How to celebrate Robyn’s birthday (which is tomorrow, so get crackin’)
(This idea totally stolen from Mopie) 1. Rename your journal “Bitchypoo” (just for the day). 2. Call your child – or husband, if you don’t have a child – “Spud” all day long. Or call your favorite pet (doesn’t have to be a cat) Miz Poo for the day. Follow your pet around and croon “Mizzzz Poooooo” until it gets annoyed and runs away with its ears laid back. 3. During a semi-important meeting or phone call say “I don’t know. What does Robyn think of that?” 4. Wear something yellow (that being my favorite color). 5. When your husband/ significant other/ cat farts for the 53rd time in 10 minutes, narrow your eyes at him/ her/ it and say “You’repissin’meoff.” 6. Change your computer wallpaper to a picture of me. I highly recommend this one, unless it would frighten other family members. You could also use a picture of one of our cats. 7. Call your significant other “Ya fuckin’ idiot” out of the blue, for no particular reason. 8. Postpone cleaning the house for another week. 9. Eat a whoopie pie. 10. Take a bath using bath melts, bath fizzies, or bubble bath, and spend the rest of the day making people smell you. 11. Perform a random act of kindness. 12. Adopt a cat. 13. Apropos of nothing, tell someone (a perfect stranger, coworker, spouse, child, anyone!) “It’s Robyn’s birthday today. She’s 36, but she doesn’t look a day over 19!” (A harmless little birthday lie never hurt no one.) And don’t forget to leave a comment telling me what you did!
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Hey, Kat has started up a cool new forum. All the cool kids are posting there, check it out! 🙂
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Stories from my visit to Maine: Story 1: My grandmother, as I may or may not have mentioned, is in an assisted living home. She’s down to skin and bones, 91 pounds, and has stomach cancer (which is slowed by medication), broke her hip last year (which still causes her pain), and has a sore on her tailbone that just doesn’t want to heal. She’s not comfortable staying in one position for long periods of time, and needs help moving from a prone position to sitting, and sometimes she just wants to get up and walk around with her walker. Sometimes she seems to understand what’s going on, and sometimes she doesn’t. She’s 85 years old. My grandmother and I were never particularly close. She’s a very stoic New England type, and although she’s not terribly demonstrative, I’ve always known that she loves us. She’s also always been proud, and it’s difficult to see that she needs help to and in the bathroom (though she’s also pragmatic – if it embarrassed her in the past to have to ask for help, she seems to realize that you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do and gotten over it). In the past, it’s been hard to come up with topics of conversation with her, and as she’s gotten older, it hasn’t become any easier. Unlike Christopher, I can “do” small-talk, but when the person you’re trying to small-talk with may or may not understand what you’re trying to say, it can be hard. My mother and I spent a couple of hours with my grandmother on Sunday, sitting and talking to her, sitting with her while she ate lunch. After I commented on the bird feeders outside her window and asked if she got many birds at the feeders (and she looked at me as if I were an idiot and said “Yes, we get birds year-round.”) and commented on the HUGE gray squirrel sitting under one of the feeders (I swear to god, it was the size of the Bean), I was having a hard time coming up with something to talk about. My mother pretty much filled in the (long, lingering) gaps. Monday, we decided to go back for another visit, bringing the spud with us. This time as we were sitting around not saying much, my mother decided to go down the hallway and get a cup of ginger ale for my grandmother. She invited the spud to go with her. My grandmother turned from her position on the bed and looked at me. I cast desperately around in my mind for something to say. “Did you hear they landed on Mars?” I asked, since I’d been hearing about it all day. “Mars?” she said, and she sounded as though she wasn’t quite sure where Mars might be located. “Yeah,” I went on, glancing at the TV, which was tuned to CNN. “They landed on Mars, and they’re taking pictures of the planet. Just think, maybe the spud’s great-great grandchildren will LIVE on Mars!” I turned expectantly to see her reaction. Laying on her bed, my grandmother was PRETENDING TO BE ASLEEP. PRETENDING TO BE ASLEEP SO I’D SHUT THE FUCK UP. So I shut the fuck up.
Our family, Christmas. I’m not sure what year this is, maybe ’81 or ’82? That’s Gram, with the white hair standing between her two hunky grandsons and their frightening 80s hair. (Kate, hee! Tracy’s hair! Randy’s hair too, for that matter. And my GLASSES. How was I able to hold my head up with those huge fuckers weighing down my face?) The spud, my mother (a particularly good picture of her, I think. The spud always looks good), and Gram.
Story 2: Liz turned 36 at the end of December. Since I was in town and it was her birthday, I told her I’d take her out to dinner. She had to work that day, so she called me on her way home from work to let me know she’d be ready to leave around 6:00. Then she asked if it would be okay to visit her mother, who is in a nursing home, on the way. The nursing home is in Lewiston and we were going to Portland for dinner, so it’s not really “on the way”, and also her mother has never ever liked me, but what am I going to say? Of course I said it was fine. So we went into Lewiston to see her mom, who is blind and not doing well. She fell a few weeks ago and bruised her ribs and she’s now in a temporary nursing home until a permanent one can be found for her (at least, I think that’s how it works). “Hi!” I said brightly after Liz told her I was there. “How are you feeling?” Liz’s mom told us she wasn’t doing well, wasn’t feeling well, was expecting the doctor to stop by. “Well,” I said. “You LOOK good!”, which she liked hearing. We stayed about ten minutes and then headed out to dinner. As we were on the turnpike heading for Maine, Liz said “I’ve lined up a couple of hot dates for us!” and laughed. It turns out that she’d invited a couple of friends she knows through work to meet us for dinner because one of them was going to do some “psychic healing” on her legs. (She’s been having very painful leg pains and tingling for the past few weeks. It worsens and lessens, but hasn’t gone away completely, and the doctors haven’t figured it out yet.) What was I going to say? Whine “Oh, Liiiiiiiiiz, I don’t want a couple of STRANGERS to eat dinner with us, I thought it would be just US, hanging out and talking about old times!”? Of course I said “Okay, that’s fine.” A few minutes later, she said “When are we going to England, Rob? We’ve gotta go!” She went to London a few years ago, getting a great deal through the college she was attending, and has been saying ever since that she wanted to go back, and me with her. I should say that I have no burning desire to visit England (sorry, those of you from England – nothing against you, but when I think of places I really want to go, Scotland and Australia and New Zealand top the list), but it would be cool, and she really wanted to go, so why not? “We should just set a date and start saving!” I said. “When do you want to go? Spring of 2005?” We decided that that was a good time to plan for and talked about looking online when the time was closer to see what kind of package deals we could get. We got to the restaurant – South of the Border (by the way, when I told Fred we went to eat at South of the Border, he assumed we meant south of the Canadian border. Hee!), were seated, and then Liz’s friends showed up. They were nice, one of them gay as the day was long and funny as hell, eyeing up all the cute guys who walked by. The other was a 23 (24?) year-old computer geek who gave Liz the puppydog eyes a couple of times through dinner. “So Mike,” she said to the computer geek. “Are we still going to England next year?” “Yeah!” he said. Liz pointed at me. “Robyn’s going with us, too!” The fuck? I DON’T WANT TO TRAVEL TO ENGLAND AND HAVE TO HANG OUT WITH SOME (perfectly nice, but still!) STRANGE BOY! Grrr.
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Look! It’s the one light in Lisbon Falls! (If you go straight and follow the road around and go across the bridge, then go right, you’ll be in Durham, where Stephen King grew up!) While shopping at the Maine Mall in Portland, I glanced over at the calendars, which were on sale, 50% off. Bachelor Lobstermen of Maine 2004 caught my eye, and I picked the calendar up, expecting to see some shirtless hunks. When I flipped to January and saw a 16 year-old and 12 year-old, I knew I had to buy it. So I did. Go read more about this calendar (and there’s one featuring women, too!) here.
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“Brian, get on the ride and act like you’re scared!” “Like you’re going to cry, Brian!” “Act like that snow is REALLY heavy, Brian!” (God, please let this child never get sick of hamming it up for the camera!)