Archive for February, 2011

Mesmerize

Well, HELLOOOOO there. The, um, sickopalypse turned out to be an actual no-shit sickopalypse, with multiple pediatrician visits, a diagnosis of strep for Sam, strep tests for everyone else and a general plague that descended upon our home for roughly a week, and it was … it was very, very bad. Very bad. VERY BAD. There are not enough words to describe how, um, VERY BAD, things were.

In fact, I won’t even, because it would be boring and painful to go into, except that once again Dr. Google led us down a path of destruction and neurological nightmares, and culminated in a very grim visit to the pediatrician with a parental diagnosis of VERY BAD INDEED, only to have the pediatrician basically say, ummmm, no, that didn’t even cross my mind, OK? OK. Now go home and relax and give the kid fiber so she, um, well, whatever.

(I just have to hastily add that this time, the Googling wasn’t my doing. Small victories that aren’t really victories at all, but are in fact, rabbit holes of horror for everyone!)

However, we still had strep up in here, and after one adult getting swabbed (negative) it turned out it really didn’t matter at all because we still felt like we were at DEFCON 1 in terms of sickness, and anything diagnosable would have been both comforting and sort of useless, because we still felt like crap. That is, of course, unless it came with a FIX IT! button that would also transport us all to the Caribbean on Brobee’s back without having to pack enough snacks for the toddler.

We’re recovering nicely now, thanks. But I would like to once again humbly request that 2011 stop putting us through the wringer, and while I realize that a houseful of sick people hardly qualifies as a crisis, LEMME TELL YOU that it turns out when you had a January like we had, you’re a little trigger-happy with the panic button. What can I even say? We’re all PTSD up in here. I am, as of this writing, wobbling on the verge of tears for no good reason other OY, THAT SUCKED.

(I would also like to add that I am currently sitting on a tooth that had a root canal that appears to have been entirely ineffective, so I am also in a fair amount of pain and ALSO very probably watching our Caribbean vacation fund go slowly down the drain of DENTAL CRISIS and also maybe IMPLANT and while it’s possible that it won’t happen, I’m betting it will, because see also: PTSD and bad 2011 and please, someone just GIVE ME THE IV OF PINOT GRIGIO. PERKINS, WHERE ARE MY SMELLING SALTS?)

So now that we’ve covered THAT, can I just tell you that every single year — and I am not kidding you, EVERY YEAR — I make a biiiiig proclamation that I am NOT, no seriously, DEFINITELY NOT, going to watch American Idol this year, NO SERIOUSLY I AM NOT! Do not even ask me about it! And then … I get sucked in, because Adam doesn’t even PRETEND that he doesn’t want to watch it, with the excuse that there’s not much else on the teevee, so it’s on. Aaaand, naturally, there I am, slyly watching in the background and surreptitiously asking him WHAT, no seriously, WHAT, is up with that girl in the wheelchair, and why is everybody crying?

(He loves when I do this, as you can imagine. It’s also great when I decide three-quarters of the way through a season of a show I said I didn’t want to watch that hey HEY! it suddenly looks kind of interesting, and is now a good time for a primer of who everyone is, and WAIT, WHY IS THAT LADY PULLING A GUN? And why is Peg Bundy looking so suspiciously buff? And HOLY SHIT WHO IS THAT HOT GUY?)

(See: Sons of Anarchy)

So now here I am, all caught up on American Idol, sort of, and though I still don’t know who the (apparently moving) woman in the wheelchair is, or why she’s significant (other than AI loves people who make other people cry, because that show is quickly becoming a tearjerker of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition proportions), I am embarrassed to admit that I … I …

I LIKE JENNIFER LOPEZ ON IT. A LOT. I am finding her ENDEARING and LIKABLE and you don’t understand, this is the SINGLE most frustrating outcome of any show I have ever seen, because I DID NOT WANT TO LIKE HER. I have always disliked her! She’s flashy! Inappropriate! Self-absorbed! Had infertility treatments and LIED ABOUT IT, which is fine if she didn’t want to disclose it, but to go on the record as saying that she got pregnant simply because she just KNEW SHE COULD DO IT since she WANTED IT SO BADLY was such a horrid slap in the face to people who ALSO want it so badly and just can’t, and … oh, dear.

Plus, she’s married to Marc Anthony, who is possibly the most insufferable person on the planet and bears a strong resemblance to Skeletor. And — AND! — like her predecessor, Paula Abdul, THE WOMAN CANNOT SING. She has the vocal range of my two-year-old daughter. NO — NO! — SHE HAS THE VOCAL RANGE OF SUNNY!

(Related: Why does AI keep getting these half-assed pop star judges with the vocal talent of your average high school chorus? At least Kara DioGuardi knew how to sing and, um, play instruments and stuff, like, you know, an actual musician. I kind of miss Kara and her constant screeches of artistry! ARTISTRY!)

So tell me, how is this woman (JLo, that is, not Kara) qualified to judge a singing competition? I’m putting money on the fact that she doesn’t even know what a KEY is, much less whether someone is OFF OF IT and yet there I am, smiling at her, and the way she likes the desperate, slightly insane girls with no real idea of what they’re doing or getting themselves into. She seems to really care about these kids! She’s invested! She’s … oh God. I wanted to hug her when she championed the single mom of the special needs kid, even though I didn’t even feel like her connection was genuine! I … holy merde, it’s just awful. She’s funny! She’s sweet!

She’s really done one hell of a PR job, is what she’s done. Dammit.

And all this is before I even touched on the fact that I am a little bit in love with Steven Tyler, even though he’s a total lech, and, I believe, is older than my dad. And I am MIDDLE AGED.

(Does that make it less creepy? No?)

Happy Tuesday!

*Ja Rule and Ashanti. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HEARD THIS ONE, SUCKAH? (Me: this afternoon, when Kiss 108 played it, and then I stupidly — OH SO STUPIDLY — downloaded it.

23 comments February 21st, 2011

Intervention

Friday night, Adam and I were in bed, just about to go to sleep, when I marveled at how long it had been since Sam, or any of her core group of little friends, have been sick. I talked about it at length! I marveled at her hardy nature!

GOD THIS IS SO STUPID. DO NOT EVER DO THIS.

Before I fell asleep, I heard her coughing, something she never does, and Saturday morning, she woke at an ungodly hour, flaming red, sweaty and sporting a pathetically high fever.

Streak ended, thanks to yours truly. We shall see which one of her friends is felled next, given that the whole group was HERE, at MY HOUSE, on Friday, day before the weekend sickopalypse. And it goes without really saying that I did this. It is all my fault. I BROUGHT THIS UPON US.

She’s fine now, but, ah, that was our weekend. How was yours?

OH WAIT, I lied … there was more excitement! We risked a trip to Microcenter, sick unhappy kid in tow (cabin fever, FTW! GENIUS PARENTING!), where Adam had a nerdgasm, and I marveled at the fact that a not-insignificant portion of the Microcenter-going MIT population is terminally nerdy, and not in the sexy way I always imagined. I mean, *I* am married to an attractive smart geeky-type who is good with things like circuits, computers and algorithms (oh my!), and I know plenty of hot MIT alums! Besides, on the tee vee, all the nerdy guys are like Patrick Dempsey in Can’t Buy Me Love. It’s nothing a little pomade can’t fix, amirite?

Wrong. WRONG WRONG WRONG. It turns out, the irredeemable nerd with the greasy hair, cable knit sweater and weirdly pube-like facial hair exists, and it’s likely that you can find him at Microcenter in Cambridge, hovering over the stacks of RAM.

There you have it. The most thrilling weekend in history.

But wait, Ken — is there more? YES! It can be made even more thrilling by the fact that I declared, out loud and everything, that I was going to “treat myself” to some high-end doggie poop bags. OMFG. TREAT MYSELF. TO A BAG THAT PICKS UP MY DOG’S SHIT. I made a big deal about buying them — Mutt Mitts — thinking how much easier they would make walking Sunny instead of those godawful recycled Stop & Shop bags that always have holes in the bottom, leaving my FINGERS to end up in my dog’s POOP! And how they would be worth the extra cost!

(They are.)

I … oh my God, I don’t even know where to start with this, except that I bought them this afternoon, and it’s taken me until JUST NOW to realize how sad it is that I consider dog waste bags a LUXURY ITEM. Look at ME! I think that I am WORTHY of not sticking my hand in animal feces! I think I missed a memo from L’Oreal or something, because my definition of being worth it comes in a package of $10 Mutt Mitts.

Someone also call the spa, because MAMA IS COMING IN FOR A MASSAGE. IT’S TIME.

Happy Tuesday!

*Arcade Fire

30 comments February 14th, 2011

Mercy Street

A few days ago, I sent an email to some of my closest real-life friends, asking them that if anyone became pregnant, for the love of God, just please TELL me, and to not spend a lot of time talking among themselves deciding how to break it to me, how I would take it, etc.

I can take it. I can. The last thing I want is for people to tiptoe around me, you know? I’m never good at being perceived as weak, particularly when I’m not really feeling weak. I know that sounds really warped, but I think the idea is that pity makes everything worse. As if, on top of everything else, people feeling sorry for you is … oy, it’s too much to bear, really. It’s similar to the feeling I get when I’m upset about something and someone goes out of their way to be nice to me — it’s not that I don’t appreciate the kindness, it’s that for some reason it just makes everything more acute.

But I really can handle pregnancy announcements. Really. My friend Anna sent me the kindest email telling me about her pregnancy and when I read it, I felt nothing but happy for her, and that, honestly, made me feel like I was really healed, for lack of a better word. And she handled it beautifully — it was kind, it was thoughtful, it was full of mild concern, but it never made me feel like she felt sorry for me. There was no pity. (I don’t think Anna does pity, and that’s one of the things I like about her.)

This probably isn’t making sense. The point is, people who get pregnant now? All good. In a way, we’re all in this together — we’re all trying for more kids, hoping this is the month and oh, look! One of us got lucky first, and it had to be someone, right? Yay, for you! Sincerely, and without a drop of sarcasm. People who were pregnant before I got pregnant? Thrilled for them. I was before, and I still am.

What I do not handle well, relatively speaking, are the people who confided their pregnancies to me at the time that I was also pregnant, or people who announced at the same time, with similar due dates. This includes some close friends. It’s not that I begrudge them, or feel a drop of bitterness towards them — and I speak completely honestly when I say that I don’t, and would tell you if I did, because I sure did that first week, let me tell you. I hated anyone who was pregnant that week, rather indiscriminately.

It’s that I feel embarrassed. Embarrassed! Like this is somehow a personal failing; that I was somehow stupid to believe my pregnancy would make it, but it didn’t. Like people are judging me for telling people when everyone knew this was a possibility, right? Oh, what an idiot she is. Poor Jonna.

There we go again, with the pity. Pity that, by the way, I haven’t seen a drop of, except in my own twisted mind.

I envy them, of course, but again, not in a way that is begrudging or bitter or even directed at them. I’m happy for them — by and large, these are people I really love — but of course, I’m jealous and a little sad, because there will be babies born around that time, and none of them will be mine, and there was a time when it would have been. I think that’s … understandable. But it’s not bitter or angry, it’s just a relatively simple, uncomplicated feeling that only creeps in occasionally. I think about it, give it some air time, and then move on to being happy for them.

But still. I’m weirdly embarrassed, because I know at least one person probably clucked, “Well, this is why you don’t TELL people that early!” as though suffering alone is preferable to having people know what you went through, or why you’re not around, or why you’re sad. As though the act of telling people changed any of the circumstances for the people going through it. Telling people didn’t make me know that I was pregnant — I already knew, and the loss would have been as significant for me no matter who else knew about it.

So no, I don’t regret telling people as early as I did. I have really no regrets about any of that, because it was the fact that everyone knew that made getting through it that much easier.

And yet, there is a wee subgroup of people around whom I am embarrassed. Puzzling, really.

In every day? I am happy. I am great, even, and I’m not exaggerating. I have, at the end of it all, a wonderful life, and I do appreciate it a thousand times more than I did before, and it’s in large part due to what we went through. These aren’t consuming feelings, but isolated ones that crop up and need to be worked through as they happen, and I think writing them down is part of that, however disjointed.

So there you go. Done.

I hope you have an awesome Wednesday.

*Peter Gabriel

32 comments February 8th, 2011

Ordinary Day

I was treated to a Surprise Sleep-In Day on Saturday morning, which was most excellent, as it turned out I was painfully hungover from consuming two (2) glasses of wine in too-quick succession the night before. (Boozer!) I’d never been so grateful for the words, “I’ve got it. You sleep,” followed by a kiss on the head as I lay there, wondering how long I could get away with staying in bed as the dulcet sounds of my daughter’s feet against the wall between our rooms, combined with perfectly synchronized cries of, “MA! MA! MA! MA!” reached a fever pitch.

I awoke several hours later (10:45!) to Sam hovering over me, “MA? MA?” and it was as though the hours never passed, because there she was, little Stewie Griffin, “Ma? MAMA? Mummy! Mom! Ma?” just as she was first thing in the morning. Adam apologized for not letting me sleep later (!!), but apparently she would not be held off any longer.

***

Sunday morning, I returned the favor, and Sam and I headed out to go to the grocery store, only to discover that our driveway was a sheet of ice. I realized this too late, unfortunately, to stop both of us from making it deep into the center of the driveway, away from the safety of either the house or the car to hold onto. Sam thought it was great fun, slipping and falling, then getting back up to do it all over again. At one point she held her balance long enough to skate down the gentle slope, her little sneakers as good as a pair of skis on the bunny hill. It was only when she doubled over with laughter that she lost her balance and fell on her well-padded backside, giving me the opportunity to go rescue her.

***

Later, Sam had just finished her lunch, and while I was making mine, Adam took his lasagna into the family room to eat while he watched the pre-game festivities. Sam, never one to pass up on food that is not her own, hauled ass in there to steal bits of his lunch. He let her, of course, but not before exclaiming, “You have schmutz on your face! Let’s get that off!” and wiping her down with a napkin while she laughed and he kissed her. I watched them eat together, her little feet dangling off the edge of the couch as he gave her bites of his noodles and brushed her hair out of her face while she chatted excitedly about life, the universe and Elmo.

**

Adam and I have been together almost twelve years. I still remember the first time I met him — I was just about to graduate college, grabbing a drink with friends at a bar I rarely frequented, and while waiting for my beer, there he was, the Adam I’d always heard about from our mutual friends. We talked for a while, and I liked him quite a bit. He was funny and smart; I was drunk and extra-talkative. Our conversation was cut short when my boyfriend’s identical twin appeared behind me to say hello, and Adam mistakenly thought he was the real deal and was pointing confusedly — not that it mattered, for he was attached to someone else, too.

(Side note: dating a twin is kind of annoying.)

We didn’t meet up again until a year or so later, when I ran into him on the street on my way home from work outside of the Park Street T station. We hugged, exchanged information, and struck up a friendship. That part was easy — we’d had all the same friends, but somehow avoided meeting each other until just before college was over altogether. I was dating someone else at the time, and after a few months and a solo dinner out, wherein I molted like a shedding snake into my asparagus salad, thanks to an unfortunately vicious sunburn, he asked that I break up with my boyfriend and give him a whirl.

And here we are.

I’m not sure I ever really imagined what our lives would be, this many years later. But if what I’ve got isn’t it, what would it be? I shudder to think.

Yes, here we are.

DSC_0002
Taken by Adam in a hilariously weird kitchen-themed photo shoot I walked in on.

*Vanessa Carlton. Who was Sara Bareilles before Sara Bareilles came onto the scene.

72 comments February 6th, 2011

Back In The High Life Again

For those of you who asked for photos of the snow, I give you my house, which is virtually unrecognizable compared to its normal form. Like, from this photo, you cannot even tell what it normally LOOKS LIKE. I’m not worried about anyone appearing on my doorstep, because GOOD LUCK FIGURING OUT WHICH ONE IS MINE IN THE DRIFTS. The whole neighborhood looks THE SAME. Entire trees are buried! My CAR is in there somewhere! (Can you see the very wee tippy top of my car? I DRIVE AN SUV. THE SUV IS TOO SHORT FOR THE DRIFTS.)

DSC_0282

I got out today, and it changed my life, dudes. I went to a friend’s house with other friends, and I laughed and I had conversations and my kid played with toys that weren’t hers, and I came back and did something other than lie about on the couch like a bump on a pickle and THIS. This is living, people. Putting on real pants and drinking coffee made by someone else’s coffee pot and HOO BOY, that’s the high life, right there.

It’s really a shame we’re getting more snow on Saturday, then.

I mean, seriously.

Meanwhile, the other morning, Adam accosted me just out of bed and was all, “You peed in the middle of the night and it SMELLED TERRIBLE. I had to GET UP AND FLUSH THE TOILET! It WOKE ME UP!”

Um, okay, several things: 1) I did not pee. No one did. 2) When was the last time someone PEED in the NEXT ROOM and woke someone up with the stench? OMFG. 3) His statement was immediately followed by, “WAIT, I STILL SMELL IT. DID YOU JUST PEE AGAIN?”

Um, no.

The culprit? The chicken stock I had simmering all night in the crock pot, which apparently smells like foul pee. Looking forward to making rice pilaf with it! Viva la urine rice!

Separately, and apropos of LITERALLY nothing, we’re in the throes of researching our trip to the Caribbean (because after the January we had, OH YES) without our precious offspring (thank you, parents!) and I almost had a panic attack looking at the pictures of scuba diving that popped up in a travel website. Mind you, I have always thought that scuba diving would totally be on my life list if I had one, but here we are five or six trips to the Caribbean in, and I’ve never gone, thinking, oh, next time! I’ll get certified first and go next time! And then today happened and I saw a photo of dolphins underwater, and I realized that right then and there, if something large and dolphin-like, no matter how friendly, came towards me underwater, I would do one of two things: a) die, right then and there; b) lose utter control of my bowels.

I’m going with Option B, and then the poop would attract OTHER wildlife, and then I would die anyway, because I would be eaten.

Thus, it is declared: I will never go scuba diving and I am perfectly okay with this. For God’s sake, I have a FEAR of LARGE THINGS underwater, AND I am a little claustrophobic and NO. NO.

I will also never, ever venture into space, no matter how accessible and affordable it becomes. I don’t care if Richard Branson himeffingSELF wants to fly me up in a private rendezvous with Alexander Skarsgard, Philip Seymour Hoffman (what?) and TIM EFFING RIGGINS (yes, I know he’s fictional, STOPIT). I AM NOT GOING INTO SPACE.

And finally, a few photos of Sam that are KILLING ME. This is actually the third and fourth in a series of her in the same outfit, same place in the house. And yet, things go horribly awry between photo three:

DSC_0272

And photo four:

I have NO IDEA what happened here.

Since these photos were taken long enough ago that I have absolutely no idea what happened, or WHY I kept snapping instead of stepping in, I’m totally blaming Elmo, lying there all innocent-like. That little red bastard stuck his foot out, I KNOW he did.

Happy weekend!

*Steve Winwood. Whatever, don’t mock me, it was a great album.

32 comments February 3rd, 2011

Folsom Prison Blues

I can’t believe I’m talking about this again, because I KNOW how painful and stupid it is, but you guys. YOU GUYS. THE SNOW. IT WILL NEVER STOP. I know, I’ve seen the tweets about how there’s a winter whining warning! OH HA HA. Clearly these people don’t live in Boston, is all I’m saying, because as of right now, after ten more inches today, the piles of snow are bigger than my house. MY HOUSE. And it’s not stopping! It just! keeps! coming! My sister called this morning and said precisely what I’ve been saying on repeat, WHY? WHY? WHY?

And Jesus, sweet longtime reader Leigh was so totally right when she said it’s contributing to any sort of lingering sadness, because feeling like your house is going to be eaten, because of the walls! of! snow! and not being able to go anywhere and having playdates canceled over and over again is like, WHOA OH MY GOD WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE HERE. As I write this, I have dirty hair and am wearing these hideous blue toile pajama bottoms from Target, because it’s what I wore to bed last night, and it’s all feeling very futile, this getting up and getting dressed business. After all, where are we going to go? Nowhere! NOWHERE, THAT’S WHERE.

Ahem. I’m sorry. If you need me, I’ll be here in my hideous toile pajamas (WHO PUTS TOILE ON PAJAMA PANTS? WHO BUYS THEM?), spending hours coming up with new marinades for the fourteen pounds of London broil I have in the freezer. Oh, and fingerpainting. By myself. Or perhaps coloring with my box of 64 crayons that Adam got for ME ME ME for Christmas, because it appears that I enjoy coloring more than Sam does.

Here! Have some bullets:

— I’m on Day 17 of The Neverending Post-MC Period, and no, my doctor isn’t concerned for a bunch of detailed reasons you don’t need to hear right now (or, um, ever), but if you were wondering if THAT is as special as it sounds, I ASSURE YOU, IT IS. SEVENTEEN DAYS. GOD CREATED THE EARTH IN FEWER DAYS.

— I’ve always wanted to write a post on this, but it’s a little self-important and all kinds of complicated, but MAN, does it ever GRATE MY CHEESE that somehow the definition of feminism has become, for some, particularly in the pool my blogging peers swim in, WE MUST SUPPORT WOMEN, NO MATTER WHAT. I … what? Look, I’m not going to agree with a woman just BECAUSE she’s a woman, and I remain unclear how it turned out that it means that we can’t CRITICIZE something a woman does! I certainly have no issue criticizing something a man does if I disagree with it and/or dislike it. (I’m looking at you, Ryan Murphy and your sexist approach to character development.)

Oh, but wait — we CAN criticize women. We, as women, are free to criticize celebrities. Yes, we have free reign to make fun of celebrities’ boobs, hair, makeup and outfits. How very progressive of us. Oh, wait. And Sarah Palin. We are free to criticize Sarah Palin. But other than that, not so much. We are supposed to SUPPORT each other, didn’t you know? We’re supposed to support women’s right to speak up for what they believe in! Unless what I think or what I believe in contradicts what another, more docile woman believes in, in which case, I need to sit down and be quiet, because I’m just jealous, and what I said wasn’t nice and I’m just creating drama. Because women are supposed to be strong and outspoken, but we are also not supposed to say anything at all unless it’s something nice.

No one, for the record, would dare say that to a man. And yet, people say these things, out loud, without even considering for a second the irony in what they’re communicating.

(And I swear to God and everything that is holy, I am not thinking of a specific instance here, and my friend Kate can even attest that I have been thinking about this post since at LEAST the summertime. AT LEAST.)

(Edited to add that I, too, make fun of celebrities, so weirdly, I don’t object to the practice. I’m a People subscriber, for heaven’s sake! I BUY US WEEKLY. I AM WHAT IS WRONG WITH AMERICA.)

— Given the shitshow that was January, I haven’t even begun to look at my 2010 goals to see how I stacked up, or come up with anything for 2011, but I have exactly one, so far, and I think it’s a decent one: Read for fun. Just fun. Yes, I want to read at least 40 books (a wussy number, but whatever), but I’m also tired of reading things I SHOULD read, and right now, I just want to kick back and read stuff that entertains me, even if it’s embarrassing, which means Franzen’s “Freedom” will have to wait, because I’ll be busy with something lame and pink-jacketed over here.

Have a happy Wednesday!

*Johnny Cash. Because honestly, I feel IMPRISONED. BY SNOW.

37 comments February 1st, 2011


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