Friday, November 12, 2010

It could be funny...

I haven’t written much of anything for the last few weeks, months? Eeee, has it been that long? It’s not that I’m being lazy, though I will definitely cop to that accusation. It’s that I didn’t want to inundate my blog with pregnant nonsense. Since that is pretty much the only thing happening to me at the moment, I have a sneaking suspicion that it would sneak in.

However, since I haven’t written in so long, no one has any idea what is going on with me. That’s right, all twelve of you are totally in the dark. But do you really want to read about pregnant stuff? I do, but it’s pertinent to me right now, and I go elsewhere to find it. Besides, I thought, what’s really all that funny about being pregnant? I inadvertently just answered my own question. Here’s how. As I was about to type that sentence I had to reach down to the calf area of my jeans, grab a handful of material, and hoist my ankle to rest on my other thigh. I can’t even cross my own legs without manual assistance. That’s probably pretty funny from an outsider’s view. What I shouldn’t add is that the reason I have to do that is because I have so much pain in my thighs right now that I actually am physically incapable of crossing my legs, making walking absolute hell. There, see, that’s not very funny. Kinda makes you feel bad for laughing, doesn’t it? Well, that’s not what I want.

As I was coming in to work this morning, a trio of gentlemen were standing about fifty feet in front of me and from one of them I heard the word ‘waddle.’ I didn’t need to hear the rest of the sentence, as I had already flipped him off. I started to explain why I’m walking like I have two prosthetic legs, but a few words into that explanation and I just stopped. Eh, what’s the point?

Now I happen to think I handle pregnancy pretty well, what with all the experience that I have. I have a fairly physical job and yet I work up until the 11th hour. My first two pregnancies were pretty nondescript, save for a slight scare here and there. The last few weeks always suck; it’s a law. I guess I’ve hit that point. It seems to have come early this time around. I have seven weeks to go, whereas it usually doesn’t start to become a problem until four weeks to go. But see, that’s just not funny. Maybe to a sadistic onlooker...

I personally think it’s getting pretty bad when I’m trying to find a way to maneuver early maternity leave simply because the sheer act of driving to work is excruciating.

So, no, there’s not much to write about or report on right now as it all revolves around my current state of moo cow. Now as long as nothing unusual happens I will be shopping the day after Thanksgiving and I’m sure that will yield some stories worth reading, and not just about me squatting by a Cinnabon for half the day because people are running over me. Now, that’s funny

Thursday, August 26, 2010

When Do I Have to Grow Up By?

Since when was figuring out what you want to do when you grow up so stinkin’ hard?

When we’re young and longing for that first double-digit birthday, most of us have a pretty good idea of what we want to do when we grow up. Boys would have the standard boy answers of fireman or policeman or even astronaut. Girls ordinarily would want to be teachers and nurses or mommies. Clearly, I went to school in the fifties.

I didn’t want any of those normal jobs. I can remember early on choosing my first job being a fashion designer. I can remember saying it and writing it down. The only problem there was I did not sew or draw very well and at the time my standard daily uniform consisted of stretch pants and empire waisted floral tunics, topped off with a stretchy headband. Even then, swing and a miss.

Yes, fashion designer was my first dream job. After that I really didn’t think about it very much, which I believe now was a big mistake on my part. I was just going on about life, minding my own business, not giving any thought whatsoever to what I might do to make a living once I got out of school.

During high school I toyed with the idea of going to college to become a band director, inspired at the time by my own band director whom not everyone liked. Then we got a new band director and he kind of killed it for me. It’s just as well. Did I really want to spend the rest of my days thinking in terms of eight-to-five steps? The fact that my step size was already eight-to-five was not the point.

Even when I graduated it still hadn’t really hit me that I needed to decide what to do with my life. I had done some modeling and dearly loved it, but how far is a 5’4” runway model really going to go? Not even to the end of the runway. Besides I was nowhere near emaciated enough to make a go of it. Acting had also been a possibility, but in this particular area of the country/world there’s just no outlet unless you want to play one of the old bitties from Steel Magnolias in your local community theater. I did not.

So I went off and had my ill-considered adventures after high school, still just floating about. I eventually got a job at a law firm, which made me consider a career as a lawyer. That takes so long, though, and did I really want to do that? As much fun as arguing is to me and as good at it as I am, I knew there would be a lot of requisite grunt positions that I would have to suffer through first. So defending the scum of the earth is just not my cup o’ tea.

My next job has seen me back at the school system that I once attended. As much as I like my job, there are moments that were somewhat embarrassing for me. Teachers in the system come to the central office once a year for new picture ID tags. Several of my old teachers have popped up as they still work for the board of education. Teachers from middle school and even elementary school have greeted me and asked what I’m doing now. Unfortunately, the answer that popped into my head first was “This.” ‘This’ is delivering packages from the warehouse to the departments in the central office. That’s what they see. I also do purchase orders and invoices but they don’t see that. They see a delivery girl. Yes, it’s embarrassing. They ask what I’ve done with my life and all I can say is “Not a thing! A chimp can do my job! Oh, and I have no ambition!” It’s embarrassing because I know for a fact that they all expected big things from me. Even the stupidest cheerleader in my class became a nurse, a fact which scares me out of ever admitting I’m sick.

Only now do I realize I was supposed to do something...something. I envy people who have always known what they want to do, whether it’s logical or not. Sooner or later, if it isn’t terribly feasible, you’ll find a way to make it that way or turn it into something similar that could work out. There are all sorts of things that I would like to do, but for how long would I like them?

My sister and I had a brief stint in baking and cake decorating. I got so excited about it that I planned in my head what my bakery was going to look like and marveled at the prices of commercial mixers. As much fun as it sounded and no matter how much I knew I would like it, it fizzled out, replaced by...some errant thought, no doubt. Then it was just forgotten. On the plus side, all that baking pretty much turned me off of eating cake in general. I’ve gotten my taste back for it a little, but I am much more critical of any cake I taste now, wondering if I can do it better.

Then I thought of being a lawyer again. But after having talking to one and hearing about the detestable cases he was forced to defend I decided that wasn’t my road. Surely you have to pay your dues no matter what field you go into, but I refuse to defend people I would just as soon flip the switch on if I could.

Throughout the years, though, there has always been writing. I have always written. It’s been a constant. I like to think I’m decent at it. If I didn’t, I don’t think I’d be doing it. With my fingers crossed for my first book to be picked up by a literary agency, I wonder if perhaps this is the road I should travel.

Alternately, I recently decided, or thought I had, what it was I wanted to go to school to do. It is not related to writing or to anything else I have ever considered doing. I like the idea of it and I have even researched job opportunities for this particular degree and the classes I would have to take to achieve it. While I am hesitant at some of the classes, y’know like MATH, I know that I could get past them as long as I kept in mind the end point.

So what am I going to do? Should I be a writer or should I pursue mystery job X that deals with math and chemistry?

Wow, that last one kind of sounds like a no-brainer to me now that I’ve brought math and chemistry into the equation. Eeek.

Maybe I should have just stuck with fashion designer.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Buy My Book?

Those of you who are reading this may know that I write on occasion. Though not often
as of late, as the date of the last post will tell you. For a while now I have toyed with the idea of writing a book. Yes, a real one. Not just so I can waltz into my ten year high school reunion and, when asked what I’ve been doing, say “Ohhhhh, not much. I’m working on my second book.”

If you ever looked into getting a book published, then you know there is more to it than sending in a bunch of typed out pages. If you’ve never looked into it, just trust me here. Most publishers won’t even give you the time of day unless there’s a bona fide literary agent talking you up to them. Yeah, you’ve gotta find someone who ‘knows a guy.’ That’s not altogether easy in itself. Different literary agencies have different requirements about how to go about soliciting yourself to them. Some say actual mail only while others rely solely on email queries. And that email can’t just say “Hey, I wrote a book. Will you try and get somebody to make it into a real book?” You have to write a query letter. There is no set form on this kind of thing, so if you’re doing it wrong you have no way of knowing. It’s all kinds of fun.

So a few days ago I sent my jaunty query letter and a self-addressed stamped envelope
(remember those?) to my first choice literary agency which is located on Madison
Avenue in New York. Swanky, I know. I am already prepared to be turned down. It’s
ok. I know it happens.

So I’m sure you are wondering just what precisely my book is about. Well, of all the
strange things that I observe and that happen to me in day to day life the one thing that has been pretty much a constant in the last four years or so has been...pregnancy. Yeah, I know, not everyone wants a book about pregnancy, but pregnant women do. Especially my kind of pregnancy book, if I do say so myself.

I have perused many a pregnancy book in the last few years and I don’t think any of
them have been precisely my style. The closest was The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine. Much closer than What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The gold standard for many a year, What to Expect has recently been revamped. The cover no longer displays a timid, mousy woman in a rocking chair about to have an anxiety attack in a Mom ‘do and outdated housedress. Now it’s a woman in a shoulder-length haircut wearing modern day maternity clothes and actually smiling. And she’s standing. I guess it’s considered ok for pregnant women to stand now.

Usually there are only two categories for pregnancy books and that is one that is purely informational and one that is more of a individual account of pregnancy. Mine is both with my own brand of rapier wit sprinkled liberally throughout. I also have made certain to include a disclaimer saying I am not now, nor have I ever been a doctor so if your pregnancy doesn’t go how I say then you can’t sue me. Ha! I should just go ahead and market it to include a grain of salt.

I know it seems like I would write something more general that everyone can enjoy, but to be honest all this baby stuff has taken over life as I know it. It’s hard to get around it. I am trying, though.

What would a non-pregnancy book from me include, I wonder? Probably a good
bit about food and burgeoning fascination with those who call themselves ‘foodies.’
Perhaps the state of modeling standards, which would be quite slim. Nothing at
all related to politics. I’m fairly non-partisan until somebody says something that
I like. Maybe people I’d like to see on Dancing With the Stars. I don’t know.

I would write fiction, but the truth is just too good.

Take Back Your Birth

Someone’s out there stealing people’s childbirths!!

That’s how I took it. There are people out there burgling women’s childbirths. Who do they think they are, marauding around snatching births? Is there a black market for childbirth? Is that where it’s going? Have any of them ended up on eBay? Has anyone checked? Maybe they weren’t stolen, just misplaced. Now don’t you feel silly? You went around squawking that someone had stolen your birth when you just accidentally left it in the freezer with your keys and cell phone. That’s Mommy brain for you.

Or is it more like it didn’t fit so you had to take it back?

Perhaps you’ve deduced by now that I am deliberately misunderstanding and even making fun of this issue. (I am.)

In case you haven’t heard, and I’m not at all shocked if you haven’t, the notion of ‘taking back your birth’ is the new catchphrase for the holistic natural birth phenomena. Prompting me to wonder just precisely who took it. I won’t go back into that.

From what it sounds like, the holistic women and midwives are suggesting that doctors and modern medicine are the culprits here, pumping unassuming mothers full of drugs and forcing them to give birth under the doctor’s preferred conditions instead of their own. These are the same women who believe that if a baby can’t survive an unassisted birth then it’s totally fine for it to go ahead and die. That those babies were just not strong enough to make it, natural selection you might say. I can’t help but think that those women, aside from being a little off, are in the minority.

Among these ‘holistic’ women pushing for you to take back your birth is once-famous, now not, Mayim Bialik, the spokesperson for Holistic Mom’s Network. Apparently, the only thing qualifying her to spout this propaganda is the fact that she’s had two kids. Wait—I’ve had two kids, and about to have a third...I need to be the spokesperson of something! I have reproduced. Clearly that makes me eligible to endorse stuff. Oh, wait, I can’t. The only other thing that gives Blossom any kind of credentials is that she starred in a series in the 90’s whose only contribution to society was the word “Whoa!” Oh, if only there was footage of me wearing a kicky hat at an awkward age. Actually there is. It was denim.

Never mind the fact that this woman is off her rocker, eschewing any type of life that does not revolve around her kids. What is going to happen when these kids grow up and no longer want their nutty mother trying to wipe schmutz off their faces with her organic saliva? She is going to go ‘round the bend. She will have forgotten how to live an actual life that has something to do with herself and not her offspring.

Let me just say, kids are great, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also live for yourself.

Somehow, to holistic moms, if you give birth in a hospital with any type of aid, you have failed. That’s right, baby. Big effin’ FAIL. It means your body mutinied and you LOST. You LOST your POWER. You should be ashamed. I know I am.

What’s the difference between a woman who delivered at a hospital according to plan and a woman who HAD to deliver at a hospital lest she die from bleeding out in her birthing tub in her rumpus room? Attitude. Mama A is happy to have a healthy child and that everything is cool. Mama B is smiling half-heartedly or even scowling at the fact that she didn’t get her way, never mind the healthy baby, and is maybe wondering if she can return a semi-used birthing tub.

Maybe they’ll take it back, too.

`This is right after I had Sully. I don't feel powerless here; I'm still kinda doped up.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Dip in the Pool

If you have kids you know that, while you may love them, there are also times when you just want to smack them. Case in point, yesterday I got home from work and Connor was enjoying a late afternoon/early evening nap. It seemed a little late in the day, but it happens. Sully was awake, though, and trotting around pulling clothes out of the laundry basket and practicing new words. (More on that later.)

I hadn’t been home twenty minutes when Connor woke up whiny and crying. That’s what a late day nap will do to you. It will make you ornery. There was no placating him. I was sitting on my bed on the phone with my mother and Connor wandered in, sobbing. He happened to notice a lone apricot colored crayon on my dresser and said he wanted ‘crons.’ I gave it to him and off he went to find a way to use it. Seventy-five percent of the time he knows that he is only supposed to color on paper. Sometimes he forgets or just can’t find any and that’s when a door comes in handy.

Naturally, once the door artwork started I had to stop it which didn’t make him any happier. Grasping at straws by now, I asked if he wanted a popsicle. Yes, he said he wanted a ‘popsicle ongen.” That’s how he says orange. We didn’t have any orange so I offered him blue, which he usually loves. At the sight of the wrong color popsicle he fell apart and melted onto the kitchen floor, and I fought the urge to kick him. Finally, he took the popsicle but he just stood and held it while he cried. He put it back in the wrapper and it went back in the freezer.

By now, I’ve got nothing. Sully’s still running around all chipper. I ask Connor what he wants to do and he responded with ‘ride Mommy car.’ He’s a little stir crazy. Sitting at home for days on end without going out can do that. Now as much as I would love to go out we don’t have a.) the gas, b.) the money, or...that’s really about it, but those are very important to travel. I asked him where he wanted to go and he said he just wanted to go for a ride in Mommy car, which to me basically said “Woman, I got to get out of this house.”

Then Dave had the idea that we fill up the kiddie pool in the backyard. It was evening by then but still hot as ever. I asked Connor if he wanted to go swim and he got excited. Finally. We located his tiny blue camo swim trunks and stripped Sully to his shorts and headed to the backyard.

We have your basic kiddie pool, about three and a half feet wide and maybe a foot high. The only flaw in it, though, is that there is a big dent and hole in one side. Dave fixed it the best he could with whatever he could find, which has worked pretty well so far. Dave started filling it up with the hose, occasionally spraying Connor making him squeal. When he tried to spray Sully, as soon as the water hit him he turned around with a look of panic on his face and started to run as fast as his ability would let him, considering the safari-style state of our grass. Then Dave would spray up in the air and it would come down on Connor who would yell ‘it’s raining!’

Connor got in the pool and started splashing around, late nap forgotten. Sully has a hard time getting his little baby bow legs over the side of the pool so he just kind of hikes up a leg and falls in. Whatever works. Dave had the brilliant idea of dragging over the baby jungle gym slide over to the pool and wetting it down so the boys could slide into the pool. That went over very well.

At one point, both boys were sitting in the pool and Connor reached over to give Sully a hug, which was nice. Then evidently he wanted Sully to come with him so the brotherly hug turned into a come-with-me choke hold. Sully was less than thrilled.

They played for about half an hour and had a good time. Then it was time for baths. While I was bathing the boys, Dave bathed the puppy in the pool. We do not waste stuff. So we solved all the whiny crankiness and even tired out the boys for the night.

Sully’s new words are diaper (‘die-puh’), whee!, and moo (‘mmm’). They are very funny.

Unfortunately, Connor’s new phrase is ‘that’s a crap.’ Win some, lose some.

Friday, June 25, 2010

How Harry's Makes Me a Better Person

I have read before that only a true foodie will drive miles out of their way simply to buy specific foods. I do it in the hopes of becoming a better person. Some people do it with volunteer work, I do it with the purchase of arugula.

It is a happy day when I have the opportunity to go to my favorite grocery store. That would be Harry’s Farmer’s Market in Marietta, which is the equivalent of Whole Foods. The actual Whole Foods is about fifteen to twenty minutes away from Harry’s.

Harry’s has so many different types of food that you just can’t find at a Kroger or, god forbid, Wal-Mart. If you asked for some of these things at your local grocery store the workers would look at you like you were asking for plutonium. “Figs? We don’t carry that kind of thing. What’s a fig?” Whenever I actually get to go to Harry’s I feel like shopping there is doing something wonderful for my family. I am giving them the chance to eat out of the ordinary, unprocessed, organic foods. That right there should add years to their lives, right?

Shopping just the produce section at Harry’s makes me feel worldly, higher on the food chain even. What’s that, rhubarb? Yeah, I know how to cook that. You usually cook it with fruit. Asparagus? That’s best steamed. You can even drizzle a little Hollandaise over it. Yucca? Yeah, that’s kind of like a potato. It’s a starchy root vegetable. I KNOW these things so it makes me feel like I belong there. The fact that I have never cooked any of these things is not the point. I could if I was so inclined.

Even though I love to go down each produce aisle and gaze longingly at each item, I rarely ever buy any of those. I’m too afraid that I’ll let it go bad before I get around to using it. And I can do that with cheap green beans from Kroger. I don’t have to go buy haricots verts to let them rot in my crisper, because they will.

I love that there are so many different kinds of apples on display. Some are eating apples, some are cooking apples. Frankly, I initially thought that all apples were for eating. It’s just a technicality. There is also about a ten feet stretch of cooler filled with nothing but mushrooms. You just don’t realize how many categories of edible fungus there are. I steer fairly clear of them.

After the produce, you have the wall o’ olive oil. Any kind of olive oil you could want is right there before you. They have garlic infused, rosemary, lemon, light, pure, virgin, extra virgin, uber virgin...the list goes on and on. And the bottles they come in are so cute! Yes, I have been known to buy products based upon their packaging.

The next aisles are divided up into their origins of cuisine. There’s the Japanese aisle which sports wasabi peas and instant miso. There’s the Thai section which is mostly peanut sauces and noodles. The Mexican aisle has mole sauces and tamale wrappers. My favorite international aisle is the British aisle. Such strange tastes, those Brits. Sure, places like Thailand have unusual tastes as well, but the British are so much closer to us that it makes their love of Shrimp Cocktail potato chips that much more of an enigma.

The British aisle has the most candy and chocolate. There are Mars bars a-plenty, Dairy Milk, Double Decker, Curly Wurly, and the one called Yorkie. The Yorkie is a little bit of a mystery to me because in the middle of the name there is a symbol banning women. The side of the bar itself says ‘It’s Not For Girls!” Naturally I have yet to try this confection, partially because I’m a little scared and partially because it says I can’t. Is chocolate in England sexist? That’s a topic for another day.

A perpendicular aisle to the international sections has the cardboard cereals which I pay no attention to whatsoever. The other perpendicular aisle is stocked with water. Sounds boring, I know, but it’s not. If you have an affinity for designer water, this is your place. There are bottled waters of all shapes and sizes. It’s also a good idea to learn the difference between sparkling and distilled. Since to a lot of people, water is water, this is a chance to buy for packaging.

Along the wall is the DIY nut butter section. There are six or seven different grinders set up with different nuts in them. They have almond, cashew, peanut, honey roasted peanut, dark chocolate peanut, and like pistachio or something. These are good if you like them, otherwise you’ll get some just to use the grinder and then it’ll turn rancid in the cabinet.

The back wall of the building is where my husband goes when he feels he deserves a reward. It is a thirty feet long meat case. It is the altar at which he would pray. Dave could never be Hindu....or Jewish...or Muslim for that matter. All these religions seem to have prohibitions on meat.

Even I have to drool a little at this meat case. There are critters you’ve never tried to eat before trussed up and ready to be roasted. Any kind of steak you could want starts the far end, any beef. Then there are lamb chops, rack of lamb, lamb that has been frenched, marinated lamb, leg of lamb. It’s no where for Mary to visit. Then there are various cuts of pork, chops, tenderloin, roast, shoulder. Then they have ready to grill kebabs, skewered jewel-like touches of raw meat, chunks of vibrant bell pepper, and juicy cherry tomatoes. Beside those are cuts of meat covered in dry rub or marinade. Toward the other end of the case is where it starts to get a little weird if you’re not used to it. They have rabbit, squab, quail, and quail eggs. I guess you could call it the wild game. Critters you have to stalk in the woods.

The other side of the aisle is the frozen food, which I pay no attention to. I am not in the market for gluten free lasagna. Sorry. I don’t feel like I would be bettering anyone by buying that. The middle of the aisle has a station to dip your own hot soups into containers. Usually there is some type of chili, maybe a chowder, but if you’re really lucky you’ll find the chicken tortilla soup. Grab for the biggest container if you find this soup. It is fantastic.

The next big section is kind of bisected. The freestanding part is the alcohol. Rows and rows of wines and artisan beer. If I drink this would be a great place to be. I do cook, though, and I am told that you should only cook with wine that you deem good enough to drink. I don’t know what that is so I go for what’s cheap and pretty. Beaujolais sounds nice. The section lining the wall is the seafood. I generally have to hold my breath and sprint to the next section. I don’t want to see grouper looking at me next to the shrimp. They all still have eyes. Your food should not seem to be judging you! Would you eat a steak that had a hoof in it? Of course not.

Next to the seafood for some reason is the fancy chocolate, including my favorite German choco brand Ritter Sport. They’re square. There’s all types of chocolate here. Black chocolate, green tea chocolate, chocolate that saves the gorillas. Oooh, they have Lindt, too.

Around the corner is the bakery section. If you bypass the case to grab your own fresh baby-head sized muffins, you will see the little tarts and cookies. They also have fresh baguettes. I have been known to shop around the store holding a half eaten baguette. Be careful, though, a properly made baguette will cut your gums to ribbons.

Attached to the bakery is the cheese counter. Yes, they have a counter dedicated solely to cheese. Not just a bacterial process anymore! They have all the crazy cheeses that you can’t pronounce and you can buy them in wheels. Actual wheels of cheese. They have the cheeses with the power to knock you down with their odors. Now that’s real cheese.

Next you come to about twenty barrels of fresh coffee beans, all different. Grind it yourself of course. The dairy is next, with their lime kefir, soy milk, almond milk, and Greek yogurt.
The last stretch is a cooler with a lot of the regular products that are just chilled, like the fancy waters and the fruit juices. The other side is basically a big take-out counter. They have a huge salad bar in the middle of the aisle.

The very last thing you see is a big room with all different types of flowers in tubs. The weird ice creams and gelatos face the checkouts.

I like Harry’s because it makes me feel like a better person. That I’m not just another pedestrian shopper. It makes me feel proud because I actually know what to do with a lot of these things.

However, at the end of the day my cart contains half a cup of almond butter, three or four obscure British chocolate bars, Greek yogurt with honey, goat milk ice cream, a three yard long sugar cane, two or three bottles of artisan water, and a 26 ounce Porterhouse steak. And I’ve spent $173.29.

So I’m a better person even though my Greek yogurt has caused buyer’s remorse.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Munchies (Looong)

Yesterday the boys were playing in the back yard. Connor was carrying around five or six Hot Wheels ‘big trucks’ and Sully was running around clutching a purloined aforementioned ‘big truck.’ Probably without Connor’s knowledge. Sully had a doctor’s appointment Monday where he received a brutal barrage of shots, four to be exact, which left him not at one hundred percent. So it was good to see him out playing after insisting for two days to be held.

Of course, though, tragedy struck. Connor started crying and said “No, buggy! Shoo shoo!” Dave looked at his hand where an ant had bitten him and sent him to me. Briefly, I thought what do you expect me to do? Then I remembered I am the mother and am supposed to know these things, so I rallied my defenses. I took him inside and had him wash his hands, which he just loves. After a fruitless search for Campho-Phenique, that smelly miracle drug, I dabbed some anti-itch cream on the bite and covered it with a boring old flesh colored band-aid.

Connor had seen the band-aids his brother had come home with. They were bright and fun; he called them soccer ball stickers. We didn’t have any fun band-aids because up until now we hadn’t needed them. Connor held his hand up to his father who applauded his ‘injury’ and told him that now he was officially a big boy. I didn’t realize that injuries were the real indicator there.

I asked Connor if he wanted a fun sticker for his boo-boo and he said yes, so the two of us went to Wal-Mart where I had to buy groceries anyway. I didn’t realize until I was upon it that the east Rome Wal-Mart is being remodeled. I had heard, but all I had seen so far was the addition of a gaudy, ill-considered goldenrod coat of paint on the far left hand wall. We were looking for band-aids so we went the other way.

Everything near the pharmacy is all a-jumble and there are employees everywhere trying to figure out where things are supposed to go. Aisles are going different way; it’s a mess. Finally, I found the band-aids. They had a bunch of different characters, but Connor only knew three: Dora the Explorer, Transformers, and Spongebob. I held up Spongebob and Transformers in front of him and asked which one he liked. He said “That one!” and pointed at both boxes. Sigh. I held up one box and asked who was on it. He tapped it and said “BobBobs! BobBobs Pants!” That’s SpongeBob. Then I asked about the other box and he said “Pime!” That’s Prime, as in Optimus Prime or as Connor sometimes says Oppapuss Pime.

After a few more pointing at both boxes he finally grabbed the box of Transformers band-aids. At least something got done. I also needed to find some shower gel, but it was just not worth the trouble. So I had some film (yes, film) that needed to be developed so I went to drop that off. The entire photo center has been ripped out. I wasn’t going to do one-hour anyway, but now I didn’t have that option. I left two of the nine rolls of 35mm film to be developed. I figured I needed to do it quick before it became obsolete. Another couple of weeks and I’m screwed. Do you know of anybody who develops 110 film? Of course not. That’s some type of specialty you have to have sent away for triple the money now. You have to ask yourself at that point, do you really want pictures of yourself from the 80’s?

Once the film was dropped we went for groceries. Actually first we stopped to look at shoes for Connor. There was just about none. He has these awful sandals that we all hate, but are the only shoes big enough for him. I saw some shoes but immediately assumed they were too big. They weren’t. They were huge. They were huge and they fit. Connor didn’t like them, though, so we moved on.

So we grocery shopped and I would ask Connor if he wanted this or that, orange juice and wheat germ. He said yes to both. He only got one. The wheat germ.

We spent ample time on the cereal aisle, mostly because I was certain the woman behind us was stalking me. I can see how you might tailgate in a car but in a shopping cart? Back off! Every time I would move a few feet, she would move a few feet. I almost turned around and asked if she needed to get by me. Instead I sprinted with the buggy and bypassed all the tasty cereals we like. So we ended up getting raisin bran. EXTRA raisin raisin bran, mind you. So we don’t get Cinnamon Toast Crunch all because of a grocery store tailgater. That skank.

Connor saw me slip some chocolate into the buggy and that’s all I heard about for an entire aisle and a half. Then we got to another aisle and he said “Chippies! Want chippies!” I got him some pickle flavored Pringles. Don’t judge us. Well, naturally he wanted them right then so I opened the container and gave him some and he munched happily on pickle chips until a third of the tube was gone. Then he was done and wanted ‘chockit’ again. I like getting the bags of dark chocolate covered dried plums so I gave him some of those. He ate the chocolate off of them and dropped the fruit bits on the floor.

Yes, they’re prunes. OK, they’re prunes. But it’s just not cool to call them that. Sunsweet doesn’t, why should I?

The remainder of the aisles went by with Connor squealing and me covering his mouth to muffle him, which would make him laugh. Then he would hold my hand up to his mouth and lick me. Awesome. We did cold stuff last. We got some cube steak and some chicken. Unfortunately, there was so much already in the cart that Connor was able to reach the stuff on top. I tossed two pounds of ground beef in, the kind in the tube-like casing, great for freezing. Connor picked one up and tried to bite through the wrapper. He wouldn’t let go, he was like a pitbull clamped down on the throat of a malti-poo. So I started smacking the top of his head, telling him to stop. Like I’m going to try to pry his jaws apart with a finger? Are you out of your mind?

Then he picked up the other one and did it again! I placed the meat as far away from him as I could. I tossed in two packs of hot dogs. He bit through the plastic and severed one of them. Finally done with the meat, I bent down to pick up cream cheese and Connor was squealing again. So I offered him some yogurt. He picked out some Dora and Boots yogurt. Then we got some ice cream that he was very excited about.

OK, the home stretch, produce and then checkout. By this point I was pushing a cart that weighed roughly 150 pounds and it wasn’t cornering worth a damn. I had to turn as best I could and then pick up my end and irk it over for the full turn. I grabbed a cantaloupe and placed beside Connor in his seat to which he exclaimed “Ball!” He did not try to throw it, though, he was just happy to have a ball. Grabbed some strawberries and jalapenos and went to get a honeydew melon. There were three. I do not know how to pick out a good melon so I guessed. Connor got another ball, but he was too busy yelling about ‘manas’(bananas). I was picking stuff out for a recipe I’m making, grilled chicken with cucumber melon salsa, hence the melons. I also needed an English cucumber. I didn’t know the difference until I had to find one. They are about two feet long and individually wrapped, unlike the other cucumbers that are just loose.

By then I was hurrying so I grabbed a red onion, some garlic, and a bunch of manas. I only paused to pick out some hummus on the way to the checkout. I lurve hummus.

I started piling everything on top of the conveyor belt, trying to keep frozen stuff together. As I went I set aside the things that Connor had added to the haul when I had wheeled too close to the shelves; a Push Pop, mini gherkins, potato soup mix, fruit cocktail, and a can of succotash. The conveyor was full but I still had stuff in the cart. That’s when I looked up and noticed Connor was brandishing the cucumber, which he was calling a stick. I snatched it from him and then saw that the entire end of it had been bitten off; Connor chucked it into the buggy. The man behind us almost wet himself he thought it was so funny. All I could say was “You just can’t predict.” The guy said that he guessed Connor was hungry. I told him that after bites of raw ground beef and hot dogs I didn’t know how he could be. I unloaded the rest of the items and found the three inches of cucumber still encased in plastic so I stuffed it in my pocket.

We got everything paid for and headed for the door. The greeter asked if Connor wanted a sticker and he said yes, given his recent fascination with them. He got one Wal-Mart sticker for each hand. He told the lady thank you, bye bye, and see you later. Old ladies just love that crap. On the way out, we stopped to chat briefly with Susan and Sarah, Alleigh wasn’t very talkative, but it was getting late and she was probably tired.

I opened the trunk when we got to the car and started putting bags in. I asked Connor if he wanted his new band-aid to replace the old one and he said yes. So I put a new Transformers band-aid on his ant bite about which he had long forgotten. You couldn’t make out who was on the thing, but it made him happy. I stuck Connor in the car and wheeled around to the side to start putting bags in the backseat. I opened my door to turn on the car to cool it off and when I turned around I saw my cart full o’ food absconding into the parking lot where it was abruptly dodged by a black Chrysler 300. I ran and grabbed it before it could hit anything (else). I had to put the rest of the bags in the front seat where I could keep a foot hooked under it to keep it from running off.

Finally we got to leave. I called Dave ahead of time and told him he was in charge of getting the groceries in. He did. I put all the cold stuff up first and left the rest in bags on the floor while we stopped to eat. I had gotten Zaxby’s and during the drive-thru wait Connor had placed both Wal-Mart stickers over one eye and said “Pirate! Arrrr!”

I started eating. Connor ate a little and then ran around behind me to where the bags were. He rolled the honeydew melon out of its bag and proceeded to drive his little monster truck over it. He did fine with them in the store so I wasn’t worried. Then I heard what sounded like a melon hitting the floor and wouldn’t you know, that’s what it was. It cracked completely in half so I had to cut it up right then, divide out what I needed for the salsa, and freeze the rest. I have to cook that recipe tonight.

I got the rest of the groceries put up and walked into the living room where Dave sat with Sully in his lap. I stopped to look at the TV for a minute and put my hands in my pockets only to pull out the tip of a cucumber.

You just can’t predict.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

There are many pitfalls to writing a blog. One of which is finding material about which to write. It's not all missing kids and broken eggs, people. It's harder to find things to write about when you aren't getting out of the house much. Towards the end of the month, funds have dried up and you have no choice but to stay home and try to create a meal out of Ramen, Great Northern beans, and frozen strawberries. Thought that sounds like a story in and of itself.

Beyond that, once you think you've got something to write about, you have to decide if it's feasible. A lot of times you have to be careful who you write about because once you've posted that you're pretty sure your best friend's husband is a drunk, it's out there for all to see. And if said person reads your blog there's a distinct possibility that he or she may get mad. It all depends on whether or not you care what people think about you. There's a bunch of stuff I'd like to write about, but it would seem a little too "Dear Diary." And it would definitely make some people mad.

I don't know for a fact that any of the people I want to write about read my blog, but I'm pretty sure that somehow it would get back to them.

Also, I would like to write stuff that reaches people, or some crap like that, but in order to do that I would have to be somewhat confessional and I don't know if I'm ready for that yet.

Should I admit stupid stuff I've done?

Damn Critter Commercials

You know what's depressing? If the title didn't give you some kind of idea, I just can't help you.

Hey, man, I love critters as much as anyone else does, but do we really need to be shown the most hobbled the animal kingdom has to offer while we're relaxing in the evenings? Recently I was watching yet another episode of Scrubs that I had recorded when my ears were assailed by Sarah MacLachlan. Visions of mangled cats and dogs blur across the screen as you try to turn your head so you don't have to see it. You cringe but you can still hear "Angel" blaring out of the television.

Then there's Sarah MacLachlan talking about giving money to the ASPCA. They must've offered her all the three legged kitties she can hold to do that spot. It's always on.

Or maybe I just keep watching that episode.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Limp This Way

So I did do my second day of C25K. It was even in a timely fashion, too. Nothing in particular stood out this time. There weren't many people there. I wasn't freaking out.


I did start feeling some pain, though, in the lower front part of my calf...and just below my right knee in the front. So I figured it would be a good idea to experiment with my form. If it hurts to run a certain way, run another way, right? It seemed like a sound idea to me.

So I ran with pressure more on the outside of my foot, which stopped the pain. Then I would zone out, forget, and not realize I had changed my form until my leg started hurting again. So I switched styles back and forth. I did my time and headed for the locker room. Halfway down the hall I could already tell something was different. The first thing in my mind was shin splints. But having never experienced this joy of running, it was simply a guess. And as we all know what causes shin splints is doing too much too fast. How could I be doing too much? It's no more than usual. Maybe it was my new and improved striking style? I didn't want to jump to any conclusions just yet. It might be nothing.

I got home and looked up shin splints and it sounded fairly accurate. Medial shin splints was what it said. I was perplexed to say the least. How all of a sudden did I get this? Then I read that it supposedly gets worse overnight. So, expecting the worst for the morning I went to bed. Well, I could barely walk the next day. It was almost as if my knees had called the union and gone on bending strike. That's what it felt like. Later at work, I realized what fun squatting with shin splints was.

I skipped a day and it's mostly gone, but now I'm terrified to go run today.

I will but I'm not thrilled about it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

SoThat Was Scrambled, Right?

I do enjoy the weekends. Occasionally I get to sleep until at least 8. Such a guilty pleasure. Ha.

This morning before I felt the usual sensation of fresh baby knees pummeling my face, I heard something. I dismissed it, being half asleep and generally lazy. Then I heard a little voice. And through my bathroom wall I heard "Oggies! Oggies! Mommy! Oggies!" Oh, God. My eyes snapped open and I bolted out of bed, leaving a trail of babies and spouses in my wake.

As I reached the kitchen, I saw the following:

Friday, March 19, 2010

World's Shortest Escape Artists

These are the cohorts you may have seen tearing through your local Wal-Mart.

"Toddler in Aisle 9...Aisle 10..."

I have two small children and anyone with two kids can tell you that taking them places alone is not always easy. Luckily, I have never had that much difficulty the few times I’ve done it. So I took both the boys to Wal-Mart last night. We needed some stuff so we went. Dave was busy playing a church somewhere. Don’t ask.

Shortly after arriving I have to go to the bathroom. So we went to the back of the store where there is a family bathroom. It was locked so I waited a few minutes. Despite the toilet flushing three times no one ever came out. I thought perhaps I didn’t want to go into an enclosed room that needed the toilet flushed that many times. I got both boys out of the buggy and took them with me into the ladies’ room. I went all the way to the last stall which is typically a handicapped facility so it’s roomy. No sooner then I had sat down than Connor got on his hands and knees and vacated the stall. Through clenched teeth, trying not to yell, I growled that he had better get his tushie back here. Then Sully started trying to get out. I pulled my pants back up and started collecting my children as Connor crawled back under from the next stall over.

Then I thought, I sure hope there wasn’t anyone in there. That’s just what I need; my two year old crawling from stall to stall, weaving between women’s legs, punctuated by the occasional piping of “’cha doin’?” Luckily, there was no one else in the bathroom. I scooped up the baby who was still trying to get his head under the stall door and grabbed Connor as I headed for the door. I plunked them both back in the buggy and headed for Customer Service as I had something to return.

I did what needed to be done while Connor flirted with the lady behind us who thought Connor’s cries of ‘Daniel-Hannah’ was him saying Pochahontas. So close. Once that was taken care of I still had to go to the bathroom seeing as how I hadn’t gotten to go previously. So I parked the buggy outside the nearest bathroom. Connor refused to stand up to get out of the buggy and since I was already holding the baby I couldn’t make him get up. After several threatening remarks and Connor still not moving I put the baby down and ripped Connor out of the buggy.
Again, I went down to the last stall. Perhaps you see where this is going. This time I made the mistake of actually starting to use the bathroom. Well, the big difference in this bathroom and the other one is...the other one had a door. So despite my yelling, both Connor and Sully took off. Again, there was no one else in the bathroom to hear my pleading cries of “Someone grab my kids!”

I righted myself as fast as I could all the while hearing Connor squealing at least fifty feet away from the bathroom where I was struggling to get out of the stall. And those weren’t I’m-lost-and-scared squeals, those were I’m-loose-and-no-one’s-chasing-me-and I’m-in-so-much-trouble-that-I-don’t-realize-my-mama’s-going-to-beat-the-tar-out-of-me-when-she-catches-me squeals. Yes, those.

I tore out of the bathroom in time to see Sully toddling as fast as he could down a checkout lane; Connor was nowhere in sight. That’s when I saw the looks. I didn’t focus on any in particular due to the fact that I was a tad preoccupied, but I could feel them. The stares of onlookers, judging me. The disparaging glares of the holier-than-thous. Those people who either don’t have kids or have never experienced having one run off from them. The ones who don’t know. So instantly as I flung the diaper bag into the buggy I was a bad parent. I felt the stares and heard the questions attached to them, “Don’t you know how to control your own children?” “Do you just let them run around like that?” “Someone should take those children from you.” However, there were also some people who were pretty amused by the situation. I ran and grabbed Sully as he tried to loot a candy display. Connor was streaking through Women’s clothes squealing with unconcealed glee as I ran after him. The chase ceased in Menswear where he tripped and fell. Turning, he looked at me and said ‘what happened?’

I snatched him up out of the floor and dragged him like a sack of potatoes back to the buggy, half a store away. The same stares beat down on me, but I glared back at them this time. I had triumphed; I had caught my children and once again corralled them. Two little girls about six years old stared at me as they pretended to get a drink of water from the fountain. Yeah, I know you’re not really drinking when you don’t open your mouth but continue to stare at me. Finally I got tired of it and said “What?!” They ran off. Don’t judge me, you little punks.
Unfortunately, I still had shopping to do. I accomplished what I believe to be the fastest Wal-Mart shopping ever. It was just under ten minutes. I screeched to a halt at the self check-out knowing that I was going to be faster than anyone else at that time. I started scanning stuff and Connor holds something up to me and says “I’ll help you, Mommy.”

Go ahead and ‘awww’ all you want to, that did not change anything. Sure it was cute but he had also just treated himself to a free-for-all through Wal-Mart. Yes, I was still pissed. When we left, though, I did get him a Happy Meal at McDonalds. However, when we got home I realized that I don’t have a key to our new house.

And I still had to pee.

True To Life Barbie?

I’m about to do something a little different than normal. I’m going to pass over the funny and focus on something else. Bear with me. The funny will be back.

I was reading the blog Storked! on, written by Christine Coppa, as I do every day. There was a guest blogger today as there may be from time to time. She wrote about how her daughter, all of five years old, was already conscious of differences in body type. Kids notice stuff, dude. They can differentiate between big and little. She said that her five year old asked, in a burst of childhood innocence, why Barbie’s tummy looks the way it does. This woman panicked, or at least it seemed like she did. She was already picturing a long, hard road of body dysmorphia for her child, dependent on her response to said question.

What was her reply? That Barbie’s aren’t real and that some real women’s stomachs aren’t flat. Well-played and true. Personally I would have said something similar but basically saying that everyone is different. Barbie’s are made from a mold and we aren’t. After the blogger sidestepped that landmine, she complained about the lack of dolls with body issues, Cellulite Barbie and Pot-Belly Barbie for example. Is that really what you want to see? You want to buy your daughter a Barbie with big ol’cottage cheese thighs? You want to teach her that heavily dimpled skin is preferable?

What I can’t figure out is why you would want there to be a Barbie with cellulite. It seems kind of like hoping that the cheerleaders in high school got fat. I guess Barbie has just had it too good for too long and now we, the flesh and blood women, want revenge. Give her excessive pockets of fat! That’ll show that plastic bitch. Smirk at me, will you? Is it just that we hate those who have the things we wish we had? Smooth thighs for example?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we need to promote Barbie as a body role model and say that’s the only way to be. I know it may sound like that’s what I’m getting at. That’s not what I mean. Ellen asked why there aren’t dolls who look like real life women. Hey, much as we may hate them, there are a percentage of women who don’t have cellulite. Should we just leave them out? Purportedly, fifteen percent of women do not have cellulite. Maybe Barbie is true to life for them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m also not saying that we should be teaching girls that having fat is unacceptable and wrong. I’m also not saying that we should encourage attitudes like the woman recently in the news for attempting to become the World’s Fattest Woman. I’ll bet ten bucks that she doesn’t get a doll in her image either.

Having cellulite is ok. It’s not preferable and it shouldn’t be something to aspire to, but it’s ok.
Barbies are not real. We don’t need to react towards Barbie the way those fascist Harry Potter haters act towards the books. They can’t just say ‘it’s not real; it’s fiction’ and go on with their business. No, they want to get rid of it.

No, Barbies don’t have cellulite. They also don’t have acne, but some women may think that there should be a Barbie that does. The same may be true of scars, cankles, moles, freckles, stray chin hairs, dry skin, eczema, bunions, bruises, split ends, broken nails, stretch marks, razor burn, asymmetrical boobs, and a neglected bikini area. Does that mean Mattel needs to develop Barbies that have all these things? God no! I don’t want to see a new collection of Broke Down Barbies. We need to make peace with our bodies and not try to force Barbie to develop our physical imperfections.

Barbie has undergone changes over the years anyway. Her bustline has decreased at least. Let us not forget, though, if Barbie were a real person she would be six feet tall and weigh 100 pounds. Her measurements would be 39-19-33. She would have enough problems even without cellulite.

So yes, we should teach our kids that having cellulite is ok, but we shouldn’t ask Mattel to make dolls intended to make girls WANT cellulite. And to answer the question why don’t they make Barbies with cellulite? Because it’s not appealing to the eye. That’s why you buy Barbie, because she looks like fun.

It also might be fun if they were to come out with a Barbie that says “I love my fat ass!” But it would be a much different type of fun.

Let Your Fingers Do the Running

I ran again. I forced my body to take a beating I don’t believe it completely deserved. Technically it was the second day of my Couch to 5K program, but since it happened a week later, I am just calling do-over.

Somehow things were a little clearer in my mind when I set upon the treadmill this time. So when the time came for me to crank up the mph and run, I was a little better at keeping my cool. Y’know as opposed to the usual freak out that is my mind, spinning wildly trying to figure out what it is that I’m thinking. I’ve decided that if you have to try that hard to understand what you’re thinking, that means that you aren’t thinking anything. It might not be like the Emergency Broadcast System tone, but it’s not far off.

Anyway. I started saying the word ‘relax’ to myself and it was semi-working. And that’s odd because ‘relax’ is so close to ‘calm down’, which really pisses me off. Well, apparently in my non-frantic state I am more aware of discomfort that running is causing me. The screaming in my head must have been muffling it. So I guess what I have is shin splints or perhaps it’s just the result of not stretching beforehand. The lower part of my shin ached when I ran, but only on the left leg. Just under my knee on my right leg was the other problem.

I also discovered something new. My head may be calmer when I run now, but I think all the crazy just migrated a little south. It relocated to my hands. I’ve read tips that say to hold your hands as though you’re holding a potato chip or a butterfly (those were not the same article, mind you.) I guess because some people tend to clench their hands into fists when they run. I’ve never had a problem with that so I didn’t worry about it. Then I started reminding myself how to hold my hands. That made my hands nervous apparently. Like someone was judging them. My hands started to develop nervous twitches. Then I started trying to stop them and it just got worse.

So here I am running and, from the looks of it, I’m also singing It’s The End of The World As We Know It in sign language. And my fingers knew every word. The guy two treadmills down thought I was telling him to steal third. But as soon as I started walking again, it was over. I think I’m actually going to have to be holding something to keep my hands quiet. God knows what I’m saying to people while I’m running.

I’m going to start running outside, too, because let’s face it—the 5K is outside. I’m doing my second day of the C25K today, but it will be at the gym. Updates on that later.

Incidentally, the 5K I’m training for benefits the School for the Deaf. I guess my hands are practicing mingling.

Rock of Ages

As a parent, at what point do you stop referring to your child's age in months? Perhaps this is just a random musing, in fact it IS just a random musing, but seriously. I was just perusing the comments to a blog I follow on occasion and one of the commentators stated that her children were 13 months and 26 months. 26 months? Good lord. Why can't you just say two? Two years old. "My children are one and two years old respectively." There, that seemed to work.

Where does it end? Will this same woman end up saying "Yes, Parker is 73 months now and Eve is 60 months. They grow up so fast!" In case you were wondering, 73 months=6 years and 60 months=5 years. And yes, I had to have a calculator to determine that. Where is that line? When do you go from 26 months to two years old? I realize that for the first couple years of a child's life their tiny clothing is sized in months. Even then, though, what if you have a notably larger child? What if your kid wears size 18 months when he's only 9 months old? It doesn't matter, really, and bears little relation to my initial point. I think the cut-off line to saying your child's age in months should be when their clothes stop doing it. If Carter's says 24 months is the limit, then that's what I'm going with. After 24 months is 2T, people. No more months. Start counting in years.

Incidentally, I am 317 months old. Good luck with that math problem.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The End is the Beginning is the End

Behold! This is the new home of DeathMetalMommy, formerly of DeathMetalMommy Yodels the Blues. I no longer yodel, and with a new laptop and outlook, the blues is hardly my style. Perhaps a light R&B, or jazz. Nevertheless, my escapades can now be read here and, likely, more often. Tell your friends.

DeathMetalMommy Yodels the Blues is still in place and can still be read. So go back and reflect. New posts are coming. Ready yourselves!