Monday, September 29, 2008

why my husband rocks

Remember that little rant about "Goodnight, Moon"? About how it was creepy, ugly, and nonsensical?

Craig heard me. So he brought Cleo a present, the most wonderful children's book i've seen in a while. It's by Michael Rex and is called "Goodnight, Goon: A Petrifying Parody". See why I love this man??
"Goodnight, Goon" follows the same formula as its hideous inspiration, but it's much more attractive, interesting, and humorous. Instead of mittens, mush, and creepy old ladies, we say goodnight to claws, goo, and a hairy old werewolf. Instead of all the bother with nowhere and noises and amorphic concepts beyond the grasp of a child, we simply order the goon back under the bed and say goodnight to monsters. And i'm pleased by the way that the goon drinks down the goo so that it doesn't just sit there congealing all night. So tidy. Isn't that better?

I'm not sure how a juvenile wolfman sleeping in a slimy dungeon tomb full of creepy crawlies is somehow more warm and friendly than a baby bunny going to sleep in his room, but somehow, it just is.

Move over, "Goodnight, Moon". You have been replaced!



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

terror and soup

1. I'm terrified of the current various crises facing our country economically and politically. We all know that there are only 2 real contestants in this race, and we're again stuck with choosing the lesser of the evils. There's no good answer. If there were actually a weevil running for president, I would consider it.

2. I'm terrified of the two ways that this baby is going to come out of me, because, honestly, either one is going to HURT. So, quite similar to the presidential election, really.

3. I'm terrified of Atlanta drivers, who are currently blocking 6 lanes of traffic to wait in line for gas at the only open station within 5 square miles of my house. These people are no longer reasonable. And I assume that the homicidal maniac who passed me IN THE TURN LANE OF THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ZONE was just trying to beat me to the next gas station.

4. I really liked the Indian Cabbage soup I had today at lunch. Oh, that was so good.

In conclusion, we are headed towards that fabled zombiepocalypse, but I know where to get good soup.

Monday, September 22, 2008

my ChristinEmile day

I don't think i've ever done a blog post about the things i've accomplished in a day... mainly because I don't feel particularly proud of my meager daily triumphs while pregnant and parenting a toddler. A suddenly and frustratingly defiant toddler. I mean, if I can manage to feed us and find all the shoes and undies the family needs, I feel like i've taken care of business.

Which is why i'm so proud of today. Here's what I got done, combining the spirit of my talented friends Christine and Emile, who both seem to accomplish in a day so much more than I do in a month:

- made my husband's lunch
- fed my child, bathed her, and got her ready for school
- painted 6 small studies
- washed my hair, using both shampoo *and* conditioner
- cleaned the kitchen, including filling dishwasher, washing, emptying, refilling
- threw all the nasty things out of the fridge
- swept the kitchen floor
- picked Cleo up from school and visited my mom
- kept the den tidy
- shopped for groceries and actually remembered paper towels
- baked a pumpkin cake with homemade buttercream frosting
- baked a turkey ziti with fresh zucchini
- put up all the laundry
- tidied upstairs bed and bath
- bought a new comforter on sale at Target for the baby's room
- tidied Cleo's room
- cried while watching Ice Age with my child and had to explain myself
- searched in vain online for cream or blue flannel crib sheets payable with Paypal
- attempted to bridge the argument gap with my father (regarding the stupid runaway cat his coworker foisted on me with cruel lies) by offering to bring Cleo by his work tomorrow for a visit
- called my grandmother to see if she was feeling any better
- managed to blog twice

How's that for a day? Suck it, Martha Stewart!





how to tell you're getting old

Childhood
Me: OOOOOOH, the new My Little Ponies are out! Mommy, I want the blue one!
Stupid whiney friend: Nooo, I want the blue one!

Teenagerhood
Me: OOOOOOH, the new Cure album is out! I've got to get that!
Cool friend: Bitchin'! Maybe they'll go on tour! Let's go to Waffle House.

Adulthood
Me: OOOOOOH, the new Harry Potter movie is out!
Fiance: Yeah, we should totally go see that, then go to a bar!

Oldsterville
Me: OOOOOOH, Simply Orange now makes OJ with MANGO! We've got to try that!
Husband: Why, yes, that does sound delicious! Let's give that a try!

Yup. I'm officially old. It's even on my grocery list. Sigh.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

where the boats say YARRR!

When Craig told me his company's annual picnic would be at Six Flags, my first thought was, "Oh, fabulous. There's nothing more fun for a pendulously pregnant lady than to take a frachetty toddler to the redneck capital of the world and watch a bunch of punks enjoy roller coasters that she can't ride while she lumbers around in the heat until her bajingo falls off."

And guess what? I was totally right!


There is seriously *nothing* more fun. I had more fun as an unrideable parent than I ever have as a ride-loving kid/teen/adult. Watching Cleo gawk at people, laugh at roller coasters, and bounce up and down for joy every time she saw a choo-choo train was absolutely wonderful. Seeing her fly through the air with her arms up like the big kids nearly choked me up.

Daddy and Cleo rode the Kiddie Convoy, the flying boats, the carousel, the flying balloons, and the Thomas train. Pretty much anything that went slowly in a big circle and didn't make Daddy barf. Mommy
was allowed to ride the creepy, boring boat part of the carousel that is held up by nekkid baby angels, and it was a rip-roaring good time. And we all sagged along on the big train that carries tired people back to the front entrance.

I've been going to Six Flags since I was tiny, and my trips have been colored by my father's agoraphobia, my youthful fears, and my young a
dult eye-rolling at everyone not nearly as cool as me. I've spent hours in hot, smoky lines waiting to ride roller coasters that made my back and jiggly bits ache for days. I've gotten splashed and walked around all day in skin-tight jean shorts that nearly caused thigh fire. I've ridden the Ninja 5 times in a row until I couldn't uncross my eyes and thought i'd seen God. And i've never had nearly as much fun as I did today.

I never wanted to be a "Mommy Mom", living only to be a parent and self-identifying only through my children. But I must admit that seeing the world through my child's eyes makes me a better, more thoughtful, more positive person. Today, I didn't see the high prices and stupid cartoon characters and gang members-- I just saw this:


Now I see the point of it all. Now I understand why adults participate in magic shows and shell out $500 for Breakfast with Mickey and generally make fools of themselves-- because seeing your child smile ecstatically and hearing them talk about their day for two weeks makes two minutes of any sort of insanity endurable.

We called my grandmother this afternoon to tell her about our day. She asked Cleo on the phone what she did, and Cleo's approximate answer was, "I go ride a choo-choo, and a carousel, and a baboon, and a tram, and on a boat said YARRR!" If today becomes part of her permanent memory, it was worth any price.

Actually, it was free, so that's even better. That crazy old dancing man was right-- Six Flags rules.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I get by...

...with a little help.

From my stalwart mate, who skipped out on choking people insensible to play "Customer Service Returns Desk" with my napless monster of a toddler so I could go out with the girls.

From my friend Christine, who picked up my sorry torch of "I think i'm going to make some punkass pumpkin cupcakes with Pillsbury cake mix" when I dropped it due to hormonal preggo crying jags and managed to whip up some amazing homemade-from-scratch pumpkin cupcakes in 2 hours. And then gave me the leftovers.

From my group of friends, who totally cracked me up over dinner. Repeatedly. Whether we're outraged by women who think having a c-section at 39 weeks is the natural way of things or we're trying to catch overcooked shrimp in our cleavages, it's good to get out and be ourselves.

From Wasabi, the hibachi chef who set his hat on fire while making some really delicious food.

From My Chemical Romance, who rocked my drive home from dinner with the volume at 34. We certainly don't listen to kids' music in my car, but it's really nice to shake the bass every now and then when i'm alone. I like to kick it old school, yo. And Cleo really prefers Red Hot Chili Peppers with the volume at 8. I tried some Deathcab the other day, and she covered her ears and said, "I REALLY DON'T LIKE THAT RADIO!"

From Etsy, where I got 10 random hearts overnight. Did I hit the front page or something? w00t!

From autumn, which might actually occur before December. I had goosebumps standing outside tonight after dinner. It was awesome.

So, yeah. Help is good. Sometimes we all need it. Today was one of those days.

Tomorrow will be better.

Because I have 4 pumpkin cupcakes for breakfast.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

PSA: I'm an idiot, not a zombie

Did I tell you I had pinkeye?

Oops. My bad.

Turns out, i'm not the catalyst of the zombie apocalypse. I just forgot that I have allergies. It went something like this:

All day Friday
Me: THERE'S SOMETHING IN MY EYE! GAH!
Craig: No, there isn't.
Me: GAHHHH!

All day Monday
Me: THERE'S SOMETHING IN MY EYE! I'm just going to squint like a pirate all day and wear my librarian schoolmarm glasses and drive without binocular vision. Omigod, my eye is so nasty red! YARRRR!
Christine: You look like a librarian schoolmarm!
Me: Shut up! But, yeah, I know.

Tuesday morning:
Me: AAAAAH! MY EYE IS GLUED SHUT! WITH CRUST! I HAVE PINKEYE! I AM GOING TO BE A ZOMBIE! I NEED AN OLD PRIEST AND A YOUNG PRIEST! GAH! I NEED TO SEE TEH DOCTOR!
Midwife: Yes, please see a doctor.
Me: But I don't like my doctor. I like you!
Midwife: Yeah, but the area in which I specialize is a good bit lower down. See a doctor.

Tuesday afternoon:
Doctor: You don't have pinkeye. If you had pinkeye, your eye would be pink, the eyelid would be pink, even the skin around the eye would be pink. Just a whole pink area around the eye, really.
Me: My eye was pink yesterday!
Doctor: Yeah, it's not today though. Does it itch?
Me: Now that you've made me think about it, yes. It itches now. Is it pinkeye? AM I A ZOMBIE??
Doctor: No. Let me look in your ears, nose, and throat.
(Doctor sticks various pokey things in me while Cleo laughs.)
Doctor: You have fluid bubbles in your nose and ear and mucus in your throat.
Me: YOU MEAN I'M INFECTED???
Doctor: No, I mean you have allergies. I can even hear it in your voice. Um... so... were you aware that you suffer from allergies?
Me: Er... um... well... only for the previous 30 years or so. But before that, I was fine.
Doctor: Okay, so it looks like allergies.
Me: But allergies have never made me wake up with my eye crusted shut before.
Doctor: Have you ever been pregnant in September in Georgia during Global Warming before?
Me: Eh... no...
Doctor: Get some eyedrops and take some Benadryl tonight.
Me: Oh, no, I take Unisom at night!
Doctor: Oh, well, no wonder you can sleep. Unisom is also a powerful antihistamine.
Me: YEAH! UNISOM ROCKS! I AM TOTALLY BUYING STOCK IN UNISOM!
Doctor: Okay, good, then. Give us a call if you forget you have allergies again...

So there you have it. I'm not contagious, i'm just forgetful. And I am going to go take Unisom now. Doctor's orders!


Sunday, September 14, 2008

movie review: In the Name of the Return of the Transporter King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

First of all, I openly admit to liking some horrible movies.

Craig and I are probably the only people who liked Queen of the Damned enough to see it 6 times in the theater, *including* in Cancun, in Spanish, on our honeymoon. And i'm sure we're the only ones who threw a Party of the Damned to force all our decidedly un-gothy friends to dress in faux goth and watch it while eating my Taco Dip of the Damned. I could name all the other horrible movies I love, but I think that one object lesson should cover it. Queen of the Damned, people!

So you'll understand when I tell you that we really enjoyed In the Name of the King. We laughed so hard that we had tear tracks coming out of our eyes. And, no, it's not meant to be a comedy. Let's go over some highlights, shall we?

Jason Statham is "Farmer". And guess what? He's a farmer. He teaches his kid how to pull huge, mutant turnips out of the ground. We meet his confusingly hot peasant wife and his friends, one of whom is Harry and the Hellboy Hendersons, and we begin to wonder why Farmer is the only person in the movie to have any sort of accent at all.

Then we meet Gallian, who reminds us of Ray Liotta, if he was made out of brown, smooth plastic and dressed in all black leather and given some sort of shot that made him forget how to act. At all. He is apparently giving "magic lessons" to a much younger Leelee Sobieski. In her bed. Her father is the king's magus, which is pronounced "may-gus", "maa-gus", and "may-jius" alternately throughout the movie. And we meet the king, Burt Reynolds as played by Burt Reynolds, who has black facial hair and transparent white head hair and acts exactly like Burt Reynolds. And we meet his annoying nephew, played by Mathew Lillard and named "Fallow", which isn't reflective of his character *at all*. And the Krug, some nasty, animal/goblin dudes who are never really explained as a race and just do a lot of poorly-choreographed fighting as rarely seen since Big Bad Beetle Borgs went off the air.

As the characters are revealed, we found ourselves saying, "Huh, weird choice," again and again. It's like each character had a different acting coach and costumer, and they just arrived at the same place every day to read some lines that kinda go together to sort of tell a story that seems all too familiar and appears to use stock footage from every fantasy movie ever made. We kept saying, "Hey, isn't that Mount Doom?" and "Wait, isn't that the forest from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves?" And then the chicks from Cirque du Soleil showed up in the trees, and the goblin/orc extras from Return of the King did some kung fu, and Jason Statham managed to kill 582 guys using only a scimitar and without shedding a single drop of blood. Oh, and we thought there were crazy zombie groundhogs, but they were just burrowing Krug arms that were never adequately explained.

And there are little golden moments. In the slave pits of the evil Krug empire, we had to pause the film for my 19th bathroom break, and we just so happened to catch Farmer's brother-in-law in some impassioned moment, telling his sister that her parents and son are dead or something. And at the exact moment we paused it, we find that the dude, who's a brawnier version of Legolas, is totally cross-eyed. So we keep watching him, and sure enough, every full-frontal shot of him has us cracking up, asking for our stapler, and imagining his casting agent saying, "Yeah, he's cross-eyed, but he looks like freakin' Legolas and only costs $50 per day! Who did you expect at that price, Caspar Van Dien??"

There's also this wonderful recurring theme where evil Ray Liotta controls the Krug leaders behind their scary Krug masks, and his voice comes through them sounding deep and fake when he finds himself "curious" about why Farmer keeps showing up and killing his minions. But it reminded us of Xerxes' voice from 300, so we just kept up with that. "Farmer, i'm curious. Would you like to come back to my evil cave and be... curious with me? Farmer, do you like black leather tailcoats and magic swords? I'm... curious." It's just so hard to take seriously. I can imagine the director saying, "No, Ray, you need to be in costume and get a medieval looking haircut and ACT!!" And Ray says, "No, i've gotta be me, but a little more 'Christopher Lambert as Rayden in Mortal Kombat'. Now, where is my makeup girl with that airbrush?"

Other criticisms would include horribly shot battle scenes, where you can't even tell there's a battle, poor acting, bad set dressing, a definite lack of blood, and a general feeling of inconsistency and a pervading laissez-fair attitude. And yet, it's just so awesome! High fantasy with action/adventure fight scenes starring Jason Statham! Sign me up, right?

In conclusion, it's like Krull meets The Transporter meets Waiting for Guffman meets the cutting room floor of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Who could ask Netflix for more?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

a confession

I really hate the book "Goodnight Moon".

Yes, we have two copies. Yes, I still read it to my daughter when asked, and I try not to communicate my disgust. Here's why I hate it:

1. It's hideous. Green, red, black, and white with random shots of weird, bright blue. It's like the illustrator chose the most unattractive, cacophonous colors in the spectrum. Like Christmas and Hannukah got together and threw up.

2. It's creepy. "Goodnight nobody"? "Goodnight old lady who was whispering hush"? Who is nobody? Why is there an old lady in this poor kid's room? If it was a grandmother or other relative, that might be okay, but she's just some old lady who appears to come and go randomly, judging by the illustrations. And the grammar-- where is the comma after "goodnight"? It bothers me.

3. And saying gooodnight to "mush" is just bizarre. That's going to be one solid block of oatmeal gnarliness by the morning, if it's not full of roaches and silverfish. Or maybe that mouse will get it? So it will be full of mouse dookies. Even better.

4. It rhymes "Goodnight, moon" with "Goodnight, cow jumping over the moon". You can't rhyme the same word! Now just rhyme "friend" with "end", and I can go quietly vomit.

5. In one picture, there are mittens and socks drying on the line. Later, it's just mittens. Where did the socks go?

6. Why is there an unprotected, roaring fire in a toddler's room? Little bit unsafe in the post-Industrial Revolution world, isn't it? Not to mention the lack of fire detector, carbon monoxide detector, and fire extinguisher. Somebody seriously has it out for this kid.

7. Why are there two clocks in this kid's room? And a telephone? Do you know any toddlers who need a telephone in their room? Cleo's phone repertoire consists of, "Hi," Whatchoo doing?", 'I have a nice daddy," and "I want to go to Monkey Joe's and eat a quesadilla and jump high high HIGH high". Maybe it's to call 9-1-1 when the hideously striped curtains catch fire?

8. And the tiger skin rug. How would a rabbit obtain a tiger skin rug? I've been to the airport-- I know that it's illegal poaching to own a tiger skin rug. So this little rabbit is parented by homicidal, poaching tiger hunters who provide him with a plethora of Victorian clocks, candlesticks, fire pokers, a latex balloon, and some mouse-turdy mush while leaving him in a room at night with a creepy old lady and a roaring fire. No wonder he needs help getting to sleep!!

9. And what does he read when he needs to go to sleep? His own copy of Goodnight Moon, right there on the bedside table. Eek. I just don't want my creepy, ugly kids' books to get that meta.

10. "Goodnight noises everywhere?" The whole book is about saying goodnight to things, visible items in a room, then we get to "nobody" and "noises". It's just so stupidly random and inconsistent. I like random, but I like wacky and interesting random.

So there you have it. I can't stand this book. Lots of kids' books get on my nerves, from Dr. Suess teaching my child the alphabet using made-up nonsense words to the All-Encompassing Cult of Elmo. But for some reason, Goodnight Moon really has a place in my heart as the Worst Children's Book We Own, and I have no idea why it's considered a "classic", except that folks seem to like to inflict the scary elements of their childhoods on their children.

Which is why i'm getting Cleo the boxed set of ALF for Christmas.

Friday, September 12, 2008

mairzy dotes

Here's my classified ad:

WANTED. Mare in foal for late 08/early 09, or mare with foal <2 months old for nude modeling. Must be willing to pose girl-on-girl with clothed pregnant human. Very tasteful. Bonus if paint or appaloosa.

Seriously, though. I want to start a new body of work, but I need a pregnant horse. And I don't know any horses, much less horse people. It was so easy for a dude like Van Gogh-- go out, find some peasants or a whore (both very plentiful), and sketch them eating potatoes before going quietly mad. But I only pass 10 or so horses a week, and they're all geldings, which doesn't help me. And something tells me that posting in Missed Connections on craigslist isn't going to help. So here I am, canvas waiting, without a model. ARGH. How hard is it to impregnate a horse, anyway?

So, if anyone knows someone with a pregnant horse in the north Atlanta area who would let me take some photos with my little digital camera, please let me know. I'm sick of fruitless Googling.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the toast bracelet and the big blue square

Forgive me, but I need to share these things.

1. Cleo invents the toast bracelet. Patent pending.


2. The aftereffects of the Big Blue Square Experiment, in which I paint my 28-weeks-pregnant stomach light blue and attempt to make prints with it, but all I get are big blue squares.



Every day needs a little bit of wacky, right?

So now you are fortified to read that big, scary post about the Manifesto down there. Go ahead. I double dog dare you.

My Homemaker's Manifesto

I am a homemaker. A helpmeet. A housewife. A stay-at-home-mom.

I'm also an artist, an avid reader, a joker, a (bad) movie buff, a mental poet, a Tom Robbins groupie, and an archipelago. Outside, i'm jeans and a fitted t-shirt, but inside, i'm a howling, snorting, barefoot Amazon covered in paint and cupcake crumbs, howling at the moon and laughing at the mirror and dancing the samba and taking up more space than my atoms can hold. Sometimes I think I look boring compared to who I actually am in my head. I once painted a little painting of me, in my cream sweater and ruby necklace, screaming. It's called "Despite Domestication, I am Fierce." For some reason, it's important to me to retain some sort of wacky, chaotic aloofness, like a cat that runs away every now and then, just to prove it's possible.

I never really thought about it until I was in Customs and they asked my profession. My jaw dropped. What was I supposed to say? Part-time artist? Ex Project Manager? Dormant Gallery Director? Proposed Arts Supervisor I? Did I tell them what I used to be, what I wanted to be, what I studied to be, what I actually do all day, or, heaven help us all, what I was expected to be back when I was high school Valedictorian? The word that came out of my very surprised mouth was "homemaker". And then my husband and I had a good laugh for about 15 minutes, imagining me in a beehive, apron, and heels like Mrs. Cunningham from Happy Days.

I have never had much ambition. I've never wanted power, or bazillions or dollars, or fancy clothes and shoes. I never had a passion for business or a flair for numbers or a call to heal. All I've ever wanted, as my 3rd grade scrapbook will attest, are three things: to paint, to own a horse, and to speak Italian. My Italian is rusty, and I had to sell my horse, but I have to admit that staying home with my daughter all day (and painting while she naps) is a pretty good life.

Do I clean? Not as much or as well as I should. Do I cook? Again, probably not as much or as well as I should. Do I greet my husband at the door with his slippers and newspaper? No, but I do wash his sweaty gis for him and pack his lunch. I live in the suburbs, less than 10 miles from the house where I grew up. I sometimes get together with friends to knit and drink non-caffeinated beverages. But I don't have an apron or a picket fence or a golden retriever. And thank goodness, because that's just one more thing to clean up.

I like who I am. I like what I do. So why is there such a negative connotation in my head to the word "homemaker"?

Every day of my youth, when my mom finally got home from work after 6pm, she apologized and told me she wished more than anything that she could be there when I got off the bus and bake cookies on my birthday and come with us for field trips. She was part of that bewildered generation who were told that a powerful, liberated, fulfilled woman went to work, and when they got there, they learned that they were going to be paid half as much as the men for working twice the time in menial positions riddled with sexism and harassment. It was a pretty cruel bait and switch, if you ask me. Part of that cultural elan is still with us, telling women that staying home is a waste of time and intelligence, that a career teaches our daughters how to be real women in the real world.

Personally, I want my daughter to know that the real world is a malleable concept, that she creates her own reality. I want her to know that being with and supporting the people you love is never a worthless task. I want her to see that I can give my time to her and still be myself, a real person with depth and feelings and passions. I may have had jobs, but I never found a passion outside of art, and I can do art anywhere. Being a homemaker isn't about how great your homemade cookies are, or how few dust bunnies are under your couch, or how cute the embroidery on your mom jeans is; it's about making your house a home, whatever sort of home you want.

I want my home to be a place where the walls are covered in art, the shelves are filled with books, and where my children know that i'm here because I WANT to be here. Not because i'd feel guilty for working, not because society or church or family expects me to, not because I want an excuse to sit around and eat bonbons all day while she's glue to SpongeBob ThingyPants. Staying home is a privilege and a choice, and i'm glad i'm able to make that choice.

Sometimes, I get wistful. I'll yearn to make a really tidy spreadsheet, or i'll see a determined woman tappy-tap by in her snappy office casual, and i'll remember the feeling of being busy, meeting deadlines, traveling to interesting places, having a box of business cards in my desk telling everyone exactly how important I am. Then I remember what it felt like to spend my days in a tiny gray cube, taking orders from idiots, trading my time in the sun for sustenance, and I just get this big, stupid grin on my face.

I have everything I need and want. I fall asleep at night holding the hand of the person I like most in the world. I wake up in the morning to the sound of my child's voice. And each day, I get to decide exactly what I want to do and what wonderful facet of living I get to share with my child. And I get to do it all on my terms, with my own style, in my own time, continuing to grow as a person while helping my children to grow.

I'm damned proud to be a homemaker. And i'm still fierce, is all i'm saying.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Delores don't play dat.

1. I'm on the Do Not Call List for a reason.
2. If you call and ask for Delores, you're going to get attitude.
3. If you call after Cleo's 8pm bedtime, you're going to get nasty attitude.
4. If you call after Cleo is actually asleep, ask for Delores, and attempt to tell me for whom I should vote, YOU'RE GOING TO GET AN ENORMOUS CAN OF VERBAL WHOOPASS.

Yeah, I know they're volunteers trying to change our country for the better, whatever they personally believe "better" might be. But phone calls after dark are not the way to go. Neither is junk mail, leaflets, or anyone coming to my door without cookies and a saucy green beret.

Funny thing is, after Googling "Campaign for Change", i'm fairly certain they want me to vote for Obama, and I feel slightly bad for yelling, "HOW DARE YOU CALL ME AFTER 8PM WITH A SLEEPING TODDLER AND CALL ME BY THAT HORRIBLE NAME! WHATEVER YOU WANT, THE ANSWER IS NO! OFF THE LIST! TAKE ME OFF THE LIST NOW! NOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!"

Anyway, if someone will call me around 6pm, offer me free Girl Scout cookies, and politely tell me that they are offering an electable candidate who's pro-choice and fiscally conservative, I will invite them over for tea and a Powerpoint presentation. Until that time, all political parties and their pollsters can SHOVE IT.

three. whole. hours.

Today was Cleo's first "real" day at preschool, which meant that I had three whole hours to myself for the first time in 2 years.

Three. Whole. Hours.

How to describe it? I felt like a tiny, wobbly fawn taking its first steps on ice. What on earth was I supposed to do with myself? Where was I to go? How would I go three hours without giving a constant play-by-play of my actions or answering the question, "Why, mommy?"

It was actually pretty pathetic. I didn't want to get too far away on the first day, in case she needed something or exploded, so I opted not to go home and do the dozens of things I would love to do here from cleaning to painting.

First, I went to my parents' house to vacuum 3 pounds of accumulated raisins and goldfish out of my car. Then I went to Goodwill to look for a dresser for Shmoo, although I actually just bought some Old Navy and Baby Gap clothes for Cleo and a henley for my post-baby snuggling needs. One of the advantages of living next to a rich little suburb is that people throw away really nice stuff. Then I decided to find a decadent little coffee shop in downtown Roswell, where I would sit (decadently) and indulge in something frothy to drink and a (decadent) pastry of some sort. Sadly, several of my old haunts have since closed, and the one that was still open had up their "Closed" sign.

Because who needs coffee at a coffeehouse at 10am on a Monday?

So, barring decadent coffeehouse experiences, I went to Krispy Kreme for a hot glazed original. Very posh. Took that and a book to Smith Plantation to read on a bench for the last hour. Picked her up after preschool and couldn't believe how much I had missed her! According to her teacher, she did great, had a wonderful time, and played well with her buddies. I knew she would love it!

Long story short, I think we're both going to benefit from preschool. I'll feel better when we're set in a routine and I can get the cleaning and painting done at home that I yearn to do, but it was still an uncommon problem, trying to figure out what to do with myself. It's amazing that before parenthood, my life was filled with enormous stretches of independent time when I was beholden to nothing and no one. And now that i'm accustomed to having my little companion, I can hardly remember what I used to do before she was here.

The funny part is that the three hours probably lasted a lot longer for me than it did for her. I don't think she even noticed I was gone, which is how it should be.

Friday, September 5, 2008

movie pitch: Saw V

I would like to put John Mayer and Jack Johnson in a Saw-like, all-concrete, poo-drippy room with nothing but one runcible spoon and see which one comes out holding the other's stupid frat-flops triumphantly in his bloody hand.

Then, to be honest, i'd probably shove that one back in the room, slam the door, and go shopping for a new comforter.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

me and Cleo down by the schoolyard


::sniffle::

My little dude on her first day of school.

Although, technically, it was only a half day, which is really more of a quarter day, and I was there with her, but still. See? She's wearing her First Day of School Outfit with her special sparkly shoes and her Big Girl Bag. I know it contains diapers, but it's still a Big Girl Bag. She picked it out all by herself.

I'm so proud. She slides on a 4th grade level, you know, and can sing most of the ABC song. She would also love to tell you about how she can tinkle on the potty. We look forward to her future mastery of colors, so that everything in our lives won't be proclaimed "boo".

Preschooler, I salute you!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

pushmi-pullyu

Today I feel like that two-headed llama from Doctor Doolittle. And, no, not the frightening Eddie Murphy version; the good, ol' fashioned Rex Harrison version with all the magical British accents and cute little dance numbers. I'm pretty proud that the last Eddie Murphy movie I saw was... wait... lemme go IMDB it...

Coming to America. Unless you count Shrek, which I don't, because I spend half the movie thinking it's Chris Tucker and waiting for him to do a Michael Jackson impression or banter with a rooster voiced by Jackie Chan.

Anyway, Doctor Doolittle discovers this fabulous animal called a pushmi-pullyu, which can never get anywhere, because instead of a head and a butt, it has two heads, and they each want to go in their own direction. See how that would be like me? Craig might argue it's more likely I have two butts, because i've been relatively pig-headed lately, but the animal idioms are really overwhelming me right now, so let's just stick with llama. Two heads. Okay.

On one hand, i'm on the HOA, I help lead a babywearing group, I pay all the household bills, I am a responsible member of society. On the other hand, I feel that i'm dangerously repressing my creative and artistic side because sleep is eclipsing art these days, and it's making me a little nutty. Every spare moment goes to sleep or rest, and although my dreams are extraordinarily bizarre (60 pound sticks of butter and psychically possessing Bryce Dallas Howard at the Super 8 motel, anyone?), they're just not the outlet I need. I've got a great idea for a new body of work for my show in January, but I don't have the time to paint. Hopefully, when Cleo starts preschool next week, i'll be able to use those holy 6 hours a week to paint, but i'm probably going to feel guilty for not cleaning or cooking or doing all the other stuff i'm supposed to do.

My point is this: when i'm in the working world, being an artist who can also operate on the analytical side is a boon. As a mother, i'm sure it'll benefit me one day. But right now, pregnant with a toddler, I feel like the two sides of my noodle aren't talking very much, and I worry what they're saying behind each other's backs.

I want to put on some Cypress Hill Skull & Bones and throw red paint all over some 6-foot-tall canvases and roll around on them in a gorilla mask, but I also would really enjoy buying some shelves at Ikea for the baby's room and folding a bunch of teeny little shirts. I would like to stand on a bench in Athens and read Tom Robbins' "Still Life with Woodpecker" to passerby with a stick of dynamite painted on my belly, but i'd also like to do a tidy little Excel spreadsheet to see why my budget is getting out of hand.

See how that could be confusing for a girl?

I guess i'm just saying that the art has to come out. It needs to percolate, maybe even fester a little. But it's going to find a way out, sooner or later.