Monday, December 22, 2008

MORE bodily functions...

'Cause I have a toddler... so a good 75% of my life revolves around bodily functions and sadly, not even my own.

Yesterday Vivi got quiet. And the #1 rule of parenting is: when it gets quiet, you should investigate. I ducked my head back into the den to see my sweet angelic baby girl squatting on the floor with a Baby Einstein book laid out in front of her. She was studying the book intently, smiling at the illustrations, and even occasionally turning the page. The English-major-geek in me went positively gooey...

"Look!" I gasped to Husband "She's READING A BOOK! That's so freakin' cute! Look at her face-... wait... is she?"

Yep. Baby Girl was red in the face and grunting. Apparently the instinct to peruse a little light reading material while taking your constitutional kicks in quite early.

In this respect, she is truly her grandfathers' (both of them) granddaughter. They've both been kidded endlessly about their trips to the "library" each morning. I had hoped perhaps my delicate Southern flower of a daughter might be a tad more ladylike and discreet.
No dice.

But here- some cuteness! Husband was trying to take a nap on the couch. I was trying to change my daughter's clothes. Vivi had other ideas for all of us.

"Dada...are you in here???"

"Share the couch, man!"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bodily Functions Abound... AGAIN!

To quote my friend Wubbzy, Wow! Wow! That really is the only way to convey what’s happened in the last few weeks. Let’s have some Reader’s Digest versions of events, shall we?

Thanksgiving: Miraculously easy drive down and first few days. And on the last day, baby devolved into a demon, conditions for the drive home were deplorable, and both parents came down with a stomach flu from the very most horrible depths of hell whilst still on the road. A big ol’ shout-out of thanks to my Grandma Bird for putting the baby’s Christmas stocking in that jumbo Ziploc storage bag. That baggie came in miiiighty handy round about the GA/SC state line when I had to finally admit that I was NOT just carsick and would NOT be ok if I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths.

Job News: Mama’s getting laid off. January 31st. My thoughts? Does this suck? Yep. Does it suck worse than waking up in Darfur and fearing for my family’s very survival every minute of the day? No farking way. See my point? You know I’m a big fan of perspective and so I say to you that this, my friends, is just a job. I’ll find another one.

Sleeping: I stuck to my guns and refused to the do the cry-it-out thing while Viv was very small. I still believe that was the right decision. But a few weeks ago, Mama reached a breaking point… a huge, ugly, weepy, full-of-semi-disturbing-thoughts breaking point. And in consultation with a psychiatric professional (and my sister…whom I consider my own personal amateur shrink), I came to the life-altering realization that my kid was working the system. Big time. At a year, she was not waking up and hollering for me out of some unmet need, she was just used to getting her way and would prefer to have ME put her back to sleep rather than settling herself. It took precisely three nights to bring Viv around to the new regime. There was some crying (amazingly none from me.). There were turns taken in going in to reassure her she had not been abandoned to be raised by wolves. Then, suddenly, there were whispered conversations like this:
“….wait…. is she… ASLEEP?”
“shut UP! You’re going to jinx it!”
“…no, really…listen…NOTHING…”
“oh my God… that was too fast, too easy…”
“I know… I have to pee, but…”
“hold it… the bathroom floor is creaky…”
“seriously… we have to shut UP…”
“so, since she’s asleep…*rustle, rustle*.”
“are you kidding me?! this bed is creaky too!”
“I’ll go close the door…”
“No! Nobody moves! Nobody talks! Nobody breathes! Nobody pees! Nobody has sex! NOBODY RUINS THIS SLEEPING THING WITH TRIVIAL BIOLOGICAL NEEDS!”

What’s that? Didn’t my child just have a very important birthday? Why yes, yes she did! And since YOU brought it up, it won’t be obnoxious mommy bragging on my part to force on yo- er, I mean.. show you these adorable pictures!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

An Entire Post about Pee

OK, so the entire post isn't exactly about pee itself... but there's a definite urological theme here. Stick with me, folks! I promise this story gets better!

Item #1: Middle Sister is getting her kidney transplant January 6th!! Woo hoo!!!! My cousin is a match and all systems are go. (Get it? Systems? Go? Kidneys? Urinary tract-themed entry? No? Fine. Be that way.)

Item #2: It happened again the other night. I was JUST at the bathroom door with moisturizer and floss in hand ready to get ready for be- GAH! The door. Shutting. Husband had to pee. When he emerged, I made this observation:
"Four years of marriage and watching me push two babies out of my vagina and you STILL can't pee in front of me?"
Now, I know what you're saying... lots of women would probably KILL for their husbands to shut the door and run the water when they pee. Don't get me wrong, I am all about keeping some mystery in your marriage. Husband and I don't pass gas in each other's company and we certainly don't even DISCUSS what else goes on behind that closed bathroom door. That's private time.
But peeing? I grew up in a house with three sisters. If you didn't pee with an audience, you'd have to wet your pants because there was no way you were getting the one bathroom to yourself for something so trivial as urinating. So I admit that I am probably a little fast and loose with my pee privacy. And I realize that Husband grew up with an opposite-sex sibling, meaning the game was a bit different for him.
Childhood bathroom wars aside, I pointed out to Husband that since he HAD seen me birth two children and the subsequent aftermath, continuing to so fiercely guard against me seeing him pee just seems like a very selfish and unfair advantage in the dignity department. To which he replied "So THAT'S what this is all about..." Damn skippy! Well, ok, so not. That's only part of it.
Not to go all Oprah-relationship-expert-special on you, but don't you think that a man who truly trusts his wife, who is secure in his marriage, who is willing to expose his most vulnerable and not always perfect emotional self to her would also be willing to expose... uh... other things at vulnerable and not-so-great moments? I mean, really... this not peeing in front of me could be indicative of much bigger issues. It's a wonder we've managed to stay married this long with such a raw festering emotional wound between us.
I conveyed these theories to Husband. He was unmoved. In fact, all he said was this:
"I smell blog entry."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's a difficult time for us all...

*On my return to bed after a particularly grueling baby wake-up.*

Husband: Is she ok?

Me: Yeah, she’s back to sleep...finally.

Husband: What got her up and so hard to put back down?

Me: Dunno. Might have been some heartburn/reflux issues, though… ‘cause I finally gave her ½ a teaspoon Maalox in desperation and now she’s sleeping nicely.

Husband: What could have given her heartburn???

Me: State of the economy.

Husband: Good point.

Me: *sleepily* ‘Night

Husband: ‘Night.

Monday, November 03, 2008

We got the tricks.

Suffice to say that Vivi was NOT impressed with Halloween.

But damn, did she look cute...

And then there was Husband... confirming that I am, indeed, the luckiest damn woman on the planet. He's hot AND he volunteers to carry the angry near-toddler. THAT, my friends, is a mighty fine man.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Some Friendly Campaign Advice

One of my favorite people in the whole entire world who also happens to work for a queer issues non-profit sent this to me. It made my whole day. Enjoy!

Dear John McCain:
I am writing because it appears you may have, what we call in the non-profit community, a "crazies" problem. In our non-profit work, especially work that may be issue specific, we often have "crazies" who pop up around our service areas. Let me give you a few examples:
  • We have a member in smaller part of our state who likes to send long ranting e-mails to our Executive Director about how, as a doctor, he believes the "Transgenders" are all power-hungry, sick-o men in lipstick. What this man fails to mention in his ranting e-mails is that he had his license revoked by the American Medical Association for inappropriate conduct. However, this "doctor" is NOT shy about telling me, in front of his teenage daughter, that said teenage daughter is mentally ill and her wicked mother forced her to take the stand and testify against him in a court case. This man, Senator McCain, is a crazy.
  • We have a young man member in a suburb of a major city where a conservative, evangelical mega-church is also located. Recently this young man called me to tell me that he was planning a direct action in an attempt to get the mega-church leadership and membership to "engage in dialog about the homophobia preached from their pulpit." I asked said young man what exactly the preachers have said. Said Young Man responded that he has never attended services at this church, but he just knows they preach hate. I asked Said Young Man what action he was planning to encourage dialog. Said Young Man replied, "Well, we are going to dress all in black and lie down on their sidewalk and entry walkways with signs saying they are homophobic and preaching hate which causes people to die. We are going to block them from entering the church. I know this might get a few people arrested, but we really want to open dialog between gay people and this church." Though his crazy may be slightly mitigated by his youthful zeal, Said Young Man is a crazy.

So, you may be asking yourself, my friend, what do The Homosexual Agenda Crazies have to do with the Straight Talk Express Campaign for Mavericks and Pitt-Bulls with Lipstick for the White House? Well, Senator McCain, this has to do with leadership. There are times to ignore the crazies, such as when they send crazy e-mails to your Executive Director. Then, my friend, there are time when you must reign in your crazies. I spoke at length with Said Young Man, trying to help him to understand that a hostile action preventing folks from worshiping as they choose is perhaps not the best way to open dialog. Perhaps Said Young Man would encourage a more productive response by say, sending a letter to the lead pastor asking for a meeting or inviting the congregation to a ecumenical worship service with the Unitarian Universalists or maybe even inviting the congregants to a picnic full of queers following their Sunday morning services.

This is where you come in, my friend Senator McCain. Joe the Plumber, while an unregistered voter, an unlicensed plumber, and an ower of back taxes may NOT be a crazy, your supporters who have smashed car windows, heckled black voters, and left dead bear cubs on college campuses are your crazies. No, perhaps you did not directly incite the crazies, but, none the less, my friend, they are your crazies, and they are looking to you for leadership. How about spending some of that big Republican stock market windfall profi-..... er... some of the public funds you took to run an "honest, American campa-"..wait..... um... some money to buy a few ads. I suggest the ads include the following:

"My friends, my fellow Americans, my crazies. I am your leader. And, as your leader, I am telling you to get your happy asses in line. We are Americans. We are trying to take back the White House from those liberal agenda social- no... from the deregulating Bush Admin-... for Main Street! Yeah, for Main Street! And standing on the corner of Main Street with pictures of dead fetuses and monkeys in turbans, yellin' at voters like there were life-hating women entering an abortion mill in the late 1990s is NOT an effective means to help me win this election. I am John McCain, and I approve this message, and I suggest you hot-mess crazies go get some therapizing."


A Concerned Community Organizer

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

At least he didn't say "you betcha...."

A dear old college friend of mine works as a Development Manager for a non-profit in Washington, DC. This is a professional woman, with an MA under her belt and an extremely poised and articulate demeanor. There is absolutely nothing about her or her position that would suggest she is not the sort of woman to be taken seriously. She is, however, very very petite and looks damn near a decade or two younger than she actually is and she's not even 30 yet. But if you speak to her for five seconds, you'd know that her impish youthful looks are obviously in contrast with the "content of her character" so to speak.
Aaalll that being said, let me tell you about her day today. She participated in an interview team. They were interviewing a candidate for a Vice-President position... senior level management. The sort of position in which ... oh... say... a minimum standard of professional conduct and non-HR-problem behavior could be expected. Right.
At the end of the interview, the candidate shook everyone's hands. And while he was shaking my friend's hand... GAVE HER A BIG OL' WINK.
Seriously? You WINK at a person INTERVIEWING YOU FOR A JOB? And a WOMAN interviewing your male ass for a job? UGH! I can just hear the inner dialogue. "Awww... hey there, little lady... see how endearing and charming I am? Don't ya just wanna give me a job? I know you gals love a little flirt on the way out! Gets to ya every time!"
I blame Sarah Palin. With one debate she has single-handedly turned a completely inappropriate sickeningly cutesy gesture into something people think constitutes charm.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Some Southern Charm about the VP Debate

All right... this Palin shit has gotten out of hand!

Bad enough she's inexperienced, smug, deceitful, and arrogant.
Bad enough she can't name a single Supreme Court case other than Roe v. Wade
Bad enough she thinks $5K a year in tax credits will cover our health care.
Bad enough this woman keeps calling herself a feminist when she's actually the anti-Christ of the women's movement.


Someone who has lived her whole life in FREAKIN' ALASKA has NO RIGHT saying "bless their hearts"!

Bitch probably orders unsweetened tea, too.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hello? Anyone home?

Sorry for the down time. Vivi hasn't beeen sleeping well. OK, so that's an understatement. My child is obviously an operative for the CIA because I don't know where else she could have learned to use sleep deprivation tactics so effectively. She's been up almost every hour every night for the last two weeks. I am a walking experiment in human endurance. Take THAT, David Blaine, you candy-ass mofo!

But here... have something funny and politically relevant. It will help to pass the time and it also makes you look less nuts for sitting at your desk laughing to yourself. (You know... if you needed that kind of help... not that anyone I know does... right.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

The problem, you see, is color....

In several recent letters to the editor of our local paper, it has been noted (as it has in many places, I'm sure) that this election would look VERY different if the Obamas were white and Palin and her family were people of color. It's sickeningly blatant, the racial bias in it all. . . and I think the following little piece puts it all in perspective in a way I can't. Mad crazy props (as the kids would say) to my baby sister, Sarah, for sending this to me.

This is Your Nation on White Privilege
By Tim Wise9/13/08

For those who still can't grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.
White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.
White privilege is when you can call yourself a "f*ckin' redneck," like Bristol Palin's boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll "kick their f*ckin' ass," and talk about how you like to "shoot sh*t" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.
White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.
White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don't all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you're "untested."
White privilege is being able to say that you support the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance because "if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it's good enough for me," and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the "under God" part wasn't added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school, requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.
White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.
White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto is "Alaska first," and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she's being disrespectful.
White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you're being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign-policy expertise beyond a class she took in college and the fact that she lives close to Russia--you're somehow being mean, or even sexist.
White privilege is being able to convince white women who don't even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because suddenly your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a "second look."
White privilege is being able to fire people who didn't support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.
White privilege is when you can take nearly twenty-four hours to get to a hospital after beginning to leak amniotic fluid, and still be viewed as a great mom whose commitment to her children is unquestionable, and whose "next door neighbor" qualities make her ready to be VP, while if you're a black candidate for president and you let your children be interviewed for a few seconds on TV, you're irresponsibly exploiting them.
White privilege is being able to give a 36 minute speech in which you talk about lipstick and make fun of your opponent, while laying out no substantive policy positions on any issue at all, and still manage to be considered a legitimate candidate, while a black person who gives an hour speech the week before, in which he lays out specific policy proposals on several issues, is still criticized for being too vague about what he would do if elected.
White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God's punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you're just a good church-going Christian, but if you're black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you're an extremist who probably hates America.
White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a "trick question," while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O'Reilly means you're dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.
White privilege is being able to go to a prestigious prep school, then to Yale and then Harvard Business school, and yet, still be seen as just an average guy (George W. Bush) while being black, going to a prestigious prep school, then Occidental College, then Columbia, and then to Harvard Law, makes you "uppity," and a snob who probably looks down on regular folks.
White privilege is being able to graduate near the bottom of your college class (McCain), or graduate with a C average from Yale (W.) and that's OK, and you're cut out to be president, but if you're black and you graduate near the top of your class from Harvard Law, you can't be trusted to make good decisions in office.
White privilege is being able to dump your first wife after she's disfigured in a car crash so you can take up with a multi-millionaire beauty queen (who you go on to call the c-word in public) and still be thought of as a man of strong family values, while if you're black and married for nearly twenty years to the same woman, your family is viewed as un-American and your gestures of affection for each other are called "terrorist fist bumps."
White privilege is being able to sing a song about bombing Iran and still be viewed as a sober and rational statesman, with the maturity to be president, while being black and suggesting that the U.S. should speak with other nations, even when we have disagreements with them, makes you "dangerously naive and immature."
White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism and an absent father is apparently among the "lesser adversities" faced by other politicians, as Sarah Palin explained in her convention speech.
And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren't sure about that whole "change" thing. Ya know, it's just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.White privilege is, in short, the problem.

While copying and pasting this post to correct a typo, I accidentally deleted the whole post. These were the comments that appeared before I got stuck on stupid. :)

Erin and Rick said...
Every single 'fact' spun in this article can be 'factually' spun in the complete opposite direction. At the end of the day, it's ALL a matter of opinion & interpretation. They are ALL liars, cheats, frauds, and puppets. Including Mr. Obama.
9:17 AM

Erin and Rick said...
Also- I really don't know where the 'skyrocketing unemployment' comments keep coing from. This is straight from the Bureau of Labor & Statistics website. It's done nothing but drop since 2002. Tee hee!
9:53 AM
Lady Liberal said...
First, let's look at more recent unemployment data. Go here:

Look at the month by month figures since August 2007- steady rise from 4.7 to 6.1. Keep in mind that economic downturns are not usually over night phenomneon. The current policies and problems take a few years to show solid effects on the economy- hence, our "sudden" peril.Second- that's exactly the point of the article- interpretation. I think what you're taking issue with isn't the facts of the article, those are pretty solid. Palin and Obama's collegiate records, her experience, his experience, his family status, and her family events are all recorded accurately. I think that you're taking issue with (and absolutely correctly) is the "spin" as you called it- the interpretation of those facts, the language used to describe and deconstruct them. And that's exactly the point of the article. The conservatives are NOT applying the same interpretation to the experiences of Palin and Obama. Universally as a country, we don't typically apply the same interpretations- institutional racism colors those interpretations.LOL- now I have that song from Avenue Q playing in my head... "Everyone's a little bit racist..." Myself included. :)
10:45 AM

Lady Liberal said...
Let me add...I'm aware that there are extremists on both sides. And I'm aware that extreme left-wingers are not innocent of "interpretations" of their own. That's certainly true. I agree wholeheartedly with the conservatives that Palin's daughter's pregnancy is a private family affair (a point Obama made himself, btw) and should absolutely in no way EVER be used against her mother. All kids make mistakes. The point of this article is that systemically, as a nation, we view experiences both good and bad differently in cases where race is a factor. We tolerate and excuse things from "nice" (read: white) families that are symptoms of low-class destruction of society in others.We do the same thing with gender. We do the same thing with socioeconomic status. We do the same thing with ethnicity. It's the whole privilege and prejudice argument.
11:10 AM

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sorry Mom- I say fuck a lot in this one...

Dearest Republicans:
Watched parts of your convention- loved the gratuitious shots of Palin’s uber cute littlest daughter. ‘Cause you know…she has lots to do with Palin’s fitness to govern.

But seriously, I can’t decide whether to go with fury or awe.
One one hand, I’m furious. I’m furious and insulted that you put this party-line-robot in lip liner on your ticket and don’t even bother to veil the fact that you’re positively pandering to the “woman vote”. This woman voter finds it disgusting since the woman you chose supports policies that are so inherently anti-woman and anti-family, she might as well be… oh, yeah, W! So she has a vagina from whence came five kids. All that tells me is that she’s at least open to pretending to be heterosexual and she’s not barren. It doesn’t mean she cares about me or what my family needs and it damn sure doesn’t mean she’s good for this country. Her absolute and complete lack of federal level experience, much less global awareness is appalling. Her devotion to a party that has continually disenfranchised her gender and children like her youngest son is repulsive. Her anti-choice pro-death penalty platform is hypocritical. Her stated policies and her record are so far right-wing-fuck-the-environment-and-working-poor-get-more-money-in-rich-people's-pockets-and-you-better-be-holy-white-Christians, she's making me wish Falwell was still alive to be on the ticket. She is not a thinking woman’s woman. And it’s positively insulting that you pass her off as such.

I’m also in awe- at the sheer chutzpah it took to nominate her. And the absolute Orwellian mind control it must take to have party members INSISTING that her experience as mayor of a tiny city and short time as governor of a far-flung-sparsely-populated state can compare with, nay, is BETTER than a man with state and federal level senatorial experience, an education in constitutional law, and extensive hands-on exposure to global issues. Never mind your gal only left the country for the first time last year, she’s ready for tea with Putin! Never mind she’s made questionable use of her power, gobbled up extensive federal resources for the aforementioned sparsely populated state, and doesn't want anyone talking about condoms. No, she’s the kind of big ideas thinker who can handle the complexities of governing what is (at least for now) still the most powerful country on earth. Good God… the vehement way your supporters cling to her despite all logic and reason… not since Charles Manson have we seen this kind of mind fuck.

But what gets me most of all, RNC, is your presentation of her as a family and family values candidate. To put it politely, fuck that shit. The woman had a special needs child, returned to office THREE DAYS LATER and then proceeded to drag a near-newborn out on the campaign trail. For either mom OR dad to do so, that ain’t good parenting. And how about poor Bristol? Being a pregnant teenager is hard enough, but she's going to accept this nomination and let the poor girl live out that struggle under national media scrutiny? And she's encouraging her to marry the baby’s father- Mom would like her to make TWO mistakes? For appearances? For her career? Those are not my kind of family values, lady. But what should I expect from someone campaigning along side a man who lets his wife raise children alone while he pursues his career thousands of miles away and doesn’t even return to care for her personally after a stroke. Don’t cry family values to me while your candidates mistreat their own families and crush funding for programs that would help families without your privilege and resources.

Seriously. Fury and awe.
Fuck off.
A Raging Liberal Pissed Off Mama Just Waiting for November

P.S.- Big apologies to Mom for extensive use of the word fuck. Sorry, Ma. Situation warranted it. See? Family values!

Genius Child

We haven’t baby-proofed our house much, trying instead to teach Vivi boundaries and to let her explore any place it’s relatively safe. When she crawled towards something off limits, we’d both taken to saying “Vivi… noooooo”. It seemed she understood, because she would stop and change course, leaving the forbidden fireplace/cat/shoes/chainsaw alone. Husband and I applauded her (and ourselves) for reaching the developmental milestone “understands the word no” quite a bit ahead of schedule. Such a smart and obedient baby, we said! And (silently to ourselves) such superior parenting!

Children have a way of teaching you humility.

Vivi still understands no. But apparently free will has entered into the equation. Case in point:

Vivi crawls towards shoes.
Mommy: “Vivi…noooooo.”
Vivi: (stops, thinks, parrots back) “Nooooo…..” *big grin*
Vivi places SHOE IN HER MOUTH.

I’ve been all over BabyCenter and I can’t seem to find which month includes the developmental milestone “flips Mommy the metaphorical bird”.

I’m certain my child is way ahead of schedule on this one, too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Very Educational Post

Dearest Blogites… I have an awful confession to make. I fear many of you will think less of me afterwards, but this ugly secret is weighing so heavily on my heart that I have no choice except to let it out into the light of the Intraweb. *SIGH* Here goes…
I love the hell out of some Dancing with the Stars.
There. I said it.
I am NOT a reality television fan. I hate most of it- Survivor, Big Brother, blah, blah, blah…soul-sucking mindless drivel that caters to the very worst and least intelligent parts of us. But C and D list celebrities ballroom dancing? That’s just good clean fun, folks.
The latest DWTS cast was announced today. My take? *YAWN* I found myself repeatedly saying “who??” and “where is my vodka tonic?” But I did a little research (for you guys, of course) so that I could offer this highly educat- wait. … no… um… reasonably conscious guide to the cast. So without further ado… (Was all that before this “ado”? What is ado? Anybody?? Beuller? Beuller? )

Lauren’s Guide to the Newest Cast of Dancing with the Stars:

Susan Lucci- They’re calling Lucci a “Daytime Television Icon”, but I prefer to think of her as the patron saint of the mercy fuck. After approximately 114 years on Days of our Hospital’s Restless Lives Turning and as many nominations, Lucci finally won a daytime Emmy. Word on the street is that they had to give it to her or all the housewives in New Jersey would simultaneously start up their SUVs effectively suffocating the entire state and portions of New York as well. (Wait… we wanted to AVOID that? Vermont’s been trying to come up with a plan like that for years…)

Toni Braxton- An R&B singer and Babyface Edmonds protégé, Toni joins the cast fresh off her latest album called… um… er… well, I’m sure she’s still singing someplace- she must own a shower. No, actually, she’s headlining in Vegas these days which is like a shower… a very infrequently cleaned shower. Interesting Toni Tidbits: she was the first black woman to play a Disney character lead on Broadway (Belle) and she’s currently suing the shit-all-hell out of her former manager. Walt would be proud.

Lance Bass- Baby-faced Lance is a former member of the boy band N’Sync. In the great tradition of baby-faced-boy-band-members, he recently came out of the closet. With that revelation, he also taught millions of adolescent girls the very important life lesson called “Preventing Heartbreak Through Gaydar.”

Cloris Leachman- All together now… “WHO?” You may remember Cloris Leachman from roles such as the gently-wise-but-booze-soaked grandma in the movie Spanglish. Notable about her participation is the fact that she’s 82 years old, which makes her the second oldest participant right behind Susan Lucci at 135.

Kim Kardashian- Kim is famous for… uh… let’s see… no discernable talent… not that smart… no real contributions to society… OH! Yeah! Her butt is GINORMOUS. And she’s dating Reggie Bush, who I’m told plays the foozeball. I have to give the producers props for casting her, though. I mean, how else are Sir Mix-a-Lot and 69 Boyz ever going to earn any royalties?

Ted McGinley- No, really. He’s actually a celebrity. I thought they’d given an extra slot to some guy from Accounting, too. But aside from a lead role on an obscure sitcom (Hope & Faith), our friend Ted seems to be the faceless everyman. He’s been in a ton of stuff, just go look at IMDB. But you’d pass right by him on the street with only faint recognition (“Doesn’t that guy work in Accounting…”) Suffice to say when you see him you’ll go “oooooh, THAT guy” but I don’t think he’s had to learn evasive driving techniques to lose the paparazzi.

Brooke Burke- Brooke is a former (or current- not sure- don’t care) E! personality (and I use that term loosely) who has approximately 12 kids by like 17 different daddies. She is best known for being exotically beautiful, if you’re into all that. (Husband, you are not, FYI.) She is also well-hated among actual women for looking as though she has never birthed so much as a big poo, much less multiple kids. Adolescent boys take note- a quick Google image search will return multiple pictures of her boobies.

Warren Sapp- Warren is a former defensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders and has the second highest career total sacks for that position. (Husband just got a little hot for me there… ooo… talk aggressive defense to me, baby…) Ahem. Warren is a BIG BIG BIG man. And unlike Emmitt Smith, he did not play in a position known for intricate footwork. Warren’s participation will probably be somewhat like a grizzly bear trying to roller skate. Drunk. And blindfolded.

Misty May-Treanor- In a testament to the American attention span, Misty May will probably be the best known dancer as she is fresh off Olympic gold in beach volleyball. I’m looking forward to her spiking Len Goodman’s smarmy British head when he gives her one of his notoriously low scores. Oh, and she’s the automatic winner in my book if she uses that buff body to beat the ever-lovin’ crappola out of Brooke Burke.

Maurice Greene- Maurice is an Olympic medal-winning runner. He’s no stranger to reality television, having appeared on Blind Date. He recently retired from running, saying it was because of injuries. But we all know the truth… he’s dating Claudia Jordan aka Case #1 Girl on Deal or No Deal and how on earth would anything he ever did compete with her success?

Rocco DiSpirito- Celebrity chef Rocco can be described in one word: YUMMY. Both the contestant and his cooking. God help us all if we find out he dance, too. I mean… can you imagine the triple threat? A hottie man who cooks AND dances? (Wait… I can imagine that. I married that. Eat your hearts out, bitches.) Anywho, ol’ Rocco will be the eye candy for the thinking women fans of DWTS.

Cody Linley- Unless you are the parent of an adolescent girl (looking at you CCW), you are probably not familiar with Little Lord Linley. I tried my best at deductive reasoning. With a name like “Cody”, probably very young. Clearly not a Jonas brother unless he’s the illegitimate one. Kathie Lee’s kid? No, that would be a Gaffer or a GIF file or what the hell is his name- Gipper.. I finally had to Google the little bastard. Get this- he’s HANNAH MONTANA’S love interest! He’s probably going to regret that role later in a very Mark-Paul Gosselar kind of way a la “Hey… what’s Zach Morris doing on NYPD Blue?”

Jeffrey Ross- Jeffrey is a comedian. But sadly, he lacks some kind of incredibly clever and relevant catchphrase like “git ‘er done” or “you might be a redneck”, so he is not as well known as some of his colleagues. He is apparently an “insult comic” so perhaps that’s why they’ve asked him to roast Bob Saget. I can’t think of much more insulting than that.

So there you have it! The cast of DWTS fully illustrated for you in my always demure and subtle fashion. Next week we’ll talk about who I’d like to see on DWTS. But for now I’ll run along home to my wine. And my child- yeah, her too.

Friday, August 22, 2008

OMG ppl i suck

My child? She crawls. And claps her hands. And bobs her head to music.
But dear GOD… the CRAWLING. The cat now lives in a constant state of fear. My house looks like we’re preparing for flood waters with everything elevated and such. And I think someone should have told me that children develop the urge to stick little pointer fingers in electrical outlets VERY VERY EARLY.

In non-baby-related news, it has recently come to my attention that I’m the only living person who can’t bear to use text message abbreviations and lingo. I am physically and psychologically incapable of hitting the “send” button on something that only vaguely resembles the English language in written form. I blame college. Pesky college! I earned a BA in English only after living through courses like Advanced Grammar in which Dr. Sadist had us DIAGRAM THE PREAMBLE TO THE CONSTITUTION. It’s clear to me now that I didn’t really need that course to successfully write for a living. The only real purpose could have been to instill in me a phobia of modern linguistic shorthand and a crippling inability to relax where sentence structure is concerned.
But seriously… my text messages? They contain semi-colons where appropriate and capital letters and completely spelled-out words and entirely too much information for what should be an abbreviated form of communication. Let’s look at an example:
A normal human’s text message:
“r u @ work?”
Lauren’s text message:
“Are you at work or at home? If you’re at home, call me, please.”
I’m well aware that I am unforgivably anal retentive and geeky.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Denial- it ain't just for Egypt.

A few days ago, my daughter WAVED HELLO AT HER FATHER. And she’s been waving ever since- at me, at the baby in the mirror, at the grocery store clerk, at the pediatrician…..
Of course, I’ve been all *hands over eyes* “LA LA LA!! What? I didn’t see anything? No, I did not see my tiny tiny BABY wave! Silly you, she’s just a little bitty BABY- she can’t do that or sit up all by herself or say haaaaay Dad-dee when her father comes in the room or play peek-a-boo or …. LA LA LA STILL NOT BELIEVING YOU!!”

Self, meet reality.
Reality, self.

I can’t take it, Blogites. I truly can’t. I swear to you I’d put the kid back in the womb if I could… ok, so maybe not. But I’d surely have stopped the clock around 3 months. At least for a little while. I would certainly not have a twenty-pound eight-month-old with a four word vocabulary who gets up on all fours and rocks in a manner that suggests she might crawl at any second. And I certainly wouldn’t let my kid get so big for her britches that she asks for “nuh-nuh” while simultaneously pulling up my shirt.

I am fragile these days. Sleep deprivation and employment uncertainty will do that to a gal. So you’ll understand why I cannot possibly entertain any thought in which my child grows up and no longer has sweet baby milk breath or neck rolls.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Well, color me shocked!

Seems UF was once again named, essentially, the country's largest permanent kegger.

What cracks me up about the article is the caption on the photo stating the students are holding "a multi-person drinking apparatus known as a beer bong".

Can't you just imagine some poor young staff writer trying to figure out a reasonably intelligent way of describing a giant drinking cup fashioned from a 5-gallon bucket and duct tape? Even if you're working for CNN, it can't bode well for your career when the words "apparatus" and "beer bong" appear in your copy.

But I'm running with it. From this point hence, my margarita glasses and blender shall be referred to as my "external dual-component tequila delivery system".

Friday, July 25, 2008

Natural Selection

We have an automatic shower cleaner in the master bath. The other day Husband noticed that on the back of the cleaning solution bottle, it says “NOT A BODY WASH”.…
Took me a few minutes to compose myself after that one because you know… they wouldn’t HAVE to put that warning on there unless….yes, unless some mouth-breather actually washed in the stuff and peeled away several valuable layers of skin.
Look, I have an eight-month-old baby, which any parent will tell you is the equivalent of having a frontal lobotomy. I certainly don’t profess to be the brightest match in the box. Hell, in the last three weeks I have put the cereal away in the freezer, tried to unlock my car doors with a Baby Einstein radio, and worn my shirt inside out to the grocery. Clearly my mental acuity ain’t what it used to be.
But seriously? Seems some things should be relatively obvious.
Another case in point- the Today show had a big expose, the gist of which was this… in summer, stuff on a playground gets really really hot.
Again... um...
Dear readers, raise your hand if you’ve ever singed your derriere on a slide? All of you? Ok, hands down. And now who has ever given themselves a nifty cattle brand by letting their upper thigh bump into the chain on the swing? Everyone again? Gee, go figure… All right, who has ever stepped out onto hot pavement barefoot only to go hopping back to the bench like a meth addict Easter bunny? Wow- EVERY LIVING PERSON WHO HAD AN AMERICAN CHILDHOOD?
So tell me, then, how it is that we now require a full-scale “investigation” and we need cities to do something about the hazards of hot playgrounds? The Today story featured a little boy who had burnt the bottoms of his feet on those recycled rubber squares used as playground padding. Because he was allowed to go barefoot. In the middle of summer. On a CITY PLAYGROUND. Where the hello kitty were his parents? I mean, I’m all for experiential learning, but I’m not sure third degree burns are developmentally appropriate teaching tools.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What's the HCPCS code on a junkache?

Husband: “GAAAAAAH!!!”
Me: “What? What??”
Husband: “The baby head-butted me in the junk!”
Me: “Oh… is that all.”
Husband: “ALL? It hurts! My junk hurts! I have a junkache! Do they make a medicine for that?”
Me: “Yes, it’s called suck-it-up-ital.”
Husband: “Nice, thanks for your compassion.”
Me: “Seriously? That head came OUT OF MY VAGINA. You want sympathy for a little love tap?”

Viv is also teething, so you can only imagine the context in which I referred to her as the Ambassador of Abstinence. To which Husband shot back:
“I thought that was Pat Robertson…"

Friday, July 18, 2008

The End of an Era

My father is one of six siblings, three boys and three girls born into an Irish-Catholic family in the tiniest of towns in Ohio. They grew up working-class (very) poor, my grandfather and grandmother getting by as best they could after the Great Depression financially devastated the family. By all the children’s recollections, they had very little, but were a soundly united front. True, they would scrap like all hell amongst each other. But if an outsider dared to go after one of them? Well. That poor bastard would soon find themselves reckoning with the entire fiery brood, don’t you know. They continued as adults to sometimes scrap amongst one another on occasion, but always came together for the good times and the bad to support each other. Family weddings are the stuff of legend- good drink, lots of music, and lots of loud laughter. Odd as it may sound, my grandmother’s funeral is one of my best memories. It was a fitting tribute, in our own twisted way, when the grandkids slipped a cigarette and a beer into the casket with my grandmother. After all, those two things were favorite pastimes of Grandma's- you know, like knitting or something in other families. Now that she was comfortable after years of her body failing her, she’d certainly want a smoke and a drink for the journey. I don’t remember our parents even trying to feign anger. Hell, they’d probably have done it too if they’d thought of it.

Last night, my father lost his brother. Years as a diabetic had sent him into kidney failure some time ago; he’d been on dialysis for a while, ineligible for transplant because of his age and other health problems. Finally, his body simply surrendered. Even the heart of a wild Irish son can only take so much.
Uncle Skip was my favorite of my father’s two brothers when I was growing up. He was always good with the kids- quick with the hugs and songs. He had a great voice. My father’s family is divided into “the singers” and “the hummers”. Daddy and I are in the hummers. Uncle Skip was very much a singer. I remember when I was in high school, my grandmother’s mind was failing as quickly as her body. She needed a family member with her around the clock in the hospital. It was summer and I was out of school, so I volunteered to spend the night. Uncle Skip took me home the next morning and I remember how sweet he was to me on the ride, doing things like going out of his way to make sure I got exactly what I’d like for breakfast. He was clearly relieved and touched that I’d taken that night shift. At the time I hadn’t thought much of it, it was only one night- for family, you do these things. No thought, no question. What I hope he knew is that I learned that lesson partly from watching him, my father, and the other siblings. As Uncle Skip got older and his body failed, he got a tad less patient and perhaps a tiny bit grumpy at times. But everyone knew it was the pain talking. Fortunately, his wife, Aunt Kay, is one of the funniest and kindest women you’ll ever meet. Just before he died, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. I have a feeling he was hanging on for that, God love him.

My father and his siblings are so fortunate, to have been a complete set for so long. Very few big families can say they were all present and accounted for until the youngest is in her sixties. And while I know how lucky they’ve been, I find myself so sad for my father and my remaining aunts and uncles. My cousin pointed out that the longest relationship you have is with your siblings. I can’t help but think that Uncle Skip’s death must feel like the beginning of a different and very unwelcome era in their lives, where they begin to face the inevitability of slowly losing their original family circle.

Tonight, I will celebrate Uncle Skip in fine family tradition- by drinking and telling stories. I will shake off my sadness and raise my glass to a good man whom I am honored to call a relation. And I will raise a glass to my father, and to the rest of that clan full of stubborn, funny as hell, unruly souls with hearts of gold. Mar sin leat, Lawrence Patrick.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Funny Husband Moment #1,225,846,759,356

Me: I washed our bedsheets. They smelled like sweaty sick chick. And baby butt.

Him: *in a sultry whisper* Let yourself be captivated by a scent inspired by the family bed…sweat… ass…breastmilk… Funky Bedsheet by Calvin Klein…

I love him. So much. Any man who can make me laugh that hard after two days of stomach flu… well, he’s a keeper.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Husband and I worked hard to pick a name for our daughter that we felt was classic and beautiful, that reminded us of a wonderful person in our lives (she’s named for a dear friend), and (this was important) wasn’t tremendously common. We did not pick Madison or Emily or Anna because while those are perfectly lovely names, she would have been one of about 10 in her grade at school with that exact same name. Every time I tell someone her name is Vivian, they say “Oh! That’s so pretty! And you never hear it anymore!” SCORE!
So imagine my distress this weekend when my Mom called me from her vacation in Pennsylvania (she understood the significance) to tell me Angelina Jolie had named her baby Vivienne. Now, I realize the spelling and pronunciation are slightly different. And I certainly don’t begrudge Angelina giving her daughter a name she also thinks is classic and beautiful and pays homage to her recently departed French mother.
But still. DAMMIT.
Because you know that now a bunch of TMZ-addicted-People-magazine-subscribing-Perez-Hilton-heads will start naming their babies some variation of Vivienne. And they’ll klass it up, too, with stripper-esque spellings like Viveaynne. And now every time I tell someone my daughter’s name they’ll make some asinine comment.
“Oh! Like Angelina Jolie’s daughter!”
And I’ll be all like, “No bitches, that kid is named after MINE!”
‘Cause my baby was here first.
So there.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Say it with me now, folks...


As dutifully reported in the above article, teen pregnancy rates are UP for the first time since 1991. What's that old saying? An ounce of prevention...?
PREVENTION, folks. Which in this case, translates to CONTRACEPTION. 'Cause you can't cure teen pregnancy. And you sure can't "cure" teenagers of the urge to have sex. And teenagers are not tremendously obedient

I nearly choked when I read that "Federal health experts said they don't know why the teen pregnancy numbers went up from 2005 to 2006". Blip in the data, my ass! How many low-birthweight unplanned unhealthy babies get born before we stop insisting that antiquated abstinence-only programs are the way to go? Oh, how I miss the Clinton-era health programs... when we had our heads up out of the sand.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Inappropriate, Inc.

Recent Phone Conversation with a Friend Regarding her GYN Appointment:

Her: Is it wrong of me that I took some pleasure in the fact that, after looking at my business, the nurse says “oh… I need to get a smaller speculum…”

Me: Hell no! I’d be all like “yeah, you do! ‘cause my petite dainty ladylike va-jay-jay needs it!”

Another Conversation (this one with a co-worker about a sad, sad, failing project):

Her: There are just… no words.

Me: And that it is why God gave us cocktails- for when there are no words.

And yet another workplace conversation (actually about a flashlight during a power outage- really, I promise):

Co-worker: Wally’s got the big one!

Wally: That’s not the first time I’ve heard that… heh heh…

Just another day at work… cocktails, big ones, and itty bitty vaginas…

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Putting Noggin on Notice

***HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! Sorry about being such a pain in the ass for the first 25 years or so! Love you!***

So… thanks to Husband and a cast of about 30 stuffed animal characters (all with their own voices and personas, thank you…) I was able to color my hair Sunday. It’s …um…interesting.
See I bought this color. It’s supposed to be a nice normal golden blonde.
What I got was a little closer to Moe from the Doodlebops. Don’t know Moe? Behold…

Ugh. My first impulse was to buy another box of color and try again. But then I thought to myself “Self… you got yourself into this mess- now for the love of God, call a professional to get you out of it!”

And while we’re on the subject of creepy television programming…scene from this morning:


Husband: (Running in from bathroom, shaving cream dripping…) What?! What?!

Me: I just turned on Noggin to watch The Upside Down Show. And IT’S NOT ON. It’s stupid-ass Blue’s Clues!

Husband: (Both relieved and annoyed now…) Oh. Well, that sucks. What happened?

Me: I don’t know. And it’s a really old one with Steve in that damn rugby shirt! It’s not even Joe- the new guy who at least had some variety in his wardrobe!

Husband: Well, I know a certain children’s network that will be getting an email from an angry Mama today.

Me: Damn skippy!

TV: “Bow!”

Me: Shut up, Blue!

Vivi: *burp* AAAAYAAAApbbbbtttttt!!!

So I get on the Noggin website and just for grins, I check the schedule. Do you know when Shane and David are on now? 11:00 and 11:30 AT NIGHT.

Here is my email to Noggin:
So... I turned on Noggin this morning to catch my- er, I mean, my daughter's daily dose of Shane and David at 7:00 and 7:30. But horror upon horrors, THEY WEREN'T ON! It was Blue's Clues! And not even new Blue's Clues- crummy old episodes with fashion-impaired Steve!
Our family LOVES LOVES LOVES The Upside Down Show and now our only hope is to DVR it late at night. We would turn on those two crazy Aussies every morning as we got ready for work. Their zany hipster brand of imaginative play spoke to every member of our family. My husband’s version of the Happy Fly Ditty dance is the stuff of family legend. We have taken to asking our daughter to press the “go to sleep” and “eat your peas” buttons on her remote. Heck, we’ve even been able to avoid sweeping for weeks- those aren’t balls of dog hair, they’re Schmuzzies!
Pretty puh-lease with sugar on top! Put Shane and David back in the morning rotation! Blue and Steve are nice enough, I suppose, but they’re putting us back to sleep! Zzzzzz.........
Hugs and smooches,
The Smith-Jones* Family

*So very obviously not our real last names.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Contents of your shopping cart: Husband 1 ea.

A friend emailed me after my bad gifts entry and said:

“you mention you met Husband while Walter was away, but you don’t say how”

Indeed I did not! So I will share.
The truth is that I “met” Husband in those two weeks only in the most literal sense- meaning I actually laid … eyes, yeah, eyes (that’s what we’re going with) …on his person for the first time.

The bottom line of our love story is this: you really can get anything you want on the Internet! Yes, I met Husband online. Through Yahoo personals, to be exact. His profile was light-hearted enough to indicate he wasn’t taking himself (or Internet dating) too terribly seriously, but disclosed enough to interest me.We traded messages for a few weeks, then emails. He was funny and smart- both prerequisites for me. He respected all my internet-dating precautionary measures, never pushing to meet or asking for naked pictures. (Seriously. That shit happens. A lot.) But there was something more. Despite just coming off an ugly divorce himself, he didn’t seem to have an ounce of bitterness in him. There were never any games or pretense or hedging, just answers to my questions and (as he demonstrated over and over again) careful listening to what I shared. I’d gotten pretty adept at sniffing out scary guy b.s. and I kept looking for it… and yet nothing. Nothing but this engaging funny man who was so easy to talk with, so compelling to me. Something seemed to be brewing.

Then I called him. It was like picking back up with an old friend… an old friend you flirted with a lot. He was every bit as warm and genuine and wonderful as I’d made him out to be in my mind. We kept talking and I became more and more anxious to meet him. Finally, I broke one of those aforementioned precautionary measures by asking him over to my apartment on very short notice. He brought M&Ms and he was the hottest boy I’d ever slept wi- er, I mean met. We never left the apartment that night. Sitting on my little loveseat, talking over some beers, he reached out and started playing with my hair. That simple little gesture wouldn’t ordinarily have caught my breath… but in that context, with that person, it did. The night that followed was amazing, but the details are for his memory and mine. I will just say it was everything good- sweet, intense, and completely devoid of any of the usual awkwardness that goes with a new partner.

That first night, I thought to myself “Self, you better enjoy this. Because you are not the type of woman a guy like this dates long term…” I thought Husband was too good for me. (A lot of days I still do, come to think of it. I joke that this is the longest one-night-stand I’ve ever had.) But within days it was clear we were both in for the long haul. Yes, only days. We met in June of 2004 and were married in October. Yes, of the same year.

Almost four years, two daughters, and a lot of bags of M&Ms later, he is still the hottest boy I’ve ever met OR slept with. And he still makes me laugh. And he is still the kindest and most thoughtful person I’ve ever met. It still takes my breath when he reaches out to play with my hair.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Set your child to stun...

So… someone should have warned me, I think.
I mean, I heard other parents talk about their babies going through a “stranger phase” wherein they don’t particularly care for people other than parents. I was prepared for that- hell, most people annoy the crappola out of me.
What I was NOT prepared for was my formerly-charming daughter to suddenly react as though everyone except me (and sometimes Daddy) is MADE OF BOILING HOT ACID FROM THE INNERMOST CIRCLE OF HELL!!
Vivi has recently issued a set of rules which (as near as we can tell) read something like this:

  1. I want Mama. And only Mama, dumbass. (We forgot this one momentarily. Won’t do that again.)
  2. If you hand me to almost anyone but Mama, I will scream. Daddy is acceptable, but only if Mama isn’t in my line of vision. If you hand me to Daddy, I will look around for Mama; if I see her, I will scream.
  3. If the pediatrician tries to touch me, even for purposes of my own health and well-being, I will scream.
  4. If my loving and doting grandparents who so graciously provide my parents with sanity-saving free babysitting try to touch me, I will scream*.
    *Unless I’m on Mommy’s lap, in which case they will be permitted to touch me in order to play with me until I tire of them.
  5. If I wake up and Mama is not peering over me poised to swoop me up for immediate snuggles, I will scream as though I have been abandoned to be raised by wolves.

Did I mention she screams? A lot? To the point that her father and I have considered returning to Catholicism, if only for the exorcisms? (Seriously- a young priest and an old priest are tough to come by in the deep South. I think you have to be an insider.) I’m sure part of her new disposition can be attributed to teething and we’re doing our best to ease those pains, but girlfriend is going to have to pick up some coping skills ASAP. Mama and Daddy can only drink so much…

As you might imagine, this parasitic relationship with my child has put a SERIOUS kink in my beauty regimen. For instance, I am perilously close to finding out what my real hair color is. And people, so far it ain’t pretty. Think dishwater. From a truck stop. There is a box of #83 Sunflower Blonde sitting on my bathroom counter, but it requires 25 minutes to “develop” which is an insanely luxurious amount of time, the likes of which I have not had to myself since…oh, say… December 6th.
And if I had 25 minutes to let my hair color develop, I could also get rid of what my sister affectionately calls “Jiffy* feet”. (*Jiffy is a FL convenience store… like a 7-Eleven, but less klassy.) My heels are dry and cracked. The bottoms of my feet never quite lose that sexy dirty look, even after a shower. (This is due in large part for my propensity to go barefoot and the fact that mopping requires TWO HANDS. TWO.) My toenail polish looks great- in the spots where it hasn’t chipped off and there are more spots where it has than hasn’t. It got so bad last week that I actually threw a coat of polish OVER the three or four existing half-there layers… but ONLY ON THE FOUR TOES THAT WOULD SHOW IN MY PEEP-TOE WORK SHOES. And I had to drive to work barefoot to let that dry to a tacky consistency. That, my friends, is an “express pedicure".

My only consolation in all this is that I am still able to keep up with shaving. Don’t get any big ideas- it’s not because my showers last longer than 5-7 minutes. It’s just that I’m a fair-skinned used-to-be-blonde with very thin hair. I can let it ride for at least a week, usually two before Husband gets rugburn from a quickie. And speaking of Husband, I should tell you that he has been incredibly wonderful as usual. He’s doing much more than his fair share of the household chores and it breaks his heart when Vivi doesn’t settle down for him. So despite his very best efforts all the way around, poor Husband is left with a fairly dirty house (he’s only one man!), a screaming baby, and a wife looking like a Wal-Mart Queen. It’s a wonder those quickies even happen.

Desperation is a funny thing…

Friday, June 13, 2008

Apparently it's not a merit system...

How is it that a smart, insightful, legitimate journalist is gone too soon?

And yet pompous egomaniacal piece-of-shit worthless windbags live on and on and on and on...

Lestat said it best "God kills indiscriminately, and so must I."


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bad Gifts: Redux

Holy Wrong-Size-Lingerie, Batman! That last post was near-and-dear to many! I’ve gotten several emails from folks telling me tales of gift-giving-gone-awry that make my venus fly traps look like the Hope diamond. And apparently I’m not the only one to have a horrendous gift prompt a sort of revelation about the relationship.
I had to share a few snippets of these stories with certain names, details, and other information deleted to protect the gift receivers. (The givers will get their comeuppance- karma is a beeyatch and whatnot.)

Here are some of my favorite quotes regarding these gifts and the relationship changes they prompted:

“A man who brings PBR to his first dinner with my parents will not have a second dinner with my parents.”

“An IOU coupon for sex should not have an expiration date… and should have clear terms for when it will and will not be honored, especially if the terms are NEVER.”

“Giving my daughter a ton of clothes loses something when you announce to the entire family that you bought them because you know I never do laundry…”

“He gave me a Valentine’s card in Spanish- a language I don’t speak. He thought it was funny. I’m not sure if it was funny because I DON’T SPEAK SPANISH.” *Editor’s note- my dumbass ex did this too- WTF???

And my favorite….

“Enlightenment had come in the form of a 9” hot pink plastic dick.”

Yes, you read that right. I’m still laughing.

And I’ll add a sad gift story to this lot…
Early in our relationship, the ex bought me a long-handled ice scraper. I was touched because he was so thoughtful, you know… realizing I was too short to reach the center of the windshield with a regular ice scraper. For years, I held that ice scraper up in my head and to others as a sign of how the ex as really quite thoughtful, just a practical salt-of-the-Earth (as he liked to call himself) kind of guy.
As our marriage wound down, I realized I didn’t have much, if any, evidence to add to that ice scraper… after almost 9 ½ years. I’d been holding on to that one thing for way longer than it was worth.
Even worse was when I shared that revelation with my Girlfriends and one of them offered up this moment of alcohol-induced honesty:
“He didn’t get you that because he was being thoughtful… if he was REALLY being thoughtful, he would have gotten his pathetic self out there and scraped the windshield himself. He was just making sure you could do it and his lazy ass wouldn’t have to!”


Told you I was missing certain skills of deduction.

Ah, young love…

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One step below a Chia pet...

Earlier today, I received a request from my one, er, I mean, one of my readers. She got the idea on another blog site. And since I would never alienate a (the) reader, I will oblige. Keep in mind this requestor already knows the story. She is a girlfriend of mine and got the real-time you’ve-got-to-be-shitting-me phone call. Girlfriend’s request was this:
“You HAVE to tell the story of the worst gift you ever received!”
Okey-dokey, buckle up kids…

I was newly divorced and newly dating. Please to remember that I had been with the ex since I was 18, so there were certain survival skills I was missing. In those precious formative years when my girlfriends were learning how to weed out the self-centered asswipes, I was stubbornly sticking with the same self-centered asswipe to the detriment of my own development.

I’d been seeing this man child we’ll call Walter, after the farting dog. (And this guy would fart. In front of me. BIG mistake.) He could hold his own in a conversation and be snarky about dumb people, so we had some fun. Unfortunately he was also whiny and insanely narcissistic. Case in point: after I had worked a 9-hour day, only to immediately go and teach for three hours that evening, I arrived at his place exhausted. (As a side note- he never wanted to go to my place. Allergic to cats and “didn’t like taking medicine”. What-ev.) I offered to pay for dinner if he would only go and pick up said dinner so that I might have 15 minutes to decompress. Cue the hissy fit about how he didn’t want to do that because he “expected to be spending time with me”. Seriously. Yes. Another case in point: he called to ask me about my favorite restaurant- a nice place, nicer than any place we’d ever been… so he could take his FEMALE FRIEND there because she “needed an excuse to get dressed up and go out”.

At any rate, even despite my deficit, I knew this particular fella wasn’t “the one”. He assumed from the get-go that we were exclusive, but really? Do I need to explain why I didn’t feel like investing the emotional energy in telling him that not only was he not “the one”, he was one of about six that I was dating/canoodling/otherwise cavorting with?

He’d started doing things like asking if I’d consider raising my kids Jewish (I answered with an abstract ponderance on religious tolerance) and then he said “I love you” on the phone… to which I responded “OK...bye!” So imagine the fear that crept into my heart when he called to say he was on the way over with a surprise for me- and sounded so genuinely pleased and excited. I paced the floor praying to Our Lady of Ann Taylor that this dumbass wasn’t going to propose. He was about to leave on an extended trip and I could just see him wanting to lock me in before he left… I think I threw up at least once, but that could have been the eight vodka shots- I mean, glasses of water I drank to get rid of my nervous hiccups.

He arrived with… (sit down… trust me)
Yes, the plants. The ones that eat flies. One for him and one for me. Aren’t you just swooning from the romance? No? Cynic.
Lest you think me some materialistic snob, you should know that I would indeed have swooned over say, a bar of dark chocolate or good paperback- either of which would have cost him less than those … things.
That was the point- this “gift” (term used loosely) demonstrated that not only did this guy not know a damn thing about me, he didn’t care to even try. I make no secret of the fact that I am the evil black thumb of death to all plants. I also don’t try to disguise that I am in no way shape or form an “outdoorsy” type of chick who might put carnivorous botanicals on her wish list. If you insist on bringing flora of some kind, I am the type of woman you bring cut flowers intended to look lovely with no expectation of long-term of survival.

The kicker of all this? Dear Walter would like me to keep these atrocious little beasts while he is away on his trip. Yes, he wanted me to FEED the damn things. And let them live in my space. With my cats. This was, as they say, the venus fly trap that broke the relationship’s last straw nerve. I put them on a windowsill in my office and dumped some flat diet coke into them when I remembered. Oh, and I let my student worker stick her pencil eraser into their little jaws every so often just for shits and giggles.

When Walter returned two weeks later, I picked him up from the airport as promised. (I should note that I met Husband during those two weeks. And I DID know he was “the one”. J) In the cup holders of my car were the sad wilting remnants of Walter’s love offerings. We had a 15-minute car ride to his apartment which was just enough time for me to rattle off my “this just isn’t working out… and oh, by the way, sorry… don’t know what’s wrong with the plants” speech. I don’t think I let him get more than about three words in before I pulled in the parking lot of his apartment complex and evicted him, his luggage, and those wretched plants. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even put the car in park- again, it just seemed like too much effort for that relationship.

So that, my friends, is the story of the worst gift someone ever tried to give me. Let this be a cautionary tale: venus fly traps are the sort of present you should give VERY selectively. Really, it’s a very niche market for venus fly traps suitable for gifting. Chances are, if your lady friend shaves her armpits you should choose something else.

Husband arrived for our first date with M&Ms, which I had mentioned in passing on the phone three nights earlier. Hence the marriage and allowing him to impregnate me.

How about you? Worst gift? Best one?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Funny Husband!

*Sitting at the dinner table by front window*

Me: Hey, some kind of little critter just went skittering down the front walk...

Him: What was it?

Me: Not sure- bunny, squirrel, neighbor's cat...?

Him: Fraggle?

*Sitting on the couch playing with his new Blackberry*

Me: Oh, hey, watch this... I can update my Twitter from our phones!

Him: ... does that hurt?...

Me: Not as much as you'd think.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Wow… it’s been over a month. Let me begin by saying I have missed writing and posting here desperately- it’s not for lack of desire. But you know the saying… “life gets in the way”. Well, it has. And certainly not necessarily a bad kind of in the way… just in the way. I am pretty well full-steam-ahead-damn-the-torpedoes from about 5:30 a.m. until the baby beds down at around 8:00. Then I try my best to keep my eyes open long enough to spend some time with Husband. (And let’s face it.. if I’m conscious enough to be up, we’ll both want to have sex- I mean, How I Met Your Mother is a good show.. but not that good.) Then I’ll need to wake up with Baby Girl anywhere from 2-5 times over night. Lately it’s been more like 5. (We’ve had our first experience with the fabled ear infection. That bacteria made me it’s bitch.) And there’s what whole work thing, blah, blah, blah… What’s that? You’re sick of hearing me moan about my great Husband, adorable baby, and good job? Me too. So I’ll quit.

We started the kiddo on rice cereal. Yes, she’s still breastfed. No, I am not supplementing with formula. I try hard to avoid being judgmental of anyone (except for Republicans) but for a relatively well-educated suburban privileged person to have a baby and then not breastfeed even when they are capable of doing so? Well, I think it’s pretty crappy. Even the formula companies, who have a blue bazillion dollars tied up in you using their product, cop to the fact that breastmilk is the absolute best thing for your child. We’re not talking about parenting style or lifestyle choice or anything intangible like that. (Yes, breastfeeding has intangible benefits for bonding, etc. but let’s not even go there.) If we talk just in terms of SCIENCE, of what can be tested and proven beyond doubt, breastmilk is the best thing. Obviously folks will have medical conditions that will prevent breastfeeding- I’m certainly not suggesting someone should endanger their own health to do it. The kid needs you alive and healthy. And it would be insanely obtuse of me to say that a single mother working an hourly shift job in which she only gets two 15-minute breaks a day (or someone in equally difficult circumstances) can do what I’m doing with the pumping every two hours, etc. And having multiples complicates things- especially if we’re talking triplets, quads, etc. I’m just saying that if your circumstances are like mine (meaning none that would really prevent you from breastfeeding) why the hell wouldn’t you except for plain selfishness? As long as my body will comply, there will not be any formula in my daughter’s diet. Does that mean I’m pumping constantly and taking fenugreek and drinking mother’s milk tea and cutting out caffeine and drinking enough water to rehydrate Southern California? Yep. And do I think it makes me a better mother? Damn skippy.

You know, now that I think about it, being a Mom has made me pretty judgmental on a lot of fronts. I guess you get to feeling like you have a right. That’s probably dangerous, but I’m too damn tired to care. So while I’m on this bitchy sanctimonious rant, let’s talk about “crying it out”. If I hear from one more person that I have to let my daughter cry it out so she’ll “learn to sleep on her own”, I may punch them in the damn face. The cry-it-out approach is, in my book, borderline neglect. Letting a helpless infant who is dependent upon you for everything and doesn’t yet fully understand the world around them cry themselves to exhaustion out of fear and loneliness is not “teaching” them anything except that they can’t count on you and they’re right to be afraid and lonely. They’re not learning to self-soothe, they’re learning to give up because it doesn’t matter how much they need you, you don’t give a damn. Yes, they’ll get older and learn to work the system a little bit, and you’ll have to start being firm about things. But before they can even talk? Not possible. There are, of course, modified approaches in which you don’t just abandon them completely to wail until they collapse from the exertion. I find those more palatable. But just straight cry it out? Not at our house.

And speaking of shit I’m tired of hearing about, let me say this: MY BABY SLEEPS IN MY BED. GET THE FUCK OVER IT. But more on that for another time. I’m too grouchy to write a tirade about the anti-co-sleeping zealots.


On to things non-baby-related. Miley Cyrus, to be exact. Miley has been apologizing a lot for those Vanity Fair photos. Miley, sweetie, please stop. Because you, Miley, are the only person whose judgment in this whole debacle was age-appropriate. What 15-year-old girl, newly cognizant of her sexuality (and the power contained therein) and wanting desperately to be a grown-up wouldn’t have agreed to those photos? Poor judgment? Yep, but she FIFTEEN. It’s her job to have relatively poor judgment and to try to be too big for her britches. Now… Annie Leibovitz? She’s an edgy artist, true. And this is her “style” blah, blah, blah… but she’s also a woman. And I expect better out of women for other women, particularly for young women. This includes creating art without turning Hannah Montana into Lolita before she’s even old enough to have READ Lolita, much less comprehend the implications. I think there’s an argument to be made here about consent. If we agree by most courts’ standards that she’s not old enough to consent to sex, shouldn’t we also agree she’s not old enough to consent to having her sexuality splayed on the pages of a magazine read largely by folks too old to date her legally? Vanity Fair? Completely in the wrong to print them- but did you expect less? They’ve got a product to sell. Not an excuse, mind you, but predictable. This brings us to the people who I think should be strung up on a line by their toenails- Mr. and Mrs. Montana. AKA, Billy Ray Cyrus and whoever the hell her Mom is- Tammy Lynn Cyrus? (I don’t know- seemed like a good name for her.) My point here being, her damn father APPEARED in some of the pictures. He and Mama should have been front-and-center demanding editorial and artistic authority and USING IT. The sad part is, they seem to have a product to sell too, and that took precedence. Oh, and Disney, please stop tsk-tsk-ing at Vanity Fair for “exploiting” Miley. Your big concern here is that their marketing strategy was wildly different than yours- and you feel like you’ve got a bigger ownership stake.
*SIGH*- see? Judgmental.

Coming soon... my brush with blogger fame and why I nearly peed myself with excitement while reading this guy...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Worry not!

I am not dead. Just working and Mom-ing and wife-ing and trying hard to lose some baby weight. And we have termites. And .... well, you get the picture. Nothing earth-shattering- busines as usual, just that business is very heavy right now.
Baby Girl is magically delicious as ever.
Back soon with real actual non-baby-related thoughts.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sadness: Amelia Grace

You may remember a few weeks back when I asked for thoughts and prayers for my sister who was pregnant and in kidney failure.
Yeah. I said "was" pregnant. :( So you know where this post is going...
Amelia Grace was stillborn last night as a result of a placental abruption. She weighed 9 oz. and I'm told she was positively beautiful.
I am heartbroken for my sister and for our whole family. Amelia is another in a long line of pregnancy losses for this family, and the third stillbirth in just my immediate family.
Send some love my sister's way- because as she begins mourning for her daughter, she's also starting the long road of a kidney transplant.
Fare forward, little voyager Amelia....

Monday, March 10, 2008

Three Months

Dear Viv,
Your Daddy and I are trying hard not to blink these days, because if we do, we will surely miss one of the 10,000 new things you’ve started doing lately. Someday when your own children are born, people will say “oh, they change so quickly”. And while I hope I’ll have raised you well enough that you won’t roll your eyes to their face, it will sound terribly cliché to you. It did to me. But just FYI, they’re more right than you’ll be able to imagine. There’s a reason grown people will sit and stare at their sleeping babies- it’s because they know that sleeping baby is changing right in front of them and will be different by the time the nap is over. (That and they’re paranoid the kid will quit breathing- but you’ll learn about that when your own baby is born, too.)

The last three months have been the most breathtakingly amazingly beautiful of my life, and at the same time the most exhausting and difficult. You have changed me, Baby Girl. You have changed your father. You’ve changed our marriage, our families, our life… Your Dad and I were a little older than most of the first-time parents we know. I was 31 and Daddy was 32 when you were born. We were pretty complete people with a little living under our belts. Or at least we thought we were. See, we knew intellectually what we were getting into. You were very much planned for and desperately wanted. We read all the books and asked 45,000 questions of every medical professional and experienced parent we could get to hold still. (Don’t worry- we didn’t use force. Much.) But deep down, we knew that despite all our planning and research, we were in for the ride of our lives. And Viv, you have very much lived up to that prophesy!

In the past three months, you have transformed from a snuffly, grunty little blob who pooped every time she ate to a juicy, round, pink-cheeked little Buddha who smiles and laughs at her goofy parents’ stunts. (And who only poops every 3-5 days. Can I thank you for saving that up for Daddy the last two times? Love ya, kid!) I can’t explain it quite fully, but the way I love you has changed. When you were first born, I loved you with a fierce protectiveness for your physical well-being. You slept most of the time, as newborns do. The first weeks of life can be a bit unfulfilling for a new Mom in that a newborn is so… disconnected. You didn’t really need ME (aside from my breastmilk) in particular, you just needed to be held and kept warm and fed and generally to finish gestating for a while. You weren’t unconscious, but you weren’t really in a relationship with us yet. So the only way I could demonstrate the enormity (look it up… I’ll wait…) of my love for you was to do my absolute damndest best to see to your physical and functional needs. I fought hard to breastfeed you- I was simultaneously smugly victorious and incredibly relieved as you gained weight. I worried obsessively over you being warm enough, a practice which drove your father into an enormous sleep deficit during your first few days. When you became jaundiced, I stepped up the breastfeeding and adhered to the bilirubin blanket instructions as though they were handed to us by Jesus himself. Your Dad and I probably used enough Boudreaux’s for a sumo wrestler’s tushie, because dammit, our baby wasn’t going to have diaper rash. When I first went back to work, I drove over to the daycare every single day at lunch to breastfeed you to keep you from getting one more bottle. You slept, as you still do, curled against me on your side, where we can breathe in tandem and you are never far from the sound of my heartbeat. And I’ll be honest, Viv… I thought myself a good Mom because I was always prepared with a binkie and a change of clothes. But sometimes… like when I couldn’t make you happy at 3 a.m… I didn’t feel like YOUR Mom. Sometimes I felt like an imposter just trying to do right by this gorgeous wonderful little baby until someone who knew what they were doing was going to show up. I loved you tons… it was just that sometimes I wasn’t sure it was enough for you.

Gradually, over the weeks, we got to know each other. And you woke up from your newborn sleepy snuggly coma. You were slow to the social smiles, no doubt because you were premature. But Viv, the first day you looked me in the face and smiled ON-PURPOSE-AT-ME-BECAUSE-I’M-MAMA…oh, sweet Jesus… I was completely and totally overwhelmed. You know those tons I loved you before that? Add about a hundred million of them. It was finally there- the recognition, the look on your face, the happiness to see me, the instant calming effect of me just picking you up. Finally, you knew… this is Mama, she loves me and she makes it better. (And she has the breastmilk… but I’m sure that’s entirely ancillary.) It was then, sweet Baby Girl, that I quit feeling like an imposter. I started trusting my instincts more after that and you seemed to relax as well. Now, I feel as though I know you almost as well as I know myself. I guess that makes sense, really, because you were so recently a part of me quite literally. You are this person, this little girl, and you clearly understand who I am to you and that makes you happy. It makes it all so incredibly sweetly worthwhile. All the long nights, all the frustrations, all the panic, all the hard work of trying to make certain you knew me and could trust me to do everything within any power I’ve ever had to make sure you’re safe and happy- they’ve resulted in this adorably joyful baby who lights up when I walk into the room. I am so grateful to get to be your Mama and I promise you I will never quit using all my powers (and maybe some other people’s too) to keep this bond between us.

Shortly after you and I got right with each other, you started responding to your Daddy’s goofy self the same way. I can’t even begin to tell you how happy you make your father. He was born to be your Daddy and he absolutely lives to make you smile. I know he struggled at bit at the beginning much in the same way I did- loving you more than he knew what to do with, but unable to do much except see to your most basic needs. Vivi, please write this down and tuck it away for later- if you choose to marry a man, MARRY A MAN LIKE YOUR FATHER. He will never ever be the Daddy who “babysits.” He has, from moment one, been my full and complete partner in parenting. He’s quite often even better at this gig than I am, and I’m thrilled by that. He loves you (and me) in a way that puts no limits, no conditions on what he will do for us. I mentioned you’ve changed our marriage and I want you to understand that it’s for the better. Seeing your Daddy with you, how he anticipates your needs and thrives on your joy, it has only made me love him more. And while our time alone is shorter and … um… less adventurous maybe (I know- EWWW, Moo-om!) I know neither one of us would change a thing. He is the best kind of person and the best kind of man. One of the smartest things I have ever done was picking him to be your Daddy.

So, at the end of three months, we’ve gotten into a nice little rhythm at our house, you me, and Daddy. Part of that comes from you settling into a more predictable routine just as a matter of being an older baby. Part of it is the result of the hard work your Daddy and I put in. We read a lot in the beginning about “attachment parenting”, and to us, it just felt like what we would have done instinctively, so we went with it. And it seems to have paid off. In the most basic terms, you’re attached to us, we’re attached to you, and we’re more attached to each other. We’re in a relationship now, the three of us. A very good healthy relationship- called a “family” I believe.

Love you,

Friday, February 29, 2008

Just call me Lady Hussein Liberal!

The Momocrats, in their infinite wisdom, have started Just Call Me Hussein Day in response to fools like Bill Cunningham who is obviously still seven years old.
See, seems some of the conservative pundits having not been able to find any LEGIT way to discredit Obama and being incapable of debating him on the merits of his policies, have begun referring to him as B. Hussein Obama or Barack Hussein Obama.
Now, to most of us, the slimy tactics here are clear. The only Hussein known to the average American (the ones watching E! for their "news") is Saddam. They're aiming for a subconscious connection and a manipulation of the average American through what amounts to (at best) junior high psychology. It's insulting. It's disgusting. And it's underhanded.
Personally, I find this amusing. Because nothing says "holy shit, we're in big trouble- 'cause even the people we think are stupid are catching on" like resorting to something like this. And because, as the Momocrats put it, bitch is the new black, I am declaring myself a Hussein today. I hope you will too. Visit the Momocrats site and catch yourself a fancy new button for your blog and join up with Obama as an honorary Hussein!
Oh, and I'm supposed to tell you an embarrassing story about someone making fun of my name. My name is pretty benign. My maiden name is a little unusual and hard to pronounce, but doesn't easily rhyme with anything kids would seize upon. But my initials? LG or LRG more specifically. You can only imagine what kids did with that and you can only imagine what that does to the body image of an already overly-self-conscious pubescent girl. 'Nuff said.
Happy Just Call Me Hussein Day!