Friday, June 29, 2007

to the left, to the left

I'm listening to Beyonce singing "Irreplaceable"*. It is a sterling example of a pop song done right. Catchy melody, girl power theme, kicking bad boyfriend to the curb - what else does one need?

The premise of the song is interesting. Seems that Beyonce's man has been misbehaving - "Because you was untrue/Rolling her around in the car that I bought you" - and he's a kept man to boot. She's kicking him out of her house, taking back all the gifts, telling him, "I can have another you in a minute/Matter fact, he'll be here any minute."


Despite all the tough chick posturing, she allows one moment of vulnerability: "So since I'm not your everything/How about I'll be nothing/Nothing at all to you?" That's why we fall in love; we want to be the center of the universe, the locus of our lover's life. And when we fall out of orbit, it's a disorienting feeling. We feel betrayed, unwanted, insecure. We reach the crossroads: do we continue with this person for whom we fell so deeply, or do we roll the dice and find another?

The trade-off for high passion and the rush of being with someone new is tending a slow burning and oftentimes unexciting flame. Let's be honest - relationships are hard work. Otherwise, you wouldn't see as many people giving up as you do. But there are times when something has run its course, and we need to be intuitive enough to recognize it.

Then we can step off to the left and move on.

* yeah, I know this song was released ages ago. And it's still damn good.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

J'aime voyager.

I've got it in my head that my next off-the-beaten-track excursion should be to Montreal and Quebec City. Many good reasons to travel there exist for these destinations:

1. I've never been to Canada.

2. Chicago is not far from these cities - a two+ hour flight.

3. I can pretend I'm in France.

4. The subway system in Montreal seems efficient and a good way to get around.

5. I need to get more stamps in my passport.

6. It's not terribly expensive overall. Unless I choose to make it so.

7. It would be a recon mission to explore the possibilities of dual citizenship in case I need to flee the US.

I should take a crash course in traveler's French just for fun. If nothing else, learning the correct pronunciation of various words will make it easier to order something with, say, beurre blanc sauce at a schmancy restaurant.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

today's car conver

Z: I'm the sun! Mommy, you're a cloud.

me: I'm a cloud?

Z: yeah, and O is a cloud too!

me: okay, so you're the sun, and O and I are clouds. Gotcha.

Z: and Daddy is the rain!*

No, I don't know what this all means either.

* D-Money's brilliant quote re: post: "Every Mommy has a silver lining and into every life a little Daddy must fall."


Z is now getting into the habit of saying "I love you" at spontaneous moments. I thoroughly encourage this. When she gets to be of a certain age, the ability to say "I love you" without reservation to the love[s] of her life will be crucial.

I didn't grow up in an emotionally open household; to this day I repress a lot of things that I shouldn't. It's plain unhealthy. This is one thing that I don't want to bequeath to my children. The repression, I think, keeps me from being completely emotionally involved in relationships. True intimacy is very scary. When I've tried to be more open with my feelings, I've been shot down, ridiculed, dismissed. And that makes me even more angry and withdrawn and disinclined to be deeply and truly involved.

But what I can do is not let this manifest in my kids. I've horrified myself by hearing the words "That's not a big deal, stop crying" come out of my mouth. Why not just say, "Whatever you're feeling is unimportant"? Same effect, no? I freely admit it's an ass pain to be endlessly patient, infinitely understanding, but I see in Z now that approaching problems with logic and compassion goes much further than saying "Because I said so." She's a fabulous little girl and goddamnit, I'm not going to hinder her emotional development in any way.

I don't let a day go by without saying "I love you" to each of them. Maybe I overcompensate by kissing and hugging them all too much. But I've never know a kid their ages to turn down a kiss and a hug. Somehow, I'm doing something right.

Monday, June 25, 2007

the happy prince

I've had a couple of days this past week with some heavy-duty mama and son time. I don't spend nearly as much time with O as I should because Z lays first claim to my free time constantly.

On one of the days, he had some 24-hour stomach bug that caused copious vomiting, and we spent the day at home recuperating. He wasn't that sick; he demanded a wagon ride around the block and enjoyed the sprinkler action on various lawns. I put him down for his nap and held his hand until he was nearly out. It's a special move that we have.

We had grandparents in town this weekend, and it was a whirlwind of food and activity. On Sunday, D-Money took Z down to Oak Park, where they were staying, so O and I trekked to the supermarket to get a few things. I broke one of my self-imposed cardinal rules and opened a bag of goldfish crackers so he could munch while we shopped. But he thoroughly enjoyed himself and was fascinated by the piles and stacks of seemingly endless food. Not once did he try to escape the cart - a new milestone.

The one thing I'm working on right now is weaning him from the milk bottle. He's ready. It's a bit of a wrench - though not as much as stopping breastfeeding - but he's been able to fall asleep without needing the bottle for the past several days. It's time.

So now I'm without a baby in the house. After three years, it's an odd feeling. Sad, but liberating. No more dragging of huge tote bags filled with baby paraphenalia - back to normal-sized, cute handbags for mom. No more double stroller - both kids demand to walk or run amok. No more special baby food - O will eat everything from gnocchi to lobster.

Back to my happy prince - he's a good egg. A destructive, highly energetic, mischievous, charming egg, but a good one.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

these peeps are funny.

truly. go laugh at them. points if you can guess my connection to one of the hosts.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

a surreal moment

I took Z to a somewhat chichi kids' haircut place today. If you've never been to one of these places, they're usually stocked with toys, books, tvs playing kids' shows and video game consoles for the older child. The decor is whimsical Alice in Wonderland/fairy tale. So, a big hit with the mini set.

Anyway, we were walk-ins and hung out for a bit. We ended up watching a Wiggles segment, a wacky live action show from our Aussie friends. A musical number came up involving pirates and dancing, and the first line of the song sounded familiar. Very familiar. As the song progressed, I realized that it was "Six Months in a Leaky Boat", an old Split Enz song...which was confirmed by the appearance of a bemused Tim Finn playing guitar with the lead Wiggles guy.

Z was slightly riveted by the dancing pirates before wandering off elsewhere. I was completely riveted.

I have to say, though, that my favorite Split Enz song of all time is "I Got You".* Early Neil Finn [of Crowded House] songwriting. It's much simpler lyrically than his later work, but the darker undertone set against a cheery pop melody is very much in evidence.

*so many links in this post! To paraphrase a friend, I'm always peddling music for the greater good.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

favorite words







Thursday, June 14, 2007

songs that moved me today

Hallelujah / Jeff Buckley

Accidental Babies / Damien Rice

Sunday, June 10, 2007

what summer feels like

Sunday in the park

Hanging out in the park, surreptitiously sipping alcohol in plastic Solo cups and being nonchalant in front of cruising cops, enjoying the warm weather, watching people going about their business on bikes, tennis courts and softball fields, laughing, eating whatever everyone brings to the potluck, and watching other people set up the net and play badminton.

Summer is all about the total chill time. Summer weekends? Leave the watch and the Blackberry at home. Never be on time. De-accessorize. Libertad!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

best. night. ever.

photo by joel didriksen for

The day started off with seeing friends, eating cinnamon rolls and general fun 'n' games. Now I'm sitting here listening to Rufus Wainwright live in concert at the Gramercy Theater in NYC courtesy of NPR and the lovely peeps at WNYC. I really should spring for computer speakers; the one on the Mac Mini does not cut it.

RW is a lyricist in the old-fashioned sense - words structured in such a way that he says things quite plainly, but it hits you a second or two after you hear the line. He is heavily influenced by all that opera to which he listened between the ages of 14 and 24 [I think that's right], and that was it. No rock, no jazz, no folk. Just opera. Not only can he write circles around most, he sings with a whole lot of moxie and grace.

I can die happy right now.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

why blog?

I've never kept a diary in my life, save the time when I was eight and wrote about a crush I had on some older guy [he probably was 12 or thereabouts] in Chinese class and my mom naturally read the entry and subsequently gave me a lecture on love crap that to this day makes me go red. Mortification, my soul is yours.

Anyway. Being publicly anonymous has its advantages. I'm speaking to an unseen audience and thusly can be freer in what I want to say. [note: what is the sound of one hand clapping?] I'm not interested in competing with everyone else on Blogger and elsewhere. This is a haven for me and random friends stopping along the way. Some inside jokes, some catching up with the news from my front, some thoughts that generally have no place in everyday conver.

It's also a good place to experiment with turns of phrase, such as "mortification, my soul is yours." My everyday speech is decidedly more pedestrian. Then again, I can't go around talking like a weird 19th century grunge refugee either.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

awakening, part II

I'm now getting the itch to be outdoors, rather than indoors in a climate-controlled environment. Spending warm weekend afternoons lounging around the porch and backyard is contributing to my increasing flakiness. My eastward view looking over the Chicago River with representative buildings from every era - from the Lyric Opera building to the Sears Tower to shiny stainless and glass modern fare - doesn't help either.

I've never been much for the outside life. I am not a happy camper, literally; I prefer my nature bug-free and amenity-rich. Now I can sit in a swarm of gnats and not become too grossed out. Fat earthworms creeping slowly toward me is another matter entirely.

I'm even thinking about getting a bike (and those of you know me really well are thinking, "holy f***stacks! pang wants to get a bike!"), and I want one from these guys. Tell me that is not the best looking bunch o' bicycles you've ever seen. Give me the Townie in turquoise floral fade. And dang it, I want a basket in front.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

omigod, omigod, OMIGOD!

In August I'm going to two cool concerts: Rufus Wainwright at Ravinia and Crowded House at the House of Blues. I've seen the latter maybe three or four times since the early '90s before they disbanded. Hot damn!

Now my project for the summer is to coerce someone(s) into going with me since I bought pairs o' tix and there's the looming chance that D-Money won't be interested in either. Campaign starting in three, two,

We're also getting a group of ex-co-workers-who-are-still-fast-friends together for Lyle Lovett and k.d. lang at Ravinia later this month. That'll be an interesting crowd, and we'll be part of it.

I am a music dork. I should wave the hipster card and go to Pitchfork like a proper indie Gen-Xer, but why be so predictable, right?

Monday, June 04, 2007


Since we moved to Chicago, I feel as though I'd been living in a period of dormancy insofar as writing and other creative pursuits go. Now that the kids are less dependent and I've found a cool, new group of friends who are invigorating and awesome in so many ways, the sleeper is awakening. For a month, I've been trying to write something, no matter how short, every day. The blog counts. I viewed my sad posting history; I'm going to surpass 2005 and 2006 with posts from 2007 alone! And it's neat to see the files piling up in their special folder on the hard drive.

I'm still working on the resolutions. Again, what is September going to bring? I need to get working on that time machine.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

I'm getting good at this camera phone stuff.

Today was a washout of a day in terms of social activities, so Zee and I walked down to the DQ for some icy cold goodness. I started messing around with the camera phone and took this groovy shot. I'm damn proud of myself. I wish I could've gotten more of her face, and less of mine, but still, not bad!

The DQ cone I got her was about as big as her head. It was allegedly a "small". Ha.

Friday, June 01, 2007

random moment no. 912

The minis having a "laughing party" - Zee's words - in the back seat of the station wagon during a supercraptastic commute home. I don't know what inspired the party, but I can report that there was chuckling, chortling, giggling, guffawing and full-on belly laughing.