Friday, December 28, 2007

(Insert dull hum here...)




Can't write.


No words.


So tired.


Must blog.


Here... very very very awake baby cutness...


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Observations


Childbirth is both harder and easier than you think. Epidurals are beautiful.

Nursing a newborn is exhausting. Lovely and sweet at many times, but exhausting.

If I had known I could function this well on this little rest, I could have done SO much more in college…

Getting out the door with a newborn is on par with a full-scale military maneuver. It involves planning, equipment, and strategy that would make Patton himself dizzy.

However far you think a newborn can projectile vomit, add 5 feet.

When you are home with a newborn, there is no shame in being unshowered in your jammies at 5:00 p.m.

Breast milk is sticky. And stubborn. And EVERYWHERE.


Keeping a stranger's grimy hands away from your preemie's face will bring out your inner ninja.

Even the best baby (i.e.- mine) has her meltdowns. Resistance is futile. Steve Winwood was right- roll with it, baby.

Labor and childbirth are worth it a thousand times over for the look on your sweet Husband’s face when he’s with your daughter.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Happiness is...


Vivian Mae
2:44 a.m. December 6, 2007
6 pounds, 12 ounces (5 weeks early…wow…)

She’s a good baby, quite the sleeper and a champion breastfeeder.
But she’s still a newborn. And a preemie who arrived after a huge last minute push at work, some pre-term labor, some bedrest, and other crazy things.

So forgive my absence, but I leave you with all this smooshy-faced cuteness.

I am the happiest I have ever been in my life.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Toenails & Mucous Plugs

Yesterday, I passed what the doc believes was some or all of my mucous plug. I won’t indulge you with the details (beg all you want, still no) but I believe this mucous-plug-passing business is actually God’s way of easing you into the idea of slimy grotesque things oozing out of your vagina. She (God, that is) also apparently enjoys the element of surprise. That God… such a kidder. (Get it, “kidder”…. no? Oh, bite me- like you’re Dane Cook.)

At any rate, I pass this goo and think to myself “Self, you are only 32 weeks along… maybe you should call the doc.” So I did. And they ordered me into the office for an internal exam. One would think I’d be cringing and gritting my teeth because now the on-call doctor would be putting a metal instrument and a couple of gloved fingers inside of my intimate areas. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t excited about that part, but my first real thought was “OH MY GOD, THEY’LL SEE MY TOENAILS!” See, the boots I had on (one of only two pairs of shoes that fit my water balloo- I mean, feet) tend to get a bit malodorous. And that makes the trouser socks under them stinky. Which means there was no way I was putting my feet in stirrups, stirrups that would be right near the doctor’s head, without removing both boots and socks AND washing my feet in the bathroom right after I peed in the Dixie cup. But underneath those boots and socks? Dear sweet lord of the Twinkies…I can’t SEE my toes, much less reach them well enough to apply polish with any precision. I haven’t had time for a pedicure in weeks. In other words? My piggies were going “EWWWWWW!!!” all the way home. Chipped off polish, uneven edges, etc. etc… like I should be going barefoot in a gas station bathroom… to get condoms…for my Mom.

So what did I do? This is SC, I apologized of course. The sweet, kind (and skinny, perfectly made-up, might I add) nurse and doctor come in and I start babbling about how I’m so sorry for the state of my toenails and I can’t paint them myself and Husband offered, but that scares me and there’s no time for a pedicure because work has been crazy and I wasn’t anticipating having anyone SEE them today and I normally keep them so well done…… blah, blah, blah… Like a Mary Kay lady on meth, I was. To which the doc replies “Well, the important question is… did you shave your legs?”

Of course. I got Dr. Smartassypants. Yeah, he was kidding and meant absolutely no harm. He’s a big sweet gentle old giant of a man whom I actually like very much. But people, I am 8 months pregnant. NO SENSE OF HUMOR here. At least not where my declining beauty regimen standards are concerned.

But yes, I had shaved my legs. Might have missed a few spots trying to work around my insanely large child, but an “A” for effort, I assure you.

The rest of the visit told us this:
No, I am not dilating or effacing, so no imminent danger of early delivery.
Yes, the child is still huge. Estimated at 4 lbs. 6 oz. yesterday- on par with a 35 week baby.
She has hair. Lots of it. This prompted her father to ask “Honey, is there something you want to tell me?” Because he and I? Cue balls at birth.
The ultrasound tech said (ominously) “you’ll be coming back to see me…” and what she means is a 37-week ultrasound to determine exactly how freakishly enormous my daughter has gotten. And what that will mean for my delivery options.

Until then, my Mom has started the Baby Betting Pool. When will she come? How much will she weigh? We have everything from December 10th at just under 7 lbs (from baby Sister… she loves me…) to my Dad who says January 7th at 9 lbs. 12 oz. (clearly my father is holding some kind of grudge).

What do you say? I mean… other than “gee thee to a nail salon!” Here, let me distract you from my gnarly smelly toes with cute ultrasound pictures!




Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Scenes from an Ultrasound: Part Deux

Ultrasound Tech: Wow… she’s big….

Us: Really? How big?

Ultrasound Tech: Well, the measurements put her at 3 lbs. 2 oz.

Us: Hmmm….

*cut to OB’s office*

OB: She’s a big baby!

Me: Yeah, the tech mentioned that.

OB: No, really- only about 15-20% of babies are that big!

Me: Well, that figures. Her Daddy was 10 lbs. 3 oz.

OB: (palpating my abdomen) Yep, she’s a big big girl.

Me: Terrific.

So the general consensus seems to be that Vivian is A) healthy and B) large. This suits me just fine. I’d much rather partake of an epidural and other God-given medical interventions to birth my behemoth child than to worry over a tee-niny baby in the NICU. But don’t think Mama won’t push for the induction if Baby Girl continues to plump up at this rate.
Here’s the Reader’s Digest report on the physical aspects of the pregnancy.
Large. So large.
Heartburn, reflux, repeat.
Can’t reach itchy ankles.
Four words: feet in my ribs.
But the hard part is that I’m now officially riding the “pregnancy emotional roller-coster” as my favorite POS book called it. I cry. A lot. And I’m so damn tired I can’t see straight. Which probably doesn’t help the crying. It’s a crappy gig, since I am not accustomed to being unable to control these things with an iron… um… tear duct.
Don’t get me wrong- I am well aware these are temporary conditions and I will gladly do this for ten more weeks to get a healthy happy baby. But only doing it for nine weeks wouldn’t suck. Just sayin’.

Monday, October 08, 2007

An Open Letter

To The Women of the 2nd Floor:

It is horrifically bad she-karma to allow a PREGNANT WOMAN, much less any other sister, to exit the ladies room with her dress rucked up in the backside of her panties.

You know who you are.

A curse upon you. May your maxi pad adhesive yank at your pubes.

Sincerely,
The Waddling Woman in Green

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Household Budget: Mortgage, Groceries, Health Care Fraud...

Over at DC Metro Moms today, Lawyer Mama started a discussion about health care. She correctly points out that for the average working class family (even those of us with “good” insurance) a single major illness or accident could prove financially catastrophic. And while it’s easy to point the finger at employers for not providing better (or in some cases, any) coverage or taking on bigger a bigger share of the premiums, the reality is that their costs for employee health care are also a financial burden, particularly for small businesses. Like Lawyer Mama, I want to see the candidates go after this issue in earnest. Also like Lawyer Mama, I don’t pretend to have all the answers. But let me offer a modest proposal.

The major barrier to more comprehensive and far-reaching health care coverage we hear about is cost. Nobody wants to pay for the oft-cited "skyrocketing healthcare costs" whether that's private employers or the government through socialized medicine. The irony of this is that health plans/payers/government agencies are missing MAJOR opportunities to cut those costs (and thereby making coverage more affordable/available) through comprehensive anti-fraud programs.

I work for a company whose primary line of business is as a Program Safeguard Contractor, or PSC for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Broken down into simplest terms, we detect, investigate, and hopefully try to prevent Medicare fraud and abuse. Truthfully, CMS is really the only bright spot, in that their anti-fraud endeavors through the PSCs have been amazingly effective. The one little company I work for (180 employees total) typically gives the government an 11/1 ROI. Yes, that's right- we return about $11 to the Medicare trust fund for every $1 they spend on our operations. Last year, we identified about $220 million in fraud and abuse just in Medicare claims alone. Bottom line is what we do WORKS. And works well.

But most private insurers don't have any kind of decent anti-fraud measures in place. In many states, they are required to have some specific controls, but nothing nearly so comprehensive as the Medicare PSCs. Most of them have an SIU (special investigations unit- Medicare Part D providers are required to have these) that responds to complaints of fraud, but do little or no proactive data analysis, much less trying to "connect the dots" so to speak and go after more than isolated incidents. Some have started buying into automated anti-fraud technology in the form of software (IBM is one of the major players). But without a more comprehensive program and personnel to pursue the leads, it's like turning your garden hose on a California wildfire. PSCs like our company combine data analysis with investigative services and medical review functions for a comprehensive product. Periodically-updated software that spits out reports to be analyzed by senior management with no fraud-detection experience? That's not a substitute for what we do.

There are a lot of reasons insurers don’t have better anti-fraud programs in place. Lots of payers don’t quite comprehend the worth of the investment. Some of them don’t want to risk alienating large providers with investigations. “Prompt payment” laws in most states limit the amount of time a company can spend researching claims before they’re paid. Anti-fraud detection isn’t a standard part of claims payment software or processes. Lots of reasons. But in my not-so-humble opinion, it often comes down to cost. Fraud investigation is, by the nature of the work, a slow process that doesn’t yield profits over night. Long-term savings and better health for American families take a back seat when the noisy voices of investors come calling.

The NHCAA has estimated that about 3% (about $39 billion in 2000) of what this country pays for healthcare is lost to blatant fraud, which doesn’t even account for erroneous payments and abuse. (Some of the other government agencies have put that estimate as high as 10%.) Can you imagine what recovering/preventing even a fraction of that would do for making healthcare more affordable for working class families and their employers? I would hope that the candidates would give some thought to doing a better job of mandating the level of fraud detection and prevention mechanisms that private health plans have in place. I think socialized or government-funded healthcare is a long way off in this country, but bringing down the costs of our current system would go a long way to make life a little easier for the average family.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Evil at home and abroad...

This makes me so sad. And so angry.
I mean… truly… what kind of evil has to be in someone’s heart to kill BUDDHIST MONKS protesting peacefully? Monks- a group of people who truly believe and live a doctrine of non-violence.
I imagine it’s the same kind of evil that prompts someone to shoot Amish schoolchildren. But that was just one man- we can comfort ourselves with that- just one man with a questionable grip on his own sanity.
This is a government. A GROUP of people who cannot possibly have any motive to shoot these monks who have taken to the street to protest for rights and liberties they believe to be in the best interest of others. No possible motive except for the hateful greedy desire to oppress and overpower.
I think to myself- shame on them. Shame on their cold hard evil hearts.
And then I think to myself about our government. And our leaders. Our wealthy, privileged nation…whose freely elected leader just vetoed an opportunity to provide healthcare to children. A nation that pays contractors who use violence to make money at the expense of vulnerable civilians in a war-torn country. A country whose leaders preach "family values", but will rip a family apart on technicalities created by their own muddy bureaucracies.
And I am ashamed.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Car Seats, Toile, & Quad Toggles

Hey, good news! We’ve finally started doing something that resembles getting ready for having a baby in the house!
Up until now, our general plan was to line a cardboard box with a nice fluffy towel and put the baby in that. You know, like with a kitten, only we’d use a good towel. My mom and sister had already given her enough clothing for approximately four outfit changes per day until she goes to kindergarten and I’m planning to do this breastfeeding thing, so we figured we were all set. OK… so we knew we weren’t. We were just pretending. (Kids like pretending, right? Right?)
Last weekend my glorious Girlfriends threw us a baby shower and we wound up with some truly useful items. For instance, we got a car seat which means the hospital will have no choice but to let her leave with us. (Suckers!)
We also started painting the nursery last night. The prior owners of our house had an affinity for the shade of yellow normally reserved for laboratory caution placards. That and very very large fruit patterns. And teal. Yes, it was a regular early 90s designer showcase. But the yellow? I believe it was a Sherman-Williams shade, “Anxiety Attack”. Or maybe “Prozac Lullaby”. It had to go. Pronto.
Now, I know infants can’t see most colors right away. (See! I’ve totally been reading those books!) But truthfully, isn’t nursery décor more about our sanity? That’s why I’ve never understood people who decorate in little animals with I’m-so-happy-I’m-smug-about-it expressions on their faces. Seems to me that at 3 a.m. when you’re rocking the baby who has been screaming for the last 14 days of its life, you’d be about ready to wring that pleasant little giraffe by his super cute neck. We’ve selected a nice neutral sage-ish green and the only animals around are some lambs with nice innocuous expressions that do not imply any superior zen levels.

And last night Husband and I had this conversation:
Husband: Do you need any clothes washed?
Me: Um yeah… can you grab that toile maternity blouse of mine?
Husband: …….. toile?........
Me: Yeah.
Husband:…… toile?......
Me: Yes, dear. The blue and cream flowery little pattern thing?
*silence*
Me: You know, this does make me wonder how much attention you were paying when you agreed to that green toile nursery bedding…
Husband: What toile nursery bedding? I’ve never seen or talked about anything “toile” in my life!
Me: You did too- we looked at it on Overstock.com!
Husband: I would remember using the word “toile”….I’m sorry, but there are things you don’t forget saying like “toile” and “quad toggle” and “not that hole!”

Yeah, so maybe we’re not totally prepared yet. But I figure we have at least 6-8 months after she’s born to clean up sexual innuendo… we’ll get to it right after the electrical outlet covers…

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

This just in...

Bill Maher is an asshat of epic proportions.

A misogynistic, prudish, uneducated asshat.

I won't even take the time and energy to expound. Other women bloggers have done as much, more eloquently than I could manage.

But I will say this...

If I ever see him in my post-partum days, I will promptly pull up my shirt and squirt him right in the damn eye.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Reference Manuel.. I think I met him once on Spring Break...

Husband has a new job! (Hooray!) Increased salary and better benefits aside, I’m pleased to report that he’s also learning a lot of new things. You see, Husband was hired for a professional position with in a large insurance-related organization. But for the first two weeks, he is taking the standard corporate new hire training as well as sitting in on some of the customer service rep training, since he’ll be delegating a lot of things to the CSRs. Husband (and I, by way of his daily recountings) have learned so much from the CSRs this week. First and foremost, we learned this:
We’re both really freakin’ grateful for our education and socio-economic status.

Here are some of the other valuable lessons!

1. We know which clinic in town pays the most for plasma donations and which blood types are more valuable.
2. An important question to ask of the trainer conducting new hire training is “What is the most common thing that gets people fired? Is it absences?”
3. When presented with a baby daddy who refuses to pay child support, it is best to seek him out at a relative’s house and threaten him with physical violence.
4. If your electricity is cut off for non-payment, you can call the utility company and tell them your child has a medical condition requiring equipment that runs on electricity- you know, like “a breathin’ machine”. This will restore your service regardless of payment status (and regardless of whether your child is actually perfectly healthy).
5. If you pay your boyfriend’s CO $100, you can get a little privacy for 15 minutes or so in order to engage in sex acts.
6. If your prior employer delays in getting you your last paycheck, you can always drive over there and threaten to blow the place up. You will be paid promptly.
7. Pennsylvania may well be either a city or a state, but it’s not one of the “major ones” that would be commonly known to everyone.
8. If a boy is semi-stalking your 16-year-old sister, there is no need to engage law enforcement or school administrators when you can simply pay $5 for admission to the high school football game and beat the boy senseless.
And last but not least…
9. If you’re at a loss, consult the “REFERENCE MANUEL” you’ve got on your desk.

I too have had some significant learning experiences at work this week. I have an office. I heart my office with rainbow and unicorn drawings all around it. Due to some ill-timed door varnishing, I had to relocate to a cube downstairs this week. It’s official, I am not cut out for life in the cube farm. Here are some notes for my fellow employees:

If I can sing along, your music is too loud. This is why the sweet baby Jesus gave us headphones.

Your chair squeaks. Loudly. Every time you move. For the love of all that is holy, FIX THAT SHIT.

I could say more… about the glorious redneck family dramas I got to listen to playing out on our phone lines, but frankly I’m exhausted. Just let it be noted that I will gladly panhandle before I sit in a cube again.

I know. I’m a snob.

I just don’t care.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Birth Order

“Is this your first baby?”

Um…uh…

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve faltered trying to answer that question… well, I wouldn’t be trying to sell Husband’s kidney to pay for daycare. (Sorry guy- but you do have TWO and they won’t take mine.)

Seriously, though. I have two daughters. This is my second child. That sounds so odd, because I don’t go home every day to a little girl about to celebrate her first birthday. There are no large pieces of brightly colored plastic fun in my den. The dogs have never known the joy of high chair leftovers raining down on them. My work clothes don’t have faint yellowish spots on the shoulders and boobs. (Except for that one shirt… margaritas involved… long story.) Husband and I spend leisurely evenings playing with said dogs and chatting about each other’s days over dinner eaten in a room with *gasp* carpet on the floor.

And yet, there she is- Cecilia Ruth. Born May 2006. First child of Charles and Lauren. Grandchild of Kenneth and Lynn, of Michael and Eileen, all of whom were there to hold her, see her, love her, and kiss her goodbye. She is as real and as human to me as any of the folks who were in the room that day. She is my daughter and she was a living being, as sure as she kicked and tumbled inside of me.

I feel dishonest and as though I am dishonoring my daughter to just answer “yes” to the first baby question. In my heart, acknowledging her seems the only logical and natural thing to do. I will always miss her, and her short life left an indelible and bittersweet impression on my heart. But she’s still my child and I’m proud to be her mother. I’m proud of what a little fighter she was and I’m proud of myself for making incredibly tough decisions that were in her best interest, as any mother would.

I don’t include Cecilia in my answer expecting sympathy or trying to make the asker uncomfortable, yet those are the responses it seems to invoke. They wind up mumbling something like “I’m sorry…” or “you poor thing…” and I find myself stammering and apologizing for … for what… for acknowledging my own baby’s existence? I hate that. But I hate making people uncomfortable. But I also hate the idea of ignoring Cecilia. Maybe I’m overanalyzing what should be a simple superficial social situation. But to any mother who has lost a child, especially a child she has held and dressed and rocked, it’s WAY more important than that. And after some time and some healing, we don’t mention our babies entirely with sadness. We mention them because… well, because they’re our babies. I find myself saying things like “don’t be sorry – I’m ok…” because it’s true. I am ok. And I’m ok in part because I haven’t pushed Cecilia’s life and memory into some dark closet and thrown away the key.

A friend said of my quandary “well, how would you WANT them to respond?” I want to be able to name my daughter, to validate her life and her place in our family, and to have people view that as a positive, healing thing. A simple “oh, so this is your second child- how wonderful!” or something along those lines would be perfect. I know it’s not the easiest sunshiniest (patent pending on that word…) of situations, but it’s as simple as this- let my daughter be my daughter in the light of day and public discourse. By simply letting me count her among my children without feeling so incredibly awkward and without living mired in past grief, you have done the heart of a mother a huge service. Births are normally happy, wonderful events. All the world loves a pregnant lady (except maybe if she has a married boyfriend…) but be prepared to acknowledge all children- because they all have their place in that pregnant lady’s heart.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Senator Craig and zone defense for babies...

Seriously? I mean… really…? Let me see… your premise is that you are:
1. an English-speaking native-born citizen
2. college educated
3. a millionaire with easy access to the best counsel you can buy
4. and a FUCKING SENATOR

BUT…you suffered a “manifest injustice” despite the fact that you
1. waived your right to counsel
2. plead guilty BY MAIL weeks later
3. and voluntarily never appeared before a judge

Craig apparently “wishes that he had sought legal council in the months between his arrest and entering his guilty plea.”

Yeah. In the words of that modern-day-philosopher, Justin Timberlake, cry me a river.

I wish I had never used a credit card for crap I didn’t really need. I wish I hadn’t been going 86 in a 60 when that state trooper saw me. I wish I had sought counsel from a personal trainer before getting pregnant 15 pounds over weight.

But you know what else?
I know how credit debt works and how difficult it is to pay off.
I know what “speed limit” means and what will happen if I get caught speeding.
I know the risks and perils of carrying extra weight and I know how to lose it and I have access to freakin’ Weight Watchers.

Point? We humans do stupid shit. And we get caught doing stupid shit. And if we are Americans who are reasonably well-educated , not destitute and English is our primary language and we have a working knowledge of the institutions of our country, WE DO NOT GET TO CALL A DO-OVER just because the press got wind of what we did.

Here is a man with every advantage and all the information. Here is a man knew damn full good and well what his rights were and the realities of how the justice system works. (At least he should have- if he didn’t, then he shouldn’t be a freakin’ LAWMAKER in the first damn place!) Here is a man who had class and native language and time and resources on his side. With all that, I’m sorry, you knew full and well what “guilty” meant. GUILTY means you admit to the wrongdoing. Don’t want to admit that? But don’t think you can win against the big bad justice system? (The system you have manipulated to be biased against everyone except you and your white wealthy allegedly-hetero brethren?) That’s what “no contest” is for, buddy.

So please…go ahead and tell me the detective “misconstrued” your actions in the men’s room. Insist to me that you are not gay. But do not for a single minute tell me you didn’t understand or couldn’t have gotten full counsel before making this guilty plea. Was the plea a mistake? From the perspective of your political career, you betcha it was. But you gambled and lost. The game was as fair as it gets for you, Senator Craig.

Oh, and just come on out already.

And now for a funny interlude:

Husband: I can’t wait for next college football season! I’ll have Vivi in her little Clemson onesie and I can teach her all the ins and outs of (blah, blah, blah…names of strategies here…)

Me: You realize teaching her all that is only going to one day make her MORE attractive to teenage boys?

Husband: And then there’s karate class…

Me: For her or you?

Husband: Both... And Daddy may need a lifetime pass to the firing range for Christmas...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Scenes from an Ultrasound

Ultrasound Tech: “She is just NOT going to hold still and let me get a profile picture.”
That’s my girl!

Tech Again: “Woah…little thunder thighs on this one!”
That’s DEFINITELY my girl!

Blogosphere, Vivi Mae would like to wave hello. See her "fingeras" as the ultrasound tech labeled them?















20 week anatomy scan went very well. She has a small chorioplexus cyst in the right side of her brain, but we’re told that A) they’re very common and normally resolve by 28 weeks and B) we already know she doesn’t have Down’s Syndrome, so it’s really nothing to worry about at all. She flipped and waved and kicked and generally put on a show for her grandparents. Her Daddy and I got weepy, as usual. I’m about a week past the time in the pregnancy when I delivered Cecilia. I guess that makes me the most pregnant I’ve ever been. Cecilia was so small that I didn’t feel a lot of what I’m feeling now. It’s amazing how different this pregnancy has been. And hey- bonus! My cervix is nice and long and closed up tight. After the damage from Cecilia's delivery, that was a huge relief.


Mom & Dad were here for the weekend and I got an early birthday present. ALL HAIL THE SNOOGLI PREGNANCY PILLOW! If I could bend over comfortably, I would have kissed my Mom's feet for this one... I wonder if Husband would consider changing her name to Snoogli Mae?

In other non-baby-related news....
I hope Michael Vick winds up in a cell with a 400 lb. sociopath who was recently recruited by a PETA jailhouse program. That bastard deserves to have a set of jumper cables attached to his balls... and the other end attached to a Mack truck. If the NFL doesn't hit him with a lifetime ban, I will personally burn every piece of franchised logo-bearing clothing in a three-state radius. Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

Anyone seen "The Pick-Up Artist" on VH1? I do not understand this show. I do not understand this "Mystery" guy. Well, wait... that's not right. I do not understand why in the hell so many women seem ready to drop their panties for this guy. Uh... let's see... you're an obviously 30-something guy who wears more eyeliner than I do and you call yourself Mystery.....yeah, you just REEK of relationship potential. I don't even understand wanting to sleep with him- he looks weasely and unemployed. Not exactly the type I'd trust put any part of his in any part of mine. Maybe that's a sign I'm getting old. I just want to call him Harold and tell him to cut his hair and get a legitimate job. What's worse is how he's teaching these poor regular guys all his "techniques". They seemed like pretty good fellas to begin with. And do they really want the kind of women who respond to Mystery's crap? Vapid is as vapid does, I suppose. Yeah, I'm old.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

A few weeks ago, I had no idea what IBC was, much less that it was about to affect a woman whose writing I have enjoyed for some time now. And then I heard. And then all I could think about was how Widget and Little Bear are fighting to keep their Mommy... and they don't even know it. Her blog is here:
http://toddlerplanet.wordpress.com/
But today I repost her July 23 entry on IBC. I repost in her honor- hoping that by participating in her campaign to raise awareness, I may prevent another Mom, another sister, another friend from going through this ordeal. And you can bet that thanks to this brave lady, I will not cavalierly chalk anything up to "normal" changes from pregnancy and breastfeeding.

From Toddler Planet, July 23, 2007
We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of breast cancer?
I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my
monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.
Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.
Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.
There is more than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the
most aggressive form of breast cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.
Inflammatory breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.
You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer

Friday, August 10, 2007

Mother, Whore, Warrior, Hero... Crazy Cat Lady

Text Message from Baby Sister 8:56 p.m.
*throwing hand to forehead* no on is ever going to love me! I’m going to die a crazy cat lady!

Text Message Reply from Me 8:58 p.m.
What? You’re what? 26? Isn’t that a little early in life to start buying litter in bulk?

Baby Sister is reeling from a bit of an ugly breakup. She will be fine and her text message was sent mostly in melodramatic jest. (Hence my smart-ass reply… I would never have done that if I thought she was serious.)

I called her not long after this and we embarked on a lengthy discussion about the archetypal Crazy Cat Lady. We decided we need to commission an anthropological study of the phenomena. How exactly did the ownership of excessive numbers of cats become tied to older, unmarried women with varying degrees of mental illness? Why cats? Why not mice or hamsters or something squirrely… like squirrels? When did it begin? Were there Biblical crazy cat women? Were those the widows in the streets the Old Testament spoke of? And how many cats does one need to qualify? 10? 20? More? I’m thinking of pitching this to the History channel as a documentary- “Lonely Lunacy: The Legacy of Crazy Cat Women”.

We’ve already unraveled one piece of the puzzle. The crazy cat woman is a cross-cultural persona. Apparently Russia’s got ‘em too. (Warning: the video in that link will scare the shit out of you in a very Hitchcock kind of way.)

But my sister will not be one of them. I won’t let that happen. I figure once she gets more than 10 or so, she won’t notice if I smuggle out a couple each visit.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Of musicals, heat waves, and Scott Baio...

As previously documented, Husband’s migraine prevention drugs have the charming side-effect of making him have really ….uh…. groovy dreams. He seems to have a propensity for musicals. Yes, musicals. I don’t know why, as he is a) not a huge musicals fan in his waking life and b) decidedly heterosexual.
But musicals it is. And last night he reported to me that Lola Vader apparently had her very own Rogers-and-Hammerstein-esque extravaganza. It involved:

a row of high-kicking Lola Vader’s in pink helmets and capes
an elaborate, lengthy rendition of his Lola Vader song
and… wait for it…
SCOTT BAIO.

Now don’t go all conspiracy-theorist on me… just because a man has a dream in which Scott Baio figures prominently doesn’t mean he’s using me and this baby to do some hetero-posing. (Right??) No, really, it’s true. We had been watching Scott Baio is 45 and Single before we went to bed. And besides, Scott Baio was completely clothed in the dream. Or so I’m assuming…

I lay in bed the other night writing (in my head) a thought-provoking commentary on the ban of freebies from formula companies in NYC hospitals. And then things went positively ape-shit at work. So as soon as I have time to breathe, I’ll write that one out.

Speaking of breathing…easier to do when you’re not pregnant in A HUNDRED AND FIVE DEGREE HEAT! Yes, it was 105 here yesterday. I went home early. The dogs and I stripped down to our skivvies and laid around in the AC. And then I went out and got a quart of birthday cake flavor ice cream from Marble Slab. I did put clothes on first, but not before I called ahead to clarify that it was really necessary. Apparently that “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy doesn’t have an exemption clause for pregnant persons in hellish heat waves. Fascists.

I have to go. This child is demanding food yet again. But first, let's document the great food inventory at 9:45 a.m.

1 bowl oatmeal, 1 cup cranberry juice, 1 serving diced pears, 1 Kashi granola bar.

Yes, that's breakfast and TWO SNACKS before 10 a.m. I am AWESOME!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Cue the Imperial March & hand me a maracca....

Husband is a very funny guy- I think I’ve mentioned that before. He’s also one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet and you’d be hard pressed to get him to ever say anything intentionally hurtful or cruel. It’s just not his style, but irreverently humorous IS his style.

So you’ll understand why I was amused and not aggravated when he began responding to my requests for him to [insert random task here] with “Yes, Lord Vader.”

After a few months of this, I stopped him one day and said “Um… that’s LOURDES Vader, thank you very much… but you can call me Lola.”

So there you have it, I am Lola Vader. And now he’s making up songs like “Her name was Lo-la, she had a Death Star…”

I just hope I can get my light saber through airport security on my way to the Copa Cabana.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

GIT IN MAH BELLY!

It’s official. I’m hungry. And I’m not talking about polite ladies lunch “oh, my, yes… a finger sandwich would be lovely, but only half, please…” I’m talking about truck driver hungry. I’m talking linebacker in the off season hungry. I’m talking coworkers walking by and going “you’re eating AGAIN?” hungry. I eat and an hour later, my stomach is growling. Loudly.
PREGNANT HUNGRY- it ain’t for the faint of heart, folks.
Need proof?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present Exhibit A: What I’ve Eaten Today.
1 bowl of oatmeal
1 cup of cranberry pomegranate juice
1- 8 oz can of pineapple chunks (in juice, mind you!)
1 Kashi TLC peanut butter granola bar
1 single-serving container of steamed broccoli
1 Amy’s organic black bean burrito (so good!)
½ a snack bag of Cheetos
2 Hershey’s special dark miniatures

Oh, and the best part?
It’s 12:30.
Yeah- only HALFWAY THROUGH THE DAY.

Tremble in fear, mortals…

Monday, July 30, 2007

Preparing for Baby...just add water!

And now, courtesy of Parents.com, a list of ways to “prepare for baby!” (*gag*) and my rebuttals.

First off, let me say that whoever wrote this list has clearly never been pregnant or lived with a pregnant woman. In fact, I’m pretty certain the author ascribes to the stork/cabbage patch theory. And they probably have a perfectly organized linen closet. (Ass.) But I digress… here we go…

1. Reduce Stress In Your Life- This is a lovely sentiment, but I’m afraid it flies in the face of the very fact that OH-MY-GOD-THERE’S-GOING-TO-BE-A-TINY-HELPLESS-HUMAN-HERE-FOR-WHOM-I-AM-ENTIRELY-RESPONSIBLE!!! If you have any idea the magnitude of the commitment you’ve undertaken, you SHOULD be stressed. Not to mention the fact that reducing stress is much easier when you aren’t pondering questions like:
What do you mean FMLA is unpaid?
The average cost of raising a baby is WHAT?
My vagina/cervix is going to get HOW BIG?
When do I stop puking and start glowing?
What the hell is a “boppy”?
Does training the dog to prop up a bottle count as adequate childcare?

2. Increase Your Social Support Network- Another lovely idea- and yet highly impractical for the pregnant person and partner. On a list of priorities topped by sleep and food, the pregnant woman places “increase social support network” right down there beside “learn the rules of Australian football.” When you fall asleep sometime right after Wheel of Fortune and long before any prime-time programming, you’re not likely to get invited to many a supper club. Your only hope is to befriend other pregnant women and their partners at the height of some sport’s playoffs so you can fall asleep together and the partners won’t care.

3. Begin Thinking About the Birth- Huh? Was I supposed to be thinking about ANYTHING ELSE? No, seriously… after the initial elation (or panic, depending on your circumstances) of finding out you’re pregnant passes, the very next thing you do is to start obsessing about giving birth. I know, the authors are speaking of the neatly typed double-spaced “birth plan”. As they said in Clueless… “WHAT-EV-ER.” Here’s the thing, birth is nothing but a series of messy, unpredictable, big ol’ fat unknown variables which normally render the “birth plan” little more than extra toilet paper (equally scratchy as the hospital variety, too). That scares the shittola out of most women which is why the first thought after “that IS a second line!” is usually “oh my GOD- this baby has to come OUT!” So if you have to actually instruct a woman to begin thinking about the birth, she’s either not pregnant yet or she’s so far in denial she will give birth in the bathroom at the prom and get back out on the dance floor. Is this one intended for these “partners” the article mentions? Because that would make sense. I wouldn’t want to think about birth if it didn’t involve my va-jay-jay either.

4. Take Care of Your Soul- Seriously? My soul? Now does that come before or after I take care of this freakin’ body of mine that has ceased to function normally? ‘Cause I bought some of those chicken soup books and so far they’ve been terrific ergonomic footrests to help with this low back pain. But my soul? Still the same black mar on the face of humanity it ever was. (Just ask the Republicans we know.) Should I have gotten that fixed before I got pregnant? I knew I was forgetting something…


5. Explore Your Expectations of Parenting with Your Partner- Now THIS is a suggestion I can get behind! It’s very important that expecting parents agree on the important issues. Like… exactly who is the baby daddy and discipline questions like to cage or not to cage. No, seriously…got to have a chat about those expectations. For instance, do you both consider getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night a reasonable expectation? If you do, consider psychopharmaceuticals and that you may be able to save money by buying in bulk. Does your partner expect that since you are breastfeeding, you will attend to the baby every time it cries at night? If he does that’s fine, but he should adjust his expectations to include you attaching the electric breast pump to his scrotum while he sleeps. See? Compromise!

We need a practical list of ways to prepare for baby. I’ll start it off… commenters, add on for me!

Rob a bank or implement plan for hostile takeover of Trump Enterprises.
Hire a cleaning service or drastically reduce your cleanliness standards.
Build conveyor belt from nursery straight to washing machine.
Learn to sleep standing up while rocking back and forth and bouncing lightly.

What else?

Monday, July 16, 2007

State of the Uterus- I mean Union... and a Meme

Hi! Remember me? No? Sorry about that...

Here's the Reader's Digest version of things:
Went to the beach (Charleston- Isle of Palms) for half of July 4th week.
Came back and worked Thursday and Friday.
Went back to beach for weekend.
Came back to angry cat and pitiful dogs.
Hosted a management conference.
Spent the night in the ER with Husband mid-conference. (Migraine.)
Collapsed into coma this past weekend.

So much to update...

Had an OB appointment this morning. Miss Vivi (as her father is calling her) is doing fine. Mama has gained only 5.25 pounds despite... well, despite a lot of things. Our baby girl spent some quality time kicking the doppler thingie this morning and refusing to hold still long enough to get her heart rate counted. *Sniff* I'm so proud!

The lovely and talented Suburban Hostage has tagged me for a meme, so here you go. (A more profound post soon- I promise!)

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Let's see... July 1997... Working as an office manager for a construction company and preparing for January wedding to the ex. (One of those was a mistake... the job is still on my resume, so you do the math...)

What were you doing one year ago?
Going to Bro-in-Law's wedding at the beach in NC. Still hurting from the loss of our girl, but starting to see the light more days than not.

Five snacks you enjoy:
HA! Just five? I am pregnant, you know... I do not discriminate. Fine- just five...
1. Swedish fish
2. herbed goat cheese on club crackers
3. hummus & pita points
4. sweet sixteen powdered sugar donuts
5. chocolate milkshakes

Five songs you know all the words to:
Uh... lots of them. Lots and lots. To the point that I amaze even Husband... and this is a guy who knows all the words to "The Humpty Dance".

Five things you'd do if you were a millionaire:
1. Take care of my parents and in-laws.
2. Pay off baby sister's student loans, and other sisters' houses/cars
3. Travel. Extensively. With Nanny in tow.
4. Hire Stacy & Clinton to dress me.
5. Make a huge donation to my alma mater.

Five bad habits:
1. Leaving drawers open. (Dressers, kitchen, etc... such a safety hazard. Must remedy pre-baby.)
2. Chewing my nails to nothingness. Add "get weekly gel manicure fill-ins" to my millionaire list.
3. Huge. Piles. Of. Clothes. All over my bedroom. To be fair, 1/2 are Husband's. Still...
4. Talking on my phone while driving. (I do use my bluetooth now... that's better, right?)
5. Procrastinating. See, I even saved that for last on the list!

Five things I like doing:
Remember... PREGNANT.
1. Sleeping.
2. Eating.
3. Napping.
4. Snacking.
5. Cooking.

5 Things I'd never wear again:
1. Any scrunchie.
2. A band t-shirt.* (*Exceptions for around the house and doing yardwork. Band t-shirts in public after you're 30 just make you look a tad pathetic.)
3. Black or dark red lipstick. (It was right at the time... I swear!)
4. Velvet.
5. Plastic shoes. I was the only 30-something on Isle of Palms without Crocs this year and dammit, I won't give in. I know, they're practical and comfy at the beach... I just can't get ever the idea that they're basically yuppie jelly shoes.

5 of my favorite toys:
Toys I have, or toys I want? Hmm... we'll go with have.
1. My Treo.
2. My KitchenAid mixer.
3. My Wusthof santoku knife.
4. My Calphalon roasting pan. (See a theme yet?)
5. My little 2 cup Cuisinart food processor.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It doesn't get much better than this...

The genetic counselor called.
The baby's screening came back perfectly normal.
It's a girl.
Her name is Vivian Mae.

Gratitude doesn't begin to describe it. Neither does joy.
For Husband, for this baby, for our families, for my life, for all of it... I am completely and overwhelmingly joyfully grateful.

I could not ask for more.

:)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Damn Husband with his stupid logic...

Email to Husband:
I want her!!!
http://search.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=8557550


Husband's Reply:
What are you doing on this unapproved website? Get back to work! ;)

Me:
Silly Husband!
I am not that easily diverted!
WANT. THAT. KITTY.
Dammit.

Husband:
Ummmm...Not trying to point out the obvious, but we are about to have another baby running around the house. Not to mention the cat and nearly 200 lbs of dog. We might already be at full capacity. Maybe.

Me:
Full capacity? I think not.
Besides, I am just trying to restore order and balance to our home. We have
two of us, we have two dogs, we plan to have two kids... we need TWO CATS.
See? Give it up- duality is ingrained in our Western way of thinking.
Resistance is futile.

Husband:
But we don't have two kids yet. You see MBM (that's my-baby-momma), this duality that you yearn for is a process. An ongoing transition. We can't expect to achieve it immediately. Be patient, Grasshopper. One day you will find the duality you seek.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm going to catch hell from someone for this...

As a parent-to-be, I know it’s dangerous to say “I will NEVER (insert parental action here) to my kids!” Like “I will NEVER call the Wiggles a God-awful band of narcissistic merchandising whores in front of my kids!” Wait… that’s probably a poor example. I can’t even pretend I have any intention of honoring that one.
We’ve all heard parents proclaim their high ideals for handling the wee lil’ buggers- only to find later that the wicked realities of parenthood are undoing their good intentions. Live and learn and then give them the damn binkie.
But I am willing to put this declaration of parental policy on record with the Internet because we all know that’s about as good as telling God herself.
I.WILL. NEVER. PIERCE. MY. BABY’S. EARS.
Got that? Never. Ever. Not in a million bazillion years. What the hell kind of parent does that to a baby? Most of the mothers and fathers I know leave those first pediatrician’s visits in tears themselves after their little one cries and cries with every immunization. It’s agonizing to see their baby in pain, but you do what you have to do to prevent them from… oh, DYING. And yet some of those same parents will hop up on a chair in a boutique at the mall to inflict an even thicker needle in an even more sensitive part of the body on their kiddo FOR VANITY. And not even the kid’s own chosen expression of vanity- their own screwed up superficial bullshit need to make their already perfect child “cute”. Why this form of abuse (yes, I said it, abuse) is even legal, I do not know. I’m sorry, but punching holes in your child’s body with no anesthesia for no damn good reason is an awful thing to do. You have to squelch the urge to clobber that kid at playgroup who pinches them, but you’ll do this to them on purpose? For shits and giggles?
Pierce your own ears but leave that poor baby alone. She'll want to do it on her own soon enough anyway- then you can say "I told you so" when she cries. I know it's delayed gratification, but that should be enough to satisfy the Barbie-sadist parents, right?
Yeesh.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

This wasn't in my Webster's.....

My new favorite word:

“clitzpah”- meaning strength or bravery or daringness directly related to being female

Some folks in the feminist blogging world came up with this one. They got tired of people using “ballsy” for being nervy- and thereby implying that it was a male trait. Sure, women could be ballsy, but by tying the language to testicles, you create sexist language and give men theoretical ownership on the characteristic.

So another feminist blogger suggested “clitty” to replace ballsy. It’s fine, I suppose, but it doesn’t really roll off the tongue. (Insert crude jokes and imagery here.) And then a Jewish feminist suggested “clitzpah” as a feminista’s take on chutzpah.

I.love.it.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Wait for it....

I am at that point where I am pregnant enough that none of my regular clothes fit, but I don't necessarily need maternity clothes. But I am too cheap to buy an entirely new set of "in-between" clothes in a larger size. So I busted out the maternity jeans this week. True, wearing a belly panel this early in the game is a little depressing at moments, but I'm comfortable, dammit. And trust me when I say you need me in the best mood possible these days.

But the maternity jeans, they don't make a gal feel particularly sexy... but leave it to Husband... my "glass-half-full" guy....

*Sliding his hands down the back of the jeans*

Husband: Mmmm... maternity jeans.... easy access! All right!

Me: Leave it to you to find the sexy upside to MATERNITY JEANS.

*Pause*

Husband: This is going to wind up on your blog isn't it?

Me: Oh, totally. Yeah.

Husband *still groping in the jeans*: I figured.

Me: We're not having sex now.

Husband: I figured.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hello? Social Services?

We are truly nice people.
Just not very BRIGHT people.
There are some days when I am truly afeared for our poor child.
Case in point:

*As Husband and I are settling into bed…*

Me: Hey, I think that bag of jelly beans is on the counter. It’s rolled up and at the back of the counter… but do you think we should go down and move it? What if Bleu wants a snack?

Husband: Hmm….nah, I don’t think they’ll mess with it.

Me: *half asleep already* Yeah… and worst case, they’ll just poo in technicolor for a day or two.

Husband: Exactly.

*Next morning- Husband has gone downstairs*

Husband: *calling upstairs* Hey Honey….. remember how I told you they wouldn’t mess with those jelly beans?

Me: Were you wrong?

Husband: No…I was right… they didn’t mess with the jelly beans

Me: Crap. What DID they mess with?

Husband: Nothing… just that ENTIRE BAG OF DOG TREATS we left out too…

See? Told you. Not that bright. But oh-so attractive. And humble.

We're auditioning for foster parents. For the dogs AND the kid. If you think you can keep them reasonably clean and not let the kid have an entire bag of sugar donuts at 11 p.m.- please call. You're already ahead of us.

Hey, anybody know how to construct a safe crib from a Dell computer box?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Of Dogs, Donuts, & Parental Paranoia

As documented in my masthead, one of my great guilty pleasures in this world is a bag of those little sweet sixteen powdered sugar donuts. (They can’t really be called doughnuts- they’re donuts.) I love them. I do not share them. Husband made a special early Sunday morning trip to Publix for them just to cease my progesterone-induced bitching.
As documented at the end of this post, we have also learned that our newest doggie can and will help himself to things on the kitchen counter.
Do you see where this might be going?
I came downstairs around 11:00 last night (long story- got tired of listening to Husband’s stomach growl). In the half-light, I caught a glimpse of some kind of debris on the kitchen floor. Pushing past my ogres- er… dogs, I turned on the light.
Scattered far and wide across the linoleum were… PIECES OF THE SWEET SIXTEEN DONUT BAG! *GASP*
And nary a donut to be had. Not one scrap. My 80-some-odd-pound monsters had consumed every last bit. There wasn’t even any powdered sugar on the floor. (Daisy did have a touch on her snoot- tres cute!) There they sat, all waggy tails and happy faces. (I mean, of course they were happy. I’d be happy too if I’d happened upon HALF A BAG OF SWEET SIXTEEN DONUTS at 11:00! )
Let us please note that the beasts could have partaken of a number of other human foodstuffs on the counter including club crackers, raw potatoes, spinach wraps, and chai green tea. Those items were untouched, pristine in their wrappers without so much as a slobber spot.
The damn dogs have good taste.
Dorks.
I called Husband downstairs- we had a little laugh and a shake of our heads while we cleaned up the carnage. We wondered if the pups would eat breakfast in the morning. And we went to bed.
Fast forward to five-thirty this morning. I sat bolt upright in the bed and said to Husband
“I just had a thought.”
Husband (drooling & half-asleep): Whaa….?
Me: OMG, I hope they didn’t eat the little flexy-metal thing that holds the bag closed!
Husband: Who…? Ate wha…? The 18 year… on the rocks, please…
Me (getting out of bed): That thing! On the donut bag! It’s METAL! It could perf their intestines! I didn’t see it last night- did you see it? I have to go check! Is that magnet with the emergency vet number still on the fridge? Maybe it was under their beds- I didn’t check there. You don’t think they’d eat it, right? Can well call your Mom this early?
Husband (following me): *mutter* might as well get my ass up…. *grumble* alarm goes off in 15 minutes…. *mutter mutter* damn dogs … *grumble grumble*… f____ing tired…
And there, in the trash, still attached to the top of the bag, was the metal flexy thing that holds the bag shut.
Damn dogs. Good thing they're so cute.
We are SO ready to be parents.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tinky Winky say "Buh-Bye!"

Oh, Jerry, Jerry, Jerry….
I will never rejoice in someone else’s death. It’s unkind and mean-spirited, things I endeavor not to be. Besides, no matter how awful of a hypocritical hate-mongering self-righteous piece of shit you were, you were somebody’s Uncle/Daddy/Grandpa hypocritical hate-mongering self-righteous piece of shit. Those folks are hurting because you’re gone. I don’t like to see anyone hurt… even right wing freaks. (Well, maybe a little...)
And while I won’t rejoice in Falwell’s death, there is a little part of me that’s wondering how the trip to the other side went for ol’ Jer. I imagine it went something like this:

St. Peter: Welcome to the afterlife! What was your name in creation?

Falwell: Why, you should know me! I’m Reverend Jerry Falwell! And I am here to live eternally in the grace and glory of the Lord! I have done his work on Earth- I fought the gays and the feminists and the Teletub-

St. Peter: Right. Right. Falwell, you said?

Falwell: Yes, REVEREND Falwell. Will I be fitted for wings right away? ‘Cause I brought a nice gilded set that Pat Robertson gave me…

St. Peter: Uh… not exactly. Reverend, would you do me a favor? Just stand by these elevators right here- the ones with all “down” buttons.

Falwell: Down buttons? You’re sending me back? Is this a near-death experience? That’s perfect! Think of the testimony!

St. Peter: You might want to leave that suit here- wool is probably not your best choice of fabrics.

Falwell: Well, fine. I’m normally opposed to nudity of any kind, but I understand. I shall re-enter the world as I first came into it… stripped bare, a perfect and innocent creation, washed clean by faith!

St. Peter: Is that tie flame-retardant?

Falwell: What?

St. Peter: How 'bout the toupee? Will that melt?

Falwell: Melt? Wha- I don't... surely....

St. Peter: Any sulfur allergies?

Falwell: Shit.

St. Peter: Yeah…

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mothers' Day

A woman I know, a very kind, wonderful woman, recently married late in life and was eager to start a family. This lady was very thoughtful in how she approached me after Cecilia’s birth. She was heartbroken for me, for Husband.
Last week, the docs told this good woman she is going through menopause. Her children will not be born of her body. Her age (and her husband’s age) mean she faces a long road to adopting.
I have been through loss, but not the kind of loss she is facing. I know what it is to have nature break your heart, but I do not know what it is to have your hope taken from you. Even at the bottom of our grief, we had “the next time” to look forward to. We knew another child would never replace Cecilia, but at least we could expect there would be another child.
When you start to seek support for pregnancy loss, you inevitably find yourself among people for whom loss and infertility are, unfortunately, a way of life. I took their stories and their frustrations to heart, hoping to learn something and become a better friend, a better person. I wish I could thank all of them today, because I think I may have done right by this nice lady.

I DID NOT do any of the following:
I didn’t say “oh, it’s ok- you can just adopt!”
I didn’t tell her the miracle story of some friend-of-a-roomate’s-relative who conceived against all odds.
I didn’t tell her it was “God’s will” and she should just trust in that.
I didn’t tell her I knew how she felt.

I DID do these things:
I gave her a huge hug.
I told her I was sorry.
I acknowledged her loss, and that she’d need to grieve.
I offered my office as a refuge if she needed to escape the cube farm for a good cry.
I gave her another huge hug.

And then I went home that night and hugged Husband. And we took a moment to realize that even after all that happened with our first pregnancy, we are truly fortunate. Our memories of Cecilia will always be bittersweet and she will always be in our hearts. But she will not be the end of our family- she will not be our only child. Hope and Cecilia’s sibling are growing inside of me.

Happy Mothers Day to all the women who are mothers in their hearts even when nature has other ideas for their bodies. May the world treat you with the same respect and kindness we afford all mothers on this day- and perhaps with a little more for your journey.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened When I Peed on a Stick

Some of the people who read my blog love me dearly and care about the most intimate details of my life. Some of them do not- they’re here for the witty commentary (shut up- this is my world!) and random rants.

The first lesson of corporate training is KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! (The second is check your fly.) So this blog shall remain my usual fragmented diatribes.

But you should know that I am pregnant. Let’s pause for some answers to the obvious questions:
Yes, me. Pregnant.
Yes, the state plans to let me keep the child.
No, I will not name it after you or your company.
Yes, it’s Husband’s baby.
No, I will not post video of the conception.

Ahem. As I was saying, I’m going to try to keep most of the pregnancy updates off this page, except for the occasional rant about how the world inconveniences pregnant women. Those are fair game for their general subject matter. But the details, the cutesy crap, will go on here:
http://babybonk.blogspot.com/
Family and friends, this is your spot for regular updates, ultrasound pictures, and other baby-related information.

But let me know offer my deepest and most humble apologies for not updating LL&VT more often. See, I’m pregnant and I’m sick and my Mom reads this from time to time which renders most of the language I would use to describe the world right now off limits.

But I will say this.
To the f***stick asswipe guy who took my parking space at jury duty yesterday:
I hope you get a rotten case of the crabs from a hooker who turns out to have a d*** and you go to a doctor who accidentally gives you laxatives instead of the antibiotic and you get stuck in horrendous traffic no where near an exit driving a RENTAL CAR and then you have to explain the bill for the cleanup to your demure and pure Christian wife who sends you to a dry rehab facility for sex addicts where you run into your MOTHER!

Asshole.

See? Fragmented diatribes. Business as usual.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Weirdo Wednesday

Weirdo Wednesday Moment #1:

Sitting next to me in the dermatologist’s office waiting room was a well-coiffed, perfectly made up elderly Southern woman. Think grand dame of the Junior League… probably has a house on Pawley’s Island and makes a mean mint julep before services at one of the many first baptist churches.
Anywho… they called this lady’s name and she replied with “Just one minute, darlin’, I’ve got to visit the powder room.” (Yes, powder room.) With that, our heroine stood up slowly and clacked across the waiting room with her walker.
And moseyed her refined old lady behind right into the MEN’S BATHROOM.
My first thought, of course, was gee, I hope nobody’s in there because I’m pretty sure it’s bad form to laugh your ass off at an old lady in public. Well, that and I didn’t want her to have a heart attack. ‘Cause I’m CPR certified and I’d have felt compelled to help and I was wearing a skirt and I didn’t want anyone to see my drawers while I was trying to do chest compressions. (Yes, Mom, I was wearing drawers. Clean ones.)
But apparently no one was in there. So in my continued quest to preserve my modesty (yes, Mom, I DO HAVE SOME), I stood outside the door and diverted two men who sought out the facilities while Grandma was still inside.
Our Lady of the Mint Juleps emerged a little later, and apparently hadn’t noticed her faux pas. She told the nurses “All right, ladies, I’m ready now.” And off she went through the waiting room doors to the dermatology inner sanctum.
At this point, the receptionist said quietly “I guess the urinal on the wall didn’t clue her in…” And I collapsed laughing.
Extra points to my Mom, who upon hearing this story said “You don’t know… maybe she went in there on purpose… you know…. trying to catch a little peek?”
And if she did, I say more power to her.

Weirdo Wednesday Moment #2:

I’m one of those weirdos who looks at someone’s purchases and spends a few moments analyzing/judging the person in front of me. (Shut up. You know you totally do it too.)
Last night there was young black man dressed in a construction company uniform in line in front of me. He bought this:
A whole fresh pineapple
A bottle of mineral oil
A toilet brush

Three words:
DON’T. WANNA. KNOW.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'm not dead yet! (But the parrot is!)

Before I even start, let me say this.
Virginia Tech Faculty, Staff, Parents, & Students: I am so sorry. I cannot even imagine..
To the parents of Cho Seung-hui: I am so sorry. You’re in your own hell, I’m sure.

Blog? What blog? OH! THIS blog! Contrary to my ex’s wet dreams, I did not slide under a gas truck and taste my own blood. I am alive and well… just have been horrifically busy.
My middle sister done got herself hitched up over the weekend. I’ll regale you with the details later. For now, we will just say that it was like all the other family weddings: loud, happy, hug-laden fun. But since that post will require far more time and brain cells than I have available right now, I give you…
Ranting about random shit! With your brilliant and (might I add) TOTALLY hot host, ME!

From the “we told you so, you crazy right-wingers” file…
http://www.cnn.com/2007/EDUCATION/04/13/abstinence.study.ap/index.html
So, let’s see… you gave the government $175 million to tell kids “Don’t have sex of any kind until you’re married… because it’s morally correct… and we said so… trust us!” And then it required a government-funded study to establish that this methodology didn’t work? I tell you what… you could have spent $3.75 on a venti latte and obtained the same information from any semi-realistic parent of a teenager. Know what figures I’d like to see? The total amount that will be shelled out to deal with the unwanted pregnancies and STIs of these undereducated kids. My favorite part is the leader of the Abstinence Education Group discounting the study because it was done when the programs were “in their infancy”. (Does anyone else find that expression funny here?) Anyone ever won a game with a kid only to hear “but… but…. I wasn’t ready!”

People, when will we let go of our Puritanical discomfort and start TALKING ABOUT SEX with kids? And I mean really talking about it, not just lecturing on an antiquated model like abstinence and then only wanting to think or hear about the “right” answers (the ones we’re comfortable with) from our kids. When I am Empress of the Universe, we will hand out birth control pills and condoms with locker combinations. We will start in 5th and 6th grade teaching that masturbation is a healthy and age-appropriate form of sexual expression. We will gift every 14 year-old girl with a vibrator. (Seriously! How much fun will the fumblings of a 14 y.o. boy seem like if she’s spent time with the Rabbit Pearl?) Better yet, I’ll just hire the folks at Good Vibes to run the whole shebang. (HA! Shebang… LOL) They know more than I do. Then we’ll raise kids who have some degree of knowledge about their bodies and the human reproductive system, which means they will be far less likely to get pregnant or diseased. OH, and then guess what else? They also won’t come up thinking sex is dirty and bad and related to hellfire, so maybe they’ll TALK TO THEIR OWN KIDS ABOUT SEX. We are not just laying the groundwork for these kids lives, but for their children as well. Clearly cramming the moral agenda down their throats isn’t working.

I think the epitome of all this prudish bullshit is the hysteria over Guardasil. Let me see, asshole-right-wing parents, you are willing to risk your daughter’s LIFE because you don’t want to have a short, highly clinical conversation about HPV? How incredibly f***ed up do you have to be to refuse something that may prevent your child from DYING just to avoid entertaining the notion that your child may one day have sex? And people, we’re not even talking about having to acknowledge premarital sex! Your baby girl may preserve herself in sweet holy chastity until her wedding day and STILL wind up with HPV thanks to an undereducated or philandering husband or (God forbid) a sexual assault. I’m sorry, but parents who argue against making this vaccine part of the immunization cycle because it might “encourage” sexual activity are squeamish, selfish, prudish, ignorant assholes. (And they’re TOTALLY asking for their kid to join a live sex show in Amsterdam, might I add…) This is not about what it might “enourage”, but about conversations and concessions these people can’t handle. Their comfort level does not trump their child’s right to health. Your child will one day be a sexual being. And that includes risks. You have an opportunity to eliminate one of those risks for them. What the hell kind of parent objects to that?

All right… new rant. This one containing absolutely no brand-specific vibrator references whatsoever. (Oh thank God, sayeth my father!)

I work in corporate training. I like teaching/training people. I enjoy it, I truly do.

I hate teaching people to teach.

It’s called “train-the-trainer” in our professional circles and frankly, it sucks. There are several reasons I do not like doing this:
1. The trainers you are trying to teach usually believe that training is stupidly easy and anyone of their lofty intelligence can do it instinctively sans preparation. (Hello? And you pay me for what? My great lasagna recipe?) Seriously, most of them think that effective teaching requires no more than subject matter expertise and org-chart-sanctioned authority.
2. They never read the materials you give them. NEVER. I could insert several paragraphs describing my nefarious plan to destroy all the birds of Earth and to build a giant intergalactic gazebo over the planet blocking out the sun and then laugh maniacally as the smug gardening people cannot keep their precious plants alive… muah ha ha ha ha! You won’t be giving me fun little green thumb tips anymore, WILL YOU??? Stupid happy plant peop-… oh my… sorry. But really, I could put it all in there. They’d never notice.
3. Most people who want to provide training don’t have the personality to do it. You think this kind of sparkling effervescence and wit is handed out to everyone? Puh-lease. It’s a professional commodity- like J. Lo’s booty.

My latest endeavor involves training a few members of senior management to provide diversity training at the field offices. Oy. Motherf***ing. Vay. Several of them are excellent- they’ll facilitate beautifully and the program will be wonderful. Several of them will suck at it and will come back to complain that the program we selected wasn’t effective AT ALL. Unfortunately, most of the folks receiving the training won’t make the distinction beween crappy trainer/training correctly either. Whut-evah!

As my amazing Grandma likes to say, there’s no use arguing with the once-born.

Oh, and here's two fun facts courtesy of our new friend Bleu.
1. The time it takes for an 80-pound lab to reach and eat the 1/2 a pie you left on your kitchen counter is about 3 seconds less than the time it takes for you to make it down the stairs.
2. An 80-pound lab can consume up to 10 oz. of baking chocolate without serious health consequences, but 2 ounces in a pie is enough to make for a few nasty surprises in the backyard.

Ciao, dollies!

Monday, April 09, 2007

It's a Boy! Mazel Tov!

2 soft-hearted doggy parents
+ 1 large dog-friendly SUV
+ 1 busy road
+ 1 dirty, hungry, but VERY sweet black lab
+ 1 visit to the vet for shots and a bath
=
A new happy family!


Everyone, meet Bleu, our newest addition to the House O’ Crazy!
Bleu, would you like to introduce yourself?




Hi, I’m Bleu! I’m a laid back sweet boy with good manners and a soft heart. I love to eat and to spend a nice warm summer day laying on the dec---- OH MY GOD! IS THAT A BALL??? BALL!!! BALL!!! THROW IT, PUH-LEEEEEEEASE!!!!!
Oh, sorry… it was just your empty hand. Coulda’ sworn it was a ball. Anywho… I’m Bleu and I’m two years old, give or take. I’ll be spending some time loping ‘round the back yard with my sister, Daisy. She’s a great friend… I sure do wish she’d quite trying to hump me, though… On the 19th, I’m going back to see the nice ladies at the vet to get “fixed”. I don’t know what needs to be fixed, but if it feels as good as that bath they gave me- TREAT!! THAT WAS A TREAT!!! PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE GIVE ME THE TREAT!!!
Oh, crap… sorry… your hand again.

*Ahem* I think that’s enough from Bleu right now. So we’re a family of five: us, Bleu, Daisy, and Bob. I’d love to have a family picture, but Bob is claiming conscientious objection. I don’t think she really knows what that means, but I’m not calling her bluff because somebody keeps leaving my dictionary of pop culture out…

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Progesterone Prayer

Dear Lord Baby Jesus:

I am trying hard to follow your teachings- to treat all of your children with the same love and compassion you would have shown them and to banish hatred and anger from my heart.

But Lord… verily, I say unto thee… I could use a little help. How about starting up a gal’s period before one of your dumber children meets with a bloody, untimely end?

Your humble, but very bloated, servant,

ME

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Announcing the first Pink Velour Cake Award!

Life, Liberty, & Vodka Tonics is proud to introduce a new semi-regular feature:

The Pink Velour Cake Award!

Long-time readers will recall my attempts at making red velvet cake, which resulted in the affectionately nicknamed pink velour cake.



Exhibit A: Crap on a Cake Plate








And so, dear friends, LL&VT will now be awarding the Pink Velour Cake Award for excellence in culinary disaster!

This week’s recipient is my sister’s friend and coworker, Liz, for her amazing expanding meatloaf. Behold…







What’s that you ask? How can something as simple as meatloaf go so horribly wrong?

As I understand it, the meatloaf had a sort of allergic reaction to the topping- swelling up like spray insulation. It seems this particular meatloaf recipe involves Grape Nuts cereal and those little nuggets can expand mighty fast. Do you remember those little capsules we got as kids- you’d drop them into hot water and ten minutes later have a dinosaur shaped sponge? Kind of like that, only apparently quite delicious. (Which I totally believe… because the recipe has THREE POUNDS OF MEAT in it- how can that NOT be scrumptious???)

Anywho- mazel tov, Liz! You are our very first Pink Velour Cake Award winner!

Want to nominate yourself or someone you know for a Pink Velour Cake Award? Just send an email describing the dish, what went wrong, any hilarioius hijinks associated with the creation of the dish, and (preferably) a photo of the disaster in jpeg format. Send submissions to lifelibertyandvodkatonics@yahoo.com. LL&VT reserves the right to reject entries that are boring, sucky, or appear to have been sent by Republicans.

**LL&VT would like to remind you that this award does not come with any cash value, prizes, or any other redeeming qualities. The Pink Velour Cake Award is not suitable for résumés. LL&VT is not liable for any injuries or damages incurred while celebrating this award with alcohol consumption.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

NSB 1967-2007

I’ve sort of been at a loss for what to say here lately.
A woman I worked with reasonably closely was laid off Friday before last.
She died of a heart attack the following Wednesday.
She had three children.
She was 39.

Her death has really thrown me for a loop, which I find surprising. She and I didn’t socialize outside of work and we weren’t terribly close. But there was a kind of kinship between us- we were the loud, outspoken, ballsy broads who tangled with V.D. on a regular basis. She was my partner in bitchy crime. Only she was braver than I was and less concerned with being polite. I never saw her intimidated by anyone. Her abject refusal to give a flying f*** what anyone thought about her might have lost her some professional respect on occasion, but she was unapologetically honest and never tolerated someone trying to disrespect her. She called a spade a f***ing spade. Sure, she was extreme and probably needed to tone it down and “play the game” a bit. But she didn’t. And she didn’t care. And it was what I admired about her most. Being around her made me stronger and more sure of myself. She was an enabler for my inner bitch, God bless her. I’m finding it hard to believe that someone who was not only so young, but such a force, such a powerful person, is now gone.

I should mention, too, that she was absolutely irreverently hilarious. And passionately committed to her kids. That was the thing about her- she was tough and blunt and forceful. But she also had a heart of gold and would fight things that weren’t right in a skinny minute. And then she’d come into my office and we’d have a good laugh about it all. I will miss her laugh and her passion. I will miss how brave I was around her.

I think the best way I can honor her is to be that brave ballsy woman more often. And so I will. For her, you know. You can’t disrespect the dead.

So vaya con dios, my strong woman friend. I am a better person for having worked with you. Give ‘em hell up there.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Death in the Family

This afternoon, a great tragedy has befallen our little household.


the PS2 has gone to the great GameStop in the sky... *SNIFF*

A moment of silence, please.


Husband is distraught, seeing as he resigned from his old job yesterday and they declined his offer to work a notice. So he has a full week to kill before the new job begins. A full WEEK. With NO PS2! And a new Tiger Woods golf game! Oh, the humanity!



In other news, the updates have been slow because I am fighting off the plague. The so-called medical professionals say it's bronchitis, but my money's on the black death. Or in my case, the yellowy-green death, since that's the color of the stuff I've been hacking up. (You're hot for me now, aren't you?) I went to the doc on Monday convinced I just really needed something stronger than Claritin for my allergies, but the kind nurse quickly informed me that allergies don't generally come with a 101.2 degree fever. Huh... go figure. Note to self: next time you hack up your pancreas, take your temperature and get to the doc sooner.

Wild and sort of scary times at work. The W reign of terror has caused money troubles for Medicare and it's contractors. Jobs have been lost and in the end, crooks will take your Medicare trust fund dollars. So way to go, guys! And did you see this business with Gonzales and the US attorneys? Seriously... would someone please just blow W so we can end this already???

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

God is good! (And pissed at Ann Coulter.)

Dear Lord,
I know it is wrong to rejoice in other people’s troubles. I know I should not feel good when someone I do not like falls upon difficult times. In my heart, I know it is wrong to enjoy the slow demise of someone’s career, even when they bring it upon themselves with their own hatefulness and ignorance. So, Lord, please forgive that little happy dance in my bathrobe this morning when one of the newscasters opened with “conservatives are distancing themselves from Ann Coulter…”. And please know that I am trying hard to be repentant for hollering “take that, beeyatch!” when I saw this.

It is because of her hatefulness and ignorance, Lord, that I cannot help but think that perhaps you, in your infinite wisdom, are smiting Ann Coulter. I realize that it is not my place to judge her, Lord, but is it wrong for me to agree when you do? If thou hast seen fit to punish Ann Coulter by depriving her of the right-wing approval she so craves, then what can I do but rejoice knowing that you are just and fair? Surely, in thine eyes, my faith in your judgment of the wicked outweighs my smug sense of vengeance.

If you are smiting Ann Coulter, Lord, then yea, truly and verily, I say unto you, WAY TO KICK SOME MORTAL ASS! And please don’t smite me for thinking so. I promise, I really am trying to be contrite about it.

Praise be to the kind and gracious God who gave us Jesus, Thin Mints, and Ann Taylor.
AMEN.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Meredith F***ing Viera, AGAIN.

Dear God, I cannot stand that woman.

Meredith had a serious news piece (*snort*) this morning on "hooking up". Seems some young woman has written a book about sex-only relationships and young women, etc. etc. The piece itself was garbage that seemed to be aimed at alarming parents of young girls, as usual.

They had some "expert" on with her as well who kept insisting that it was sooo troubling that love and relationships were being left out of this discussion. You know, 'cause healthy grown women have to have those things- they couldn't possibly choose just to have some crazy mad screw for the hell of it . She also told us that hooking up is VERY different and much worse than the free love of her 60s generation because that had "love" in it and it was a "political statement". Uh-huh. Oh, I should mention that the so-called expert was wearing Melissa's boots and haircut, but she was about 70. Note to expert: the young hip subtlety sexy thing works on a 30-something hot mama. Kind of ridiculous on someone with AARP eligibility.

But I digress. My point was that Meredith's parting shot for the segment was to ask this hard-hitting journalistic tour de force:
"What about that old saying ... you know... why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?"
And then my brain exploded. No, seriously.... did she JUST SAY THAT? Did this supposed pro-woman news anchor just perpetuate a horribly sexist cliche comparing a woman to a FARM ANIMAL and implying a woman's value is diminished by lack of sexual purity???? You heard it from Meredith, gals- don't give it away or you won't land yourself a good man!

OH.MY.GOD.
I never thought I'd say this, but please, for the love of God, bring back Katie!!!!! For that matter, get ANYONE ELSE except this woman! How much longer will this kind of inane misogynistic bullshit be tolerated as actual journalism? Is she supposed to pull in that 20-30-something female demographic? 'Cause I'm betting comparing us to defiled cattle isn't the way to go.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Call me Ishmyelle...

Husband and I have a running collection of stripper names. You know… names that inspire thoughts of mirrored walls and the perpetual smell of French vanilla. Seriously! You know it’s true- some kids have names that just instinctively suggest they will be paying their electric bill with singles. Here are some examples:
Destiny
Jade
Cheyenne
Rainn
Sierra
Shawna
Tristan

Other names that qualify are attempts at unique spellings of relatively normal names. They often start with a K rather than a C or they replace the Y on the end with EE, etc. etc. For instance:
Kamryn
Kristal
Destinee
Ebonee
Jewyl
Rayne

We were watching the “Birthday Board” on the local morning news today and there was a 1-year-old baby girl named… TAMRYN. I’m sure Little Tamryn will have hours of fun with the Fisher-Price “My First Pole”.

And behold! Once again, the great almighty Internet shall provide for all our needs!
A Quiz to Learn Your Secret Stripper Name

My secret stripper name? Gigi, apparently. Only I would spell it JiJi.

Comments are open- share your favorite stripper name, Blogites!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Forget the driver's license... ask to see her purse!

Wild times at our house, Blogites; hence the lack of updates. I wish I could say they were the good bacchanalian kind of wild times with the wine and decadent food and crazy sex and whatnot. But no. Not so much. Think more along the lines of decaf coffee and grilled chicken and abstinence on account of narcotic pain relievers.

But at the end of it all, Husband seems to be feeling much better. He’s taking a drug called Topamax, which he has affectionately renamed Potamax for it’s groovy side effects. The drug seems to be preventing the headaches, so he’s working on adjusting to the foggy-headed feeling and his new affinity for Cheech & Chong movies.

Middle Sister called this weekend in the midst of a heart-wrenching dilemma I know all too well: the switch to the big purse. In our teens on through our mid to late 20s, women are willing to carry these minute little vessels that we pass off as purses, but are actually no larger than your average espresso cup. The limited storage capacity works just fine when all you really need to get by is some lip gloss, your cell phone, and a condom.

But there comes a point in every woman’s life when she finds that the cute little nightclub purses no longer cut it. The moment has been creeping up on you for years. Many women will even walk around with their Lillputian purses unzipped and bulging at the seams. Want to spot the woman over 25 in the group? Look for the itty-bitty purse with the car keys sticking out of the top because her gym and grocery store discount key ring cards won’t fit inside. (And lip gloss doesn’t hide the dark circles under her eyes.) Logic dictates a bigger bag, but vanity wins out for many many years. We are desperate to avoid our awful destiny: the mom purse.

I’ve decided that it’s really a sort of rite passage- the day you find you are less concerned with a teeny purse and more concerned with actually having room for all the shit you need to carry around. If you have ever looked at a little bag and thought “huh… that’s never gonna hold my calendar AND my mini-umbrella!,” well, my friend… your time has come. As I said to middle sister this weekend, come over to the dark side and get yourself a big ol’ tote bag! You will find that the pleasure you once took in looking hip with that little tic-tac-sized change purse has been replaced by the relief you feel at having your Clorox pen handy.

I myself have gone to the aforementioned gigantor tote bag a little early in life in part because I frequently carry snacks for hypoglycemic Husband. (Yeah… for Husband… that’s right… ) I also carry a wide array of over-the-counter remedies for my very persnickety tummy. One of my college girlfriends went to the big purse right out of college because she’s very short and wears heels to appointments… but she can’t drive her stick-shift car in them. And we all discovered that professional-woman hair and makeup requires a few more maintenance tools than just a rubber-band to hold back your locks should you consume too much Purple Jesus. (A note: if your hosts have mixed the PJ in the bathtub, they will be less than enthusiastic about letting you vomit in the toilet next to said tub.)

I’ve also noticed that the size of the purse is directly proportional to the number of people and the needs of the people for whom the woman feels responsible for caring. Some women simply give up a purse all together when their children are small and just toss their own stuff into the diaper bag. (Want to pick her out in the ladies room? Look for the woman brushing Cheerio dust out of her hairbrush.) I remember my Mom and older sister’s purses as veritable treasure chests of neato stuff. No matter what the delay or situation or complication, they were prepared. Mom always had Ziploc bags in her purse because of my propensity for vomiting when I was carsick/scared/upset/nervous/excited/getting blood drawn. (You get the point- I was a regular little Linda Blair.) My sister once produced half a barnyard’s worth of little plastic animals, a sippy cup, and a stuffed toucan from her purse to soothe her irritable toddler in a hospital waiting room right after she changed his diaper, washed his face, and medicated him with materials from the same bag. It was impressive.

I think it all boils down to the same reason you don’t see tons of older folks camping. There comes a point in your life when having access to the little conveniences and comforts contributes mightily to your disposition. In my 30s, my idea of “roughing it” has come to mean a hotel without an adequate spa. Similarly, I am now highly annoyed if I’m caught without Tums and my round boar bristle brush. When you’re no longer distressed if you don’t get carded, why not get a purse that holds more than your driver’s license?

Don’t get me wrong, I get a faint sense of nostalgia when I see a cute little hipster out with her bag the size of a walnut. But when those four-inch stiletto shoes she’s wearing give her a blister, it’s nice to know I can give her a Band-Aid.