Thursday, March 27, 2008


I wish you could buy H&M clothes online. Denver doesn’t have a lot of the basic stores you can find elsewhere in the US; stores that have pretty much been staples elsewhere for some time, like H&M, or IKEA. We only got Sephora here about 2 years ago, not that I buy anything there. I’m kind of a drugstore product person, from Eucerin red-skin lotion to Maybelline Great Lash. I do buy department store lipstick (MAC or Bobbi Brown) and blush (Lorac), but otherwise I have no idea what’s going on in the world of beauty and honestly, don’t really care. In fact, now that I think about it, I have really let myself go in that regard. I don’t remember the last time I got a pedicure, had my eyebrows waxed, wore my contacts and really did my makeup. It’s not that I think I’m some natural beauty that doesn’t need help, either; no, I’ve just become quite lazy. I would like to work on that a bit, especially with the whole being 39 thing making it all seem that much worse.

At lunchtime today I popped over to the gym for my “butts and guts” class (ouch) and then for a quick visit to see Eeyore. While there, I asked one of his teachers if she wanted to baby sit for him in a couple of weeks, because she’s always indicating she’d be up for it, all for the low price of $15 per hour (!). I’ve avoided it so far, because we have a couple of girls we use for $12 an hour, and I’ve always thought it could be a little weird having one of his teachers over to our house. I mean, what will she think, and what will she come back in and tell all his other teachers, because you know she will? But we really need someone for that date, and she and the babe really like each other so I decided to just get over it. I’m still thinking, though, about her impressions and the report back. Will she be surprised by how small our house is, so she’ll go back in on Monday morning and something like this will ensue:

Teacher Babysitter: “Now I know why Kate says she can’t afford to have another baby; she really can’t. You should see how tiny their place is!”

Lead Teacher: “Did she at least have nice things for you to eat? Baby A’s parents live in the foothills – they have an enormous house and they love me and they always have just what I want to eat. And Baby A loves me, too. And I baby sit for them all the time because they love me. I wouldn’t even have time to baby sit for Eeyore if they asked because everybody else always wants me and loves me. Eeyore loves me. He sits up and walks and runs and sings arias for me; I’m not sure why he doesn’t for Kate and R.”

TB: “They had a couple of cans of Coke and some string cheese, so no, not really. They had a lot of wine and bourbon, though. Maybe that’s where they spend their money. I looked through her closets; there was a lot of stuff but it was all kind of cheap. So was her makeup in the medicine cabinet.”

Oh, dear – do people do that? Go through your things, I mean? Not that I really care, now that I am a Buddhist, don’t you know.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Not in the clique.

If I were not going to Paris in a few weeks, I would SO be somewhere tropical right now. Denver schools are on spring break, and so I imagine all the annoying families filling the resorts of places I would like to be. So actually, I would SO be somewhere tropical next week. It’s lovely weather here, but it’s not the same as having breakfast while looking out at the ocean, palm trees swaying in the breeze, thinking about the day’s activities of lying by the pool reading and occasionally hopping in the pool to cool off. Except those days are probably gone for me now that we have the heir; instead it will be a lot of entertaining the toddler. Whatever; it’s still better to be in that kind of weather. Next year, for my, ahem, 40th birthday (WTF!!??) we’ll definitely go somewhere warm – either to Hawaii or perhaps rent a villa in Mexico. I’m thinking Hawaii, though, since it’s been awhile since I’ve been there. Somewhere I can pretend 40 isn’t happening.

Last Friday I had the most junior high experience I have had in some time. After work, I strolled with Eeyore over to a friend’s house to hang out and meet some of her neighbors, who habitually congregate on the sidewalk in front of her house to drink wine and chat while their children all play. When I got there, there was one dad and a couple of moms, and I felt that little awkwardness that sometimes comes when arriving at a scene with new people. That soon multiplied into full-fledged self-consciousness as both the women showed that they had no interest whatsoever in talking to me. As I continued to try to make friendly conversation, the resistance I felt emanating from these two was palpable. All of a sudden my own voice sounded to me to be too loud; too eager.

To try to change the emerging dynamic I perceived, I lifted Eeyore out of his stroller to carry him up to sit on the steps with my friend. As I lifted him, my friend said “Eeyore’s crack is showing.” I said, “Yes, he’s got high crack. R. says he inherited that from me.” Bitch Number One said, “Oh, isn’t that nice. How lovely to meet you.” Properly chastised, I sat down with Eeyore and shut up to observe (since there wasn’t really anyone left to talk to at that point). Not one minute after I had made my remark that was apparently the height of crudeness, Bitch Number Two launched into a discussion with her child about pooping in the potty. Bitch Number One chimed in about poop in general. At this point, my friend offered me a glass of wine, but I had to get out of there. I mean, seriously. I can’t make an inoffensive off the cuff remark without being called on it, but it’s OK to sit around and talk about baby shit? No thanks. Still, as I walked home, I couldn’t help but focus more on having been rebuffed by these women than anything else, when I had been nothing but normal and friendly. When I got home and told R. about how it had felt like 7th grade to be largely ignored, I might have even shed a hot tear or two. And then I remembered that I am WAY too old for that shit, and fuck them, anyway.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy anniversary.

I met my husband two years ago today. I can’t believe how little of my life that is, yet how much of the big stuff we’ve packed in:

It seems like only yesterday, and really, it almost was, that I had just started dating R. He lived in a two-bedroom apartment with his cat and an entire wall of books that thrilled me to see. One Sunday morning not too long after we’d started seeing each other, we sat on his couch and drank coffee, listening to Steven Malkmus and paging through one of his architecture books on Richard Neutra’s Palm Springs houses. That’s still one of my favorite memories in my life; I felt like I had stepped straight into my wildest dream of the world’s most attractive man. I mean, really; a brown-haired, well-read, cat-owning architect with good music on his stereo… I was in love.

Not too long after that, because everything about our time together has been compressed, he began coughing a lot. We’d lie in bed at night, and he’d suck these gross Halls cough drops like they were going out of style. Finally, he told me he’d coughed up a little blood that day, and the next day he was in the hospital with a DVT in his calf and seven pulmonary embolisms (emboli? I don’t know) in his lungs. The doctors marveled that he had a large saddle embolus and was still alive; they usually only found those in autopsies. Five days later he was out of the hospital, newly fragile in the way only people who have been broadsided by their own mortality can be, and a few days later we were engaged.

Some people might think it was a little quick to be making that kind of decision on the heels of a medical emergency like that, but I prefer to think it just cemented what we already knew. In fact, driving home from my first date with him, I’d announced giddily to the ether that we were going to get married. Since then we’ve done everything at lightening speed, but it has all felt just right. I still (after all this time) feel like I hit the jackpot.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I had the opportunity to use one of my dad’s stock phrases this morning; one I had never been able to use outside the family before. A guy stepped into the elevator and started sniffing.

Guy: “Every elevator I get into today smells like an Italian restaurant. You know, like pasta, with a little garlic.”

Kate: “Maybe it’s your upper lip.”

I couldn’t have him thinking I smelled like pasta with garlic, after all.

Meanwhile, R. and I took our first weekend trip with the baby last weekend; we stayed with some friends in their new condo in Vail. Eeyore was the perfect guest, ensuring we would be invited back with his gummy smiles and sleeping through the night. It was pretty encouraging, actually, that we could go somewhere and our lives wouldn’t implode between sunset and sunrise. Our next trip with him is a visit to my mom’s in Palo Alto in June or July; now I’ll only fear the airplane trip. And GOD, do I fear that. I suppose I’ll just need to be carrying enough cash to buy drinks for every passenger on the plane, especially me.

Speaking of trips, even though it’s two months until our trip to Paris and London, I’m already starting to reach a bit of a fever pitch thinking about it. I’ve taken to watching European travel videos; pointing out to R. every last cafĂ©, market and plane tree as examples of the fabulousness we will experience together in Paris. He’s looking forward to it, too, but he doesn’t work himself into quite the lather about it that I always do. For me, though, I think it goes back to my last post about the rather mundane nature of everyday life; having a fun trip to look forward to can occupy me as intensely as and for much longer than the trip itself. It serves as a little escapism from:

7:00: Wake up to cooing from other bedroom. Change, feed and dress adorable progeny.

8:30: Get it together enough to leave for work. Pile daily necessities for me (travel mug full of aging yuppie staff of life: Peet’s Coffee, La Perruche brown sugar cubes and half-and-half) and Baby (formula, rattle, binky, random shit) into Audi wagon and drive well-worn path to school and work. Late for work.

9:00 – 5:00 (or so): Work, goof off, work, leave.

5:15: Pick up Baby or run errand while R. picks up Baby.

6:00 – 7:15: Play with Baby, clean up spit up, bathtime, bottle and lullabies, inhale deeply of Baby’s head, bed.

7:15 – 10:30: Romantic interlude with R. and/or make dinner, watch TV, get in bed, read, sleep.

So… I know there are much worse lives out there that need escaping. Still, I do like to daydream about vacations, don’t you?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Navel-gazing Friday.

It’s often someone else’s blog that starts me thinking about a topic, and in this case it’s Libby’s picture of her beach. It’s a reminder to me about the nature of “happiness,” and the importance of recognizing that feeling happy or positive is completely within our own control. Happiness doesn’t come from external things or circumstances, although certainly events can have a positive or negative effect on one’s mood, and a negative event or state of affairs can cause one’s happiness to take a hit if she lets it. Let’s face it, if the very worst thing I can imagine happened, which is that my husband and child were somehow taken from me, I would be devastated. But it would be up to me to find a way to continue to have an appreciation for my own life and find some happiness or peace with what would remain. Or, of course, kill myself because I’m not sure if anyone could ever really recover from that, but let’s just say I decided to stick around on the planet for the rest of my own preordained earthly tenure.

OK, that’s way grimmer than I wanted to get on this topic. So instead, let’s just backtrack to having an ordinary life and trying to stay happy with that. Life can get pretty boring sometimes and it brings its share of disappointments. I think, though, that with practice we can learn to accept those things a lot more readily and hold fast to the preciousness of the things we do have that fill our days, and find the beauty and occasional sparks of excitement there. Really, this is a lesson I need to learn because I am the kind of person who can get bored with the repetitive nature of my daily existence pretty easily. I’ve had this talk with myself a few times when I’ve noticed I’m getting particularly antsy with the then-current state of my life, but that’s not the best time to try to rein oneself in with arguments of accepting the beauty in the mundane. At those times I had let myself get too far down the path, and was in a position (i.e., alone and responsible only for myself) to change the circumstances of my life. So that’s what I did at those times, rather than take to heart the adage that wherever you go, there you are.

Now, however, I am in a period of naturally occurring happiness, where there is not too much about my life I would like to change. Sure, I’d love to be wealthier and have more control over whether and how I work, how much time I could be with the baby, etc., but that’s pretty much it. It would be a good time to work on improving how I meet the challenge of dealing with boredom or unhappiness the next time it rears its ugly little head. The $64,000 question, then, is how do I do this? It seems like the kind of thing that can only be learned through some sort of spiritual practice, which is an odd jumping off point for someone like me who dislikes religion and who is prone to panic attacks from too much rumination on the nature of existence. We’ve talked about looking into Buddhism for our household; that could be a place to start, but it ought to be easier than that. Maybe it’s just a matter of making a habit out of recognizing the beauty or potential for contentment in every moment, and even announcing it out loud to myself to reinforce the habit? I could put myself on an hourly schedule; set a reminder on my Outlook calendar.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hubris and other fun stuff.

Let me just start by saying that I feel terrible for his wife and daughters. But damn! What was Eliot Spitzer thinking? Actually, I find this kind of thing fascinating. Here is a man who has spent his public career making a big stink about fighting corruption and yet, as is often the case, has been naughty, naughty behind the scenes. What is it about some men whose personal peccadilloes cause them to be overly moralistic about the same issues in public? Take Mark Foley, for example, the erstwhile congressman whose public mission was the fight against child abuse and exploitation but who privately was sending lewd emails and text messages to teenage boys who had worked as congressional pages. It’s an interesting psychological phenomenon. Perhaps all we need to do is look to see which politician is moralizing the loudest to know who is up to no good; me thinks thou dost protest too much and all that.

In other news, I woke up this morning and almost immediately felt smothered by the fact that I had to go to work today. Then when I dropped Eeyore off at school, I felt quite miserable as I left him playing on the floor with the other kids. Not that I think it’s bad for him to be there; just that I wish I could be there with him, too. I can’t believe I am turning into this person, the potential “SAHM,” but I need to get over it because, like many Americans, I can’t afford not to work.

Only 2 months until our trip to France.

Friday, March 7, 2008


God just gave me a little smack on the wrist for bad behavior. Everybody’s talking about tee shirts today, so I attempted to post one I found to add to the mix:

As soon as I reached with my mouse to click “publish,” however, I knocked my coffee over and it spilled all over my desk – including my desk calendar and the contract I was working on. Apparently God doesn’t reward tackily partisan statements like that.

But anyway. Last Saturday we had beautiful weather here in Denver; so lovely that we decided to get out for a walk.

We headed to Wash Park, where the crowds were out in force. We found our own little patch of grass, and Eeyore had his first frolic outside:

This weekend isn’t supposed to be as nice. I am tired of winter. I want to be able to sit out in our back yard and have my morning coffee, maybe put a blanket under the tree and watch Eeyore crawl around. And the best: get out the baby pool! This year we have an actual baby for it, so that should be interesting.

Meanwhile, R. and I have been discussing what we want to do about our housing situation. We love our neighborhood, but we also really want a bigger house and we’d especially love something that he designed for us. We’ve talked a lot about buying some land in the mountains so he can design us a mountain house, because it’s hard to think of any part of town we’d like to live in, including our own, where we could afford the land to build something. We’ve talked about “popping the top,” which isn’t something I’d ever really heard of until we moved to Denver, but everybody is always doing it here for the extra space and the end result is almost always hideous. It’s hard to do anything attractive with a little Craftsman bungalow, which is frankly already designed to be its own little perfect self as is.

But here’s our little place:

As you can see, from the outside it’s no great shakes. It’s just this random, brick box, and I don’t even like brick unless it is served up as “exposed” or painted a nice, light color. Still, inside it’s very cute; light and bright with lovely wood floors, a good, open flow, nice arches between the rooms, and a great back yard. So it seems a shame to just rip it down and start over, but that’s what we are now thinking about doing. Our mortgage is not very large, so we could feasibly just scrape the house and build a new one and still have a smaller mortgage than we’d have if we bought a house in our neighborhood that was as big and nice as we would like. The downsides are (1) then potentially having a house too nice for our street, and (2) wondering whether a modern home would stick out like a sore thumb in a neighborhood full of houses from the 1920’s.

Still, others have already started scraping in our neighborhood, so we wouldn’t be the only ones. So far, the new houses have a tendency to look like this, however, so this could be our opportunity to improve things a bit.

I guess my real reservation is whether I think it’s appropriate to tear down a perfectly sweet little house that is just right for what it was built for.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Birthday cipher.

So the whole birthday thing came and went in a rather sad little fizzle. On the upside, I don’t really have to focus on being any older because it no longer matters how old I am; to the world, I am officially Someone’s Mom and therefore, individually irrelevant. When I think about it that way, it kind of takes the pressure off, you know? But on the down side, it also means I’ve sort of ceased to exist.

As I told you, I had taken my birthday off of work to spend it gloriously, selfishly alone. The day started off well, as I lazily had another cup of coffee and admired the flowers and presents R. had waiting for me in the living room when I woke up. R. took Eeyore to school, and by the time he got back, I was showered and ready to hit the road for some shopping. He wanted me to open his presents first, so I did and they were good ones. But then his phone rang. And then our home phone rang. And then my mobile phone… who was it? Who do you think? Eeyore’s school, of course, calling to tell me he had a fever of 101 and I needed to pick him up.

Driving downtown to get my overheated little boy, I had some decidedly mixed emotions. Worry for his health; can’t we go for more than a week without some frigging mysterious disease from his school? But really, more selfish thoughts took precedence over my concern, and I had to remind myself sternly and out loud several times that I AM THE GROWNUP and this is just how it goes. So I picked him up, he fussed and bitched all day, and now he’s fine. And, you know, there are worse things than spending the day with my baby, so it’s not like it was awful. I just would have liked to have had the birthday I had planned.

I know I had some other things to talk about, like the Tory Burch flats my girlfriends gave me for my birthday, but I’ll leave that for later.