The flight of the bumblebee

Let me start by saying that I lived to be 38 and have never been stung by a bee. You can tell where this is going, can’t you?

The boy and I came home last night and were making our way up the steps. In the usual slow manner of a two-year-old. I put our bags down on the top of the porch and unlocked the front door. Then I waited for him to climb the two steps to reach me. Which he wasn’t doing.

We have spirea bushes along the walk and they’re filled with buzzing bees. I noticed just the other night that they seem to have a hive under our concrete steps. Still, I’ve never given them a second thought because I just leave them to their business. And I’ve heard that’s what you’re supposed to do with bees; you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone. Right?

I cautioned Devin not to bother the bees (because two-year-olds don’t know any better), then I reached for his arm to help him up the two stairs. Apparently, that’s a no-no in Bee World, because that @!#*& bee landed on my arm and STUNG ME. Holy cow, man — that hurt! As I realized what was happening, the stupid-ass bee stung me two more times! TWO! So to make up for the 38 years of being stingless, the bee apparently decided I needed a few to make its point.

By the third sting, I was in flailing, whacking mode and I managed to sock one to him/it. He landed on the porch, upside-down, seemingly unconscious or dead.

I was crouched down, gripping my arm and trying not to cry, assuring Devin that, “It’s OK.” Then I started to gather up our bags and usher the boy into the house.

That’s when I saw it. The bee was moving. It was getting up again! That’s when I went from flailing, whacking mode to totally-freaked-out mode. I had a sneaking suspicion that this particular bee was not happy with me at all and had no intention of buzzing off to lick his wounds. He rose into the air and I started screaming at Devin, who was still standing in the same spot, to “GET INSIDE! NOW!” He froze to the spot and I grabbed him and shoved him inside.

Get this…THE BEE FOLLOWED US INTO THE HOUSE!

Do you, dear reader, get the feeling that this particular bee may have had some sort of psychotic issues? Because I sure had that feeling. When I saw it rise off the porch and come after us, I felt like I was reliving the last scenes of “The Terminator”.

So not only did the bee follow us into the house, it went after my kid. And that’s when I went from afraid to very pissed off. He landed on Devin’s neck and began crawling up the back of his head. All the while I’m looking for a swatting tool and screaming in ferocious anger at this stupid bee: “GET OFF MY KID! NOW! GET OFF! GET OFF!” After accidentally striking Devin with a set of car keys (which, by the way, are useless in swatting bees), I got hold of a nearby road atlas (thanks, Scott, for leaving that in the hallway for the past week!) and went after the sucker.

I got him off of Devin, but not fast enough. That stupid jerk of a bee stung my kid on his hand before the road atlas made contact. He landed on the floor and my shoe landed very forcefully on top of him. And then Dev began crying. A lot.

I felt so bad for him. Not only did it hurt, but he had to witness a panicked, shaken mother battle with a two-inch long flying menace. I’m sure he’s scarred for life. His poor little hand swelled up to twice its size. And my swollen arm still aches more than 24 hours later. Stupid, crazy, @!#*& bee!

Thanks for letting me share that trauma. And wish me bee-free dreams tonight.

Helicopter happiness

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Do you ever wonder how memories work? Like the things you DO remember contrasted with the things you DON’T. Or the very fact that a simple moment can stick with you forever. That you’ll recall it some day when you’re 80 and you’re relaxing on a spring day and the little helicopters from the nearby oak tree come fluttering down from the blue, blue sky.

I remember sitting in the grass near the fence at the very back of the playground. Lincoln Elementary School. Probably 5th grade, but possibly 4th or 6th.

I remember sitting with my legs crossed with a few of my girlfriends.

I remember picking the green helicopters from the grass and twirling them between my thumb and forefinger.

I remember someone informing us that you could stick them in your mouth, between your tongue and the roof, and position it just right and you’d get a funny little kazoo-ish sound.

I remember all of us sitting there in our semi-circle, with the discards from the oak tree, giving it our all to create that sought-after sound.

I believe I’ll remember the look on my son’s face last evening when I threw a helicopter into the air. I’ll remember that moment when I’m 80 too. The squeal of delight as it came fluttering furiously back to earth. The smile. The laughter. The insistence that I throw another one into the air. And another. And another. “More, Mommy!”

Happy new year!

My mom bought me a necklace for Christmas, a gift I selected on my own. One portion has Chinese characters. The other has the English translation: Happiness.

I chose that necklace because I thought it might remind me of what’s important. My own happiness. I lose that sometimes. I lose it in the small things, like worrying. Usually about things I can’t even control.

Like the guy who tailed me down Boston today. Or the woman who stood behind me in line for coffee yesterday, hovering mere milimeters from my back with her purse jabbing me in the hip. Or the guy at work who has his cell phone set to some ridiculous tune, which wouldn’t be a big deal if it didn’t go off every 15 minutes.

I waste a lot of energy on sweating the proverbial small stuff. I also send my blood pressure sky-rocketing in those instances. Or at least I imagine I do.

I’d like to find a little peace with myself. To become comfortable with me. To get to the point where losing the manual for my camera doesn’t freak me out and have me ripping apart every drawer in my office. That would be happiness, I tell ya.

Where, oh where, does that calming, relaxing center of my being reside? It’s in there somewhere. Finding it isn’t my new year’s resolution. It’s my life’s ambition. But if I find it in 2006, it’ll be my best year yet!

Greetings from Lucy

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The anal part of me is really perturbed that the rug pad is peeking out from under there

I really hope that y’all had a wonderful Christmas and a happy start to Hannukah! (And any other holidays out there since the all-inclusive “happy holidays!” is such a sore point this year.)

Four days off to spend with my family was the best gift really.

My kid seemed quite pleased with the festivities and my husband made a really great pizza. So all is good.

Yep, I survived

But barely!

My child’s fierce and ferocious entry into full-fledged toddlerhood would just happen to coincide with the timeframe when I was tending to him solo, wouldn’t it?

To be honest, he was a very good boy. His temper tantrums are living large, though, and I was stressed out by a number of other factors: DIRTY house, DEMANDING client, LATE-RETURNING husband, and the fact that I was unable to get started on my holiday decorating. Oh, there’s more I’m sure. Once one little thing sets me off, you’d think my whole life was falling apart. I’m a drama queen, after all.

Although my house is still a pigsty and my decorations are still firmly packed in their boxes, my husband did eventually make it in the front door and I hunkered down (resentfully) and finished the copy for the d*mn brochure. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

So semi-peaceful conditions now reign in the household, to be broken only by the sound of the vacuum when I return home this evening. And any ranting and raving that may erupt if I get another email about the d*mn brochure. (Word to the wise: DON’T chose a career as a copywriter!)

Me, blurry

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This is what happens when you let some guy you work with take your camera and snap some pics. What was I thinking? There were beer glasses galore — and plenty of people drinking from them. And I hand over my baby? Not smart on my part. Still, I like this shot. Since I’m not keen on photos of myself, this one’s ideal. Blurred and mysterious. The image I love to portray.

Tired of travel

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Hitchin’ a ride on the Avis shuttle

Back from another business trip. Long Island again. No, I’m not jaded, but it’s not like I got to hang out and enjoy the quaint towns of the island. I was workin’, man. And it was really tiring this time around. Plus, I kept moping about being away from my kid. It just wasn’t all that much fun. Especially when I had to drag my butt out of bed at 4:55 this morning so we could get to LaGuardia in time for our flight. Yawn.

You can always go…downtown

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Along Ionia Street

Labor Day is supposed to be about NOT working, but, as a freelancer, I sometimes have to make sacrifices. That’s how I found my way to downtown GR yesterday afternoon for a meeting with Gwen and Dottie. I purposefully arrived early so I could snap some shots of the area while I walked around. I used to work in the city for a couple of years, but I’ve been absent for the most part since then. It’s not that downtown is hoppin’, but there’s certainly a spark. And there are scads of renovated, classical buildings with plenty of lovely ornamentation.

Less than 24 hours later

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Yesterday the tyke was puking his little guts out. The result was a trip to the ER to get some assistance and rehydration — in the form of a yummy slushie. Today he’s clearly back to himself. And he discovered that slushies don’t just come from hospitals. They also come from gas stations near Breton Village where they sell yummy ice cream sundaes and blue-raspberry slushies.

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Hitting the playground after Mommy got her ice-cream fix

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The whole clan (well, minus the cats) walked over together