Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I Miss the Old Days...

Remember the good old days? When I posted about politics, relationship issues, and plain old goofy things like the wonders of Mattel and their ever-pleasing Barbie Collection? Well, I still get a good bit of traffic from people doing Google image searches and looking at the Barbie pictures (but probably not the blog itself). The latest stats show such visitors came from Slovakia, Poland, The Czech Rebublic, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Mexico, France, The UK, Germany, Finland, Slovenia, Italy, Denmark, and Russia. Then there are the rest of you, my few regulars who I know, and those anonymous visitors who I have no clue about. I'd like to please you all with some pithy prose, but my life is not inspiring much of that these days. So, I offer you a few new Barbies from Mattel's archives as a little sugar to help the unpalatable report of news from the homefront go down a little more easily. And here they are!

I have chosen the following names for them, and I encourage you to submit your own suggestions for names of these dolls.

I call this one the "Long Island Barbie." (She's 48 and half Italian, half Irish, I think.)

This one is the "Post- Jenny Craig, Monica Lewinsky" Barbie.

And finally, the "I Only Married Him for His Money" Barbie. She's also frigid.

Again, please feel free to submit your own names. I really liked Richard's submissions the last time I did this.

Now, here's the quickie on what's going on here. Maybe if I bullet them, it will incline me toward being succinct.

  • The estimates are coming in on the house leveling and foundation repair. If I do it the way the civil engineer suggests, the latest bid was $54,000. I don't have yet have the stomach to address this with the insurance company, as I've been told I should prepare to fight.
  • The SBA (which handles disaster loans for FEMA) sent a building inspector to my house to determine the extent of the damage in order to establish the limits of what I could borrow. The inspector said he was putting me down for a complete rebuild. Yes, you read that right. Because of the extent of the wind damage and the foundation problems, he is recommending that I tear down and rebuild and is authorizing a loan in the amount necessary to do that. He said I don't have to tear it down, I can just fix it, but he expects it to cost a lot more than my insurance will pay. I already knew this, but his assessment absolutely freaked me out.
  • I may have a temporary contract job offer coming as a project manager for Cox Cable, our local cable and internet provider. As I understand it, it involves the logistics of getting cable set up in the various FEMA trailer developments in and around the city. They are in various states of readiness and have to be monitored as they progress. I'm lacking a lot of the details, and since it's a contract position, I will have no benefits. I desperately need health insurance! But I'll take an income right now, with or without it. Oh, I would feel so much better with a decent income. A stable income would be even better. But anything is better than my piddly unemployment, which is a whopping $157 per week. I work on my house every day -there is so much to do there - and I guess it's good to have something coming in while I try to get things under control on the homefront. And I think this gig will give me the flexibility I need for my kids.
  • Speaking of kids, my daughter is beginning to show some of the early signs of puberty. (Armpit hair, and what appear to be the early signs of budding breasts -not too noticeable, thank God!) How did this happen??? This is the baby. My baby! It seems too early. She's not supposed to be growing up this fast! She'll be 10 this summer and that alone is hard enough for me to digest, but my baby girl entering puberty is just toooo much!
I took this picture of my girl last week and found it rather striking for two reasons. First, I think she looks older in it than she does in person. Almost like a glimpse of the future. And second, I usually don't see how she looks like me, though most others do. I see her dad more than anything. But in this picture, I can actually see myself in her too. In fact, it's a haunting combination of the two of us, so much so that I find myself staring at it. Or maybe, upon looking closer, what really haunts me is the part of him I see. Well, it's more than that. It's almost like I'm not seeing my daughter but seeing something on the level beyond her, on the level that made her. I know she is literally the embodiment of her father and me, but if you can approach this from a higher place, the perspective of the love that made her, you might get what this picture is doing to me.

I've never really discussed my relationship with her father here, but if you surmised that it was a powerful and singular kind of experience, you'd be right. And for now, I'll leave it at that.


Blogger Oliver said...

Fugging Islamic firewall now blocks images from static flicker.

9:58 AM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

I used to get lots of visitors from Islamic countries searching on "sex game" and finding my picture of the Sex and the City game. I wondered why I get so few, if any now. What a shame. I know you'd have had some good contributions to the Name Game, Mr. O. But maybe you can still peruse Barbie Collection on Mattel's site.

By the way, I hope you're planning to visit us when you and The Rose make your pilgrimage to the Motherland. Sorry that I don't know of any long-term places to stay in NOLA but if I have a livable house, you're welcome to stay for a few days, if that helps.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Ingrid said...

Your Barbie photos are hilarious. I *especially* love the Monica Lewinsky one.

How are Alex and Rachel holding up with all that's going on? I imagine it's good to be home but difficult to adjust to the current state of affairs.

I loved your house and am saddened to see the extent of the damage. I have fond memories of your front porch swing.

9:24 AM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Hey Ingrid! The kids are holding up pretty well. I think they both miss being at the house, but my mom is great company and she is such a great cook that it more than makes up for whatever difficulties living here brings.

I love my old house and the porch swing too, and I can only think about how much better it all will be once everything is fixed up. I think I'll put the swing at the top of the list once I have contracted someone to get the work started. It's easy enough to get a new hook put up and at least we'll be able to enjoy it while the rest of the work is being done.

I hope you can come visit us at some point in the future. And that goes for all the rest of you, too!

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lisa,

The entry you posted instantaneously reminded me of a scene from Mum's weathered "Love Actually" tape where Emma Thompson debates briefly whether to send her daughter's friend a "donna matrix" or "transvestite" Barbie doll.

Rachel looks gorgeous in the picture you posted.


9:46 PM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Hangyul! How very nice to hear from you!

I love Mattel's doll designers for their perverse sence of humor (which surely they must have.)

Thanks for the comment on my sweet girl. I'm a little afraid of the thought of her as a teenager, though.

Your alter-blog's address was lost when my beloved Powerbook died, so if you're still keeping it up, please send me the address or post it here, if it's okay for me to add it to my links. And if you're up to an e-mail, let me know how you're doing these days...

1:53 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

So sorry I have been comment silent for so long, I have been completely overwhelmed by life and school work.

Your daughter is going to bring you much to worry about when she is a teenager, You (but not her) will probably get lucky and Alex won't even let the nice boys within 10' feet of her.

And now on to the important stuff.

#1 New Jersey Mob Girl, she's always had an italian boyfriend who works security at the family coffee importer warehouse. She rides on her own deluxe traveling motorcycle, because when the boyfriends says, "Scram yous aint gunna wanna see dis!" it's best to just go shopping.

#2 Mid-level marketing executive. When her sorority sister said she could get her a job that pays well and is nothing but lunch and client dinners... plus a few after hours "cocktail dates", she said, "I am THERE"

#3 I think you pretty much got it but I'll add... Muffy the 'Junior Leaguer'. She's off to see Troyer the hunky docent at the Modern Art Museum, and he is off to 'converse' with Jeremy the flambouyent interior decorator.

1:32 AM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Hooray, Richard! Thanks for your lovely contributions. And I think lots of us are being overwhelmed by life and things lately, so no need for an apology.

You, Erin and Ryan made an appearance in one of my dreams last week. You all came for a visit. Ryan was about 6 years old in the dream and he was very cute, smart and quite interesting. And he seemed to have wisdom beyond his years (and only a touch of the cynicism you'd expect to accompany it.) I wonder if this one is a portent?

10:13 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

We would so love to come for a visit!! Some day I hope that will be possible. Ryan will be turning 5 in 2 days, on March 31st. And he is all of those things very very cute, he will be a real looker, it will be a diffecult job to teach him to do his own home work, as I am betting the girls will be waiting in line to do it for him if he let's them. He is whip crack smart and interesting only scratches the surface. As for his depth and wisdom beyond his years I can only agree and sadly say that his wisdom is also linked to a unexplainable well of sadness and anger that we deal with desparately and with every tool, that we and others have.

10:42 PM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Wow! He's about to turn five years old. That means we're going on two years here.

After reading your description of Ryan, I recalled him having a bit of an edge in the dream, which could be akin to anger, though I interpreted it more as cynicism. But what struck me most was that there was much more to him than just a happy-go-lucky six-year old. There were things that ran very deep, that made him seem older, even though on the outside he was adorably cute little kid. It was like he had some kind of knowledge or understanding of things other kids didn't have and probably few adults grasped. And it was almost as if it was a burden to him. The dream was so vivid and very striking. When I woke up, it was Ryan's part in the dream that stood out most to me, and does still. Maybe I connected to something- who knows... I did, after all, get a rather striking precognitive hit on the Great Flood in a dream, (though I didn't know it at the time.)

In any event, I have a gut feeling that at some point in the not too distant future, Ryan will be able to communicate what's going on inside better than he can right now. Actually, I think he'll really surprise you all with what he has to say and how he says it. That's just my gut talking. I like to give it a voice every now and then in case it's right. It's got a pretty decent track record. My biggest problem, though, is keeping my brain out of the way when my gut is the thing with the right answers.

2:30 AM  

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