The Purple of Life

She told me to hold on to the purple in my life.

My Photo
Location: Chicago, United States

I'm a 37-year-old editor and city dweller, wife and mother, moderately liberal and radically optimistic. I would fill my perfect day with a cup of coffee and the Op Ed section, a flea market and the playground, a run along Lake Michigan, a walk through the neighborhood with my son and my greyhound, a Cuban dinner and a bottle of red with my husband, and an evening flight to some European city. I wouldn't be picky about which one.

February 17, 2007

I think I get an “A” in the compromise department

These are the television shows I watch regularly:
  • The Daily Show
  • The first half of The Colbert Report (then I get tired and go to bed)
  • Most HBO shows, when they’re on: The Sopranos, Rome, Big Love, Entourage, Real Time with Bill Maher, Curb Your Enthusiasm

I also recently committed to 30 Rock and The Office (not as good as the original, but still pretty awesome). And I try to catch Check, Please! and Rick Steves’ Europe on Saturday afternoons. But that’s it. If John’s flipping channels and he stops at some history or nature program, I’ll usually watch—and I recently saw The Dog Whisperer and loved it—but I just don’t watch much TV (even though there are shows out there that I’d probably love: 24, Lost, Grey’s Anatomy). I don’t know; a lot of American TV makes me feel dumb, and sad about my fellow Americans. I like to read books and magazines (and yes, that includes InStyle; I'm not a total snob!). I get my news from NPR, the 'net, and the newspaper.

You may have noticed that the above photo depicts a rather large flat-screen television. It is in our living room. It belongs to us. Rather, it belongs to John. He bought it with part of his annual bonus. When we have friends over, I tell them that it’s not my TV. That it was one of John’s fondest dreams to have a 42-inch flat-screen television, and I gave in. Compromise is the secret to a good marriage, you know, I tell them sagely.

I’m getting used to our latest acquisition—concerts and movies and travel shows do look glorious on it, and being able to DVR shows for later is nifty—but it was difficult for me to allow the TV into my 900-square-foot home. I can distinctly remember standing with John in Circuit City, feeling helpless and a little desperate as he talked about warranties with the sales dude. I showed him a nice 30-inch screen (too small). I pointed out that our living room wasn’t that big (We won’t live there forever, he replied). I asserted that having a huge TV makes it look like we spend our lives glued to the tube (I do watch a lot of sports, he reminded me). I said that I thought the TV would make us look like materialistic assholes. He disagreed.

I really, really didn’t want that TV. And he really, really did. And I gave in.

I felt very conflicted about this for awhile. Should I have stood my ground? After all, it’s my house, too. Was it weak to give in? John and I have an exceptionally equal partnership, but I knew that damn TV would make him as happy as a clam. I also knew that he worked incredibly hard all year and deserved every cent of his bonus, and I wanted him to spend part of it on something he really wanted. I wanted to see him happy.

So I capitulated, I surrendered, I gave in. I made him promise that when we move, the monster will go in the rec room or den. And I declared myself the sole chooser of the new armchair we had space for after rearranging the living room. He didn’t stop thanking me for days; he was incredibly grateful and appreciative. I think he understood the situation, and that did make me feel good. Even though I still kind of hate the TV, I do love the person who wanted it.


February 1, 2007

I like imagining

I could write about how cold it is here. That’s boring to read. But it’s been influencing how I go about my days, what I wear to work, how long Moose’s walks are, which errands are essential to run during lunchtime (answer: not many). The predicted highs for this weekend are less than 10 degrees.

I could write about how after three months away from this journal, my first entry starts with a weather anecdote. But if that’s what made me start typing on a blank screen, who am I to judge?

I could write about how John is definitely ready to become a parent. But I already think about it every day; frankly, the idea of writing about the weather is preferable.

So many times in the past three months, I’ve thought to myself, I should write about this in the journal. This is what the first line would be. But then I don’t do it, and I don’t know why. I suspect it’s laziness—that blend of lethargy and procrastination tinged with fear that all writers face. I know I need to sit down and write, but these plants need to be watered first. Then I need to floss.

A few weeks ago, while walking with John, Moose stepped on a piece of glass in our alley and sliced open his paw pad. Blood everywhere, a limping dog, both of us freaking out. Hydrogen peroxide, a hastily made bandage, a trip to the vet. Everything was fine, no infection or stitches, but the cut took forever to heal—he still limps if he steps in road salt or snow—and John left for a four-night work trip a few days after the incident. It is not fun changing a greyhound’s paw-bandage every day, taping a plastic bag over it to keep it dry in the snow. That was a long week.

I am trying to eat better, more healthily. I know; aren’t we all? I ate a lot of cookies during Christmastime. But I did pretty well in January—more vegetables, smaller portions. I need more protein, fewer sweets, fewer calories. I need to work out five days a week. I know my body will change with age, but I also know the risk factors for heart disease, and the amount of control I can have over my own health. I turned 31 last weekend. (I actually feel pretty darn good about that.)

A new storefront restaurant recently opened in our neighborhood, Indian-Pakistani cuisine. We went there for a Sunday-night meal with our neighbors and their two-year-old, whose nickname is Sly. It was an early meal—see mention of two-year-old—and Sly was more interested in running around the restaurant than eating. Luckily, we were the only ones there except for a large extended family celebrating a birthday. They were Indian, I think Muslim. Their group included some gradeschool-age girls, and Sly was fascinated with them. The kids played together, skipping around the room and giggling, while the adults ate samosas and lamb and naan and other amazingly tasty and cheap food. At the end of our meal, the Muslim family had the waiter give us a huge slice of their birthday cake. And all of us—Christian, Jewish, Muslim—dug in to the pink-and-white confection and smiled at the kids hopping back and forth between tables. Now, whenever I feel hopeless after reading front-page headlines, I remember that.

About a month and a half ago, right before Christmas, I received a letter in the mail from an address in Washington D.C. It was from the Spanish consulate there, and they were forwarding on a letter from the American embassy in Barcelona—returning my stolen driver’s license. There I was, 25 years old, pink scarf, eyes half-closed, none the worse for wear. Where has this card been since October 1? Who took it, and how did it get to the embassy? Did the police find it? A sympathetic Spaniard? A fellow American traveler? I’ll never know. But I like imagining.

Labels: ,