Monday, June 30, 2008

gumdrops suck

Venturing out from bashing maternity clothes, I need to take a few moments to explain why I hate gumdrops so much.

I see one in a movie or read about one in a book, and I start thinking, "Gee, i've got to get some gumdrops!" And then I do, and I eat approximately 4, and I throw them in the trash. Why?

1. Despite looking delectable, they always taste stale and nasty, like they were carefully aged in someone's great aunt's parlor in an ugly crystal dish next to the key to a '78 Renault and a set of dentures.

2. The flavors are all wrong. Red should be cherry or fruit punch, but it's nasty cinnamon. Orange is actually orange, but it's gross orange. Yellow should be lemon, but it is, bizarrely and inextricably, also cinnamon. Green should be lime or apple, but it's mint. Again, gross mint. Purple is vaguely purplish tasting, but definitely not grape-inspired. White tastes like sugar. What on earth is wrong with the people who flavor gumdrops? It is not 1842, and we're not looking for horehound and sarsparilla!

3. The texture of the gumminess and sugar bits is so enticing, and the reality is so, so disappointing.

I think they should sell a new gumdrop, with the same size, shape, texture, and colors, but the flavors should be revolutionized for today's young, hip, candy consumer who still retains teeth and taste buds.

So, um, guess who bought a bag of gumdrops after watching a Little People video? Right. Me.

I'm an idiot. And gumdrops still suck.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

maternity 4: taking the "R" out of "shirt"

I've nearly outgrown my favorite t-shirts now, so i'm more aware than ever of how pathetic maternity shirts can be. Especially if you don't like puffy sleeves, frills, lace, and other "feminine" details that make one feel more like an antimacassar than a woman. So off we go!

11. Quit lookin' at me!
When you're pregnant, it's like a bullseye is painted on your belly... but if you get this shirt, you've got two gigantic, mesmerizing, 1970's-style owl eyes painted across your tummy and continuing their evil eye march around your backside. And above that, you get some strange, alien pea pods. Oh, and above that, there is sexy, rumpled, black lace! Growl, foxy mama! And did I mention the sleeves are still a 4th odd component of what appears to be a scratchy polyester psychedelic eye test? It's like Marcia Brady's evil pregnant witch costume from one of the final seasons of The Bunch. It's Episode 567, "Witch Singer Is Your Daddy: Marcia Goes to the Evil Fairy Ball with the Aging Davy Jones that Fathered Her Spawn at Prom."

12. Hang you from the ceiling and call you Chandler
Yup, back to the "Help, the 1960's are eating my baby" look. Prints can be good, or they can be dangerous. Here, we combine only the most flattering colors for a vibrant pregger: gray, gray, gray, grayish black, white, and pink. Then we add the ubiquitous 3/4 sleeve with juuust enough of a cuff to make your wrists look poofy and make you experiment with up, or down, or up, which all are slightly painful and leave unsightly marks. And then there's the charming one-two punch of polyester charmeuse and fake rhinestones along the collar. If Austen Powers went camping with Zooey Deschanel, this is totally the tent they would take.

13. Little House on the Dangerous Liaison
Genre mixing alert: woo wooo wooooo! This shirt seems to sincerely confuse wagon train fashion with Edwardian nightgowns. And what the heck is silk twill, anyway? Is it related to velvet canvas? Ugh. I'm seeing big, floofy, Dolly Madison sleeves, pointy shoulders, weird gathers, pattern meandering, and some bra. Yup. Girlfriend is showing her dainty unmentionables. If you can't make the model look great with lighting, fabric clipping, and strategic taping, how on earth are the rest of us supposed to fare? Who cares? One day, you're going to be at a Gold Rush sing along and feel the need for a silk twill maternity nightshirt, and you're going to be all set for only $88. Wait! Reduced to $29.99!

14. I'm going to need 20 cc's of unfugly, stat!
I have known several medical professionals on a personal basis, and none of them ever wanted to "look" like pregnant nurses when off duty. The good news: it's 100% cotton, machine washable, and on sale from $175 to only $29.99. The bad news: it looks like a cross between my grandmother's after-church housecoat and a Nurse Ratchett costume. It's kinda see-through. It has no waist or any sort of definition. And did I mention the bit about looking like my 78-year-old grandmother's housecoat? I want to give this girl some supportive knee-highs, a pair of foam K-Mart slippers, and a stethoscope. Ooh, but you know what it would be good for? It could be a great pregnant Halloween costume if you added a sign that said, "I work at the fertility clinic, and we get results!"

All shirts from Destination Maternity, and i've linked them to their purchase pages, if you see something that floats your preggo boat.

Friday, June 27, 2008

maternity 3: Revenge of the Shift

I'm enjoying making fun of maternity clothes so very much that I just have to keep going. It's just so hard to feel attractive in a world where very little accommodates your blossoming form, much less accentuates it. I got a pedicure today, my first in 6 months, and when I looked down at my juicy little pink toes, I actually said, "I feel pretty for the first time in months!"

And no woman should ever have to say that.

So here we go.

8. It's a hat, it's a brooch, it's a pterodactyl
Have you ever seen a dress as versatile as this funnel-necked beauty? You can be a human shadow puppet! You could squat down inside of it and look like a cannon ball, or stretch out your arms and legs and look like a black star, or tuck your head *and* legs inside it and look like Louigi crouching under his hat in Super Mario 2. I know we could all use fewer "adorable" details in our maternity clothes, but I think this Stealth Bomber (pun intended) could use a little more definition.

9. It's that thing from The Herculoids!Gleep! Gloop! Okay, let's go over it again. Bows, bibs, frills, and plackets: bad. Shape and definition: good. Is this a giant black jellyfish? Or one of those odd congealed salads? Or that bizarre blancmange from Monty Python that was going to take over the world playing tennis? It's like they ran out of belts and hems and thought that two big, swirly, satin flowers would draw the eye away from the fact that the dress is held together with mucilage. I believe in The Little Black Dress, but pregnant women deserve more. Just... more.

10. Water: broken. Skirt: dry as a bone!Query: how can you keep your skirt dry when your water breaks? By having a skirt *so* short that your bulging va-jay-jay hangs pendulously below the hem. It takes balls (or not, really) to wear a skirt this short when you're skinny and not pregnant, much less when you are anything other than a size -12 and smuggling watermelons. Not to mention that most of us gain at least a little bit in our thighs to support nursing later on. And I hear horror stories of varicose veins, spider veins, swollen ankles and feet like yeti boots. Who wants to see this, much less wear it? I suppose it would be pretty handy for delivery, though, and much more sturdy than those icky hospital gowns. And your doctor can give you an exam while you're standing up, texting your friend about the Hanna Montana show that you're going to miss because you have to stay home with the stupid baby.

This is just too much fun, and i've barely started on www.destinationmaternity.com. Tomorrow, dear friends. Tomorrow.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

the joys of maternity clothing, part two

Thanks to too much green tea, even the second season of Scrubs can't put me to sleep. So here are some more horrid maternity clothes.

4. The saggy baggy Maggie Gyllenhaal
I know what you're thinking: Now that i'm pregnant, i'd really like a shirt that is made of shiny polyester, has pinchy 3/4 sleeves, buttons up to the throat, has a big floppy bow, and looks taut even on the model's relatively small belly. Ooh, and does it come in "Don't Run With the Bulls in Pamplona" red? I mean, i'm sure this lovely blouse neither gaps along the buttons nor shows pit stains as it traps all body heat. I'm imagining this is what Maggie's character in Secretary wears when she gets pregnant and wants a good throttling for being untasteful, unkempt, and untidy with punctuation. If you were James Spader, wouldn't you want to asphyxiate her for spending your hard-earned lawyer dollars on grandma's shower curtains?

5. The choice for the discerning pregnant 1980's vampire:
Where do I even start? The print is cute, except that at first glance, as a thumbnail, it looks like she's bleeding out, which is not the most encouraging look for a pregnant lady. And when the print is seen more closely, you just don't really need mod red flowers climbing up, or falling out of, your bajingo. Then we get to the long sleeves combined with the above-the-knee cut, which is all sorts of confusing. Summer? Winter? Should she be wearing some sort of thermal legging? The bosom looks like curtain rouching, and somehow the poor girl's shoulders have taken on the proportions of a football player. If you separated the colors, cut, and sleeves, you could possibly have 1 decent but seasonally inapplicable dress and two piles of spit-up rags.

6. 23-skidoo!
See, so many of us wonder where to get an authentic 1932 bathing costume, and here it is! Who needs an embarrassingly tiny tankini when you can go to the pool in your cotton and spandex short set with contrast trim? I have never felt the need to wear this much red at once. I imagine seeing this outfit in Predator vision, an enormously bright spot that could draw the eye away from traffic accidents and pedestrians ogling the horrible bow-neck top above. Maybe. In any case, get your hair bobbed, draw uneven seams up the backs of your swollen, vein-riddled legs and jump in the rumble seat, because we're going to the beach, Myrtle!

7. For lobster dinner after a polo match. Well, maybe fish sticks after water polo.
Wow. I know that we preggos spill a lot of stuff on our shelf-like bosoms and steppe-like stomachs, but does that justify building a bib into our shirts? If the horizontal stripes and tiny, constrictive little poofy sleeves weren't enough, then the bib definitely takes it into "kill the great white whale and burn its shirt, yarr" mode. I'm just not a polo girl, and when it's shapeless, stripey, nautical, bibbity, poofity, and constrictive, i'm more likely to employ it as a sail than a shirt. I double dare someone to wear this under the Mrs. Stuebing sweater for the next regatta at the yacht club.

Okay, i've had enough of frills, poofs, tie-backs, full-bellies, polyester, bows, and use of the words "smart" or "nautical" to describe maternity clothes. Despite our relative size, we are not boats, people!

4 - 6 from Motherhood Maternity, www.motherhood.com. 7 from www.kohls.com. Beware!

the joys of maternity clothing

Why am I wearing mostly extra large t-shirts from the Target Juniors' section with my favorite drawstring J-Lo cargo pants?

Because this season's maternity clothes are utter crap. In my humble opinion. I know i'm not a style guru, but I know ugly, and i'm seeing a lot of it. So, with respect to those with more fashion sense, I present my least favorite selections of the preggo world.


1. What that weirdo from The Ring will wear when pregnant:

For all of your creepy, crawling-out-of-a-well-backwards-while-pregnant needs. Seriously, it's like white noise crossed with a circus tent. This dress is probably pretty good for sneaking past security cameras.

2. Recycled from The Wonder Years and smelling mysteriously of cigarettes and tuna:
Or perhaps this "frock" fell through a time warp from Mama's Family. All you need is a wash-in perm and a big, floppy hat with a daisy in it. Whammo! Good to go, and it comes with a half-eaten tupperware of peach cobbler.

3. Mrs. Stuebing welcomes you to The Love Boat!

Bring some Vaseline for your teeth and Captain Stuebing's pate, and get ready for Isaac's signature maternity drink, The Cautionary Whale. Who would go yachting in any other steaming black woven cardigan? And wide, horizontal stripes are so slimming.

More later. My child demands that I deliver Farmer Jed as we watch Little People. I must find her a less annoying addiction.

All togs courtesy of Old Navy, www.oldnavy.com, who had an amazing selection for my 2006 pregnancy but are utterly failing me this time around. Ahoy and avast, bad designers!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

bears, beets, Battlestar Gallactica

Just some random thoughts here.

1. I think i'm anemic. Which would explain the fatigue, sleepiness, irritability, lack of appetite, headaches, and craving for your blood.

2. I am going crazy waiting for the ultrasound that will (hopefully) tell us Shmoo's gender. I know there are only two choices, but the answer will change my entire world. And there's also a little part of me that thinks Shmoo is too mischievous and bouncy to let us know. If ever there was a fetus that liked surprises, it's Shmoo. He/she is going to be born wearing those boingly joke glasses and carrying a whoopy cushion, I just know it.

3. I just snagged a Treasury on Etsy's Treasury West. It's all about the visual effects of watching The Empire Strikes Back after taking a Unisom. For three nights in a row. Check it out: it's cold... Hoth cold.

4. Every time I drive Cleo to sleep in a local wealthy neighborhood, I see interesting wildlife. Coyotes, hawks, deer, enormous rat snakes. The houses are so far back from the street, and the wealthy people within them are so reclusive, that driving through it literally bores Cleo to sleep. And I always think, "What if I see a bear? HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE??" And then I think about taking the bear's picture, and emailing it to everyone I know, and asking them, Jim-impersonating-Dwight-style, "Which kind of bear is best?" And laughing uproariously.

Seriously, these are the things that go through my head on a daily basis.

5. I'm on our neighborhood HOA, and it is my responsibility to write the snitty little letters that tell people they are in teh trouble. We just sent out some letters about houses with yards so horrible that they look abandoned. One yard looks like Willie Wonka's Remote Candy Plant Experimental Growth Garden. The giant green thingies sprouting everywhere honestly look like some sort of bizarre gummy candy. I imagine a lawn mower going through that yard, spewing acidic candy juice while orange, old-style Oompa Loompas run away, screaming. I must take a picture to post here, because it's unbelievable.

Also, I believe being on the HOA makes me "The Man", and i'm not sure how I feel about that, except that I know for sure that *I* won't be receiving a letter, which feels really, really good.

6. Of bears, beets, and Battlestar Gallactica, I like only bears and BSG. Beets are one of those foods I wish I liked, in the same band with avocado and tuna, but I just can't do it. We don't got the beets.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

strategery pwned

We acquired a new vehicle in December, and a survey company called Strategic Vision Inc. sends us a survey every month requesting our invaluable input. Normally, I like surveys. I like to express my opinion. You know, hence the blog.

But this survey is... dastardly. Imbecilic. Ridiculous. It's 8 pages of tiny type, asking me to rate things like "appearance of taillights" and "quality of steering column" on a scale of Delightful to Failure. Hundreds and hundreds of items, and I must rack my brain to decide if they are Delightful or Excellent or worse. Seriously, is anyone really "delighted" about their speedometer?

Each time they send it, I think, "Yes, I must fill out this survey so they won't send more," and each time, I get to page 2, crumple it up, and mentally label the feeling of throwing it in the trash "Delightful".

So this time, the 4th time, I wrote the following on an index card that I plan to put in their "free postage" envelope:

I am pregnant with a toddler and do not have several hours to tell you that I find the steering column on my new vehicle "Delightful". If you seriously want this much feedback, try offering a monetary incentive other than nebulous charitable contributions. I will tell you that I like everything about my vehicle except the pushy sales process and the razor wire under the back seat that nearly sliced my finger to the bone last night, causing me to bleed all over the floor mats. I am amazed that anyone EVER takes the time to answer this many frivolous questions.

It's anonymous, of course, but I feel i'm sharing my "strategic vision" with them. Life is too short to spend this much time providing free opinions. If your survey is more than 2 pages or uses the word "Delightful" more than 50 times, you owe me. I take cash, checks, Paypal, and those free Little People DVDs that come with the toy playsets.

Monday, June 23, 2008

why fevers are dangerous

As Cleo and I play dueling fevers to battle some sort of demonic summer virus, I am reminded that fevers can be dangerous. Not because they boil the brain or keep parents up all night freaking out... because they can make you have a mini-hallucination that you are Jean Teasdale writing about your amazing new idea for a musical to replace CATS on Broadway.

Is there anything scarier than that?

So here's my pitch, intrepid readers...

Now that CATS has left Broadway, where are visitors to The Big Apple to find inspiring, magical, song-and-dance filled theater involving hoards of talented actors in clingy cat costumes? At Slinkronicity! It's the new Broadway show based entirely on the repertoire of America's favorite tantric songster, Sting!

It's the romantic and unique story of two star-crossed feline lovers, Slink and Miss Tiddlebones. Miss Tiddlebones is a pampered Abyssinian show cat, while Slink is a fun-loving scoundrel of an alley cat. They meet one evening when the foolish maid accidentally locks Miss T out on the stoop, and Slink saves her from a quarrelsome pug. She is haughty and finds him low-brow, but they soon fall in love and share an amorous evening on the town! He must then convince his street-wise friends to help him spring Miss T out of her plushy life and into the colorful life of the hobo cat. I am sure there has never been a story like this before!!

Songs include:
Don't Stand So Close to Me (when Miss T first meets Slink and his filthy pals)
Stripes of Gold (during their amorous evening in the sewers)
Every Little Thing She Does is Meow-gic (as Slink sings her praises to his friends)
Every Fish You Take (when Miss T disapproves of Slink's methods at the Fish Market)
Fortress Around Your Cat (when the alley cats are trying to rescue Miss T)

And so much more!

I'm sure it's going to be a huge hit, Jean.

Can I have my Tylenol now, PLEASE???

Sunday, June 22, 2008

haiku 3

object of passion
I seek but never find you
...o, my udon soup!

Pregnancy cravings are the roughness.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

just say no to wampas

In case you don't know this about me, I have never done recreational drugs. Outside of alcohol and one crazy night of absinthe, my biggest drug experience was the valium-nitrous-percocet combo of my wisdom tooth extraction. What a long, strange trip that was! Hoo, boy, you haven't tasted grandma's chicken and dumplins while watching Clueless until you've done it with bloody-gauze-stuffed cheeks on percocet!

My point is this-- it doesn't take much to make me wacky. I'm a cheap drunk. The half a Unisom I take every night to cancel out my pregnancy-caused insomnia totally knocks me out within 30 minutes. So when we each had a whole Unisom last night at 9pm and put in Empire Strikes Back, we knew we were in for a rollicking good time. It went something like this, at least according to my slightly biased memory:

Him: So, we're watching Empire, because you're never seen the whole thing.
Me: Are you serious? Seriously? I've seen that movie 1000 times. It's Krull i've never seen the whole thing. Or Pirahna, I guess. One of them. Something about fire...
Him: Whatever. We're watching Empire. Put down your magazine.... OOOOOH! IS THAT ANNE HATHAWAY! HUBBA HUBBA!
Me: GIMME BACK MY SELF! I never get to read it before Cleo rips it up or you drool on it!
Him: Whatever. Where are you going?
Me: I have to brush my teeth and my hair, and wash my face, and something else... ablutions, dude.
Him: (reading my Self magazine) Okay, but hurry up. We've got to... watch... huh. Hey, this chick has no a$$! Why is she in the magazine if she doesn't have an a$$? Creepy. There's like nothing there. (in Austin Powers voice) It's a man, baby!
Me: Okay, i'm ready. Are we watching Empire?
Him: Yeah, just let me finish this page.
(movie starts)
Me: HOTH!!!
Him: Yeah. It's cold. "The Ice Planet Hoth."
Me: Tauntauns are cool. I totally want to ride a tauntaun.
Him: Yeah, I would totally ride a tauntaun. What?
Me: What?
Him: Huh?
Me: I said, "What?"
Him: Why?
Me: I dunno. SHHHHH. It's the WAMPA.
Him: They totally redid this in 1999 or something. You used to just see the arm, and it was all scary.
Me: Yeah, now it's like a blond Ludo from Legend. Or Labyrinth. Something. LUDO SMELL!
Him: It used to be the... the mystery... like, you didn't know.... anticipation.
Me: Now it's another stupid muppet. But the tauntaun looks good still!
Both: AND I THOUGHT THESE THINGS SMELLED BAD... ON THE OUTSIDE!!! HA HA HA!!
Him: You don't see scenes like this anymore. Suggestion. Now it's all lasers and BYOO BYOO BOO KABOOM! But this is... like... subtle. What they don't say. Somebody else directed it. The guy who taught George Lucas at film school.
Me: (not listening at all) Huh? Wait, why is Luke running around in the snow? That's just stupid.
Him: He panicked. He was about to be eaten! He had to get out!
Me: I guess. But, like, stay in the cave. Eat the wampa. Hang out. Now he's just floundering in a blizzard. How does this whiny nozzle make it all the way to Grand Jedi Poobah in the Legends of the Force book series?
Him: You've never been there! You don't know what it's like on Hoth!
Me: I know enough to not lay around dying in the snow. At least, like, dig a little pit and make a pocket and get warm or something. Like a... like a walrus. Luke's an idiot.
Him: (not listening at all) Huh? Oh, that's funny. They think they can make C3PO shut up by putting a hand over his mouth. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, HAN!
Me: Hey, Han's pretty cute.
Him: Yeah. Wait, what? It's good acting, man.
(everyone falls asleep to the sounds of laser fire)

In conclusion, wampas and Unisom are the perfect nighttime combination for a pair of happily married nerds like us.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

2 entirely unrelated items

1. I'm starving, but nothing sounds good. How on earth can a pregnant person not want anything to eat while their stomach howls in protest like a flea-bitten Wookiee?

2. I like the term "social disease". I now add it to my list of "unpleasant terms that I enjoy, regardless of their definition. Our world is so full of acronyms-- STD, HIV, AIDS, HPV. It's refreshing to hear that good, old-fashioned, "make everything sound hunky dory for the Beave" term for the crotch rot. Makes is sound less like "end of my sex life" and more like "had too many margaritas at the Jones' block party and lost my keys again".

Not that I have, or have ever had, a social disease. I just crack up every time Quagmire says it on Family Guy.

"Social disease", meet botulism, perambulator, scrofula, and infarction. You're in good company.

be the middle bear

A public service announcement: going 10 miles below the speed limit is 10 times more dangerous than going 10 miles over the speed limit.

If you can't go the speed limit, maybe you shouldn't be on the road. I know it would be great if everybody slowed down, started recycling, and sang "We Are the World", but it's just not going to happen. The vast majority of drivers want to go at the very least the posted speed, if not 5 to 10 mph more. And when you get in their way, they get really annoyed and dangerous.

I was behind a "20 in a 30 where most people go 45" person today, and I was not only enormously frustrated at going so o o o slo o o owly while having to pee so o o badly, but also scared to death of the maniacs nearly driving up my tailpipe and punishing me for the sins of Granny Grunt and the Amazing Snailmobile.

So, please, folks. Don't dawdle like Baby Bear. Don't play Nascar Papa Bear. Just be reasonable Mama Bear, a happy compromise. Me, my anxiety, and my bladder will thank you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

zombies: it's complicated

I was vastly enjoying my friend's stash of People magazines today while her amazingly beguiling 8 month old was taking a nap, and I was struck by how messed up celebrities are, and how much they infiltrate and influence the everyday populace.

You read these magazines, and you start to get into their mindset. Good = skeletal, blond, fully made up, expensively and scantily dressed. Bad = over size 2, undone hair, no make-up, jeans and a t-shirt. Which, to be quite honest, describes me and lots of my friends on the average day. We're freakin' moms, and we don't have 4 hours and $400 a day to dedicate to looking good! And yet strangers casually judge us based on these unattainable beauty and exercise ideals.

It's a load of manure, in my opinion.

Whatever happened to the concept of a help meet? Of being self-sufficient, frugal, thoughtful, creative? Think of Laura Ingalls' Ma on the prairie-- was there ANYTHING she couldn't do? Can Denise Richards do half of the things we do, or can she just look thin and beautiful while whining about Charlie Sheen and blinding people with her enormous, ultraviolet teeth?

How much is she going to be worth when the zombie apocalypse occurs?

I think i'm going to be a hot commodity when society breaks down. Here are some of the many things I can do that your average Hollywood starlet couldn't accomplish with two trainers, a manual, and a dictionary:

- I can card, spin, knit, and weave. I can make fabric and garments! Like, from nothing! From sheep, or bunnies, or cats, or cotton, or linen. And I can make my own patterns and sew, although I suppose i'll need a treadle machine when electricity runs out and my hand Kenmore becomes a rather large doorstop.

- I can dig holes, start fires, cut down trees, build things. Whether you want to bury something, eat something, or make a shelter, I can help. And not complain about the dirt under my nails, neither.

- I can pick up snakes, catch and clean fish, shoot a compound bow, and cook mostly anything. Although i'm not allowed to pick up snakes while pregnant. Craig's orders.

Society as a whole seems to forget that while outward signs of attraction are supposedly great at attracting mates, your life is going to be much richer if you choose someone who also has interests and skills besides matching yellow shoes to blue dresses and making out with Benicio del Toro in elevators. Then we get heinous carwrecks like Paris Hilton who are famous simply for... being famous... and we start to realize that it pays to look deeper. I would argue that Denise Richards isn't at all complicated-- she's just an idiot who messes up every single aspect of her life and expects money and fame for allowing us to watch her fail pathetically.

I suppose my point is this: I'm sitting here right now in paint-stained pajama pants with stubble on my legs and old, crooked glasses and pregnancy acne and my white-streaked hair up in a bun, and I could definitely be the highlight of Cosmo's "DON'T" page. But today I helped a friend, painted a painting, sewed a kickass item of clothing from scratch, fed my family, taught my child, and did 3 crossword puzzles.

What did Denise Richards do today that was special or different or helpful? NOTHING.

And when the zombies come... she'll be reprising her role in "Drop Dead Gorgeous", except it'll be zombies instead of Kirstie Alley that do her in.

Well, maybe not. Kirstie might be hungry, too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

rotten tomatoes

I want to send some special, salmonella-laced rotten tomatoes to the following people:

1. The fat old guy in the giant SUV who cut me off turning into the closest parking space at the gym today. I know he can't possibly know that i'm 4 months pregnant and carrying a toddler and a huge gym bag in 90-something degree weather.... but seriously, dude. You're going to the GYM, presumably to work off 100 or so calories of that Ruby Tuesday's slider platter you scarfed for lunch. Would walking 50 feet be so difficult?

I later saw him reading the paper while pedal-waddling at approximately .2 mph on the reclined bike, so i'm guessing that actually walking across the parking lot *was* his workout.

2. Publix, especially the dead-eyed cashier who asked me, "Did you find everything you needed today?" Because when I told her, "No, actually," and described the two items for which i'll have to trek to Kroger tomorrow (Gimme Lean sausage and mini pizzas), she just chewed her gum cud and said, "Huh, I thought we had that." I said, "Are you going to write it down or anything? Like, so you guys could carry them?" And she said, "No, we're just supposed to ask that."

Wow, super customer service, there, guys. Thanks for asking!

3. My big ol' clutsy brain, which can kick the crap out of crossword puzzles from Abe Vigoda to zithers but can't remember to hold something over the archaic blender so that I don't cover my favorite white maternity shirt with chocolate syrup and flax oil blender barf.

Seriously, pregnancy eats 20 IQ points and leaves me a slavering idiot.

4. Anyone in a vehicle 8 times larger than they routinely need. If you do not have 7 children, 2 horses, a lawn care business, or an elephant grooming service, do you honestly need a 9-seater SUV that gets 3 miles to the gallon and won't fit into the parking spaces at Target, much less the 2-lane road I have to drive every day? I am constantly finding myself playing Frogger with these coffee-swilling, cell-phone-attached pscyhos who have forgotten the function of the little blinker wand on their oversized steering wheel.

And that's why I sold my 8-year-old Civic and got a RAV-4 (which gets 20 miles to the gallon, before you point fingers)-- I felt like a mouse among well-groomed, stampeding elephants.

5. McDonalds, for dropping the McRib and Arch Deluxe.

No, just kidding. That's disgusting. Totally gross.

6. Anyone who parks in a parking space that is not meant for them. Able-bodied folk who park in handicapped spaces. 70-year old women who park in "expectant mother" parking, because something tells me you're not packing watermelons. Teenagers who park in "families with small children" parking. Anyone who parks in the fire zone to "just run in for one thing".

Or, in a similar case, the single man who came out of the "family" restroom at Ikea leaving a brown fug hanging in the air that could signal only the evil combination of Guiness, liver and onions, and dysentery. I totally loved nursing my daughter in there, once I found a gas mask.

So, behold my wrath. It's been "a day", one of those days when nothing goes particularly wrong, but nothing goes particularly right, either. I have spilled things, tripped on things, been poked in the huge bruise on my back 73 times, and will probably manage to hit the mysterious key on my laptop that erases everything on the screen right before I post this.

Right.... about...... NOW.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

the real meaning of Father's Day

You know you are a father when your wife spends two hours typing up a gut-busting, hilarious-but-true blog entry about how you're a great dad.

And then your 22 month old daughter erases the whole thing while gaily singing, "I don't touch computer! I don't touch computer!"

Welcome to fatherhood, sweet husband. You're a wonderful daddy, and we both love you so much.

And, yeah, just pretend it was funny. Because it totally was.

Friday, June 13, 2008

blind spots

I realized today that I am very, very fortunate to have my horrible, horrible eyes. I never think about how difficult it would be to be blind. Not only would my art suffer, but the hardest part would be navigating the world independently without stepping in gum or dog poo, not to mention not being able to drive. Or read ingredients. Or knowing if jeans make your butt look big.

There are two sightings (oh, the irony!) in my life that further drive home the difficulty of blindness.

1. The small braille sign I remember seeing on the fire door of a Shoney's when I was about 9. Basically, if you're blind, and you're in Shoney's, and there's a fire, not only are you at a great disadvantage due to the sighted people stampeding away from the buffet and towards the doors and ignoring you, but then you have to feel around the room, hopefully avoiding fire, until you find the 3 inch braille sign on the fire door that I assume says, "You are lucky as hell. This is the fire door. If you still have fingertips, press here to go outside."

2. The small braille sign I saw today on the feminine hygiene product trash receptacle at the Monkey Joe's playspace. I'm just imagining being blind, having to deal with your period, not being able to see any stains or leaks on your clothing, and *then* having to feel around the filthy public restroom for the "hygienic" dispenser. Then, when you find it, you have to touch it all over to find the braille sign to figure out how to open the space-age hermetically sealed pod, then read the braille that says, "Throw your pads and tampons in here. Step around to find the foot pedal. Hopefully your hands aren't covered with someone else's crusty blood or some sort of STD from feeling all around the toilet. Good luck finding the soap dispenser, as it has no helpful braille sign."

So, there you have it. Whether you are one of those jerks with perfect eyes, someone like me who can legally drive without glasses/contacts but most definitely should not, or someone with such bad eyes that moles gather to point and laugh through their star-shaped noses, just be thankful you're not blind and covered in bloodstains and gonorrhea while fighting to find the fire door at a breakfast buffet.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

what's next, thong diapers?

I know that walking past Limited Too can give me a coronary, but I'm just not ready to see toddlers in high heeled sandals. I mean, don't their little calves ache from wearing 2 inch wedge heels? Are they pretending to be The Wiggles' backup singers, or is it more a "dog groomer on vacation" look?

Make believe has come a long way since I was a kid, when we sat in Dorothy's crawlspace and made lists of pretend students who would one day populate our "school", except that playing school wasn't nearly as much fun as making up stupid names and calling roll. And dress-up apparently doesn't include wearing your mom's old cheerleading outfits and ballet leotards with mysteriously ripped crotches.

Maybe i'm just getting old, but I saw a child today who appeared to be 4 to 5 years old wearing better makeup than I can apply on my own, sporting some of that creepy Jessica Simpson fake hair, and teetering in heels higher than I would dare to wear. And her nose didn't even hit the elastic waistband on my maternity capris. I don't think there was a pageant in town, but I suppose the older man holding her hand could have been a "handler" or "trainer" instead of a dad who was not aware that his preschooler looked like a whore.

I don't know who i'm more scared for-- her or me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I stink, and you should, too.

I'm not a very indulgent person.

Okay, that's a lie. A big lie.

I'm indulgent, but i'm extremely frugal. I'm so frugal that it should really be spelled froooooogal when discussing me. I get annoyed if I have to pay full price for anything, especially clothes or books. I love to buy handmade, I love to barter, and I love a good children's consignment sale with the rapture that most women reserve for diamonds and Godiva chocolate.

But my only vice, if it's even naughty enough to call it a vice, is the realm of bath and beauty. I love to go to a website and read ingredients and venture through scent categories and select things and put them in my virtual basket or cart, where they weigh practically nothing. And then I get to use fake money, ie. Paypal, to purchase the yummies, and then I get to wait for mail. I freaking love mail. Mail is like the lottery for me-- there could possibly be something good in there!!! And when there is good mail, especially a package, I am intoxicated with excitement and bliss.

Seriously. I'm that pathetic.

Which is why I smell today. My mom gave me a $25 Visa gift card, and I spent a long time selecting juuuust the right e-tailer to maximize availability and turn-around-time and price, and then choosing what to buy, and then choosing the scents. And today, when my package arrived much earlier and larger than anticipated, I knew that I had chosen wisely.

So go to Julphia Soapworks. THIS STUFF IS AWESOME. The scent list is exhaustive, the ingredients are quality, the customer service is unbelievable. She offers soaps, lotions, body butters, scrubs, hair products, perfumes, lip balms, silly soap for kids, facial masks, and so much more. I have "e-fired" so many favorite e-tailers because of poor customer service or a sharp drop in the quality of products from one order to the next. MMU and Lush, i'm looking at you! But I am completely floored by Megan's products and kindness! She sent me so many free samples that it took a box to hold it all! And she sent a little bag of toys for Cleo! And she sent all scents personally and thoughtfully chosen for me, because I told her I was pregnant and in need of self-pampering and craving things that smelled green and sweet.

Truth be told, I just want to smell like my Chlorox Green Works toilet cleaner. But that's not very safe, is it?

So tonight I used Green Lemonade sugar scrub (which is tremendously pretty and has the perfect texture and a lovely lather and smells like chartreuse awesomeness), and then slathered myself in Lime Wasabi body lotion (which just sunk in and made me all soft and sophisticatedly yummy), and then sprayed myself with Thai Martini perfume oil (which is somehow both warm and green at the same time), and then was treated to a delicious dinner by some very dear and thoughtful friends. I felt like a big, lush, soft, happy, serene ball of lime happiness. I can still get whiffs of limey coconut off my arms, and I could very nearly asphyxiate trying to smell myself. I will definitely be going back for more. More lime crack.

So thank you, Megan at Julphia Soapworks. You have made a simple machine very happy. I encourage anyone who needs some pampering and gets joy from making selections to go to her website and spend a few hours just choosing.

And then you get mail!


MAIL!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

what's that smell?


It smells like... moose butt.

Do you smell moose butt? And why is my upper lip all sweaty?

This picture was taken a long time ago, before Cleo turned 1, but it still cracks me up. I checked on Cleo last night, and she was indulging in some bunny butt, spread-eagled with her face shoved into a stuffed rabbit's nether region. Which reminded me of moose butt.

Everyone should start their day with a little moose butt.

Monday, June 9, 2008

what women want

I was enjoying a chai latte and a book at The Coffee Park today while Cleo had a ball wearing a cowboy hat and alternately pushing a stroller and riding a bouncy horse, and I found myself watching people. I've always loved being the flaneur, surreptitiously eyeballing folks as they come and go, pretending i'm mentally narrating a sort of Wild Kingdom for humans.

And I admit that i'm baffled a lot of the time, mostly by women. Men are relatively easy to understand-- they mainly exist to hunt, fight, and procreate. Or, in common terms: work, play sports or video games, and procreate. But women can be so hard to understand, even by another woman. Here are some things I don't understand:

1. Why women seek, collect, and covet brand name bags. Vera Bradley, Dooney & Burke, Coach... I just don't get it. It's a bag. The same bag everyone else has. It was made by a machine. Who are you trying to impress? Men don't care or notice. Only other women who also believe in the magical properties of these bags notice them. I once saw a girl in Target with an enormous leather bag splattered in the Coach logo, with which she was wearing cut off sweatpants; a baggy, stained t-shirt; dirty hair in a scrunchy; dirty feet in flip-flops; no makeup, no jewelry. The juxtaposition of "I care about my fancy bag" and "I don't care what I look like" was striking. I was not impressed.

2. Why women will order an indulgent meal or dessert, eat half of it, and then talk about how horrible and/or fat they are. If you are honestly concerned about your health or weight, don't order it. If you want to indulge and are aware of the consequences, enjoy the hell out of it. I expect it's a case of guilt and insecurity, that the mental stream of consciousness is something along the lines of, "Oh, that was good, but now i'm full, and they're all judging me, and i'm fat, and I feel bad about myself..." It's like Yoda says-- Do or do not; there is no try. Either eat it and love it or abstain and feel virtuous.

3. Why women make polite lies. Small talk with women is either a mine field or a puppet show. A trading of compliments, fake self-deprecation, and subtle insults. "I love your shoes!" "Thanks, I love your purse!" "Oh, this old thing? I need a new one." "Yeah, I just got my brand new purse-- it cost $300. Isn't it adorable?" Etc. Blech.

I sometimes enjoy messing up the game. Seriously, next time a woman gives you a vapid or insincere compliment, just cheerily say "Thanks!", and watch her stand there and blink like a parakeet, waiting for you to either put yourself down or return a compliment. It totally flusters them. Then slurp your drink loudly as you enjoy the long, uncomfortable pause.

4. Why women want to compare their children. There's a certain sort of woman who has outgrown comparing engagement rings and husbandly career, who doesn't feel the day is complete unless she's determined that her child is superior to yours, or, at the very least, that she has some amazing insight to share. "Oh, Alexis started walking at 3 months, and now she can count to 20 in Esperanto at 11 months. When did your daughter start walking? Oh, really? That late? Hmm. Well. I love your shoes!"

I run into these women at the park, and it's like being a stay-at-home-mom leaves a big emptiness in their life for the back-biting, high-heeling, my-office-is-bigger-than-you-office-ing they used to get working in advertising or banking. When I run into one, I am thankful that my child is so active that I can spend no more than 2 minutes sitting in one place.

Am I judgmental? Yes, definitely, but about different things than bags, social status, or a child's accomplishments. I prefer to judge people on honesty, humor, intelligence, and loyalty. I have never considered myself "normal", and most of the moms I hang with now used to be the drama kids, the computer geeks, the math nerds, the goths... you know, my peeps. We're still on the outside, and when I find myself in the wrong "crowd", it's like a flashback to high school-- I don't look the same, I don't act the same, I don't have the right status symbols, I feel them judging me for all the wrong reasons, and I just want to jump in my car and blast some Weezer while I peel out of the driveway.

And that's why i'm thankful for my friends. I'm thankful to know strong, smart, self-confident women who don't play games or tell pretty lies; women who like to laugh and eat and read and who aren't afraid to ask questions or share opinions.

If I have to be on the outside looking in, i'm glad it's with y'all, and i'm glad we're usually eating something chocolatey.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Cleo vs. NPH

VS.

What if Cleo had to go into a cage match with Neil Patrick Harris?

Let's see how they fare in three rounds.

Round 1: Intelligence
Neil Patrick Harris, as Doogie Howser, graduated from Princeton at age 10.
Cleo is 21 months old and can speak in complete sentences, including "I want more grapes, please, mommy," and "Jade is coming over to play at Cleo's house".
Winner: NPH

Round 2: Special Skills
Neil Patrick Harris, as Carl Jenkins in Starship Troopers, can exert mind control over ferrets. But he can't do people... yet.
Cleo can run in one rhinestone-bedazzled high heel and one flip flop as she pushes a cow and a boot around in her stroller, screams "RUN FAST!" and amazingly never splits her head open.
Winner: TIE

Round 3: Magical Animal Husbandry
Neil Patrick Harris, playing himself but crazier, can ride and commune with a magical unicorn in the Harold and Kumar movies.
Cleo can harness the power of the mighty leopard as she skillfully hunts a foolish giraffe.
Winner: Cleo

So there you have it, folks. It's a draw between NPH and Cleo. Of course, if he somehow finds my blog, he will probably challenge it, based on the fact that he is also in How I Met Your Mother, which I did not reference.

Maybe next time, Cleo can go up against Will Wheaton.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

don't worry, she's vaccinated. mostly.


I don't know what Daddy is going to say about Cleo's first french kiss, but I hope that dog doesn't have hepatitis.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I dream of scallops

All I can think about today are:

1. Smarties and lime popsicles, which I can't have, because i've already had too many, and my tongue feels like swiss cheese.


2. The beach.


I know lots of people feel like they were born in the wrong time-- they love the clothes, or the chivalry, or the marry-a-child-bride laws of an earlier era. But I often feel like I was born in the wrong place. I was meant to be somewhere beachy with lots of water, where temperatures over 80 degrees are accompanied by delicious breezes off the sea. And every time I get to the beach, I can't figure out why I ever leave, except that there aren't a lot of jobs for skin-cancer-experiencing industrial psychologists at the beach. And that beaches aren't the ideal place for energetic toddlers with a lack of caution who like to eat strange things.

Still, i'd rather have Craig, Cleo, and Baby Shmoo in our wonderful house in the hot, humid, far-from-the-beach life. Except for maybe one week a year, when I need to float around in some blue water and sigh wistfully.

Oh, and I learned yesterday where "scallops" come from. They are apparently a muscular bit of a wild migratory mollusk called, oddly enough, a "scallop". And they look like clams and have hundreds of blue eyes and make Evan uncomfortable when he has to kill and eat them after befriending them. They are also hermaphrodites and produce a lot of roe.

I don't like to eat them, even after befriending them, but i'm still glad to know what the hell they are, and that they do not, in fact, grow up wrapped in bacon with a toothpick.

Who knew?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

who was on first *first*?

Do you ever think about how, long ago, there was a "first" for everything? And that lots of these people must have been insane? Seriously. Consider...

...the first person to make coffee. "What if we take these little green beans, roast them until they're dry and brown, grind them up finely, then steep them in water until it turns dark, then strain out the granules and drink the dark brown goo that's left over? My, that's awfully strong. Needs something creamy. Why don't I go put my mouth on that cow's teat and see what happens..."

...the first person to eat an egg. "Wow, that bird just pooped a big, white, crap-splattered ball. Wonder what's in there? Shake-shake-shake. Sounds like water. Maybe i'll pop it open. Oooooh, a little white fetus and some yellow stuff. That looks really tasty!"

...the first person to make sushi. "Well, i've got some pieces of crab leg, some fish eggs, some pieces of avocado, some stinky black seaweed, some amazingly hot green play-doh, and lots of sticky white rice. What on earth am I going to do with all this nasty crap? Maybe if I rolled it all into a little ball, I could gulp it down faster and not taste it..."

...the first person to drink alcohol. "Huh, those monkeys are acting weird, like they're sleepy or sick or randy... or all at once. They're falling all over each other, eating this rancid, rotten, smelly fruit that's on the ground covered in wasps. That looks like a lot of fun, eating rotten food in a swarm of bugs, having a sticky monkey orgy, and then vomiting. I've totally got to get some of that rancid fruit!"

I'm sure none of these events occurred in this manner. I'm sure there were lots of little steps, little "a-ha" moments, that lead to the end result. I mean, natives probably watched animals eat coffee beans, tried them, chewed them for energy, then dried them for travel, then steeped them to make a beverage, then invented hazelnut-flavored Mini-Moos and red plastic stirrers. And when you think about the first person to mix lard and ashes to make soap, you really have to wonder what was going on.

Sometimes I mourn for times of invention, periods in history when ingenious and curious people made amazing discoveries from planting seeds to knitting. We think of our ancestors and picture hairy barbarians eating raw meat, but there was some sort of concrete light bulb, some flash of genius, and we have fire, or animal husbandry, or brassieres, things we simply couldn't live without.

Kinda makes the newest plasma TV or sugar substitute a bit anticlimactic by comparison, doesn't it? The biggest inventions we get nowadays, outside of the amazing strides being reached in medicine, have to do with new ways to slice vegetables or work out in 4 minutes, and you only learn about them if you watch late night TV. We're supposed to be the smartest, tallest, healthiest human beings in history, the apex of our species, but the biggest "moments of genius" most of us have regard ways to re-organize our bathroom or finally figuring out what the mysterious 4th light switch in the den does while global warming overtakes the planet and our cars continue to belch toxins.

I'm not saying we should start eating mysterious things that come out of animals' butts or boiling new and interesting kinds of beans... i'm just saying that we should spend a little more time thinking and a little less time shopping on www.amazon.com.

Rant over.

Monday, June 2, 2008

...and it begins

I had my first pregnancy-bizarre dream about the new baby-to-be yesterday.

Thanks to the good graces of my recently miraculously healed husband, on Sunday I was able to take a delightful 9am nap on my favorite couch on a cool, rainy morning under a lovely ceiling fan and snuggling a soft, pony-spotted blanket. And here is what I dreamed.

There was a fluttering noise, and Cleo alerted me to a bird loose in our house. I went to catch it and let it outside, but it flew into my hair and got tangled. When I pulled it loose, it was a white hummingbird, but when I opened my hands, it was a baby parakeet. While I was holding the baby parakeet, which looked just like my parakeet of 1990 - 1999, Binky, I felt the baby kick for the first time, and Cleo looked up at me and smiled.

Now, I don't know if the baby actually kicked, or if I just imagined it, but it was just like when Cleo used to kick. Very cool.

When I woke up, I discovered a dragonfly caught in the blinds, hence the fluttering noise, and a very loud mockingbird outside the open window, hence the bird noises.

Still, a pretty cool dream.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

at the Cleo Cabana

Her name was Cleo, she was a toddler
With her belly proudly bare and a wet diaper down to there
She would stomp and splash around
And when her splash wasn't up to par, she tended the sand bar
Across the cold, wet deck she made Sandopolis a wreck
She and daddy played together
Who could ask for more?

At the Cleo (CO!), Cleo Cabana
The most tropical thing next to a banana
At the Cleo (CO!), Cleo Cabana
Singing and splashin' were always the fashion
At the Cleo....they made a mess!


So, Daddy, aren't we supposed to keep the sand on one side and the water on the other side?

No, honey. They're definitely supposed to mix. And throw some sand in the pool, too. Here is more sand to build up the wild country of Sandopolis. Sandpoppalopolis. Ruled by Queen Sandpoppalopolis. I think she's Greek or something. They will overtake the indigent merpeople of Watertopia...


Cleo told me it was a topless beach, but I didn't believe her.



Look, you said you wanted your martini dirty. It's really freakin' *dirty*!


Fine, you don't believe me? I'll remix it. You wanted it put through the water wheel and shaken, not stirred, right?



Daddy, I clearly told you, water on this side. Sand on that side. That's why there's a partition. It doesn't take a PhD in molecular science to get the concept.



Why, yes, Ms. Tricklebunny, I will have some more Fish Tea. And might I add what a charming dress you're wearing. Did you get that from Gody's Lady's Book? Two lumps, please, and one of those lovely cakes.

In conclusion, a fabulous time was had by all.