Archive for May 23rd, 2007

So much to not love, the taking care of kids, for one. Yes, I have kids now. Yes, I love them, I love them so much that I really understand for once those corny words to the Tina Turner song, Love Hurts. But man, it’s hard taking care of kids. I want to be alone, and kids are kind of easy to get away from. You set them up with a television and video, Beauty and the Beast, let’s say, and wa-la. You’re alone.

Even then, even at that early age I wanted solitude. I liked sitting in Mrs. B.’s sewing room. Mrs. B. was a precursor to Martha Stewart. If you think about it, the whole late 1970s was that time when women broke out of the kitchen and into crafts. It was a new kind of creative time for women. For suburban women, like Mrs. B.

She stayed home, cooked and brought up the kids. But she did it with a sewing room of her own. She had plastic bins, all the scissors of different sizes and with zig-zag blades and sharp straight blades and curvy blades, all in one of the bins. Fabrics and fabric scraps. Spools of thread. Those I loved the most. Looking at her spools of thread.

I liked being at her house during the day, the kids outside in the sandbox with pails and shovels. Sometimes I’d put on the sprinkler and just let them go. They had a little swimming pool. I wouldn’t even stay outside and watch them. I knew in the back of my mind I was being reckless, but still, the sewing room was too big a draw. It had powers, that room.

Sometimes I think there was a part of me that formed while I was in that house. It was shaped like a U with square edges. A modern home, glass windows all on the interior of the U facing a courtyard. Mr. B. was from Lebanon; he looked exactly like the main character in the sitcom Taxi. One time I asked my parents if the B.’s were lesbian. My brother burst out laughing. Do you mean Lebanese?

You spend time, alone time in a house, a small child really, waif-like. I was so skinny I was like vapor, and vapor I seemed, steaming in and out of this room and that room. Lifting lids, letting secrets escape. It’s funny. My last write I talked all about what I didn’t love about babysitting. This one I seem to have found something that made it all OK.

-from Topic post, Job! What Job?; companion writing practice to this one

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I didn’t love babysitting. I dreaded it each time Mrs. H. called or Mrs. B, especially Mrs. B. Her kids were brats. I was a kid myself, I wanted to be a brat. I needed the money.

There were sunflower seeds and watermelon sticks to buy at Circle K on a hot middle-of-the-summer day. And earrings, I loved my little turquoise posts. I collected glass figurines that I bought from a glass shop in Old Town. Carmen and I took the city bus there, age 13, and shopped all day long like tourists on a vacation. We didn’t have anything else to do.

I hated being alone at night in those big houses after the kids went to sleep. The B.’s house had too much glass. I could see my reflection against the dark night. Skinny legs, brown, brown skin from being outside all the time. I was obsessed with all things scary – murders and sharks and airplane crashes and ghosts – yet I was scared to death. Still am. Still hate being in a big house by myself.

I loved nothing about babysitting, not the way Mrs. B. would tell me to feed Armin his peanut-butter-and-honey sandwich by pretending each bite was a plane. BRRRRRRR comes the plane in for a landing in your mouth. Not the way I felt compelled to look in bathroom drawers, looking for condoms or girly magazines, any evidence sex went on in that house. Not the way it made me jump when the phone rang or how the kids always fell asleep so soundly and so fast. Not even the money. Twenty-five cents an hour in some cases. But what else could I do?

-from Topic post Job! What Job?; writing practice on one of the jobs from this list

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Every now and then QuionMonkey adds a new link on our blogroll after she’s been up until 4 in the morning. I click on it, find she has exquisite taste in blogs, and then start sending her emails about what I discover as I surf. This time I thought I’d share my enthusiasm with you.

One of the newest additions to our blogroll is Typo Of The Day For Librarians. What a beautiful site. Every day there is a new, commonly misspelled word. (In online catalogs, but also in general, I believe.) Words where letters get transposed (fascimile) or left out (aniversary).

It hasn’t made the list yet, but manger will eventually get there, I’m sure. I see it all the time in email communication at work. (All mangers are expected to pass down this information to their staff members…)

It must be a certain type of person who notices words this way. I know I always have. When I was in third or fourth grade we each wrote a page for a class book on what or who we loved. I wrote about my grandma. Bucky Mulvaney wrote about his horses. One of the sentences in his story read, “My hores eat clookes.” I remember some of the kids laughing that he’d used the word hores (pronounced whores) which I laughed about, too, even though I didn’t know what it meant. Much more hilarious, I thought, was that he used clookes; even this afternoon I said to myself as I passed a package of molasses cookies on the table, My hores eat clookes.

The other blog connection QM made was to Grammar Police. (Grammer, btw, already appeared in Typo Of The Day.) A few days ago, Shawn of Grammar Police did a post on words mispronounced in childhood. She shared an embarrassing incident where she asked her mother what the word episcopal meant, except the word got so butchered in the asking that her mother didn’t know what it was. That led to her mother’s admission that she, too, had one of these words.

I shouldn’t make fun of Bucky. I had (and still have) plenty words of my own. One I’ve been thinking about lately is saloon. I used to spend summers with my grandma and grandpa in a small town in northeastern New Mexico. Grandpa had been a cowboy, and I guess to get some excitement in retirement he went almost every day to the saloon. He’d say he was going grocery shopping, but Grandma would say in a disgusted voice, “Agh, he’s going to the saloon.” Having never been to a saloon, yet having been to the A-la-Mode Salon where Grandma got her hair done, I spent at least two summers wondering why my weathered ol’ cowboy of a grandpa liked going to the saloon every day.

Anyway, thanks QM, for loving words as much as I do, especially when we get them all wrong.

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