Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shit Happens

Just as sure as that little gray cloud is still following me around, shit happens, sometimes when you least expect it.

I was walking down the streets of San Francisco, toward the bay, on a gorgeous sunny day (which doesn't always happen in SF) after a typical foggy summer morning, just enjoying the rays and being in the city. Walking down a clean sidewalk toward the bay, surrounded by many other people taking a walk during their lunch hour. All of a sudden, water gushes up through four pencil sized holes in a small square metal plate in the street, splashing liquid all over me. At least I first I thought it was water, but quickly realized that it smelled a bit more fragrant than plain water.

My shirt was liberally sprinkled with what had to have been sewage. I smelled worse than a homeless person and my first thought was how could I ride the train home smelling like a baby's dirty diaper. Fortunately, I found a friendly Starbucks nearby with an unlocked bathroom so I could at least scrub my hands and face.

This mini-geyser happened in a split second and I was the ONLY one who got wet. I go to San Francisco two or three times a year. Why was I the lucky one?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Grey Cloud

That grey cloud is still following me around, hovering just behind my head, waiting for the chance to ruin my day. I was hoping that I had left my bad luck in Europe, where it started several weeks ago. I had not been in Paris for even two whole days when I was pick-pocketed while exiting the stairs of the Metro. (Wallet, cell phone and camera just vanished into thin air.) And just a day before I left for New York, I ripped my big toenail off on the corner of my runaway suitcase. I was hoping that I was leaving my bad luck in Europe along with it. (Said bad luck in Europe includes breaking a tooth in a Paris restaurant, tucking it into the presumed safety of my wallet, and then having the wallet stolen two hours later, among other exciting adventures.)

Once back in California and only a mile from the Pacific Ocean, my still black and blue toe did not keep me from walking the sandy beaches near the Santa Monica pier. I was not even sorry later that evening as my toe throbbed from too much walking in the soft shifting sand. However, I did find it annoying to discover an itchy rash on both ankles a few hours after wading in the summer warmed waves of the Pacific.

I think that little grey cloud follows me still.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hallmark Family

There is a Hallmark Family living in my dad's computer. None of us know for sure how just they got there. Like ghosts that invade your living space, one day this family just appeared on his screen saver. Yes, the photos that my step-mom put on the screen saver are there - colorful flowers, saintly pictures, my step-mother's beloved dog, and photos taken at family gatherings. OUR family gatherings, taken at my parent's house in Connecticut or my sister's house in New York.

And now? Interspersed between the familiar photos are other photos - of places none of us have ever been (a moose in Alaska, a rock in the desert, steep walled canyons of Arizona, a country farmhouse in Europe) and people we have never seen (a young girl with a soccer ball, children we don't know scrambling over bright orange pumpkins or dressed in Easter finery). Who are these people and how did they sneak into my dad's computer?

We have a theory, although my sister pleads ignorance, and in fact blames her teenage daughter, who is currently at camp and not able to defend herself. My sister, some months ago at my request, uploaded some photos from my son's high school years -- photos of his high school, his drama teacher, backstage photos, the old auditorium. And oddly enough, around the same time that the Hallmark Family made its appearance on my dad's screen saver, so did my son's high school photos and the photos of places we had never been. Coindidence? I think not, although my sister claims she did nothing but scan in the high school photos and email them to me.

Methinks it was the bored teenager in the bedrooom with the screen saver software that is the cause of the haunting by the Hallmark Family. But sometimes I like to believe that they just appeared by themselves, the software ghosts of a picture perfect family, come to give us pause for thought about the mysteries of life.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I think you have to be, when you are a mom. Ambidexterous, I mean. I have heard of stories of a certain breast feeding mom "zipping up" with one hand, to chase after a run away two year old in the local bookstore in LA, picking up the contents of her purse while in hot pursuit. (That would be TheCrazyBabyMama.)

On my return trip to the US, in a restroom in the airport at Dulles International, I was witness to another ambidexterous feat of motherhood. This was perhaps not quite as public an event as the CrazyBabyMama in the LA bookstore, but still, it was definitely testimony to the physical feats of motherhood, feats that often go unrecognized.

Holding a chubby squirming five month old firmly in one arm, and with a curious four year old at her side, a young mother calmly answered question after question from the four year old, while she washed her baby's butt in the sink with her free hand, dried him off under the hand dryer without burning him, shook out a disposable diaper (which she seemingly produced from thin air) and then quickly and deftly wrapped the disposable diaper around the squirming baby's butt with one hand while she held him with the other, still calmly answering questions from the four year old. That baby never touched a single germy surface of that public restroom, nor was he burned under the hand dryer, nor was he dripping wet when she put the diaper on. Then she just as calmly walked out of the public restroom, toting the now freshly cleaned and diapered cherub, still calmly answering the continuous repetitive questions from the inquisitive four year old.

If it had been me, even the me of 30 years ago, the kid would have left the restroom either dripping wet or with a third degree burn, while the four year old would have been whining half way through the baby-washing-act due to my lack of patience with continuous, repetitive questions. And the one-handed diaper act in mid-air? Not a chance.