On two occasions recently, I’ve had disagreements with people, and on BOTH occasions, my reactions were off, and I’m stewing inappropriately about it. I’m not averse to confrontation, nor am I averse to admitting when I’m wrong, but the thing is, I had the OPPOSITE reaction to the one I wanted to have in both situations.
To wit: It seems I only go one of two ways in a disagreement lately, which is to dig my heels in entirely and declare my righteousness, or to fall on my sword completely, and in BOTH recent cases, I have had the OPPOSITE reaction to what I now think I SHOULD have had. As in, when I should have taken full responsibility and apologized, I dug my heels in, but when I should have dug my heels in and told the person to eff off because THEY were being totally inappropriate, *I*, instead, fell on my sword and declared MYSELF to be the inappropriate one. And now I want to go BACK to both parties and rectify the situation, but THAT would just be STUPID, because NO ONE WANTS TO REHASH AN ARGUMENT.
And yet, there it is. I think in the case of saying hey, I was wrong back then, would be fine, but in the case of saying hey, remember when I apologized and acted like I WAS in the wrong? HA HA, just kidding, YOU ARE A TOTAL DOUCHE! I don’t think that would work out so well.
Anyway, I should tell you that I got my wish, and it turns out I’m a carrier for MTHFR, but, well, it seems to be a non-issue, as it’s not active, and please don’t make me go into any more detail than that, because I don’t have it. I am DETAIL-LESS on the topic, mostly because everyone seems to think that it’s a carrier issue (which an alarming number people have) and not an active condition. This, combined with my fetal chromosomal defects — which are the kind that account for up to 40% of miscarriages, leading it to be a non-carrier issue — makes everyone STILL believe that it’s dumb-shit luck, but lo, off to the geneticist I go anyway, and I’m not even sure why. It all seems to be CYA at this point, but I also have to tell you that for all the insensitivity of my doctor’s office (mean nurses! incompetent medical assistants! receptionists lacking brain cells!), I am BEYOND impressed with my actual DOCTOR, and the way she’s treating this, and me, with such thoroughness, to make sure that I move forward knowing we did all we could.
Is your head spinning after reading that paragraph? Because my God, seriously, I suddenly feel like those people who post every detail of their fertility numbers, including betas and progesterone and all these things I don’t understand, but read with rapt attention like I do. But despite all the bullshit, having a doctor who seems to actually be paying close attention to me feels really good, even if it took two flipping MONTHS to get to this point.
So! Three pop culture points, and then I’m out like a MTHFR:
1) I am stupidly both surprised and NOT surprised by the JLo-Marc Anthony divorce. I mean, I always got the impression they were FRIENDS before they got married, like, for YEARS and that has to suck. On the other hand, remember when JLo was basically the Runaway Bride and married EVERYBODY? On the THIRD hand, I heard that he was a controlling, borderline-abusive bag of dicks, and for some reason, with her serial dating/monogamy history, I could somehow SEE JLO putting up with such shenanigans, because despite her attitude, she’s always seemed fairly insecure and conciliatory.
For example, who says that men don’t compliment you on your body because “they’re afraid of [your husband]”, as she did in People magazine ? NO ONE SAYS THAT, unless you think your man is insecure and/or YOU are afraid of him. If I were a celebrity, I wouldn’t say that about Adam. I mean, Adam is definitely protective of me and WOULD kick some ass on my behalf it was warranted, but it’s not like MEN ON THE STREET are just cowering from his presence. (Sorry, honey.)
Also, what’s with his creepy negotiations in getting his DISGUSTING SKELETOR FACE on American Idol ALL SEASON LONG? At least with the divorce, his foul mug will be off the show, although my God, he’ll probably figure out a way to work that in to the DIVORCE SETTLEMENT. WHY DID YOU HAVE CHILDREN WITH THIS MAN, JENNIFER? DIDDY WAS A BETTER CHOICE.
You see the analysis I’ve put in here, yes? Are you afraid? THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID OF. Not Marc Anthony. THIS. The amount of time I’ve spent thinking about the two of them is criminal.
2) January Jones is having a baby, father unknown. I am DYING to know who the father is, and if he’s MARRIED, like, say, Bobby Flay, as everyone is speculating, then MY GOD, COME ON, JANUARY. Quit being an amoral asshole. Also, can someone PLEASE tell me how these goddamn celebrities just keep FALLING PREGNANT right and effing left by these MYSTERY MEN? Or, in the case of Arnold, just GETTING people pregnant? HOW? I mean, obviously this has never been my personal strong suit, but COME ON.
Meanwhile, I try to imagine my reaction if MY husband came home and told me he impregnated another famous woman, and I just CANNOT. I can’t imagine a situation that does NOT involve me just PASSING OUT COLD and never waking up.
3) Mona from Who’s the Boss? on True Blood. HA HA HAHAHAHA. Also, how in God’s name is Curb Your Enthusiasm STILL ON THE AIR?
*Jennifer Lopez. Remember Ben, Jennifer? Remember how you wrote an ENTIRE ALBUM to him, including a godawful song about him? And … AHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA God, I am mean.
So far, having a two-year-old is AWESOME! And if you say that really loudly, with your hands in the air, then you’ve just learned the hot word of the day from said two-year-old. Everything is awesome! Sam, do you like your green beans? AWESOME!
Don’t tell anyone, but I’m, uh, pretty sure she learned this on the Yo Gabba Gabba Super Music Friends Show. Listening and dancing to music IS awesome!
Speaking of Yo Gabba Gabba, we turned it on at playgroup today at the very end, right around the time when all the kids seem to just sort of start coming apart from all the excitement of playing for several hours, and they need a moment to regroup before heading home. Judge away! You will probably judge even more when I tell you that I cannot stop laughing that when the “Boat” episode was rudely interrupted by an emergency broadcast message, all four kids started YELLING like they were just taken out of a trance. Molly yelled, “GABBA! GABBA!” while Lila sadly tried to dance to the ear-splitting tone with her head to her chin, whimpering. Gracie held her head in her hands, shaking it back and forth in abject sadness, and Sam started actually crying.
You know that True Blood scene from season two when the town is at the woodland orgy, and Andy Bellefleur shoots his gun off, leaving all the black-eyed people to go wailing into the woods, lost and disoriented? It was exactly like that, and I’m not even exaggerating a little. I was simultaneously horrified and amused at the power of DJ Lance. I had the same mix of emotions that our first reaction — all of four of the moms — was NOT to be horrified, but to figure out how to get it back on as soon as possible to stop the madness.
My kid makes me strangely sad sometimes, not for any obvious reason, but because she does things that are so naive and endearing that I am, and I can’t put this any other way, embarrassed for her. I mean, I’m not REALLY, but that’s the closest emotion I can put to it. I am weirdly sad for her, because … ah, well, for example, when we pull up to her friends’ houses, and we get out of the car, she starts yelling, “HIII! HIII!” excitedly before anyone can hear her. “HI LILA! HIII! GRACIE! GRACIE!” And I just … oh, baby, no one can hear you, honey. We’re outside and they don’t even know we’re here.
I feel the same twinge when she sees a familiar character on TV and comes racing in to tell me about it, “MAMA! It’s ELMO!” as if I didn’t PUT HIM THERE or (oh my God) she approaches the television when she sees a cat and tries to HUG THE TELEVISION. And — AND! — when she sees said familiar character, sometimes she’ll walk right up to the television and yell, “HII! Hi GoGo! HIII!” (GoGo is Diego, of course.) All because Diego said hi at the beginning in what was meant to be a rhetorical fashion, you know?
Ah, kids. Confusing little monsters that find a way to yank on your heartstrings even when they do something senseless and kind of embarrassing.
Finally, and I don’t think I’m alone here, I have a long list of things I keep MEANING to do, but am starting to doubt if I ever will do. Things like decorating my house like people other than college students live here (seriously, that’s what four years of renting will do to a person), organizing my underwear drawer and finally, oh my lands, finally, getting rid of all the clothes I don’t wear. There is no reason to have two closets stuffed to the gills full of clothes that are never actually placed on a human being’s ass.
You know what else I want to do? Organize our bookshelves by color. Meal plan a month in advance. Start couponing. I DO NOT USE COUPONS. I have no idea where to even START.
Am I ever going to do these things? Am I doomed to have a dresser stuffed full of too-small T-shirts from Target that have holes in the armpits? Will I ever pay less than full price for Ziploc bags?
Seriously. I need to just do ONE of these things, and I think I’d feel better. Instead I’m so tired from all the usual activities of child-rearing, housekeeping, writing/working that by the time I have any extra time, I’m either reading or zoned out in front of Big Love, wondering why I even care anymore, when all I have ever wanted to do is punch Bill Henrickson directly in the junk. Oh, and you, too, Nicolette. And Barb! GET SOME BALLS. RUN FOR THE HILLS.
I hope y’all have a great Wednesday.
Florence + The Machine. Oh, I love her voice and yet, at the same time think she looks to be about forty, when my understanding is that she’s, ah, TWENTY FOUR.
So, many years ago, I had to fire someone. In retrospect, this is ridiculous, because I swear to you, I was MAYBE 25, had zero experience doing such things, and was counseled to do so in a way that was as close to asking for a lawsuit as one can get without filing the paperwork and suing yourself. Granted, this person should not have retained her job — she was terrible, unreliable, sometimes willfully defiant and yet (YET!) consistently asked for a promotion. It was a lethal combination, as you can imagine, and after first counseling her to look for another job through the power of gentle suggestion (she didn’t get it, or refused — not sure which), I had to fire her.
It was hideous. Hideous! She bawled! She was shocked! I was frozen, basically reading off of a piece of paper like an idiot so that we WOULDN’T get sued, when all I wanted to do was hug her. And again, why the eff HR wasn’t doing this was beyond me, but there I was, a totally incompetent 25-year-old manager who had no business managing, firing someone under the guise of a one-person layoff.
It was one of the worst things I’d ever had to do.
A few hours after she’d left, her mom called me to yell at me. Her mother called me! HER MOTHER. And she called me a dumb low-life and all kinds of things that were probably true at the time (seriously, I was only a manager because I brought in a piece of business that was a lot of money, end of story). Now, her mom and I had tangled previously, when Marla (yes, let’s call her that), called in sick, but didn’t leave information where some VERY IMPORTANT MISSION-CRITICAL documents that had been due the previous day were kept, so I had to call her at home and … well, she wasn’t home, she was in NYC visiting her boyfriend and THAT was awkward and awful, and yes, her mother yelled at me for invading her privacy, when … well, it was Marla who blew off the deadline AND was busy porking on a futon in the Upper West Side, so who’s really at fault here?
Fast forward to Saturday, and I’m in line at Gourmet India at the mall food court, because that’s what you DO when you have a kid who hates sitting still at a restaurant and you have no food in the house and you just want to EAT without it being a HUGE PRODUCTION, and dear Jesus, people, SHE WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.
GAH GAH GAH. I kept silent and just sort of quietly panicked at the memory, and my only consolation is that she looked fabulous and didn’t bear any visible scars from the horrid, no-good awful faux layoff I inflicted upon her in my youth.
And whatever, don’t mock me for my food court Indian selection, because while I know it’s kind of gross, seeing as not only are you in a FOOD COURT, but everything meat-like is draped in some kind of heavy sauce that could be masking the remains of Max and Ruby’s doubtlessly deceased parents up in there, let me tell you something: I lived without decent Indian for FIVE YEARS. The last Indian place near us in Vermont featured a very old Indian matriarch, all wizened-like, who sat behind the hostess desk and SHAVED THE SKIN OFF HER FEET WITH A RAZOR THE ENTIRE MEAL.
I can handle Gourmet India, is what I’m saying. And besides, I would very likely eat the asshole of any animal anywhere (I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch country! I ate scrapple!), provided it was done with the right sauce and plenty of cilantro. I’ve always wanted to be Indian, if only so I could learn to cook their food. Not to denigrate my own cultural heritage — I’m Hungarian and Italian, which, while no gastronomic slouches, have cuisines I like to sum up as follows:
Hungarians: Throw some paprika and sour cream on it. Extra points if there’s cabbage. You think I’m kidding, but if you’ve ever had eastern European haluski, you know that I’m not.
Italians: Do we have tomatoes and basil? Excellent. Here’s dinner.
And of course, there’s the Pennsylvania Dutch: Can we pickle it? What if we throw some hard-boiled eggs in there? Excellent! What if we fry up a pig’s stomach to go along with it? EVEN EFFING BETTER.
(Side note: pickled beets and eggs is one of my favorite things, ever, and my dad made some DELICIOUS ones last week)
(Side side note: Shoo fly pie is just SILLINESS in a pie crust and yet people go BONKERS for it. Basically it’s molasses and crumbs. BARF.)
But Indians! Such spices! Beans! Cilantro! Coriander seed! (Same thing, different form) THINGS THAT HAVE FLAVOR. AND LACK ENTRAILS, MAYBE.
Well, this went to a place I wasn’t planning. Sorry about that. A few housekeeping tidbits, yes?
– I’m reviving the Book Lushes after a summer hiatus. Stay tuned!
– Speaking of books, I’ve started reading Alexa’s, (yes, this Alexa) and cannot stop. I can’t stop. I’m not one to blow smoke in this area, so when I tell you that this is exceptional — that SHE is exceptional, both as a person and as a writer — you must believe me. And you must go out and get it for yourself, and then report back to me how big of a genius you think she is, because you will. She is. It’s SO GOOD, you guys. It’s like, LAUGH OUT LOUD good, and funny and poignant and heartbreaking … IT IS SO GOOD. IT IS SO GOOD. SO GOOD. SHE IS SO GOOD.
She is also a friend, and I am really proud to say that, and proud of her. But that does not mean she hasn’t earned my respect as a hugely talented writer with the first chapter alone. Holyshit.
– While an odd segue, I wrote a few things other places on the internet, both kind of pulled from my ass and thrown on the table like a lump of something unpleasant, yet strangely … compelling? Or maybe just unpleasant and confusing. One at Polite Fictions, the other is a recap of this past week’s True Blood for my bosses at Smart Pop. (And a reminder that you can buy my essay for less than a buck AND the entire book is still available!) To those recappers who do this on a regular basis, I salute you. It was great fun, but it was also so much freakin’ work, and hours and hours of rewinding and pausing and note-taking and DING DONG, I HAD A CRAMP, that I have no idea how you do it on a regular basis.
Hi ho! We’re … well, something. Honestly, we’re probably doing what the rest of you are doing, which is merely surviving in this brutal heat. It’s like Florida up in here, which would be fine if I were actually IN Florida, but instead, I’m in Massachusetts, where this kind of thing happens only rarely, and when it does, everyone sort of freezes like a bunch of deer in headlights, and then we bitch about it non-stop. Of course, if the opposite happens, and it is chilly and raining, which is equally possible during the summer, we whine about it like someone ate our firstborn.
We’re miserable people, I guess.
On the Boston front, I’ve been meaning to tell you that after all of that hand-wringing and worry about how I was going to HATE it here and OH, THE STRESS, I … well, as it turns out, I’m home. This is where I think I was meant to end up. For all of its annoyances and failings and frustrations, I really, really love it here. I’d forgotten just how much. It all comes down, I think, to the type of people you can relate to, who make you feel most at home. And, having spent every minute here during the first ten or so years of my adult life, these are the people I recognize the most — the ones who seem like a reflection of myself, and my general outlook.
Oh, and Boston! If you haven’t been, you need to come visit. I am constantly surprised at how lovely it is, and I can say without further qualification that it is my favorite American city, although I may be biased. Maybe.
So there’s that loop. Closed, but in a good way, although I still miss my friends like peanut butter misses jelly. And now! Random bullets!
– What the everloving EFF is going on with True Blood? Look, I’m a fan — a big one — I mean, OBVIOUSLY. But there was all this ridiculous neck-twisting and crazy, upsetting … was that sex? and werewolves with some kind of Nazi tie to vampires and … what? Friends, if *I* am frustrated and cannot, for the everloving LIFE of me, figure out what’s going on, and why any of us are supposed to care, then I fear for the future of the show. Alan Ball, you are on notice.
Speaking of True Blood, you can catch recaps that may shed some light on the subject (or not, as they are probably as confused as we are) on Smart Pop, as done by the authors of A Taste of True Blood (I’ve got episode nine!), and as always, you can catch them on Mamapop, where Kdiddy continues to kill me, season after season. (“Debbie, bless her heart, looks like Tiffany after one too many mall tours.” HA HA HAHAHAHA)
This doesn’t really help me figure out what, exactly, is going on up in here, but at least I can be enterTAINED.
– I became violently, hilariously ill en route to a barbecue this weekend at, of all places, the Natick Mall — oh, excuse me, NATICK COLLECTION, because it is fancy now that it has a Thomas Pink — Adam was dropping his laptop off at the Genius Bar and I took Sam and … oh dear. OH DEAR. And then I ran! To the bathroom! In Lord and Taylor! WHICH WAS CLOSED FOR CLEANING! But I went in anyway and … well, that poor male cleaning guy. And then! There was more! So I went to Macy’s! And my kid SLEPT THROUGH THE WHOLE THING. Apparently high-speed stroller runs through public places followed by the sounds of her mother vomiting are SOOTHING.
(I’m fine now; I think it was something I ate, although I WAS mysteriously queasy on Saturday, too. But most importantly, because I know someone will ask, and then INSIST I AM WRONG: No, I am not pregnant. If I was pregnant, I would not be telling you this story, because I know you’d be onto me with this shiznit.)
(Also, we obviously did not go to the barbecue, which pretty much sucked, but I saw my options as staying home and being miserable OR throwing up at my friend L’s house in front of all of her friends and family. I opted against public humiliation.)
— Sam is at this delightful stage where her version of playing independently means playing with a toy by herself while in my lap, preferably on the floor, although she likes to wrestle on the couch, too. This includes the water table, which means I spent most of this afternoon soaked to the skin, as she found it HILARIOUS to pour water onto herself, and by extension, me. Over and over again. I’d like to pretend I find this irritating, because OH I JUST WANT SOME SPACE!, but in reality, I think it might be my favorite thing ever.
I am acutely, painfully aware at how fast this is all going, despite the fact that she is not yet a year and a half old, and I’m writing this part down for my future self, more than anything: I know people say to appreciate every moment, because it goes so fast and one day, they’re telling you they hate you and asking you to buy tampons, for the love of God, and I have to tell you, I am. I really, really am. I DO appreciate the way her little body feels all snuggled up on mine, and how desperately she wants nothing more than to be with me, her mama.
I have a genuine hormonal reaction when my kid’s all snuggled up in my lap on the couch watching Yo Gabba Gabba (we TiVo it, because I think I’m kind of in love with DJ Lance Rock). I’m just so RELAXED, and it’s not a mental response, it is very, very physical and kind of crazy.
— Speaking of my friend L and the ill-fated barbecue that wasn’t, I was at her house the other day, and PEOPLE! She was waxing philosophical about her Shark steam mop and said (FOR REAL!) that she envisioned her Swiffer WetJet being cast aside, singing mournful tones about a woman from afar, THAT IS HOW MUCH SHE LOVES HER STEAM MOP.
And then Elizabeth wrote about HER Eureka steam mop on Style Lush, and every night, I fantasize about steaming my floors. I have not yet bought either one, but I AM FANTASIZING. A LOT.
I think this means my life is very sad, at least on paper. Very sad, indeed.
*Damien Rice. And did you notice that starting last season, True Blood started naming their episodes for songs? I THINK THEY GOT THAT FROM ME.
You know, I almost feel like asking for wedding horror stories, but after the last several days, things have gotten pretty crazy up in here, and I’m starting to wonder if there are any nice people left in this world, for heaven’s sake. I mean, other than you guys.
So! Back to the usual drivel, which is not nearly as interesting, and for that, I am truly sorry.
One of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with as a parent is that my daughter does not like new things. At all. I’m ashamed to admit that I find this interminably frustrating, and while I am actually amazed at my ability to stay cool when she loses her shit and throws a tantrum about ANYTHING ELSE, I am horribly, embarrassingly impatient when it comes to this. The second the freak-out starts, I feel my blood pressure rising, and I find myself wanting to force her to enjoy whatever activity I’m foisting upon her, because SERIOUSLY, KID. It’s a POOL. I AM DOING THIS FUN-FILLED AFTERNOON FOR YOU. I COULD BE AT HOME WATCHING GLEE RERUNS.
I don’t like myself for this. At all. Because really, the poor kid. The world is brand-new and thrilling and she doesn’t know what any of this stuff is, and no matter how many times I put my “THIS IS SO FUN!” face on, it’s still kind of freaky, right? I mean, gym class is a crazy room full of bondage-style equipment with perky young women singing kind of scary songs about a monkey named Mymo. For the love of God, that’s … well. And yet. It’s hard for me to accept. I am, and this is heartbreaking, a little embarrassed as the other kids go jumping fearlessly into the unknown, while my kid clings to the sidelines, screaming bloody murder and holding on to her mama for dear life. And that statement right there is the worst thing. The worst! I’m her MOM.
There is no reason this should be surprising. I mean, her father and I are not exactly known for our adventurous spirits, so it’s not like she has some kind of wild risk-taking genes in her heritage. But everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, that is not the norm is a total battle. Everything. Our first gym class was a hysterical, clingy tantrumfest the first time we went. Her first trip to an indoor pool? Meltdown. A new restaurant? Breakdown city. Turn on the hose? Screaming! Screaming! Oh, is that your new water table? It MUST be out to rip your face off! Let’s scream!
The other night, I put bubbles in her bath for the first time. Bubbles! Bubbles are fun! It was even Burt’s Bees, so it was a familiar scent! You guys, it was like TERROR ON THE HIGH SEAS. She refused to get in the tub. Refused. Cried. Screamed. Left the bathroom and peed on the floor. Over bubbles.
At the park, she’s uninterested in leaving my side, even when her friends run off to climb the kiddie slide. The swings are about as exciting as it gets. Sandboxes are instruments of the devil, and there is yelling! YELLING!
And yet, we persevere. The second and third time we see things are usually better — for example, we now take bubble baths every night, and she plays like it’s totally normal — but oh, that first time. And I get SO FRUSTRATED. Kid, it’s a SLIDE. There’s no reason to LOSE YOUR SHIT.
Swimming lessons start on Friday morning, and … oh whoa, this should be awesome. Shall we put an over/under on how long the kid screams? Do you think it will be the WHOLE HALF-HOUR? Because that’s where my money is.
(Side note: I just realized I have four days to find and purchase a bathing suit. I kind of feel like barfing.)
(Also, it’s not really SWIM-swim lessons. It’s more the kind of thing where you normalize the water for your kid and make them less fearful. HAHAHA, IRONY.)
(Seriously, comfort in water is VERY important to me, so yes, we’re starting early. And although the first one will be a scream-fest, I’m fairly confident she’ll get used to it quickly. And if she doesn’t, we won’t do it. But for God’s sake, this is a kid who flipped out screaming the first time she saw her Cozy Coupe and now yells, “AGAIN?” every time I put her in it, so I’d say odds are in my favor up in here.)
And the thing is, I GET IT. I am horrible with new things. I hate change. I fall into comfortable patterns and stick with them — you could set your watch by my weekly routine. And yet the things I find most comforting for myself are the things I find most frustrating in her, and are the things that try my patience the most. But there I am, all, just TRY IT, kid. You’ll LIKE IT. (Thanks, Yo Gabba Gabba!). But honestly, talk about being completely unfair.
But still. Swim lessons. Oh good lord. This was actually my idea, too. And I’ve dragged Megan and Lila down with me. (Megan is worried about Lila wearing the flotation device, but *I* predict that Lila will think swimming is THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER. Lila has balls, you guys. It’s awesome.)
In other news, if you’re the True Blood fan type, I agreed to be a guest on Blog Talk Radio show at 9 p.m. Monday night to talk about Bill and Eric and the True Blood book. The show is an Eric fan site and the hosts call themselves … Viking wenches. Yes, really. I don’t even know what to expect up in here, but the host recently interviewed Kristin Bauer van Straten (PAM!), so color me jealous. I’ll post an updated link when I get it, but the show is called Dead Air (OH HA HA HA) and it’s run by the people who host EricNorthman.net .
It has come to this. But really, I’m looking forward to it.
Also! The book is really and truly available now, so pick it up at Smart Pop or Amazon or the bookseller of your choice. Or listen to the radio show tomorrow night to win a free copy. There’s that, too.
Three things, the most important of which is a winner:
1) My parents are coming to visit this weekend, and I’m super-excited, because they haven’t seen Sam since her birthday (the longest they’ve ever gone without seeing her!) and in that time, she’s transformed into a PERSON. With words and everything! Not a ton of words, but you know. She’s ONE. I love having my parents visit, because, well, I love my parents, so there’s that. They always leave before we want them to, explaining that they’ve overstayed their welcome or such nonsense, when honestly, they could stay for a MONTH and I wouldn’t be tired of it. It does make me wonder, however, if they think WE’VE stayed too long when we’re there longer than four days? And how they’re going to feel with me being there for like, a REALLY LONG TIME before BlogHer, with the end of the visit culminating with a weekend-long babysitting fest with my very active PITA daughter? WHAT SAY YOU, MOM AND DAD?
However. I just realized that their visit means that I won’t be watching the season premiere of True Blood live. HORROR. HORROR. HORROR. I mean, I’ll get over it and it’s worth it, but all of you will be watching Eric naked (I HEAR HE IS NAKED IN THE FIRST EPISODE) and I’ll be totally unaware.
2) We have a winnah! Well, TWO winnahs! (More on that below.) But if you didn’t win, and this, sadly, is most of you, the book is available lots of places! And today, I was on their blog talking about, what else, True Blood. You can take a gander at a sample of my essay, too.
3) Winnahs! So I did the Random Number Generator thing, and I couldn’t figure out how to get it to show up here, and while I sort of suck and I’m so sorry about that, PLEASE know that I am telling the truth here. In fact, I’ll tell you that the first time I ran the numbers, my own comment showed up and … well, I don’t need to win my own book. And the winners are … #9 and #50. So Terri and Wendy, hit me up with your addresses, and books will be heading your way directly from our friends at Smart Pop!
Kibbles and bits, per usual, but this time with a giveaway! Of a book that I contributed to! Go team! Well, not really on the team part. But on the dinner part? Yes, GO TEAM!
1) The other day, I tasted Sam’s (white) grape juice and thought it tasted a little off. I wrote it off initially, because my allergies are HORRENDOUS right now, and this plus a recent cold means I’ve been stuffy/sickly for weeks on end. No, literally: WEEKS. Anyway, I gave it another taste this morning and, um, no. It was actually teetering towards flat-out rotten, and I’m fairly shocked she hasn’t been wasted, because that shit HAD to be well on its way to wine.
2) The June book for The Book Lushes is The Red Tent, and I’ve literally put off reading this bad boy for TEN YEARS. It’s … interesting. I’m enjoying, but not loving, it. Mostly, and you best believe I’ll be discussing this in the forums, I’m irritated by the writing style, but I can’t put my finger on why.
Also irritating? The fact that Diamant has to remind us somewhere in the range of every ten seconds that men and boys used to get it on with sheep and goats in the fields. Yes, Anita, we get it. I was shocked the first time, annoyed the second, and FULL-ON ROLLING MY EYES by the third. What a shame Christianity has already been sent up too many times, otherwise you’d have the next Satanic Verses on your hands! Or not.
The real point of this is that if you aren’t a member, you should be. Honestly, all the books we’ve picked have been good, if not great, and I’m really, really glad I read them, even if I didn’t like them. It made for a richer experience, too, to know that dozens, if not hundreds, of others were reading it at the same time. You can join and discuss at any time — although it is well into June, I haven’t fully formed my opinion on Olive yet, so that discussion is still happening.
(For those not playing along, the books thus far have been The Help, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Year of Magical Thinking, Olive Kitteridge and now, The Red Tent)
3) Dinner. OH DINNER. You guys! YOU GUYS. SUCCESS. We’re on Day Three of awesome fast dinners — the sausage pasta was a huge hit, as I mentioned, and since then, I’ve done two more meals that rocked and were fast and easy.
First, I made a Mexican rice mish-mash with lean ground meat of your choice (I used beef, but I would totally use ground turkey, chicken or buffalo), browned and then mixed with veggies of your choice (I used TJ’s fire-roasted corn and bell pepper mix, both frozen) and then mixed with rice (um, again, TJ’s chimichurri frozen rice mix — SO GOOD). I threw some taco seasoning on top of it all (cumin, chili powder, coriander, etc. or you can use a pre-mix) and stirred some low-fat cheese and salsa in and VOILA! Mexican mix! We ate this in either taco or burrito shells with light sour cream and jalapenos. So good. So fast — like, ten minutes, TOPS.
Tuesday, we had Greek cous cous and also, DELICIOUS. I used nap time to roast some veggies (onions and red peppers at 425 for 20 minutes), then boiled up some Israeli cous cous and mixed with the veggies and some pre-cooked grilled chicken (I love you, Trader Joe’s!). I made a quick Greek dressing with lemon juice, olive oil, lots of oregano, salt, pepper and feta and threw it on top, plus a little extra crumbled feta on each serving and again, dude, VOILA. I finished it all in a half-hour, and just heated it up a bit at dinnertime. The whole shebang was over and done with by 7 p.m. (Adam got home super-early.)
I feel like I’m winning some kind of BATTLE up in here. For the record, Sam ate the cous cous, but not the Mexican rice. Again, I made it a little too spicy for her delicate little tongue. Adam loved it, but requested that next time I make it with the tiny regular cous cous, as the Israeli version reminded him of spider eggs. However, he’s still gnawing on some leftovers as I type this, so whatever. Awesome.
4) This won’t make sense to many people, but longtime reader Suki? I owe you a thank you. For Kate, you know. And congratulations on your pregnancy! I think about you all the time! (See? This is how I draw you out.)
5) Speaking of books, here we go! A Taste of True Blood is coming out on June 21 and I’ve got two copies to give away. Honestly, my chapter aside, there’s some crazy-ass analysis up in this thing, and it includes pieces by writers who are much smarter and more thoughtful than me. (My chapter is about how Bill Compton used to be hot, but now he’s … well, not. I never said I was an intellectual, okay?)
So! I’ll pick a winner at random, but I realize that some of you might not be into this, so if you want to comment AND you want to be entered, just write BOOK ME! somewhere in the comment, and I’ll include you in the, um, drawing. Which will happen electronically using one of those random generator things, which means that no one of the younger generations will even know what a drawing is.
I’ll be closing comments Thursday at 5 p.m. EST, and announcing a winner sometime Friday. Woot.
(Sadly, residents of the United States and Canada are the only ones who are eligible. Sorry, international friends!)
Happy trails! Happy Wednesday!
*KIng Britt and Sister Gertrude Morgan, from the True Blood soundtrack.
Let’s see, let’s see … let’s do quick takes, shall we? Because it’s all just bouncing around my head up in here, and there are so! many! things! I want to talk about, none of which are particularly interesting or post-worthy. How’s that for a fun set up?
1) I can’t believe I’m the mom who takes her 15-month-old to, um, gym class, but there you go. The truth is, I do kind of hate myself when I’m sitting in a circle singing some inane song about CIRCLE TIME! WITH FRIENDS! but dude, it’s with Megan & Lila (love!), it’s out of the house at the PERFECT time of the morning, and it’s cheaper than spending my life savings on cheap jewelry I’ll never wear at Target. And she’s faceplant-caliber exhausted after class (HA HA CLASS, like they learn anything), which is worth every penny right there, although honest to God, I feel SO RIDICULOUS when I’m cheering as my wee child is careening down a makeshift zipline in a plastic swing. Yes, that’s right, a zipline. I don’t know, either.
(It was kind of awesome.)
2) At said gym, the one thing that makes me NUTSO is that they never refer to the moms by their names, nor do they even ASK WHAT OUR NAMES ARE. There’s this singsongy introduction, and we all share our kids’ names, but since the age group only goes to 22 months, aren’t … well, aren’t the moms more important? For God’s sake, this is really about US, let’s be honest. It’s OUR sanity on the line here, not the babies’.
We had some shifting of our gym days, and when they called to confirm, they were sure to point out to me that “Lila’s mom” agreed to the other day as well. And though obviously I know Lila’s mom, I was like, WHO? WHO IS THAT? And when they told Lila’s mom that they were switching, they said they were going to talk to “Samantha’s mom,” too, and I’m like, GYM LADIES. MEGAN AND I HAVE NAMES. OR SHOULD I JUST CALL YOU GYM LADY?
3) I do believe that I have finally, and for real this time, given up on Grey’s Anatomy. I didn’t see the season finale, nor did I TiVo it, and after hearing of the horror of horrors and what a totally stressful scene it was, I’m just like, really? Really, Shonda? I’m done. I don’t care about Mer, Der, Christina, Owen, Teddy or whoever the eff the next stupidly-named doctor who joins the scene is. I don’t care. I’m finished with you! FINISHED! FINISHED.
4) I am also all set with bathing my child. ALL SET, PLEASE. AND THANK YOU. We’re going through what is very clearly A Phase, but it is an UNPLEASANT phase, one that involves a refusal to have any water on top of her head, which means I can just barely wash it, but conditioning and combing it out? OH PLEASE. At this point, the back of her hair very clearly resembles a NEST of some sort, and isn’t that something we say to be funny? My hair looks like a rat’s nest? HA HA. Hers actually does. The back of it is all tangled and screwy and like, STUFF GETS STUCK IN IT back there. I pull lint out of it on an hourly basis, and I am not kidding, this morning I had a very frustrating moment removing the Velcro arm of a very tiny monkey. There are MONKEYS in my kid’s hair, for crying out loud. MONKEYS.
5) GUESS WHAT STARTS ON SUNDAY? Oh that’s right. TRUE BLOOD. Guess what comes out shortly? MY TRUE BLOOD BOOK. I’m giving away copies this week, so stay tuned! WHOO. Also, I’ll be writing updates throughout the season on Smart Pop’s site, so keep your eyes peeled this season. For my part, I hear that Eric has a new love interest, and while the prospect of more Naked Eric is very appealing, I am strangely possessive over Naked Eric (what?) and am really only interested in Naked Eric with Naked Sookie, even though I don’t even LIKE Sookie that much. How do you even explain this? You don’t.
I also hope Bill is eaten by wolves. Which, given the trajectory of the novels, is not entirely outside of the realm of possibility. (Oh stop, that’s not a spoiler. I only WISH he was EATEN by them.)
6) OH YOU GUYS, WITH THE DINNER SUGGESTIONS. I want to hug and kiss and love on each and every one of you. I have taken them all to deep, deep culinary heart, and have implemented a few of your ideas already. And, in fact, this week is Ground Zero for testing, and I’ll update you as we go. I should also add that explaining the many nuances of Adam’s culinary tolerances is sort of impossible, but that “saucy” does not apply to things that are supposed to have sauce, like pasta.
Ergo, tonight’s meal was pasta with sausage, peppers and onions and it was DELICIOUS, if I do say so. I picked up two links of hot Italian chicken sausage at Whole Foods, chopped it up and sauteed it with some onions and red/yellow peppers, topped off with Trader Joe’s puttanesca sauce in a jar, served over whole wheat rotini. SO GOOD. I sauteed the sausage/veggies during naptime, threw the sauce over it, and just left it on low until dinner, when I boiled the pasta and baked a take n’ bake loaf from TJ’s as accompaniment.
Not that you need any tips from me, much less the Food Douche kind, as YOU are the culinary geniuses, but I almost never make my own tomato sauce anymore, since every blasted can of tomatoes has BPA in it, and I’m also kind of freakish about which jarred sauces I’ll use, because an alarming number of sauces have HFCS in them, which, I’m sorry, what? Tomato sauce and corn syrup, what? GROSS. And also, WHY? Plus Trader Joe’s sauces are almost always delicious and superinexpensive and … oh yum. It was great, and we all ate together at 5:30. Only downside: It was a bit too spicy for Sam, as a lot of our meals are, so she had rotini with butter and cheese, plus fruit.
And yet: highly recommend. Also? Leftovers out the ying yang. WIN.
That was something. If by “something,” I mean something horrible and soul-crushing and easily the most challenging two and a half days of my entire — no, seriously, ENTIRE — life.
(Warning. This is kind of painful, but I HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO SAY. IT WAS THAT BAD AS MY TWITTER FOLLOWERS CAN ATTEST AS I LIVE-TWEETED THE HELLFIRE.)
The short version is this: I got the flu — the achy, shivering, feverish, want-to-die kind — plus barfing. The pukles! I GOT THEM! I woke up at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning thinking, boy, that London broil was a bad idea … I wonder if it was old? And by 3, I was in the bathroom, still holding onto hope that it was just a passing food thing when I realized, hm. Adam seems to be holding up just fine. By 7, I was starting to panic, and by 7:30, I was back in the bathroom ready to gouge my eyes out with my Venus razor. By 8, I realized desperately that Adam was leaving on a business trip (an interview in Boston, among other things), and I was supposed to go with him to visit my sister and have dinner with our friend Eve and there was no way in HIZELL I was going to make it.
Now all this seemed fine and good until I realized that while *I* was off the hook for traveling 300 miles (IN A CAR THAT WAS MOVING), Adam was still slated to be there, by hook or by crook, which meant that *I* was going to be home alone with a baby and a dog and The Pukles and … oh heavens, my friends, it was awful. Awful. AWFUL. It was EPIC in its awfulness, and I plopped my kid in front of the TV all day, every day (THE GUILT) and I watched the same! Laurie! Berkner! DVD! over and over again, and I acquainted myself with The Wonder Pets, and twice, I threw my screaming little baby into her crib while I desperately ran to the bathroom to throw up because she was doing something like reaching for the scissors on the counter and … oh.
Random aside: she’s effing tall enough to reach for shit on the counter. She’s not even 13 months old. She’s SO EFFING TALL, you guys, what is this MINIATURE GIANTESS I am raising?
Anyway, the whole thing was a horror show, and honestly, no exaggeration, CHILDBIRTH was easier than that shit, yo. CHILDBIRTH. I was in tears, I had a 102-degree fever, I was throwing up, I was desperate — oh, so desperate — for sleep and by the time Adam came home with sweet, sweet relief on Friday afternoon, the house looked like someone broke in, I hadn’t showered since Monday and Sam was happier than a pig in shit because she was basically wading in piles of it.
I tell you though, and I don’t mind saying this, for I feel I’ve earned it: When Adam came home, and everyone had survived? Dude. I felt like I was fucking BADASS, which is, when you think about it, ridiculous, but I’m telling you, it was like running five marathons with a colicky baby strapped to your chest while getting poked in the lady bits with a ceremonial sword or two. (Maybe the one Jacob and the Man in Black keep trading back and forth?) I LIVED. THE BABY LIVED. Oh y’all. I can do ANYTHING.
Meanwhile, the dog. My God, the dog. The dog was acting like some kind of FREAK DOG the whole time Adam was away — she followed me around underfoot, she barked at the air, she barely slept. Since he’s been home, she’s been passed out on his chest, snoring, every chance she gets. If I may anthropomorphize for a moment, I think she felt like she had to be on high alert because her alpha was gone. (I am not the alpha. Or even the beta. I’m pretty sure I’m her underling. She heeds the BABY better than she listens to me.)
Guarding the important people, before all hell broke loose.
Several epic naps, a husband who cleaned the entire house from top to bottom (including the CARPETS, people) and plenty of time lounging and I am almost recovered, at least physically. Mentally, it’s going to take some TIME, y’all. Like, YEARS.
In other news, I’m going to be in another Smart Pop book! This time in a guide for Glee! GLEE! It comes out in the fall, just in time for the second season. There’s also a contest if you want to submit your own essay on how Glee has impacted your life for a special section in the book.
Trust me when I say re-watching an entire season of Glee, over and over again (this time focusing on Mr. Schue and that irritating, no-good Emma Pillsbury. THAT’S RIGHT, I SAID IT. EMMA SUCKS.) is SO MUCH LESS TRAUMATIZING than two seasons of True Blood. (And infinitely easier than a day filled with C-SPAN.) TRUST ME. Let’s see: perky, whip-smart high school students embroiled in situations that don’t involve blood, guts and gore or John Boehner? Easy! Hell, after deconstructing two seasons of True Blood, teenage pregnancy seems downright wholesome.
And with that, happy Monday, y’all. May you all remain puke-free.
I’m alive! I’m ALIVE! Look at me, all TYPING SOMETHING I’M NOT CONTRACTUALLY OBLIGATED TO DO! Or, you know, something that’s not making me miserable. Not that work makes me miserable! Au contraire! I love what I do, really, I do, but there was a bit too many things going on there at once, all DUE at once, and … well, no one needs to hear about any of this, really, except that I have three obvious pro tips for you:
1) There is such a thing as seeing too much True Blood. I had to re-watch the whole show from start to finish. Many times. You want to know what happened in any episode? What Bill was wearing? What Eric was wearing? Oh, just ask me! I’ll tell you in excessive detail! My favorite Eric outfit, if you were wondering, was the zip-up track suit he wore in the department store with some kind of, um, horn around his neck. Oh, it was the first episode where he debuted his new haircut and, wait, where are you going?
2) No matter how much work you have to do, writing in a moving vehicle is ill advised. As is taking no breaks whatsoever (except to Shred) and not leaving the house or seeing your friends or getting your BABY out of the house. If you do what I did, which was to NEVER LEAVE OR STOP WORKING, you find yourself coming completely undone, your baby coming undone and having your husband gently take you aside and suggest that you walk the dog to “see the trees” and get perspective. SEE THE TREES.
3) Again, folks, LEAVE THE HOUSE. TAKE A BREAK. DO NOT BE ME. LEEEEAAAAVVEEE THE HOOUUUUSSSEEE. Twitter is great, but it is NOT meant to be your only form of social interaction. Repeat, Twitter does not substitute for actual human friends and conversation. Like, AT ALL.
So that’s what you missed. My slow descent into madness. I’m slowly clawing my way back to normalcy. I’ll write more normal stuff when I start acting … normal again.
But! I have Book Lushes news! Voting is now open on the next book! Here’s the poll!