Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sweeties, Queers and Stingrays

We started last weekend with our monthly anniversary dinner, necessarily observed at a place amenable to the kids. They would, I'm certain, have preferred to celebrate with pizza delivery...or not at all, in the case of our oldest, who has developed a delightful case of homophobia in the past year. While I would have preferred we go to Brio, we ended up at an Irish-style pub instead. It was fine, although the children opted not to interact with us much, hurting J's feelings. Their father's influence is not helping matters. At least Boot wasn't texting with him the whole time. Pie had his standard cheeseburger, Boot insisted on wings and also a chicken sandwich (he is going to sprout feathers), J had a fabulous steak with blue cheese butter and I went for Irish stew. I shouldn't have. It wasn't bad, just not as good as mine. I shouldn't order things in restaurants when I make them well. After dinner, we poked around Trader Joe's for a few minutes, Pie griping all the way because he is screen-addicted & wanted to be at home. Because he griped so much about wanting to GO NOW, J decided it would be fine to stop at the bookstore at Boot's request. We bought him a book on American cars of the 1960s, while Pie refused to look at books. I got People en EspaƱol for myself as a reward for accomplishing one of my life-coaching goals.

Yes, I have started with a life coach, a friend of mine who recently hung out her shingle. I have always considered her wise, but now she is doling out her wisdom & her positive attitude for a living. When she offered to take me on as a pro bono client, I jumped at the opportunity. The main thing we're working on right now is my tendency to procrastinate. This seems to run in my family & I often joke that I've got a PhD in it. However, the joke isn't really funny. I always get what needs to be done done, but I suffer worry about it...or stubbly legs...until I do. Why go through that when I don't have to? So, my assignments for the week are:
1. Make a list of everything I've completed in my life
2. Empty out & organize 3 boxes of papers in our closet so that I have room for a well-organized and easily accessible art supply storage spot
3. Buy a shower curtain I love, with no input from anyone else
4. Create an enjoyable ritual for beauty time just for me (I have vowed to take a bubble bath every Friday & shave my legs while I'm at it)

After we took the boys home, we popped out to Baskin-Robbins & enjoyed our dessert on a bench in front. Can you imagine little boys who would rather go home than get ice cream??? They begged us to take them home before getting ice cream! "Oh, PLEASE don't make us get ice cream!!!" What on earth? After our Rocky Road and Peanut Butter Chocolate, we came home. J went to bed to catch up on her vampire book & I ran myself a tub. It was delightfully relaxing.

Saturday morning, we slept in deliciously late. When we finally got the kids roused, I made doughnuts for us all. Of course, they claimed to like the ones from the store better, but I noticed Boot ate his whole share and some of his brother's, as well. We went to a big flea market & found some fun things there. I got an old household ledger & a couple of old photos. J found some photos, too, and the kids got a Nintendogs game for the new DS system we bought them later in the day. We also had some great food. Boot got a cheeseburger & fries, which he doused with hot sauce & then didn't eat. J & I picked up an empanadilla and a couple other Mexican treats to share. Pie just wanted to go get his DS!!! We stopped on the way home & picked that up for them. They had been given the choice to go to Geauga Lake, Dave & Buster's or Fun World or to get the DS. Of course, once they had it, they didn't want to go anywhere. So, we allowed them to go home & we walked around Crocker Park's Independence Day fair. There was live music and sidewalk chalk art, a rocket car giving rides and free plants from Aveda. We each got a vinca & have them planted in our planting bed here at the apartment. We had a very nice time walking around in the sun together, people-watching & enjoying the day. We stopped for chocolate-covered strawberries, sitting by the fountain to eat them. That evening, J grilled hot dogs & Italian sausage at the pool. Once home, J re-immersed herself in her vampires and I watched Spanish-language t.v.

In the morning, we tried another church. Liberation UCC is listed as "Open & Affirming" on the UCC website. My mentor, Dave, had told me that in their case it means open to heterosexuals and affirming of their life choices. I suspected it would not be for me and I was right. The people were friendly, the service was nice & traditional in form and the sermon was right on target. However, there was simply not enough diversity for me. If there had been even a few straight folks, I might have considered it. However, everyone there was gay, as far as I could tell. Boot was incredibly hostile about the whole thing. His homophobia is rampant enough right now that he refused to put the dollar we gave him into the plate...and wouldn't let his brother do it, either. He did, however, stay polite enough to shake hands and to respond briefly when greeted, which I considered a victory. When the kids complained that they were the only straight people there, J told them that now they can understand how she feels when we go to other churches. Boot has the crazy idea that they would try to make him gay if we went there. He doesn't understand that we are not in the business of recruiting, that we know better than anyone that there is no changing someone's orientation. We are perfectly happy for him to be straight. Pie, too. In fact, J would rather they were. I just want them to be happy and comfortable with themselves, whomever they end up loving. I do hope Boot grows out of his homophobia. He says, "I just don't agree with it. The Bible says it's a sin." Well, buddy, the Bible says a lot of things (like children who don't honor their parents are to be put to death) and has been interpreted as saying a lot more things. But, the primary lesson in the Bible seems to be to love God and one another. And to do justice. He did say, in the car, "That ain't right" when J said something about someone losing their job for being gay. There is hope.

Again, the kids refused to accompany us on our fun excursion, to B.A. Sweetie candy store, which claims to be the biggest candy store in the world and is certainly the biggest I've ever been in. Can you imagine kids not wanting to go to the candy store??? So, we went without them. I was on the hunt for gummi octopuses for a cake I wanted to make. I found them, too! We picked up all kinds of fun things for both the kids and ourselves. I think Pie's favorite was either a huge Symphony bar or a toy Gamecube filled with gummi Mario Brothers characters. Boot seemed quite fond of his worms & dirt in a test tube, that he got to eat with tweezers. He was also big on the root beer and blue raspberry Fizzies we got. You drop them in water & they make soda. After our candy store visit, we refueled with some chips & dip at Don Pablo's, then hit the grocery.

Once home, J made an angel food cake & I made Jell-o. Then, we went to the pool with Boot, giving in to Pie's begging to please be allowed to stay at the apartment. At least Boot likes the pool! I made dinner right out of this month's Gourmet: tilapia & salmon with lime butter sauce, angelhair with fresh tomato sauce, corn with chives and basil, green beans. For dessert, I decorated the angel food cake to be a beach cake, with blue waves frolicking on the sides and gummi octopuses and cocktail umbrellas adorning the top. Pie said it was the coolest cake ever & Boot ate large amounts of it, too, even sneaking it Monday morning before breakfast.

While Boot was sneaking cake, J & I were in bed watching the last half of The Net, one of my favorite suspense movies. We had a real lounge-around day, due in part to J's migraine. We spent the morning & early afternoon at the pool, even making Pie come (he refused to get in). Then, J napped on the couch & the boys played together while I ran to the grocery. J & I watched Crash when I got home, then I made BLT pizza for dinner.

The kids were with their father most of the 4th. We had McDonald's for breakfast, then they were out the door. J had wanted to go to the zoo Sunday & Monday, but the kids pleaded not to be dragged to the zoo. Can you imagine kids not wanting to go to the zoo??? So, we headed out ourselves while the kids were with their father. We walked around the zoo from 10:30 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. We got to touch sharks & stingrays. The sharks were fairly reticent & I only touched one and that very briefly. It was bumpy and much rougher than I'd expected. The rays, though, were soft as velvet and seemed very interested in being touched. We would hold our hands, palms-up, in the water and they would come along & swim up to slide their undersides against our palms. It was very cool. We saw baby giraffes, all kinds of fabulous cats, a gorilla that beat its chest at J when she made monkey noises, elephants who wanted OUTSIDE (their outdoor area was being cleaned), polar bears with itchy noses. We got a ton of exercise, too.

On the way home, we stopped at The Winking Lizard for drinks on the patio. Then, we went down to the pool for shish kebabs and a swim. Since the boys weren't around to try & dunk me, squirt water at me and generally make the pool an unfun place for me, I got in & swam. J & I did some laps, some dolphin-diving and some floating. I practiced my handstands & somersaults, too. I love being in the water. Once the kids returned, we watched fireworks from our balcony with Pie, who says he's going to be a "pyromaniac technician" when he grows up. That kid adores fireworks! We went outside & let him do a sparkler tree, then watched fireworks in another direction. What fun! Next year, when they won't be returning late, we will get to go to a display instead of watching them from home.