December 8 - Saturday
sexy paragraph (to counteract the boring ones on the horizon)
Yesterday at work a lunching visitor was good enough to buy a fancy dessert for all the office peons to share. It was called something that sounded like "Jack Sack" and consisted of a hollow dark-chocolate rectangle filled with poundcake, creme brulee, whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries, chocolate chips, and pecans. It tasted very good. A couple of us ended up chatting around the Jack Sack and a coworker said something about overeating being a self-medicating substitute in people who are sexually deprived. I gasped in shock that anyone would say aloud, in the workplace, that which I think all the time.
Food is good and gosh knows I love it, but given the choice, I'd rather have sex. I can't imagine someone NOT choosing sex over food. (Talking about fancy extra food here, not food as in one of the five things you need to stay alive.) But then I listen to the people around me and I think that maybe not everyone is a disgusting perverto skank like me, so I eat some more cake and keep my thoughts to myself.
In other I-should-probably-keep-this-to-myself news, I was reading Beth's forum the other day and people were talking about girl-watching. Several girls admitted that they watched other girls more often than they watch boys, because boys are boring and girls are exciting. "Duh," I thought. I mean, I like boys as much as anyone else, but girls are of course way more exciting to look at with their multiply-colored clothing and their shiny, shiny hair and the way their shoes go "click, click, click" and all the little lines and shapes they draw on their faces.
So then some woman says that she can't look at girls without comparing them to herself and then having the low self-esteem creep in. And that surprised me. Once in a while I will see a very attractive woman who looks snotty about it, too, and I will think "bitch," but that's about it. And now I'm starting to wonder if I really am a homo because all along I've looked at girls and thought "yes or no?" just like I know that boys do. And at first I thought that it was because I grew up with nothing but boys (nurture, not nature, you know) but then I thought that society was raising all women to judge each other sexually through magazine ads and male-perspective sit-coms and all that. So I would look at girls and think about how sexy they were and not worry about it, chalking it up to pop-cult conditioning.
A few weeks before that Letty and I were having another segment of the everlong conversation that all straight feminists everywhere must have, i.e. the one entitled "Men Are Such Damned Dogs, I Swear to God I Should Just Become a Lesbian". Except that Letty's going through it on a theory basis because she went all the way through that stage in college and now has a really nice boyfriend. And I'm talking it out bitterly and vehemently, as a woman who enjoys sex with boys but who has never managed to have a decent relationship with one in her whole freaking life and who is suddenly tired of the whole thing. And we were talking about how temptation and fantasy does not a true lesbian make, and how bisexuality is so trendy and even insincere in some cases. And we were talking about girls on whom we'd had crushes on which we were too chickenshit to act. And I confessed to Letty that I'd had a crush on a mutual acquaintance of ours whom I will call Judith. And Letty said she couldn't blame me, as Judith is a beautiful, fabulous person inside as well as out. And I got all melancholy and speculative, as if I had been drinking, and I talked about my stupid ex-again/not-again boyfriend and what a jerk he was and how I'd rather be with someone like Judith but probably never would. And I painted the scenarios.
Gwen's Cousin: Did you see Gwen's boyfriend? He's attractive, but also suspicious-looking.
Gwen's Other Cousin: Yeah. I saw him at the crack house with his wife, mistress, and nine kids just last week, in fact. Plus, I hear he sacrificies puppies to Satan instead of going to work in the mornings.
Gwen's Aunt: Gwen has always dated sorry men. I don't know why she does that.
Neighbor passing the window: At least she got a boyfriend, though. She got so fat, I thought no man would ever want her again!
Neighbor passing the window: Did you hear? Gwen's dating an intelligent, generous, witty, loyal, kind, Nobel-prize-winning, non-dysfunctional WOMAN!
Gwen's Whole Family: Oh, my GOD! This is the most shocking thing we have ever heard in our lives!
So, yeah. That's how it goes in our culture. Plus, I don't think I'd have the guts to ask women out and my friend Ana said I would have to. I think at first she thought I could get away with showing up at the gay bar in a frilly dress and waiting for chicks in flannel to buy me drinks and thumb rings. But then, upon further reflection and a closer look at my shoes, she decided that I would have to be the one to ask. (I think she went home and looked it up on the laminated Butch/Fem Assessment Chart that all lesbians are required to keep attched to their refrigerator doors with Xena Warrior Princess magnets.) We went out and Ana was the only one who asked me to dance. One older women touched my butt several hundred times while walking to and from the bar. But then her girlfriend came out of the bathroom and she cut it out. There was one beautiful trailer trash queen with shinier hair than anyone else, but she was there with two guys. My trash-sense told me they were trying to pick up a female fourth for something involving Jello shots and a video camera. I thought about trying to rescue her, but I didn't a sword on me and she didn't seem ripe for it, anyway. She looked like she had a few years to go before she'd get tired of men telling her what to do.
So I'm just not gonna bother. I don't have time to date, anyway. I'm focusing on what's important: my children and my money. I want to move us into a better apartment next year.
(Notice how I told this story all backwards so it looks like a natural progression and goes down my more conservative readers' throats a bit more gently.)
BORING DREAM ALERT:
I'm going to put this text in purple so you can skip it altogether if you want, because I know how boring it is to read other people's dreams, unless you're into Jung. (Shout out to my two readers who are into Jung and enjoy reading my dreams! Love y'all!) I'm only putting this dream here because I woke up so annoyed and wanted to tell somebody.
I dreamed that I showed up with my kids at my aunt's house, which was also a Mexican butcher shop, so that I could buy something to eat. We walked in and I remember feeling that I had my shit together, finally, in my skirt, heels, and fur-trimmed coat. I carried my purse like a lady. My aunt's living room adjoins the butcher shop. I look around the cases and she rises from her couch to join me. I'm not seeing anything I want and I'm asking one of the many male butchers behind the counter for assistance but then I ask my aunt, too, to be polite. I ask her if they have tamales and she says yes, and points out some (that I can't see) made from chicken wings. I ask if she thinks a half-pound would be enough. She says a half-pound is six and therefore more than enough. I let this pass and start to order the half-pound in Spanish, thinking that I will order a half-pound of many other things, too, so that my children can have a variety. Because I can afford it. My aunt interrupts and tells the man to package up a half pound of sticky-sauced chicken wings, instead. He does what she says, ignoring my unsure Spanish, because she owns the store. She goes to sit on her couch, thinking the matter over. I am annoyed and I protest. She dismisses my words. Meanwhile, my kids are taking off their shoes, thinking they're going to stay and be babysat here. I'm arguing with my aunt and telling my kids to put their shoes back on, but they're running all around, not listening. Suddenly my aunt says to me, "Let me guess. You called [your ex-boyfriend's] house and a white woman answered the phone, so now you're trying to lose weight so he'll think you're pretty."
That fucking incensed me. That statement was so fraudulent, but she said it with such confidence I didn't know where to begin. I was almost spitting in my anger as well as any other applicable cliché. "I'm not trying to lose weight! I'm ALREADY pretty. But I don't care if I'm pretty or not. I don't care about that shit look at me - I have a good job " I couldn't get the words out. I didn't WANT to "win" my ex-boyfriend back. It made no difference what ethnicitied woman he dated. I just wanted to get my kids some food so we could go home. She didn't listen. She shook her head with a smirk on her face. Suddenly, on another couch, there was someone else. This person is a woman my own age with whom I used to work who, in her constant misery, has tried to put me down and put obstacles in my life. She was lying on the couch with a can of Coke balancing behind her head. She opened her mouth and put in a lackadaisical two cents about how I could lose weight. This didn't even upset me because I felt that I was at a point in my life where her opinions had absolutely no effect on me anymore. I sarcastically told her to feel free to air her views. The annoying thing, however, was that my aunt listened to her and not to me.
Next thing I knew, my children were all nude or half-nude. I chased them around and nagged them to get dressed so we could leave. They indicated that they expected to stay and play in the back yard. I kept nagging. Finally, in my frustration, all Joan Crawford style, I pulled one of my sons, clothed only in a single sock, onto the porch and bellowed, "Come outside naked so everyone can know that you're too lazy to get dressed when it's time to go home!"
Then my soon-to-be-ex-husband showed up because, presumably, it was his weekend to get the kids. He was playing with a flying disc and a tennis ball, using them the wrong way, dropping the ball in the dirt and then trying to scrape it up with the disc. He was chewing gum or a piece of hay or something. Even though I felt no desire to be his wife anymore at all, I was relieved to see him there, thinking that the kids would surely get dressed now.
I woke from that dream sorely annoyed and wanted to call someone and bitch about it. I knew that all my friends would be asleep, though. I even called and woke up Letty but then let her go right back to sleep and stumbled over here to my computer to vomit the whole thing out.
My aunt is in the hospital right now. She might die this week. She might pull through, too. I haven't gone to see her because I can't take the kids with me and when I don't have them with me, I have to spend all that time doing the things I can't do with them here. So I feel sort of guilty about that. I hear she was really depressed for a while, saying she would rather die than go through all the bullcrap. But now, apparently, she's ready to go move in with her adult daughter's family and take care of herself. I hope so.
divorce in the misty future
I was supposed to get divorced on Monday but it got postponed. We have one more chance to mediate this Tuesday and then we will probably have to have the stupid jury trial some day after that, but I don't know when.
I wanted to get the whole thing over with before Christmas but especially before my 30th birthday, because I want to use that as a marker at which my new, real life begins. That way I could say of everything else, "Those were the mistakes of my youth." On that day I wanted to transform from Gwen the Poor Girl, Gwen the Trailer Trash Housewife, Gwen the Boy-Crazy Newly-Single Career Girl, into Gwen, a woman raising her three sons in the best way possible by excelling at her career and saving money for their college during the day and spending quality time with them and showing them mind-enriching parts of Houston at nights and on weekends.
But, as various people have pointed out to me, there's no reason that I can't make that transformation anyway, whether I'm divorced or not. I can't fault the logic so I will ignore the superstition and move ahead.
the weather outside is humid
I remember living in Austin and thinking, "It doesn't feel like Christmas," but now I remember living in Houston 11 years before that and thinking, "It really doesn't feel like Christmas." It's warm and humid. Last week we had some crispness and people are hoping it will return, but I'm ready to wrap gifts either way. I keep picturing myself in a coat trimmed with fur (or a cheongsam lined with fur, like beautiful, strong Gong Li in Raise the Red Lantern) but then I walk out into the warm fog in a mere cotton sweater and I get over it.
I need to get my butt off the computer and in gear. I'm annoyed that I bought several bags of things at Wal-Mart last week and apparently I left behind the bag containing the gold and silver curling ribbon I wanted to use to wrap gifts today. The bag also contained wire ornament hangers and I don't want to think about what all else. Hopefully nothing that will totally piss me off later. Stupid Wal-Mart. Will I never learn?
o xmas tree
(I wrote this paragraph earlier in the week, thinking to knock out a whole entry bit by bit.)
Last night we purchased our Christmas tree. At first I was planning to decorate a potted ficus or small plastic fir, but upon further reflection I realized that I didn't want to give my kids crappy memories of their first Christmas with Mom (without Dad) so I hauled us all to the tree farm with my cousin Randy in tow for heavy lifting and picked out a Black Hills Xmas Tree. I had never seen or heard of Black Hills trees before. They are darker green than the usual varieties and the same price as Blue Spruces but not as freaking prickly. (I like Blue Spruces, but they're too, too prickly.) So we got our tree and set it in its stand and I should put the lights on it tonight. At first I felt sad because I couldn't budget much for ornaments and other decorations. I went to Wal-Mart on Saturday evening, like a loser, and bought three packages cheap glass balls. Then inspiration struck and I bought a few bunches of cheesy fake pointsettias in silver plastic and red velveteen. My plan was to cut the separate stems apart and stick them into the tree to look as if the flowers were growing there (un)naturally. The cashier agreed that it was a good idea. Fortunately, mini lights are always cheap so I got a box to go with the four sets that were the only decorations I purchased at all last year, when I was living alone through Christmas for the first time in my life. Eventually I called my future-ex-husband and asked him to please bring me the stockings and tree skirt I'd sewn so long ago, back in the days when I used to do things like sew as I stayed home every day in my flowered maternity clothes and thought that my life would be that way forever. He sent over that stuff as well as the red bead garland, more mini lights, the tattered nutcracker guy I'd had for years, and some extra ornaments including the funky clothespin angels I'd half completed the year before. So now I feel okay. Our apartment will be festive enough this year.
But the fake poinsettias (however you spell that, dang it. And, yes, someone told me that I spelled fluorescent wrong last time. How did he know I didn't mean special lights made of flour, though?) looked too cheesy so I put them in a vase on the dining room table instead. They still look incredibly cheesy, but that's okay.
xmas wish list
Shockingly (to myself), I'm finally (sincerely) at the point in my life where I only care about getting gifts for my kids and not about making a big list of items on my website for my husband to see so he will buy me lots of things that I want. But I always like to think about what I would ask for if Santa told me I could have anything I wanted. (You have to be prepared, just in case.) I would ask for a (slug-less) house with a fenced back yard and room for a garden. At first I was only going to ask for a sofa, but Randy is going to give me one of his tomorrow. So that's all sewn up, isn't it?
I'm so mature. I'm SO TOTALLY mature.
I've been making monthly budgets on Microsoft Excel and now I wonder why I haven't done so for years. I took home books called "Introduction to [the Traditionally Boring Industry in Which You Now Work, Gwen]" and "Introduction to [Two Very Dry Aspects of That Industry]" for weekend reading. I had non-violent confrontations with three people in the past week and comported myself well. (Well... for the most part.) I brushed off many, many annoying things without dwelling on them later, because I just can't be bothered to worry about petty slights anymore.
The more I squeal, "Look at me! I'm all grown-up and stuff," the more I'm sure the sentiment seems to belie itself. But that's okay, too.
I don't know when I'll write here again. I wish I could write every other day, and it would always be entertaining. But... man, I'm so busy lately, and I'm not even doing anything evil. So probably I'll post again next weekend, and it will say the same old things. Heh.
Okay... so... I will talk to y'all later. Goodbye. Have fun shopping, okay? Don't feel bad if you blow too much money, all right? Take yourself out for ice cream or hot cocoa with whipped cream on top, eh? Enjoy the season. You're worth it.