Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Most Wonderful (and creepy) Time of the Year

I love Christmas music. I like the jazzy, jaunty tunes by Bing and Ella and Andy Williams. I like the traditional carols, beautiful and reverent (although ALWAYS a bit too high for me at some point!) I like the Mickey's Christmas CD that my girls loved to hear over and over when they were little. But this year, my most favorite type of Christmas music is a sub-genre that I've discovered: "Pervy Christmas Songs." And it is more pervasive than you might think (if you're listening for the right things, that is!) In the spirit of the season, I offer this gift to you--my top three Pervy Christmas Songs--for your enjoyment:

#3--Santa Claus Is Coming To Town: This classic children's favorite boasts among its famous lyrics, this key pervy line: "He sees you when you're sleeping/he knows when you're awake/he knows if you've been bad or good/so be good for goodness sake." I think that the Santa of this fine tune must have been the inspiration for the obsessed stalker in the Police song Every Breath You Take. And not only does this cheery tune boast advanced stalker imagery, but there is the lightly-veiled threat at the end about being good...or else.

#2--A Kiss A Toy from the 1970 animated TV classic "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town": Every year Gabi and I hold our own version of MST3K and make merciless fun of this ridiculously silly show. We impress ourselves with our ability to come up with new witty barbs each year and, of course, pull out our favorite insults from years past. ("You must not play with toys children, you must play with fire!" --Gabi) But the piece de resistance of this entire production is the song Good Ol' St. Nick sings to the sad children of SomberTown. "If you sit on my lap today/a kiss a toy is the price you'll pay/when you tell what you wish for in a whisper/be prepared to pay/so give a little love/get a little love back/" Do I really need to say anything more?

#1--Baby, It's Cold Outside: Don't get me wrong--I LOVE this song. It's one of my favorites. However, it has become impossible for me to listen to the persuasive insistence of the "gentleman" without thinking of it as the consummate date-rape song. The more the woman insists on leaving, the more he pushes her to go against her own wishes. He offers her booze, the threat of freezing to death, and pushes her to feel guilty with lines like "How can you do this thing to me?" It's a textbook example of how to NOT take no for an answer.

So, at this most WONDERFUL time of the year, take a few moments to lend a different kind of ear to your favorite tunes and see what fun discoveries (and perversions) you can discover!

Happy Holidays!!! :)

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

When you are single, there are certain moments that drive home the idea that you are utterly alone. One such moment happened to me not long after my ex-husband had moved out of our house. I was having an unusually good day for that time in my life, and was in high spirits. I had just gotten home and heard the phone ring. The phone was in the basement and in my buoyant frame of mind I found myself bouncing down the stairs to answer it. I decided to take the last several steps in one bounding leap. I joyously launched myself from the stair to the bottom and suddenly saw stars (yes, STARS) and everything went black.

A few moments later I was lying on my basement floor, and felt a throbbing on the very top of my head. I wasn't sure what was going on, but I realized that I was alone. It was the weekend and my kids were with my ex-husband, and I was ALL. BY. MY. SELF. If I lost consciousness and started bleeding into my brain, no one would be coming home to find me. I could slip into a coma or even die and it could be days--DAYS--before my poor children ran in to greet me after their weekend away and found me unresponsive on the basement floor.

With my survival instincts in full force, I crawled across the floor to where the now-silent phone lay. I picked up the receiver and dialed Terri's number. I got the answering machine. I left a message that I had hurt my head, and that I would appreciate it if they would check on me later to make sure that I was okay. I hung up the phone and rested my weary head with the comforting knowledge that someone out there would find me before it was too late.

When I was ready to get up, I looked back at the staircase where I had been so happy just a few minutes before. I noticed that up above the last few stairs, the ceiling lowered a few feet. I had literally launched my head at full speed into the ceiling.

Tonite I once again fell down the stairs, to the mixed delight and horror of my second-born child. I was wearing my fuzzy socks and missed the first step. I was certain that I would right myself and gain my footing on the next step, or the next, or the next, or the next (NINE times I expected to stop falling.) Finally the momentum stopped, and my crumpled form slumped over the bottom stair and pulsed in pain at several different points. Immediately, I felt Gabi's arms around me, asking if I was okay. I caught my breath and somewhere between a laugh and a sob, looked up. It hurt. I cried.

I peeled off my sweater and viewed my arm where much of the skin had been peeled off by the stairs and a large area beneath my elbow had already swollen grotesquely. As Gabi shared her view of the incident (the back of my head nodding fiercely as I stuttered down the stairs) and tried to hold back a snicker, I burst into hysterical laughter through my tears. Once Gabi determined that I was really okay, and that I wouldn't kill her for laughing, she had two things to say, "I didn't want to have to call the hospital," and "You might have whiplash--your head was really bobbing."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hell Hath No Fury... a compact, brunette, teenage dynamo (that I spawned.) Tonite there was a line drawn in the sand. A line about grades, and accountability, and (yikes!) being grounded until aforementioned issues are improved. Now I am being punished. And I was informed that such punishment would not abate until said restrictions are lifted. This is one part about the whole grounding thing that I have always hated. It is not just a punishment for the child--it is a prison sentence for the entire family. If one of us suffers, ALL of us will suffer. The "one" will make sure.

But there is no stronger weapon in my arsenal. Not right now. Not with this one. This one is determined. Smart. Willful. Strong. She is the girl who lied repeatedly about lying when she was five. She lied in the face of the evidence of her lie. She lied after being berated. She lied after being put in the longest time-out in the history of time-out. She lied after Dad was brought in. She lied even when nothing she did changed her circumstances or our minds. She was never going to surrender. No matter what. And neither was I.

We are at an impasse, she and I. It may last as long as this battle. It may last throughout the teenage years. It may last into the early twenties. But, as I have sworn to my daughter multiple times, I will persist. I will love her when she can't stand me. I will love her when she is so angry she could spit nails. I will love her through hating school, hating life, hating the hating. And I will love her enough to do what makes her angry, what challenges her doubts, what pushes her to be more than she expects. I will stubbornly love her just as she stubbornly fights to be her own person. And we will each come out better for it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

There's no place like Law & Order

Dorothy may have found home over the rainbow with Aunty Emm and the gang at the Kansas homestead, but as I spent week after week in different hotels in strange towns, I found home in a very different place. Clicking the heels of her red shoes is what took Dorothy home and clicking the buttons on a TV remote is what takes me.

After several weeks on the road, trying to find a bedtime routine that could help this insomniac find a sense of comfort and familiarity (and failing miserably), I finally found the key that I had been searching for. It was the fourth night in a row where I was still flipping channels at 3am, and I landed on a show that instantly calmed my restlessness. It wasn't the first time I had seen it--I had been watching it more and more frequently throughout my travels, but this was the first time I recognized my heartbeat slowing, my breath steadying, and my head hitting the pillow in contentment as Goren & Eames quipped witty penal code banter on the glowing screen of my hotel room TV. I knew that I was powerless to resist as my fingers relaxed their death grip on the remote and it partially fell out of my hand--now I would have to engage my brain in order to properly position my fingers back on the correct buttons in order to keep my usual all-night channel flipping vigil. This was serious.

Scenes from the past weeks of travel flashed through my mind: Hoboken, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Tucson...wherever I was and whatever time it may be some channel ALWAYS had one version or another of Law & Order playing. The characters became my best friends, my dinner dates, my bedtime lullaby. No matter where I was they were always there. They made tonight's generic hotel room familiar, comfy, like home. Escaping into the gritty, violent, seamy underside of NYC with these flawed, quirky detectives as my tour guides became my sleeping pill. As long as I could hear that unmistakable Law & Order music and watch the detectives fight with their captain, the DA, and the perps--I was at peace.

And now that I am home--no longer on the road--I still find myself addicted to this show. It has a hold on me. I keep trying to quit, but find myself sneaking another hit. Recording episodes on my DVR. Saving episodes I've already watched as an emergency stash. Just in case. I never know when I'll find myself fighting the Wicked Witch of Wakefulness, and need the magic. In fact, right now my trigger fingers are a little itchy--it's time to click that remote and repeat, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home." (Well, no place like the major case squad, anyway...One Police Plaza, here I come!)