Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Birthday

"You say it's your birthday / It's my birthday too--yeah / They say it's your birthday / We're gonna have a good time / I'm glad it's your birthday / Happy birthday to you / Yes, we're going to a party, party . . . / I would like you to dance [Birthday!"

I turned 34 years old yesterday. I received lots of birthday wishes and gifts and hugs and kisses, and I'm feeling really warm and fuzzy and yummy. Since we started dating, Dusty and I have maintained a tradition of staying up until midnight on the eve of a birthday to "ring it in", like your own personal New Year's Eve. So at the stroke of midnight on December 7/8, Dusty jumped up and down and said "Yay!", gave me a kiss and presented me with a lovely handmade card, as per our tradition. I waved my arms in the air, kicked my legs, and whispered "Yay!" I read my lovely card and then we all went promptly to bed. It was the most low-key Birthday Eve we've ever had.

This is the first birthday I can remember that snuck up on me. At the end of my Thanksgiving visit to my family, my mom piled my birthday gifts up next to my suitcase and it barely registered that my birthday was coming up fast. Usually, my birthday excitement starts building up at least a week before. I start singing, "It's almost my birthday! Not your birthday, but my birthday!" getting louder and more annoying as the week progresses. By the time Birthday Eve rolls around, I'm like a two-year-old who's had a sippy cup full of Dr. Pepper. I jump up and down on the bed yelling "Yay!" and singing, "It is now my birthday! Not your birthday, but my birthday!". I usually can't sleep for at least an hour after Birthday Eve celebrations because I'm too hopped up.

So what has changed? Well, on this Birthday Eve, I was sitting in the living room rocking chair with a soundly sleeping baby on my chest. Given the choice between FINALLY getting my child to bed and having my usual Birthday Eve, I'll happily dial down the hyper and zonk right on out. Even though we went to dinner with friends and celebrated my birthday with cake and gifts, the rest of the day felt like every other day. Diana and I slept in a little longer, but then we got up and it was just Monday. We played and napped and ate and went about our day like we always do.

I did, however, have the rare treat of talking for an hour on the phone with my Sag Sista, Mary, who is a fellow birthday enthusiast. She likes to do BIG things on her birthday and celebrated her birthday last week by going to Cuba. Mary is my hero. I realize this makes it sound like my birthday sucked this year because I didn't do a big thing like go to Cuba, but I think this is the point I'm trying to make: My birthday this year was HUGE.

Every birthday for the last four years, I've wished for the same thing before blowing out my candles. Last night, that birthday wish dug her wee fingers into my cake. I get to play and nap and eat and hang out every day with my birthday wish. How many people can say that? I ended up blowing out my candles three times due to some camera-shy candles, but I forgot to make a wish for this year. I mean, well, what more could I want? I guess I could've wished for world peace, but ohmigaw, like, that is SO Miss America. And we all know the tiara-wearing is the only good thing about being Miss America.

I can't remember where I picked up this quote, attributed to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, but I'm so inspired by it that I'll let it guide me to figure out my next few years' birthday wishes: "The criteria for success: You are free. You live in the present moment. You are useful to the people around you. You feel love for all humanity."

May all of you get your birthday wishes granted. Now I'm going to go have cake for breakfast.


"Birthday" by the Beatles. RIP John Lennon . . .

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kind and Generous

"You've been so kind and generous, I don't know how you keep on giving / For your kindness I'm in debt to you / For your selflessness, my admiration / For everything you've done, you know I'm bound / I'm bound to thank you for it"

Diana and I just got back on Monday from a week-long trip to visit my family. We were there to celebrate my dad's 70th birthday, my niece's christening, and, of course, Thanksgiving. Let me tell you, Interwebs, my family knows how to get our Thanksgiving ON. My mom made turkey AND ham; my sister, green bean casserole and yams; my brother, a veggie casserole; plus we had TONS of Pilipino desserts like bibingka, puto, sapin-sapin, and kutsinta. [I'm super hungry all of a sudden.] It's pretty cool that we got to celebrate Thanksgiving twice, one for each country. We have a lot to be thankful for this year.

First, I'm thankful that Diana was born healthy and is a strong, gorgeous, healthy, happy five-month-old baby. My whole family is absolutely in love with her. We almost drowned in cuteness when she was in the same room with her two baby cousins. I think that largely due to their influence, she sat all by herself for the first time while playing with her nine-month-old cousin. She also stood while holding onto her two-year-old cousin's toy box for a few seconds. I half-expected her to imitate her 12-year-old cousin and start squealing at the sight of Joe Jonas.

In case you're wondering, Diana's first-ever plane trip was relatively uneventful. She charmed the flight attendants and slept a lot, especially during the flight home to Edmonton. I tried to sleep a little bit, too, but it's hard to drift off when you're holding a baby on your lap. On each leg of the flight to Maryland, I was lucky to be seated next to a kind woman who helped me survive the flight.

Thank you, Lady in 23D, for holding Diana so I could go for a potty break during the flight from Edmonton to Chicago. I'm sorry she wailed after just three minutes, and I really appreciated your patience. Thank you, Lady in 15C, for being so quick at picking up my sweater when it fell off my shoulders during takeoff on the flight to Baltimore. I'm sorry I inadvertently gave your son an anatomy lesson, but he seemed satisfied with your answer that all I was doing was giving my baby milk. From my boobs.

Second, I'm thankful that Dusty and I are healthy, happy, and relatively sane. We continue to grow and work on our partnership every day. Becoming parents for the first time has thrown our lives into a tailspin, and our priorities have changed. We're getting used to the fact that our end-of-the-day talks have to happen in five-minute bursts while one of us is feeding or changing the baby, or making dinner, or folding laundry. Everything we do takes three times longer than it used to, so we do things as they need to be done. Leisure time for either of us is scheduled in advance, and leisure time for both of us is a rare and wondrous thing.

Thank you, Dusty, for getting up extra early every morning to clean up the kitchen for me. It's always a treat to wake up and make breakfast on spotless counters. Thank you for finally making a habit of reading the whiteboard in the kitchen. It took four years to get here, but you're doing it. Good job.

Finally, I'm thankful for the people who continue to be so good to us. This past year has shown us how kind and generous our fellow humans can be. My family, for example, sent us home with an extra suitcase of awesomeness. But gifts have also arrived from the most unexpected places. Old college friends, co-workers, even people we see or speak to once a year if we're lucky, have given or sent us books, toys, and clothes for Diana. Experienced parents have given us things we never thought we would need, but which have become indispensable. We would never have guessed we'd need a microwave bottle sterilizer or an electric breast pump, but our friends did. Sometimes, people seriously rock.

Thank you.


"Kind and Generous" by Natalie Merchant

Monday, November 17, 2008

Swing of Things

"'Sleep', you wrote, 'Sleep, my dear' / in a letter somewhere / Oh, but how can I sleep / with your voice in my head / with an ocean between us / and room in my bed"

My darling daughter is going to kill me with sleep deprivation. Right now, she is snoring happily next to her father, but she'll be awake again in an hour, I'm sure. She has been waking up every two hours lately, as if she is five weeks rather than five months old. During the day, she's rather clingy and wants to be near me at all times. It's not so bad when she's happy and can play on her mat while I work in the kitchen nearby, but sometimes she is Unhappy. And when she is Unhappy, there is Wailing. Long, plaintive, sad, and loud. MY daughter with a flair for the dramatic? Who'da thunk it? According to books and websites and my girlfriends, she is so out of sorts because she's ramping up to something developmentally huge, like teething. Oh dear. I have to steel myself for The Wailing To Come.

Diana has actually had a few developmental milestones since my last big update. She's gotten really good at rolling from her tummy onto her back. She has learned to scooch around on her mat by rolling; gone are the days when I can put her down and come back to find her exactly where I had left her. A couple of times she has rolled completely off the mat in my office and started reaching for the computer cables underneath my desk. What a good geek baby.

She had her first taste of rice cereal just before Hallowe'en and has now tried pureed carrots and barley cereal. Yesterday, she gummed her way through a couple of rice crackers and she seemed to enjoy being able to hold her food by herself for the first time. Her first foray into the swimming pool on Saturday was a bit more ambiguous; she seemed quiet and detached, but she was clearly observing everything and everyone around her, especially the little kids swimming and splashing around.

About two weeks ago, she watched her first presidential victory speech while cuddled up with me and her father on the couch. Elections are always important, but this one held so much more weight for us. We were voting for our daughter's future. So it gives me hope that America elected its first African American president in her lifetime. I was saddened and dismayed that Californians cared more about the welfare of farm animals than the civil rights of their gay brothers and sisters, but at least Obama addressed every American in his speech, including gay and straight. The journey is long and I guess we were only ready to take one step forward at a time.

So yeah, it's been a busy month. I hope you understand why I've been gone all this time, Interwebs. I do miss you, and I think about you often, but given the choice between napping and updating my blog, napping will always win. I guess I'm not cut out to be a real mommy blogger, eh? Ah, well. Time to crawl back into bed before the next bout of Wailing begins.


"Swing of Things" by a-ha

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dinner at Eight

"No matter how strong / I'm gonna take you down / With one little stone / I'm gonna break you down"

Scene from Dinnertime for the Sons of Karincita and Tricky:

Tita: Come sit at the table, guys. Time for dinner.

Monchichi: What's for dinner?

Tita: You have a sandwich and your brother has some cut-up veggies and goodies.

Monchichi: A sandwich is not dinner.

Tita: No? Then what's dinner?

Monchichi: I want pasta and chicken* and broccoli . . . Please.

Tita: Yyyeah . . . How about the yummy sandwich your mom lovingly made for you?

Monchichi: Okay. Can I have a cookie after?

Tita: Sure. Just one.

Monchichi: How about two? The monkeys in the barrel want a cookie, too.

Tita: Eat your sandwich and we'll talk.

- End Scene -

This kid could have a promising career as a diplomatic negotiator.


"Dinner at Eight" by Rufus Wainwright, though really the boys ate dinner at seven.
*I assume he means veggie "chicken".

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Losing My Religion

"Consider this / Consider this the hint of the century / Consider this"

Last week, I went to see Bill Maher's mockumentary Religulous. I call it that because Maher spent the entire movie mocking people for their faith. On the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Maher claimed that all he does in the movie is ask questions about religion, to try to stir up a national debate. He did indeed ask a lot of questions, but it's obvious that he already knows what answers he wants to hear. If he didn't agree with someone, he would interrupt while the person was in mid-sentence and immediately contradict their statements with facts well-researched by his interns.

I understand that he makes a living being politically incorrect, and he admits that his primary intention with this movie is to make people laugh. But watching him engage in verbal combat with people who are obviously not well-armed isn't funny, it's painful. Watching him make fun of born-again Christian truckers FROM THEIR CHAPEL'S PULPIT and knowing that the truckers don't realize he is making fun of them didn't prove how stupid the truckers were. It only proved what a jackhole Bill Maher is. It also proved that he is as fundamentalist in his beliefs as his subjects. He is just more savvy at making it look like he is "questioning".

The movie is not without its merits. It is funniest when Maher allows the interviewees to hang themselves with their own rope. Like when the uber-religious creationist Arkansas senator says, "You don't have to pass an IQ test to be a US Senator." The look on his face when he realizes what his statement implies is priceless.

I was surprised and impressed that two of the film's only voices of reason were Catholic priests. One was working as an astronomer for the Vatican[I KNOW, RIGHT?!] and the other just happened to be standing outside the Vatican and decides to just shoot the shit with Maher after Maher and his crew are kicked out of the holy city. Both priests say that the danger with religion lies in fundamentalism. If we all take the time to understand each other instead of immediately condemning one another when we disagree, the world would be a better place. I hope Bill Maher was really listening.

And I hope that those of you who live in California, or can at least vote in California like Dusty and I, will listen to another voice of reason. Father Geoff Farrow, a Catholic priest in Fresno, California, was recently suspended for refusing to follow a diocese directive encouraging his parishioners to vote to ban same-sex marriage in California. While he does not tell his readers directly how they should vote, Father Geoff writes that he is "morally compelled to vote 'NO' on Proposition 8". I'll let him have the last word:

"Think and consider the effects of your vote on others, especially minorities in our society who are sitting next to you in church, and at work. The act of casting a vote takes you a few minutes but it can cause other human beings untold happiness or sorrow for a lifetime. It can grant them hope and acceptance, or it can cause them to lose civil rights."


"Losing My Religion" by REM

Friday, September 26, 2008

Let There Be Rock

"Let there be light / and there was light / Let there be sound / and there was sound / Let there be drums / and there was drums / Let there be guitar / and there was guitar / Let there be rock"

Let there be a video game that Daddy can safely play with his baby Button. And there was Rock Band.

Diana loves the pretty colors and enjoys Daddy's version of rocking out to the music. She has been known to drift to sleep even to Metallica's "Enter Sandman". Like a good geek baby, she protests loudly during long load times.

At five minutes to midnight last night, Dusty dragged himself out of bed, carried a crying Diana out to the living room, fired up the XBox, and played three songs to lull her back to sleep. Now that's a dedicated geek daddy.


"Let There Be Rock" by AC/DC

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Paa, Tuhod, Balikat, Ulo*

"Feet/Toes, Knees, Shoulders, Head"

Diana and I have a morning ritual after her breakfast in which I name her body parts in both English and Tagalog [the predominant Pilipino dialect], from head to toe. There are times when I think the English language should be taken out to a cornfield and shot, like in the case of comb, bomb, tomb: the only thing that changed was the first letter, so why are there three different pronunciations?! But sometimes, English gets it right.

In Tagalog, nose is ilong (ee-LONG), eyes are mata [mah-TAH], mouth is bibig [bee-BIG], ears are tenga [teh-NGAH], and so on. Maybe it's just because my brain is slowly leaking out of my tenga these days, but it seems to me the one-syllable feature of English body parts makes it easier to digest and retain.

Even before I found out I was pregnant, I intended to speak to my children exclusively in Tagalog. Diana is the product of two distinct cultures, so I want to make sure she has an understanding of both languages. As with most things I had intended to do with my children, the daily reality is a little different from what I had imagined. Some days I struggle to remember even simple phrases like "Let's change out of our pajamas." Part of the issue is that there is no Tagalog equivalent for "pajamas", but most of the issue is that I don't have enough opportunities to practice my native tongue. In the Philippines, English is a required second language taught in school, and pretty much all business is conducted in English, so most Pilipinos speak Tagalog [or one of the other 70 Pilipino dialects] and English equally well. Even my parents find it easier to talk to me in Taglish, since it sometimes takes me 44 years to come up with the right Tagalog phrases. I fear Tagalog is going the way of Esperanto, and I'm helping to kill it.

Now that Diana is becoming more responsive and talkative, cooing and vocalizing, I'm also trying to decide whether or not it's worth it to teach her baby sign. On the one hand [Literally, because it's sign language! Thank you! I'll be here all week.], it's a language that she and I can learn together, and its proponents say that baby sign is a great way for both babies and parents to reduce frustration over understanding baby's needs. On the other hand, it's yet another language to learn and Diana will only have me to model the language for her. At least with Tagalog, I have my parents, plus story books and music CDs, to help me expose her to other instances of the language. One of her favorite lullabies is "Puno sa Gubat" ["Trees in the Forest"] by Joey Ayala.

I know this issue will heat up anew when Diana starts school in a few years. Because Canada is AWESOME, all three elementary schools in our neighborhood have language immersion programs. Our next-door neighbors had the choice to enroll their kindergartener in French, Ukrainian, or Chinese immersion. I'm sure it won't be long before I hear him call his little brother a stupidhead en français. If we move back to the U.S. before Diana starts school, we will most likely not have such a wide variety of choices. I definitely want to make sure she speaks at least one language other than English; the world is getting smaller every day and I think it could only help her to be able to communicate with as many people in the world as possible. So I hope my humble efforts to teach her a little bit of Tagalog will at least make her generally more receptive to learning other languages.

There is no one right answer, but I'm curious what other people's experiences have been with teaching their kids a language other than English, whether that's baby sign or Tagalog or Chinese or something else. What has worked for you?


*It's basically sung to the tune of "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" but with the order of body parts reversed.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Safe

"The monsters seem to fade so fast / Upon the waking of another dream / . . . / And you're okay because you're tucked away"

It's been three days since our car was vandalized. The police report was filed and the driver's side window has been replaced. It sucked that Dusty spent part of his afternoon off filing the report at the police station and cleaning up broken glass from the car, but nobody was hurt. Dusty was inside the movie theater when the break-in happened and Diana and I were at home. The thieves only took the iPod radio converter and Diana's diaper bag. Nothing of serious monetary value was stolen, but I feel really violated. In taking the diaper bag, they stole from a baby. My baby. Surely there's a special layer of Hell reserved for that. If only I weren't so fastidious about keeping that backpack clean and well-stocked; those jackholes could've at least opened up the bag expecting some good shit, only to find a ripe, fermenting diaper.

I know that logically, the things in that diaper bag were just things, but they're not. The embroidered sun hat that Diana wore to Folkfest is not just a thing. There are three faint yellow dots on the top of that hat, three dots that earned Dusty a stern talking-to for dripping veggie curry on his child's head. And now it's gone. As are the cute pink fleecy sweater and sweatpants I found on sale. And the ear plugs in the front pocket, in case we take her to the movies or a concert. A Mommy-and-Daddy pouch [a batik purse from my cousin] that contained dental floss, lip balm, lotion, hand sanitizer, and an emergency $20. The hooded teddy bear blanket from Charles and Bianca. One of the blankets that Corey's mom made when Liz was pregnant with Claire. The more items I realize were in that diaper bag that I now have to replace, the more upset I become. That diaper bag was packed with love.

Right after the incident happened, Karincita and Tricky swung by our place with a six-pack of Negra Modelo and a backpack filled with some baby care essentials like wipes, washcloths, aloe vera gel, and hand-me-downs from the boys. They added a new layer of love to Diana's replacement diaper bag. At least I can say that for every punk who would smash a window in the middle of a Friday afternoon just to steal a backpack, there are two ridiculously awesome people who would take time out of their afternoon off to make their friends feel like the world is not such a terrible place after all.


"Safe" by Travis

Friday, August 29, 2008

P.Y.T. [Pretty Young Thing]

"We can make it right / hit the city lights / I want to love you"

Diana is getting too big and squirmy and curious to continue facing inward in her mei-tai, but she can't hold her head upright well enough for me to carry her on my back yet. So Dusty and I are in the market for a BABYBJÖRN. I'd been browsing the BABYBJÖRN website this evening when I came upon the Baby Carrier Original Star, touted thusly: "Star quality and glamour are the keynotes of this year’s elegant version of the classic BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Original." Here's a photo [click through for the full effect]:

Is it just me or is this couple a little too Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones for comfort? I'm not one to judge*, but . . . Ewww.


"P.Y.T. [Pretty Young Thing]" by Michael Jackson
*HEE!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's Not Right, But It's OK

"I've been through this before"

When I was in Barcelona in April 2007, I came across this sign on the Modernisme walking tour:


As soon as I got home, I e-mailed Karincita the photo and lamented, "Sweet Mother of God, does the Oficina Turista need editors! Just look at it! Ay! Que mal!" She and I plotted to go around the world, armed with righteous indignation and red Sharpies, to correct such abominations. We would do it for the children. Why won't anybody think of the children when they wield punctuation irresponsibly?

Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson beat us to the punch. These two "self-styled vigilantes" corrected a sign in a national park and were banned from all national parks for a year, plus fined $3,000 for the repair of the sign. I guess that's the price you have to pay for guerrilla grammar.

Still, I applaud their moxie and agree with Deck, who didn't correct a misspelling and says, "I shall be haunted by that perversity, emense, in my train-whistle-blighted dreams tonight."
I feel your pain, brother.

"It's Not Right, But It's OK" by Whitney Houston

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tell Me Lies

"Close your, close your, close your eyes"

My mother bought me this dress, which I wore when we gathered for the full moon at my house. I sortof wore it as a joke, a lark, if you will. But Karin and Jamie told me it was cute.

Dear Mom: Thank you. I love you for shopping for me, but come on now. I bury one placenta in the back yard and you think I'd wear this in public? Didn't you always tell me I should say no to drugs?

Dear Karin and Jamie: I love you for telling me sweet little lies, but I think the print on this dress burned your retinas irreparably. Y'all should get that checked out.

Kisses,
Cookie


"Tell Me Lies" by Fleetwood Mac

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More Than Words

"More than words is all you have to do to make it real"

A bit of cross-blog promotion from the PostSecret website: "Read thousands of submitted "six-word memoirs" and post your own for possible inclusion in a new book. Visit Frank's PostSecret Blog on MySpace." Summing up my life so far in six words . . . color me intrigued.

Here's one of my six-word memoirs: Maybe I'm more scared I'll win.

Here's another: My name is Concepcion. How ironic.

Care to share one of yours?

"More Than Words" by Extreme

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dancin'

"I keep on dancin', dancin' / Nothing left to say, nothing left to do . . . / You've got me dancin'"

It seems to have become our new family tradition to attend the Sunday evening show at Folkfest. We love us some live music, but four straight days of it is a bit much. Thankfully, the last night of Folkfest tends to be the best. Dusty, Diana, and I arrived at Gallagher Park just in time to meet up with Uncle KPAX for a sampling of Luc Doucet's twangy "wheat rock". The set was pretty good, but not compelling enough to keep us distracted from our hungry bellies and thirsty gullets. After just a couple of songs, we headed down to get our food and drink on. Diana outdrooled everyone at the beer tent.

We took note of all the families with young babies picnicking on the grass and patted ourselves on the back for not hauling our gigantor stroller onto the grounds. I was really happy not to be among the exhausted parents pushing their overtired kids in strollers up the hill after the show like so many Sisyphuses [Sisyphi?]. Diana did just dandy in her carrier and we were able to roll in and out of the festival pretty quickly. KPAX was impressed that we traveled so light, with just one backpack to hold all our baby gear. A happy baby is clean, warm, and fed. So for a day out, Diana doesn't need much more gear than a couple of diapers, a blanket, and warm clothes. My boobs don't fit in the backpack, but I never leave home without them anyway.

During Broken Social Scene's set, we met up with Laurel, Mike, and Su at the beer tent and headed up to their tarp after finishing our pitcher. Every year, Laurel does the tarp run and gets a prime spot on the hill for all her moocher friends like us. Thanks, Tita Laurel!

KPAX was sure that the Peatbog Faeries would be my new favorite band, but I wasn't that impressed. Sure, Diana and I had a fine time dancing to their Celtic rock electronica, but I felt like a bunch of their songs sounded exactly alike. I may be a Scottish accent whore, but it takes more than a wee brogue and a great set of bagpipes to impress me. Maybe our friend Kevin, who is apparently a huge fan of the Faeries, can enlighten us on their appeal.

Now the Duhks from Winnipeg - these cats may very well be my new favorite band. Their version of the folk standard "A Mighty Storm" was fierce and "Out of the Rain" was phenomenal. Dusty joined me and Diana near the stage area for a dance to one of their more uproarious fiddle songs. Diana got so excited by all the dancing, she pooped her pants. At least she waited until the song was over. I guess if you don't know how to clap yet, you have to express yourself some other way.

I'm a little perplexed at her reaction to Chris Isaak, however:

The hot-pink-suited Mr. Isaak was brilliant, funny, charming, and laid-back. His set had just the right mix of hits and favorites to make the ladies swoon and get the rest of the audience dancing. He got the entire hill on its feet when he decided to run through the crowds during "Love Me Tender". He then climbed the scaffolding to the left of the screen you can see in the photo above and waved to all of us. Oh, Chris, you so crazy!

I can hardly believe I never saw his live show before Sunday. What the hell was I spending my concert money on when I lived in San Francisco?! I'm so glad he changed into his famous mirrorball suit halfway through the set; Laurel had talked it up so much I was going to be bummed if I didn't see it. Only Chris Isaak could wear a mirrorball suit. Sigh.

Folkfest was as fun as it was last year, but I can't wait until next year, when Diana will be old enough to actually dance on her own two feet. Now that will be -- to steal a phrase from my good friend Drew -- awesome like a spossum.

"Dancin'" by Chris Isaak

Thursday, August 7, 2008

No More Words

"I'm still listening and still unsure"

Dear Lady at Winners:

Four things I didn't get to say to you this afternoon:

1) I don't know why, but I totally dug your Skechers! They look comfortable, and yet the style is sortof retro. I think I owned a pair just like this in seventh grade, but these are way cuter.

2) Your hair is super adorable! If you were Katie Holmes, you'd look like this:

3) Thank you for saying my daughter was beautiful when you peered into her stroller the way so many other women do whenever I am out somewhere with my Button. It seems to be a "thing" among women pushing strollers in public places, especially stores: you lock eyes with another woman pushing a stroller and smile, peer into her stroller and declare the wee creature sitting there to be "beautiful" or "adorable" or "big" or "little" or, if the wee one actually LOOKS a bit creature-ish, "precious". The woman then reciprocates.

4) I'm sorry I broke the rules above and didn't reciprocate but--how do I put this delicately?--you had a Yorkshire terrier in your stroller. YOU WERE PUSHING YOUR DOG IN A STROLLER!!!!!11!!!!! And you were blithely talking to me about my baby in her stroller! What was I supposed to say back to you? "I'll bet mine doesn't shed as much on the sofa"?! Now you know why I suddenly feigned interest in that heinous poop brown Tommy Hilfiger logo tote bag. I should've complimented you on your shoes or hair, but the DOG IN YOUR STROLLER distracted me.

Dear Other Ladies Who Push Dogs in Strollers:

Let's not compare "babies". I don't . . . I can't . . . Just . . . NO, okay? NO.

"No More Words" by Berlin

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How Do You Sleep?

"Ah, how do you sleep? / Ah, how do you sleep at night?"

You know, I really need to just unpucker and relax. The trip to Calgary was a dream. Diana slept through the 2 1/2 hour drive down to Calgary and almost all the way home the next day. She got hungry right outside of Airdrie, so I had to take her out of her car seat and feed her, all illegal-like, while the car was in motion. Thanks for reminding me to bring my boobs, Betsy!

We ended up getting a room for our overnight stay at the Calgary Days Inn with two double beds, so we set up Diana's co-sleeper in one of them. It not only provided a familiar place for her to sleep, it also assured me that she wasn't actually touching the hotel sheets. Because, as you know, suddenly hotel sheets = ICK. It took her a little while to get to sleep that night, but once she was asleep, she was down for 5 1/2 hours. Let me type that again - FIVE HOURS AND THIRTY MINUTES. Sorry for the shouting, but you can imagine why uninterrupted sleep would be so exciting to a new parent. It was also nice being able to snuggle with my hunny again, after six weeks of sleeping with Diana's co-sleeper between us.

Diana was actually a champion sleeper for the trip. She slept through the entire proceedings at the Consulate, including the part where her parents and the rest of the American citizens were separated from the Great Unwashed. The security guard actually physically put us in separate lines, handing us tickets that designated "A" if you're American and "V" for "Visitor" if you're a filthy foreigner. I guess only Lady Liberty embraces the tired, poor, and wretched masses yearning to breathe free. Uncle Sam would really rather they stood in that line over there.

After the trip, she continued her champion sleeping. For two days afterward, she slept six hours each night. SIX CONTINUOUS HOURS OF SLEEP. She's back to her usual two- to three-hour stretches of sleep now, but I will treasure those two glorious days, three if we count the hotel stay. How I'd missed Rapid Eye Movement. How I'd longed for my brain to function like that again. It was still only chugging along at half-speed, but half is greater than zero. [Right? Someone check my math.] For the first time in weeks, I was able to speak in complete sentences. I knew where my glass of water was at all times and not once did I leave tea steeping from 10 AM until 3 PM.

I will remember those continuous hours of sleep when we let her sleep on her own at night for the first time. I will probably need to find lyrics that go something like "Tore my own ears off" or "Sweet Zombie Jesus, please stop the crying".


"How Do You Sleep?" by John Lennon

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

[Girl] on Film

"Girls on film, (two minutes later) girls on film / Girls on film, (got your picture) girls on film"

Outtakes from Diana's passport photo shoot:

"And the kid says, 'Orange you glad I didn't say banana?' OH SNAP!"

"Okay, sorry. Sorry! I'll try to be serious."

"Oh man, I can't stop thinking about that knock knock joke."

"Orange you glad I didn't say banana! HEE!"

"All right, new shirt with no spit-up on it. Now let me help adjust the camera angle . . ."

"Let's do this! I'll try not to smile. Or poop . . . Whoops."


"Girls on Film" by Duran Duran

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Best Way to Travel

"Speeding through the universe / Thinking is the best way to travel"

Tomorrow afternoon we are leaving for Calgary, our first official road trip as a family. We have to go tell our homeland's gubbment that a child was born unto us [Hallelujah!] and get Diana her first passport, so we're staying overnight at a hotel and lining up at the American Consulate first thing Monday morning.

So!

1) How do we make sure that our infant is relatively happy during the 2 1/2 hour drive down to Calgary? And back?

2) How do I avoid getting neurotic about my daughter coming into contact with hotel sheets and surfaces? I've seen those Dateline specials with the infrared hidden cameras, and I've been generally okay about hotels' lax standards of cleanliness. Until now. I'm thinking that even a giant tub of Lysol disinfectant wipes will be no match for whatever evil lurks on hotel surfaces. I'm trying to be zen about it, but we all know I'm too butt-puckered to be zen about this sort of thing.

Advice? Suggestions? Bring it.


"The Best Way to Travel" by Moody Blues

Friday, July 25, 2008

Play the Game

"Rest your weary head and let your heart decide / It's so easy when you know the rules"

Every day, Diana gets a few minutes of Tummy Time so she can exercise her wee muscles and learn how to pull herself up and roll over. She doesn't particularly like Tummy Time [read: she hates it with a passion that burns brighter than the twin suns of Tattooine], so I set the egg timer to three minutes as her limit before I turn her back over. Even if she gets pissed off, she has to struggle through those three minutes.

Yesterday, my darling one pulled herself up during Tummy Time for a full minute, just long enough for me to praise her mad skillz. Then she promptly banged her tiny fists down on the mat, kicked her wee legs out, and laid her head down to sleep. When the timer rang, she opened one eye, looked right at me crouched on the floor beside her, smiled, and banged her fists on the mat once more for emphasis. Then she started snoring. It counts as Tummy Time if she's still on her tummy when the timer rings, right?

Uh-oh. Am I raising a power gamer?


"Play the Game" by Queen

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Not the Girl You Think You Are

"You're not the girl you think you are / someone's standing in your place / the bathroom mirror makes you look tall / but it's all in your head, in your head"

Diana is one month old today. Since she was born, she has gained two pounds and has grown an inch and a half taller. She is the cutest baby in the whole wide world and not just because she still sometimes sleeps for four hours at a stretch, mercifully between midnight and 4 AM. She has just begun smiling, cooing, and gurgling and making sounds that seem like real attempts at talking. I thought she even laughed once, at some stupid song I made up to calm her because she hates having her diaper changed. Every day she does something new that makes me laugh or wonder or learn. And she's only a month old. I have longed to have this child for four years, maybe longer. Maybe all my life.

And yet . . .

This is really fucking hard. I know I have read this exact sentiment in many a mommy blog, and I thought I would have something original to say about it. I don't, except maybe for the profanity. And even THAT is unoriginal. I am just too tired for creative curse words that possibly involve donkey penises. Besides, this is a post about motherhood so I should keep the swearing to the barest minimum and get on with the whining already.

Yesterday I felt like motherhood had slammed me into a wall. It was 2 PM and I hadn't showered, brushed my teeth or hair, or changed out of my spitup-stained pajamas. I had accomplished nothing except feeding and changing the baby every two hours since 7 AM. My daughter, the Duchess of Eatington, was hungry just about every 90 minutes. When she wasn't eating, she was pooping [sweet gods the pooping] or fussy and fidgeting. She was not happy unless I was holding her or rocking her to sleep. I had to go to the bathroom with my child strapped to me in a mei tai. I've done my share of freaky shit in my time, but that was just WEIRD.

The house was a complete mess, with dishes piled up at the sink and swaddling blankets or washcloths draped everywhere. I generally keep a tidy household, but I try not to be too picky except for the kitchen. I absolutely must have a clean kitchen or I start losing my shit. And yesterday, I started losing my shit. Every time I thought the baby was asleep, I would put her down in her crib so I could clean the kitchen. She only slept in 20-minute intervals and needed changing, rocking, or feeding when she woke up. It took me nearly FOUR AND A HALF HOURS to do the dishes and clean the kitchen, but I did it. I rewarded myself with a shower while my daughter slept [FINALLY] in her cradle chair on the floor next to the tub.

The thing is, Diana is actually a really good baby and things are going great. Dusty and I have gotten into a groove again after the flurry of activity and visits in the last couple of weeks; we've even begun a nightly bedtime routine for Diana. We have heard horror stories from other parents: colicky babies who would wail for 48 CONTINUOUS hours, moms who couldn't produce enough milk to meet their babies' demands, dads who only slept two hours a night because one or the other of their kids would be awake and cranky. That I managed to not only clean the kitchen but also shower at some point during one of my worst days is apparently a triumph. But this parenthood gig is unlike anything I've ever done before. It's turning me inside out and forcing me to rethink who I thought I was.

I admit that I cannot do this alone; I have a newfound respect for single parents. I'm slowly learning to ask for help from Dusty and others when I actually need it, not when I've gotten too desperate to ask. I'm constantly checking myself so I can hold my shit together even when the baby is freaking out, or at least seem like I'm holding it together even when I am freaking out. I rock and walk and bounce and sing over and over and over, hour after hour, until the baby realizes she is tired after all and falls asleep.

I look in the mirror and do not see the Amazon Bitch Goddess I'm used to seeing. That girl needs nobody and doesn't want anybody to need her. In the mirror is someone trying really hard to become more humble, calm, and patient, to get used to needing people and being needed. I'm not sure I know who this girl is, but she is definitely somebody's mother.


"Not the Girl You Think You Are" by Crowded House

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bad Boy

"(Boys will be boys) / Nothin' but trouble"

After an evening out with some BioWare tech design leads, Dusty greets his daughter: "See, Button? Daddy comes home earlier when he hangs out with guys who have kids. I only have late nights when I hang out with single guys . . . well, I guess some of them are married, but have no kids. Hey, hunny, what do you call those guys?"

"The Undad."

"They love their wives for their beauty and braaains."


"Bad Boy" by Miami Sound Machine

Saturday, June 28, 2008

That Face

"Those cheeks, that neck, that chin / Will surely do me in"

Oh my god, you guys. My baby is the most adorable baby EVER. I've seen a lot of cute babies in my time , but holy crap my baby is the cutest. Every day I have a full meal with her cheeks as appetizer, her neck as an entree, and her chin for dessert. Yummers nummers!

Diana's Lolo and Lola arrived today from Baltimore for a week-long visit and they noticed that she's a very smiley baby. I know that her "smiles" are really just her getting used to her face, so I'm trying not to read anything into her expressions. I do admit it's fun guessing the various personalities she is trying out.

I call this one Morty, the glad-handing used car salesman: "How ya doin'? What would it take to get you into this gawgeous Chevy Impala?" [Check out that fabulous male pattern baldness.]

This one is Scar, the Pirate Who Only Says "Yarrr!" [Yes, she scratched up her face. Stupid muscle control.]

Gollum wantss the Preciouss!

DJ Kidlat in the hizz, dropping beats like hotcakes! Holla!

The newest one in her repertoire surfaced on Thursday. My baby transformed into [le gasp] Oprah: "I feel your pain, sisterfriend."

So, yeah. My baby is awesome. She's eating, sleeping, and pooping like she's been doing it all her life. I may not be able to post very much for a while, but I'm sleeping way better than expected for someone with an 11-day-old; like four hours at a stretch sometimes. [I just jinxed myself, didn't I?] It wouldn't be possible without my fantastic partner and husband, who is an expert at diaper duty and kitchen cleanup. Go Team Everman! Now with Diana, Wonder Baby!


"That Face" from The Producers

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Girl

"I've got sunshine on a cloudy day / When it's cold outside / I've got the month of May / I guess you'd say / What could make me feel this way? / My girl"

My darling one has been asleep for the last hour or so -- thanks to Daddy's magic rocking-baby-girl-to-sleep arms -- which means it is almost time for another feeding. I know, I know, I'm totally ignoring the advice of all the people who said I should sleep when the baby sleeps, but a lot of those same people also have been asking about the baby, so they can shut up and read. A longer post will be forthcoming . . . eventually. In the meantime:

WELCOME TO THE WORLD, WEE ONE!

Diana Florecita Everman

Named after Dusty's mom, Diana, and my mom, Florecita
Born on: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at high noon
Weight: 6 pounds 11 ounces
Length: 19 inches
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Gunmetal Gray
Fingers: 10
Toes: 10
Cheeks: Nummers
Hours I Spent in Labor: 41
Times I've Said "Nipple" in the Last 48 Hours: 135
[I can't say "nipple" while I'm asleep; I've tried.]

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go fall in love some more.


"My Girl" by The Temptations

Saturday, June 14, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

"When green is all there is to be / it could make you wonder why, / but why wonder, why wonder? / I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful! / And I think it's what I want to be."

Well, at least one good thing has come out of my wee tenant STILL ignoring my eviction notices: Dusty and I were able to go to a matinee showing of The Incredible Hulk this afternoon. If Wonder Woman is the superhero I wish I could be, then the Hulk is the flawed and broken superhero I already am. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry. I don't like me when I'm angry. And apparently, Bruce Banner doesn't like himself when he's angry, either. I feel you, brah. Seriously.

About a week ago, I caught the last hour of Ang Lee's much-maligned Hulk on Spike TV. That version starred one of my former boys, Eric Bana, and Dusty's girl Jennifer Connelly, and I still thought it was terrible. Bana's Banner didn't like himself when he's angry, but holy Mary was he more whiny about it than Edward Norton's Banner. Bana was only working with what he was given, but it's still clear that Norton is a far superior actor who can convey emotion with just a furrow of his brow. I also really identified with this Bruce Banner's attempts at controlling or at least channeling his anger. If I must go into "Cookie smash!" mode sometimes, I would like to have a good reason to do it.

Since the new Hulk movie just opened on Friday night, I won't say too much more about it. You really should just go see it. Dusty and I both really enjoyed ourselves and there were so many cinematic treats for fans and newbies alike. Speaking of treats, this is better than the trailer for selling the movie. I just watched it again and peed my pants, and not just because there's an overdue live human being pressing on my bladder.


"It's Not Easy Being Green" sung by Kermit the Frog

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wait

"When all we wanted was the dream / to have and to hold / that precious little thing / like every generation yields /the newborn hope unjaded by the years"

So today is the baby's due date. The back pains and INTENSE Braxton-Hicks contractions began at 5 AM, but there wasn't a discernible pattern then and there still isn't one now, more than 12 hours later. I went in for my weekly checkup this afternoon and the midwife says everything is going fine and I should be delivering soon. Not soon enough, sister!

To distract myself from the pain and achiness this morning, I cleaned the kitchen thoroughly. You could lick those counters in a totally R-rated way; they're that spotless. Then I made myself some tea and breakfast and booted up the interwebs.

My "How your baby is developing" email of the week said: "Congratulations on your newborn!"

Dear babycenter.ca: FUCK YOU.

Dear Maricel, Ling, Betsy, and every other woman I may have called during essentially her tenth month of pregnancy "just to check in and see if you've given birth yet": I AM SO SORRY.

Dear anyone who is thinking of calling me just to check in and see if I've given birth yet: PLEASE DON'T.

I really appreciate your concern and your good thoughts and wishes, but I'm SUPER cranky about being in pain and having to wait for my body to do something about it. I don't want you to call and catch me in a foul mood. You don't want to call and catch me in a foul mood. Seriously, if I'm in a foul enough mood, I could open one or more of my nine mouths and sing us all into the End Times. I don't want that on my conscience and neither do you.

And so we wait.


"Wait" by Sarah McLachlan

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

They Drink Tea

"There are those who love to get dirty and fix things. / They drink coffee at dawn, beer after work. / And those who stay clean, just appreciate things. / At breakfast they have milk and juice at night. / There are those who do both; they drink tea.”

Yesterday was mostly gray, cold, and wet, so I went to the Old Strathcona Antique Mall, one of my favorite places to while away a rainy afternoon. After spending an hour and a half amongst the treasures of another generation, I purchased two gorgeous teacup and saucer sets and unwittingly became an antiques collector. To celebrate my newfound old-lady hobby, Dusty and I drank our breakfast tea in those lovely teacups this morning, with our pinkies raised.

This isn't the first time I've bought teacups and saucers. Anyone who has been to our house knows Dusty and I are tea snobs who prefer looseleaf tea, so it was only natural that I would gravitate toward collecting teatime dishes. I bought my first "grownup" tea set -- eight teacups and saucers -- at a thrift store in San Bruno, CA, about ten years ago. The entire set was from Pottery Barn and they were immaculate, pure white porcelain with no nicks or scratches. The set only cost $16, but I was a mostly-broke recent college graduate living in a tiny studio apartment, so I questioned the wisdom of buying the set only to leave it in the box for future use.

It was also hard for me to believe someone would get rid of such a beautiful and useful set of dishes for such a low price, so I made up a story about how the owner got rid of it after a nasty divorce. The reason why there were only eight in the set is because she threw the other four cups and saucers at her ex's head. This sordid background story made me really want the set and I went back the next day to buy it. That Christmas, my mom gave me a teapot, sugar bowl, and creamer set decorated with pansies. That tea service and the bitter divorcee's teacup and saucer set have become regular fixtures at our dinner parties.

Shortly after Dusty and I moved to Edmonton, we became friends with Laurel, who has an exquisite collection of patterned teacups and saucers handed down from her mother and aunts. The teacups and saucers are not part of a matching set. In fact, no two are alike. Laurel knew their histories and what styles they were and I really should've paid more attention. All I could think about was that they were as lovely as a field of porcelain flowers. I was clearly falling in love.

A couple of months later, I paid $5 for my first patterned teacup and saucer from Value Village:

It's actually my least favorite because the bowl of the cup isn't quite low or wide enough for my liking, and there are tea stains at the bottom. But it was my first, so it'll stay in the collection. Redheaded stepchildren need love, too.

I got this one a few weeks later at the Old Strathcona Antique Mall:

It's a step up in price and quality. It's only stamped "Made in Japan" at the bottom, just as my first one is only stamped "Made in England", meaning they were both probably mass-produced, but this one seems like it's made of finer material.

So what made me an official collector with the two I purchased yesterday? Well, for starters, their combined cost is double the combined cost of the first two. The handles are more ornate and the colors are more vivid. They are also the first ones that are part of limited edition styles. For example, this one is a Heathcote:

And this one is an Adderley:

I know I wrote that like I know what I'm talking about, but I just read what it says at the bottom of the cup. I don't even know if I'm referring to the parts of the teacup correctly. All I know is that these teacups and saucers are really pretty and I like them a lot.

When one of the vendors at the Antique Mall saw me admiring the Heathcote, he gave me his card and told me he could get me a better deal on Heathcotes, as well as Paragons and Royal Alberts. [The interwebs says some of those styles could fetch up to $40 for one teacup and saucer!] Then he asked me what I look for when I'm "purchasing" for my "collection". [Here I thought I was just buying purdy thangs.] I felt like I should say something intelligent, like "I check that the gilt edges are intact and that there are no markings." Instead, I answered honestly: "I just wait for them to call out to me."

Well, fancy that. I'm an antiques collector now, y'all.

"They Drink Tea" is a poem by Gary Snyder

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Will Love You for Miles

"I took her picture / but not of her face / 'cause I love her fingers / every wrinkle and trace. / She sighed when she saw it; / she said, 'They look old.' / And I said, 'Naw.'"

I was in the kitchen making dinner when I heard these words float into the air from the iPod dock speakers. I stopped cutting up carrots and just listened. I let the refrain wash over me: "I will love you for miles. I will love you for miles. I will love you for miles, until this road ends." I wiped my eyes and called my husband at work to ask him to come home right away.

Twenty minutes later, I watched from the kitchen window as Dusty pulled up on his bike. I heard the door open and Dusty's shoes fall onto the back door rug. I stood at the top step while he stood on the middle step so I could wrap my arms around his neck. "Hi," I said. "Come listen to this song. It made me miss you." He listened, a little puzzled about why it made me miss him. I reminded him of an incident from two weeks ago. He smiled and kissed the top of my head.

About two weeks ago, Dusty and I were watching TV together and I noted with some dismay how swollen my hands and feet had become. I sighed and said, "My fingers look like sausages, all fat and stumpy." And Dusty said, "Naw. They look like baby fingers, all chubby and cute. You're just trying to make sure Button doesn't feel weird about having chubby fingers. They'll look the same as Mama's." Then he kissed my hands.

Husband, I will love you for miles. I will love you for miles. I will love you for miles, until this road ends.


"I Will Love You for Miles" by Danny Michel

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ready to Go

"You sleep, too deep / one week is another world / Big mouth, big mouth / drop out, drop out / On the rooftops shouting out / Baby, I'm ready to go"

My hands, wrists, and shoulders alternate between numb and sore. My back is giving out and no amount of pillows support me well in bed. My midsection feels like my inner dominatrix is constantly tightening and loosening the stays on my corset. And she's not being gentle about it. My toes and fingers are painfully swollen. I can barely get my hands around each other to make a church and a steeple and when I open it up to see the people, they are all fat and stumpy!

I want to work in my garden, but sitting on the ground hurts my tailbone and squatting for too long with no back support makes my legs go numb. I want to walk around the block, but just walking around the front and back yard this morning to pull exactly five weeds wore me out. I want to sleep when Dusty sleeps, but the alien parasite inside me has decided that human beings don't sleep at 11:30 PM. We apparently only sleep in the middle of the day, for an hour or two at a time, in between eating and running to the bathroom.

I am so very, very tired of being pregnant.

Oh Taweret, ancient goddess of childbirth and protector of women, I invoke thee. This child is due in one week. Help me get through these last few days. And please don't let this kid be on Pilipino time.

I am SO ready to go.


"Ready to Go" by Republica

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I Want Your Sex

"There's things that you guess / and things that you know / There's little things you hide / and little things that you show"

On Friday I went to the opening night of Sex and the City: The Movie with Jenny, Abbie, Cori and Cori's friend Cindy. About half of Edmonton's female population was at South Commons that night; the line for the bathroom was staggering. I only saw two men in our particular theater and they were a couple. A lot of gals were decked out for this premiere in swingy dresses, high heels, even tiaras. Jenny and Abbie got me a tiara just for the occasion [thanks, girls!], so I'm glad that I went home after work to "put my face on" and change my jewelry before heading to the movie.

So did I like the movie? Well, I went into it with every low expectations. After all, SATC was the epitome of Folding Laundry TV for me. The episodes were in 30-minute bites, the drama was fairly predictable and easy to follow, and the players were all one- or two-note-characters. The biggest reason to look up from my task was to gawk at the fashion. Oh, and ogle John Corbett as Aidan. He was the best thing on that show. And he wasn't in the movie. AT ALL. That cost the movie major points.

Something else that cost the movie points: it clocked in at a full 2 1/2 hours. That's five episodes long! And the plot centered on Carrie and Big, arguably the two most shallow, self-centered, and BORING characters on the show. After watching Carrie angsting over Big [AGAIN] while she wore Patricia Field's crazy costumes, I have never been so happy to be a married, knocked-up suburban hippie living in BFE. I just don't think I have what it takes to be a single fashionista living in NYC. Mostly because I think these are an abomination unto the gods:


Those are Christian Dior Gladiator platforms, a style very similar to the ones Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie was sporting throughout the movie. Yes, they really are that ugly. Yes, they really cost $770.00. And yes, she really wore them with this:

Excuse me while I apply salve to my retinas . . . there.

I suppose if you're a really big fan of the show, you will love the movie no matter what, but I found it to be an overlong and unnecessary appendix to the show. The characters have grown older, but no wiser. They kept repeating the same mistakes they made five, even ten years ago. That might be entertaining for the 30 minutes it takes me to fold laundry, but it gets tiresome when I have nothing else to do but pay close attention to the shenanigans of these self-absorbed neurotic harpies.

If you decide to see SATC: The Movie anyway, three things:

1) Make it a night out with your girlfriends. The main message of the show seemed to be that men and trends come and go, but your girlfriends are forever. As shallow as the rest of it was, that message still rings true in the movie. Make it a Girlfriend Appreciation Evening.

2) Go in with very low expectations. You will not learn anything new, much like the characters themselves. Think of the movie like a scoop of coconut gelato: it's light and fluffy and a nice change of pace, but then it's gone and you can go back to your regularly-scheduled coffee chocolate chunk ice cream.

3) Wear a tiara. That always helps.



"I Want Your Sex" by George Michael

Monday, May 26, 2008

You Don't Know Me

"And anyone can tell / You think you know me well / But you don't know me"

I am a fiercely loyal devotee of the wacktastic webcomic Wonderella, by Justin Pierce. About a year ago, my buddy Jay introduced me to Wonderella, noting the eerie similarity between me and this foul-mouthed, ebonics-spouting, Goddess-referencing, tiara-sporting asskicker with anger management issues. I thought it was just a passing resemblance until I saw this:

[Click image for full comic]

I was convinced that Justin Pierce had insider information on my life. He had either hidden webcams around my house, chatted up my drunken gossipy friends, or read my journal -- whatevs. J-Dawg was definitely stalking me. I was ready to file papers and see if I could get a cut of the millions of theoretical dollars he is earning from my likeness, but then I saw this:


[Click image for full comic]

She might cuss like a tiny sailor and invoke the Goddesses, but she also blew up my beloved Le Targét and willingly stepped foot inside Wal-Mart, the Great Evil. I would NEVER abandon my beloved bargain store and give my for real dollars to the most assholic of the giant corporate asshole megamarts.

You can keep your theoretical dollars, J-Dawg.You don't know me. Wonderella ain't but a pale imitation of my fine brown ass.


"You Don't Know Me" originally by Frank Sinatra, but I'm partial to Jann Arden's cover

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Please Don't Go, Girl

"You would ruin my whole world / Girl, you're my best friend / I will always love you"

My sister and I finally got to chat on the phone on Sunday and she told me she was planning to get tickets for the New Kids on the Block reunion concert in Washington, DC, in mid-October. When we first found out about this reunion, Mar and I talked about going to the Baltimore-area show together. I thought it might be fun to see New Kids up onstage again, even if they are no longer new nor kids. After all, the Knight brothers still looked yummy, and a small part of me wanted to support them during their midlife crises.

AND THEN. And then I saw this:



I am SO embarrassed for them. I just want to wrap each of them in our old New Kids on the Block bedsheets . . . and lovingly bury them in our backyard. Deep. Like we did with our poor bunny, the beloved namesake of the Knight brothers, Jordan Jonathan, when he died a horrible death.

So when Mar asked me whether or not she should get me a ticket, I said, "I'm already flying out in November for Daddy's birthday, so I can't really afford to go in October, too." That's sortof the reason, but mostly it's that I cannot, will not, watch NKOTB's careers die their horrible deaths onstage.

My sister doesn't have time to read this blog, but just in case: Oh, Marishka. Don't let your--nay, our--happy memories be tainted by this train wreck. Please, girl. Don't go.


"Please Don't Go, Girl" by NKOTB

A Simple Kind of Life

"I always thought I'd be a mom / You seem like you'd be a good dad / Now all those simple things are simply too complicated for my life"

Hi Interwebs. I haven't talked to you in a while. Have you been doing all right? Are you eating your vegetables and getting enough sleep? Yeah, me neither.

The last two weeks have been all baby prep all the time. Today marks 37 weeks of gestation, so we've been trying to check off a bunch on our "things to do and buy before baby arrives" list on our kitchen whiteboard. Dusty finally got a chance to paint the baby's room on Mother's Day weekend [how appropriate] and he set up the crib and bureau soon afterwards. I washed and folded all the baby's clothes and put them away in the bureau. I put on the crib sheet, set up the diaper changing station, and put away the few toys we already have in this pirate-y toy chest. At lunchtime today, we bought the final piece that goes into the room: a glider rocker. The room isn't decorated yet, but it's ready for the baby to live in it.

Other than that, I feel a little bit like we're getting ready for Armageddon; we really should stock up on chocolate. We've already stocked away seven microwave-ready dinners in the freezer; we'll make at least three more by the end of the week. When we were in the Bay Area, Dusty and I bought two more sets of Cal-King sheets so we can be ready to change the bedding at any point while the baby is sleeping with us. We each bought an extra pack of underwear so we don't feel pressured to do laundry during the baby's first week. We've bought enough toiletries and toilet paper to last for three months, and enough diapers and wipes for the baby's first month. We hope.

As I check off all these to-dos and must-haves, I can't help but wonder when having and raising a kid became so involved. Who decided that kids had to ride in car seats? My generation, the ones now having babies of our own, grew up just fine without them. One of my fondest memories of a car trip is lying down on the floor of our Toyota Corolla, feet up on the backseat, watching the dawn sky change colors.

Furthermore, babies survived for hundreds of years in this arctic tundra without baby wipe warmers--Hell, who needs wipes in the first place when you have wet washcloths?--so who decided it was necessary? I mean, I have one because Karincita recommended it [and gave me one - thanks!], and I'm sure it will come in quite handy when the temperature drops to minus 45 in a few months, but I never thought I would own one.

I'm sure there were things our ancient ancestors did to prepare for the arrival of their offspring during this nesting phase, too. Mama Cave Bear may not have spent an entire day getting the craft/guest room organized and cleaned BECAUSE IT HAS TO BE DONE RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND, but more than likely she gathered fresh straw to give birth upon. And Daddy Cave Bear didn't have to worry about getting the right kind of newborn diapers [the ones with the cutout for the umbilical cord], but he probably staked out where he would hunt for extra meat for his growing family. Still, those things are so simple, so basic. Not at all like making sure that the infant car seat is installed according to government safety regulations before we even go to the birthing centre.

What did YOU do when you were nesting?

"A Simple Kind of Life" by No Doubt

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Nothing Bad Ever Happens

" And the terrible things happen down the road / To somebody else that I don't even know /. . . / Nothing bad ever happens to me / Why should I care?"

I was late getting out of my water aerobics class today because all the grannies really needed to tell me what they know about labor and childbirth. Never mind that they all gave birth at least 40 years ago. This must be what it feels like to be ambushed by chickens at feeding time. Oh, the clucking. One granny, who always manages to cluck louder and more repetitively than the rest, tells me the same thing every time she sees me: "You're not going to find out the baby's sex, are you? I always found it exciting to find out when the doctor handed the baby to me after the ETHER wore off and I had COME TO." Yikes.

But that's way better than another granny, who has two daughters, both of whom always seemed to deliver gigantor babies weeks before their due dates, in situations that couldn't possibly be true: "My first daughter's water broke when she was floating down the Yangtze River on a bamboo raft lashed together with jungle vines and prayers." She always adds, "Oh, but you'll be fine." i.e. "My daughter had to squat-and-squirt right there on the raft and they swaddled the 14-pound baby born six weeks early in the clothes they were bringing to the lepers. Oh, but you'll be fine."

Last week she said to me, "You are SO BIG. I don't think you'll make it to your last day at work." Today she says, "You have five weeks left? I don't know. You look like you could pop right now, in the pool. You did say you planned on a water birth, right?" And then she smirked a little in a way that she must have thought proves she was teasing.

Bless me, Mother Goddesses, for I have sinned. Today I thought about strangling a 72-year-old woman with her own swimsuit straps.


"Nothing Bad Ever Happens" by Oingo Boingo

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Hardest Word

"Teach me the old ways; I'm ready to learn . . . /And we are ancient, built from bones"

In about five weeks, Dusty and I will be welcoming our wee beastie into this crazy lovely world. FIVE WEEKS. This past weekend, Dusty finished prepping the baby's room while I started washing all the baby's clothes and bedding. We also attended our weekend-long prenatal class with six other couples who will be delivering their babies under the care of the midwives at Westview Health Centre in Stony Plain. We learned and practiced natural pain management techniques like non-focused awareness, breath awareness, and massage. Ohhh, the massage.

We also discussed the "Labor Means Hard Work" section in Birthing From Within and watched two videos. The first one gave a detailed overview of all the stages of labor, with a few tips on how to help the laboring mother get through each stage. I was the only person in the class who had ever witnessed a birth and I think everyone at the birth [and in the class] was surprised that Karincita went through those stages in the span of about six hours, and delivered her child in two pushes, 20 minutes before the midwife got there. Snickerdoodle's birth was a rare, wondrous, and joyous event, but I and the other mothers-to-be in the class felt somewhat relieved that first babies generally do not arrive so swiftly into the world.

The second video was called Elk and the Epidural, done by Pam England, the author of Birthing From Within. The video was a 15-minute cartoon that purportedly "illustrates the truthful and typical experience of labor with an epidural." Except that the laboring mother is an ELK, her partner is an ELK, and her doula is a MOUSE. And the video uses language like, "If the elk mother decides to get an epidural, then she will labor at Cascading Falls, where there are a series of cascading medical interventions." and "When the elk mother is ready to push, the elk father encourages her and breathes with her through the contractions while the mouse doula reassures her that she is doing well."

Oh, Sister Pammy. NO. This is the kind of trippy dippy video that gives us hippies a bad name.

First of all, you know you're in trouble when you have to preface your video with "A lot of people asked me why I chose to represent the laboring mother as an elk and set the birthing process in the forest with animals. I thought it would be less threatening to women." Are you for serious?! If a pregnant woman in a prenatal class feels "threatened" by the sight of a human woman in labor, then she really should not be pushing a live human being out of her ladyflower. I think that Pam just wanted to draw elks and mice and owls and thought it might be cute to use them in a birthing video. It's not.

Second, this cartoon video is far from a "truthful and typical experience of labor". ELK DO NOT NEED EPIDURALS TO BIRTH THEIR BABIES. A mother elk walks into the forest, grunts and pushes a few times, and out comes the elk baby. Father elk is probably long gone by then. There aren't any fetal heart monitors or IV drips in the forest, and it's really unsettling and weird to see a cartoon elk strapped to medical equipment. Also, if in some parallel universe a mother elk were to have a doula, a mouse would most likely not be the first choice because, well, an elk could crush a mouse. And how helpful would a crushed mouse doula be? Not very, I'm guessing.

Third, this video shouldn't be advertised as an objective view of epidurals. Clearly, Pam advocates not having an epidural; how obvious a metaphor is Cascading Falls? None of the people in the class could take the information seriously; I looked around and all of the couples were exchanging "WTF?!" looks throughout the viewing. I felt like the video was condescending and I would've preferred to get information this important from humans, even cartoon humans. It would've been a step up from badly-drawn elk and mice.

Anyway, I’m feeling more prepared and informed about the laboring process in general, elk epidurals notwithstanding. Dusty and I are both getting really excited to meet this kid. Now the only thing left to do is paint and set up the baby’s room and start nesting.

Five weeks. BRING IT.


"The Hardest Word" by Kirsty MacColl

Friday, May 2, 2008

Can I Get a Witness?

"See him treat me so unkind / A-somebody, a-somewhere / Tell him it ain't fair . . . / Somebody? / Is it right to be treated so bad?"

On E! Online this morning: "[Nicole Kidman] is set to star as iconic '60s British pop singer Dusty Springfield, whose less than stable private life was marred by mental illness, substance abuse, and dalliances with the fairer sex before her death in 1999 from breast cancer."

I realize that E! Online is a celebrity gossip rag, so they're not exactly going to deliver stories with just the facts, but they listed Dusty's sexual preferences among the events that "marred" her life. 'The hell?! What are you trying to say? "Not only was this lady the Mayor of Crazytown, she done did the drugs! AND! And she was one a' dem LESBIANS! She died from having cancer in her BOOBS. Coincidence?"

It's frickin' 2008, E! Online. Stop being an ignorant jackhole.

"Can I Get a Witness?" by Dusty Springfield

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

All You Zombies

"All you zombies show your faces / (I know you're out there) / All you people in the street / (Let's see you) / All you sittin' in high places / It's all gonna fall on you"

Last night, I finished reading World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. Dusty didn't think I would enjoy this book, since Drew described it as an account of the zombie apocalypse. Well, the book wasn't so much a gory blow-by-blow as it was a compelling human-interest story written in a journalistic style. The stories were nuanced and not over-the-top; I could identify with almost all of the people featured.

This is the first book club book I've finished since February. Either I'm a lazy reader or the books have been suck-o-tash as of late. And I'm not a lazy reader.

So there's still a full month to go before the book club meeting. Perhaps this would be a good time to see what books on my shelf are just sitting there, waiting to be read. These are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing’s users*, i.e. they sit on the shelf just to make you look smart or well-rounded.

Here’s what you’re supposed to do:
- Bold the ones you've actually read
- Underline the ones you read for classes (at least once)
- Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish
- Put asterisks around the ones that remain on your bookcase, unread

Here’s how I fared:
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Ulysses
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
Emma
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations

American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : A Memoir in Books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex
Quicksilver
Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : A Novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
Middlemarch
Frankenstein
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath [I turned in my book report anyway.]
The Poisonwood Bible
1984
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Dune
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : A Memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-Present
*Cryptonomicon*
Neverwhere
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Dubliners

I guess I don't care that much about looking smart or well-rounded; there's only one book on this list that sits on my shelf unread, and I finished more than half of the books I have read.

What does your "unread" list look like?


"All You Zombies" by the Hooters. *Thanks Cori!