Wednesday, September 30, 2009

the doctor is > IN


The Infection Connection: A Family's Immune System in One Act

Dr. Krog: I'm dying!

Doc-in-the-box: I can't get an accurate swipe of your nasal cavity because you keep threatening to bite me. Even though you have the textbook symptoms of Swine Flu, the Rapid Response Usually Wrong Test says it's *not* Swine Flu. Here is drugz.

Dr. Krog: Meds don't help. Still dying!

*

t.rex: Wow, it's hot in here. Is anybody else hot in here?

me: ARGH! MY BEBBEH! MY BEBBEH HAZ FEVERZ!!!!!

sleep: I'm outta here.

the Biscuit: SPAZZ SPAZZ! (exuding health and vitality and energy and GAH.)

*

Dr. Krog: Still dying! I can haz cheezburger?

*

t.rex: I'm not hot anymore. I'm cold. And I look like someone put a doily on my body and then spraypainted me red and then removed the doily.

me: ARGH! MY BEBBEH! MY BEBBEH HAZ RASHES!

Doc-in-the-box: It's Roseola. I can't do anything about it, but here's some cough syrup, which I shouldn't prescribe according to the FDA, the AAP, and the liberal media. But I will anyway.

t.rex: You know what? I don't want to sleep, I just want to nurse on my mom all day. I don't want to sleep, I just want to nurse on my mom all day.

me: ARGH! I AM GOING INSANE!

sleep: (sends postcard from the beach)

the Biscuit: SPAZZ SPAZZ! Mommy, can we go play outside? Mommy, can I go catch a leaf? Mommy, why does a princess wear a dress? Mommy, why are you crying?

*

t.rex: HERBLAAAAAAAGH!!!! (this is the sound of a FOUNTAIN OF VOMIT.)

me: ARGH! MY BEBBEH! MY BEBBEH HAZ TEH WOMMITS! I AM COVERED IN WOMMIT!

t.rex's doctor, via email: Maybe a cup of whole milk yogurt before bed isn't the way to go with t.rex right now.

*

t.rex: Oh, good. I'm done wommiting. I think I'd like to start coughing now.

me: ARGH! MY BEBBEH! MY BEBBEH HAZ A COLD!

me: ARGH! ME! I HAZ A COLD!

*

Dr. Krog: You know, I think it really was Swine Flu.

me: I agree. The test is only 50% accurate, and you kept trying to bite the doctor while she was swabbing you, and Sanjay Gupta had what you had, and that was Swine Flu, and he's never ever wrong, apparently.

t.rex: Uh, guys. I'm still sick. (hacking like your aunt that smoked 2 packs a day and wore a fox fur to Thanksgiving)

me: I begin to see your problem, son. (hacking like your aunt that smoked 2 packs a day and wore a fox fur to Thanksgiving)

*

t.rex's doctor: Both ears are infected. Did you have a lot of ear infections when you were a kid?

me: So many that they had to remove my tonsils when I was 4. I wrote a book about it. Why do you ask?

*

my doctor: You have bronchitis. It's viral. I can't give you anything except an asthma inhaler. You probably caught your husband's Swine Flu, and it manifested differently in you and your baby.

me: Sweet gravy, I hope it was Swine Flu, so that I can get that over with. But I am too tired to wait around for my asthma inhaler, and I don't want to look any geekier than I already do. Let's go home and rest.

the Biscuit: SPAZZ SPAZZ! Mommy, you sound like this! HUGKSHLOWELIHJSDLKCAW CAW! You are coughing funny! Mommy, why are you crying again?

t.rex: You know what? Life's better without sleep.

me: CRAXY!!!!!!!!

FIN.

Monday, September 28, 2009

my new voodoo doll


Normally, I shy away from anything remotely related to the lady bits on this blog, mainly because my mother reads it nightly. But since she was sitting in my car with my sleeping baby, reading my latest Guilty Pleasure Murder Book while I was having my new Copper Bajingo Voodoo Buddy inserted, I guess that cat's out of the bag.

I will admit that birth control has been my albatross for quite some time.
To put it simply, there is no ideal solution.

The Pill: On it for 11 years. Quit it. Realized I wasn't actually a crazy person with a stinky husband*. It was all in the hormones. The hateful, crazy-making hormones. And I don't want that anymore.

Barrier methods: GROSS.

Permanent options: Too permanent. Dr. Krog and I reserve the right to hit 42 and decide that we're bored and pop off another beautiful child with a ridiculous name.

Natural Family Planning: I can't even remember to eat lunch, much less promise to lay quietly in bed upon waking, stick a thermometer up my bajingo, and religiously record the temperature. And I *like* lunch.

Yes, friends, I'm just too freakin' fertile. So I decided to get the ParaGard IUD, which is a small, T-shaped device made of plastic and copper that hangs out in the uterus and defends desperate mothers from further rugrats. Out of 100 women on ParaGard, only .6 will get pregnant in a given year. And I'm more than .6 of a woman, so I must be safe.

Plus, it appeals to my mysterious side, because they don't actually know how it works.

Seriously. I've read the literature. I'm staring at the package insert right now.
It says: La nociones sobre como funciona el ParaGard incluyen el blah el blah el blah.

Oops. Wrong side of the leaflet.
I meant to say: Ideas about how ParaGard works include blah blah blah.

So it's like Voodoo Atlantis, but in my uterus.

Oh, and I'm a big sissy about anything involving the hoo-ha, so I tell you now that it hurt like a mothertrucker going in. Here's a play-by-play:

OB: Okay, here we go.
Me: URGGGGGH.
OB: Okay, the speculum is in.
Me: YOU MEAN THERE'S MORE?
OB: Yes, that was just the speculum, like for a regular exam.
Me: CRAP.
OB: Okay, here we go.
Me: EEEEEEEEEEEE
OB: That was just a little anesthetic for your cervix.
Me: So that didn't actually do anything? Like, you're not IN THERE yet?
OB: Nope. Now relax.
Me: OH MOTHER LOVER SUGAR HONEY SMACK!
OB: Okay, I measured the depth of your uterus....
Me: THAT WASN'T IT?
OB: No. Just relax. Put your legs down. Relax. Now I'm going to insert it.
Me: OH SWEET BABY JESUS ARGH CRAPSTICKS WHAT THE FREAK?
OB: Okay, it's in now.
Me: Oh, thank god.
OB: Now I just have to trim the strings.
Me: Wait, you have to AAAARGH THIS IS HELL.
OB: Okay, now we're done. You might feel some cramping.
Me: OH GOD, OH GOD, IT'S LIKE HAVING A BABY THAT NEVER COMES OUT.
OB: Yeah. Some women don't even feel it.
Me: They are on drugs. Or they are liars. Or I'm just a gigantic sissy.

If everything turns out well, thanks to my copper voodoo doll, I won't have to think about birth control until 2019. And I like that.

I like that a lot.

*Dr. Krog smells awesome. But when I'm on the Pill, the hormones make his pheromones smell yucky to me, as per this interesting article. Which means that we're a perfect match. Our genes must totally rock.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

hello again, book boyfriend


I've revealed several of my boyfriends: old, recently dumped, tv adventurer, tv cubicle, polygamist, omelet-loving.

I think that's all of them. I feel a little slutty now, actually.

But today I'd like to introduce you to my long-time book boyfriend. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Yes, if you click that, it's going to take you to Wikipedia and give lots of spoilers. Your only alternative it to *not* click the link, put on some houseslippers, and run to the nearest used bookstore to purchase the greatest book you'll ever obsess about, despite your cool exterior.

You know how moms who like Twilight, or TwiMoms, wear shirts like this?


Don't ask me how I know about that. Don't friggin' ask me.

Well, sometimes, I feel I need a shirt that says:


It all began in 2000 when I moved to Clemson, SC with a raging case of uninsured pneumonia that lasted 3 months. I was a broke invalid in a new town, and I desperately needed something to do all day while I hacked lungbits into Bi-Lo brand tissues. And that's when I saw Outlander in a used book store for $2 and said, "Hey, I think someone recommended that to me once. The cover looks lame, but I'll give it a try." And Dr. Krog made fun of me. Naturally.

That afternoon, I started reading it.

At 4am, I fell asleep on my face, clutching the precious, precious tome to my disease-ridden chest. It was love.

The next morning, I dragged my unwieldy carcass back to the used bookstore, waited 20 minutes for them to open, and bought the next three books in the series. I have read every book repeatedly, finding them all to be brilliant, not to mention long and engrossing. The quality never wavers. The characters remain crisp, true-to-form, and intriguing. The history is well-researched and rendered with unrivaled color and depth. And Dr. Krog bought me the newest book today, and I am already enraptured.

And there's this smart, multitalented, half-Viking-berserker-half-Renaissance-man Scot in a kilt who is rumored to be the sexiest male protagonist in the history of literature.*

But you didn't hear that from me, cuz I ain't one to talk.

I'm not going to give spoilers or a timeline or anything like that. And I can't Photoshop myself into any images, because no one has yet decided to turn this cash cow into a movie that will bring millions of women together to drool, cry, and laugh. You've got to try it yourself. To be honest, Outlander doesn't really get going until about 100 pages in.

If you can get to page 100, you're going to be Outlander's bitch.

And you're going to love it.


*If I could get Dr. Krog in a kilt and write a book about him, Jamie would be #2.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

fall 3.0


That was yesterday. The Biscuit was outside trying to "catch the leafs", just like last year.

A lot has happened since then.

Here I was last year at this time, just starting on the paintings for my show last January:


Great googly moogly, look at that thing! It needs its own zip code!

And here I am this year, trying to capture my awesome new wardrobe in a dirty mirror with a small person attached at my hip:



There's a 30 pound difference there, pretty much. And here is 22 of those 30 pounds:


But a lot of things have changed for me, personally, in the last year. Becoming a mother of two has really shaken my worldview. I've had to eat a lot of my words. I've had to accept that judging people is eventually going to bite me in the ass. I've learned that what worked for one child may not work for the next one. Probably won't, in fact.

I've learned that I rarely know the full story behind other peoples' decisions, that what I see in public doesn't generally scratch the surface. I've learned that sometimes you have to go against your instincts or wishes for the sake of your marriage and family, that decisions aren't always made by a list of pros and cons or the pulling of your heartstrings.

I've always been the sort of person who plays chess one move at a time. Which is perhaps why I have always sucked at chess. I'm just not a tactician. But I'm starting to look one or two moves ahead. I don't actually like chess, and I doubt I ever will, but I begin to see the wisdom in long term plans instead of just flying by the seat of my awfully cute jean skirt.

Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and apologize for judging others harshly. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, Dr. Krog and I were having dinner at Taco Mac, sitting next to a young man and woman and their infant in a bucket seat. And I was appalled. I turned to Dr. Krog and said, "That's horrible! You're a family now, don't just ignore your poor baby and stuff it in a carseat."

If I could go back in time, I would smile at the scene, and say, "Those folks are lucky to have a few moments alone together while their baby is happy and quiet."

That was 3 years ago. This is now. And this is what I've learned:

Every family is different. Every marriage is different. Every child is different. And none of us have all the answers. The best we can do is help each other, support each other, read lots of books, and turn to Google when we're freaked out at 4am.

Friday, September 25, 2009

zen


I think that says a lot about the zen of childhood. Being and unbeing. Etc.

*

Later, while watching The Care Bears Movie, the Biscuit listened attentively to a song about "Home Is In Your Heart", shook her head sagely, and said:

Huh. That must hurt, to have a home in your heart.

Today I tried to really, really listen to my 3-year-old. I heard amazing things and beautiful things and desperately annoying things. And I also think she might be partially deaf. Ear wax blockage runs on both sides of the family.

That's all I've got, folks. I'm on a 24 hour sleep deficit for the week, t.rex has spent the past two nights vomiting on me, and I'm not making much sense. But at least I don't have a home in my heart, right?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

welcome, fellow bossyites!

I'm so excited to be featured on www.iambossy.com. Bossy is my hero. I love Bossy's stories, photography, Great Dane, and clogs, amongst other things. What I do here is slightly different, because I am not at all Bossy or bossy.

There are movie reviews.



And strategic battles between holiday candies.



And conversations with my imaginary boyfriends.



Sometimes I talk about my children, who are:

The Biscuit, a.k.a. The Stealer of Cupcakes



and t.rex, who is very pudgy.


There is also my beloved Dr. Krog, on whom I enjoy playing pranks.


And then there's me. I'm an artist, mom of two, goof. I like cupcakes, swishy skirts, Fall, The Venture Bros., chai lattes, cold sheets, books about vampires or time traveling in Scotland, and the word "perambulator".


Each of those photos links to a blog entry that still cracks me up. Except the picture of me, which leads to a virtual tour of my last art exhibition, because I'm very serious and important.*

If you're bored, you can also type a search word into the little box on the right and find all sorts of silly posts from the last 3 years. And there are some pretty strange words, too. You could search for "gnu" or "wet beaver" or "cupcake" or "dr. krog likes jar jar binks", and you would always find something that's not at all what you're expecting, especially for the beaver one.

Thanks for stopping by, please leave a comment if you're so inclined, and I'd love to invite you back for more gnome prankings and cupcake disappearances. Have a Bossy day!

*Not at all either of those, actually. Silly and irreverent, maybe. I used to think I wanted to be a serious artist, and then I realized I didn't want to be a serious anything.



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

goodbye, mr. duckingtonworth

Goodbye, old friend.


Allow me to tell you a little story.

It was August 1999, and I was ready for my first day at my first full-time, post-college job. I was wearing what I thought was appropriate work attire for the serious Art Specialist, but it was actually a linen suit made for funerals. All black. Itchy. But since I'd interviewed in a tank top, spandex skirt, and sandals, I was putting in the extra effort to appear focused, hard-working, and serious. Even if it itched.

It was pouring down rain, and I didn't own an umbrella, so I was soaked by the time I made it to the door, ruining my hair and makeup and making my linen suit smell like wet, dead dog. I was terribly self-conscious. And it got worse.

When my boss arrived, she gave me my first assignment: take this stack of event posters to downtown Marietta, GA and go into each shop on the Square to ask if we can tape up a poster in their window.

If you know me, you know that this assignment was beyond terrifying. Go to a new place that I've never been to and ask strangers for a favor? About the only way it could have been scarier was if I had to eat a tuna salad and hot apple pie while having blood drawn afterwards. But, by gum, I was determined to succeed in my position, so I did it.

But I had to stop and buy an umbrella first. I went into a CVS and came out with that fellow you see in the first picture. Mr. Duckingtonworth. He was the only umbrella they had left, and I think I paid $20 for him, since it was a rainy day. In and out of shops I popped all morning, breaking through my sheer terror to smile and explain the event and tape up posters where allowed. Most folks were pretty nice and accustomed to being asked such favors. No big deal.

And then, as I trotted out of the last shop, exhausted of posters and smelly of linen, the sun burst from the clouds and sparkled on Marietta Square, and I shut my new umbrella and exhaled with satisfaction and relief.

And then I had lunch.

And now, after 10 years of faithful service, Mr. Duckingtonworth is finally ready to be retired. He has many problems. Wanna see?


As you know, Atlanta had horrible floods yesterday, and I counted on Mr. Duckingtonworth to shepherd my children and me from Chickfil-A to the car. And he turned inside out and flew away, and I chased him down in the rain, even though it ruined my new shirt and soaked all three of us. Because that duck has been with me through a lot. Six jobs. Three states. Five apartments and four houses. A wedding. Two babies. Countless times Mr. Duckingtonworth has preserved me from the elements, and now I need a new umbrella.

Would it be sacreligious to bury an umbrella next to your favorite cat?

I don't know. But he deserves to go out with panache, because there never was a more faithful $20 wooden duck umbrella than Mr. Duckingtonworth.

RIP, old friend.

Monday, September 21, 2009

row row row your RAV4

My hometown floods through the years:

1936:
My grandmother's basement floods. All the canned foods and dried apples and onions are down there, and that's the only food to be had. So they put my 5-year-old grandmother in a washtub with a broom and made her row back and forth across the creepy basement to deliver jars of soup and okra and preserves and chow chow, which is something horrible that I can't describe.

1995:
I'm in high school, and our town floods again. I have lots of fun walking barefoot in the backyard up to my knees until I step in dog crap. The golf course at the country club is flooded, so the rich kids throw snorkeling and skinny-dipping parties. I learn this later, when I get my yearbook, because I was tragically unhip.

2009:
I'm in Chickfil-A drinking diet lemonade and watching my children clamber around on the indoor playground when the week's rain culminates in a mothertrucker of a wicked storm. I drive home at 30 miles per hour in my SUV, hoping the winding, country roads to my house aren't flooded out. I'm worried about the new roof, the old basement, the trees in the back yard, and my husband's route home. I also can't find my debit card, but it's not my biggest worry.

My daughter asks me if we can go fly a kite in the rain, and I mutter something about Thomas Edison and lightning and galoshes and the milk and diapers I was supposed to get at the store. I look at pics of a flooded downtown Atlanta on Facebook and express amazement. My parents' house is flooded, and my mom has bronchitis. Our favorite playgrounds are underwater.

Kinda makes me wish for a washtub and some green beans, you know?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

saturday night fever


Every heard of Roseola?

It sucks.

My affable, charming, jovial, Happy McSunshine boy has been turned into a grouchy, whiny, shrieky, rash-riddled sad sack who doesn't want to eat or sleep or do anything that doesn't involve clinging to my knees or bosom and snuffling pathetically. I am getting about four hours of sleep a night, and my dreams are so crammed in together that woeirawklenf sdklnfas;ldkjfaweoiwerowdjslkd. If that tells you anything.

I do not approve.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

my scurvy puppies ruin everything!

International Talk Like A(n Ice) Pirate Day: The Timeline

Friday afternoon: I make sugar cookies and artistically ice them with skulls, pirate faces, X's and P's. Feeling smug and overjazzed on homemade icing, I proclaim my pirate pwnage on Facebook and am gently reminded that Bad Pirate Movie Night (BPMN) is Saturday.

D'ARR!

Which is like d'oh + yarr.

Friday evening: Since Dr. Krog has taken the afternoon off for a pre-BPMN nap, I don't want to waste his flavah, so I call my mom and beg her for an hour and a half of childcare. She says yes. I do a victory dance, which is embarrassingly similar to the Carlton Dance.

I put on my new dress, new necklace, and new shoes, plus this strange substance called "makeup". My toddler is mightily impressed, which she expresses by saying, "Ooooooh, mommy.... can I borrow those shoes?"

Dr. Krog and I go to Pastis, where we sit on the balcony and I spend most of the meal moaning with my eyes rolled back in my head as I slowly chew duck and gnocchi in sensory ecstasy. Dr. Krog is still too sick to be hungry, so I let him know exactly how good his lamb is. You know, since he can't actually experience the bliss himself. Because I'm kind.

Saturday morning: t. rex goes to the doctor, where they confirm that he has Roseola. It's a lovely disease that consists of a mystery virus, three days of fever, and a weird rash. There's no cure for it, no lasting effects, just annoyance and a $25 copay. At least it's not the pox. Or plague. Or scurvy. Which would actually be applicable, since it's finally ITLA Pirate Day.

Saturday afternoon: To prepare for ITLA Pirate Day, the Biscuit and I spend t.rex's nap watching The Care Bears Movie. She reasons that since they have a ship with sails and a telescope, they are pirates. Or, as she says, "parrits". I'm in bed, resting under the ceiling fan, so I don't bother to argue. Ahhhh.

Saturday evening: FINALLY! After much planning, discussion, and excitement, it's finally Bad Pirate Movie Night! The whole family is ready, t.rex is in his Poop Deck romper, and we still amazingly have some cookies left. We have a great time eating, drinking, and laughing with our friends, who throw a hell of a party. The hot dogs even had tiny pirate flags on little bamboo skewer masts. Totally brilliant. We are thankful to have good friends with nice kids and great taste in movies. And they feed us, too!

Saturday night: We settle in to watch The Ice Pirates, a childhood favorite of mine. Robert Urich (RIP), Angelica Houston, Hellboy, and a host of 80's favorites abound with perms, rat tails, and tight pants. Seriously, if you haven't seen it, and you like the idea of an 80's movie that's a little like Dune meets Pirates of Penzance meets Spaceballs, and if you've had 2 or 3 drinks and are relatively secure that your friends are as dorky as you are, you just might enjoy it.

Pumpkin time: And then 8pm hits, and my children begin to implode like tiny neutron stars. t.rex won't settle down, just beats his big ol' eggplant head against my clavicles while shrieking. The Biscuit has tired of vacuuming her friend's room with a popper toy while wearing Swedish clogs and just wants to hug me. And I am left desperately trying to remember what in the name of all that's holy this marvelous movie is supposed to be about, although I remember something about a really bizarre make-out scene on a hologram pedestal.

Now: So here I sit at 8:35. Both my kids are asleep. My husband finally ate three meals today, the most he's scarfed in a week. And it's time to watch Season 5 of The Office and giggle until we fall asleep arguing over who's going to put in Frisky Dingo and turn on the TV timer.

Would I rather be watching The Ice Pirates?

Totally.

Because I need to figure out what happened with that nasty parasite that looked like a naked Boston Terrier. That's totally going to bother me all night.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

i was hoping for ten stars


Biscuit: Mommy, guess how much I love you?
Me: Oh, I could never guess that.
Biscuit: NO, GUESS.
Me: I don't know. How much?
Biscuit: (holds arms out to the sides) I love you NINE!!!

A monologue:

Baby siiiiiister, baby siiiiiiister, I don't haaaaaave one, I have a brooooother.
You're a dot!
What's that mean?
It means you're good! Wait, are dots good?
Dots aren't really good or bad.
Then you're a dot. Look, a stick! A sticker! It doesn't stick! Is it still a sticker! Put this all around around around the wand. Mama? I want to watch Madagascar for a minute.
You can't, honey, daddy's sleeping in bed.
Why?
Because he's sick, remember?
No, he's not.
Why do you say that?
Because I want to watch my movie in there. What are these for? Are those too many movies?
No, those are disks with old pictures on them.
I usually want to watch a CD that's still in your computer. Baby brother, you are a nut. You are a busy dizzy. You are a popsicle. You are a dog diggle pickle riggle diggle. Will you put this on here for me? Oh, SANK YOU! Now I have to wrap it up. This isn't working. What do you want, Alyssa, the black one or the green one? Oh, the black one? Yes, try the black one. No, don't call me Chloe. There. See? Baby Pantaloon can sit on the green one. I want the black one! I want the black one! NO! Don't play with the blanket. Bad t.rex! I don't want you to pull out the blanket.
Oh, you are a bad baby brother.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

oops but yay update

I know you guys are going to be utterly amazed, but I was wrong. Again.

We dragged Dr. Krog's emaciated carcass to the doctor yesterday, where they performed the most invasive nasal swab possible. Turns out he doesn't have swine flu, or sheep flu, or chicken flu, or any sort of flu at all. Which is a little amazing, since his main symptoms were fevers and body aches.

He is now being treated for a severe upper respiratory infection, and we're finally allowed to mingle as a family again. Sleeping in my own bed was blissful, aside from the 97 times I had to get up to cover feet and wipe bottoms. Life is almost back to usual. Except for t.rex's fever, which is hopefully just the angry legacy of tooth #8.

So if your kids have played with my kids, or you've been licking the spigots at the Coffee Park, fear not. We do not bring swine flu.

So now we get to go back to dreading it with the rest of America.

Monday, September 14, 2009

my sweet, sweet pig

Sorry, guys. I'm beat. My beloved Dr. Krog has swine flu. Or H1N1, as they keep begging us to call it so that China will continue purchasing our hoggery. And lemme tell you, it is the roughest illness he's had in our 10 years together, including the time that he barfed like a mustard fire hose. Because that was just alcohol, but this is SERIOUS.

So I've got to care for two kids who can't be in the same room with their daddy, while trying to force that daddy to eat and drink and not just pour the whole bottle of Ibuprofen down his gullet and start chewing. And every time I deliver the soon-to-be-uneaten food to his clammy hands, I have to go boil my entire body in bleach and purify myself with flame. Oh, and our only TV is in the quarantine room with Dr. Krhogflu.

People, go wash your hands. Buy some more Purell. AVOID. AVOID.

Thank goodness for Etsy. If I couldn't brainlessly search for the perfect chunky necklace for fall, I think I'd go mad. Funny, isn't it, how we cope with insanity?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

four years of artistic moments


It's only four years ago, but if feels like a lifetime ago since these images were taken.


November 2005. The very month that the Biscuit became zygotic. Little did I know what life had in store for us.


The next summer, I looked like this.


The summer after that, I looked like this.


And the next November, I looked like this again.


And now, after all that rigmarole, I look like this.


What a long, strange trip it's been. It's like the incredible growing, shrinking, growing, shrinking woman. Seriously. 136 to 177 to 148 to 177 to 148. I can haz 136 agin, pls?

And the smile's a lot bigger now, too.

All photos except the last one courtesy of the talented Simon Effendi of Artistic Moments Photography. Thanks for chronicling us through the years, Simon!

Friday, September 11, 2009

a slice of heaven

You know what's a really smart idea?

Schedule minor outpatient surgery right during your baby's naptime and strap him into his stroller while they're operating. There's nothing a sleepy, hungry, angry baby likes better than sitting two feet away from you in a doctor's office while you can't touch him. And there's nothing the doctor and nurse like better than hearing him scream and watching him spew boogers like those Koopas in the clouds from Super Mario Brothers.

And then, instead of immediately grabbing him and comforting him, spend ten minutes ogling the nasty cyst they removed and asking if you can take it home to show your mother and husband. And then sigh dramatically and wish you had a camera phone. And then pick up the moist ball of miniature fury and nurse him on the table while you're not wearing pants. And then wipe the boogers off on your paper skirt.

Everyone likes that.

It was actually pretty funny. My laughter probably didn't help while they were doing the stabbing. And I was very impressed that they were able to shoot me, slice me, poke around, excise, cauterize, and sew me back up to the tune of banshee shrieks from hell and my barely contained cackling, because I always enjoy a good surgery.

And then my mom brought me souvlaki and Greek fries and tatziki from our favorite Greek restaurant and let me watch a month's worth of LA Ink On Demand while she watched TV with the Biscuit and Mr. Pissypants slept and slobbered in my lap.

It was a pretty good day. A little gross. But good.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

little epiphany #34

So you know how yesterday I was bemoaning fashion and wishing for corsets and bustles?

Turns out I'm a bit of an idiot. The answer was there all along.

See, my uniform for the past 20 years has been jeans + shirt. Boots in winter, sandals in summer. T-shirts and tank tops. Jeans are functional, long-lasting, and go with anything. You can climb trees in them, chase children in them, go to parties in them, turn somersaults in them, paint in them, eat cupcakes in them. All the things I need to do.

And yet I don't ever feel that I look great in jeans. The way my belly naturally curves makes the button stick out, which rumples my shirt, which is often a little too small, because I don't want to be baggy. Jeans never quite fit. And yet I keep buying jeans, hoping that one day I would magically lose weight and look totally thin and gorgeous in jeans.

Remind me-- who was it that defined "insanity" as "doing the same thing wrong 1000 times and expecting a different result?"

So today I woke up, frowned at my jeans, and dove into the closet. I came up with a long, breezy skirt that I haven't really worn since before the Biscuit's conception, since the waist isn't elastic. And it looked great. I added a black tank top and earrings, put on some makeup, wore my hair down. And felt freakin' fantastic.

I felt like a woman. Curvy, lush, billowy. I felt my hips swaying for the first time in eons. I smiled. I felt free.

So after lunch, I went to TJ Maxx and found a new shirt, a new skirt, and a dress. Things I would never have considered buying before now, because they fall outside the range of my easy, functional uniform.

All this time, I thought *I* was the problem.

All this time, I thought *I* had no fashion sense, that my body was too bulgy and curvy in all the wrong places.

All this time, I was wearing the wrong clothes.

So tomorrow, I'm going shopping in my own closet and pretending I'm on What Not to Wear. I'm going to buy some saddle soap and clean off my cowboy boots. I'm going to hunt through my jewelry box. I'm going to wear my hair down again. I'm going to toss the jeans in the corner and find a way to feel good in my clothes, like I did today.

I liked it. My husband loved it. And my daughter asked for a long, pretty skirt like mine. Best of all, I feel one step closer to the body acceptance and love I've longed for my whole life. Maybe it's time to accept that I'll never be a size 4 and start loving being a size 8.

Or maybe a 10. But who's checking labels?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

godey, not grody


Dear Fashion Gods,

Can we please go back to corsets and bustles?

I'm so sick of today's fashion. So sick of shirts that expose bra pudge. So sick of pants that can't accommodate my bum. So sick of jeans that accentuate my lifelong pot belly. At first, I was mad at the pot belly, but it's been here since I was a child, so I'm starting to think that *I'm* not the problem.

It's fashion.

Because today's fashions, at least those that I can afford and that are functional for my lifestyle, don't look good on my body. I mean, I feel great naked. I feel comfortable and beautiful. But as soon as I put on clothes and start squirming in the mirror and frowning at 'problem zones', I wish I could just spend all day in a loosely tied sarong. Fashion is determined by a level of thinness that I have never been able to obtain, so I constantly feel off, strangled, squashed, or otherwise like a hamburger in a sausage casing.

So I'd like to go back to corsets, full skirts, bustles. Nip in the middle and show off a curvy rump and ample bosom. Wrestle my trouble spots down with environmentally correct stays (no whalebone, please) and yards and yards of fabric. Since I can't gad about naked, give me some sort of fashion that makes me feel proud and womanly when I'm out on the town.

So there's my call to (plump) arms. Give me nudity or give me corsetry! Death to muffin tops! We must, we must, we must control our busts!

Or at least find shirts that fall somewhere between a muumuu and a handkerchief.

(In case you're wondering, the illustration above is from Godey's Lady's Book, the leader in 1800's fashion.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

who else but the biscuit?

"Honey, let me get a picture of you
with your new Build-A-Bear puppy
that Isabel gave you for your birthday!"


*

"You need socks to wear those shoes, buddy. Can you find some socks?
Oh, good gravy. Excellent outfit. Now smile for the camera!"



Don't look at me. I told her to smile.
I don't know what she was going for,
except maybe "I'm thrilled to have pooped a wet wipe".

*

We had one of those days where the timing was all wrong, all of our plans went awry, we never made it to the playground, we never got to play with friends, and I chose to spend the day cleaning house instead of playing the Biscuit's favorite game, which is "Constant, Undivided Attention".

She showed her displeasure with 78 temper tantrums and the grand announcement,

"Mommy, I don't like you,
and you clean too much,
and I wish t.rex would go live with grandma!"

So I just hugged her and reminded her that not one of those statements was even close to being true.

Tomorrow is preschool. I can't wait.

*

Days like today remind me that no matter how much we love our children, we have to remember that they are human beings, and no two human beings in the entire world like each other 100% of the time. I don't believe in raising children who are happy every second of every day, although that would be wonderful. I believe in raising children who know that they are loved but understand that life has ups and downs. You aren't always the big winner. You're not going to be great at everything you try, but ambition and perseverance can get you far. You have to follow certain rules, and you don't always get a choice. Everyone has to share and wait and work and clean, and you don't always get your way.

And you can't pick up your brother and throw him when he tries to touch your tricycle.

But if you're the Biscuit, you can damned well try.

Monday, September 7, 2009

columbian occasion


"It's a nice, sunny day, isn't it mama?" asked the Biscuit, her eyes pleading for freedom and fun. I had to admit that it was indeed a lovely day. Not quite fallish, but just cool enough to not reek of summer. Just the right kind of day for a Columbian Occasion, otherwise known as a trip to American Adventures, which is like a cross between Six Flags and those mangy fairs that set up in the parking lots of exsanguinated malls. Cheap, colorful, relatively safe.

The Biscuit loves riding those balloons, so long as she's in the purple one. Purple is very important to her.

She also enjoyed the teacups, which was her first solo ride. Again, notice the purple.


You know what she didn't like, though, despite all her hopes and dreams and love of going fast and bumpy and being a tough big kid?

The roller coaster. Luckily, it only went around the track four times, because she was starting to consider barfing or crying riiiiight when it stopped.


I liked it fine. Just like I did when I was 12. Because I'm ridiculously easy to please.

But what about this guy?


Cool photo, whatever you were doing, Dr. Krog. We were going pretty fast at the time.

We also rode big rigs, a ferris wheel of Connestoga wagons, and the balloons again. We briefly considered the Tilt-a-Whirl, and then we thought about what I'd look like covered in raspberry oatmeal and cheese grits, and we went somewhere else.

Dr. Krog and the Biscuit enjoyed some Super sliding, too.


And then they played in the Foam Factory together, and then I surprised them with 8 arcade tokens, which doesn't go as far as moms from the 1980's think it will. They managed to win 24 tickets by playing skee-ball and Whack-A-Button-That-Pops-Balls-Into-A-Bulldog's-Mouth, which must have been invented by someone who graduated from Georgia Tech. The Biscuit had her first Arcade Shopping experience and chose two ghetto-bling "$" rings, about which she has been singing non-stop for two hours.


"I have two rings! I have two rings! I finally finally fiiiii-naaaaa-leeeee have two rings!"

It's amazing how far $25 goes in filling a child's day with joy and memories. Plus, of course, the memories for Dr. Krog and me. And t.rex probably enjoyed all the noise and colors. And the photos. And the blog fodder.

Dude, what a freakin' bargain!



p.s. My husband is hott.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

yes, I was baiting you

Yesterday, the Biscuit caught her first fish!


I was hoping to hook you guys with the title, but only one of you took the bait and offered a guess. On a grand scale, it doesn't matter, but surely you noticed something was fishy, since Barbie was involved?



Sorry, those are all the "fish" idioms I've got right now.

Water you lookin' at? Oh, quit carping, and fill it to the rim with bream.

That's all I got, folks.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

guess!

Guess what we did this morning.

Go on. I dare you. And I give you hints, because I'm nice like that.


1. It involved Barbie and capriciousness.



2. It involved ironic snacking.



3. It involved "Carry me, please. My legs don't work."



4. It left the afternoon free for loafing in a leotard.

Friday, September 4, 2009

megashark vs. giant octopus vs. my kids



What's better than Salsa Shark, Land Shark, and Card Shark?

Cupcake Shark!!!

These are whole wheat chocolate-chocolate-chip muffins that I made for B Movie Night with some friends. We're going to watch Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, or Super Goblin Mega Shark vs. Evil Squid of Doom, or Star Jones vs. Rush Limbaugh, or something about two grouchy giant monsters that fight in the vicinity of Debbie Gibson, which sounds great to me.

See? Little silver shark fins in the pink water? Because the sharks ate Debbie Gibson and the water ran red with her blood?


And the S is for "shark", and O is for "Octopus". And the blank ones are in case someone is feeling ascetic about B Movie Night.

And here is how excited the Biscuit is about Movie Night with her friend:



And here is t.rex learning how to walk. He will push this thing aaaaaaalll day long. When he has a stanky diaper, we accuse him of "ridin' dirty".



Also, many thanks to Bibliophiliac, who correctly corrected my grammar correction. My participle was not, in fact, dangling. But Mrs. Lanning told me never to end a sentence with a preposition, and I feel guilty every time I do it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

pride and prune prejudice


See that? That's pride. The pride of a big kid who goes to big kid school and walks to her big kid classroom from the big kid carpool line. I'm so proud of her. And I'm proud of myself, too, mainly for a bunch of piddly little crap.

Things I did today that I feel good about:

1. I bought new plum-colored shoes and didn't feel guilty for paying full price.

2. I bought a new plum-colored shirt from the Juniors department.

3. I didn't buy anything else that was plum colored, even though I wanted to, because I have self control.



3.5 I take that back. I bought plums, because the Biscuit politely requested them.

3.75 I also bought pitted prunes. Because the Biscuit politely requested them. Because she's weird.

4. When the director of my child's preschool demanded that I switch my kids' car seats to make carpooling easier for the teachers, I throttled my inner people-pleaser and politely but emphatically said NO, because I can't see t.rex if he's behind me in his gigantic La-Z-Boy of a car seat. I then found a perfectly reasonable work-around that made everyone happy.*

5. I took my daughter to the playground and did exactly what she wanted to do, even when it involved getting into and out of the swings a million times and letting her play in the sandbox with a little girl who threw sand in the Biscuit's hair while the little girl's creepily extroverted dad tried to strike up a boring conversation with me.

6. I then dusted off all the sand, removed the play clothes and shoes, and completely redressed and rebrushed said child so that her great-grandmother could enjoy the holy First Day of School Outfit, which featured a pink dress, headband, and flowered shoes.

Great-grandma gave her a "brown cracker", aka graham cracker. Nom nom nom.

7. I bought straight-up meat baby food for my son on the recommendation of the pediatrician, even thought it totally grosses me out, smells awful, and is skin-colored. I may go in a different direction for zinc and protein, so don't jump all over me on this one. I'm talkin' to you, vegetarian friends.

8. I ate only vegetables, grapes, and a glass of milk for lunch at my parents' house, when I could easily have eaten a delicious grilled cheese sandwich, a vat of chocolate milk, 26 dark chocolates, and a watermelon-flavored popsicle.

9. I did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, and tidied up the living room. That doesn't sound like much, but if you're the mother of a toddler and a baby, you know how hard it is. What I really need are seven OCD dwarves and a tiny little zamboni.

10. I tried on my second favorite pair of "normal" jeans, and they actually fit, and I can't wait to wear them tomorrow, along with all my purple stuff, except for the prunes, because nobody wears prunes.

Things I did today of which I'm not proud:

1. Used a dangling participle in the title of the previous list.
2. Ate an entire teething biscuit, just to see what it was like.
3. Requested that my toddler not wash her hands in the Target restroom because the baby was sleeping in my Beco and I couldn't lift her up without waking him up and seriously, I swear she didn't touch anything, anyway, and I washed my hands, and we sanitized her grubby paws in the car afterwards, and no one has e.coli yet, so shut up.
4. Currently have "Mmmbop" stuck in my head. Thanks, Season 5 of House.

* The best work-around mentioned in a Facebook comment involved digging an underground tunnel and throwing your child out of the sunroof. I added that a fireman's pole needed to be involved. Preschools and their ridiculous measures for child safety!