Monday, August 31, 2009

the new new cruelty


Yet again, I turn over a new leaf.

Yet again, we begin The New Cruelty.

And all because of that picture up there.

Okay, no. I take that back. I'm doing it for a lot of reasons. But that picture is my main incentive, my definite catalyst. My Elba.

Why?

It looks like a pretty good picture. When you consider that my three-year-old took it using an old point-and-shoot camera, it's almost impressive.

"That's a good picture of me," I said.

"You look cute," my husband said.

And then I saw it.

The double chin.

One month off the wagon. One month of depression and inertia, eating whatever I wanted, doing no exercise, drinking no water. The scale says I haven't gained any weight, but there's a definite difference in the fat-to-muscle ratio.

And FREAKIN' DOUBLE CHIN. Look.


I now hate this picture. This is not who I want to be. I may never be a "thin" girl. But I resolve to not have a double chin.

So I'm back on the wagon.

I will eat less than I want to.

I will eat more vegetables and protein.

I will eat less carbs and sugar.

I will drink nothing but water. Mostly.

I will exercise. Maybe not every day, but most days. I'm back on the Shred.

I will not eat after 8pm.

I will not bake.

I will succeed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

the secret lives of fairies

Fairy Secret #71: Fairies like to eat a bunch of cake and run around dancing to a magical blue tutu that plays Blue Danube.



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Fairy Secret #128: Fairies prefer Juicy Juice Fruit Punch when worshiping Farbie the Fairy Queen around a sacrificial purple pedestal made of an old quesadilla-maker box and a piece of fabric.


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Fairy Secret #224: It is occasionally permissible for a fairy to sing with a mouth full of food if, in fact, it is that fairy's 3rd birthday party and she's really happy.


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Fairy Secret #302: A fairy's brother is not particularly impressed by the party, but he would really like to get his pudgy hands on one of those pink balloons.


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Fairy Secret # 386: Fairies enjoy fishing with their grandfathers using a Barbie fishing pole and special, flower-shaped Barbie tackle box. Hint, hint, Big Ben!


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Fairy Secret #508: Fairies really like to roller skate with daddy while wearing their new Star Wars roller skates.


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Fairy Secret #555: Sometimes a fairy's mother gets very tender and maudlin when she watches her best little buddy dancing alone in a sunbeam on her birthday. Sometimes a fairy's mother sniffles a little bit, to think of her sweet little Biscuit growing up and another year gone.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

barbie FTW = WTF?

,
There she is. The instrument of my undoing. Farbie.

Fairy Barbie, to be exact, because a) the Biscuit loves fairies, and b) she was by far the cheapest Barbie at Target. And I needed an anorexic but buxom pantsless doll popping out of my toddler's cake.

It was like this:
Fairy Barbie = $5.98
Tinkerbell = $9.99
Disney Princess Smorgasbord including New Multicultural Princess because it's about friggin' time Mr. Disney, jeesh = $60.

So Fairy Barbie it was. Or Farbie, as I like to call her.

But that's not the whole story of this FAIL turned epic WIN. It started with a bundt cake pan and the recipe for pumpkin-chocolate cake. I doubled the recipe and planned to use a bundt pan on top of a round pan so that the cake would go all the way up Barbie's endless gams. But the cake was waaaaaay too thick, and I only ended up with enough mix to fill the bundt, and then it looked like this:


So that was a FAIL. Naked fairy chick knee-deep in crap cake! And I only had one egg left!

So I pulled out the box of brownie mix I've been planning on whipping up as a thank-you to the girls at The Coffee Park, and I made half a batch of brownies, which refused to come out of the pan and looked like this:


Yay! Second FAIL of the day. Instead of nice, dense, square brownies to pack around Farbie, I had hot brownie mud. So I used it like clay and just molded the brownie around Farbie's legs and up to her waist in a loose approximation of a dress. And then I iced the crap out of that Farbie using a cupcake decorating set I bought at Michael's.

Oh, and she had a giant 3 on her butt.


Here's what she looked like on the inside, in case you're wondering what it would look like to dissect a Farbie cake.



IT LOOKED LIKE UTTER DELICIOUSNESS.

Every slice was an amalgamation of brownie, icing, and rich pumpkin-devil's-food cake. It was so rich as to seem almost naughty. Although we did smear some purple icing over her crotch, for propriety's sake. Nothing says "Happy 3rd Birthday!" like staring at some triumphant naked lady's bajingo, eh?

And here's what she looked like on fire:


I raised her arms up so they wouldn't catch flame and set off the fire alarm and cause children to cry as Farbie's arms and face melted off like something from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Toy Chest.

And here is what she made my daughter look like as we sang Happy Birthday:


Check in for tomorrow's Party Post, showing the Biscuit and some of her dearest royal friends and subjects partying down to the tune of Blue Danube on a raging sugar high.

I gotta say it: for a toddler birthday party, it was a lot of fun. Thanks for coming, everybody!

And please stop by soon for another slice of Farbie. We've got a loooot of Farbie left over. And Farbie-it-from-me to keep anyone from a well-deserved sugar high.

Friday, August 28, 2009

too, too sweet.





The Biscuit avows that it was a good birthday.

Why are there no pictures of the roller skating? Because it lasted 3 minutes. I could have kept my $16 longer playing roulette in Vegas. A 3-year-old on roller skates is a lot like a drunk octopus on ice coated with lard.

But the cupcakes were good.

my biscuit is free

At least, that's what she says when she holds up three fingers and proclaims her age

Three years ago today, I was pumped full of drugs and dragging an IV pole behind me as I recovered from an unwanted c-section and snuggled my willful and mercurial little dude, who insisted on entering the world butt-first.

And now I have one of these.


Happy Berfday, Biscuits!

And thanks, Aunt Val, for the hooker socks and cupcake belts, which have become princess crowns. You totally made her day yesterday!

And she likes to carry around the frog card and say, "This is my card. It has a frawg. But he's all black." Kids these days, with their technicolor sitcoms. Don't know what to do with good, ol' fashioned French black-and-white photography.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

why fall rox my soxx like a stone cold foxxx

Yeah, I really love Fall. With lots of X's, apparently.

It's my favorite season by far, followed by Spring, then Winter, then something else, then another thing, and then, last of all, Summer. Perhaps Summer is pleasant and exciting elsewhere in the world, but in Georgia, it's a lot like constantly walking through cabbage soup while small birds peck at your eyeballs.

But we're not talking about how much I hate Summer.

We're talking about how much I love Fall. Why? Glad you asked.

Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Fall

1. The way it feels. Cool, crisp air. Chilly breezes. Wearing a long skirt on a windy day. The way that the morning air rushes into my lungs and out into my nerves and sinews, making me feel new and refreshed.

2. The way it looks. Multi-hued trees waving against a cold, blue sky. Dark orange and chocolate brown and warm, golden yellow. Shiny red apples. Halloween decorations. Big piles of pumpkins on the street corners.

3. The way it smells. The smell of the crunchy leaves, fires on the air, pumpkin, cinnamon. The distinct scent of an early fall morning, where you can smell the cold promise of winter.

4. The way it sounds. Crunching leaves underfoot, rustling trees, the sound of children playing outside. The sound of leaves falling. No more freakin' crickets.

5. Preschool, which feels like 9 hours of freedom a week, baby.

6. Halloween, which is my favorite holiday by far. My child has thus far mentioned being a princess, a fairy, a ballerina, a crocodile, a pirate, and a scary monster with very long, sharp teeth.

7. Life is easier. The grass stops growing and leaves cover the yard, so I don't have to worry so much about cutting the lawn. I actually enjoy opening the windows and cleaning the house. I want to eat less and do more. I'm happier. I sleep better. Ahhh.

8. MY BIRTHDAY. Which means CAKE. And general merriment. And CAKE. And possibly ice skating or rock climbing or something. And CAKE.

9. Fall foods. Soups and stews and tea and pumpkin bread and salsa. Warm things. Spicy things. I always want to eat healthier in the fall. Everything tastes better. Yes, even vegetables.

10. It ain't Summer. I hate summer. I think Summer just utterly dulls my senses and makes me want to sit in front of an oscillating fan and eat animal crackers while I fan myself and surf the internet, which is totally lame. Summer makes me depressed, makes me stupid. Summer enervates. Fall energizes.

But Fall feels like hope and home and happiness and renewal and energy to me. Which is odd, I know, since it's more of an ending time as the leaves fall and everything prepares to go dormant in Winter. I have never found Fall to be depressing or sad in any way.

So that's why I'm counting down the days until October. For all that stuff, and then cake.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

charmed

Last night, my poor Dr. Krog gave in to three late nights in a row and fell asleep around 7:30pm. I shlepped around the house, coughing uncontrollably, waiting until I could fall asleep, too. At one point, I plopped down on the bed to watch some Scrubs, and the sleeping Krog rolled over and said to me:

Gilbus.

Neither one of us knows what that means.

Later on, when I was getting ready to go to bed, he opened one gluey eye and said:

Oh, hey. I had a dream that you were a walrus.

That sounds inconvenient, I said.

No, it was alright. I was a turtle, he answered.

I am constantly charmed by my life.

Monday, August 24, 2009

they do not call me sandy


That's me and Dr. Krog at the beach last August.

I really, really miss the beach. Any beach. The ocean. Vacation. Swimming with sharks.

But you know what? It's okay. Because I suspect that having both my children at the beach right now would be like a hermit crab out of its shell having its limbs torn off by a squid and an octopus. Sandy and painful and generally a losing proposition. T.Rex would be so warm and moist and gritty, you know?

So now I've got my sights set on Disneyworld.

Why? I mean, I don't even like Disney. Not the characters, not the branding, not the movies, really. But it's just so safe. Everything remotely related to Disneyworld is child-friendly and parent-friendly, and you'd have to go out of your way to get hurt there. And that sounds fabulous to me, because both of my children regularly seem to go out of their way to gain new and interesting bruises.

I guess I'm officially a mom. I actually dream of a Disneyworld vacation.

Somewhere, deep inside me, my rebellious 13-year-old self is pointing and laughing and screeching, "Sucker! Sell-out! Loser!"

But I don't care, because I'm thinner than she is and I have better hair.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

the phantom crap

Who knows what evil lurks in the diapers of babies?
The Phantom Nose.


Muahahahaha!

No, really.

Are you familiar with The Phantom Crap?

The Phantom Crap is what occurs when you're happily playing with your sweet, chubby baby, and he's crawling all over you and laughing and giving you those marvelous, open-mouth kisses all over your chin, and he's saying lovely, endearing things about baw-de-raw-baw and then you catch a whiff of something horrid.

And then you heft said baby under the arms and deposit him about 4 feet away from you to make sure that he's not leaking toxic fluid all over you.

And then you realize why he's so blasted happy. Why he looks like this:


Judging by the smell, he's just had the biggest, gooeyest crap of his life.

As he squats on the ground, fanny waving in the air, you approach carefully and sniff.

Oh, sweet lord, it's horrible.

You go downstairs for some fresh, extra wet baby wipes, because the ones in his room are a little dried out, and you don't want to end up using blankets and dirty socks to stem the tides of the ooze in his britches.

You lay out an old, mangy blanket, get 8 wipes separated and ready, take a deep breath, and whip off his pants.

No ooze. Thank goodness.

Then you gingerly undo the diaper tabs to find....


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*

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...nothing.

Not even a little, teeny, tiny, baby skid mark.

The horrible, nasty, hideous stench of doom was apparently just a silent but deadly baby fart.

And the cruel irony is that when he does hunker down for that monumental, unavoidable, disgustingly green splat, you won't know it, and then you'll pick him up and snuggle him and ruin your shirt and stain both hands and probably be out of wipes and end up using your nicest kitchen towel and smell like a dysenteric cow for the rest of the day.

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My kid had the biggest Phantom Crap ever today. It totally stunk. And the diaper was as white as driven snow.

Anybody else know what I'm talkin' about, yo?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

biscuitisms

From the past week.

Biscuit: What's that guy's name?
Me: That's the prince. His name is Prince Phillip.
Biscuit: Why? What does he fill up?

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Me: Please don't make me stand around in the parking lot. COME ON!
Biscuit: I *AM* COME ONNING!

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Me: Honey, why is your dress pulled down like that?
Biscuit: This is how princesses wear it.
Me: No, honey. Princesses don't show their nipples
Biscuit: Jasmine does!
Me: No, buddy. She covers her chest and shows off her belly button.
Biscuit: Okay. Now I'm a princess!
Me: Getting closer, but princesses don't pull their dresses over their heads to show their underpants.
Biscuit: (sigh) It's hard to be a princess.

*

Me: I told you to go to your room. Hurry up!
Biscuit: I can't hurry up!
Me: Oh? Why's that?
Biscuit: My feet aren't fast enough to hurry!

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Biscuit: (holds up jar of pain pills) Is this grandma's vitamins?

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Me: If you pick up your brother and try to throw him again, I am confiscating your princess dress.
Biscuit: That's okay. Daddy will buy me a new one on Sunday.
Me: Oh, really?
Biscuit: Yeah. He loves me.

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Me: What are you doing up there?
Biscuit: I am not eating toothpaste.
Me: Okay, but what *are* you doing?
Biscuit: I am just checking it.
Me: And how is it?
Biscuit: Oh, it's pretty good.

*

Biscuit: I think we need a giant.
Me: Really? Why?
Biscuit: He will have big ol', big ol' teeth, and he will eat the sharks and other monsters that want to eat my brother.
Me: That's a helpful giant.
Biscuit: Actually, he really is.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

14 impossibilities by lunchtime

Things I said today that I never thought I would have to say:

1. No using Force lightning on your brother.

2. Quit trying to throw your broken telescope into the ceiling fan.

3. Get your bottom out of that poor boy's face.

4. Snow White, get your hands off your girl parts.

5. Don't throw those black bananas away-- I can use those!

6. C'mere and let me get those boogers out of your eyes, dude.

7. Quit trying to put Cheerios up your nose.

8. But I don't want to read that book again. Can't we just watch a movie?*

9. I appreciate what you're trying to do, but please don't help me clean the kitchen.

10. Thank you so much for buying me a rug rake.

11. Honestly, could you crap more?? Or greener? YOU CRAP SO MUCH.

12. No, princesses never wear shoes in the house. And they always wear underpants.

13. Please hug your brother less. You're hurting him.

14. You're very nice, to nurse that bear. He must be a happy baby.


* Because I have a sore throat and don't like the book Ladybug Girl, especially not twice in a row.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

of buboes and boobies

Signs your baby might have the plague:

1. When you get undressed, you find dry, green baby boogers stuck to your back.

2. When he nurses, he snuffles like a pig eating cake batter.

3. He has zombie seeds in his sweet, innocent, brain-hungry eyes.

4. He's so hoarse that when he cries, no sound comes out, and you get a car wash and vacuum half your car before you realize that he's been crying for at least five minutes and is covered in boogers and eye boogers and tears, but you couldn't hear it because of the car wash and vacuum. And then you feel like the worst, most deaf* mother on earth.

5. You didn't get to sleep until after midnight last night because your sick baby took 5 naps during the day and decided that night time was the right time for his Baby Beyond Thunderdome Challenge, which mostly involved doing front flips over his plastic garden wall.

6. He can't even talk, but he's hoarse, like an old lady that smokes. And you keep expecting him to say, "Honey, that Orson Welles was a cad."

7. When he craps himself and you accidentally stick your hand down the back of his diaper and pull out a slime-covered paw that should, by rights, be burned by people in Hazmat suits, it's GREEN. Like, swamp green. And it smells like buttered toast and dead bodies.

8. Even if he never has a fever, he feels kinda clammy and moist all the time, like balloon full of soup.

9. Your older and more energetic child is bursting with health and vitality, and attempting to stay home for a quiet day in bed is a definite impossibility for which you will be punished. And that punishment will involve princess dresses, jumping up and down, and generally making the sick baby cry through violent displays of affection.

10. You've forgotten what it's like *not* to have a small, limp parasite attached to your life-giving bosom, but you're pretty sure it would involve a lot less pinching, scratching, and slime.

11. When your own throat starts to feel scratchy, you start swallowing any vitamin you can find, chasing it with a packet of Emergen-C, and generally trying to be the first person in history to put the smackdown on the common cold. Because the only thing worse than a sick baby is a sick mama.



* Not to be confused with Most Def, because I don't feel like I kick it at all, yo.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Inertia is the Enemy

After reading yesterday's post, talking to the handsome psychologist in my bed, and reading the comments and personal messages I received, I pretty much came to the conclusion that I'm depressed. So I cruised through last year's blog entries to see if I was depressed last summer, which I was. I'm beginning to think that I suffer from Australian SAD. Most people get Seasonal Affective Disorder in Winter, when it's cold and dreary and they don't get enough sunshine. But I appear to get depressed in Summer when it's hot and bright and I shun the sun.

What can I say? I'm a rebel.

I've had several episodes of situational depression in my life. I tried Zoloft once, but it made me twitchy and chewy, and I got really sick of eating pens. Luckily, as soon as I realize that I am depressed, for lack of a better word, I am better able to function and combat the inertia. Just being able to name the enemy gives me a certain power.

And therefore, Dr. Krog and I have a new motto: Inertia is the Enemy.

I feel fortunate to have this blog as a diary, soapbox, scrapbook, and general means of mass communication and commiseration. As sorry as I am that so many mothers share my sense of difficulty, I am thankful that we have found each other and can reassure each other that this feeling is normal.

I was raised to be the sort of person who shouldn't need help nor ask for it. When Dr. Krog and I were dating, it took him about three years to teach me how to say, "Could you please stop at the next gas station before I pee myself?" instead of just looking nervous, sighing dramatically, and crossing my legs in desperation during road trips. It took me five years to learn how to ask him to stop for food.

But a good friend read my blog post yesterday, picked up the phone, and called to see if I was okay. And she offered to host my child at her house today for a few hours while I did whatever I needed to do, which was to turn up the AC and jump in bed with a book and a sick, sleepy baby and doze in blissful silence. And *then*, when I went to pick up my extremely happy child, she fed me what is probably the healthiest meal I've had in a week, because when I get depressed, I turn to sugar. And, in this case, sugar cookies.

If being a mother has taken away certain aspects of my life that I miss, it has added one enormous boon: friendships. Before having children, I had trouble connecting with other women. But Motherhood brought me together with incredible and inspiring women, both in my own neighborhood and around the country. People I've never met are a regular part of my life, whether through forums, blogs, or Facebook. And on the worst days, just knowing that I'm not alone does wonders.

So if you're reading this, THANK YOU! If you commented or PM'ed or emailed, THANK YOU! And to Ericka, REALLY, REALLY THANK YOU!

I think that's enough emotional claptrap. I'll be back to my regularly scheduled buffoonery soon, possibly as early as dinner tonight.

P.S. Also, a great big shout-out of thanks to my MOM, who fed us lunch yesterday and spent two hours chasing my son while I jumped on a trampoline with the Biscuit. Nina takes good care of us, yes she does.

Monday, August 17, 2009

i need to remember this

First of all, if you're looking for teh funneh, please see yesterday's entry here and exult that your dinner was better than mine, even if you ate freezer-burned ice cream and Krystal sliders.

Secondly, I'm about to have a bit of a rant/complaint/pity party, so if you're the sort of person who doesn't need more negativity in their life, please don't read this entry. I get it-- I'm a complainer, and it gets annoying. I'm trying to work on it, but today's not the day for self improvement.

If, however, you are in the sticky and anxious throes of motherhood and could use some fellow feeling, please read on.

Because I need to remember this.

Motherhood is wonderful, resplendent, joyous, full of beauty and wonder and awe and happiness and pride and amazement and warm fuzzies in happy koala bear rainbow land where marshmallows and fifty-dollar-bills rain from the sky. And I'm thankful to be a mother, and I'm grateful to have such healthy, happy, unblemished children. I'm also actively appreciative of my awesome husband, strong marriage, supportive family, amazing house, and generally kickass life.

But.

When your kids are small, motherhood is also a lot like a heavy blanket. You're pretty sure you want it, you get it, you get wrapped up in it and go to sleep happy and warm. And then you wake up covered in sweat and feeling suffocated with a heat rash on your thighs, but you can't kick the blanket off. You can't even stick a foot out. You're just stuck with it, stuck under a heavy blanket.

Mothering two small children is HARD. It's so much harder than I thought it would be, so much harder than the books ever described. I see my friends with only one child right now, and I am jealous. Seriously, I get jealous when I think of how easy it would be to just have the Biscuit, to get to spend all this time focusing on her and doing fun things with her and being a better mother to her. I feel guilty because t.rex is so demanding, physically and emotionally, and I can't just spend all day at the playground or movie theater, doing things that are fun and easy with a 3-year-old but impossible with a 9-month-old strapped to my chest.

In fact, if t.rex wasn't so cute and affable and generally loveable, I would probably regret having two kids. I don't think I'm very good at mothering them both. I meet all their needs, but I never feel like there is enough of me to go around. When we're at home and we don't have plans, I can't freakin' stand myself. I'm anxious, petty, controlling, resentful, and trapped in mind-boggling and useless inertia. My house is a pit. I'm in mismatched pajamas, covered in sweat, with my hair in a bun and wearing smudged glasses. My kitchen is a wreck from failed dinner last night. There are spilled grits everywhere and stuck to my feet.

And I don't care.

I finally got my teething, growth-spurting, sniffling baby down to nap. And then he woke up and cried, so I ground my teeth and stuck out my jaw and stubbornly walked back upstairs to nurse him back to sleep again, reading Middlemarch over his head and wishing I could take a nap and/or run away to Paris. Then, instead of spending quality time with the Biscuit, I put Aladdin in the VCR for her and came downstairs to negatively vent my dissatisfaction with myself onto my blog for reasons that I don't really understand. And I hate that. It makes me dislike myself.

So why am I doing it? Maybe because I read this or this or this and thought, HOLY CRAP, THAT'S ME, I'M NOT ALONE, THIS REALLY DOES SUCK.

And part of it is that one day, I'm probably going to think, "Aw, let's have another baby!", and I want Dr. Krog to march me over to my laptop and show me this post and say, "Do you really want that? Do you want to lose yourself for two years, never get enough sleep, pile on more guilt, gain weight, and generally feel like you're nothing but a vessel, serf and a vending machine?"

And I'd be like, "No, let's get a puppy."

I have this horrible and/or wonderful gift/flaw. I forget how bad things were. All the horrible things that have happened to me in my life-- I just forget. There weren't a lot of horrible things, not compared to some folks, but there have been instances of depression, abuse, stalking. I was suicidal, at one point, but I remember that like it was a chapter from The Awakening, like it was someone else's story. Right now, I'm actually pretty happy on a moment-to-moment basis. But I need to remember how hard this time is for me, how hard it is for me to give and give, to sacrifice myself and my time and my needs.

And I know that it's only a phase, that it's hardest right now, with a toddler and an infant. I know that things will change, even when Biscuit's school starts in a few weeks and gives me some breathing room. I know that siblings are a gift to each other. But it doesn't change how I feel right now, stuck to this couch with inertia, in tears. There are so many things I want to do, and I can't do any of them. I don't feel like myself. I desperately need more than the 4 hours of sleep I got last night. And I need to get the grits off my feet.

I don't know if I'll post this, or if I'll post it and redact it. I don't know which would be worse: getting comments with annoying, "suck it up" flack or comments with heartfelt pity and encouragement. I just know that I need to get it out. Like when I'm drunk, and I know that as horrible as it is to puke, I'll feel so much better after I puke, so I go to the bathroom and stick my finger down my throat until I'm empty. That hasn't happened in-- what? five years? But I know that there is a time to purge and move on.

Life is good. Now is hard. I need to remember this.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

anatomy of a fail

I ruined dinner again.

Smoke fills the air and makes artistic lighting effects with the dappled sunshine beaming in the half-closed windows. Dr. Krog and the Biscuit are stretched out on the floor playing a toddler board that's a lot like Clue, but without the weapons, mansion, murder, or fun. T. Rex just had his first Cheerios and found them dubious, choosing instead to nurse with his fuzzy little head turned to watch the exciting game of Rainforest Bugaloo, aka. "You can't have the monkey unless you get a blue, but you're not rolling, you're just handing me the dice, and the cheetah goes next to the toucan, and this game is totally queer."

The air smells of burnt cabbage and black bacon and my own failure. Here's how it goes.

1. Trapped in the car with two screaming children, I pick up my latest copy of Everyday Food and start looking for something delicious, because I've been eatin' dirty for the last week, and the McDonalds I had just finished wasn't sitting well.

2. I find a scrumptious-looking recipe for one-pot pork chops with cabbage. I start salivating on the magazine and dog-ear the page.

3. I go to the store today and find pork chops on sale. I find a cabbage. I totally forget onions and whole milk.

4. I remember onions and whole milk and stop at another store to get them. My toddler has a spazz attack because the people there before us got the last "annoyingly huge car" cart.

5. I realize I don't have the giant roasting pan required to make this "easy, one-dish meal".

6. I get all my ingredients ready and measured in their separate little bowls and congratulate myself on being thorough.

7. I start cooking in my biggest soup pot, which instantly starts smoking and filling the air with fug and smelling horrible. I frantically re-read the recipe to confirm that my stovetop should be on high, which it should.

8. I realize that we really need to replace the batteries in our smoke alarms, because not a single one is going off, and they all should be, at this point.

9. I transfer all the burning, black gunk to my non-stick skillet, which is way too small. The onions and bacon have formed a sort of black-caramel-asphalt, and the cabbage is uncooked.

10. I add the flour and milk according to the recipe, and it starts bubbling all over the stove, because the skillet is still too small. I frantically search for a larger pot, even though I know I don't have one.

11. I slap the half-cooked pork chops into my biggest mixing bowl and dump the mucky bog-water over them and stick the whole thing in the oven.

12. Realizing I never seasoned with salt and pepper, I throw some into the bowl and swirl it around in a last-ditch attempt to save this pathetic caricature of a meal.

13. The timer dings, and I pull out a beautiful pan of from-the-box cornbread and a hideous, smelly monstrosity that even Dr. Krog isn't brave enough to taste. I use my longest metal tongs to lift a dripping, pink, mostly-uncooked chop from its vat of stank and drop it dejectedly into the sludge.

14. I throw Everyday Food into the trash can and eat half a pan of hot cornbread with half a cup of butter in my smoke-filled kitchen like eons of southern women before me.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

live long and eat tacos

I have eaten at Willy's and seen the new Star Trek movie, and I now know the future.

1. In the future, we will all wear tight-fitting knit sweaters that give us all paunches, even those of us who are trained ballerinas and were totally awesome in Centerstage.

2. In the future, cops will call us "citizen" in a way reminiscent of Starship Troopers. In fact, most things in the future will apparently be eerily reminiscent of Starship Troopers, including the alien monsters and James Tiberius Caspar Van Dien Kirk.

3. In the future, Leonard Nemoy will show up to save the day. So don't worry. Even if it doesn't make sense. He's frickin' Leonard Nemoy.

4. In the future, Dyson will make spaceships that turn around a giant ball. Mr. Dyson is probably in his basement working on it already and looking forward to telling you about it in a commercial.

5. In the future, the crazy Eastern European guy who can't say his W's from Ghostbusters 2 will be sent through a time machine so that he can run around saving the day on the Enterprise as Checkov, who has crazy Flock-of-Seagulls hair that dominates all his scenes.

6. In the future, Harold will drop Kumar, learn how to fence, and forget to turn off the parking brake of the Enterprise as Mr. Sulu.

7. In the future, the boys from Durmstrang will take their furry jackets to Romulus and get some wicked facial tattoos.

8. In the future, Iowa will apparently still suck.

9. In the future, Joey from Friends will lose weight and lend his acting talents to a role as a grouchy space doctor Bones as played by Dr. Drake Ramoray.

10. In the future, the guy from Shaun of the Dead will bring his fantastic accent and friendly lichen-midget to Hoth before pre-inventing teleportation onto a spaceship already in warp speed, or something that I didn't really catch because I was too busy listening to his accent and laughing at the lichen-midget.

11. In the future, Wynona Ryder will at some point start to look old, which is going to totally freak me out about aging and time passing and plastic surgery and OMG SHE CAN NEVER GROW OLD, I FORBID IT.

12. In the future, Star Trek movies will totally rock and make audiences cheer, and no one will yell KHHHHAAAAAAN and no whales will sing and you will spend the whole movie on the edge of your seat with worry even though you know they are going to live through it because it's primed and ready for an equally kickass sequel.

Oh, wait. THAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.

So do yourself a favor. Leave your crying, teething baby with your poor, suffering mother and go to Willy's and have a taco and a macadamia-nut-and-white-chocolate-cookie and go to the dollar movie and pretend it's 1990 when you saw Alien 3 there because absolutely nothing has changed. I can see the future, and I know you're going to have an utterly amazing time.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

baby + teeth + mouse + human ear = huh?


Where have I been for the last week or so?

Attached to that guy. Cap'n Velcro Baby. He's got two new teeth and would basically prefer to spend every waking and sleeping moment hanging off my chest like a voracious baby octopus.

So I sit here at the laptop, editing my manuscript and having the marrow sucked from my bones by a perturbed infant as my tyrannical toddler explores her feelings through tears, negativity, drama, physical violence, and dressing up like a magical princess who mostly pours crayons into cups to serve as tea.

It's been a pretty full week.

But look.

I made this dude, and he made teeth.


Now if I could just figure out a way to make him grow a second row of teeth so that I could have them transplanted into my own mouth. I inherited bum teeth, and no matter how much I floss and brush, they disintegrate. If scientists can grow human ears on the backs of hairless mice like the picture in the back of my high school yearbook promised back in 1996, surely I should be able to harvest some healthier teeth from my spawn.

Right? Right?

I lost you at the ear on the mouse, didn't I?

Look, I've got a great imagination, but it's not *that* great. Here's what I'm talking about:

I bet you wish you could get some brain bleach and just go back to ogling the chubby pirate baby, huh? And can you imagine the first person to get one of these ears?

girl: Why does your ear smell like cheese?

dude with mouse ear: What?

girl: WHY DOES YOUR EAR SMELL LIKE CHEESE?

dude w.m.e.: I'm sorry, I can't hear you. There's all this residual squeaking, like when you hold up a seashell and hear the ocean. Except it's an ocean of mice.

*

Anyway. How 'bout that local sports team?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

fruitless-ness

The Biscuit: Mommy, I am hungry.
Me: What do you want?
The Biscuit: I want more cheese.
(I look at the trail of shredded cheese from the kitchen to the couch to the little couch to her foot.)
Me: Okay, but you have to sit at the kitchen table to eat your cheese.
The Biscuit: No.
Me: So what do you want then?
The Biscuit: Grapes.
Me: We don't have any grapes.
The Biscuit: Yes we do. I will show you.
(She opens the fridge and points to 2-week-old mummified grapes.)
Me: You don't want to eat those, dude. They are old and gross.
The Biscuit: Yeah, I do. Grapes are yummy.
Me: Those grapes are so old and nasty that the California Raisins wouldn't hire them as nannies. Let me just throw those away, because I'm the sort of mom who's totally on top of things. What else do you want? How about an apple?
The Biscuit: Yeah, an apple!
(I take out an apple, wash it, cut it up, hand her the biggest piece.)
The Biscuit: NO, I DON'T LIKE APPLES!!
Me: You just said you wanted it.
The Biscuit: No, I don't. I just want a peach.
Me: They're not ripe. Eat this apple.
The Biscuit: No, I don't. I just want... I just want... a cookie.
Me: Not gonna happen.
The Biscuit: I just want a avocado.
Me: Great! Let me get--
The Biscuit: No, I don't like avocados anymore. But I like strawberries again.
Me: We don't have strawberries.
The Biscuit: I just want a plum. Plums are my favorite.
Me: Here is the apple I have already cut for you. If you eat it, you can have a plum.
The Biscuit: No, I don't really like apples. They are yucky.
Me: Fine, spazz. I'm going to go eat this apple.
The Biscuit: NO, I WANT IT!!!!! And also the green things. The green mushrooms. The cheesy things. With the yellow stuff inside the green mushrooms. It's called dee-doo-dee-doo-zeeeeeee!
Me: )(&U*(^*%^&$&???

Toddler FTW, eh?

Monday, August 10, 2009

a midsummer night's scream

Did you know I used to be a fairy? It's true.

Several thousand years ago in another life, I was in high school, and I had very large eyebrows. I signed up for drama and attended my first audition, where it was determined that my talent for painting sets utterly eclipsed my talent on the stage, where I mostly tried to act like myself but louder.

I auditioned for Titania, Queen of the Fairies in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

I was lucky to nab the part of Cobweb, aka Fairy #4 when the original actress broke her arm. My costume was a piece of gauze and a tutu over a purple J.Crew gingham bathing suit. But I painted some fabulously glittery trees and did some garish amateur face painting with lots of curlicues.

Oddly, fairies have returned to my life, and I'm just as conflicted about them as I was at sixteen.

For one thing, my child loves fairies. Loves her fairy costume, loves her fairy wings, loves the fairy magnets we bought her, hoping to hold her in one place for more than two minutes. The only way I can entice her to eat a quesadilla is to call it a "fairydilla" and let her help sprinkle on the "magic cheese glitter". I try to balance the fairies out with some nice, swashbuckling pirates, but it's obvious that she prefers the costume with sparkles and wings to the one with the eyepatch and hook-hand.

For another thing, I begin to suspect that I now live with a changeling child placed here by fairies to repay me for torturing my own mother in my youth. The Biscuit has always been quiet, polite, helpful, and thoughtful, but in the last two weeks, she has become a sort of willful force of nature. The tyrranical three-year-old in her is awakening, and I spend a lot of my time flummoxed by the best way to nurture her independent spirit without throttling her.

She doesn't want to eat my food. She doesn't want to do anything that I propose. She claims that she doesn't love me... until she gets hurt doing something outrageously foolish that I've told her specifically NOT to do 431 times and starts crying for Mommy. She wants to love her brother, but her version of "love" involves a lot of grievous bodily harm and angry screaming. And I can't take her to a playground to run the energy and jerkiness out of her, because it's 98 degrees out there.

Yesterday, she hugged me with such explosive violence that I now have a split lip. She was wearing a tutu and ballet slippers at the time.

So here's the time line: i was an annoying child --> I made a bad fairy --> My perfect child was replaced by a changeling child by malevolent fairies --> My child wishes to be a fairy --> My child beats me up dressed as a fairy.

In the immortal words of Oberon, and I'm paraphrasing here,
"Don't f*ck with the fairies, because Titania will mess you up, yo".

Saturday, August 8, 2009

book. marks.


I got no camera. I got no flip. I can't show you what passes for decent photography in my house, which is a crummy photograph with a point-and-shoot that has been Photoshopped within an inch of my own my life.

No, I'm giving you the height of excitement: a screen shot of my Bookmarks.

Stop peeing your pants there, buddy. It'll be okay. I know you haven't been this excited since they started making mini bagels.

See, I have this exact sort of path I follow every morning. I know most of you do, too, that you can't be complete unless you check a long string of websites, blogs, and email. The dog I had growing up had to do the same thing every time she took a crap, check the same trees and bushes, make sure no one else had crapped there in the night, whatever dogs do. But I simply feel incomplete and anxious each morning until it's done.

I start with email, my main address and the one connected to Etsy and Paypal. Then I start at the top of those Bookmarks and work my way down. After I've gone through MamaBargains, I leave the Bookmarks and go to Shnoop, Woot, Twitter, FailBlog, and Facebook. Then I go through my friends' blogs: BrightCaroline, ReturningtoCenter, Lostview Farm, Disposable Aardvarks, etc. From the now defunct link to Midnight Sun and downward, those are just things I don't want to lose. I mean, I don't go reading the recipe for Weight Watchers vegetable soup every day.

I'm not that crazy.

But I've got to finish the Bookmarks and blaze the trail.

Only then can I feel free to start working on the book, commenting on Facebook, or tending to my children, who are always annoyingly hungry in the morning.

*

I finished my first draft last night and am ready to start editing. And I have two "test cases" who have agreed to do a read-through of the edited draft and offer feedback before I start contacting agents. I'm terrified of letting anyone besides my dear Dr. Krog read my baby, because if they don't like it, I'll have to move into the attic and become a crazy cat lady, and that's not really going to work with my current life. It would be very Miss-Havisham-wrote-a-book-and-it-sucked, and nobody wants that. Off to page 1!

Oh, yeah. and feeding the kids.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

confessions. tres juicy.

1. Yeah, it's numbers again. Tough.

2. I don't have any good pictures to Photoshop for you, because my mom has the digital camera (which is really hers, anyway) to take pictures of her cactus, which only blooms once every couple of years.

3. I haven't Shredded since I started writing. Not once.

4. And yet I haven't gained weight. Holding steady around 146.

5. I want to eat nothing but juicy, Angus cheeseburgers with lots of ketchup.

6. I actually purchased Barbie Swan Lake for my daughter. I am mortified with myself. But, to be honest, it's a much better deal than the Disney movies, which are $19.99 for their few, brief days on furlough from the razor-wired Disney Vault. Swan Lake was $5, lasts 83 minutes, and features actual, professionally choreographed ballet and music by Tchaikovsky. And, seriously, isn't one anorexic, weak-minded princess/fairy/ballerina interchangeable with the next?

7. I also haven't really cleaned house very much since I started writing. I cleaned for an hour to prepare for a friend's visit, and I found those round little balls of spider eggs living on one of my paintings. The nerve of some arachnids!

8. I have very conflicted feelings about the final season of Battlestar Gallactica. But don't worry, Val-- I'm not going to spoil anything here. I'm just... conflicted.

9. I am scared of having a three-year-old, because as far as I can tell, they're kinda douchebags. Self-important, loud, greedy, emotionally sensitive, unreasonable, high-energy, whiny, messy little drama queens who refuse to clean up after themselves. I now know why humanity invented preschool.

10. I need to write 10,000 more words, but I just feel ready to birth the baby and start sending it out. It's chick lit/fantasy/humor.

Therefore, if you read my blog and know any literary agents, editors, or publishers personally, please HOOK ME UP!

I will send you art or cupcakes. From what I've heard, nothing gets read without some sort of introduction or name-dropping, and I currently have no names to drop.

11. I need sleep. Is that a confession? No. A complaint, maybe, or a statement of the obvious.

12. Happy Birthday, Jimmy Franconi. I only wish I had 200 miniature plastic pigs to leave around your house after I broke in through the kitchen window. Although your lovely wife and sissy dog probably wouldn't like that so much.

Back to a land of princesses, teething, and typing.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

where it's at

I got two small children and an Ice Dream cone...

1. I never really enjoyed Beck's music, but I did enjoy his turn on Futurama.

2. I'm on page 150/50k words on my book and don't really want to do anything except write, sleep, and eat Angus cheeseburgers.

3. My baby has a sniffle and sounds like a piglet. I track his movements around the house by following the growls and snorts.

4. I'm out of facial moisturizer.

5. I need more orange juice, which I prefer to drink straight from the carton.

6. My life has been overrun by princesses, and I don't approve.

7. My mom is on vacation at the beach, and I'm jealous.

8. Every morning I wake up and look outside and think, "It looks like Fall!", and then I'm really disappointed when it's 94 degrees by 10am.

9. U2 really gets on my nerves, as does Maroon 5, and so does pretty much every band that contains numbers, except for Ben Folds Five.

10. I feel guilty for not having the energy, time, or creativity to put into my blog right now, but honestly, I just want to write. I think I'll be done with the first draft within a week, and then I owe a really long, splashy, Photoshop-intensive post. Maybe something with cupcakes, Justin Timberlake, and t.rex naked or something.

Back to the writing board. Tap tap tap.