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Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28
Put THIS in your pipe and DON'T smoke it! - 2014-10-23
Max, Wolf, and the goats - 2014-10-15
Maloney for Congress - 2014-10-08

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1:42 a.m. - 2013-09-06
So, so, so sweet.

No narrative tonight, just a lot of stuff on my mind. Please excuse the randomness.

Wolf starts school tomorrow. Seems incredibly dumb to open the school year on a Friday but like standardized test scores and the budget- schools are all about the numbers. No common sense is allowed to get in the way of the almighty numbers. Mick's kids started Wednesday, his district budgets for one less snow day than Wolf's district so they want to get the count up while they can in case we have a bad winter and they're forced to go over their allotted ones. They (and Mick) had today off, of course, for Rosh Hashanah. L'shana tovah to my Jewish friends. I don't know how it'll go when I no longer have a kid in school, but it's sort of my new year too. I've always bent my reckoning of time and the year around the school calendar.

It feels like a new year too. Happily the weather has already taken an autumnal turn. Today the sky was that gorgeous cerulean which is specific to New England in the fall. Right now the windows are open, I have my snuggly lap blanket over my knees, the crickets sound sleepy and tired, and there's not a lightning bug to be seen. The spiders know. They've already started wrapping the house in webbing and there are many egg sacs beneath the shutters. A beauty moved into the bathroom. I don't know what species she is, she's mostly brown, her body is about the size of my index fingernail, and total leg span is about an inch and a half. She's made herself to home on the upper left corner of the big mirror. The mirror sits away from the wall a bit and she's made a cozy home for herself in the gap with webbing strung from the light fixture to the corner walls. She's probably tucked her egg sac behind the mirror and I look forward to seeing the spider babies in the spring.

What? I like spiders. Not in that morbid goth Alice Cooper way. Hey, 'Charlotte's Web' made a deep impression on me when I was 6. Anyway if I'm going to have critters in my house at least spiders are useful. Unlike the damn cats who just lie around doing nothing. And the dopey dog who's started barking for no reason. Used to be Princess only barked at the ex. Actually she still barks at the ex. It's just that now she barks at imaginary stuff too. If her barking didn't send me on unnecessary trips to the front door to see if anyone's there I'd be pleased with her yapping. Like me, my former whipped down cringing mess of a dog has come a long way in five years. Confident enough to defend her turf and make a little noise. No longer low pet on the totem pole either, Princess will warn the cats to back off and isn't above conning both Mick and Wolf to come across with a can of Alpo. She's only supposed to have one a day but she gives them the moochy face and sits next to the inside front door like it's time for her feeding and Mick or Wolf not knowing the other has already fed her will take her out to the enclosed front porch where her dish lives and pop another can. That scam's days are over though, now she'll only get the one can. It'll be Wolf's job to do Alpo duty after school. I can't abide the smell of canned dog food which is why her dish is on the front porch and the guys are in charge of feeding her anyhow. Mick gets home too late to make the dog wait that long.

Wolf. School. He's a junior this year, people! An upperclassman! Alex was a junior when I started this blog and Wolf was a non-verbal, diaper wearing hellion who still slept in a crib. And now Alex is a man grown rounding the bend toward 30 and Wolf is starting his second to last year of school. The mix of happy, sad, amazed, stunned, disbelieving, relieved, pleased, and schmaltzy is making me a bit nauseated. Excuse me while I hyperventilate for a bit.

So. Wolf again. Not only is he starting his junior year of high school, tomorrow he begins his adventures at culinary school. I'd tried to order his chef's whites online but never got a confirmation or tracking number. Yesterday we hit Malltown and got him kitted up. Black oxfords with steel toes and slip-proof soles at DSW. A black polo and black khakis at Old Navy. (Not only do the students learn the kitchen part they learn to set up and serve on the dining floor, hence the black duds.) I was at a loss where to get his chef's whites but finally remembered there's a uniform place over by the fairgrounds. Mostly cop and fireman stuff, the place also does a brisk business in medical scrubs. Glory be, they also had culinary uniforms. Wolf is now the proud owner of two starchy double-breasted white mess coats, the requisite checkered cook's pants, a 4-way apron, and a floppy chef's toque. Which, btw, he looks quite rakish in. I understand the reasoning behind the uniform requirements, dressing the part helps the students feel like 'real' cooks, but truth is every dining establishment I've ever worked in the cook wore stained Dickies work pants, a grimy apron, and a white t-shirt, usually with a pack of Pall Malls rolled up in one sleeve. And there were no hats, rakish floppy toques or otherwise. Okay, Eric the fry cook at this one place I worked (a Denny's type place called 'The Kettle') he wore a bandana tied like a do-rag but only because he was going bald and was trying to pull off that Brett Michaels thing.

While I'm in the vicinity of the kitchen, last night I made myself a cup of tea and when I lifted the lid of the sugar bowl I saw it had been refilled. The sugar bowl had been refilled! No biggie, you say? HUGE biggie to me. Not once during my life with Mike did anyone refill the sugar bowl. Or put a fresh stick in the butter dish. Or put a new roll of toilet paper on the spindle. Or gas my car. Or replace the soap. Or turn on the a/c in my room. Or save me a piece of cake.

I swear to you I stood there looking at the full sugar bowl and cried.

This is how it is for me now. I exist.

I matter.

The relief! The pleasure of it. The wonder. The kindness of it bowled me over.

"Jeeze, LA, you're easy to please."

Yeah, I am. And this is exactly my point. Forget about shit like the ex being fired from job after job and blowing off the taxes and stranding us without health insurance for 15 years and how if the cable or the power went out I never knew if it was a grid outage or the check I'd sent bounced again. Nevermind having to provide sex every single day for 25 years and being able to count my own orgasms on one hand because doing for me was 'an imposition'. Put aside the emotional starvation and the constant mockery and criticism that left me feeling less than dog shit. Let us look at the sugar bowl. To me the idea that my husband took the time to refill the sugar bowl meant worlds. It meant he knew where the sugar was kept. It meant that the dearth of sugar in the bowl was something he might remedy on his own without being asked to do it. Dig this, Mick doesn't even use sugar, but knows I do. And he knows in the evening I like to have tea. And I use sugar in my tea. So while he was in the kitchen doing something else Mick thought of me. And my evening cup of tea. He checked that there were tea bags in the tea bag dish by the stove. And the kettle had water in it. And the sugar bowl? It was low so he refilled it. Because I am there in his mind...all the time. And any little thing he can do to make my life easier he will do.

A simple thing, yet it's everything. That full sugar bowl said, "I love you." It said it in the way I'd hungered for my whole life before Mick. Of course I loved my birthday with the limo and the moonlight carriage ride through Central Park. I adore the sparkly diamonds on my finger and dangling from my ears and that hang around my neck. Or how much it means when I pick up my prescriptions every month and the co-pay is $10 because, hey, health insurance! How could I not preen and strut a little when I'm gussied up and he whistles and admires? Only a fool would ignore the way he's made over his entire value system and way of seeing the world because my hippy-ish standards have made him rethink everything and he likes my way more.

Yet it comes back to that full sugar bowl. And how I am known. How even though I wasn't in the room I was there for Mick. And he wanted my life to be just that much smoother, that much easier, that my evening cuppa was a priority.

I know, right?

Tomorrow my little Wolf begins his junior year. 11th grade. Plus the start of his professional path toward somewhere. A restaurant, a hospital or school cafeteria, or maybe just dinner for the someday wife and kids. Mick has to work a football game and won't be home until late. In the downtime between regular workday and overtime he'll visit his folks (they live nearby). Me? I'll continue with the fall cleaning that I began today, with a time-out to run into town to the farmer's market for scones and late season corn.


Sweetness all around, ~LA


Saw these guys twice at the fairgrounds mentioned above.


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