Friday, November 27, 2009

Surprising longing

We lived in Texas for just over 9 1/2 years. 9 1/2 long years. In a place where the "good" grass was what the rest of the world considered crabgrass, weeds. Where that good grass was infested with fire ants, the sting of which would cause you to swell and blister and itch. In a place with heat that would knock you down and humidity that would sit on your chest and push the breath out of you. In a place where the skies turned yellow and tornado warnings constantly ran across the bottom of the TV screen. In a place where ice storms would blow down I-35 and lay down inches of thick ice on the roads and freeze your car doors shut. And then the next day it would be 90 degrees again. In a place with two seasons, hot and hotter than hell. Our pipes froze, our air conditioner froze over from overwork, all within 6 months.

But you know what never happened in Texas? Rodents never crawled into the engine block of my car and did $400 worth of damage to the electrical system.

Today, I miss Texas.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Thanksgiving, for me, was always about family. Unlike Christmas or Easter, with their family services, choral services, and vigils, Thanksgiving was not a religious event. It was not church, smells and bells. Thanksgiving was Aunt Peggi's house and cousins and trying to watch TV with first generation closed captioning. Garnish trays and turkey, cooked by Grandpa. Homemade rolls and pie (pumpkin, apple, and cherry), always made by Mom. The kids' table and the grown-ups' table. Telling Uncle Don that we were eating at 2 PM to ensure he'd be there by 4. A Christmas Story on the TV and the inevitable quoting of favorite lines, Dad reminiscing along the way about a snow outfit like Randy's (he lay there like a slug, it was his only defense) and then sharing, again, the story of Peg, the toddler stripper, leaving a trail of clothing on neighbors' lawns. Spending 10 minutes hugging goodbye and falling asleep in the car on the way home.

And then I grew up and moved away. There were divorces and marriages and children and deaths. And we all grew up and away.

In Texas, we had the incredible fortune of making a new family - our very good friends Paula and Harold, who cooked for us in exchange for chocolate cake and apple crumble (I cannot make pie crust, no matter how many times my mother walks me through it over the phone). The dogs (4 canine children between us). The food, oh the food. The wine and the coffee. The music and the company. The family.

And then they moved away and we had a child.

So we began to build our own family, our own traditions. With only three of us (and then four), an entire turkey seemed excessive, so CrackerBarrel made our meal (less dessert). There was something about eating a metric ton of hashbrown casserole with your turkey - intensely soporific and happy making.

And then we moved away. And the closest CrackerBarrel is in Idaho. And the closest family is a 2-day drive away. I do not remember what we did last Thanksgiving.

Last week, when asked to write about Thanksgiving, Rory's answer was, "I don't do Thanksgiving. I don't decorate."

So this year, I am not ordering premade food. I am not letting it go. I am baking bread (Rory's very favorite) at 1:40 AM because he is my family and this is his holiday.

Today, so early and rainy, I am thankful for my son, whose 1st grade assignment reminded me of why we cook and bake all day, to break bread together, to appreciate what we have. For my daughter, who loves nothing more than to see me first in the morning, a rare treat these days. For my husband, who saves the best bite for me, every time, and who every day makes me take time for a little something that will make me laugh. For my family away, for what they have given me through the years and for how much I miss them when I'm not with them. For health. For safety. For love.

And for premade pie crusts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I think she's ignoring me

Scene: Living room, changing Brigit from footie pajamas (too tight across the stomach, a side effect of too many cheese bunny crackers) into fleece pj pants.

Brigit: I love underwear pants!
Me: You do? I wish that you would wear underwear pants all the time, because that would mean you were a big girl who went peepee in the potty.
Brigit: I wish I could fly like an airplane!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The things I learned at jury duty, update 4

If you're going to empanel a writer on your jury, you should not be surprised when said writer takes over 130 pages of notes in the first 12 days of the trial, meticulously numbered and dated pages. Instead, you should ensure you have an ample supply of paper and large 3-ring binders. This would certainly reduce the embarassing number of times said writer has to ask for more paper and maybe an additional binder in front of the other jurors. Who point and laugh now, but who will be very happy to see those notes come deliberation time in approximately 4 weeks.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The things I learned in jury duty

If you have been following my Facebook status updates (hi, Mom!), you've probably seen a trend of "what I learned in jury duty" updates.

I am absolutely not going to speak of the specific case or even my specific experience on jury duty (except, well, all the jurors are very nice and we're getting very good at playing cards). (Your honor, if you're reading this, I'm being very good, really, because, honestly, you're kind of scary.) But, I think I can elaborate a bit on these "what I've learned"s (um, imagine that's plural, apparently jury duty has unlearned me of my grammar). (Of course, if I suddenly disappear, you know where to find me - the slammer. Please send a toothbrush. Or I'll just start packing one in my purse, as a precaution.)

Update #1: the jury does not get to hear discussion of any objections.

For which I was, admit it, ridiculed. Like, well, duh, Liza - what if they're speaking the secret things that if only you knew would make up your mind and curse the defendant to a lifetime of making license plates (do they even do that anymore)? But! BUT! It's not that we don't get to hear the details, noooo. It's that every time there's an objection that one side or the other believes is worthy of "being heard," we, the jury, have to troop back to the jury room and wait. And wait. And then, for good measure, wait a little more. There are no Law & Order style sidebars with the judge coyly covering her microphone. Nope, just with the filing out and waiting and maybe working on our puzzles and then argh, I just about had this part figured out and we have to go back in.

Update #2: The attorneys don't really seem to be paying attention to the testimony, at least not opposing counsel.

That was my initial impression, but you lawyers are a sneaky bunch. Oh yes, you are. What with the feigned nonchalance and the "taking notes" and then BAM, hammering the witness on cross. I've got my eye on you now, Esquire.

And here is Update #3: You cannot take knitting needles past security in the superior court house.

They do not care that you can carry them on a plane, you still have to leave them at the security checkpoint. And no, you cannot use bamboo needles instead. Crochet hooks are fine, but not needles. No, ma'am, not even the bamboo circular needles that only contain about 2" of straight pointy material and hi, are made of WOOD. Just, no. Learn to crochet.

Of course, I don't want to learn to crochet, because I'm contrary like that. So please send patterns for very tiny knit projects, say socks (very tiny socks) that can be completed in one day (broken up into 15 minute increments) and that can be knitted on the kind of needles one might ostensibly use to secure your hair (which is of course ridiculous because who would think to sneak knitting needles into a court house in your hair - my fellow jurors, that's who - I told you they were nice).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rebellion before her age

Brigit took it upon herself to do a little redecorating. Apparently, that black bookcase was just screaming for a picture of Mom, complete with a party in her tummy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The only thing better than Glee

I give you the whitest white boy in America breakdancing to Glee.

The Whitest White boy Glees out from Elizabeth Poggemeyer on Vimeo.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The stuff of nightmares

I rarely remember my dreams. I might have a vague thought when I first wake up but the minute my feet touch the ground, zzzzt, gone. The only dreams that seem to stay with me are the bad ones, which are themselves few and far between (or so I remember).

One of the worst dreams I ever had involved being trapped in a garage at Lagoon (exciting UT amusement park - what, you've never heard of it?). There was a pit in the garage a la every oil change place in the world. And for some reason I was trapped on a thin ledge between the wall and the glooming pit. Ooook.

Another dream starred a small witch puppet who I'm pretty sure was going to kill me. She'd appear over the edge of my bunk bed and glare menacingly.

Metallica inspired a nightmare once - that damn song "One" with the Johnny Got His Gun footage in the video? All it takes is hearing the first few notes of that song, and I'm instantly returned to a nightmare where I'm the man who can't move or see or talk.

Until last night, the very worst dream of all time happened shortly after I accidentally saw The Elephant Man when I was young (6-ish? 7-ish). I dreamed that I was turning into the Elephant Man, complete with misshapen limbs. In all likelihood, it was probably related to the fact that my hand had gone to sleep, but I woke with a start with a hand that seemed 10 times its normal size. Ever since, all it takes is Tyler whispering, "I am not an animal" to send me screaming under the covers.

I don't know why these are the dreams that stayed with me. But I can say, with some certainty, that they have now all been surpassed. (Even though just typing "I am not an animal" [gaaaah, again] gives me goosebumps.)

Last night I had what can only be described as the queen of nightmares. I was at my parents' house, and for some god-forsaken reason, my leg was rupturing into X's, all along the skin. The left side of the X split to reveal fat and the right side to reveal muscle. (And hi, I knew it was a dream and not reality because seriously? Me in shorts? Not happening.) I was mildly freaked out about this, understandably, while simultaneously intrigued by the appearance of the muscle, but then, apparently, I was supposed to be going somewhere with my father. He started harassing me about being a little squeamish about my leg, so I grabbed a tissue, pressed it to my leg, which holyfuckingshit spewed blood, and threw the tissue at Dad. I wish I could remember what I yelled at him, I'm pretty sure it included the terms "fuck" and "you" and "eat bloody shit." But I could be wrong.

That goddamn dream has stayed with me all day. I keep seeing the skin rupture, the purple color of the leg. And I can feel it.

I never thought I'd long for the Elephant Man, but I do.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

In which karma and a random number generator conspire against me

Last year, over in the old digs, I wrote a post about service, even made the claim that we all serve our country.

This year, my old friend karma took a look at my balance sheet and decided that maybe I hadn't served enough. So, with the aid of a random number generator (which has never been my friend, I have never won anything ever), I was called for jury duty and subsequently empanelled.

And not just any jury duty. JURY DUTY. On a major case in Seattle, one that you can read all about in the news.

It seems that karma wants me to serve my country until mid-December. Which means, Monday-Thursday, I am up before the sun, on the bus at O'Dark-thirty, and on my way to downtown Seattle before my children stir from their beds.

By the grace of a good employer, I am, thankfully, still paid for my non-working time, as I think we'd all agree that it is impossible to pay your bills on the $10 daily stipend from the court. However, it's hardly as though the rest of my work is on hold, so I find myself working at lunch, working at bedtime, and attempting to cram 5 days of work into Friday.

Whenever someone learns that I'm on jury duty, they are full of sympathy and stories of what they would have done to get out of it. "Just start yelling that you're racist." "Answer every question with, 'Hang 'em!'" "Tell them your family needs you too much." (No one suggested the "work will be lost without me" answer, which is good, given that with 44,999 other employees in the Puget Sound area, it doesn't really have the ring of truth.)

But here's the thing. Things, I guess. Well, first, I can't lie. I just can't, you can see it all over my face. (Anyone want to play poker?) But more importantly, I hate the discussion of a jury being 12 people too stupid to get out of jury duty. Because, there but for the grace of God, you know? If it were me, for whatever reason, facing the judgement of 12 strangers, I'd hope that at least a few of them understood and valued the role that they played. Understood the sacrifice required on their behalf to ensure that justice endures. It is the jury's duty to ensure that the weight of justice is balanced, that the state prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defense prove beyond a preponderence of evidence.

And so I serve.

Of course, that doesn't mean I don't think karma is a bitch.


In other news, my beloved is a'blogging. Check him out at ThoughtDreams.