Posts filed under 'Books'

Cold

EFFING JANUARY, AM I RIGHT? I don’t know about you guys, but for the first few weeks after the holidays, I am relieved they’re over and I’m relaxed! Ho de ho, the winter is upon us, but there are no more holidays and we can just relax into our comfy routine!

And then, God, it’s just dark and dreary and cold and everyone is sick, so you don’t see friends as much as you usually do, and did I mention it’s DARK and it’s never SUNNY and you get the stomach virus, and then your friends get the stomach virus and then everyone has the FLU and it’s just depressing. I have been in a low-grade foul mood going on a week now, with absolutely no reasoning behind it, and then I remember: January. That’s really all I need to know.

January, man. It is a dark time. And February is more of the same. But March! Hey, uh, that’s coming soonish, and things start to warm up a bit and bonus! It stays light past 5 p.m. then.

Something to look forward to! Mud season!

Barrel of glee, I am.

Let us move on to some quick takes, because at this point, I am just putting things down on paper to get them out, just to, I don’t know, KEEP SWIMMING in this bleak, bleak era of deep winter. (Irony: I LIKE winter. But the lack of snow and/or sunshine is SAPPING MY WILL TO LIIIIIVE.)

— I’ve been cloth diapering and this is not new if you follow me on Twitter, because I went through a phase where I talked about it all the time, and I became one of Them, and here’s the thing: Cloth diapering is fun. No, I don’t know why. Yes, it’s creepy. Yes, the acronyms are awful and stupid and make it seem like some kind of SCIENCE, when really, it isn’t, it’s quite simple. I feel silly, in fact, that I didn’t do it with Sam, but then again, YOU try figuring out how to squeeze extra laundry into a time when your child screams 24/7 and eating anything less convenient than a Pop Tart is just too much to ask. Occasionally, I think back on the state of our house during Sam’s infancy, and honestly, it was as close to true squalor as I have ever lived. I don’t think I cleaned ANYTHING for a solid six months, and while Adam is a neat picker-upper, he’s not really going to dig in there with a toilet brush or anything.

Jesus, talk about a dark time.

I digress! So I’m cloth diapering, and it started like this: Allie blew out every diaper under the sun except for Seventh Generation, which for some reason is the ONLY disposable diaper I could readily find with elastic on the back. This is stupid, right? Stupid. Anyway, those diapers are not only expensive, but horribly crinkly and uncomfortable, and on a whim, I bought some gDiapers with the cloth inserts. I liked them, actually, and suddenly, I was no longer cutting onesies off of my kid on a regular basis (seriously, with the cutting). But oh ho HO, I could not get them clean with Charlie’s Soap and my inserts smelled like poop and I just GAVE UP and ordered a bunch of prefold diapers from Green Mountain Diapers and threw them into Flip covers, voila.

THEN, Kelly told me that basically, it turned out the reason my diapers still stunk is that THEY WERE NOT CLEAN because Charlie’s was not cleaning them, and HEAVENS, we bought some powdered Tide and God shone on us, and I could use microfiber again, so I got some bumGenius 4.0 pocket diapers and a couple of Elementals and now, that is what we use. Flips + prefolds, BG pocket diapers and for nighttime, bumGenius Elementals, which are awesome. I only have five Elementals, honestly, and that’s plenty.

So! Pocket diapers, prefolds + covers and an organic all-in-one, all from bumGenius, save for the prefolds. That’s it. I have two dozen prefolds, eight Flip covers, and maybe 12 pocket dipes? Anyway, I do laundry every three days, I spent less than $400 on the whole shebang thanks to seconds and used diapers and done. It’s way easier than I thought it would be, even with Alex eating solids. And cheap! Less than $400!

We won’t talk about the water bill from the month I tried to make my gDiapers stink less using Charlie’s. Yes, that was . . . expensive. But atypical! ATYPICAL!

Now you know. You should do it! It’s easy! And did I mention cheap?

— Speaking of cheap, oh holy hannah, y’all, after my budget post I told myself I could only go to Target if I ABSOLUTELY needed something, and I haven’t been since and . . . my bank account is noticeably, ah, larger. I even went so far as to price out staples like deodorant online and thus, have a six-pack of Dove winging its way to my house as we speak so that I do not even need to get out for THAT. And THEN I realized that while I am saving boatloads of money by exercising supreme restraint in avoiding my beloved red-signed paramour, I am also one one-click away from becoming an agoraphobic hermit who may raise the next Unibomber if we don’t get out. It never dawned on me how much I relied on SHOPPING to get us out of the house, particularly when we’re seeing friends less due to illness.

I see, ah, lots of trips to the public library in our future. Also, begging my friends to come over even if people are puking, because JUST GIVE THEM A BUCKET, WE CANNOT GO TO TARGET, WHO CARES ABOUT NOROVIRUS WE NEED SOCIAL INTERACTION.

Well, maybe not norovirus. But strep, flu? I’ll risk it. Just get me out, man, GET ME OUT. Otherwise I’m about to drive over to the red mecca and throw myself into the dollar bins.

(We have friends coming over tomorrow. Please don’t worry about us. Saved for another day.) (If they cancel, I will weep.)

— Target avoidance aside, I suddenly realized another reason why we haven’t been getting out as much, and that is the two-nap trap. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a twice-daily napping infant, and it is, ah, limiting, is it not? You get up, two hours later, BOOM! A nap. Three hours after that, BOOM! Another nap, but the thing is, you don’t want to do much in those three hours because WHO WANTS TO RISK THE NAP? No one. So you BOLT as soon as the kid wakes up from nap one, because a car nap could make the rest of the day AWFUL, or you wait until after the second nap, at which point, who feels like going anywhere, really. NOT I SAID THE FLY.

— I’m on a crapper of a reading streak, lemme tell you. Megan McCaffety’s “Bumped”? Unreadable. Abandoned. I’m currently reading Kate Morton’s The House at Riverton, and given that her Forgotten Garden is an all-time favorite, I had high hopes. It is . . . just okay. Even my smut choices have been lacking (Naked/All In/Blackstone Affair is . . . just okay for me.) The last book that really sucked me in was Gone Girl. What say you? Do YOU have any good books? Trashy and smutty choices are welcomed.

I blame you, January. I BLAME YOU.

Happy Thursday.

 

*Lucy Schwartz/Aqualung

54 comments January 30th, 2013

The Circus

If you follow me on Twitter, you may or may not know that I’ve been reading the Night Circus and it’s just . . . not going well. I WANT it to go well, but it’s not going well, and that’s likely because by the time I hop in bed to read, my eyes are at half mast and I’m just trying to figure out what in Sam Hill is happening, not whether the ice crystals formed in the shape of a million sparkling concentric circles. I don’t have it in me to FEEL the ice crystals, I just want to know whether they fell on someone’s head.

This, as you might imagine, is making me feel colossally stupid. It’s a book, for fuck’s sake. I am nothing if not a consummate reader. I’ve read forty-something books this year! Including . . . okay, including basically every awful romance there is out there. Every. Last. One. Oh, were you wondering how that weird book with the guy in leather pants ended? They had sex on some kind of weird sling and he asked her to marry him while she was in the sling. The end. Oh, wait, she may have been wearing a corset. Details! Who needs ’em?

It’s been like The Year of Book Candy, and oh my God, the covers on these books are so TERRIBLY FILTHY sometimes, and I’m sure you can imagine I am not what you would call a prude. That does not, however, mean that I am not horribly embarrassed when my 16-year-old nephew friends me on Goodreads, because come on. Sure, kid, read my blog, check my twitter stream, but FOR THE LOVE, DO NOT LOOK AT THE FILTH I HAVE READ THIS YEAR. ABORT ABORT.

(Side note: Alex was born on his birthday. I love that. Allie and Marco! SIXTEEN YEARS APART, dear crap. I find this remarkably depressing, since my sister and I are twelve years apart, and I thought she was getting up in years when she had HER kids — sorry Ann, I was young and dumb — but OH HO NO, I was/am even older. Oh dear. But anyway: same birthday! Adorable. Too bad he’s a surly teen who could not care less right now, but I still love him so much.)

(Sunrise! Sunset. Sunriiiise! Sunset.)

ANYWAY, back to the romance novels. Commenter J left this on my post from the other day, and I neeeeeeed y’all to read it, and then do what I did, which is spend a lot of time Googling Elon Musk and his ex-wife and then, people of the romance novels, TELL ME if you don’t see this as a much more realistic portrayal than that of the billionaire rushing the heroine off to an island in the Bahamas for some quality time on a sex swing, AM I RIGHT?

I mean, she dates a really creepy aggressive guy (he informed her he was the alpha on her wedding day AND THEN LATER told her she was being “manipulative” for mourning their son lost to SIDS, I mean, COME ON), then they get a divorce because he wants her thinner, blonder, more hostess-y and I just . . . well, then. He’s now married to a 23-year-old. (HOLY UPDATE THEY ARE DIVORCED.) Quelle surprise. HE IS ALSO NOT EVEN THAT HOT. I’m not sure billions would be worth having crappy sex with an unattractive dude, but you know, maybe if I’d been in my twenties, I’d be all, TRY ME, EM EFFERS.

I’m not so sure, however. This all goes back to being average, I guess.

Anyway, the point is, I’m reading the Night Circus, and it’s the kind of book I think I would EAT ON A HAM SANDWICH if I weren’t so damned tired all the time. Either that, or I am systematically leaking brain cells, and it’s driving me crazy. Three weeks. Three weeks of reading, and I’m at 40%. THREE. WEEKS. Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale is a fracking TOUCHSTONE for me. Why so hard, Night Circus? Why can’t I remember one person to the next?

Is it because no one is wearing BDSM leathers? (Side note: I get it, I respect it, I am DOWN with it, if this is your thing, but no, I’m not sure I have it in me to be patient enough for someone to . . . get into costume before sex. I can’t even finish the Night Circus, do you think I have time for you to GO GET YOUR LEATHER PANTS AND DOM CAP?)

I have gone too far here, clearly. Point being: I need some more time to read. Also, better book choices. And finally: seriously, read that Elon Musk article and see if you EVER read a cheap romance/billionaire/Fifty Shades the same way again, and not just because you’re picturing Elon Musk and his little monkey face.

Romance novels: I have found the cure.

Happy Friday!

*Erasure

81 comments October 25th, 2012

Caught a Long Wind

OH HI.

Well, then. I don’t like to overly explain absences, but I’ve been working a lot, which is great! Really, it’s great! Who doesn’t like money? I LIKE MONEY. But I was super-busy every night and every preschool session and every . . . well, EVERYTHING.

I’ve been working more in books, and man, that’s a lot of fun. Also? It’s a lot of reading. A LOT of reading, which doesn’t leave much leftover time for PERSONAL reading, which is why I’ve been sitting with Maggie Steifvater’s “Forever” on my night stand for two weeks, and it’s due back to the library on Tuesday, so I’d best be HUSTLING UP IN HERE to whip through that last, miserable book in the most ridiculous trilogy ever written in the history of YA trilogies, AMEN.

It’s awful. There is a lot of soul-gazing among teenagers and a not-insignificant number of heartfelt SONG LYRICS written out by one of the protagonists, and it’s not meant in an ironic way. Basically, I read this entire trilogy from behind my hands while making this face:

(SONG LYRICS.)

I … God, let’s see. The last two weeks have been VERY BORING and involved me staying up late with a red pen (have you tried these?) and writing some stuff for other people and working on multiple books for children and young adults and . . . um, that’s all I’ve got, because THAT IS ALL I HAVE DONE FOR MANY DAYS.

The end.

Oh, not really, but that’s what it FEELS LIKE, and you can ask anyone who’s expected a phone call or an email from me, because AIEEEEEE, freelancing is fun, but it is also very time consuming.

In the interim, I missed you guys, and feel like a loser for saying that, but I DID (do!).

I can’t stop thinking about Swistle’s post about sociopaths, because once you encounter a sociopath, you don’t really forget. It’s CRAZY. It’s crazy. I am exceedingly nice to sociopaths if I can be, because as Swistle and I discussed separately, it’s amazing how FAR a sociopath is willing to GO in order to play a game with you. SO FAR. FURTHER THAN YOU EVER DREAMED. Because remember, they do not have any feelings. None. Zero. They don’t care about you and yours. They’re bored, they’re egomaniacs, they have no conscience at all. They don’t even love their CHILDREN. They CANNOT. YOU WILL NOT WIN. So if you see someone being nice to a person YOU KNOW they know is crazy, maybe they know they are a sociopath, and just don’t feel like having their LIVES RUINED.

I don’t need to tell you (BUT I WILL) that this led to a panicked spiral as I considered how awful it would be to be the MOTHER of a sociopath, given that most rudimentary research leads one to believe that they are BORN NOT MADE, and what do you even DO? Fortunately (oh my God), my research also indicates that, as suspected, my current offspring is rather far from the picture of a young sociopath (highly empathetic, very into physical affection, likes animals and doesn’t set them aflame, ETCETERA) and I no longer need to consider 20/20 appearances as part of my retirement plan.

In other offspring news, she is naked pretty much 24/7, and today at the park, just before plowing into the sandbox, politely asked for her shoes & socks to be removed (reasonable), then requested that her pants and diaper also come off (not reasonable). So while I may not have a sociopath on my hands, it IS true that I might be dealing with an exhibitionist, and perhaps by the time she is of age, Times Square’s Naked Cowboy will be retired, and Sam can take over as Pantsless Percussionist. She does a mean “Got a Bunch of Bones” from the Bubble Guppies while drumming in time, and hot damn, she prefers to do it in the buff.

Now if you’ll excuse me, now that I can check sociopath fears off of my list, I am off to ruminate about pancreatic cancer. Because this is what I DO every time a famous person dies of a disease. I PANIC ABOUT IT.

Feel free to imagine what I’d be like if I wasn’t medicated for anxiety. BECAUSE SERIOUSLY.

 

*Feist

202 comments October 5th, 2011

Blue Monday

As marvelously predicted, Sam’s preschool day immediately fell to crap today for when I dropped her off, instead of offering the kiss and enthusiastic “BYYYYE!” that she typically shot my way (haaa, for what, two days? And yet, I’m all, you know, TYPICALLY), she clung to me like a spider monkey and — AND! — when I finally turned to leave, I looked back to find her sobbing with her head in her hands. That was … kind of eye-pokingly awful. I KNOW she’s fine as soon as I walk out the door, but to have the last image of her standing there crying is, again, EYE-POKINGLY AWFUL.

Of course, I arrived to pick her up and she was … completely fine. Of course. I mean, she went outside and painted and climbed and ate clams on the half-shell for her snack, or whatever. (How ELSE do you explain “teddy bears and clams,” HMMMM?) But God, it kills me to pick her up and have her lay her head on my shoulder for a very, very long time, as though I had forsaken her to be next in line for the reaping and if not for my arrival, she’d be headed to the arena to be eaten by genetically engineered wolves.

Meanwhile, I welcomed the reprieve to not only do exciting things like clean the fridge (holla!), but to give myself a damned BREAK, because you guys, my kid is into flashcards, and lo, it is very cute, it is also more annoying than one might think. I am loath to admit that my kid is into flashcards only because I feel like it makes me look like one of those crazy parents who is forcing her to learn Swahili in between diaper changes (“Can you say ‘mtoto’? MAH-TO-TO”), but a quick Twitter consult assures me that it is very common, and my plans to groom Sam for a lofty career screwing caps on toothpaste tubes are fully intact.

However, to give myself a break from the LITERALLY never-ending flashcards, I decided to whip out the paint this afternoon, and HAAAA YOU GUYS, HOW STUPID AM I? VERY.

“Mah HAIR! SO PRETTY!”

I just … well, it’s a good thing she’s in preschool, because HELL if I am doing THAT again, because, honestly, neither Sam nor I is a fan of the out of context bath (“I AM NOT GOING NIGHT-NIGHT!” Fine, kid, NO ONE IS MAKING YOU GO TO BED AT 4. BUT YOUR HAIR IS BLUE), and it took three apre-bath scrubbings to get the blue streaks off the tub, which, you know, was kind of helpful as I had “bathtub scrubbing” on my list of preschool chores ANYWAY, but just not RIGHT THEN. I also did not enjoy scrubbing the blue footprints leading to the bathroom, and I have no explanation for that, except that I do believe she painted her feet.

And with that, I’m going to do some work and read Divergent, which is AWESOME. AND, by the way, I can’t be the only person who wants to THROW UP when she sees the Denny’s commercial with the MACARONI AND CHEESE BURGER. AS IN, MACARONI AND CHEESE ON A BURGER. No. Just no. I’m all for gluttony, but I think that can be satisfied with a nice bloomin’ onion or maybe a special pack of Klondike bars, AM I RIGHT? JESUS.

*Or, you know, Friday. New Order

217 comments September 15th, 2011

Somewhere a Clock is Ticking

I’ve been cat sitting for a good friend of mine, and it has, oddly, made me feel better about hiring babysitters, because one of the most irrational fears I had about having someone in my home was that they would, uh, snoop around? And discover … well, probably nothing exciting, is the hilariously ironic part. I mean, even my bedside table drawers contain little more than some old knitting projects, hand lotion and an ancient pile of magazines. Anything of value/informationally harmful is locked in a fireproof box, and if they want to dig through our filing cabinets to find old copies of our water bill, by all means, KNOCK YOURSELF OUT.

But the thing is, I hire nice, upstanding, respectable babysitters who would never DO that, and yet it’s always been my fear. And there I was, in Jess’s house the other day, creeping through her rooms with such deference that I didn’t even want to look around, lest I see something I shouldn’t. Meanwhile, I am normally at her house so often, I might as well LIVE THERE, and don’t even think twice about rooting around her cabinets for a snack, but when I was there ALONE, I was petrified of … disturbing something or opening a drawer and having, I don’t know, a TAX RETURN fly out and READ ITSELF TO ME, thus leaving me with accidental knowledge of their inner workings that I did not want. I can’t even fathom LOOKING for those things, and I genuinely don’t know anyone who WOULD, much less the nice women who come and hang out with Sam.

Also, um, DING DONG HELLO, you guys, I’ve been using the library and I FEEL LIKE AN IDIOT, IT IS SO AWESOME. I know I talked about this whole, um, request feature, but ah, the whole going to pick up FREE BOOKS that I just READ and then RETURN THEM when I am finished is … um, whoa. Yes, I know this concept is hardly revolutionary, but IT IS TO ME. I previously used the library only for older books that I fished from the shelves, but now? There is BOOK PLANNING. And people, I love nothing more than to PLAN. This is why BUDGETS MAKE ME HAPPY. And the library request system is like … like a BOOK BUDGET, kind of.

I do struggle with the fact that I’ve always like to use my discretionary income to support authors and bookstores, so this is … hard for me. But honestly, I read too damn much to be able to justify the cost, particularly when half the books I read are just throwaways (I’m looking angrily at you, Linger, with my LET-DOWN EYES). This way, however, I support the library and the right for everyone to have free access to good books. I particularly like to do this with my late fees, which are ALWAYS on books I get out for Sam, because I CANNOT REMEMBER which ones we own and which ones are the library’s.

And finally, I’ve been having several Bloody Beefs lately — prompted entirely by That Time of The Month, and I am ashamed to admit it, BUT IT IS THE TRUTH — about various things, typically money-related, because this is an area I feel like I HAVE CONTROL, so I become HYPER-FOCUSED ON IT, which is just ridiculous, because a) we’re fine; b) it is what it is, please, you show me an American family who has no financial worries whatsoever and I’ll show you … well, half of MetroWest, probably. Affluence is the name of their game, They of $300K Median Incomes. But whatever! THAT IS NOT THE NORM.

So there I am, having my monthly PMS-related freakout about — wait for it — the cost of college tuition. Which, yes, a worthy thing to freak out over, but you know, my kid starts PRESCHOOL NEXT WEEK. And I was so worked up about all of this that tonight, I announced to Adam that YES, FINE, Sam can live at home while she goes to Mass Bay Community College, it’s FINE. I said this as if it were FACT and GOING TO HAPPEN, because, according to my PMS-fueled calculations, a state school education is going to cost SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR, and I want another kid! Do YOU have an extra $150K lying around for ONE YEAR OF SCHOOL? I don’t think our 529 plan is going to grow THAT MUCH, do YOU?

(Picture this all said in a hysterical, this-must-be-handled-RIGHTNOW voice, if you will.)

And this, seriously, is where I love my husband so hard, because he puts up with exactly NONE of my bullshit and does nothing to fuel my anxiety, but instead, replied with:

“You know who we should ask about this. Gary.”

“Who’s Gary?”

“Our next door neighbor, the financial advisor. IN THE HOUSE WE LIVE IN SIXTEEN YEARS FROM NOW. Do you see how ridiculous this is now? I love you. Goodnight.”

Aaaand, fin.

*Snow Patrol

115 comments August 25th, 2011

Who needs titles when you’ve got Nyquil?

Aaaand, we’re back. That was … special. Some of that is certainly sarcasm, but some of it is also that it WAS special. Honestly, it was fun. We had fun. Sam had a blast running around with her cousins, and even tried surfing a little, if by surfing, you mean standing on a boogie board while the waves came in and ran over her feet.

“I DID it, Mommy! I did it! Like TOODEE!” Oof, my heart. Kid was so proud of her surfing abilities, and honest to God, she really thought she was doing it. Also, errr, that’s how pervasive her Yo Gabba Gabba obsession runs, friends. There’s ONE episode (“Ride”) where Toodee goes surfing with Foofa’s big brother, Foofle (I cannot make this shit up, people), and Sam was OBSESSED with surfing like Toodee. She even made me sing the damn song while she did it. (“Surfing today, sunny day! Into the water to play!” And hahahahaha, I KNOW THE LYRICS OH MY GOD.)

It was actually quite sad that on our first day back, she woke up and asked to go to the beach. Oh darlin’. It’s not warm enough up here, yet.

The bad was … kind of really awfully bad. Over the course of the two weeks since we left our house, Sam had three (3) separate fevers, a horrid cough/cold (separate from the fevers!) and a – oh I can barely type it – a VAGINAL INFECTION FROM THE SAND-SLASH-SWIM DIAPER. HOLD ME. HOLD ME. All this, plus she slept in two separate hotels, a strange house, followed by a DIFFERENT strange house, along with a FOURTEEN HOUR DRIVE, split over two days. I mean, honestly, the kid was a hot fucking mess, and so was I.

I am not even going to pretend that I handled it well, because I didn’t. I cringe at how touchy I was on Wednesday — which, conveniently, was my day to cook dinner for everyone — and how I was chopping onions, sobbing while my kid sobbed and chased after me, stuck to me like glue. That morning, I’d lost it on my poor dad — AKA the man who requires the least amount of sleep of ANYONE I KNOW, EVER — because he rises at 5:30 or 6 and makes coffee, waking up the first floor. Meanwhile, he acquiesced to my demand to come out a LEETLE BIT later and guess what? Sam continued to wake at 6, exhausted and miserable, ANYWAY. (Note: I don’t mind the 6 a.m. wakings, except when they mean that she hasn’t gotten enough sleep, making our mornings EYE-POKINGLY MISERABLE, because all she wants to do is go back to bed, at like, NINE AM. But she won’t, natch, and besides, it would eff her nap for the day.)

Plus, I was alone. I’m alone a lot, obviously, as the primary at-home parent, but it’s too easy to discount the role that Adam plays at home and on the weekends. He plays with her the second he walks in the door. I get extra sleep on the weekends (we alternate days). I get nights out with my friends as often as I want. He can give her a bath if I’m feeling wiped out or lousy or just having a long, tired day, you know? He’s a great dad, and he does a lot, and GOD I MISSED HIM. All of him, obviously, not just the parts of him that help me out. To be clear.

(PS, he cleaned the WHOLE HOUSE while we were gone. I walked in to a SPOTLESS HOUSE. Who does that? HE DOES.)

(He also bought a new TV. Surprise! Oh, wait … )

I was just … alone. Not that my parents and siblings weren’t willing to help me — they WERE — but my kid was so disoriented and cranky and feeling so lousy that she wouldn’t let them touch her. NO ONE COULD TOUCH HER. For two. weeks. And not only was this sucktacular for me, but it was hardly the bonding experience with the rest of my family that you would expect, you know? I mean, the kid just RAGED any time anyone came near her — and this includes my paternal parents, who are the very same people who kept her for a WEEK without incident while we went to Vegas. Was bizarroland. And also, uhh, kind of sucky for all of us.

Mind you, I’m fully aware that single parents do this day in and day out (I WORSHIP AT YOUR FEET), but I will also say there is a difference between having velcro kid in a strange environment and just having a kid at home, doing her normal routine. It was kind of exhausting, and I kind of handled it pretty badly. I was loose with my emotions, and I kind of felt like everything was just there, bubbling so close to the surface that everything exploded at the slightest provocation.

And I just felt ungrateful and awful and UGHHHHH, I know, I sound like I’m just over here self-flagellating (I AM), but there’s something about parenting my kid at her worst in front of people I don’t normally live with, no matter how much they love me (and they do!), that makes me feel so exposed. Especially if those people are other parents and THEIR kids are acting like near-perfect children with only minor imperfections. Meanwhile, I had a kid with an INFECTED VAGINA, FOR THE LOVE.

This is one of those times where I can’t tell if it’s just the snowball effect of, you know, EVERYTHING, or if it was just, hello, a challenging situation that anyone would have broken down in. I was extra-weepy and I let myself lose it in situations — and in front of people — I normally wouldn’t. I mean, not that I’m afraid of being judged by my own FAMILY, but I guess I do have a thing against appearing weak and/or crazy and BELIEVE ME, FRIENDS, I WAS BOTH. Yet, I like to think it was the latter — that is, it was a normally shitty situation to lose it in — but I’m not entirely sure. One never knows these days.

Honestly about the Other Thing, I do feel better — I feel more ready to tackle what’s to come, and I feel more focused on what’s in front of me — the life part, that is. Honestly, I suppose it’s hard not to, when what’s in front of you is a sick toddler while you YOURSELF are hacking and wheezing, but strangely, I’ve got a lot of OTHER good stuff to focus on. Friends who claim to have missed me terribly (and I, them), new work projects, an entire summer to play in the water with my kid, an assload of books to read and the resurgence of the Book Lushes, which I SWEAR is coming, but HA HA, UNEXPECTED EVENTS have precluded that little project.

And, uhh, fertility work-up stuff. Again. But even that I feel relatively calm about at the moment. Apparently the whole “one day at a time” mantra really seems to be working. Recovery people! They know what they’re talking about.

Hey, have a happy Tuesday.

56 comments June 13th, 2011

Rolling in the Deep

This is going to be all OVER the place, y’all. Just like it used to be! Bullet-style:

– One of the things that plagues me on a fairly regular basis, is when one of your friends — someone you really like, who has proven to be of decent character and all that rot — is ALSO friends with someone who has proven to be morally bankrupt on more than one occasion, in my admittedly-strict viewpoint. Now, before I go on here, I want you to simmer down, Warren Beatty, because this song isn’t about you. I can think of at least two people who would think this is about them, but really, Warren, it isn’t.

But what do you do? I’ve voiced my opinion — even more gently than I normally would, I swear! — once or twice, and I’ve even PERSONALLY been screwed by the person in question and said something and YET THE RELATIONSHIP CONTINUES. Mind you, it’s not that I expect them to CHOOSE ME over them — this isn’t that kind of high school drama — it’s that I am MYSTIFIED how someone can still be friends with someone who has PROVEN to be such an absolute douche.

I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. It is honestly one of life’s greatest mysteries.

– If you’ll indulge me a moment of Glee, I was ALL HOT AND BOTHERED to see the return of Jesse St. James in what is certainly the most ridiculous crush imaginable. Yes, I am a 35-year-old married mother with a huge crush on an openly gay man playing a teenager, and while I have no issue with either of those things, of course, the problem is that no matter how you slice it, the fantasy doesn’t work. I would either have to turn into a man OR a teenager and neither really works for me. Yet, it persists.

However. They turned him into a one-dimensional vapid asshole, when yes, I realize that he royally screwed Rachel over last year, I ALSO thought there was some complexity to him and it’s … gone. I am ALSO angry at how they’ve turned Rachel into a sniveling GIRL who also suddenly turned stupid. Last season, Rachel was multi-dimensional, and what made her amazing was her incredible insight into HERSELF. And now she’s fawning over Jesse and saying things like, “He’s so smart! Can you believe he flunked out of college?” after he says something amazingly inane. And so we’re left with Kurt (and his personal orbit), the only character with any sort of heart, and honestly, it’s pissing me off, because it seems like Ryan Murphy is just re-writing his own history, and the only person he has any sort of generosity to is himself.

Also, uhhh, weren’t they juniors LAST YEAR? How long can they drag this out?

– I also have Strong Feelings on Friday Night Lights, and I’m telling you right now that I’m live-tweeting the episode for my bosses at Smart Pop Books, because an essay of mine is in the upcoming anthology on the show in its entirety. So, you know, fair warning. And while I LOVE this season, I have VERY LOUD OPINIONS on the finale, and as such, I can’t wait until all of you (all, um, four of you who watch it) have caught up so that we can discuss.

– One of the things I am shocked to discover that I am struggling with is getting Sam to enjoy reading. I KNOW. I KNOW. Are you as floored as I am? I am, above all things, A Reader. The periods of my life when I wasn’t relying on a book for my primary form of evening entertainment are few and far between. Even still, I’m usually either reading or writing, even while the TV is on in the background. I mean, I love TV, but if I had to choose, I’d choose a book any day of the week.

So how is it possible that she’s my child? We set aside time to read every day. I read CONSTANTLY. I’ve even taken to reading her books by myself, with rapt enthusiasm, just to make them seem interesting. Yes, we watch TV, but with few exceptions (involving DJ Lance), she’s really not that into it, and she almost NEVER sits still to watch a whole anything unless she’s positively exhausted OR it’s first thing in the morning, so I’m not panicked that she’s a TV head or anything. (I WISH she was one of those children who sat quietly and watched television for more than six minutes at a time. I could use that to my occasional advantage! NO DICE.)

She just … does other things. Swaddles Brobee. Draws. Listens to music and dances. Draws some more. Plays with her animals. Paints. Dances some more. Sings. Dances. Music. God, this kid is SO INTO MUSIC. And when there is no music? SHE MAKES ME SING SO SHE CAN DANCE.

And forget reading before bed — she’s ALL business. Once she became a prescient human being, she dropped the bedtime reading routine before it really got going. When she’s ready for bed, she wants to be IN THE BED. The second we start the bedtime routine, “BYE MAMA! NIGHT NIGHT!” and she’s finished. She wants to be in bed, lights out, my annoying mug out of her face. It doesn’t seem to matter how early we start — the moment she senses bedtime is nigh, she’s all about it, as soon as humanly possible, and thank you. (Yes, I know I’m lucky. Our bedtime ritual is three whole seconds long. “Kiss Daddy!” “BYE MAMA!” Aaaaaaand, fin.)

I’ve gotten her books on her favorite subjects — animals and bugs — and it sort of works, but man, if I had one trivial wish for my daughter, it would be that she loves to read, and right now, despite my best efforts, she’s not nearly as into it as I’d hoped.

Also, can we talk about the bug obsession for a moment here? BUGS. Ants are “cute!” Worms are “awesome!” She picks them all up and tries to take them home as pets! God forbid we see a bumblebee, because kid is BESIDE HERSELF with excitement. “It’s a BEE! A BEE!” and she lurches toward it, hands open. Explaining that although bumblebees look fuzzy and friendly, they REALLY need to be left alone, was a surprisingly rigorous parenting challenge.

But still. Books. Man. I mean, Adam and I both read. We have stacks and stacks of books and Kindles full of reading material. I have a to-read list that is more than 250 books long and I can’t get my kid to sit still long enough for “No, David!”?

Tell me: is all hope lost? Will she eschew reading forever? Will I be stuck raising an entomologist-slash-oboe player? Any tips are welcome.

– Speaking of TV, uhh, sort of, the only show I’m really looking forward to other than True Blood is “Falling Skies,” and I cannot WAIT.

– Speaking of BOOKS, we have plenty of interest in the book club, so stay tuned for more — as soon as I get it cleaned up and a new spam system in place, I’ll be hitting a re-launch. And to say I appreciate the offers of help is an understatement. I think this time it will probably be better than the last, because there was an INSANE AMOUNT OF INTEREST from people who … weren’t all that interested. I think this time has the potential to be smaller and more engaging. Honestly, even if only two of you said to do it, I would have. Fortunately, we have a bit more — but far fewer than the 600 we had the first time.

Thanks, everyone. I hope you have a fantastic Thursday. We’re getting our beach passes, finally, although it is the furthest thing from beach weather you can imagine. Hope springs eternal, even if spring doesn’t.

*GLEE’S VERSION WAS AWFUL. AWFUL. AWFUL. I liked Haley’s better on American Idol and that is SAYING SOMETHING. Oh, Adele. You are, indeed, incomparable. (I love her.)

74 comments May 11th, 2011

Age griping and housekeeping; don’t get too excited

We hung out with our friends today, and there was a minor spat, as two-year-olds are wont to engage in (HAAA), and I don’t even know how my mind went from Gracie being annoyed because Sam blew up in her face (mind you, the opposite has happened HUNDREDS OF TIMES) to realizing that one day, these friends that I chose for Sam might not want to be her friends or vice versa, or even if they DO, she will have friends she chose ON HER OWN, and God, these are things I spend time fretting about. It’s all very Sunrise, Sunset in my mind, but when I write it out, it’s the equivalent of a no-shitter Nerf bat to the face. Yes, people grow up, whatever, but I somehow thought my child would be immune, like Benjamin Button. Err, kind of.

But what it comes down to is her inevitable freedom of choice, I guess, and from my perspective, watching her grow into her own person; someone who does things and thinks things that are completely separate from me. It’s crazy that she will some day have secrets from me. Secrets! From me! At this point, the kid doesn’t even fart without my full knowledge of exactly what went IN to that particular cocktail of methane, so this seems completely impossible..

It sucks, this growing-up thing. Well, except for the fact that my God, when you have a child who can TELL you what she needs vs one who just YELLS VAGUELY IN YOUR DIRECTION, there’s really no comparison. No, I would not trade two-year-old Sam for infant Sam, although I MIGHT have traded 18-month-old Sam for infant Sam, because, if no one has told you yet, 18 months is kind of a shitty age.

Anyway, I really came here for one purpose, and that’s to ask you, yet again, if anyone is still interested in an online book club. The Book Lushes died last summer and then was OVERRUN WITH UNMANAGEABLE SPAM ATTACKS (Don’t look now! I’m still cleaning it up!) and I’m working on the latter issue, provided people are still interested. Honestly, I thought we’d died for good, but then more and more people started asking, and I thought, well, HM. LET US ASK. I’m always reading and always willing to participate, so if anyone else is, you let me know in the comments, just to get a wee idea (or you can send me an email) and I’ll figure something out.

So! Book club or no? Tell me. I won’t be offended either way. Probably because I’ll still be here reading It until KINGDOM COME. It’s like chipping away at a MOUNTAIN.

75 comments May 10th, 2011

All You Want

First of all, if you’re thinking about reading It and wondering when, exactly, it picks up and gets really good, the answer is somewhere around page 476. Yes, FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY-SIX. I was about to give up and just move on to Sookie, when, for reasons unknown, I thought I’d give it another whirl and suddenly, things started moving and happening and it was GOOD and INTERESTING and then I looked and ha ha haaaaa, I was just about halfway through the book. HALFWAY.

This is becoming epic, like the months I read The Historian out of some strange obligation to my childhood allegiance to Vlad Tepes.

Anyway, this weekend was, in a word, perfect, and let me tell you, I really needed it. I’ve been under a lot of unmentionable stress lately, and on Friday, I really wasn’t so sure I was going to get through it. The way I roll when times are rough is to first, absolutely FREAK OUT AND LOSE IT ALL CAPS! I think I’m NEVER GOING TO GET THROUGH THIS! And things are going to be AWFUL! And I will be DEPRESSED FOREVER!

And then I do more of this: !!!!

I also think I quite literally rend my garments, or at least the bathroom towels.

Then I buck up, get it together and face shit like a grown-up. And, well, that’s what I’m going to do. Until the NEXT cause for freak out, and I’m guessing before all is said and done, this cycle should repeat itself 5,469,876 times.

But besides all that, this weekend was amazing in that simple way that I dreamed about before I had a kid. Saturday, we took Sam for ice cream and cow-gazing, and for a kid who hadn’t had ice cream since last summer (I never buy it), she sure seemed excited about it. “ICE CREAM? ICE CREAM?” was the refrain in the car, over and over again until we arrived at Richardson’s and she had her chocolate cone in her hot little hands.

There was ice cream and cows and it was perfect, right up until the moment Sam threw a tantrum because we wouldn’t put her IN the calf pen and leave her to roam with the baby cows. (She’s used to Davis Farmland, which reminds me, if you’re a Massachusetts resident, you need to go there. We’re getting a season pass this year, because it is awesome. Roaming animals and a splash pad? SIGN ME UP.)

Mother’s Day itself featured lobster rolls, a new-to-us park where Sam spun herself dizzy-drunk on the merry-go-round, lounging and Indian food. Honestly, it’s weekends like this that make me feel like wanting anything more than to keep the people I have happy and healthy would be overkill. Greedy, greedy overkill.

You know, we don’t have a particularly luxurious life, and we don’t yet have everything we want, and even though what we DO want isn’t particularly egregious (my two family/material goals: Have another baby and buy a little house), sometimes I just feel so stupidly lucky, and so painfully aware at how spoiled I am compared to some. This, perhaps unsurprisingly, leads me down the path of panicked doom, as though taking even one second of the life I have for granted will mean it gets taken away. Like wanting more for us — no matter how mundane the ‘more’ is — will tip the scales and set off an alarm that we’ve overreached.

Irrational and silly, I know — after all, there are as many people who have much more than we do as there are those who have less — but my little family is too good, I guess, to consider taking for granted.

I hope you had a great Mother’s Day, and that you have get everything you want.

*Um, do you guys remember Dido? Yes, I still have her album. And God, what a terrible name she had/has.

49 comments May 8th, 2011

Disco Heaven

Hey, do you guys remember when I was all uppity about girls’ clothes, and how I didn’t want my kid stereotyped and I was all, where are the basic primary colors? Let us all rejoice in neutrals! Down with the princess stereotype, because MY kid will be different!

This is Sam’s favorite shirt in the whole world:

Excuse the funny angle, as it’s half in the sink after taking it off of her, but you get the idea, yes? It’s a silkscreen of a cat with a SEQUIN CROWN on its head — a pink sequin crown, no less — with the words, “Love being a princess” written behind the cat, over and over and over again.

Friends, my kid is the lady with the cat sweatshirt. She LOVES this thing. If it’s clean, she asks for it, and if it isn’t, God help us all. And no, if you were wondering, I didn’t buy it — her auntie Faith, Adam’s sister, did. That it came with a purple velour track suit with sequin tuxedo stripes is almost beside the point at this stage, am I right?

It just makes me laugh, how smug I was. Because while it’s true, I could have hidden the shirt if I was that uptight, I also knew she’d love the damn thing and you know what? She does. I also will admit to secretly hoping this happens to hipster parents who ironically dress their infants in rock T-shirts and funky vintage clothing while crowing about their toddler’s amazing taste in music. (“She LOVES Mumford and Sons! She asks for them by name!”)

Yes, I secretly hope those people wake up one day with a two-year-old who begs for Lady Gaga and dances merrily around the room clad only in a T-shirt with a sequin-crowned kitty on it. Call me petty, but there it is.

ANYWAY, I don’t even know what happened to the last week, there. I went out to dinner with a friend, we spent the weekend driving around and tooling around in this glorious, glorious weather and then, BADOW! it’s Wednesday and we almost have to do it again, and while I love this life, sometimes the weeks just fly by without even realizing it, because nothing monumental was ACCOMPLISHED, you know? Oh, sure, I spent an hour and a half folding laundry tonight, but GOD HELP ME, I WILL DO IT AGAIN TOMORROW.

(Note, this is not unique to at-home people, this is just, sadly, LIFE. I mean, unless you’re a surgeon who saves lives, in which case you can be all, I REMOVED TEN BRAIN TUMORS THIS WEEK. And then I’ll clap you on the back like, WAY TO GO, DEREK SHEPHERD. I UNLOADED THE DISHWASHER THREE TIMES.)

I can’t complain, though, because it’s nice out, and we can go to the park and hang with friends, and I’ll take it, you know? I was reminded today that while it’s nice to want things for your future, if you spend too much time agonizing over them, you miss your life. Which, last time I checked, is happening right now. Silly little platitude, but it really helped.

Unfortunately, it is not enough to stop me from continuing to slog through Stephen King’s It, and hey, anyone want to talk about a book that was published almost 25 years ago? NO? After loving the shiznit out of my very FIRST Stephen King, Bag of Bones (seriously, in my top five favorite books ever. SERIOUSLY), Adam was up my ass to read It. “Have you read It? Have you read It?” So I, after finishing The Passage on vacation, and continuing with a nice, if unremarkable diversion of Neverwhere and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, finally started It.

And now, what, two weeks later? I’m 400 pages into it, which, if you can believe it, IS NOT EVEN HALFWAY and I … NOTHING HAS HAPPENED. Also, I BLAZE through books, usually, so for me to only cover 400 pages in two weeks is Not Good. And then it turns out that Adam doesn’t think he was thinking of It when he was so effusive in his recommendation and, in fact, has never even READ THE BOOK, and might have only seen the movie (miniseries?), and I AM VAGUELY MURDEROUS OVER HERE, because now I am IN THIS SHIT, but also procrastinating like a mo’ fo’, because NOTHING IS HAPPENING.

The last time I felt this way was when my book club picked Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, which I HATED, despite my love for literally every other thing the woman has ever written. I wanted to give up so many times, but NO! My devotion to book club kept me going. Naturally, I arrived at book club to find that I was the ONLY ONE TO HAVE MADE IT THROUGH, as every other person in the room gave up.

While Jesus may have turned water into wine, the real miracle is that I didn’t throw my wine at the room at large, because MY GOD. MY GOD.

Besides, the new Sookie Stackhouse is here, but NO. I AM STILL READING IT.

I hope you have a great Thursday.

(PS, if you’re wondering, yes, I added ads back. I joined Federated Media via the Clever Girls Collective and … I hope they aren’t making your eyes bleed too much.)

*Lady Gaga, natch.

120 comments May 4th, 2011


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