Friday, January 30, 2009

adultity

I often wonder when I became an "adult"-- when I turned 18, or 21, or when I suffered tragedy or got my first job or got married or had a baby? Or the first time I tried to fight the system, namely Shell Energy, and had to write that angry check to "Assholes at Shell" for "extortion, blackmail, and assault" to avoid having my credit dinged?

Or was it today, when I bought a bag of decorative potpourri and dusted my banister for the first time?

I can't believe I bought potpourri.

Even if it was on sale for $3.24, down from $13.98. And had funny cork flowers and goofy curlicues. And was then placed ceremoniously in the plaster cast of my pregnant belly as a centerpiece.

Fu*kin' potpourri, dude.

...so what's the secret handshake?

I never dreamed it would be so, but I am now part of large club.

The "My Kid Played in the Toilet" club.

And I assure you, she has been firmly scrubbed within an inch of her life.

I used to think that such a thing would never happen to me, that my canny combination of general supervision and concise explanation would make it clear that hands never, ever go in the toilet. When Chlorox finally figured it out and started making those 2-foot-long toilet brushes, i'm sure they made a mint. Because no one should *want* to put their hands in the toilet. UGH.

Except 2 year olds. Because their entire existence is spurred by curiosity. Just like cats, who also like to play in the toilet. Constant indoor water source. Right there. Perfect. UGH.

She's on the brink of potty training, was an inch away from going the whole day without a diaper, and then, SPLASH, she's potty diving. And I can't do anything about it because i'm trapped under a hungry baby. So it's either diapers, or trust her alone in the bathroom. One costs more monetarily, one costs more mentally and hygienically. UGH.

So, for those of you who are watching me smugly and laughing as I stumble into the pitfalls of parenthood against my will (STINE!), my child has now drawn all over the wall with a pencil, eaten a chocolate chip cookie, publically identified an obese person in her outside voice, and played in the toilet.

You can still place your bets on public screaming temper tantrums, sipping a beer, and losing her at the mall.



Thursday, January 29, 2009

further unprophetic dreams

It's 4:15am, and I am not sleeping, because my baby is congested. Snork, snork, cough, gag, snork. Sigh.

But last night, when I actually got to sleep, I dreamed that I worked for Humpty Hump-- you know, the guy with the fake nose who sang "The Humpty Dance". My job was to travel with him to various conventions and keep charge of his fur capes.

I think I would be marginally successful in that position in real life.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

wow, a world map!!!!!!!

I don't know how they got my address, but those quixotic globetrotters at National Geographic must have heard about my unquenchable thirst for adventure... and savings!

I received an unsolicited invitation... well, a demand really... to subscribe to National Geographic. It was an "Exclusive Order Offer", so don't expect to receive one, if you're just *anybody*, and it came from the Exclusive Rate Division. Because I am special.

Although the regular newsstand rate is $49.90 a year, I have an 83% discount and will only pay $8.00. And if I act now, I will receive a FREE GIFT: a world map, which has been reserved JUST FOR ME! There are only two choices listed: Check or money order enclosed OR Bill me later. There is not an option to not subscribe, so I have no choice. It's a good thing i'm feeling adventurous!

But that's not all!

Here are the subscription terms:
Item #0001 Full year's subscription to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE magazine - $8.00
Item #0002 10 issues of the award winning magazine - INCLUDED
Item #0003 Your practical guide to the great outdoors: Dream It. Plan It. Do It. - INCLUDED
Item #0004 National Geographic quality in every photo, map, and article. - INCLUDED
Item #0005 Regular features: Where Next, Wild Roads, Next Weekend - INCLUDED
Item #0006 Special Issues: Greatest Adventure, America's Nat'l Parks, Best Road Trips - INCLUDED
Item #0007 FREE world map - FREE

So, let me get this straight. If... I mean, when I pay for my subscription, *not only* do I get the magazine, I get the regular features and special articles already *in* the magazine, but I also get quality? AND A WORLD MAP??

People, this is the deal of a lifetime! And the worst subscription solicitation since SELF informed me that if I renewed immediately, they would be kind enough not to call a collection agency.

I actually used to subscribe to National Geographic, and one of their articles inspired part of my 2006 exhibition, Hunger. But I chose not to renew because I was so desperately, desperately sick of receiving 5 pieces of mail and 3 phone calls a week about renewing or subscribing to their 7 other magazines. If you want to save the world so much, quit sending me crap! The money they wasted trying to get me to renew after 3 months could have been used for a much better purpose.

I simply hate being solicited. If you know what I mean.

But I can't resist a world map, so we'll see. That sort of information is not readily available online.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

spamalot

I'm going to go out on a limb here and confess that I hate spam in both a physical and non-physical way. I don't like the little blue can of processed pig noses, and I don't like the junk that builds up in my Bulk folder at the rate of approximately 50 entries a night. Here are my thoughts on some of today's spam.

1. >>>ACAI SUPERCLEANSE
Look, just because i'm a white woman in my 30's who likes to go to Trader Joe's doesn't mean that when I see two popular health trends listed in the same Subject header, i'm going to click on it. Why not say "ORGANIC ACAI ANTIOXIDANT NONI JUICE SUPERCLEANSE WITH STEVIA", if you really want my attention?

2. Are You Single? - View Pic's of Local Singles
Not funny by itself, but hilarious when immediately followed by the Subject "BREAST IMPLANTS". That's like the time I had the super-spam combination of the following unrelated but alphabetically listed headlings:
ARE YOU FAT?
ARE YOU SINGLE?
LOSE WEIGHT NOW!

It's like a spam conspiracy.

3. DisHD Free - Free 4-Room System Installation Only $19.99
Huh. How much is it? I see a FAIL.

4. REUNION.COM - 1 New Person Has Searched For You
That's amazing! Since I received 3 of these emails, I guess that means 3 new people searched for me. I must be quite popular! You'd think they could just condense the email to tell me that "3 New People Have Searched For You". When you add this up with the 2 I got yesterday, the 1 on Sunday, the 3 on Saturday... I will soon take over the world. Like Oprah. No, really.

5. SinglesNet - COME MEET 2 NEW SINGLES!
I wonder why they only have 2. Maybe it's a start-up? Or just 2 guys looking to meet chicks and hoping for a monopoly? Or siamese twins? Or maybe they're the only two single guys who won't insist that I have breast implants? That would make sense.

6. WALMART REWARDS - SOMEONE HAS SENT YOU A WAL-MART GIFT CARD
How thoughtful! Three people apparently sent me Wal*Mart gift cards today, even though the only people I know who shop there are my parents. And Wal*Mart has decided to play with the punctuation in their brand name, too. I should definitely go in there and give them my social security number to secure my card. And click on some links.

7. YouCanBeDebtFree - Debt Free options are now available
Yes, like bankruptcy and being a hobo. In addition to the original option of being fiscally responsible. But they don't like to advertise that one.


Monday, January 26, 2009

gag my honey with a toothbrush

Hey, Dr. Crog!

Guess how I got the cut under my SpongeBob Squarepants band-aid?

Wanna know?

It's a good story!

I was putting the plastic wrap up at my parents' house, and they keep it on top of the refrigerator, and it slipped out of my hand, and I caught it on the sharp, serrated metal edge. On my finger.

And it bled for 5 minutes.

Here is your barf bag. Enjoy!




p.s. Your guns are huge.

gag me with a toothbrush

(If you are pregnant and/or Christine, please don't read this. Seriously.)

Anyone who tells you children are tidy (or even "occasionally not filthy") is a dirty liar.

Not only the whole "what goes in must come out, probably full of mystery corn" cliche.

Not only the "prune explosion" that occurs for the first 6 months of solid foods and leaves you with a hideous, unexplainable stain in an embarrassing place.

Not only the toe lint, neck cheese, smegma, and green slug sneezes.

No, it's worse than that.

Tonight, when I went to brush the Biscuit's teeth before bed, I found that she had held onto her dinner. She had hot dogs with ketchup. And she'd been rollin' that bit of hot dog around in her mouth for 10 minutes like meat gum.

And I didn't find out until I stuck the toothbrush in there and started brushing, and little bits of pink meat got all mixed up with the blue toothpaste, and I almost barfed.

Have you smelled kids' toothpaste mixed with hot dog? HAVE YOU?

Sorry, Snoopy toothbrush. You are hereby fired. And i'm going to go skip second dinner. And gargle mouthwash. And find brain bleach.

And try to forget.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

random, unhelpful things I believe

1. That there should never be a party that doesn't include cake. With icing.
2. That I don't want to go anywhere a horse can't go. So no highways, deserts, or icebergs.
3. That there is a perfect piece of artwork for every spot in my house, and I will one day find them all.
4. That Chef Gordon Ramsay is the 2nd most kickass tall, blond Viking around. After Dr. Crog.
5. That slings, swings, and nursing can solve almost all baby problems. Except colic.
6. That The Office is the funniest show you are watching and The Venture Bros. is the funniest show you're not watching.
7. That The Cure ended with Wild Mood Swings and has since been replaced by robots that suck.
8. That almost any vegetable makes a lovely soup when cooked long enough with enough butter and cream.
9. That good beef should be eaten nearly raw and should taste like a proper animal.
10. That the Flip camera and the George Forman Grill are the best $100 we spent this year.
11. That I will never learn how to sing, bake, or apply lipstick properly.
12. That probiotics can be a magic bullet and chiropractic actually works.
13. That I did not hit "Publish Post", so this entry should not have just self published while I was making googoo faces at the baby.
14. That most of my life philosophies can be summed up by quotes from Tom Robbins' books. (Which is extremely different from Tim Robbins or Tony Robbins, if you're unfamiliar.)
15. That the bathrooms at the Fabulous Fox are more entertaining than most of the shows i've seen there.
16. That the world needs more used bookstores, cupcake bakeries, Twilight books, philosophers, unselfconscious laughter, cheap sushi restaurants, French Bulldogs, full rainbows after storms, and baby socks that do not fall off.
17. That brownie batter and cookie dough are more delicious than brownies or cookies. And that eating them is well worth the salmonella risk.
18. That watching chickens is more amusing than watching TV.
19. That women beat themselves up mentally far too much and for all the wrong reasons.
20. That Oprah is really an alien cyborg sent to enslave all of humankind.

For reals.


Fwank-o-wen

We don't watch a lot of TV at our house, and we try to keep the licensed characters to a minimum for our own sanity. But the Biscuit is sick, and the only way to convince her to hold still and heal is to let her watch videos. Or, at my parents' house, On Demand. She has a fondness for this sissified little turtle named Franklin from one of her books, and my mom found a secret cache of Franklin cartoons yesterday. We just love how she says Franklin-- it comes out Fwank-o-wen. Just like fam-o-lee and pob-o-lee.

Enjoy.



Saturday, January 24, 2009

vexation

The internet, I think, helps introverts find a place to pretend to be extroverts.

You find your forum, you make friends, and then, if you are lucky enough to meet them in real life, you have skipped through all the painful bits of social interaction. You don't have to introduce yourself, say your name twice, discuss your business and interests, wonder frantically if they like you or you are embarrassing yourself. You just say "I'm jollyrancher82", and they're like, "Cool! I'm wompa1. I liked your post about Lucky Charms". Instant friend!

Most of my current mom friends have come into my life through local message boards. I actually have more friends now than I have since high school, which is an enormous blessing, as I am the kind of introvert who finds it impossible to walk up to someone and introduce myself. In fact, I would rather give a speech to 1000 strangers than strike up a conversation with one non-threatening person. Even a grandma. Which is really, really sad.

And that's why i'm vexed with myself. At the playground yesterday, I exchanged pleasantries with a family of great social possibilities. The kid was Biscuit's age and wearing chucks, the two babies were T.Rex's age, the dad was wearing an Adult Swim hoodie, the grandmother lived across the street from my mom, and one of the moms actually works for Adult Swim. Which we very nearly worship. If ever a group of people had fabulous possibilities of being buddies, it was right there by the bucket swings, and it was US.

And yet due to their group dynamics, my shyness, and our kids' inability to play in the same area as they bounced around like rogue electrons, we never connected past the initial friendliness. Never exchanged names or emails, just drifted about the park and smiled like we wanted to chat more. Not only were they young and cool with kids the exact same age as ours, but SHE WORKED FOR ADULT SWIM!! Although our children are important to us, you could almost say that Dr. Crog's and my life together were incomplete until we found Venture Bros. and Frisky Dingo. We could probably have some sort of polyamorous, 4-way, 2-D marraige with Venture Bros. and Frisky Dingo, and it would be all like, KA-KOW, and then we would be like, BOOSH!

But I digress. My point is this: because of my stupid, annoying shyness, I missed a chance to make buddies with folks that were ripe for buddy-ness. And I am vexed with myself.

So if you should know these people, please tell them that me and Dr. Crog are very cool people-- not nerds AT ALL, seriously-- and we would like to invite them over for a bowl of Cap'n Crump and a special presentation of Lady Windermere's Fan.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

do what?

I was going to blog about how I don't get chicks who worship department stores, but I'm going to go in a different direction. Here are some humorous quotes from life with a toddler. Yep, original concept.

Biscuit: (singing) The bus on the wheels goes round and round! Round and round!
Me: Really?
Biscuit: It does! The people on the bus goes round and round and round and round...
Me: They do?
Biscuit: Yeah, they do! They are round!
Me: Welcome to America, kid.

Biscuit: (passes gas in an adorably innocent fashion)
Me: What was that, buddy?
Biscuit: I think it was a tiger.

Me: What happened in school today?
Biscuit: Sebastian pushed sand in my eyes.
Me: What did you do?
Biscuit: (in singsong voice, with eyes closed beatifically) I criiiiiiiiiiiiied!
Me: And then what?
Biscuit: I said, "Don't push me!"
Me: I thought he put sand in your eyes.
Biscuit: Yeah, he did! And then he did not push me!
Me: Is that all that happened in school?
Biscuit: Nope. I also tinkled.

See? That's much better than complaining about some crazy ladies.

an unprophetic dream

I was awake with T.Rex from 4:30 to 6:30 this morning for no good reason, and when we were both able to return to bed, I had one of those golden, stolen hours of utterly delicious sleep. And I had this completely unremarkable but crystal clear dream:

I'm walking down the street in a neighborhood very similar to mine, looking for my cat, who has a penchant for crapping in people's flower beds. I find him... crapping in someone's flower bed. I call him for a few minutes, hollering, "Keith! Keeeeeeeeeith! Keith!" And as the goodwife comes to the door in her blue robe to shake her head disapprovingly at us both, Keith finishes up and trots out to me. I pick him up and say, "You're a very bad cat, Keith".

Dream over.

That's all I got.

ps. Who on earth would name their cat "Keith"?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

the evolution of breakfast

I'm the sort of person who doesn't see the point to life until after breakfast.

It's not a preference or a routine-- it's a physical imperative.

My first memories of breakfast involve sugary cereal, and that pattern continued through high school. On the 1-to-5 Sugary Cereal Scale, where 1 is sugarless bran twigs and 5 is Cooookie Crisp, I was only allowed to purchase cereals in the 3 to 4 range: Cap'n Crunch, Kix, Crispix, ALF cereal. Not the truly heavy stuff with marshmallows-- unless it was a special occasion. Which is why I ate nearly 1000 boxes of Count Chockula in my early 20's: because I could. If we were out of sugary cereal, my mom would pull the musty, 10-year-old box of Cream of Wheat out of the cupboard, dust off the moths, add some brown sugar, and serve me "chocolate" farina. It was gummy and gritty, but it was sugary, and that was what mattered. And I actually have my own dusty box of CoW for desperate occasions.

By the time I left for college, I had started to really think about nutrition. Kinda. I was a vegetarian, which mainly involved eating lots of white pasta and drinking 2 gallons of chocolate Silk soy milk a day. So I ate my sugary cereal with soy milk for freshman year, then flipped back to cow's milk, then soy (while dating a vegan), then cow. By the time I started my first job, I had actually started reading about nutrition and came to understand that I was a chronically dehydrated lifelong sugar junkie who should probably think about eating some protein and veggies once in a while.

I then bought my first box of tasteless fiber twigs and never looked back, until pregnancy pushed me into "Cap'n Crunch or Death" mode. My first labor was probably brought on by too many boxes of Lucky Charms, and i'm surprised the Biscuit didn't arrive coated in gooey marshmallow stars. I was a slave to my cereal cravings then, and I comfort myself by knowing that I had my full RDA of Riboflavin and the B vitamins every day that I scarfed the Charms.

But now I know better. I eat sunbutter on sprouted grain bread for a healthy combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. I make milkshakes out of protein powder, ground flaxseed, probiotics, and skim milk. I slip cottage cheese, spinach, and mushroom omelettes onto whole grain tortillas. And I follow breakfast up with two cups of hot decaf coffee. Because even though decaf tastes like dirt, caffeine would keep the baby up all. day. long., and I still NEED the coffee. Desperately. It's like the dessert of breakfast, but maybe that's just because of all the crap I put in it.

One of my biggest fears about the future is that food actually *will* come in pill form, because then there will be no reason to get out of bed. Ever. And bed sores suck.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

I eat kittens.

I read today that PETA's newest "ingenious" campaign aims to bring a face to that lowly denizen of the sea that suffers so painfully for the greedy gobs of America: fish.

That's right. Fish.

Don't worry about the cattle crowded into dark buildings and fed sawdust before being strung up alive by hooks through their ankles. Don't give a thought to chickens plucking themselves and each other bloody in cages the size of shoe boxes. But consider the fish, who swims mindlessly through the oceans, blissfully unevolved.

In my humble, used-to-be-vegan-and/or-vegetarian opinion, this is the biggest waste of time, money, and brain cells in the history of a very questionable organization. Be they wild or farmed, fish don't appear to suffer very much. They're healthy, low in fat, and not particularly endearing. They can't even blink.

But some big-hearted brainiac in PETA really, really wants you to stop eating fish, so they're calling them "sea kittens" to make you *really* think about it. They've got an entire website dedicated to re-branding fish as "sea kittens", giving them faces and personalities and mustaches and other endearing qualities that fish really, really don't have.

We dress up our cats and dogs and love them like family, but PETA has been thus far unsuccessful in translating these warm, fuzzy feelings to even such obviously personable animals as cows, chickens, and pigs.

And not only are they not helping fish, but they're alienating even more possible supporters by branding themselves as wasteful, idiotic yahoos.

But I digress. My point is this: if you want to save animals, throw your money and time at one that is actually suffering. As Dr. Crog just said, "We don't even treat humans ethically, and they're wasting money on fish?"

And now I will go put two salmon filets in the fridge to defrost for tomorrow night's Lemon Pepper Sea Kitten with green beans and brown rice. And i'll draw little mustaches on them in the name of PETA.

Idiots.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

goo!

This is possibly the cutest thing you will see all week, so prepare yourself.



8 weeks today.

putting the "ass" in masochism


6 months postpartum with Biscuit in fav jeans vs. 6 weeks postpartum with T.Rex

Some would argue that being a mother is the definition of "masochism". After all, your needs become lower on the hierarchy than clean socks for three other people and "More apricots, pease".

But today, I endured something even more cruel: shopping for jeans with a postpartum body.

Seriously, don't do it.

I have only one pair of jeans that currently fit, and I hate 'em. The pockets are too low and the buttons are on this tab that pokes out through my shirt like an origami umbilical hernia. So I sadistically convinced Dr. Crog to sit in the car with the kids while I bravely went forth to Old Navy and found a pair of "interim jeans". You know, just until my cute ones fit again. In about 6 months.

First, I gathered all the jeans with potential in my usual size, the size i've been since my early 20's: an 8. With a couple of 10's from my high school days, just in case. HA.

Ha ha ha. HA.

I somehow totally forgot that whole "baby rearranges things cruelly" thing.

Dejected, I thumped 67 pounds of disappointment/denim on the Old Navy counter and hoofed it back out, gathering jeans in 12's and 14's. And, yeah, i'll admit it here. Even some of those were too small. The ones that did fit... didn't fit. Unpleasant wrinklery, booty gaps, and the dreaded muffin top.

Were I a lesser woman, I would have thrown myself to the floor and sobbed my self-esteem into water spots on "the Flirt" jeans and their sassy patch pockets.

But I am not a lesser woman. I am a perpetual optimist who is able to gloss over most of the painful bits of life with reasons, excuses, or downright amnesia. So I reminded myself that Old Navy jeans have *never* fit me. Like, ever. Of the top 10 pairs of jeans in my life, 9 were from Target and 1 was from Kohl's. Old Navy ain't made for junk in ye olde trunke.

Expecting *this* body to fit into Old Navy jeans of any size is an exercise in futility. And masochism.

It's not me.
It's not the 30 pounds I gained while pregnant, 18 of which are still in my possession.
It's not the nursing pudge.

It's not.

It's Old Navy.

This is not my fault.

And just to reassure myself that this is not my fault, I came home, changed back into my super-comfy-size-medium pajama pants and ate half a piece of my defrosted birthday cake out of the freezer. And by defrosted, I mean that I had to let it thaw first, not that it was missing frosting.
Because then, what's the point?

My plan is this: next week, while Biscuit is in preschool, i'll go to Target and find some nice, stretchy jeans that make me feel good about myself. And then i'll go to my mom's house and play Wii Fit for an hour, to cancel out 3 molecules of today's cake.

And then i'll wait 6 months and put on my J-Lo jeans and photoshop myself back into photos of the art exhibit. Full circle!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

little moments

You'll want to read this one. It has baby pictures. D'oh!


It's easy to lose track of time when you're raising children. Not only because they distract you with all the spitting up and diapering and reading and questions about why galoshes have cat faces, but also because you don't spend all day looking at meetings on an Outlook calendar. If you're lucky, you remember what day it is, and if you're really lucky, you remember that you have an appointment with one of your 15 family care providers that day in time to clean out the baby's neck cheese.

What, that doesn't happen to you?


So here are some little moments recently extracted from my mom's camera. I may not know exactly which day each photo was taken, but I know they are all days that end in "y". And that ain't bad.

Here's my dad having a chat with T.Rex. I'm proud of him-- he didn't pick up the Biscuit until she could formally ask him. He's less afraid of breaking the second one, I guess.

Here's early Christmas with my grandparents and the other set of cousins. They're not interesting. I just like the action shot, plus the proof that I occasionally put my daughter in a dress. And hairbows! Do I get extra chick points for that? It makes great-grandma so happy.
Here's T.Rex in his Hairy Wolf get-up from the super sale rack at Old Navy. I have no idea what the joke is. It's just a hairy wolf with an afro on a sleeper. But he looks quite fetching in orange. He's on the Biscuit's old exercise mat thingy, swatting a crab. This one was taken last week. Soon I will catch his ferociously goofy smile on camera. Doesn't he look like a little dude?

Acrobatics with Dr. Crog on Thanksgiving. She's wearing dingy pajamas and creepy, blinking, electronic Christmas socks from Aunt Granny, but she was having such a wonderful time.

And here is possibly the first picture of me and T.Rex together that doesn't involve gory afterbirth. Although I do see some inappropriate hair fuzz.

Lastly, here's a really cool one right after T.Rex was born. I didn't know we had this one. We were holding hands for the first time, and I was totally digging his tiny little purple zombie paws. He was all covered in vernix, which is like baby-marinating-cheese-goo, and he was very sticky. Birth ain't pretty, people. Don't make me show you my placenta. I'm warning you!

...and that was everything that happened between November 23 and today. It's been two busy months.

And i'm pretty sure it's Saturday.


Friday, January 16, 2009

tutu true

If you know me, you know i'm a total princess/diva.

HA.

Yeah, totally not true.


Which is why it's so funny to watch my Star Wars-and-jiujitsu-loving child get her Disney on at a princess dance class. She had a picnic with the Beast, rode a magic carpet with Aladdin, swept with Cinderella, went mining with the 7 dwarfs, and did some sort of obstacle course gymnastics like... uh... Mary Lou Retton? None of the princesses really did gymnastics, I guess. Didn't want to mess up their hair.


Biscuit may be the only girl in the continental US who can't tell Jasmine from Beauty, but she knows that when costumes, tutus, music, disco lights, and hand stamps mix, fun is to be had. And I love to watch her have fun.

And if you think that's crazy, I let her have half a chocolate chip cookie at lunch with her buddy. It was her first taste of chocolate chip cookie, and she was... shall we say... most enthusiastic.

I'm not a tyrant, people!

But she is currently spazzing on sugar as she sings "Call of the Mermaid" from the Backyardigans and hits the letter "U" repeatedly on her Learning Laughtop. Ugh.

It was a good day, princesses, sugar, and all.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

virtual little worlds

Welcome to my virtual art show! Please help yourself to virtual taco dip, virtual punch, and some absolutely delicious virtual pigs in blankets. Because i'm a good southern girl, and no social function is complete without teeny little weinies wrapped in crescent rolls. Seriously, it was in our wedding contract.

I've seen the pics, and I look like a big ol' postpartum house, so i'm just going to show you the artwork. Because that's what art exhibits are about. I'll take some pictures in 6 months and 'shop myself back into the gallery scenes. How 'bout that?

Here we go...

First of all, here is the original "little worlds", the collection of studies that started the whole thing. At the bottom is "6 weeks", which is the only post-partum work. Yuck. I much prefer that big, ripe belly!

Don't forget that every piece in this show has a tumprint on it-- where I painted my belly and slapped it onto the wood or canvas. That's what all the scribbly business in the middle is.

***

Next, we have "4 dreams", which features two lovely internet friends, Kim and Sybil, as well as 2 versions of me. I ain't telling which is which.



***

And here we have the last piece painted for the show, which also happens to be my and Dr. Crog's favorite: "1 imperfect egg". It's hangin' next to one of the "3 pears", which were hung separately, although they were painted as a triptych. It's cool, though. They're not upset.


***

This series is called "6 pages" and is a reworking of a series I wanted to do in homage to my friend and mentor, Jan Gibbons, who passed away from cancer last year. I began the pieces, and after leaving them untouched for a year, I realized that there is no way I could paint something so sad. She was an upbeat, no-nonsense person who never admitted weakness or wanted pity, so i'm sure she'd be happy to know that the pieces were eventually used for something beautiful and life-affirming. And it would amuse her that they involve brassieres.


There are several more pieces, but there's something invisible in my eye, and I want to go drape myself with wet washcloths until I stop squinting like a pirate. The show is up at The Art Place - Mt. View in Marietta until January 23, so you can always go check it out in living, preggo color.

Thanks so much for coming to the virtual exhibit. Please sign the virtual Guest Book on your way out. Oh, and everything is for sale, so if you should decide to buy something, please know that your purchase will help fund rad new baby carriers, Etsy purchases, and possibly eye surgery, if I can't stop squinting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

memory lane

Last night's blog entry reminded me of all the old photos sitting around my Flickr account, playing Super NES and drinking Surge. I'm far too lazy to scan photos from high school and before, but here are some treasures from the oughts. Or the 0's. Or the 2000's. 2Ks. Stupid decade!


First of all, you've already seen me with my little horse, but here she is hanging with a jerky appaloosa named Taz. She was about 5 years old, green broke, Carolina Backyard Mutt. No telling where this horse came from, what she'd done there, or who got together to breed her on the sly. But she was the culmination of 22 years of dreaming, and she was a big-hearted, stubborn, loyal, wonderful little critter.



And here's where Dr. Crog proposed to me on a midnight motorcycle ride. On my first visit to him at Clemson, I got lost, because I have the navigational skills of a drunk doodlebug, so I went to the highest thing I could see and called him for help by this clock tower. I had managed to find campus and was only a couple of blocks away, and he came to rescue me. I am a lucky girl!


Which explains this picture. Here are a few more of that fabulous day.


Why, yes, that *is* an antebellum mansion. No, it ain't Tara. And lastly, YES, Dr. Crog is wearing some sort of cowboy cravat. I don't know. He picked out the tuxes without my input. And he did a fine job. Please, let me explain. You know, in Steel Magnolias, how they have that fabulous Bleedin' Armadilla cake? Well, this was a Bleedin' Groundhog. My idea. No, really! It was! Because there are no armadillos in upstate South Carolina, just a lot of chubby little groundhogs standing on the side of the roads on their haunches, chillin'. And I loved 'em. So I wanted my wedding guests to eat big, chocolately chunks of their red velvet flesh. Makes sense, right?


And here is my fondest memory from corporate America. Yes, it was fun being modestly important and jetting around, but the *truly* important part was my Halloween costume, because my company took Halloween seriously. They made up a new award for me: "Least Recognizable as an Employee", because I apparently looked more like Jack Sparrow, or at least a dude, than like myself.

Unfortunately, my boss went as a Software Pirate, so we had to walk around all day dressed like Wonder Twin Pirate Buddies, which is totally lame.


And here's a sad moment from corporate America. After leaving my super cool job and moving back to Georgia, I went to a much more serious place where apparently no one has ever seen Pulp Fiction. Seeing my Mia Wallace costume, the comments ranged from, "Cute haircut!" to "Um, you have something on your face". The next closest thing to a costume was the HR girl's black shirt with the crystal pumpkin bedazzled on it. I did not fit in, and I was so happy to go back to my job in non-profit arts, where my wackiness was applauded and we went out to lunch every day and laughed until we nearly peed.

So there's a minor rundown of 2001 to 2004 as saved to my Flickr account. Coming soon: a blogged rendition of my latest show. When I get the time to download all those pictures.

It's gonna take, like, 8 minutes! And that's time I just don't have.

Monday, January 12, 2009

the line of demarcation


Me and Chantilly, 2002

On rainy days, I just want to hide under the covers and watch cheesy teen movies and eat brownie batter, but on sunny days, I ache to be out in the world. This urge is even more compelling now that I have a highly energetic toddler who punishes me on days spent indoors by forcing me into annoying toddler games, such as "grabbing pointy things off the counter", "Sharpie marker mural", and "I say i'm using the potty, but i'm really drinking toilet water while wearing no pants".

So we head out to the playground when the sky is blue and the sun is warm and the temperature is somewhere between 38 and 59 degrees, depending on the thermometer. And my thoughts wonder to a point in my life I consider my personal line of demarcation.

They say that people rarely change, and that for real change to take place, there must be an impetus. As a child, I was always led to believe that the biggest personal changes would take place when I fell in love, when I got married, when I had kids-- or when some sort of tragedy struck. Oddly, for me, the biggest personal change occurred in a stupid, annoying "interpersonal behavior" class required by a hokey graduate program I later abandoned.

We began the class by taking some sort of personality test-- not the Myers-Briggs test, where you find out if you're an IMDB in love with an STFU, but one that plotted out areas where you needed improvement as a person. Basically, the whole point of the class was to face your worst faults and then spend the rest of the week in "breakout" groups discussing them with other people also experiencing an interpersonal crisis.

Fun.

I took the test, read the responses, and came to an amazing conclusion: I was a major bitch.

Which explained why I was miserable all the time, had no friends, and couldn't maintain a long-term relationship. And in the moment that I internalized this information, the world changed, much like when Dorothy lands in Oz and it goes from black-and-white to technicolor.

Suddenly, I understood that my college sweetheart had been telling me the truth about myself all along, not attacking me. I realized that the reason no one spoke to me in classes or at parties was because I projected an impenetrable force field of bitchiness. I saw that I was lonely because I drove people away by being petty, flaky, and superior. I was defensive, selfish, and utterly unsympathetic.

No wonder my dog ran away.

But really, that understanding paved the way to my life today. Seeing myself for what I really was allowed me to become the person I wanted to be. Granted, I am far from perfect, but that test made me really consider what I wanted out of life and how to get it. Seeing what I was revealed to me what I could be, and suddenly all things became possible.

So I got back together with Dr. Crog, quit my job, moved into his 1 bedroom apartment in a different state, fulfilled my childhood dream of owning a horse, married him (Dr. Crog, not the horse), moved around a bit, and bore Dr. Crog's spawn. And all of these experiences and changes helped to make me a better artist, giving me more confidence and freedom to create.

And that's what I think about on days as clear and crisp as today. The lines we cross that make us who we are, and the great joy that's come from a stupid test in an ugly book for a class I didn't need for a degree I didn't want.

Also, I think about meatloaf sandwiches and wonder where my Best and the Rest of British Ska CD is hiding.

Quite the little love story, eh?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

the big, wet beaver

This is a story about our trip to a local nature center, not the local strip club. If you were envisioning anything other than a giant rodent after reading this blog title, you are just a bad person. And you should learn to live with that. Or read less Vonnegut.

Anyway, I woke up yearning for adventure.

Unfortunately, with a toddler, a newborn, and a postpartum body, "adventure" is a relative term. As I surfed the internet, trying to think of an interesting activity, my daughter began asking me questions about the animals in her Franklin book-- a fox, a hawk, a beaver, and a turtle named Franklin.

So I asked her, "Who is bigger-- mommy, or a beaver?" And she said, "A beaver".

"Oh, no!", I said. Although I was flattered, I had to sort this out. "Mommy is much bigger than a beaver. Beavers weigh 30 or 50 pounds, and mommy weighs... eh... a little more than that. Mommy is also much taller than a beaver. And less greasy."

Much to my surprise, she said, "No, a BEAVER is BIGGER."

And the deal was sealed. We were going to the nature center for an object lesson.

We picked up my mom and headed over to the nature center, which has been around since I was a child. I couldn't wait to show her the rehabilitated raptors, snakes, and turtles. And that stupid beaver. I was also anxious to take her picture with the 349 year old "stuffed" snapping turtle that has been on display since I was knee-high to a snapping turtle in their Discovery Center.

We paid our $10 and tried to make the Biscuit show interest in snakes and turtles. She was more interested in the books *about* snakes and turtles. We walked outside under ominously drizzling, gray clouds. We pointed out the fascinating hawks and owls. She was more interested in putting up the hood on her sweatshirt and jumping in puddles. I began to see why parents become frustrated with children who don't immediately fulfill their sports dreams. How did I end up with a kid that doesn't really care about animals?

Finally, we found the beaver, in all his furry, wet glory. He was huddled in the rain, blinking, doing what beavers do-- not a dam thing. Tee hee. Triumphantly, I turned to my daughter.

"See the handsome beaver? Now, which is bigger, mommy or the beaver?"

"THE BEAVER!!!" she hollered, and proceeded to jump in another puddle.

And then the downpour started. We ran down the path to the Discovery Center that has always housed the most fascinating animals and displays, including the Snapping Turtle of Yore. And we careened into a fence that blocked the demolished husk of the building we sought. PWNED! They had our $10, and we had sopping wet clothes, no Discovery Center, no turtle, and nowhere to run but all the way back to the car in the rain while carrying a wet baby.

And of course we couldn't say anything about being totally gypped because, you know, it's for the ANIMALS. If we asked for our money back, we would have been scroogily denying the Cooper's hawk a box of dead baby ducks.

Luckily, my mom saved the day, possibly because she's on too many meds from a pulled tooth. She took us all to Red Lobster for lunch, where we drowned our animal sorrows in cheese biscuits and shrimp. And, for the Biscuit, in Ranch dressing.

It was a good day, beavers and all.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

meet humboldt plinkenpenny

Here's the set up:

After T.Rex was born, I purchased a night light for midnight feedings and diaper changes and placed it in the only available socket, which is behind a recliner in our room. The first time Dr. Crog noticed it and asked me why light was radiating from behind a chair, I told him that a gnome was reading back there. Thanks to his extremely colorful and active imagination, he was totally freaked out by this concept.

He envisioned the gnome as a wily South American type, which looks like an evil rutabaga, but I
maintained that it was a pleasant, pink-cheeked Travelocity type of gnome, red hat and all, cheerfully studying a tome of gnomic lore.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I found this little guy for 50% off at Hobby Lobby while looking for a resin or papier mache deer head:



And then fast forward further to last night at 7:51 when I politely asked Dr. Crog to turn on the night light.

It was beautiful. He hasn't screeched that loudly since I goosed him during Snakes on a Plane.

Seriously, I live for this sort of thing. Ain't life grand?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

et tu, flannel?

I've come full circle.

From my flannel and jeans days in the early 90's to my mom days. It's like this.

1991: I want to be cool, so I go to Upton's and buy some baggy dude jeans and a big ol' flannel shirt. I cut off the bottom of the jeans so they would get all raggedy and tough like what everybody wore in Singles. I mused that Eddie Vedder would find me ravishing, never mind that from the back, we'd look like the same person.

I also had this wild, persistent fantasy that if I bought just the right, magical camisole to wear under the flannel shirt, I would be a dead ringer for Liv Tyler in Aerosmith's "Cryin'" video.

2002: I am a professional woman with great plans. When my jeans are too long, I have them hemmed at the little alterations place down the street. Despite promises by Marie Claire, they look pretty stupid, but I wear them anyway.

2008: I am so blasted sick of stepping on the hem of my fatty post-partum jeans and getting the hems wet in the rain that I grab my sewing scissors and cut off the bottom inch. I have no illusions regarding looking cool. My socks don't even match. And these size 13 Target jeans aren't doing me any favors. Eddie Vedder would not approve. Liv Tyler is laughing somewhere with her giant, yacht-sized feet in $5000 shoes. But i'm happy, because now I don't trip on my jeans.

It just goes to show you:

Crap, I dunno. Raggedy jeans.

Oh, yeah! I remembered.

I used to try to be cool by dressing like an idiot, just like everyone else. Then I tried to be cool by paying money for something I didn't like, just like everyone else. Now I totally don't care, and i'm a lot happier.

And my jeans are raggedy, and as soon as I lose the baby weight, i'm burning them.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

a sullustan ate my baby!

No, not really. But can you see the resemblance?




















My kids are gonna hate me one day, aren't they?

me vs. the vegetables, round 1

1. I am painting an enormous painting of pears, including two Bartlett and one Bosc. Biscuit walked up behind me and patted me on the shoulder, saying, "You made pretty potatoes, mommy! You did a good job!"

So the potatoes win that one.

2. I decided to fry up some falafel and zucchini for lunch. The falafel stuck to the bottom of the pan, broke up into gritty globs, and burned. The zucchini was doing well until our wonderful handyman came in to explain the 4213 things wrong with our house, at which point the zucchini started burning, the smoke detector started shrieking, T. Rex woke up from his nap and started hollering, and I burned two fingers.

I give the zucchini 2 points.

3. My kid ate corn yesterday. She is still refusing to use the potty. I changed her diaper.

Corn wins.

Yuck.

Monday, January 5, 2009

the same, but different

Same: I still work best under pressure. My show opens Thursday; I delivered the work and inventory list today; and the 3 best pieces are currently dripping on my kitchen floor while I run around the living room hooting "That's a sexy pear right there!"

Different: All the running around and hooting woke up the baby.

Same: I packed the pieces precisely in boxes saved expressly for the purpose, fitting them into the boxes and into the car like a Clark Griswald holiday jigsaw puzzle.

Different: My toddler packed her board books into an empty diaper box at my side, telling me, "We will share your art show, won't we mommy? Look! I am packing art, too!"

Same: I am terrified that no one will come to the reception and i'll be stuck mainlining taco dip in the kitchen while my parents talk to some old people who randomly wondered in while trying to find the library.

Different: They programmed my show into the digital marquee, and I nearly ran off the road when I saw my name flash up as we drove by.

Same: My hands are ragged from sanding and painting and hanging the work, and my fingernails are ripped and firmly ridged with paint and pastels.

Different: I actually have to wash my hands every now and then while working so the baby won't ingest the paint and pastels and start spitting up in technicolor. Don't worry-- it's all non-toxic.

Artist/Mom. Mom/Artist. It's a two-sided coin, and hopefully a better looking one than the Susan B. Anthony dollar.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

a child's understanding of death

Me: Look, Biscuit! Here is a dead centipede! Isn't it interesting how he is curled up in a little ball?
Biscuit: Oh! Look at he! I will get him some food.
Me: Well, he's already dead, but I guess it can't hurt...
Biscuit: Here is a peanut for he!
Me: Okay...
Biscuit: Here is a stick! It is yummy for he!
Me: Buddy, here's a living centipede, if you want to see a live one...
Biscuit: No, I am feeding the dead one.

Also, our dead cat Puddy is apparently "hiding under the rocks" in the garden, according to Biscuit. She watched us bury him, actually. How creepy is that?

Oh, well. At least she has empathy. Not bad for a two-year-old. And there's always business for undertakers, if she keeps up with this sort of thing.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

make these cookies and lactate!


Missy Moo's Milk-Makin' Cookies
(based on Easy Oatmeal Cookies from www.allrecipes.com)

When T.Rex is having a cluster feeding frenzy, I totally crave these cookies. I fiddled with the recipe to include more healthful ingredients, such as an extra egg, less oil and sugar, and the addition of steel cut oats and ground flaxseed. Oatmeal is considered a galactagogue, which is something that helps bump up your milk supply when you are lactating.

Galactagogue. I know it sounds like some sort of megalomaniacal interplanetary dictator, but I looked it up. It's not.

Here's your caveat: when you read the ingredients, it should be obvious that these are not bakery-delicious, Toll-House gooey, ultra-swoony cookies. They taste delicious to me, but I could see how others could equate them with horse feed. But they serve a purpose, and they are much better for you than those ridiculous Quaker oat bars that have more high fructose corn syrup and filler junk than oats.

So here we go.

1 1/2c whole wheat flour
1/2c ground flax seed
1t baking soda
1t salt
2t cinnamon
1t pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2c whole oats
1/2c steel cut oats
1/2c packed brown sugar
3 eggs (I use omega-3 eggs)
1/2c vegetable oil (I use Smart Balance)
1t vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix flour, flaxseed, soda, salt, and spices in a big bowl.
3. Blend in oats and sugar.
4. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with a fork. Mix in oil and vanilla.
5. Stir wet into dry until thoroughly mixed.
6. Use your hands or 2 spoons to drop firm balls onto a baking stone or cooking sheet. They'll be chewier on a baking stone and crunchier on a cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes, then press slightly flat with a fork. Bake 4-10 more minutes until golden brown, whatever that means.
7. If you like sweets, make a glaze with some milk and powdered sugar and drizzle that on the warm, not hot cookies.

Eat with cold milk... then make milk! If you already are, of course. Eating these cookies won't make you spontaneously lactate. I guarantee it.

After eating them, make sure you manage to leak spectacularly through your shirt while visiting your husband's work to show off the new baby. And tell everyone he spit up.

Oh, and then admit it on your blog and hope the work colleagues don't read it. That'll work.

Friday, January 2, 2009

synesthesia and the dewey decimal system

If you aren't aware that i'm off my rocker, you're about to find out. And I don't mean that I have horrible taste in movies or issues with socks and warm fruit, because EVERYBODY knows that.

This time, it's about numbers.

I have very specific feelings about numbers based on an amorphous classification system involving divisors, odd/even-ness, prime-ness, and the colors assigned to numbers by my synesthesia, which, if you are unaware, is a condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another.

See? Told you' i'm a nutter. I see letters, words, and numbers in/with specific colors.

So here we go. Let me tell you how I feel about numbers, because Dr. Crog finds it fascinating, especially as relates to the volume control in my vehicle. I hate to have the volume on an odd number. It really, really needs to be even, especially 8, 10, or 14. If it has to be odd, 11 and 7 are really the only allowable levels, but i'm still jittery and staring at the stereo like it's going to blow up while i'm driving. Naturally, he really likes to set the volume at 5 or 9 and see how long until I freak out.

0 - is clear and cold, like ice, and takes on the tint of what's around it. If I had to give it a color, it would be the lightest shade of translucent robin's egg blue. It's a fence-sitter. Very wishy-washy.
1 - is icey moss green, takes on the color of numbers around it. Too small to like, really. A sycophant of a number.
2 - is a warm orange, halfway between a lion and tiger. It's my favorite small number. Quite jaunty.
3 - is a cold, light green. It's okay, but not my favorite. A bit whiny.
4 - is a warmer, reddish orange. I like it, because it's 2+2 and 2x2. Very tidy and competent.
5 - is awful. It's a lovely ultramarine, which I should like, but as a number, it's all wrong. My least favorite small number. Somewhat sneaky and evil, like a Disney villain.
6 - is a warmish plum. Like a jolly, funny sidekick.
7 - is a nice kelly green. I like it well enough, for an odd number. It strongly colors other numbers around it. I like the prime-ness of it. It's a bit royal.
8 - is a brick red. A very solid number, very responsible.
9 - is chestnut brown, like a sorrel horse. Not bad for an odd number, as it's 3x3. It's amenable and jovial, again, like a pleasant horse that's happy to follow the lead.

After those first 10 numbers, I have random numbers that I like or dislike based on the color combinations, prime, odd, even, etc. My all time favorite number is 22. It's 2x11, and I like both those numbers. It has two 2's, which I enjoy. And it's just the loveliest tawny color, with a sheen like sunlight on a liger, not to get too Napoleon Dynamite for you. I don't like 31 or 76, or anything in the 50's, except 54. Barely. But only because it's 9x6 and has a tinge of plum by association.

The numbers have their colors and personalities, and when you start putting them together into phone numbers and social security numbers, it gets really complicated. If there are no repeating numbers and no color schemes, I flat out cannot remember a phone number, so thank goodness for cell phones.

Having felt this way about numbers and letters my entire life, what I find oddest is that the colors do not cover a wider range, nor do they reflect the colors I prefer in decorating or visual art. I mean, I dare you to find a tawny orange in my work, my home, or my wardrobe! There are no teals, mauves, or yellows in the numbers. Not a single yellow. The alphabet has a much wider spread, but the colors are still so randomly assigned as to be laughable. And the fact that I have feelings towards letters, numbers, words, and names based on mental images of mysteriously assigned colors is just... just... just stupid, really. The entire concept is just flat out ridiculous.

So there you have it. If I can't remember your phone number, now you know why. But i'm not going to tell you what the ugliest name in the English language is, because i'd hurt too many feelings. It is honestly just the nastiest mustard barf. And it begins with J, and that's all i'm saying.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

year of the b-ox choy?

Yeah, sorry, no vegetables rhyme with "ox".

I know New Year's resolutions are totes not coolio, natch. But I just <3 to be different.

Yeah, I really hate all that trendy crap, too. Irony!

Anyway, I am going to say it here. I do have a New Year's Resolution.

I am going to eat 3 servings of vegetables a day in 2009.

I freakin' hate vegetables. If it ain't french fries or my grandmother's creamed corn, I basically eat it as a filler to feel virtuous as I chew around meat. But I know how important they are-- for antioxidants, for fiber, for street cred with my kids. Last night was the first time Cleo understood that Daddy and Mommy were cramming an ice cream-slathered-hot-chocolate-chip-cookie into their hypocritical gobs at light speed, hoping she was too busy with her quesadilla and broccoli to notice. And she asked for some, and then she tried to stick her fork into the mess.

The jig is up, yo.

We have to set a better example. So i'm going to start by aiming for 3 servings of vegetables a day, where these days i'm lucky to get 1 serving. I'm going to find interesting recipes to serve to my family. I'm not going to fill myself with whole grain un-treats all day and pretend that they're good for me. Chocolate chip granola bars are still chocolate chip granola bars, even if they have whole oats and are flavored with organic brown rice syrup. The hope is that 3 servings of veggies will replace the useless fake grains, making me healthier and slimmer.

A girl can dream, right?

And, yeah, exercise and drinking more water and all that jazz. Maybe.

But the vegetables... I can do that.