Monday, December 31, 2007

I hate my gynecologist

I do not like my gynecologist. He's never missed a big problem or pushed for unnecessary procedures or anything big like that, he's just....condescending. He has kind of a "I can't be bothered to dumb this down for you right now, I'm a busy man so just take my word for it, everything's fine" vibe that rubs me the wrong way. I like doctors who explain things to me, who don't lord it over me that they have medical degrees and I don't. And if there's one time in my life when I don't need to feel patronized and barely tolerated if not resented, it's when I'm in the stirrups. But since I can get my paps from my nurse practitioner here in town, who I absolutely love, I never worried much about shopping around for a gynecologist. Until now. Now I have a very limited period of time in which to try to find a doctor I am willing to trust with my unborn child's health and/or survival.

I didn't have this problem when I was pregnant ten years ago. There was one obstetrician who saw patients here in town (nearest hospital with a maternity ward is fifteen miles away) and he turned out to be perfect. He was personable without being unprofessional and he put me at ease. And then he moved to Dekalb. So that left only three other doctors at the clinic, none of which was willing to drive all the way to my little pissant town. But then one of them left. So now there are two. And I really have to hope that the one I know nothing about is taking new patients AND isn't an asshole.

Never again will I have a gynecologist I don't like. From now on it's only the cream of the gynecological crop for me. I henceforth shall demand perfection with a speculum! Either that or I have approximately seven and a half months to convince my nurse practitioner to take extra classes, get her through the classes, and license her with a hospital.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year's Eve Eve

Pregnant on New Year's. And Tom's back on the road. What's a girl to do?

So Ryan and I are having a party, a VERY exclusive and formal party. We are going to drink fake wine and get fake drunk and wake up the next morning with fake hangovers. We'll probably spend the whole night listening to her new Hannah Montana CD and playing giant checkers on a rug. And next year we'll do the same thing, but I'll try to sleep on the couch between moves and we'll keep the music down so the baby can sleep.

I love motherhood, but I got to admit the New Year celebrations are pretty tame.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve Eve

Ahhh. Christmas Eve Eve. Today is the day of my extended family's holiday celebration, which means that Mom will pick up Ryan and take her while Tom and I stay here and avoid my extended family. It's what the holidays are all about.

My family is a lot like the character list of Soap, with some Knots Landing thrown in for good measure. My grandmother you've already been told about but in case you missed that post, imagine Bev from "Roseanne" in Kurt Vonnegut's body. Then there's my uncle the religious freak and his 5 daughters. The oldest three are religious freaks like their dad, but with tattoos they think no one knows about, and the youngest two are adopted foster kids who keep getting arrested and are on a distinctly Spears-Lohan life path. My aunt, the socialite, was living in a swamp in Louisiana with her carnival worker husband when I was born, but then she married her divorce lawyer and he became a judge and she got a big house on a hill with a pool and now she thinks she's Martha Freaking Stewart or something even though her son did time in Leavenworth for manufacturing crystal meth in his dad's minivan. But her grown kids live in nice houses with nice things because she buys them for them. And in this big jumbled heap of family, I am the black sheep. Drug addictions, federal prison sentences, stints in rehab, none of these things is enough to bring any of my cousins down to my level. So I avoid the whole shebang.

I used to go to family Christmas. I would spend the whole night on my aunt's porch smoking with my uncle's wife and my aunt's husband. Sure, every once in a while Grandma would come shuffling in looking for whatever small child had run away from her that time, but for the most part is was just us smokers. But my uncle by marriage died, and my aunt by marriage left her fire-and-brimstone husband, I quit smoking, and the party this year is at my grandmother's small house, with nowhere to hide. So rather than go and try not to defend the woman I still consider to be my aunt to a house full of her ex-in-laws, I will hide like the coward that I am. Also, my cousin Dana is pregnant too, due one month earlier than me, and I don't want to face the comparisons.

But maybe I should go, since Tom is in town and I'm going to spend Christmas Day with his family. It's only fair that he spend today with my family, right? We'll see.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Pregnancy Trolls

So news of my pregnancy has spread like wildfire, due in no small part to Tom calling every person he's met since high school and shouting "I'm gonna be a dad!" into the phone. I am now not-so-eagerly awaiting the unsolicited advice portion of the pregnancy. If you've ever been pregnant before, then you know what I'm talking about. They find out that I don't want to discover the baby's sex before it's born and they're shocked: "Why would you not want to know?" they ask, as though I just announced plans to drink a fifth of whiskey every day until delivery. It comes up that I don't dye my roots when I'm pregnant and exclaim, "Well I always did," as though it disproves all the warnings not to soak your head in chemicals during fetal development. They learn that I oppose circumcision for gentiles and they act disgusted: "Don't you want him to look like all the other boys?" The implication is, of course, that either A) my son would have made the semi finals of the Penis Beauty Pageant if only he'd had part of it hacked off arbitrarily at birth, or B) my unborn son has a lucrative career in porn ahead of him but due to my unconventional attitudes will now be relegated to the foreskin fetish arena, which we all should know is so much seedier than the regular porn industry, or C) some girl someday will laugh at him for having a penis the likes of which she has never seen before. This one is my favorite, as it only comes from men who are deeply afraid of having their penises laughed at anyway, whereas women know that we're too afraid of having our hips judged to ever start the insults. Also, as the boy's mother, I don't feel it's my duty to worry about how his sex life develops eighteen years down the line.

The sad fact is that if my parenting style differs in any way from someone else's, that person has a pretty good chance of taking offense to it. I don't care that you pierced your baby's ears, but I can't bear the thought of holding my screaming infant while someone pokes unnecessary holes in her head just because I think said holes are pretty. Fine, you put your kids in walkers to teach them how to walk. I just never heard about that undeveloped part of the wilderness where everyone grows up an invalid because no one gave them walkers as babies; I was under the impression that walking was one of those skills that kids kind of learned on their own without being given small ramming devices with which to knock things off shelves.

I'm too defensive, I know. But it's true. People will judge you on anything when it comes to your parenting, from the names you choose to how long you let your kids' hair grow to when and how you decide to potty-train. Everyone feels their way is the best, which makes sense because if they thought another way was better they would have chosen it instead. But some folks really seem to think that nursing for a month longer than they did is tantamount to child abuse and that it is in the best interest of the child that they list off all the reasons they weened when they did. It's enough to take away the "glow" I'm supposed to have.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Boys Can Swim

Well, according to the (awkwardly) admittedly attractive lab tech at my doctor's office, my blood is as pregnant as my urine. So it's official. I is knocked up.

I don't know if I'm going to be writing more here or less. I may feel completely overwhelmed with a need to chronicle every minute detail of my future son's/daughter's gestation or I may simply be so overwhelmed that I don't make it to the computer to blog it all out. Either way, sometime mid August I should be posting a name and some birth stats here for my adoring public, or the few of you who read this thing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

So....


What do you think? Two defective EPTs or am I knocked up?


*It's a cell phone photo so forgive the quality.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Latke Update

How did the Jewish people make latkes in the desert! Ignore for a moment the obvious difficulties of sour cream refrigeration back then, I am having a hell of a time making latkes in modern times with modern conveniences. Sure, the box grater helps with the potatoes, but have you ever tried to grate an onion? My recipe calls for grated onion, so I grated an onion and let me tell you, if you think chopping an onion makes you cry you should try grating an onion! I'm bawling like a baby and that just makes the odds of me grating my knuckles into the food rise that much higher. Also, I have to thoroughly dry the potato and onion. I don't have a salad spinner so I am forced to ring out my food in towels. Now my towels are covered with shredded and grated potato and onion, and I'm not sure that's going to be good for my washing machine. Also, I think I lost at least 10% of my food just from it clinging to the towels. And I'm still not sure it's dry enough. But I have it pressed in the fridge, waiting to be coated and fried tonight.

Now, Tom has brought to my attention that I may be inadvertently blaspheming the Jewish religion by attempting to celebrate Hanukkah with no real idea of what it's about. But I don't want to cheapen or mock the religion. I just figure that as long as I'm going to have a Christmas hybrid holiday season devoted to a deity-free sense of love and peace and family (well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, as peace never seems to mesh with family celebrations) then I may as well borrow symbols and foods from Judaism as from Christianity. (Hell, if I knew a Buddhist dish I'd make it too, but all I know is the prayer for the dead, which I chant under my breath at funerals.)

So, am I being insulting, or am I attempting to teach myself a little bit more about a different belief system? I don't think I'm being any worse than the people who eat Chinese take-out on Chinese New Year.

Waiting On The World To Change

The Rules:

1. Put your music player on Shuffle
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER WHAT (this is in capital letters, so it is very serious).

1. IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY?” YOU SAY?
"Found Out About You" Gin Blossoms

2. WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
"Spiderweb" No Doubt

3. WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
"I'm Losing You" Rod Stewart

4. HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
"This Christmas Day" Trans-Siberian Orchestra

5. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
"Sin" Nine Inch Nails

6. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
"Broken Wings" Mr. Mister

7. WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
"The Undoing Of A Man" Henry Rollins spoken word

8. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS?
"After All" Cher

9. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
"The Shit Is On Fire Show" Henry Rollins spoken word

10. WHAT IS 2+2?
"Fallin To Pieces" Rob Thomas

11. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
"Sweet Dreams" Marilyn Manson

12. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
"Gravity" John Mayer

13. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
"I'm Going Home" Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack

14. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
"Mother's Dream" Candlebox

15. WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
"You're So Vain" Carly Simon

16. WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
"I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" Aerosmith

17. WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" Elton John

18. WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
"Early Retirement" Henry Rollins spoken word

19. WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
"You Can't Hurry Love" Diana Ross

20. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
"What Is Eternal" Trans-Siberian Orchestra

21. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
"Ocean Man" Ween

22. WHAT SHOULD YOU POST THIS AS?
"Waiting On The World To Change" John Mayer

Diversity Is Yummy

I'm not Jewish. In fact, I live in such a pathetically homogeneous little town that practically no one here is Jewish. There is one old lawyer, and a factory owner who wears a fedora and topcoat and underpays his workers, so basically all the old Jewish stereotypes are alive and well here. I remember the year I was put into AP Reading (in 8th grade) with a girl who was half Jewish. Poor kid had to bring a Menorah in and talk about the magic oil. You could tell it was a memorized speech that her mother and the school set up every year to encourage tolerance.

I am not Christian. I wasn't raised very religious but I always knew that God knocked up Mary and they had Jesus in a barn. Other than that, I knew nothing about Christianity. In fact, I thought the manger was the barn. The manger scene was in a barn so it made sense. Since I didn't know that a manger was a trough thing for feeding animals, and since the baby was always laid down in a little wooden hay-lined basket thing, I grew up under the misguided impression that ancient Jews kept bassinets in their barns. I was angry to learn that baby animals are expected to sleep on the ground in modern times. But I digress. My point was that I am not Christian, although I grew up with Christmas. And of course, once you grow up with Christmas, you can't give it up.

We have Christmas in my house. It is an almost entirely secular celebration full of Santas and trees and piles of presents. Aside from one heirloom nativity, which Ryan has added two Santas and a Grinch to, there is no Jesus to be seen. But recently I have wondered, if I am going to perform Christian traditions for no spiritual reason, why am I not embracing other religions' traditions as well? If I'm not Christian and I do Christmas, then not being Jewish shouldn't keep me from doing Hanukkah as well. So I have added a menorah to my amazon wish list and I have decided to merge my love of carbohydrates and fat with my love of exotic religions. Tonight for supper, we will have latkes!

I really wish I could get my hands on a menorah by tonight. But in this town? There are actually people here who confuse the Star of David with the pentacle.

So I am going to make latkes tonight, which actually sound quite delicious despite the fact that they seem to be nothing more than deep fried hashbrowns. But they are the deep fried hashbrowns of God's Chosen People, so I'm sure they taste much better. And they have onion too, although I'm not sure I have an onion, or money to go to the store. This would probably disturb me if I were Jewish and working with some traditional family recipe, but I'm using a recipe off the net and I'm rationalizing my lack of onion by pondering the availability of onions during a forty year trek through the desert. Or potatoes, for that matter. You'd think oil wouldn't have been all they'd be running short of. I think I might need to study the story better. I probably shouldn't be getting the entirety of my Jewish education from Christopher Moore books and reruns of Seinfeld. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go look up Rosh Hashanah on wikipedia.



*omg, the spellchecker is trying to turn "latke" to "latex", and "Rosh Hashanah" to "rash hashish". Yes, Judaism, the religion which celebrates itchy dope and eats rubber. Even my software is WASPish.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Homophobes Beware!

It's Project Runway time! Yayyyy! For those of you who don't know, Project Runway is a contest where fifteen wannabe fashion designers compete to win a contract with some design house or another, and Heidi Klum hosts the show because let's face it, there's nothing for a thirty-plus supermodel to do except host reality shows. Also, Project Runway is the ONLY reality game show I can watch, as it is the only one that doesn't make me feel like my IQ is dropping every second it's on.

Anyway, the appeal behind PR, for those of us who aren't into fashion, is in the characters. Tim Gunn, the droll mentor advising everyone to "Make it work, people." Michael Kors, the judge / catty ladyman who's already made it in the business. And the designers! The fabulous flaming gay guys, of course, and the overly insistent that he's straight guy, the tough too-competitive black woman, the flaky girl from another planet, they're the same every year.

This year there are a few standouts but I think the one that grabs the most attention is 21 year old Christian Siriano, who looks almost exactly like Chris Kattan on SNL. Evidence:



And to add to the over-the-toppiness of this guy, he speaks in that horribly questioning way where every sentence ends on a higher note than it started on, and he wears his glasses too low on his face so he has to tip his head back to see out of them. Combine tilting your head way back, asking everything you say, and wearing your hair like no one ever taught you how to use a comb, and you just look like you rode the shortbus to the auditions. All in all, a classic PR designer. And to think, just a few short years ago we thought Austin Scarlett was campy!

I hope Christian stays for a while, and the guy who looks like French Stewart too. They make the show fun.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Random Little Things That Piss Me Off

  • John Madden exclaiming over every freaking step in the football game. For one, he sounds like he's spitting when he talks. Also, he can't seem to control his compulsive need to draw everything out on the freeze frames with that damn pen. Why doesn't someone just take the pen away from him?! And finally, he should be made to choose whether he's gonna give the color commentary or the play by play because he tries to do both and he just ends up endlessly interrupting himself. "Okay now Thompson just called for a time out and that's the second time out this half, you know I heard that when he played for Georgetown that he used to pass his classes by hiring an underclassman to, and they're back on the field now, whoa did you see that snap?"

  • Black Friday shoppers with nothing in mind to buy. There are about a dozen sale items in every store the day after Thanksgiving and usually about two thirds of the people in line are there for the same two or three things. But then there are those people who have no idea what they want to buy, who have woken up at four a.m. to stand in a cold parking lot just to browse the clearance rack. These people should be pushed to the front of the line so that the real shoppers can trample them.

  • Sex Trend Articles. As the concerned mother of a 9 year old daughter, I can tell you without reservation that I DO NOT need to read about eleven year olds having oral sex, or how a rising percentage of teenagers don't consider anal sex to be violating their virginity pledges, or about the cuddle puddle craze sweeping the nation's middle schools. I don't need to fear colored jelly bracelets or the retro cherry pattern my daughter loves but I can't find because someone decided it was somehow sexual. Why can I not be allowed to believe that nine year olds watch Hannah Montana for the music and still see sneaking into Mom's make up as the pinacle of rebellion?

  • Fattening food that's good for me. So olive oil is good for me, has lots of health benefits, but it's just fat so it's high-calorie and will make me gain weight? SO somehow I am supposed to eat like 20 servings of food every single freaking day to stay healthy, yet not eat too much lest I become a fat American stereotype? Suuuure. That makes sense.

  • People who claim that cutting calories too much will stall weight loss. Explain to me how, if I cut the calories I take in below what I burn, I'm not going to lose weight? I mean, say what you will about the anorexic - they are thin. And correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't most people who starve to death kind of scrawny when they die? I mean, eating less isn't a real controversial and untested form of weight loss. It's pretty tried and true.

  • Lawn Nazis. No I'm not going to rake. No I'm not going to fertilize. No I'm not going to do a damn thing about the brown patch. And yes, I like dandelions. It's natural, and I believe that my yard is my own tiny sea of nature nestled in amongst all the concrete roads and sidewalks and driveways. So please, stop raking and chemically treating and seeding my yard. You have your yard and I have mine and leave mine the hell alone thank you.

  • People with secret upscale rules for living. There are some pretty basic rules for living in polite society, some conversational lines we don't cross and some behaviors we just don't engage in publicly. But some people seem to really make things up as they go along, just so they can then be disgusted when you break a rule. My brother is one of these people. He can share personal information that I never needed to hear and do it with a sense of camaraderie. But if I say anything personal back then suddenly he's all offended and all "TMI TMI". Like if I say something about a broken dresser drawer (hypothetical for instance but still), he'll jump up all put off like "I don't need to know about your bedroom." Yeah, little brother, cuz it's the PORN DRAWER and it's busted from the weight of all my PORN.

  • People not much younger than me who speak like they're either a) from "da hood" or b) fifteen years old, and then try to blame my not understanding them on just how old and out of touch I am. This happened the first time my brother called to ask me for a solid ( A what?? Oh, a favor. Well, no, cuz you're being obnoxious, Mr Solid.) and also when a Canadian friend (and by friend I of course mean a guy I know online by a screen name and will never meet in real life) called a video game sick. And get this, he meant sick as a compliment. Because somehow "sick" is the new "awesome". And when I didn't know wtf he was talking about, he acted like I was all decrepit because I don't understand CANADIAN VIDEO GAME SLANG. I mean, c'mon, eh?

  • People who point out my gray hairs as though their very existence proves me to be so old and cataract-ridden as to be unable to see them myself. Thanks, Mom.

  • Parents who let their teenage (or younger) daughters wear tummy-baring clothes and pants with words on the ass. Also, why are these girls almost always obese? I mean, it's bad enough that your daughter looks like a hooker for the chubby-chasing demographic, but now I need to know that her backside is "Phat"? First off, why are you letting your kid show that much skin at that age, regardless of weight? Second, why are you not teaching your kid about shape-appropriate clothing? And finally, why do you let her wear clothes designed, with big bold font, to draw attention to her butt? And don't be all "You're a pervert if you see a kid that way." The fact is that no matter how asexually you see your kid, the guys her age don't agree with you and letting her dress like Anna Nicole in the 9th grade is just asking for trouble.

  • People who act all hurt that you don't trust them, and then prove themselves to be untrustworthy. Gee, I wonder why I never told you what was wrong the other day, considering that I can name at least 3 other people who would have known by now if I had. And don't ask me what's wrong now either, because what's wrong is that you're still trying to get me to tell you my shit and it aint gonna happen.

I Finally Got It, And It's Signed!


It's a cell phone photo so forgive the quality.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

GLBTCIQQPHalfdyke

When I log into blogger here, I have to use a google login. But for some reason, it's not set up as the same google login as my google homepage. That is to say, I have 2 main email addresses and the one that gets me here is not the one that gets me to the igoogle page with all my headlines and news stories and all that. So after every time I blog, I see a different google page when I hit the little house icon up by my address bar and go back to homepage. And the page that I see has topix.com gay/lesbian headlines front and center, as opposed to on page 2 under the "special interest" tab like it is in my real google account. So when I close out here, I see all sorts of depressing headlines like how Guiliani is disavowing gay rights and 3 people somewhere got arrested in a gaybashing death and a new state or two have banned gay marriage. Real upbeat stuff. But sometimes, in the second it takes me to click 'sign out', I see a headline that grabs my attention enough that after I click 'sign in' I go into the "special interest" tab and look up the article. And such is how I found Dyssonance.

I have been in an online argument for a day or so now with some face-face avatar bashing gays. It happens from time to time and usually I recognize the names and treat them like old feeble-minded friends. "Hey Wil, how ya doin? Haven't come out to the wife and kids yet, huh?" Or "Hey RMOG, I been meaning to ask you, as a biological male how has being diagnosed with micro-penis affected your life and have you considered going to a surgeon specializing in ftm srs?" Sometimes I slip up and, in defense of minorities I don't really belong to, accidentally offend someone. Like when I explained transgenderism as a horrible birth defect wherein the external body is wrongly formed. Yeah, apparently the actual transgendered didn't get their info from the same discovery channel shows I did.

So, after bitching at this bubblegum bimbo on topix for a bit (all in good fun and only during the football games I was powerless to stop), I decided to reach out to a fellow poster. I asked her if she would maybe be willing to educate me so that I don't make the same mistakes I have made before and stick my foot in my mouth. I have heard no response. But in a posting not long ago, she referred to me as "he". See, I have no picture up and since I often post in the gay/lesbian forums, and since I also have been known to mention a husband, and since I like the idea of online anonymity, I do not have a photo in my profile. So there is no reason why anyone on topix should know that I am female, or in a straight marriage. To be honest, there is a tiny part of myself that wants to hide the straight marriage thing, not because of Tom but because for years I clung to the gay identity thing so much and there is a decent anti-bi movement within the gay community. I don't want to be singled out as the one who took the easy way or the one who only does things half way, so I let them assume what they will and only correct what I feel like correcting.

So anyway, waiting to hear from Dyssonance got me thinking about why I don't claim my rightful bisexual title/label. Why do I invent terms like halfdyke? Well, here's what I've come up with: Too many people have too many separate definitions of the word bisexual already. There are just too many completely different pictures that pop into people's heads when they hear the word. If I have to wear a label shouldn't it at least be one that evokes an accurate description? Halfdyke does that. "Half" is pretty self-explanatory, and "dyke" adds a serious lesbian aura to the term and, I hope, pushes hopes of lipstick lesbian 3ways out of people's heads. To too many guys the word bisexual evokes porn cliches where the women are only too eager to welcome the plumber into their party. To a certain percentage of gays, the word bisexual describes a person who just isn't ready to accept their own homosexuality yet, who still desperately clings to the hope that they can be at least a little bit straight. And to some straight women bisexual just means sex, like "bicurious". I've known plenty of girls to whom sex with women was fine, but not dating, or marriage or children or any of the more fulfilling and mundane things. And even though I'm not shopping for it anymore, those mundane things were what I was looking for. I don't even think I really am bisexual. I think I'm probably more pansexual, although the titles don't mean near as much anymore now that I'm married. But I could have gone for anyone as long as I liked them. Gay, straight, male, female, TG, TV, I never really had a preference. I think when the gods were handing out orientations that I missed my turn in line. I could have fallen in love with Tom no matter what he was. The fact that he's a big old hairy mf doesn't seal the deal or anything. I'm not into bears any more than twinks or femmes or butches or pre-ops or post-ops or intersexed or any of it.
But there's no P in glbt so I don't claim pansexual. Or glbtciqq or whatever it is today. And also, the only title I need to describe my love life and sexual habits or leanings is "Married", a title I share with the world with a big fat diamond ring. But otherwise, yeah I still like halfdyke.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

ESPN Is Gloria Steinem's Fault

In the 1970s women rebelled. They burned their bras and marched on Washington on a teat-flapping mission. They stopped shaving their legs and gave whatever frightened, cowering, leisure-suit clad man willing to fuck them a rug-burned trip to Hell, demanding the expert orgasms Cosmo promised. They saw themselves as the next formerly oppressed minority granted instant equality and tried to retrain American men overnight to become stay-at-home breastfeeding househusbands.

And for that, the sins of my mother's generation, I am being punished. What was once a weekly ritual is now almost daily, is daily if you have the right cable channels, and I am subjected to it almost constantly during Tom's days at home. I can't even protect my child from it, and in that way I have failed as a mother.

Televised football. Right now, not ten feet behind me, Tom is arguing out loud with the television. Did he drop the ball or didn't he? Did it bounce or not? Was it on the line or over it?

WHO CARES?!?!?!

Why have men lost all perspective? Why would my brother, an otherwise perfectly logical, if possibly sociopathic, man be happy with a home enema kit as long as it had a navy blue sans serif M on it? Why would Tom eagerly pay for a transvestite hooker if (s)he were wearing a University Of Nebraska jersey? Why do they forget that it's a game? It's a children's game, like tag, but it has been stolen by grown men and assigned so many rules, and so much funding.

I don't understand glorifying the athlete. Why do we have Olympics? Why do we have professional sports? And why do we televise these things? I can understand people liking to play sports. I mean, it's playing a game, by definition a fun thing. But to pay other people to play? And to have fun watching total strangers play? And the machismo!

Someone explain to me, please, how it proves your heterosexual manliness to writhe around in a pile with other men, fighting over a ball. And then on top of that, there's the whole "chase the guy with the ball till you score in the end zone" thing, and the tight pants, the butt-slapping, the group showers. I'm not gonna argue that all of these things sound vaguely bath-housey (even though they do) but they sure don't sound like the exact opposite. It's like the homophobia has looped itself, has rolled like an odometer, gone so macho that it flipped over into gay. The same sports that women aren't allowed into have spawned the most vulgar sexual terms. "Which base did you get to?" "Did you score?" And don't even get me started on wrestling. The televised folding-chair kind is bad enough (nothing gay about a 'tag team' in matching sequined unitards) but the official kind is even worse. Yeah, I know. It's ancient and Greek. Well, guess what else is ancient and Greek!

I don't care that the stuff is more than a bit homo-erotic. Hell, I gravitate towards the homo-erotic. I just don't like the Billybobs who have to watch it all the time to prove that they're straight. And by Billybob, I of course mean Tom. Because it doesn't affect me at all when other people's TVs are on for eighteen hours every day, and set to three consecutive football games every day. It only bugs me when it's my TV.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

How I Know He's The One

A couple months ago I thought up the perfect idea for my first novel. I had read somewhere that Vonnegut had outlined Slaughterhouse Five on the back of a roll of wallpaper but lacking that, I scrawled a time-line out on post-its and stuck them to a dry erase board. They fell off after about ten minutes and I realized I needed a cork-board. Tom, in his infinite kindness, surprised me with a big cork board and some push-pins. Push-pins, not thumbtacks, since I hate thumbtacks because they always get pushed in too far and I have to push my thumbnail under them just to get them out of the damned bulletin board.

So Tom came home with a big gorgeous cork board exactly like what I needed, and he handed me a little clear lucite box of push-pins. "Is this what you wanted?" he asked. I looked down at the perfectly adequate ho-hum push-pins and nodded. There was no way to tell him that if I had been the one to buy them I would have preferred to get half the amount for three times the price just to get the brightly colored jumbo novelty ones my mother would never let me have. I mean, Tom's the one with the job and all and it's ridiculous to buy 25 pins for the price of 200. And after all, I'm thirty one and by all rights I should be past the stage of having to have every over-priced gimmick my mother wouldn't buy me. So I thanked him and I started hanging up my post-its in fictitious chronological order when Tom took a second little clear lucite box out of his pocket and handed it to me. Brightly colored jumbo novelty push-pins, just like my mother never bought me.

No matter how many times he burps into the phone or declares putting my bra into Ryan's dresser to be "an honest mistake", I will always know that he is The One. He knew to buy me the stupid frivolous waste-of-money push-pins, and he got them without complaint.

Monday, November 05, 2007

I Am Not That Demographic! (denial strikes again)

For my entire life, commerce has pandered to my mother's generation. She is a baby-boomer, and that's a huge demographic, lots of potential buyers. Freedom Rock compilation tapes for aging hippies, kitchen gadgets for the new working moms, and tons of junk being sold by celebrities from back in her day. Suzanne Somers exercise machines, Sally Struthers home diplomas, Lindsay Wagner sleep number beds, all ads aimed at my mother's generation. But now I sense a new trend. The market is pandering to me. More specifically, it's pandering to my childhood.

Bridge To Terabithia, the movie. Transformers, the movie. Psych, a television show about men my age who can't seem to move past the eighties, which ends every episode with an a cappella version of some twenty three year old pop song. Maybe it's just that the retro movement has hit an age I remember from the first time around, or maybe it's that people like me (what a frightening concept) are a big enough target group that they have to notice. I know that the 'skinny' jeans and leg-warmers are just retro fashion. I get that the neo-mullets and giant hoop earrings are a nod at the past and not the return of it. But a Transformers movie twenty years after people stopped buying the toys? What's next, a live action Jem? Thundercats? NOOOOO!

I am not old enough to be pandered to, not on my own dime. Look, manufacturers and ad execs pander to kids with sugary food and over-priced toys, because they know parents will sometimes give in and buy the crap if the kid yells loud enough. And they pander to the middle-aged, because they know that at that age it becomes very important to try to buy back youth. But I'm 31. I am too old to be asking my parents to buy me stuff and I am not yet old enough to be buying back my childhood, or reliving it through senility. I am still young, dammit! I live in the now, not in the past. Old people live in the past and say things like "back in my day," I don't.

Look, I have fond memories of the eighties too. But I also have a distinct connection to reality and the call on that line says not to bring back the big-hair decade. We don't need rockers in spandex, although the return of long hair is of course a welcome respite from insanity. We don't need colored jeans. We really really don't need the musical instruments of the eighties. Keytars, synthesizers, saxophone solos? Am I the only one who remembers how much the eighties sucked? Am I the only one here who remembers MC Serch?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Dog Must Go

Tom's dog annoys me. For one thing, she burrows under my covers, UNDER MY COVERS! The dogs are allowed to sleep above my covers and under the blanket I have laid out for them, but she insists upon getting between my sheets. And since she is disgustingly obese, and very talented at going limp, she is hard to move.

Also, she licks. Not in a "Oh I seem to have a spot of something on my paw I'd better clean it off" normal doggie kind of way, but in a disgustingly slurpy slobbery loud sort of way, all night. She licks her paws, her crotch (ugh, like I need to hear that), the other dog's face, the inside of the other dog's ears, the blankets, whatever is nearby, and she does this all night. It is nauseating to try to fall asleep to the sound of dog slobber being slopped all over the room. And at least three times a night she wakes me up crying because she's decided she can't get on the bed without permission, despite the fact that this has never been a rule and that she hops up on her own all the time.

The dog, probably from being so obese (a beagle built like an eggplant, not pretty), farts. Horrible mustard gas dog farts, with no warning and a loooooong hang-time. It's like invisible fumigators sneak into my home for no reason, periodically throughout the day. It's an especially pleasant experience during dinner, the smell of doggie diarrhea permeating the room. And when she goes into heat, which Tom won't pay to stop, she bleeds everywhere because she is TOO FAT TO REACH HER OWN GENITALS and therefore can't keep herself clean. In my opinion becoming too fat to reach your own genitals should be punishable by death, no matter the species unless you are some form of water-life. Whales can get away with it, but the gods at least gave elephants trunks to compensate. And I don't overfeed the dogs, it's just that this one eats for all of them.

She howls. At nothing. I have hung tarps around the dog pen so she can't see squirrels or bunnies or stray cats, whatever it was that she was barking at. Now she barks at the crinkling and fluttering of the tarps. And when she howls, the other dog howls too. Yes, I have three dogs, but MY dog, the little unobtrusive dog I brought into the relationship, doesn't sleep on the bed and can only yip, not howl. And I do mean howl, a basset hound baying that carries throughout the neighborhood and gets me phone calls. (Remember Roscoe's dog on The Dukes Of Hazzard?) And when I open the back door and tell her to SHUT THE FUCK UP, she goes down into the dog pen and lays down. I refuse to think of what she might lay in.

Tom, if you remember (and I do), originally got the dog to ride in the truck. It was only when he found out that CFI charged a $500 non-refundable deposit to keep a dog in their truck that she ended up at the house full-time. But when he bought his own truck, he took the annoying dog away. Life was once again good, sleep was once again uninterrupted and slobber-free. And now he says he's not sure he's taking her back out on the road. It seems he doesn't like having to walk her, or listen to her cry, or smell her intestines die. Now, I am a dog lover; I think it's cruel when people leave their dogs outside all the time. Hey, if you're going to get a pet, make it part of the family! But this dog will not survive living at my house full-time. I will stop trying to prevent her from running out the front door EVERY SINGLE TIME THE DOOR OPENS. I will let her escape and then not try to catch her, not call her name out, nothing. I will simply hope that she doesn't wander into traffic, that she finds her way home like she always has without worrying obsessively that she won't.

Yes, I feel for Tom. He has this whole "a boy and his dog" thing going on where he is the happy white kid and she is his loyal beagle, but the happy white kid in the movies doesn't leave the beagle home with his sister for weeks at a time. If that were the case it would be called "a girl and her animal cruelty charge".

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wish List

When I was eighteen I wrote out a list of things I wanted, which I have long since lost. It wasn't like an amazon wishlist, full of trinkets and gadgets and material things, although certainly it had on it some material things. It was a goals list, but without vague hard to define goals like success and health. It was full of things like 'husband' and 'children' and 'front porch', things that I wanted to acquire during my lifetime and which were at the time important enough to warrant being written on a list. Since then, of course, I have gotten many of the things on the list. I am married, I have a child, and I currently live in a house with a front porch. So now I am revamping the list, for a new millennium, hopefully not to be lost like the last one. So here it is, to be considered a constant work in progress and to be added to at random:

1) a front porch with a wood floor

2) a son, to even things out

3) a Prius

4) a soft chair all my own in a terribly ugly yet comforting pattern

5) a manuscript written by me

6) an anniversary ring, doesn't matter what kind, commemorating an anniversary higher than my parents achieved

7) a house with a tree

8) a full set of matching towels, every single one the same color

to be continued. . . .

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Have Become So Bitter

One of my favorite movie quotes ever is from a funeral scene, about a man who committed suicide and didn't leave a note. The preacher says, "Is not the satisfaction of being a good man among average men enough to sustain us?" or something close to that. I used to think that the satisfaction of being a good person was enough. In fact, I still firmly believe that the source of happiness is knowing that you are a good person. But now, I'm not so sure I am. I nitpick, and I judge. I have so little patience or tolerance. The neighbor guy across the street drag races and he spends whole afternoons revving the car up, I assume while working on it. Used to be, I'd close my door and turn up the TV and not care about the noise. It's the middle of the day and he has a right to his hobby. If I wanted absolute silence and solitude I should have moved to the country. And the guy is nice enough to wait until the afternoon rather than start at 8:00 in the morning. But now, I want to bomb his house. I have become bitter and bitchy lately, and I know why. It's a spiral. I want to move, to buy a house all our own in a city where a traffic jam doesn't mean a tractor. I want to have babies. I want Tom to get the local job he's been promising to get. I'm getting tired of waiting for our life together to start. I've always seen these first few years of our marriage as a short step. Someday I'll look back on them and they'll just be those rough times in the beginning when Tom was on the road. But I'm ready now for the rough times to be over with, thank you very much. Also, my novel isn't doing anything. I've stalled, and no amount of staring at a white screen seems to be helping, not that it would. Basically I don't feel productive, or useful. And I hate to go apply for a job and then have to leave in nine or ten months to have a baby. I plan to go to college when we move, to become a paralegal. I wait only because any classes I take here, in Illinois, won't be any good in Nebraska and no one here hires paralegals anyway.

So tell me, how do I get my satisfaction back?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Nation Of Mental Progeria

I firmly believe that people in this country, as a whole, need to grow the fuck up. When I was a child I thought as a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child. But when I became a man I put away childish things. -Corinthians I 13:11 The only bible verse I have ever bothered to memorize. I see middle aged men struggling to pay for their kids' college educations, yet they drive flashy convertibles in a vain attempt to recapture their youth. I see beautiful women in their forties wearing short shorts and halter tops and looking completely ridiculous, all because they want to be 21 again. These people need to grow the hell up. They don't have to wear appliqued sweatshirts with tissues shoved up the sleeves or play golf in a knee-brace, but they can give up the dream of reliving puberty.

That being said, I believe that some things exist solely to give joy, with no mature or responsible purpose at all. Games are one of them. Faith is another.

I have spent a good majority of my life living within a block of some grade school or another and I can tell you, when kids play they do it all the way. They scream. On the way down a slide, in the bounce at the top of the swing's arc, and while running away from whoever is "It", they scream. But when adults play, they don't scream anymore. They are too worried about looking stupid should they throw back their head and laugh with an open mouth. And they have so many rules. Organized sports are terrible things. Sports should never be organized, ever. They should be games played for fun in a park or an open field somewhere by people who agree in the beginning that referees are just bossy people who don't belong. Sports should be played by kids, no matter the age, not by professional businessmen more concerned with contract settlements and draft picks than with having fun.

I was raised by two parents with very little in common, except that they were both raised by parents who pushed upon them the importance of the church. As a direct result of this, my family never went to church. After years of reading about exotic belief systems and familiar doctrines, I have come to the conclusion that faith should be personal. Whatever it is that makes you feel connected to the universe is what's right for you. But when one man's method of connection gets written down, edited, footnoted, and bellowed into a loudspeaker in a building built just to house the loudspeaker, it somehow stops being personal. It starts being pushy, and condescending, and less about the joy. When religions have been organized, historically, they have gone from focusing on a connection with fellow man to focusing on the superiority over fellow man, and how to haul the fellow man kicking and screaming up onto a pedestal he may have no urge to mount. I believe that the only way to truly worship anything is to do it yourself, in your own words. How am I the one praying if I recite the words someone else thought up to describe how they felt? Does every single Catholic really feel an emotional connection to the Hail Mary?

I think the toys and the flings and the trends that adults cling to in an attempt to avoid being grown ups are about as ridiculous as if the same people were out riding bigwheels on the sidewalk. A little whimsy is nice, but when "Age is just a number" means you act thirteen rather than thirty, there's a problem. Some things are supposed to be innocent, and we corrupt them with rules and laws and grounds for disqualification. But the things that should be responsible and mature and adult, we seem to ignore. We are becoming, if we aren't already, a nation of tiny children in old creaking bodies.

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Floors & Shiny Gifts

Reason number three hundred fifty seven to hate the people who lived here before me: They glued down their carpet.

Reason number three hundred fifty eight to hate the people who lived here before me: They filled holes in the original hardwood floors with joint compound, and then glued carpet to it.

What are reasons one through three hundred fifty six? I don't have enough time to list them all but having to remove glued down and disintegrated-by-time carpet padding, some of which was glued to crumbling plaster, is definitely worth mentioning. But, aside from the quarter inch of bright yellow dust covering every semi-flat surface in my house, I am fairly happy with how the new kitchen floor looks. Ryan is of course disappointed that we didn't paint, which is what her limited experience with carpet-induced parental insanity has taught her should come next, but the kitchen looks nice. And the dust has given me the motivation to finally clean ten years of cigarette smoke off the kitchen walls. But Tom is hobbling around stoop-shouldered like an old man, and my flat feet are hurting more than they have in a long time and the curb in front of my house has a higher mountain of trash bags than any other house on the street. All in all, a productive couple of days.

On a lighter note, Tom seemed to like the new giant rolling tool chest I got him for our anniversary, even though it got wedged in the back of my mom's pickup truck and he had to provide the muscle to get it out, and then wrestle it down to his basement workshop. And I love my gift. A purse, a pair of gloves (three is the 'leather anniversary') and the black pearl ring that I have wanted forever. To hear Tom tell it, I have "been talking about that damn thing for the past three years." He spoils me so much.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

What Goes Around Comes Around

Remember a couple months back when I got mad at my living room carpet? Well today Tom stepped on a wet spot in the kitchen. So tonight he announces, box cutter in hand, that the kitchen carpet must die. And I can't get mad at him for it, or point out how foolish it is to undertake such a project a day and a half before he leaves, because I know what it's like to get mad at the carpet. So this is the scene in my kitchen tonight:



PS- Today is our third anniversary. How fitting that we prove so compatible on such an auspicious occasion.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's The Happiest day Of The Year

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Barnabus, You Dolt!

It's funny how you remember things years after the fact. My mom once told me of a story about a British lawyer's assistant who did amazingly good work but never left the office. In fact, she had read a story about a Wall Street lawyer's assistant who refused to work and never left the office. And how did I finally get the title to this masterpiece? From a reference I heard on the morning radio show I listen to. Ah, humanity.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Uncles

Four o'clock in the afternoon. Road construction on a busy US highway. I am driving, trying to beat my daughter home from Girl Scouts. I am buzzed, a combination of not eating anything yet today and drinking two beers. I hate myself.

My youngest paternal uncle is in town today. He lives in Florida and so my well-meaning aunt (married to my older, but not quite oldest, paternal uncle) chose to sync up our visits at the same time. He was stopping by while in town, I was stopping by to pick up some papers of my late father's. A little family reunion ensued, if by family reunion you mean two drunks, a middle-aged woman compulsively offering food to her guests, and me, the only available link to a dead man, sitting around a kitchen table trading stories. Ahhh, family.

My father came from a long line of drunk Archie Bunkers. If you were their color, religion, nationality, gender, approximate age and income level, and willing to buy them a beer, you were okay. To the rest of you high-falutin' blue-bloods, who needs ya! Being a non-racist inclusionary halfdyke like myself, I have always suffered some discomfort with my father's side of the family, especially since he died. See, they want to like me. I am Barry's blood, I'm all they have left of him. But I am not him, and that always disappoints. For many years I tried to be him; I slept around and I drank a lot and I pointed out the errors in other people's logic at the bar. But somehow the behavior one accepts from a middle aged war veteran isn't so well-received coming from a twenty year old girl. Also, the homophobe who applauds a hearty "Nice rack!" from a man won't always take it so well from a woman, not at the local VFW.

But still I try. I hate myself for it but for some reason, probably because these men are all that I have left of my father's blood, I try to find some common ground. So I laugh at their stupid jokes ("Want a bigger chest? Just rub some toilet paper between your boobs; it sure made your ass grow. Hahahahaha!") and I drink the beer they offer no matter the time, and I pretend for an afternoon that my father was the same man to me that he was to them, that he was a loyal and loving member of my immediate family and not some distant rarely seen face from my childhood. I try to pretend that I'm no longer angry with him when the most painful part of mourning him is my anger. And I really really try, harder than anything else, not to get a DUI on the fifteen mile drive home from the bar.

Monday, October 08, 2007

He does NOT have RLS!

TOM (lying in bed): I think I have RLS.

ME: You do not have RLS.

TOM: How can you know that? Do you even know what RLS is?

ME: Because no one really has RLS! In parts of the world where people actually know suffering, nobody complains about RLS! No one with any real concerns sits in bed at night going "Hmmm, I think my leg is twitchy." Get yourself some real worries and quit thinking your leg wants to kick something. Wanna know what it wants to kick? Your own ass, for being such a hypochondriac!

TOM: Nah, I think I have RLS.

E-Commerce At It's Finest

My mother only has internet at work. A week or so back she was rushing to work every day so she could go online, click the little link in her email, and track a package she had ordered. She so wanted this package to arrive. It was a purchase she had debated for months and she felt completely gluttonous for ordering it. So one day I got a call that she had rushed to work and clicked the link to track her package, which was due any day now, only to find that it had been outside her front door all night. So I had to drive across town in the rain to let the package in. All this for a fucking robot vacuum that almost choked to death on a dog turd last Friday.

May The Force Be With You

There is a force in the world for which I have been searching my whole life. This force, which only a few lucky souls ever connect to, is full of wonderment and joy and absurdity. I want to find this force, and connect to it. Sometimes I can feel it nearby, can almost touch it, but it never chooses me through which to emerge. This force is the line, the very fine line, which separates the ditsy (Joey Tribbiani) from the silly (Phoebe Buffay). It is a way of looking at things which embraces the obvious and then twists it, looking at in from a previously ignored angle. It is what makes people ask "Why not?" Most geniuses channel this force. Most successful inventors do as well, which is why most good inventions make the average consumer think, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Some people try to mimic the force, and they look so sad and obvious. The comedian who finishes every joke with "Huh? Huh?" waiting for the audience to laugh. The guy who does the funniest thing ever, a week after seeing someone else do it, in front of the same people. No, the force is what we love about fiction's greatest characters. Chris Knight, Shawn Spencer, Lucas, the people who say what we wish we could think of. The Jacks and Karens as opposed to the Wills and Graces.

I want that force. I want to be silly and fun, but not ditsy and flaky. I want to find that balance, channel that absurdist energy. I want to be campy and unashamed and outrageous. Oh, but to have a goal I could see.

Friday, October 05, 2007

I'd Hope They'd Change The Alert Name.

About a month ago a bunch of nuclear warheads went missing, flown around the country with no real security measures, and no one noticed for thirty six hours. Yep, nuclear bombs as strong as 60 Hiroshima bombs, floating around unsecured and not even missed, for over a day.

On a completely unrelated note, the Pentagon admitted a while back that it had entertained the notion of developing a non-lethal gay bomb. Yeah, see they'd drop this bomb (no doubt missile-shaped with a big purple tip) and it would simultaneously make the enemy gay and also release massive amounts of aphrodisiacs. So the enemy would forget to blow up us and just blow each other instead. By non-lethal I assume they meant that the effects of the bomb would never wear off. Because if the insurgents are nothing else, they do seem to be perfectly willing to kill themselves, and suddenly coming to with Achmed's cock in his mouth might be enough to push some guy in that direction.

Now, the gay bomb idea is offensive, sure. But more than that, it's hilarious. I bet no less than three dozen gay comics are pissed that they didn't think up the concept. I mean, the term "friendly fire" alone is a killer punchline. But come on, the premises on which this bomb idea is built are so laughably ignorant, it's hard to be offended.

1. We can make people gay. Because the fundies wouldn't have found the magical sexuality-switcher formula already, although in the Pentagon's defense, the fundies aren't really up on the latest science.
2. Gay people have no taste. So once the gay bomb goes off, they'll just screw whoever's nearby. Because when you think about it, it is the gay men and not the straight men who seem to exhibit less taste. That's why the gay men are the out-of-shape slobs and the straights are the perfectly groomed fashion divas. Uh, wait. . .
3. Somehow American troops are immune to "The Gay". That's how we know that the bomb vapors won't affect our troops on the ground. Wow, if a gay bomb had gone off in Cuba, the pictures from gitmo would have looked so much . . . exactly the same. (Btw, don't ever google 'gitmo pictures'. You get all sorts of war photos and small children with missing chunks of head are not that photogenic.)
4. The enemy will appreciate the non-lethal nature of a gay bomb and not be at all vindictive or bent of revenge just because we made all of them have lots and lots of hot gay sex. For the record, all gay sex is hot, even combat-sweaty stinky insurgent in the desert sex. Although, while under the effects of our mind-control homo-erotic bomb, they may be considered prisoners of war. And we've been assured by the current administration that we do not torture, or treat cruelly, any prisoners of war. So. . . we'd have to drop massive WWII-era propaganda bombs with single-serve tubes of KY jammed where the leaflets go. It's just courteous.
5. To avoid violating the Geneva Convention (again), we have to assume that somehow forcing people to have sex against their will is not rape, which historically has been considered a war crime. Sadly, current US laws see it differently. I mean, even if the people dropping the bombs aren't the ones getting laid because of it, it's still kind of a date rape drug.


Now, my question about those missing warheads is this: How much better security would the gay bomb have had? After all, nukes can kill you, but the gay bomb poses a serious threat. I mean, if I got my hands on a few of those, I'd be bombing those ginormous mega-churches on a Sunday morning. Take that, Promise Keepers!

And that's only if the Republican National Convention wasn't coming up.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I Am Not A Pot-Head Cat!

Tension Tamer tea, despite the wickedly cool medieval graphics on the box, tastes like Lemon Fresh Pine Sol. Or at least, it smells like Lemon Fresh Pine Sol, and it tastes the way it smells. I spent over $2.00 on a box of this stuff and not only is catnip listed in the ingredients, but it tastes like floor cleaner. Now, if I were a cat I'd be too baked to care what it tastes like, but I am not a cat and so I do care. But I'm too cheap to throw out a box of tea, so I'm drinking my Pine Sol calico stoner tea and building resentment with every sip.

On a brighter note, there's a girl named Chuck on Pushing Daisies. How cool is that?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Things I Didn't Quite Learn From MSNBC

Today I did the random link-clicking thing. I found a headline, on MSNBC, which looked interesting, and then just kept on clicking "related content" links. A lot of these articles, at least two, were on such common sense topics that I almost expected the end line to read, "And in conclusion, water is wet." So, I offer you a small list of articles I think didn't need to be written, because they are a complete waste of article-writer payroll.

1. Men sleep better next to their mates, but they snore so loud and steal the covers so women can't sleep so well next to them. Ehhh, duh? Has the writer of this "news" piece ever slept next to a man? No, because no one really sleeps next to a man.

2. If the TV is blaring Conan, you don't sleep as well. Really, you don't say? Who would have thought that a pulsating light show and noise could possibly affect sleep?


3. Stretching, or relaxing, some muscles can release pent up emotions. Ya think? Has any woman never cried after a particularly strong orgasm? And how often is the topic of the emotional trauma completely unrelated to the orgasm at hand? (No pun intended.) Tears, and shockingly embarrassing outbreaks of such, are the body's way of releasing tension, any kind of tension. Dr. Grafenberg taught me that when I couldn't find the wet-wipes through the tears. Please don't google the name, you don't want to know.

4. Exercise is hard and you can't get around that. I exercise, though nowhere near as much as I should, I know. But I do something, and I'm more flexible at least, because of it. But I don't get a high like a drug from it, and I don't let my one diet cheat day cost me a whole week's worth of work. What I do, though, is feel good that I'm more energetic and less depressed than before, and I eat on that day as if I had never heard the word calorie. I have to exercise, because flapping, saggy, soft muscles look ugly even without a fat layer. And also because the hundred calories I burned from doing a mile on the Gazelle tonight make me feel better about the beer I'm having right now. A light beer, with 102 calories. And to think, my dad always told me that drinking beer made women more attractive!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

An Homage To Autumn*

I love autumn. Winter is nice, with hot cocoa, snowmen, animated Christmas specials introduced by a stop-motion Frank Sinatra (but I used to think it was Dick Van Dyke), and the big tree that always looks somehow magical when you turn off the rest of the lights. Spring brings warm weather and green trees and the beginning of gardening season, which is a big thing in my house. Summer has lemonade and swimming pools and longer days and sitting outside with a cold beer, and getting to spend time with my kid without having to periodically remind her that she's supposed to be doing her homework, and by periodically I mean every five minutes. But autumn is my favorite.

Autumn means the leaves get prettier and they crunch under my feet, and the breeze gets just chilly enough that I can dig out my cozy sweaters. I can switch to my plaid flannel sheets and my thick bathrobe. I get to go buy gourds and potatoes and apples at the pumpkin stand in Thomson and put baskets of mums in front of the house. Autumn means apple cider and bowls of candy and children in plastic masks held on by elastic cords stapled to the sides. Autumn means remembering to baste the turkey and brown the rolls and mash the potatoes and making yourself crazy trying to get it all done at the same time, and then sitting down and giving thanks that the oven did not break today. It means never getting to watch anything good on any Saturday, Sunday, Monday night, or occasional Wednesday, because it's football season and "it's only one day a week!" It means an all-out brawl on Thanksgiving Day over whether to watch "The Big Game" or The Macy's Parade, which really is only on once, and then invariably having the channel changed anyway if I do manage to win. It's the beginning of the holiday season, which is proudly secular in my home, as well as the anniversary of the happiest pain-free day of my life. I love autumn. It's my favorite time of the year.


* I know 'homage' sounds pretentious, but I googled 'ode' and those are supposed to be lyrical and versed and crap. So while "An ode to autumn" would have certainly sounded better, it would have been a lot more work.

Oops, She Did It Again

Yeah, I know, bad pun up there in the title. Sue me.

Britney's lost her kids. Just google the words "Britney" and "custody" and see all the crap that comes up. Me, I couldn't care less, as I am apparently just too high brow to worry about what happens to ParisLindsayBritneyOlsenTwins, but the damn articles are everywhere and some of them have seemingly deliberately misleading headlines. So when I click on something which seems at first glance to be directing me to an article on parenting, I instead end up tea-bagged by the media with K-Fed's balls. Yeah, it's that icky.

What I find interesting is the tone of these articles, or at least of the first few lines of them. Britney got what she deserved and, K-Fed gets what he wanted. Why is it about them? It seems that only the most condescending articles ever mention what may be best for the kids. Yes, any child support the father is awarded is likely to be substantial, and yes, Britney's recent and well-publicized actions do seem to warrant some sort of intervention. But custody is not punitive, or a reward. It's not about the parents; it's about the kids.

A few years ago a friend of mine lost custody of her toddler daughter. The judge cited her lack of 'stability' as the main reason, but it couldn't have hurt that the child's father (and by father, I mean father's new wife's daddy) hired the best lawyer in the county to go against a single mother of three. And yes, stability was not this woman's strong suit, as I had pointed out to her from the beginning. But just because the father was married and had a better job history, the girl was moved out of the only family she'd ever known, away from her two sisters and her mother, to live with a man who had never really shown an interest in her prior to filing for custody and his wife, a woman desperate for a child. Now tell me, how is being ripped out of your home at the age of three supposed to enhance your sense of stability?

Yes, there is obviously more to the story than this. And yes, the judge probably did make the best decision in the long run, if you ignore the immediate trauma to the child. But my point boils down to this. How would your parenting change if you knew that someone could come in and take your kids away just because your life went through an upheaval? Everyone I've ever seen go through a divorce has had a few months of going a little wild. It's a self-defense mechanism; you either sit home and cry or you get drunk with "He aint gonna ruin my life, dammit" freedom. What if those few months could convince a judge to take your child from her home? What if you changed jobs and moved to another town, even if it was in an effort to provide better stability for your child, and a judge took him away for it?

Britney's nobody's pick for Mother Of The Year, and K-Fed's probably no prize either. But the judge knows all of this and more, and he's the one who made the decision that's being judged by the tabloids. So next time you overhear someone talking about how messed up Britney is and how she deserved to get her kids "taken away from her", remind yourself that the kids were put in the best place available, not taken away from someone as some form of punishment, and that maybe Britney's not that much more messed up than any of us have been at times. What would the pictures have shown if your worst moments had been caught by photographers? Your absolute worst, closing time at the bar first night out since the baby moments, on film and at a custody hearing.

And don't even get me started on this being fat! After two kids in the past 3 years!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Now, Why Don't I have A Snoopy Doll In A Sweater?

A Traditional Thanksgiving.

See, why didn't I do this first? I've always wanted to do it, and every year I threaten to do it, but this guy actually did it. Maybe this year I will do it the next day, the day when nobody's really hungry enough for a whole meal anyway. Then again, maybe not. I only get one diet cheat day a week and I don't think I'm going to skip Thanksgiving just so I can eat jelly beans on a Friday afternoon.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's Harder When It's Deliberate

Tom and I are trying to get pregnant. This is made more difficult by the fact that he's not home all the time and also by the fact that I'm not the most regularly scheduled person in the world. I used to be, before I had Ryan. My period was clockwork regular; if it came the fifth this month it would come the fifteenth next month, give or take a day depending on whether the month had thirty or thirty-one days. But it was always forty days after the last one. Now, well I don't know. I haven't been paying attention to it all that much, up until a few months ago. When it's just an inconvenience, my period doesn't seem to warrant being kept track of. But it's been coming thirty days apart since I've started writing it down in July. And by this very limited schedule, I am due today. So before I got out of bed this morning, I took a few minutes to decide what to do with my suddenly-valuable first morning's urine. I had a stick to pee on, but did I want to waste it when I was not even late yet? On the other hand, it's not like the sticks are expensive, and the stress of not knowing could make me late anyway and screw up the necessary predictability of my cycle. I decided to waste the pee by depositing it directly into the toilet bowl without ever passing it over a stick at all. It had such potential, and I threw it away.

I remember my first pregnancy test. It was a couple weeks after I lost my virginity, after I had spent those two weeks panicking and had finally confided in my mother what I'd done. The test was a bizarre lab experiment she conducted on the back of the toilet tank before school one morning, forcing my little brother to pee in the yard and brush his teeth in the kitchen sink with no explanation. It had tiny test tubes and an eye dropper and various colored solutions to be mixed with my teenage pee. In the end the result my mother deciphered was something along the lines of, "Hey Stupid, your hippy ass put the kid on the pill when she got her first period so no, she's not pregnant." Back then I was happy about the negative result.

Today, I am wondering why I wasted that pee! I am looking at maternity clothes on Amazon (why so many scarves?) and lathering my post-shower lotion onto my stomach as well as my legs, in case stretch mark prevention should prove to be necessary (as though at the first sign of a tiny blue +, my abdomen should decide to instantly expand, Hulk-like). I am wondering how I would tell Tom. Would I call him all excited and screaming? Or maybe I would be all casual and nonchalant about it, like by turning down a waiter's offer of wine with the explanation that I can't drink because I'm expecting. Maybe I could give him the pee-stick in his anniversary card. Would that be gross or not? I mean, it is a stick dipped in human urine, but they do come with the little plastic cap to protect you from the pee.

I should probably go take the test now. They're sensitive enough that you don't really have to use them first thing in the morning, but I'm not sure I want to face the disappointment of a negative result. Being proven not pregnant will hurt anyway, so why not put it off while I can? So now I'm back where I was when I got out of bed this morning; if I don't have my period by the fifth, I'll take the test. Until then, I will just live in this Hellish limbo I have created for myself, and which I will continue to visit every month until I finally either pop up pregnant or give up.

This was so much easier last time when it just involved being a deep sleeper and then waking up ill one day a month later.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Love The Smell Of . . .

or

I See You


You know you wanted it. You waited throughout every show, through the pledge of allegiance and all the opening music, to hear Miss Whatsherface see you. But if you had a name like mine, which hadn't been popular for children since World War Two, you never heard it. So for all of us, here it is:

I see Dawn and Chandos and Tom and Charlie. I see Ben and Marv and Shelly and Chris.
There. My life is complete now. How about yours?



PS- If I left you out it's because you're either too British or too young to remember Romper Room.

Little Person, Big Inspiration

Every post I write seems to lead to another. I am wasting space in the intertubes! Oh well: Dawn likes it. Hi, Dawn!

Tom bought a truck. He is now a sub-contractor for Schneider International. Schneider is the company he started with and quit but apparently the pay is substantially better if you own your own truck. I may come across as being incredibly calm about this, considering that we live check-to-check and we are now one breakdown away from homelessness, but that is because I am channeling a dwarf.

I am channeling Amy Roloff. If you've ever seen Little People, Big World, you know who I'm talking about. If you haven't, picture Linda Hamilton a foot and a half shorter and try to follow along. Amy Roloff is my inspiration as a wife, because her husband does everything on a whim and she, at the very least, doesn't scream at him on-camera. He decided to start a business selling footstools to hotels rather than get a more conventional job with which to support his family of six. He chose to undertake turning the family farm into a tourist attraction with pirate ship, castle, and giant pumpkin-launcher. And when she leaves town, he buys cars. And through all of this she just smiles and rolls her eyes as if to say, "That's just Matt."

So, when Tom changed his nightly rant from "I hate this company. They never give me enough miles and they make me wait too long between loads," to "I hate this company and I'm pricing trucks," I naturally asked what he was planning. It turns out that his ex-girlfriend Barb (his version of Marv, I suppose) is married to a fellow truck driver who drives for Schneider and they had financed his truck, contingent on him driving for them. "So I'm thinking about buying a truck and driving for Schneider again." I went off. The rising price of fuel, truck insurance, what if you don't get enough miles one month, what if the truck breaks down, we're supposed to be getting pregnant and you want to kill our medical coverage, why would you want to do something so risky when we're going to take on an expense like a new baby, all of it. And then I decided to channel Amy Roloff.

So, although it goes against every instinct I have, and although this is the man who needs his junk mail and telephone calls screened (telemarketers have an easy job with Tom), I am going to support my husband. I don't want him to be thinking some day that he never got to realize his dream because I killed it. And also, he's supporting me with my novel and it seems like the thing to do. Supporting my husband is harder than I'd have thought. It involves shutting up, something I've never been good at anyway, and having faith that Tom won't let us starve. Silence and faith are not easy for me. Wish me luck.

Why I Have A Narcoleptic Turtle

I mentioned buying a clay turtle but I never mentioned the REAL turtle! So here's an explanation, in part to dispel the myth that my level-headed husband is a saint for putting up with my flighty ways. I do have some flighty ways, but my husband is not always level-headed. For instance, he cannot be trusted with junk mail, because he will apply for every high interest loan and credit card offer. We now pay money every month on an unsolicited consolidation loan, as well as the annual fee for the credit card he hadn't realized charged an annual fee.

But the turtle! Ahh, the turtle. The turtle is partly my fault. See, Tom and I take turns being the flighty one, and it works for the most part. But occasionally our shifts will overlap and then we find ourselves momentarily in a marriage made up of two excited children and no responsible adult, and that's a recipe for disaster. Like when we both fell for the allure of the Red Lobster commercial that popped up during Deadliest Catch, and ended up driving 50 miles for an eighty dollar supper on a whim. So you can understand why I really do try to make sure that I am the only one being flighty before I allow myself to ditz out, if you will. So this is how the turtle thing started, which actually took a few months to prove itself a mistake.

I was talking to Tom on the phone one day while he was driving through the southwest when he casually observed that he had just driven past a flock of turtles. A herd? A small gathering anyway, maybe five or six turtles on the side of the road. His point was probably supposed to be something like, "Oh dear, not all of them will make it across this highway full of semis. Oh well, Darwin at work." But what I heard was, "Oh look, a land of free pet turtles for the taking. Turtles much like the ones your mother never let you have as a child. Free. On the side of the road. An assortment for the taking." So I said, naturally, "I want a turtle!" And he said, as he should have and as I anticipated, "I am not pulling over to get you a wild turtle off the side of the road. Are you out of your mind? Wait, never mind." And life went on as normal.

So a month or so ago Tom calls me all excited. He had passed another flock of daredevil street-crossing turtles but this time he had pulled over to get one out of the road before it could get squashed. Remembering my excitement at the prospect of turtle ownership (oh no) he had become pensive. (Oh tell me you didn't, Tom.) He had picked up a turtle about the size of his hand. (You put it back, right? It's wild and turtles carry salmonella and the set-up alone would cost a fortune.) "Honey, I got you a turtle!" (Dear gods, save me now.) "I got you a turtle and I named him Spike, for no reason at all!" What could I say? He was telling me this hours after the fact, long after leaving the desert that was this poor turtle's natural habitat. So I gave the only response I could. "Well that's the best reason to choose a name, honey."

So now, in Ryan's room for lack of space (she offered), is an ornate box turtle named Spike to whom I must feed assorted fruits, vegetables, and fishing worms. Mostly he stays burrowed under the wood shavings under his heat lamp, though. I assume he's sleeping under there but perhaps he's plotting escape. Every time I put him on the floor he makes a run for the space under Ryan's bed so it would make sense. Or maybe he has Epstein-Barr and has to sleep 22 hours a day. Yes, that's it. I have a turtle with a sleep disorder.

That's why I bought the little clay turtle, for Tom's truck which is a whole other entry, to remind him next time he passes a flock of box turtles not to pull over. Just keep driving. As for me, I have learned that I have to spell out my motivation when I am flighty. Now, instead of, "I want a turtle!" I have to say "I want a turtle! But not really because rationally it would be a bigger endeavor than I'm up for but right now when faced with the reality that you are near turtles I for a mere moment desperately want a turtle." My husband is a 39 year old truck driver who pays his bills and maintains a home and family responsibly, but who now needs a legal disclaimer whenever his wife acts flaky. Boy, won't pregnancy be fun?"

Shmuley Update


I went to my favorite crackhouse, errr, greenhouse. (I'm addicted so I call it the crackhouse and try to avoid it.) I asked about these worms and ended up buying a bottle of insecticide that cost more than Shmuley did in the first place. Also a clay turtle, two pots of fall mums, and three bamboo poles to brace my Mandevilla Vine which Ryan named Mandy but I secretly call Manilow.

So I came home and took my beloved plant outside and gave it a good spritzing. After he dried I brought him back inside, gave him a good watering, and went on to other plant related matters, since I already had my little potting bench (Ryan's purloined vegetable cart) all dirty already. I repotted my philodendron Death Plant* which was alive and healthy, but had stopped growing for some reason. And also, I repotted the Aloe Vera plant, which Ryan tells me she named Vera, not Allie, and which had gotten so tall it was tipping over. I mixed some potting soil I had with some sand, and sprinkled aquarium rocks on the top for a more realistic desert feel.

And then, last night as I made my cup of Sleepytime tea, I glanced at Vera and I noticed THIS!
A baby Armyworm! I got that sucker off my aloe plant but now that I hear from my iconic cousin that Armyworms live in the soil I am more worried. I covered the soil with aquarium gravel! I have effectively given the worms a protective cover against any sprays I may try. AND, Shmuley still looks tired.

And to top it off, the Death Plant's dirt looks like it's molding. There's a distinct layer of white fluff in certain spots. It's probably all full of spores and by repotting the plant I've let it loose into the house. They'll find the bodies of my family and I, dead on the floor, covered with Armyworms.


* Death Plant is my oldest plant. It's the one I got from my employer when my father died. My brother and I worked at the same place and they sent us the stock death plants, a philodendron and a peace lily. His lily is at Mom's house.

Monday, September 24, 2007

No Pain, No Horrifically Painful Injuries

ME: I think I tore my hamstring. There's a tearing shredding pain in the back of my thigh.

TOM: Did you stretch before you hopped on your Gazelle?

ME: Yes I stretched. I did all the stretches you showed me and I always felt that muscle working when I did it. But the internet now tells me me I was supposed to warm up too.

TOM: You didn't warm up?

ME: Well Marv told me that in order to lose weight I have to have my heart rate up for at least twenty minutes, and I didn't want to have to do it for that long so I just hopped on and went full-bore for twenty minutes.

TOM: That's why you hurt your hamstring then.

ME: But I stretched! How long is a workout supposed to take? First you stretch, then you warm up, and then you finally get to work out.

TOM: And then you cool down.

ME: Why? Why do you need to warm up in the first place?

TOM: To get the blood flowing to your muscles.

ME: sarcastic You mean right now, sitting on the couch immobile, there is no blood in my legs? Really?

TOM: Well there is, but it's latent blood. It's not moving.

ME: It's just pooled there, not flowing at all? I thought blood pressure kept it moving. The heart beats to force blood into unused muscles. By all rights, the simple act of staying alive should be enough warm-up.

TOM: It's like a rubber band. When you're not working it, it stays all tight, but when you do. . .

ME: Like silly putty, you mean.

TOM: What?

ME: When you pull silly putty slow it stretches, but if you yank it it rips.

TOM: Yeah, kind of like that.

ME: Why didn't you just say that in the beginning instead of all this blood-pooling stuff?

TOM: I was trying to find another way to . . . I don't know why. You're right, it's like silly putty.

ME: That's all I was asking.

TOM: Okay. So what you been up to?

ME: Wait a second, I SNAPPED MY LEG LIKE SILLY PUTTY?!?!?!








Sometimes I wonder how he puts up with me. Then I remember that he leaves a lot.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I Am Open-Minded

You Are 60% Open Minded

You are a very open minded person, but you're also well grounded.
Tolerant and flexible, you appreciate most lifestyles and viewpoints.
But you also know where you stand firm, and you can draw that line.
You're open to considering every possibility - but in the end, you stand true to yourself.
You May Be a Bit Schizotypal...

A bit odd and socially isolated.
You couldn't care less of what others think.
And some of your beliefs are a little weird.
Like that time you thought you were Jesus.