, or have some other service all together? Isn’t there enough money from the advertising to cover the expense of broadcasting? The expense, every month, definitely makes me want to quit cable for good.

I love media. I love pictures and music and stories. I love comedies and names, faces, ideas, science, nature in Africa or Antarctica. I love cuddling in front of the glowing box that makes no demands of me; it just gives and gives and gives. I am weak, and I know I should quit watching when I think of all I could accomplish if I applied television time to weightlifting, novel writing, ironing, hiking, skiing, world travel. Ya. Right. Be real. No, I can’t quit. I will cutback. No more surfing, except when Geoff works late, the kids are sleeping and I feel too beat to lift anything heavier than my universal remote. No more “Charlie Brown Christmas.” And after every carefully chosen hour of TV, the children and I will share a dynamic discourse, analyzing and reflecting on what we have witnessed, followed by a brisk jog through the park and a knitting lesson.

It’s interesting to realize how apologetic I feel, how embarrassed. I’m even thinking up little justifications for why it’s okay to be a TV junkie: There are worse habits, it’s educational, I’m lonely, tired… I suppose if I were really comfortable with my viewing habits I wouldn’t be debating with myself, so I guess it’s good to think about it and to remind myself about moderation. Moderation is good.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Maria had her 18 month check-up this morning. I think she knows the routine. She left home in a good mood, but by the time she was undressed, weighed and measured, she knew she was in for trouble and it made her eyes brim with pools of grief in anticipation. She did get a shot, and the doctor dared to check her in-coming teeth, which are very tender. Maria is hanging on to her 49th percentile spot on the growth chart for height and weight. Actually everything measures very well. She's learning, growing, exploring, listening, dancing, climbing... she even knows how to lay face down and kick her legs... it's a classic, practically cliche tantrum, that I rate with high marks for both technique and style.

Did you know if we were in the Philippines our summer would be over? Talk about a time difference! Before our California summer is over, I hope to make some plans. If we could get the move behind us, unpack, settle in, there may just be time to sneak in a road trip. We've made 3 trips to the beach which has been very nice. I'd like to think I could handle the 3-4 days it would take to drive to Oregon on my own, but maybe I should be content to enjoy local sights. I used to feel like I had places, destinations to land, like the times I drove to Santa Cruz and Monterey, but life is complicated, things change.

Max, Maria and I have been enjoying N O G G I N, both online and on television. It's a safe and generous place for small children, with fun music and amusing games. Maria especially loves Jack Johnson's music video for "Upside Down." I intended to write a complete and elaborate explanantion for what we enjoy about Noggin and why it is an exceptional source of entertainment... but I am too tired... the heart of it is: We like it. It makes us happy. Now watch Jack and Curious George swim together in Hawaii... it might make you happy too.
Max is a modern artist.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Pour yourself a cup of tea, get comfortable... Alex is painting... rbbbbbit!
It's June. Again. I still remember being in shock from it suddenly being June last year. 6 months ago it was Christmas. I'm not suggesting that you need a lesson in counting or an explanation of holidays and months. I'm just stunned and trying to grapple with the whole idea that days, weeks and months are whizzing by. I think that because my mind is still trapped in the *housing-moving-what-the-#$%!-are we doing?* mode, I lose perspective about the rest of life. 6 months ago it was Christmas and June was a distant reality, when our questions were going to have answers, and our answers would be good ones. June was the month when we would be moved out of one house and in to another, when we would be gathered together to honor my mom with a big Happy 60th Birthday, We Love You Party. June is still a birthday month, for Hans, Bill, Alex, Julie, Phil and my mom, but I am hardly prepared to make my way to Oregon. June is still moving month, if we can ever find a place to move to.

I woke up looking like a 1970’s Kentucky Hair-doed country singer, and Geoff said, “Well good morning Loretta,” and that made me laugh.

Recently Max asked “How many days until Alex’s birthday?”
Not certain what day it was I figured it was “About 3 weeks.”
Max needs exactness, so he asked again, “But, exactly how many days until the party?” I’m driving. Maria’s crying. Life is complicated, and Max needs numbers, now.
“Max,” I know I sound exasperated, “The party is in about three weeks. I don’t know what today’s date is, so I can’t tell you right now.”
Max, undaunted by my short fuse, raises his voice and asks, “Isn’t 3 weeks 21 days? The party must be in 21 days.”
If Max gets me to agree that the party is in 21 days he will hold me to those figures and a whole new crises will ensue if the dates are inaccurate.
With withered patience I rattle, “I AM ESTIMATING THE DAYS MAX. 3 WEEKS IS ONLY A GUESS…”
He calmly replied, “Yes mom, I know. You are only estimating, but I am calculating.”
And that made me laugh too.