Saturday, March 29, 2008

poop is a palindrome

I love a good palindrome, but I must admit that I enjoy "racecar" or "level" more than "poop".

Except when Cleo says "poop", because then it's the cutest thing ever. She adds a little "puh" to the end as she enunciates the final p, really the only enunciation in any of her words. It's just adorable. And, of course, as a 19-month-old child, she's obsessed with poop-- what it is, exactly, who has some, where it came from, if Neddie Bear or Noah can, in fact, put his poop in the potty.

So when we went to the park today, little did I know that we would find a tiny little pile of rabbit poop, and it would be her grandest discovery to date. Slides? Swings? Her new doll stroller? No.

She wants to tell EVERYBODY about the "bunn-nee poop", including my parents' 80-year-old neighbor. When I gave her raisins, she eyed them suspiciously and asked, "Bunny poop?" She had to really inspect what Lovey was doing, to see if perhaps a chihuahua could make some bunny poop. She could not.

I guess what i'm saying is that I always knew that having a child would expand my world and make the little things mean a lot, but I had no idea a pile of turds could cause me so much amusement.

Friday, March 28, 2008

me, the ruiner

Here is a little taste of our date night conversation as we left On the Border with margaritas and nachos sloshing in our tummies:

ME: Where should we go now?
CRAIG: I don't care...
ME: Ooh, there's Lowe's! We could stop there really quick and I could return all this crud and get a new shower thingy so we can have cold water again!
CRAIG: NO, you should not destroy our marriage by making this date soulless!!!
ME: ?
(interlude)
ME: Ooh, we could stop at that Starbucks!
CRAIG: NO, that Starbucks is THE NEXUS!!!
ME: ?
CRAIG: (matter-of-factly) I mean, it's the nexus of where the Darkside intersects.
ME: Wow, two margaritas really does ya in, huh?

That's all. All i'm allowed to blog about, at least.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

free to be MEMEMEMEME!!!!

I almost hate to post, because I don't want to lose that zombie baby at the top of the blog...

Anyways, I feel like... me... today. I went to an MNO (Mom's Night Out) last night with the fun chicks from ICAN (International Caesarian Awareness Network) and had ALOF (a lot of fun). That's right-- 2 whole hours without husband or baby. For the first time in 2 years. With tiramisu cheesecake. It was wonderful. I love my family, but you've got to admit that's a long time to go without private-outside-the-house-time. Between the two of them, I rarely get to pee alone.

And then this morning, I met a friend at The Coffee Park and enjoyed an enormously delicious chai latte while Cleo played in their amazing childcare area for 3 hours. So that's a total of 5 hours in 2 days, so excuse me if i'm a little bit drunk with the overindulgent selfishness. Me! ME! MEEEE!

If you had told me when I was younger that I would ever be able to sacrifice so much of myself, I would have laughed in your face and written a horribly maudlin poem about it and read it in public in my Doc Martens while making the sign of the devil with my left hand. And yet, at the same time, being a mother and wife has really expanded me as an individual. I paint a lot more (and a lot better) now. I have more interests and friends. And i'm happier. It's nothing like the horrid subjugation the media makes it out to be!

Ahem. It's good to be me, is all i'm sayin'.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

BRAAAAIIINS!

My child is a zombie. See?


Not really. She just likes raspberries. Some would say too much.

pilates vs. pirates

Did you ever notice there is only 1 letter different between piLates and piRates?

That's what convinced me to try my first Pilates class at the gym today. Well, that, and the fact that my iPod is out of juice and the spinning class I tried yesterday made my bojango bones hurt like hell.

And i'm not sure what to think. Some of it was hard, some of it was easy, some of it made absolutely no sense. I got so bored sometimes that I just watched the instructor's thong peeking in and out of her baggy pants and tried to contemplate why anyone pretzaling themselves in front of 20 people would choose to wear a stringy-dingy t-back. Ouchie.

Lots of odd breathing, silly stretches, slight movements, some of which i'm pretty sure are physically impossible. No sweating, no achiness, no "general exercise exhaustion".

But when I walked out, I'm pretty sure I stood at 5'10", having inexorably gained 5 inches during class. So that's how celebrities do it! Well, that and a strict combination of barfing and personal chefs.

There were, however, no pirates. I repeat, no pirates. There were planks, though, and I felt groggy afterwards, and I had to look at other peoples' booties. So maybe that's just pirate-y enough to work.

Monday, March 24, 2008

on calories and kilojules

So first, I was pregnant, and I could eat whatever I wanted. And it was good.

Then I was recovering from childbirth and surgery while nursing a ravenous infant, and I could eat whatever I wanted.

Then I was chasing after a rambunctious toddler, still nursing, and I could eat whatever I wanted.

Mind you, I tried to make nutritious choices *most* of the time. When I was pregnant and craving milkshakes, I gave in. Constantly. When I was recovering from surgery, I ate lots of Kenyan beans drenched in coconut milk and olive oil. And for the past year or so, i've cleaned up after Cleo, munching a handful of whole wheat Goldfish here or half an apple there, trying not to be wasteful.

And it has caught up with me now that Cleo is starting to wean, despite my thrice-weekly trips to the gym and bellydance classes, so i'm getting back on the wagon, keeping track of my calories, and upping the intensity of my workouts. I bought a nutrition and workout diary at the bookstore, which is apparently Australian in origin and therefore discusses fibre and kilojules, which totally cracks me up. But I'm going to keep track. Dammit.

Today, I ate sparingly, gulped water, tucked in oodles of veggies, and did not clean up after my toddler a bit. And here I am after a spartan dinner with over 1600 calories. And that's before i've had my daily requisite 13-gram of fibre explode-o-cereal.

Wow. I can't imagine how much I was eating before, when I willfully ignored the numbers. My Australian guidebook suggests between 1100 and 1300 calories a day, while America seems to waffle (and pancake and donut) a bit more and offer me 1600 to 1800 calories a day. Plus, maybe 200 extra for the amount of nursing i'm doing.

Ah, America. Where I can weigh 140 pounds and still fit into an XL in Juniors.

Also, I freezer meals have improved a lot since 2002. I had Lean Cuisine butternut squash ravioli, and it was so good that if I had ordered it in a restaurant, I would have been impressed. And I even ate GREEN PEAS and YELLOW PEPPERS.

Hmm. I must be serious!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

TL; DR

Looking at that imposing and yappy blog post below, I thought i'd offer a "too long; didn't read" synopsis from my Something Awful days.

A parent must be creative and adaptive in meeting their child's individual and continuously changing needs, as all the physical force, screaming, or reasonable explanations in the world won't do the trick. Be nice to parents of children with special needs, as they have a tough row to hoe. Go with the flow and keep a sense of humor. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you will be unable to function due to stress, lack of sleep, lack of food, illness, or teething, and then it's okay to hide under the covers or cry your eyes out. We've all been there, and if we haven't, we have nannies.

So there.


Ockham's sippy cup

Ockham's celebrated razor tells us that Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem or "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily." Or, as it's usually summed up, the simplest solution is best. I was unable to find my razor today, so I would recommend avoiding my armpits while I discuss how this famous saying applies to sippy cups.

Having a child is complicated. When a pregnant woman asks for advice, she most often hears tearful lamentations about, "Enjoy every second, they grow up so fast [sniffle sniffle]", which isn't really helpful. My advice would be, "It changes every day; the simplest solution is best; learn to drop back and punt". Meaning, children change every freaking day. They sleep well for 2 days and then keep you up all night. Yesterday, she loved yogurt, and today she throws it at you, shrieking with anger. The park was a joyous occasion last week, and today, it is terrifying. And there's nothing you can do to change them. Discipline takes years of "don't touch the stove" before it sinks in. They think "no" is the funniest word on the planet at 18 months.

Therefore, you must find the simplest solution and drop back and punt, as my country cousin Jaybird likes to say. Instead of screaming back or smacking them, figure out how to go with the flow, work with the changes. I know it's a cliche, but thinking outside the box is the only way to stay sane. It helps, of course, to have a proper amount of sleep and food in the parent before this technique is attempted, as even the best of us have days where we hide under the covers drinking coffee, saying, "Mommy is night night" after 4 hours of sleep while our naked child puts a 3-inch tall Noah in the potty and tinkles on him while screaming "Poop NOAH!"

Or maybe that's just me.

Think of all the kids you see screaming and crying in stores, restaurants, and parks. For some but not all of them, their parents are doing the same thing over and over again, trying to force their children into a mold that doesn't fit instead of using their imagination and psychology. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing 1000 times and expecting a different conclusion, and to me, that kind of parenting is insanity. If your child won't sit in a high chair in a restaurant, all the physical force, anger, and reasoning in the world isn't going to keep them in the high chair. You just get frustrated, angry, and resentful, which benefits no one. Much better to find an alternative that works for everyone, even if it means having to sacrifice your own desires for what will benefit your child and you the most. Which is why we don't go to restaurants right now but enjoy infrequent take-out and pray for weekly date night.

To offer a caveat, I also believe that different children have different needs, and we all know they are their own little people starting in the womb and regardless of all the nurturing in the world. I know quiet kids and loud kids, physical kids and needy kids, and I know and adore some very special kids who have developmental needs that make them even more difficult to deal with for their saintlike and loving mothers. All our kids cry sometimes, no matter what we do, and I think it's important to respect the parenting challenges that loom before us. Patience, tolerance, and camaraderie go a long way in dealing with other moms, because you never know which kids might be on the Autism or Aspberger's spectrum these days. Sometimes, discipline, no matter how gentle and loving, just doesn't work, and sometimes we ALL find ourselves helplessly crying along with our child in the car. And that's okay, too.

Anyway, i'm on my soapbox today. Why Ockham's sippy cups? Because children between the ages of about 10 months to 3 years drink out of sippy cups, and the sippy cup of every other child on the planet, no matter how filthy or infected, is the most obviously attractive sippy cup that ever was. Lots of parents freak out about germs, or label their child's sippy cup, or dive at their child every 45 seconds to remove someone else's sippy cup from her mouthward hand, screaming "NO!!!". None of which changes the child's determination to ingest what is in the other kid's sippy cup. Which is why I mainly hang out with people who don't give a crap about sippy cup exchanges. I don't hang out with people who give their kids soda or sugary crap, and I don't generally chill with people who are OCD or germaphobic about their kids. I figure germs strengthen the immune system and hope for the best.

It's the simplest solution. It's my parenting attitude. And it's helped me find some great friends with similar feelings, and we rarely have to dive at our children or scream NO, which makes hanging out that much more pleasant.

As Michael Scott says, "
Adapt. React. Re-adapt. Act." He's actually right for once, but i'm guessing he has no idea what he's talking about.

Wow, you're still reading? Your child must be napping. Or perhaps i've just scared you into getting your tubes tied tomorrow. I think this is my longest blog entry ever. And it's still going. Blah blah blah. I'm Winston Churchill; would you like a crumpet? I'm Winston Churchill; would you like some tea? Mmm... tea. I'm going to go have some Celestial Seasonings mint green tea with honey. I think my Benadryl is kicking in. Have you ever watched The Venture Bros.? That's like my favorite show. I even have a VB quote on my license frame, which I don't think anyone will ever, ever get. But i've always liked inside jokes like that. It's enough if it makes *me* happy. Seriously, though. Go home. I've got painting to do. And fish sticks to eat. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

is that.... hair gel?

There's just something about The Biscuit. Perhaps it's her winning smile, her adorable bangs, or her mischievous nature. Or perhaps there's a reason her smile is a bit puckish. She's a miniature explorer, and only baby gates and drawer latches can stop her. Mostly. Which is why daddy needs to be careful where he leaves his gym bag.

I left the "safe room" for 5 minutes on Sunday and returned to find my daughter squatting amidst daddy's products, covered in Garnier Fructis hair gel and smearing herself with Old Spice deoderant.

After mopping her off, I can see why she was in there. She needed to do her hair, as the final result shows.

One nice, long bath to remove the hair gel head and lasagna face and one call to poison control later, and her head smelled like daddy's armpit for the rest of the weekend.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

oh, shenanigans!

While on our overnight vacation in Helen, GA, Craig and I had an unusual opportunity to watch TV. We are possibly the only people in America who don't have cable or satellite or digital or [insert current technology here], so having 20 channels and a remote control made us feel like high-falutin' city folk. We ended up watching Dr. Phil, possibly because it was the campiest and most ridiculous thing we could find. And there we learned of the No Cussing Club.

This 15 year old kid decided that he didn't like cursing, and he started a club to encourage others not to curse. He designed hideous fluorescent orange shirts and started recruiting a bunch of sheepy kids with signs, and now he's on TV. And it's just horrid. For so many reasons.

1. Free speech. It's America. We don't like being told to do things, especially not by sanctimonious teenagers who think they know everything.
.
2. If you take away curse words, but you're using substitute words, don't they become cuss words themselves? For example, this kid uses "shizzle" or "shenanigans" instead of sh*t. So now shizzle and shenanigans are curse words, because that's how he's using them. I guess he's thinking form over function, but I disagree. He's just a fudgy little shizzle-head know-it-all. But that's not cussing, so it's okay.

3. If this kid has so much charisma, tenacity, and guts, why isn't he doing something to actually *help* the world? Crusade for peace, against homelessness, to help pandas, anything that will cause a sincere change in the world. But, no, he takes his chance as Freshman Messiah to encourage people to avoid using curse words. What a waste.

In conclusion, this is exactly why I don't watch TV. Everyone's a fuc*ing idiot.

Friday, March 14, 2008

my child in a nutshell

Help, help, she's in a nutshell!

That never gets old.

Ahem. Yesterday, we were bowling with acorns, when Cleo brought me an acorn that had lost its hat and said, "Acorn... naked?"

I guess she assumes nuts enjoy being naked as much as she does. It's great to be a kid.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

the saddest tale



We had to put our Puddy down today. He couldn't keep his food or pills down, and what came out the back of him reminded me a lot of Celine Dion's music. Feeling sick is one thing, but if you can't enjoy your food, what's the point in living? We thought we'd have at least a couple weeks with him, but it was clear that he was suffering and going downhill fast, so we wanted to give him a peaceful ending while he could still see how much we adored him.


It's ironic and cruel how it cost 10 times as much to end his suffering as it did to adopt him 7 years ago. I held him and loved him until he was gone, and we buried him in the backyard, our whole family together and covered in Georgia red clay on a beautiful spring day.

Puddy was a good cat. He came when we called him, he always purred when we touched him, he loved Cleo, he loved to snuggle, he never had hairballs or hurt anyone. He was funny and fat and had a soft pink belly. He liked to lay in the sun in my studio while I painted, and he liked to nap with Cleo and Craig. He loved to gnaw on my glasses and drink water from the sink.

Goodbye, Puddin'. You were the best and weirdest cat i've ever known and the best $15 i've ever spent.

i'm a rockin' mothertrucker!

Even though I feel 18 most of the time, I must occasionally come to grips with the fact that i'm 30 and a mother. On my more charitable and acne-free days, I like to consider myself a MILF, but on rainy days preceded by lots of Girl Scout Cookies and 4 hours of sleep, i'm forced to face the facts.

Short of being in the armed forces or working for a guy named Mike, being a mom is the toughest job around. I mean, we're expected to keep the house clean, shop and prepare delicious food, pack lunches, do all the auxiliary shopping for light bulbs and ceiling fans, send out the appropriate birthday cards and gifts to family, exercise and stay in shape, look great when when our husbands come home... all the while we spend 24 hours a day under the teeny little thumb of the world's most megalomaniacal and demanding dictator who barely speaks our freaking language.

And that's why moms can always be friends, even if we disagree heatedly on religion, germs, or methods of childrearing: we're all in the same constantly sinking boat, which is more like a papier mache dinghy with straws for paddles.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

shine, don't whine

We don't make luck, and luck doesn't make us. Or it shouldn't. I believe in fortune, but not luck. I believe that if you put good things into the world, good things come back out, much like when I make my weirdo healthy pumpkin bread. Health in, health out, for both ovens and colons.

Anyway, I was putting Cleo to sleep tonight, and I was struck by the fortunate timing in my life. If I had not gotten pregnant with Cleo and had continued on that trajectory, we'd be living in our tiny apartment with no reason to move out, i'd probably be running the arts center and having to fight a coworker like two dogs over a rag every day, and I wouldn't have many friends. My hair would probably be falling out, and i'd still wake up to the sound of Craig smacking rats in the attic before they could sneak down and hop on the bed and chew my toes. We lived in the woods, and yes, that did happen.

But because of the exact timing involved, I not only have my perfect little dude, but I also live in a beautiful house in a wonderful neighborhood, have amazing mom friends, am building an awesome studio of interesting paintings, and did not have to attempt to follow in my mentor's footsteps at her death. I always wanted to run the arts center, I just don't want to do it right at this moment.

But because of that lovely lady Fortuna and a perfectly timed egg/sperm combination, I get to spend my days laughing with Cleo, painting, and playing with Heidi, Christine, Emile, Joanne, Ericka, Robin, Vicki, Tamar, the ICAN girls, the kriscoopers, and all sorts of fabulous women and their cool kids.

So, in conclusion, my path is mighty and my heart is light and my stomach is full of steak and veggies.


instant Puddin'

I am sad to say that my beloved cat, Horatio Puddin' HooHoo, is dying of cardiomyopathy. Basically, he has heart disease, and he's not getting enough oxygen to function, and medication can keep him alive for 3-10 months, hopefully. Giving him his Lasix is a lot like putting batteries in a toy-- he revs up quickly and acts like his normal, playful, snuggly, hungry, annoying self, and then his batteries slowly run out until he just hunches in one place and breathes quickly with his spine sticking up. Poor guy.

First of all, i'd like to say that the Cat Clinic of Cobb sucks. After $444 of diagnostics, they couldn't tell us what was wrong with Puddin and sent me home with steroids and placebos that I had to tearfully force down his exhausted and traumatized throat three times a day. Then, we he became ill again one week later, they told me to bring him in for "more tests". My gut told me not to return, so I picked up his records and went somewhere better. They quickly saw us, listened to me, and suggested that he had cardiomyopathy. Since the test costs $700 and he was going to be dying either way, I went all Dr. House and requested they treat him like he had cardiomyopathy and see if he improved, which he did. A $50 temporary cure, which worked.

Here's the kicker: once I had a diagnosis and did some internet research, it was painfully obvious that he had EVERY SINGLE SYMPTOM of cardiomyopathy. The breathing, the sudden onset, the strange "bony back, floppy belly" caused by liver distension, the hunchy posture, the sudden weight loss. This should have been a no-brainer for Cat Clinic of Cobb, but either they didn't catch the obvious, or they wanted to milk me for money I don't have. Which is why I don't like them. Taking financial advantage of someone's love for a sick animal is flat out evil.

So now we wait, give Puddy his Lasix pills, and enjoy as much time as we have. We've decided to rescind his diet and provide him with the stinkiest, nastiest foods money can buy. He's going to die, anyway-- might as well enjoy himself. And we're letting him drink out of the shower and sink, and sleep on us all night even though our arms fall asleep.

I can't believe that we're going to lose our Puddy after only 7 years. We always thought he'd go to 16 and called him "the best $15 we ever spent". We wanted Cleo to grow up having him around. And I just don't like being home without a cat around, moving independently through the house, just being there simultaneously, like when I used to play Castle Wolfenstein in the 80's, and there were little dudes that were always moving around other rooms, doing their thing. I want him to keep on bouncing around the house, annoying us and amusing us and generally being a very strange cat and a very good buddy.

I have been sitting here for 20 minutes trying to come up with an amusing or clever last line, something that ties in death and life and humor and my usual irreverent and grinning view, but I just don't have it in me today. Hell, even Tom Robbins doesn't have any quotes on loving life but hating your cat is dying. I call a draw.

Friday, March 7, 2008

my little hazel nut

While I was feeding Cleo some noonies (aka. lasagna) in the afternoon sun, I noticed something wonderful. Her eyes are the exact same shade of murky pondwater hazel as mine. Her hair is halfway between my color and Craig's color, and her toenails and fingernails are all Craig, but these eyes are all me. They started out the color of pencil lead, but now they're just lovely.
Check it out. Cleo is on the left, obviously, and I am on the right.

















Pretty cool, neh? I only hope she got my genes for color and his genes for actual eyesight, because she's just too cute for glasses.

Also, I am sick of home improvements. I want my bathroom back. I feel like i'm staying in a hotel room. But, oh, that tile is sexy.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

ahoy, matie! it's treasure!

After an hour of diligent waiting and browsing, I finally snagged a coveted Treasury on etsy. A Treasury is where you put together a list of items for others to enjoy. You provide exposure for other etsians, and your own avatar pops up whenever the list is viewed, so you may in fact earn more of those deliciously edible hearts.

My Treasury is called sling X blade, and it marries baby carriers with knives. How I love a strange juxtaposition! Check it out: http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=32237.

The bonus, of course, is that it does not involve that creepy chump, Billy Bob Thornton.

Monday, March 3, 2008

the $444 cat

Back in 2001, I paid the worst vet in Clemson, South Carolina $15 for Puddin', which included all his shots and 1.5 neuterings. Because during the second neutering surgery, the vet had a great deal of trouble finding Puddy's balls.

These days, however, our 7-year old cat is worth $444 on the open market. Or, at least that's what we were charged by the vet for keeping him alive after we f
ound him panting and covered in bloody spit-froth this morning. They did not build him better, faster, or stronger, but they did apply some corticosteroids, antibiotics, and diuretics. And the wiped the bloody froth off him, which was thoughtful and made the ride home more bearable.

What was wrong? We have no idea. Apparently, there is not a Dr. House for cats (Dr. CatHouse?) in our neighborhood. Possibilities include eating something nasty o
r biting a wire while he was trapped in the ceiling yesterday, scaring the crap out of himself and having a panic attack while trapped in the ceiling yesterday, or just plain ol' asthma.

That's right-- I may have paid $444 for an asthma attack. We just don't know. According to the 3 forerunners in the diagnosis department, my cat is either an idiot, a scaredy cat, or a dork. Yay.

Here is my rendition of my cat as a dork with glasses, a fanny pack, a pocket protector, an inhaler, and a kick-me sign:

So there's one more reason to make fun of me. Not only is my cat a pussy, but i'm stupid enough to pay $444 for an asthma attack.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

i eat hearts

I have a new obsession. I eat hearts.

Not really. Not literally. Not real hearts. Not even those deliciously chalky ones from Valentine's Day. But I want to collect hearts on etsy, because hearts can help get sales, and I want to sell some work. So now i'm networking, chatting, forum-ing, critiquing, hearting other people so that they may, in turn, heart me. And then I can eat their hearts. Like that dude from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

As of Thursday, I had 11 hearts. That means that 11 people went to my etsy store and clicked on "Add This Seller To My Favorites". Now I have 27. My goal is 30 by the end of the night. Then I can sleep well. Ha! That's 28.

I am a woman on a mission. I always stink at promoting my artwork in real life, but I don't mind being so aggressive online. I used to think "favorites" were for things you genuinely admired, but I have learned it's a networking tool of the "use it or lose it" sort. My naivety was alarming.

29!

Ah, the pleasure of the hunt. The hunt for hearts.


(To eat.)