Site Meter Elsie's Space: June 2006

Elsie's Space

Location: New England, United States

Not much to tell.

Monday, June 26, 2006


I'm just short of screaming those words, but I am loud enough to get their attention. It's going to be a long, long summer. It's only the second week of vacation, and it feels like I'm already at my wit's end.

It all started this morning. Didn't get much sleep last night, and in my final attempt to catch some much-needed zzzzz's, I woke my man up to see if he could help me. And he did. And I fell asleep for three whole hours!!!! What a great idea, until I awoke, crabby and in more pain than I've felt in days. Then, after finally and unwillingly admitting to myself that I'm just an old bat, I interviewed two housekeepers. Shit. I can't even keep the bathrooms in tip-top shape anymore because my back can't take it. I've already caved in and started having the groceries delivered. What more? I'm so freaking old!!!

Then it's off to the bookstore to get the required items from the "Summer Reading List." I love the bookstore. I can spend hours there browsing and listening to CDs. But I've got my kids with me, so there will be little browsing (and forget about the CDs altogether). You can't judge a book by its cover? Well sometimes you have to when the kidlets become restless. So I chose one based solely on the title and cover, which made me laugh out loud. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the book will, too.

We're in the car, on the way home, when some jerk driving his uber-cool BMW convertible, wearing a muscle shirt (don't even get me started) and talking on the cell phone just about rams into us head-on. Don't talk on the phone, you idiot, if you can't even drive straight while doing it!!

I feel so much better just letting my frustrations out. I'm taking a deep breath, something I seem to do a lot lately. I'm trying to remain calm. I don't like being mean to my kids, but their behavior today was driving me crazy. Maybe its PMS. Probably. I should go call them in and give them each a big hug. As a matter of fact, I think I will.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Too Creepy

This blogging thing is just too creepy sometimes. Who's watching whom?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Itsy Bitsy...

Ha. I'm a mother, so it could go either way. The Itsy Bitsy Spider? Nope, but kudos to Little Richard for the best rendition ever. The Itsy Bitsy Teeney Weeney.......Bikini. Yup, that's it. I just found out that the bikini is celebrating her 60th this summer. I grew up having a love/hate relationship with the bikini but still feel obligated to say Happy Birthday.

I got my first bikini at age 11 from my best friend who brought it back for me from an exotic vacation. She wore pink and brought me a matching green one. How I wished mine was pink, too. She had a blooming body. I was still a little girl, and it was frustrating. She looked like Barbie while I was Skipper running to keep up. I adored my friend but hated that bikini. I was secretly relieved when I outgrew it by summer's end.

Fast forward five years. My own body had finally blossomed, startling even me. Boys took an interest, and before long I had my first real boyfriend. He wanted me to wear a bikini. He insisted upon it and chose one for me (no control issues there). As his dutiful girlfriend, I obediently wore it. But I was rather reserved and never was comfortable, especially one day when "the girls" decided to see for themselves who else was on the beach. Horrors!! The following summer both the boyfriend and the bikini were gone. I was, once again, relieved to go back to the one-piece.

Forward again another few years. Now 19, I've grown to my full 5'8" and am athletic and hard bodied. I'm in college and making my first island journey. My girlfriend insists we go shopping together to prepare for our great adventure. She talks me into buying a bikini, one I'd never, ever wear at home. It was in the Bahamas I learned about the mystical, magical powers of the bikini. Gee. Smart girls realize that, when wearing this magical suit, young men are easily manipulated. We spend a week in the sun getting lots of attention and all the free booze and drugs we want. After that, I use the magic bikini every time I go away. Oh, the power.

Five more years pass, and now I'm out in the workforce. The big convention is coming. It's the first I'll ever attend. And my boss, in his most fatherly, gentle, tactful way, tells me that he thinks it would be best if I not bring a bikini to the resort. He's concerned it might cause a problem with some clients and/or their wives??!!! I was shocked, but had no problem with that at all. I would never wear a bikini on the job anyway. In fact, I'd given up the magic bikini a few months earlier on my last island excursion. No need for one any more. I finally was becoming my true adult self. And besides, I could now afford to buy my own drugs. The bikini was history for me.

Twenty years later, I still have no desire to wear the teeney weeney bikini. I just wish I could. But those days are gone. Sigh. Not long ago my little one saw a photo of me on a beach in a bikini. She asked my mother who it was. "Who do you think it is?" "Well the face looks like mom, but the body definitely doesn't (Mom seemed all too happy to pass this story along to me). Sigh again.

It's official. I passed on the bikini torch a long time ago. I'm certain there's a girl out there today who's just learning about the magic. So to her and all the others who come after us: Be careful. Have fun. Enjoy. Because later, when you're all grown up and loving your life, you look back and realize that the magic didn't come from the bikini.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Have I Gone Too Far?

My daughter bursts into the room and, in her most serious tone of voice, asks "Mommy, who is your favorite princess?" I think for a minute, a minute too long for her, and she asks again, "Mommy, who is your favorite princess?" I quickly reply, "Cinderella." She looks at me with a grin, like I got the answer wrong, and says, "My favorite is Belle, because she saves the prince. He doesn't save her." Well, great. My little feminist. But have I gone too far?

Raising children today is different than when I was a kid. There's so much information out there that it's hard to know what kids are learning and where. I try to keep a handle on it all. I try to teach my kids my values by trying to set a good example. But there are things that I can't teach that way. Like the value of women. My daughter sees that my husband treats me with dignity and respect. That's good. She sees that I stay at home to take care of the family. That's good, too. What's bad is when you realize that that's all she thinks of you. So my husband and I try to give our kids a glimpse into who Mom really is (or used to be). My husband is especially cute when talking to her about things like that.

Our daughter thinks that I've always been a mom. My husband is quick to correct her. "When I met Mom she was completely capable of taking care of herself. She made her own money, had her own place to live, her own car. " Daughter interrupts, "But you make all the money now, and she just takes care of us." Dad, "When we decided to have you kids, we decided that it would be best for our family if Mom stopped working. Other people make other decisions, but that's what we decided for us. " Then he tells her, "Mom could take care of our family all by herself. If she had to, she could go back to work and support all of us." This amazes my daughter. "Mom could make money?" "Yes, she could." Now her attention turns to me.

I try explaining, without going into overload on the poor girl, that it's important to be able to take care of yourself when you're a grown-up. It doesn't matter whether you're a man or a woman, you need to be able to take care of your own self. I also explain that a smart man like Dad finds independent women interesting. We try not to get too heavy, she's just a little girl. But the "independent woman" theme is something she latches onto and discusses every chance she gets. We've told her over and over that she can be anything she wants to be if she works for it. Now all she cares about it being able to take care of herself. Have I gone too far?

I guess it's okay that she favors Belle. I just don't want her going to that other extreme where she will not welcome a partner into her life because she has something to prove. I want her to see the middle path, the one where two people choose to decide on the course of their lives together. So I wonder -- will she learn what she sees (Mom at home) or what she hears (take care of yourself)? Only time will tell. I hope I haven't gone too far already.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Love Story?

I'm a sap when it comes to love stories. My favorites are the real-life stories in which I starred. Next would be those where my friends truly fall in love. And, of course, there are always novels and movies. A love story, in any form, works for me. I love them all. I've been called a "hopeless romantic" (I prefer "hopeful"), a mush, an eternal optimist when it comes to love. And it's all true. I can't help it. Life seems better when love is in the air.

It was with great excitement and anticipation that I planned last night. Rented the movie I've been most wanting and waiting to see. Got the popcorn ready, and even allowed myself to add the melted butter! A huge treat considering that I've been working very hard to lose my "winter weight" and that it took me two months to lose 10 lbs. But I was confident that it would be worth it. Brokeback Mountain recently won some awards, and the buzz was great. A true romance. It didn't matter to me that the main characters were men. Love is love. That's all that counts. I'm just a mush.

So I watched. And I just didn't get it. Am I the only one who didn't see this as a love story? What I saw was two men. Oh yes, they were confused and conflicted. No problem for me there. But in their first "love scene" (for lack of better words) one guy pretty much rapes the other. This is love? I've often been left with my brain muddled after watching some "artsy" film, but I just couldn't wrap my brain around this one at all. The entire scene felt violent. I couldn't see any love there. And where were all the Hollywood liberals on this one? It's okay if we turn rape into love in the name of art? It's okay if it's two men? If there were a "love story" starring a man and a woman, and that man threw the woman down on all fours and "took her," everyone would be crying rape. But two men -- no one seemed to mind. Huh?

Later in the movie, we're once again treated to some violence. This time it's a punch to the face. Evidently, this is a new type of foreplay. Punch your lover in the face and make wild, passionate love. Thanks, but I'll pass. What is the deal? Again, if a man punched a woman in the name of love, people everywhere would label him a batterer. But I guess if you're gay, it's okay to be portrayed in that light. Why am I the only one who thinks there's really something wrong with this picture?

I've thought about it and thought about it. I almost watched it again just to be sure that I'm not the one totally off base here. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. If I have to analyze it to make it okay for me, then it's not okay. Even if the entire world applauds, it's still wrong to me.

Guess when it comes to love, I'm an old-fashioned kind of girl. Bring me flowers. Rub my feet, and I'll love you forever. But keep your fists to yourself. I know what love is, and to me, Brokeback Mountain isn't it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Dad's Day

Dear Old Dad. He's referred to himself that way ever since I can remember. It used to be cute and funny. Now it's a little sad. But he's still around, something I doubted just two years ago, and that's why I'm so glad it's Father's Day. I try to think of it this way, he's definitely old now, but that just means that I have lots of wonderful memories of my life with him because we've been around the block so many times together.

My first memory of Dad is at Silver Beach on Cape Cod. We'd vacation there every summer when I was a kid. Dad would get down on all fours in the surf, and the three of us kids would take turns standing on his back and jumping into the waves. There was nothing better. It was fun in the way only kids understand fun. And it felt safe, Dad was right there to get you if a rogue wave tossed you in.

I remember Dad taking us kids to our swimming lessons at the Y every weekend. He insisted that if we were to live near the water (and around here it's water, water everywhere) we all needed to know how to swim. And he meant it. We all had to take lessons for years. And now, as we age ourselves, my brother, sister and I are all still among the strongest swimmers I know.

I remember toe dancing with Dad. He always had music playing on his stereo. Classical mostly, but often he'd put on something to dance to, and I would hop right up on his toes and he'd dance me around the room. It felt sort of magical back then. It feels sort of magical now just thinking about it.

I remember going on my first real date. Just before the boy came over to pick me up, Dad gave me a small green leather coin purse filled with dimes. Then he told me, "If a boy ever wants you to do something that you don't want to do, you give him a dime, tell him to call me, and if I say it's okay, you'll do it." What? But, okay. I just wanted to go out. Nothing happened that night. But sure enough, perhaps a year later, a boy was being very "persistent" and I couldn't really see a way out, but then Dad's voice popped into my head and I just blurted out the words he'd given me. The poor kid looked at me like I was nuts, put his hands back on the steering wheel, and took me home. Dad to the rescue and he never even knew it!

I remember being punished. Dad expected you to be honest with him, above all else. There was never, ever any physical punishment. Dad told us of being beaten with a belt when he was a child, and he always knew he'd never hit his kids. And he never did. Instead he'd sit me down to discuss whatever might have happened. Then we'd have to discuss the outcome and every other possible outcome there could have been because I hadn't considered the consequences of my actions. These talks would usually last at least an hour. By the time it was all over, I could have been responsible for the end of civilization as we know it. I used to sometimes wish he'd just smack me and get it over with. It might have been easier! But now, I understand.

I remember going to my folk's house to tell them that I'd decided to go to rehab. I remember the shocked look on their faces -- "drugs, what drugs?" And then Dad, in his inimitable way took my hands into his and told me how proud he was of me and that he would do anything to help me. Then he asked me if he could take me there. How cool is that?

I remember having a big white wedding. During the planning all Dad ever said was "whatever she wants." Pretty great if you're the bride (wish Mom's attitude could have been the same). The only thing he insisted upon was that I take dancing lessons with him. Yes, really and truly. So I took months of lessons with him and learned the Viennese Waltz. I could see later why he wanted me to do that. It was like something out of a movie, father and bride dancing, completely filling the room. The place was abuzz. People really did seem awestruck. It was weird. But Dad loved every minute of it and couldn't have been more proud. Too bad that marriage didn't stick, because we don't ever talk about it any more.

I remember spending hours in the Cardiac Care Unit, watching Dad sleep and listening intently to every little beep and buzz. Staring at monitors and wondering if I'd ever see him outside this place.

I get to see him later today. I can't wait. I'm still daddy's little girl.