The Return of Pandemonic

I can hardly believe it has been three years since I posted as Pandemonic. However, lest you think I have been lazy, incarcerated, or perhaps both, my real life person has been busy writing novels. Also busy working in the Real Life business, but that’s boring.

So far, I have completed three novels, self-published one, and am in the process of editing the other two. Also working on finishing a fourth. So I have been very busy. I’ve also been blogging in my real name.

So why would I come back to the Pandemonic blog?

In a word, anonymity. I love that while here, I am a nameless, faceless pandemonic person. My other blog features my real name. There I feel as though I can’t quite cut loose as myself. You always have to worry about stepping on someone’s toes. If you can say one thing about the modern man, most of us are too sensitive to take a joke, and too closed minded to look at things from varying perspectives.

This is why Pandemonic’s Time and Space was started: as a way to vent and bitch and moan and be politically incorrect without suffering the slings of Internet trolls. Been there, done that, and I can tell you, it’s no fun.

I nearly forgot the password and the email address I had used to launch this area of WordPress. But…obviously not. Perhaps I am not getting as old as I thought I was.

Anywhooo…I will be changing around the look of the blog. I feel a bigger need for anonymity.

NaNo Finished & Stuff

This November, I’ve been a good little girl. I have NaNoWriMo’ed myself into shape. The 50K word mark was met on Saturday (two entire working days early) and I’m liking the story. It’s off-beat, whacky, a bit nonsensical but damn, it was fun writing it. It’s so out there, I’m thinking it’s my only hope to published stardom.

Now I need to keep the momentum going. I am the first to admit of my lazy, easily distracted personality.

As for other news, the kids did not come home. MiniD spent the holiday at Mr. Demonic Jr.’s house. They also did not ask for any money, which was a first. The older one is a bona fide adult, although I’m not sure how he’s making money. All I know is that he doesn’t ask for any and hasn’t dipped into the remainder of the college fund. Ms. MiniD, I believe – hope – pray, is learning to live within her means. She also found a team sport that keeps her out of trouble. (YAY! *doing happy dance*)

We spent a quiet Thanksgiving with our manager. Turkey, homemade pie, crab cakes for an appetizer. Yes, indeed. I have exploded into another pants size and it’s only been a few days.

I hurt my left thumb. I smacked it with a mallet during my jewelry class, but that’s not what’s wrong. I have De Quervain syndrome which is probably related to jewelry and the prolonged typing I’ve been doing lately. I have a brace, and plenty of drugs. Except for the pain, I am in bliss.

Business sucks, but that’s the breaks.

I will go into all of this in some detail at some future point. Right now, I want to remain in the NaNo zone and will write a few thousand words today. I will also visit blog friends who probably thought I dropped off the face of the earth.

Euphoria and the Real World

As I was taking my shower today, I thought about a few things. (You must know I was taking my shower, because many times I sing and few times I think. There’s something about the scent of sandalwood that causes my mind to synapse.)

One thing I thought of was euphoria.

The event that came to mind was when my youngest, darling Ms. MiniD was born. I had spent twelve hours in labor and was really proud of myself for my counting abilities. Mr. D Jr. was born by emergency C-section meaning I was heavily drugged and missed the entire show. Mr. D also missed the birth of D Jr, because as he was getting ready and putting on his scrubs to go into the operating room all pristine and pure, he put the hat on his feet and his footie on his head. The doctor took one look and told him to wait outside.

Ms. MiniD’s birth, however, was splendid by comparison. I was counting to a song which vanished from my memory as soon as she squirted out. I was so involved in counting that I didn’t notice anything else, including my husband. The baby had crowned and the doctor, who had a cheesecake waiting for her in another room, admonished me to push. I wasn’t ready, so I held her in. Besides, I was going for midnight, when I would have two whole days in the hospital instead of one day. Insurance, you know.

Ms. MiniD ruined that for me by bursting forth eighteen minutes early. Mr. D placated my ire by bringing me steak and lobster take out the next day.

What does this have to do with euphoria? Well, euphoria kept me counting. Lamaze was going well.

Euphoria also caused my husband to say just moments after Ms. MiniD was placed on my stomach, “Let’s do this again!” Mind you, she was still covered in goo and slimy. The doctor took one look at him and then at me and shook her head.

Of course, he doesn’t remember saying that. He was in the rapture of the moment.

Love often makes one euphoric. For women, it causes them to remember. I can remember the day I met Mr. D. It was October 29, 1983. I also vividly remember our first date which was January 13, 1984. There’s something about a red rose hand delivered in a raging snowstorm that sticks in the memory banks.

I can see why some people fall in love with being in love. There’s something seductive and addicting to the euphoric state. It’s a lot like falling out of an airplane. I imagine it might be like shooting up heroin.

I’m imagining there’s a bit of euphoria in the Mr. D Jr house these days, he and the wife being married and all. (Boy, does that feel funny to call her “the wife.” That’s what my husband used to call me. Now he doesn’t call me anything. He doesn’t have to.) Mr. & Mrs. D Jr have always been a mushy pair.

I suppose Ms. MiniD is euphoric being back in SoCal. If I were in California, I’d be happy too. It would mean I somehow came into a pile of money and could afford to live there. I’m still stuck in the Tundra so it’s a pipe dream and my happiness level is a little low.

Come to think of it, when you get older, euphoria is not a waste a time but it’s just so unnecessary. I can’t remember the last time I felt that way. Well, yes I can.

🙂

My Memory Fails Me…

I have been seeing my memory slip down the memory meter for the last couple of years.

This is not a good thing.

My paternal grandmother had a severe case of Alzheimer’s syndrome at the end of her life. The last time I saw her, she didn’t even recognize me. She recognized my dad, but none of the other fifteen relatives that were there that day.

I am deathly afraid of Alzheimer’s. The only thing worse than cutting off my fingers would be to have my mind succumb to such a brain sucking illness.

I used to have a memory like the proverbial steel trap. I could remember lyrics after hearing a song only once. I would sit through college classes and not take a note. I somehow passed the test at the post office, which is 99% remembering numbers and letters and 1% correctly marking FOSDIC circles. I knew zip codes, phone numbers for not only my friends and family but for half my employees and my driver’s license number.

Now I can’t remember a movie I saw three weeks ago, Seven Pounds. I know Will Smith was in it but other than that, my mind’s a blank, a total empty white canvas. Either Will Smith or the movie was unforgettable or I’m going nuts.

Food, now, is another thing. I can remember memorable dishes and fine wines. The mediocre, no… but the good and the bad, yes.

My husband, Mr. Demonic is quite the note taker. Every day he sets up a list of things to do in handwriting that resembles chickens scratching at feed. He can read it, which is the most important thing. I used to think it was foolhardy, but now I know he’s just trying to keep it together.

So taking his lead, I have purchased a little notebook for putting down things I might like to remember. Like ideas I have for my book, or names I want to remember. Otherwise I wouldn’t remember a thing.

One of these days I’m going to have to use it to find my way home. I just know it.

Mr. Demonic Jr. Gets Married, and Other Earth Shattering Events

My son, the outrageously talented Mr. Demonic Junior, emailed me three weeks ago on a Friday afternoon and announced he was getting married the following Tuesday.

What was most curious about the email was that there was no cc: to his father.

Eventually he told his father. Like twelve hours before.

To bring some of you clueless about the Demonic household up to speed, Mr. D Jr. is recently turned 22 and has recently graduated from a chi-chi music conservatory (where he was the recipient of the President’s Scholarship and was also on the Dean’s List) with a degree in piano performance.

Mr. D Jr. has just enough left in his college fund for a year and a half of graduate study. However, the previous 17 years of education have left him with a bitter aftertaste when it comes to academics. He announced wanting to take a year off before making a move.

(Motherly input here: if anyone deserves a year off, that would be ME.)

In the ensuing months, Mr. D Jr. has been applying for positions. Unfortunately for him, he lives in San Francisco where every other person is a musician or artist. In the meantime, he’s been doing some gigs here and there.

Yesterday he played for a funeral.

If you knew Mr. D Jr., you’d know that he tends to gravitate toward funeral marches. His fascination with them began long ago, at age 7 when he discovered the Chopin funeral march. He likes the dark Russian pieces evocative of depression and angst.

When I told Mr. Demonic of his son’s funeral gig, he laughed and said Junior should print up business cards and hand them out to local funeral homes. People die in San Francisco, you know.

Back to the wedding… With such short notice, I was unable to attend. EVERYONE was unable to attend, which caused a furor among my family. You see, we like to party. (Mr. D’s side doesn’t party at all. They rarely speak to each other.) Mr. and Mrs. D Jr. tied the knot at the Courthouse in downtown San Francisco, a stunning building to be sure.

Basically, they did what his father and I did, but for different reasons. Mr. D says to me one day, “Let’s get married, but I don’t want a big wedding.” to which I reply, “I’ll go along with that, but only if a get a substantial diamond to make up for the lack of party.”

So yeah, it wasn’t exactly like that.

Mr. D Jr. had been dating the girl for two years. I like her. She’s rather quirky in some ways, but basically good to him. I’ve only witnessed one tiff between them and it was nasty as all tiffs can be. I’ve even used her as the basis for one of the characters in my first novel.

However…

I am not without motherly reservations. Junior is only 22. He doesn’t have steady, gainful employment. (She works part time at Victoria’s Secret, not exactly a money maker.) There’s also an immigration issue, which is why I think they speeded up the process to begin with. Her student visa extention was coming up shortly and she’d have to go back to Japan.

Don’t worry, my dear readers. Mr. & Mrs. D Jr. are NOT pregnant. Wouldn’t that be the icing on the cake?

However…

I cannot be the kind of mother-in-law my last one was. Come to think of it the first mother-in-law was rather a bitch too. I just can’t be that way. I remember many days crying over the tenuous relationship and at the end the lack of relationship. I had no mother of my own so I adopted my MIL. Bad deal. I expected as much from her as I was giving and it wasn’t going to happen.

So I’m being a good MIL, congratulatory whilst biting my tongue (again and again and again).

Oh, this is rather long. I’m going to have to put the other earth shattering events in another post.

A Guilty Pleasure

Hello, all, I have been away.

Not that anyone cares…

Life is full of things to do, especially this time of year. My husband got the bright idea to pressure the home office into putting up a web site for us, since because of the name we cannot do it ourselves. Actually, he’s been nagging them for about five years. This week, it finally became operational.

It’s still in its infancy, which means I have to do a lot of back and forth work. My husband has been driving all over the state and is unable to work on the bugs, but he’s not too adept at bugging, so it’s a good thing he’s out of the office.

It’s hot here, summer came up and over us in about two days time. Really, it’s not too hot,  but the humidity is horrible. Going from the house to the car to the office is excruciating. I don’t know what people did before air conditioning.

This morning I woke up at 6 and started mowing the front lawn. (Don’t worry, I have an electric lawnmower that makes less noise than my vacuum.) Even though it was very early and not yet hot, by the time I finished 45 minutes later, I was dripping in sweat.

I received a huge bead shipment and it has taken me a few weeks to sort through it. In fact, I’m still not finished, but I have all winter for that.

My one guilty pleasure came when I went to my favorite discount store, Nordstrom Rack. Nordstrom the real store is nice, but very pricey. I feel like I’m hitting the lottery when I shop at the Rack. Last week, I had a coupon. I didn’t need anything in particular, but I’m getting to the age where I don’t need much these days.

I happened upon a pair of marked down shoes. These weren’t just regular marked down shoes, these were Ferragamo slides. Originally sold for $500, now less than a hundred and with a $20 coupon, I couldn’t let them go to someone else’s feet.

Before I continue, people who don’t know me must realize that I have a thing for shoes. I sometimes buy shoes just because they are architecturally superior and sometimes because they are works of art. I also collect vintage shoes, especially those produced during the disco era. The clothes sucked then, but the shoes were to die for.

I would never pay $500 for a pair of shoes, but I can see why people do. The Ferragamos are the most comfortable, softest sandals I’ve ever worn. The leather is soft like cool butter, and even though there is a bit of a heel involved, it’s not hard to stay atop them. Shoes that are poorly envisioned are easy to teeter off of.

If you must know, I’m not wearing them yet. It’s because it’s too darn hot and I don’t want my sweat to ruin them. I’ll wait for a cold spell before I take those puppies out for a stroll.

The New Food Addiction: Molten Lava Cakes

Leave it to Sam’s Club to come up with tasty desserts.

The big box warehouse club is famous for such yummies as angel food cake, quart boxes of strawberries, damned good carrot cake, baklava (during the fall) and other fattening wonders has come up with a new dessert.

Molten Lava Cakes.

Four come to a box, and each is big enough to split. There are two chocolate and two apple/caramel. Forty-five seconds in the microwave, a dollop of ice cream, and folks, it’s as close to heaven as a person can get on earth. Imagine chocolaty goodness with a warm center.

The advent of molten lava cakes is laying waste my plans on slimming down. I wasn’t hoping for swimsuit material, but I at least wanted to fit into my skinny clothes. Right now, I’m in my fat clothes and two and a half pounds away from having to buy a new wardrobe.

I wish I had more willpower, but sadly I must admit to having less than none. In my line of work, and because it’s a mile away, I’m at my local Sam’s Club at least three days a week. That’s because for less than $5 one can buy a rotisserie chicken that makes a meal for a couple of days. The croissants are to die for, and sample weekend is enough so that I don’t have to make lunch on Saturdays.

Since the molten lava cakes are a seasonal item, I can only pray for the season to come to a close.

Soon.

I Wish I Could Still Fit into My Bikini…

‘Nuff said.

Loss of an Albatross

I’ve been in San Francisco for a week, then came home to a big mess. So I have lots of stories, just no time to write. This is in no chronological order, just as how I think of them.

It was a week ago Friday that my son, the dear Mr. Demonic Junior, graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

So ends the saga of parent taking care of child. At almost 22, he is far from being a child anyway. When I was 22, I was engaged for the third time and had years of living alone under my belt but that was another time in a completely different universe.

I had to park under the Civic Center complex which is a good five blocks away. This is because there is no parking near the Conservatory. This lot is underground, so it took a while to find my way to street level and a return of orientation. Thank goodness there’s City Hall. Who could get lost with that as a landmark? I then had to run the five blocks in dressy clothes and high heels against a fairly strong wind coming in from the ocean. But, I made it.

The graduation was exciting! Just as it was getting underway, with a processional provided by a quartet of trombones and horns, a man behind us fell to the floor.

Mr. D overreacted. He kept whispering, “That man is dead! Why don’t they stop the graduation?”

True, he hit the floor with an astounding wallop, but there were at least two doctors in the house, who propped up his head and legs before the paramedics came to wheel him away. I am thinking he suffered from a heart attack of the non-deadly variety.

The ceremony continued. The commencement speaker was Peter Oundjian, who is the conductor for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. I love that guy! He’s been the guest conductor at our TSO (Tundra Symphony Orchestra) and he gives the best speeches. I wanted to meet him after the ceremony, but he was whisked away.

When it came time for Mr. D Junior to receive his diploma, he looked inside to make sure his name was on it. Good idea. At last year’s graduation at Ms. MiniD’s high school, several “graduates” received folders and no sheepskin. That’s because they had requirements to fill.

It would have been bad news to receive an empty graduation folder.

Afterward, there was a reception at the school, where sushi, spring rolls and meatballs and cheese were served. My son hovered over the meatball tray and scarfed down approximately one month’s tuition worth of meatballs. (Yay, Mr. D Jr.!) It was very crowded, and by the time the masses parted, all that was left was spring rolls. I had one. Very tasty.

At the reception, I met up with two of my internet buddies. One was from the Orange Hell Hole at the other side of the world wide web. Those of you who are familiar with the place know of the place I speak. The other was a person I’ve known online since 1997. We are in a “loop” that sprung from a Beanie Baby chatroom. This was the first time I met my friend, but it was like we’ve known each other forever. That’s because we’ve spent the last 12 years trading personal information, Christmas cards and stuff like that.

Later in the day, Mr. D Junior’s girlfriend graduated. Hers was at San Francisco State University, and she has a degree in International Relations. Her graduation was for international students only. It was a different scene, lots of rowdy students and parents crowding the stage. It also didn’t last as long, and refreshments were limited to cake and punch. The Girlfriend’s mother came from Japan.

It was a happy day for the graduates, but a happier day for the parents.

Musings of a Motherless Mother on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day has come and gone, another Hallmark holiday meant to guilt-trip the neglectful – perhaps spoken like a person whose mother (and mother-in-law) is long gone. It’s nice to be recognized throughout the year, not just on major or minor holidays. Do we really need sappy commercials to remind us that somewhere, sometime, someone was there to push the slimy being you once were out into the brave new world?

I’m sometimes annoyed when I hear people talking about their mothers in disparaging terms. They may have their problems, be eccentric, weird, dysfunctional, heartless, or abusive. They may wear miniskirts and push-up bras when you might wish they would choose something more demure. God forbid, they might like your bands, your sports, and your movies. They may drone on and on and on, repeating the same stories you’ve heard forever until you think the muscles in your face could cringe no more. They may be physically unwell or emotionally crippling.

Or they could be like mine, taking up space under a shady tree in a Fountain, Colorado cemetery. Or like my mother-in-law, whose ashes are on a shelf in my basement.

Though I have no mothers left in my life, I happen to be one, blessed with two children of my own. While they would describe me as a “mean” mom (or clueless, embarrassing, stupid, or hopelessly out of date, among other descriptors), they won’t know the depth of my feelings toward them until they become parents themselves.

That’s how it was for me.

Mothers aren’t perfect humans, although many of them strive to be. My own mother was the least perfect person I knew. If my husband’s mother had known her, she would have thought her to be incredibly selfish and mentally unbalanced. Her life was hers, and never once did it revolve around her children. My mother-in-law was the exact opposite; she lived and breathed through her children and mine. She bent over backward in the opposite direction in an attempt to be the perfect mother and grandmother.

I had hoped to find a happy medium, but it’s easy to get swept into the lives of your spawn. After all, it’s through them that you witness a new germination of hopes and dreams, dreams you were either too busy or too lazy to see to fruition for yourself. There were dance recitals, sports, music competitions, cheerleading, scouts, gymnastics, scholastic achievements, art classes, and more. Motherly pride got quite a workout in those days. Perhaps I felt a need to make up for all the parent-teacher conferences my own mother never attended.

As it happens all too often, somewhere along the way it became un-cool to have such an attentive mother. It’s sometimes un-cool to have any mother at all. So like many mothers, I faded to the background of my children’s lives, only to emerge for culinary or monetary emergencies. Besides, they’re adults now.

My favorite book growing up was Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, and my favorite passage was “On Children.”

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

This passage carried me through my turbulent teen years and a strained relationship with my own mother. When I was 16, I read this to her in an attempt to get her to look at my perspective. She thought it was the most onerous thing ever written. Like a lot of mothers of her era, she believed in the exact opposite. Children were your property and responsibility to be molded and beaten into shape, not given opportunities for discovery.

Mothers are the building blocks for life, not the entire foundation. They hold an important role, one that deserves respect, but at some point the child has to take a step up and away. I know many people who blame their mothers for the life they have today. Children should be able to learn from the missteps of their parents as well as from their success. You can only levy so much of your circumstance on your mother; the rest is up to you.

On this motherless Mother’s Day, I didn’t wait for phone calls or presents from my faraway kids. My day was already planned from dawn to dusk with things I wanted to do.

I’m too far away to have visited my mother’s grave last Sunday (coincidentally her birthday), but I think I’ll get my mother-in-law a new urn.

And I’ll open up The Prophet and have a cup of tea.