sweet, good-natured, loving child o’ mine

I think the kind of day like today, where one stays at home and asses out and asks Husband to stay home with the kids, eating poorly all day because one is sick and isn’t cooking well, and gets nothing done – someone who say, prides themselves on working hard and usually experiences some self-esteem to say at the end of the day, “I did such-and-such and nailed it” – for someone like that, a sick day with junk food and no ambition, the kind of day that only happens about once year for that person –

Anyway like I’ve said, today is precisely the wrong type of day to idly sit down at the computer and end up on the MySpace clickaround… you know, looking at other people’s pictures, reading comments, starting to believe everyone else does more traveling and has better times and killer inside jokes. They’ve been drunk with fun friends more often and have nicer clothes and their kids are more fun and less work than mine.

Some voice of reason would tell me there is no way to know someone’s existential reality by their uploaded persona-bytes. An even smarter voice of reason tells me I loathe MySpace, I really do (except my friend Jessica’s blog), and never have benefitted from using it, much. And that I should get back to watching a movie and knitting socks for my daughter, instead of feeling flaccid and sick in front of the computer screen.

On the other hand, there’s a way to lift my spirits almost unfailingly: spending time “doing nothing” with my family. In this case, a ride to the video store instead of staying home. As we drive through the rain-soaked evening, snug in our car, we offer the kids a choice – two movies, simplified as “one with aliens, the other with weird creatures”. Sophie votes “Creatures!”, Ralph and I concur on aliens, and Nels’ vote stands in sway. Finally he says, “Aliens,” decisively, prompting a total crying breakdown of our daughter who throws her head back and howls, “Noooo….!”

The car is briefly quiet except for her crying. After a minute Nels says quietly, “What about creatures?” Reconsidering. For his sister’s feelings. And I wish I had a recording of what his voice sounds like, saying that. His voice is attached to my heartstrings.

"but not a hundred of them"

My mom invited us over for dinner tonight: meatloaf. Frankly, I’m dying for a break from cooking (altho’ I won’t be eating the meat, natch). Here were the negotiations:

Me: “Are there going to be mashed potatoes?” (I love my mom’s mashed potatoes)

My mom: “OK. What about vegetables *? What does Ralph like?”

My dad: “How about carrots?”

My mom: “I know what you like. I’m trying to find out what he likes.”

Me: “He likes caesar salad – I have a great dressing recipe I can mail you.”

My mom: “Good idea! I have a head of romaine. I’ll find anchovies for the dressing.”

My dad: [ unintelligible muttering because he hates salad ]

Me: “What was that?”

My dad (sullen): “I didn’t say a fucking thing.”

* My mom’s cooking requirements per dinner: meat, one “starch”, one veggie.