Thursday, January 31, 2008

Take a Chance on Me

"Gonna do my very best and it ain't no lie / If you put me to the test, if you let me try "

Now that I'm finally feeling more comfortable in my rounder body, I've begun my preggers fitness program in earnest. I've been going to a lunchtime water aerobics class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I'm eager to do prenatal yoga as often as possible. So last night I previewed a prenatal yoga DVD Karincita lent me. It's taught by this woman, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa:

Yes, she is wearing a turban. You can't see it in this photo, but the cap of the turban is covered in white lace, which she sometimes unfurls and wears as a veil. Maybe it's just because Gurmukh looks a little like the fugtacular Chloë Sevigny, but as I began watching the DVD intro, I thought, "Is she wearing a white lace turban? Is that even in season?"

Three seconds later, I realized it's probably part of her sacred garments. I know, I know. I'm a total jackhole for calling it out as a possible fashion faux pas. Besides, Gurmukh is apparently très chic; here she is posing with supermodel Christy Turlington:

Look, it's not every day I see an ostensibly Caucasian woman who is not Joan Collins wear a turban for realsies, so it just threw me a little, okay? Gaw!

Anyway, I got past my turban double-take and settled in to enjoy Gurmukh's yoga regimen. I liked that she incorporated chanting throughout the exercises; I've always found that chanting or singing during any exercise--but particularly yoga and hula--helps to emphasize the importance of controlling your breathing. I also liked that she incorporated dancing as a way to loosen your hips and gently rock your unborn baby.

Then Gurmukh got with God. At the end of the yoga lesson, she said, "God gave you your baby. [Me, at the screen: God did not give me this baby; Dusty and I worked hard to knock me up!] He also gave you the ability to have this baby. [Me: Oh, sister. God don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies! Just ask His Wife.] Trust in God. Trust in yourself. May God bless you."

I could hardly believe my ears. Was Gurmukh a Christian yogi? My brain went KA-SPLOOIE at the notion. Nearly all the yoga teachers I've had are more like Rodney Yee, who has that NoCal hippie vibe I dig. Rodney and his fellow hippie-ish yogis film their yoga videos on the beach at sunrise, not on a soundset with a three-piece orchestra. They talk about how balance and intuition feed their spirits, and they are very careful to talk only about one's connection with the earth and the breath. So I was a little thrown by all this business about the Judeo-Christian God in a yoga video.

But I got past the white lace turban and I will get over the God. Though I don't know if I'll get past the fact that she's from Hell-Ay. Oh, sister.

Update 20080201: "Take a Chance on Me" by ABBA. I decided this song fit better for how I felt about Gurmukh.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Missing You

"I ain't missing you, I ain't missing you / I can't lie to myself / And there's a storm that's raging / Through my frozen heart tonight"

I adore postcards. They're the perfect size for short "I'm thinking about you" notes and they allow me to travel vicariously. I just got this one today from Cookie, my Self from 2004.

That's a photo of Murphy Street in Sunnyvale, California. It's about two or three miles from where Dusty and I lived right before moving to Canada in mid-2004. Incidentally, it's also around the corner from my favorite Target store. On the back of the postcard, it says:

"Hey, Cookie 2008! How are you? It's been a while since we had one of our chats over soy lattes. I could use a warm beverage right about now. It's a bit chilly and overcast here today at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Brr! It's supposed to clear up later, but the temp is still a little on the chilly side. Low 5os, I think. We're walking over to Saizo for Japanese tapas tonight with the crew. The restaurant's only two blocks away, but I better make sure I break out my super-warm fleece. Anyway, I miss you, girl! Drop me a line when you can."

Hey, Cookie 2004! I miss Saizo; I loved the grilled squid there. Fresh seafood is a rare treat here in the tundra. We definitely can't get it anywhere within walking distance. Enjoy!

Yesterday, we had a blizzard that dumped about a foot of snow on our front yard. The snow was quite lovely and pristine, especially since I was looking at it falling outside my bedroom window while I was cozy in bed. It wasn't so lovely this morning, when it took Dusty half an hour to dig us out of our driveway.

Outside right now, it's -42 with windchill. Don't ask me what that is in Fahrenheit. Once it gets below -40, the temperature is both F and C -- Fucking Cold. Dusty had to plug in the engine heater on our car to make sure it would start. I wore a turtleneck and sweater, longjohns under my jeans, a toque [that's a knit hat to you], gloves, snow boots, and a down coat just to make sure I was warm enough to walk from my car into the post office 200 yards away.

Anyway, great to hear from you. Thanks for the postcard from SUNNYvale. Bitch.

"Missing You" by John Waite, although I like Tina Turner's version better.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Sigh

Even in this age of iTunes and easy internet music downloads, I still like to buy the actual CDs if I know that the band does quirky and creative art direction for their album jackets or if I've attended the band's most recent concert to promote that particular CD. Both of these applied when I bought Time on Earth by Crowded House.

I opened up the CD to tuck my concert ticket in the back, behind the clear plastic casing that holds the disc in place. I flipped the pages eagerly, enjoying the fun, collage-style art framing the lyrics. I reached the page for "A Sigh" and . . . sigh.

Reflexively, I reached for my red pen and almost did this:

Maybe I take my job too seriously.

"A Sigh" by Crowded House, who need an editor who loves their music [hint hint]

Friday, January 25, 2008

Auld Lang Syne

"And there's a hand, my trusty fiere! / And gie's a hand o' thine! / And we'll tak' a right guid-willie waught / For auld lang syne."

Robbie Burns, the famed Bard of Scotland, was born on this day 249 years ago. Co` latha breith sona dhuibh!

Tonight, I will celebrate his birthday at the Rose and Crown Pub in Edmonton, where the haggis will be paraded in with pipes, poetry, and pomp. There will be a toast to the lassies and a reading of some of Burns' finest works.

Here's one of my favorites:

Johnie Lad, Cock Up Your Beaver [1791]

When first my brave Johnie lad came to this town,
He had a blue bonnet that wanted the crown;
But now he has gotten a hat and a feather,
Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!

Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu' sprush,
We'll over the border, and gie them a brush;
There's somebody there we'll teach better behaviour,
Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!

What is the Bard here advising young Johnie to do?
a) turn up the brim of his fine, velvety hat
b) engage in some sort of fornicatory activity
c) man up
d) all of the above

Oh, English language, I love you. [At least, I think Burns wrote in English... ]

"Auld Lang Syne" by Robbie Burns

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wonder Pets!

"Wonder Pets! Wonder Pets! We found a way / to help a baby crane and save the day! / We're not too big and we're not too tough / but when we work together, we've got the right stuff!"

I'm at home sick with the flu today and I've camped out on the couch with blankets and Kleenex. I CANNOT STOP WATCHING TREEHOUSE. I've fallen in love with the Wonder Pets, y'all. This is sewious!

In the episode I just watched, a baby crane calls out to Linny the Guinea Pig, Turtle Tuck, and Ming Ming Duckling from a sumi-e painting. FROM A JAPANESE INK-WASH PAINTING. A volcano is about to erupt in the background and the baby crane's nest is dangerously close to it. The Wonder Pets work together on a plan to save the baby crane before the volcano shoots hot lava everywhere. The Wonder Pets save baby animals in twouble, even ones inside paintings. That's just how they roll.

At first, the Wonder Pets encourage the baby crane to simply fly to safety, but it just wails plaintively. Ming Ming translates:

Ming Ming: Okay, it's like this: the baby cwane cannot fly.

Tuck: Why not?

Ming Ming: [in song] Because she haaas stubby wings.

Linny: Wow! A big bird with little wings!

Tuck: Nature can be cruel.

THIS IS THE BEST SHOW ON TELEVISION. Someday I need to watch it when I'm hopped up on something stronger than lemon ginger tea. Thank goodness the Wonder Pets were eventually able to save the baby crane [spoiler alert!] by attaching wheels to its nest and rolling it to safety. All is right in the world and I can go take a nap.

"Wonder Pets" theme song. It's totally punk rock.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Poetry Monday: SPAMtastic

When I was a kid, one of my favorite weekend activities was going food shopping with my mom. Most of the time, we would go to the neighborhood market and get fresh vegetables and fruits for the week, as well as fresh cuts of meat or fish. About once a month, though, the whole family would pile into the car and go into the city to the "American store".

The "American store" was in the basement of ShoeMart, the biggest department store in Makati, and it sold imported products. It was a magical land of treats. They had Hershey's kisses, Toblerone bars, Oscar Mayer hot dogs, Wonder bread, and [insert heavenly choir here] CANNED GOODS. Little sausages, apparently from Vienna, IN A CAN! Albacore tuna IN A CAN! [Who eats tuna from a can when you can get just-caught-that-morning tuna at the market? Americans are SO fancy!]

Out of all those childhood treats, my one true love has always been SPAM. Not Treet or Klick or Processed Pork Product #5, but SPAMMMM. There can be only one.

It's nearly lunchtime and I'm hungry, so I was inspired to write the SPAM-ku below.


Fried crisp, with steamed rice
is the only way to eat
my perfect soul food

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hello Bonjour

"...every single child is a son or a daughter / of the one earth mama and the one earth papa / ...Tell me who you are / Say hello, hello! / Bonjour, bonjour! / Hola, hola! / Konichiwa, konichiwa wa!"

So I'm talking to my unborn fetus this morning, and I wanted to talk about what Dusty was doing in front of the house. What came out was: "Nasa labas si Daddy, nag--uh--shoshovel nang--erm--snow sa ating driveway."1

Then I thought I should explain why I'm speaking bad Taglish2, so I said, "Palaging summer kasi sa Pilipinas, eh. Walang snow, walang winter. Kaya hindi alam ni Mama kung paano sabihin ito sa Tagalog."3

Maybe I should just stick to "Mahal na mahal ka ni Mama at Daddy, bituin ko. Hindi na kami mapakali! Gusto ka na naming makilala."4

"Hello Bonjour" by Michael Franti and Spearhead
1. Daddy is outside shoveling snow from our driveway.
2. Tagalog + English = Taglish
3. See, it's always summer in the Philippines. There's no snow or winter. So Mama doesn't know how to say these words in Tagalog.
4. Mama and Daddy love you very much, my little star. We 're so excited we don't know what to do with ourselves! We can't wait to meet you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Like Giants

"Especially girl giants / 'cause all girls feel too big sometimes / regardless of their size"

If you only see one movie about pregnancy this year, go see Juno. It's a lovely and often hilarious visit with witty, human characters. The success of a movie as quirky as this one largely depends on the casting, and the ensemble cast was perfect. Jennifer Garner is wasting her time on action movies and rom-coms. Her performance in this movie was subtly heartbreaking. Jason Bateman as her husband was also a nice surprise.

I loved that Ellen Page as Juno waddled once her bump started to show. Pregnant ladies waddle. I totally waddle. My belly isn't even that big, but that extra bit of blubber at the front of my body completely throws me off-balance. I hardly know where my body ends anymore. As KPAX said, it's like I'm driving a brand new car that I'm not used to yet. Yesterday at lunch, I returned from the restroom to find that I had a wet line across my belly from where I had leaned over the sink to wash my hands.

At one point in the movie, Juno's stepmom, Bren, [played by the awesome Allison Janney] verbally abuses the ultrasound technician scanning Juno's belly after the tech makes an inappropriate comment. Although Bren was--as Juno so eloquently points out--a dick, part of me got a small bit of satisfaction watching that scene. Finally an ultrasound tech was the receiver rather than the giver of unnecessary bitchery. I've talked to many women about their ultrasound experiences and nine times out of ten, the techs were curt, rude, and generally unprofessional, driving some women nearly to tears. And these were all female techs, too. Where's the sisterhood?

Seriously, whatup with that, ladies? Did someone pee in your soy latte? Did that person eat asparagus first? And did it happen on the exact morning that a pregnant woman came in for an ultrasound? I'm not sure how many of you are aware that you sometimes engage in this bitchery, but try to imagine yourself in the place of this emotionally vulnerable woman lying on your exam table.

She is probably feeling quite large, but not very much in charge, and she has probably just gotten over three solid months of blowing chunks every time she tries to breathe near coffee or soy milk or any other food. This ultrasound means bubkus to you because it's probably the 15th one you've done today, but it is her first and only one today and maybe for the rest of her pregnancy. So it is very important to her and her partner. How about just a tiny bit of universal love and human kindness? Karma will thank you later.

Anyway, go see Juno, y'alls. You might find that you like giants, too.

"I Like Giants" by Kimya Dawson. She also did a bunch of songs on Juno's soundtrack, though this one isn't one of them.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

You Live, You Learn

"It feels so good (swimming in your stomach) / Wait until the dust settles / ...You scream, you learn"

Meltdown OR Much Ado About Nothing
A Play in One Act


RATIONAL WIFE ~ Cookie Everman
HORMONAL WIFE ~ Cookie Everman

Scene 1

Kitchen of the Everman home. 10:28 PM on an early January Monday. Enter RATIONAL WIFE and HORMONAL WIFE.

RW: I'm hungry. I should have a snack before I go to bed.

HW: I want Oreos.

RW: Let's see if there are any Oreos in the kitchen pantry. Hmm.... I could've sworn we had a package up here.

HW: I want Oreos.

RW: I know. I want Oreos, too. I've already poured a glass of milk and everything. Let me check in the basement pantry. [Goes downstairs and checks the basement pantry.] Hmm.... None here, either. How can there be no Oreos in this house?

HW: I want Oreos! I'm going to check the husband's office. He may have a stash.

RW: Dude, calm down. I seriously doubt--


Scene 2

Basement office of PATIENT HUSBAND. 10:33 PM. Enter HW.

PH: Hi, Booful. Everything okay?

HW: I want Oreos!

PH: I don't have any Oreos in here. Did you check the pantry?

HW: [riffling through insurance papers] III waaant Oreooos!

PH: How can I help? Can you tell me how I can help?

HW: Mrwngh! [stomps feet] Exit HW.

Scene 3

Kitchen of the Everman home. 10:38 PM. Enter RW and HW.


RW: Well, we don't have any. We're all in pajamas and it's almost bedtime. I'm going to drink my milk, have a Le Petit Ecolier, and go to bed.

HW: NOOOO! I WANT OREOS! Make the husband go get Oreos. NOW!

RW: Woman, are you serious? You want me to be the stereotypical pregnant lady who demands that her partner leave his WoW game to go out this instant and get a trifle that she craves? Girl, please. You're supposed to be cutting back on sugary junk anyway. You're lucky I'm letting you have this one treat. Now eat this French biscuit and get a fucking grip.

HW: But my back and shoulders and neck hurt and my boobs are swollen and I haven't been sleeping well and I WANT OREOS! WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!

RW: Holy volcano goddess. Are you for fucking reals?!


RW: Okay, time to call up the husband on the intercom.

H/RW: Hunny, could you come up here, please? [whimper]

PH: I'll be right there.

Scene 4

Kitchen of the Everman home. 10:40 PM. Enter PH to find an inconsolable HW.

PH: Oh, hunny. Come here. [holds HW to him while she cries]

HW: [sob] I just really wanted Oreos and I can't get any sleep and I'm tired and my boobs hurt and I just really wanted Oreos.

PH: Let me check the basement pantry. [runs downstairs]


PH: [runs back upstairs ] Well, do you want me t--

HW: NO! I wanted them 10 minutes ago. Now I hate Oreos! I want a back rub. [sob]

RW: Oh, girl. You need some warm milk and some sleep. Husband, I bet that big pregnancy book in the bedroom has some back massage tips in it.

PH: Okay. Do you want me to cancel my game?

HW: I [sniff] DON'T [hiccup] KNOW! [sob]

PH: I'll cancel my game. Exit PH.

Scene 5

Living room of the Everman home. 10:50 PM. PH and H/RW are sitting on the couch. PH made toast with apple butter for H/RW. RW is eating it with a mug of warm milk and honey. PH is consulting the big pregnancy book for tips on relaxation and back massage.

PH: I'll make sure to get Oreos tomorrow, okay?

RW: Okay. Could you give me a back and belly rub before bed?

PH: Absolutely. [kisses RW on the forehead]

HW: Hrmph! I hate Oreos. Exeunt PH and H/RW.

"You Live, You Learn" by Alanis Morrissette

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Hide U

"If you were beside me and my love would take you / I’ll keep you in safety, forever protect you / I’ll hide you away from the world you rejected / I'll hide you"

Some of you have sent me numerous invitations. Some of you have personally talked to--nay, HARASSED me about joining. I can no longer even find solace in my home, since my husband insists that I join. In light of all this concern over my social networking, I felt I should respond thoughtfully, instead of just spewing profanity. So:


  • What if the person I want to "reject" or "unfriend" or whatever it is you do on Facebook to say, "No, I would not like to share this patch of the Interwebs with you" is a co-worker I will see every day? What if it's my boss? Awkward!

  • Apparently, the people on your Facebook network can be deemed your Soul Mates or Best Friends based on your common interests, even if you barely know them. That's an invitation to ick. One of my co-workers found out he was "Soul Mates" with one of our big bosses because they both like the same movies. Can you imagine the next drunken holiday party? "Heyyy, we're Facebook Souuulll Maaaates! Yeah, dude. Mighty Ducks 3 rules! W00t!" *shudder*

  • It's one more username and password to remember.

  • Even if I join Facebook, I will still get invitations to Friendster and Multiply and Look-Who-Hates-Onions-Too. If you have my email address already, how hard is it to just drop me a short note to let me know how you are doing? Don't force me to subscribe to another goram social network site just to look at photos of your kids. They're not even that cute.

  • I know people with Facebook accounts who don't answer my emails for weeks but will "poke" fellow Facebookers every hour. I don't want to become one of these people. I want to avoid emails in the honest, tried-and-true, delete-button-oops way.

  • If I am one of 100 people in a room and 99 of you are on Facebook or eating broccoli rabe or taking Spanish as a second language, I will almost always choose to do something other than whatever it is the rest of you are doing. And yes, I have always wanted Burgermeister Meisterburger to say that I am obviously a non-conformist und a rebel!

  • My buddy Jim told me that within a few hours of joining Facebook, he was "poked" by several people from his past, including long-lost cousins and a couple of people he never thought he would hear from again. I changed my name when I got married for more than one reason. If I want you to know where I am and what's going on with me, you'll know. Oh, yes. You'll know.

  • I don't know that I care which Star Trek captain you are based on an arbitrary quiz. Well, okay, I do care, but I would really prefer that we hash that out over a coffee. Don't people go for a coffee anymore? Is Facebook destined to be the most prevalent type of social interaction we have? That makes me really sad.

  • The time I spend dicking around on Facebook is time not spent posting quality musings on this blog. Do you really want more posts about how the Penny Arcade dude juices his cat's bunghole?

See? I'm not just being obstinate; I have my reasons. If you can make compelling counterpoints to at least seven of these reasons, then I will reconsider my stance about refusing to join Facebook. Until then, you'll have to poke me the old-fashioned way. Baby.

"Hide U" by Kosheen

Home for the Holidays

"Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays / 'Cause no matter how far away you roam / When you pine for the sunshine / Of a friendly face / For the holidays, you can't beat / Home, sweet home"

Jiminy Jillickers, has it really been TWO ENTIRE WEEKS since my last post? I'm so sorry, Interwebs. When the holidaze hit me, they hit me hard. Have you missed me? Or have you just been catching up on all your other blogs on the side? No matter; we're together again at last. Now let's have a lovely spot of tea and catch up, hmm?

Christmas with my family was all about nonstop eating the moment Dusty and I landed in Baltimore. My sister and my mom split up the holiday feeding frenzy, with my sister serving a full-on turkey dinner for Noche Buena and my mom cooking up a giant Filipino feast on Christmas day. We opened presents on Christmas Eve, after Noche Buena, and the baby cleaned up. We will never have to purchase onesies for this kid. EVER.

Dusty and I saw two movies... make that three: Sweeney Todd with my brother and his new gal [The movie was okay. So is she. For now.], The Golden Compass with Munchkinface [Unanimous vote: better than Narnia.], and High School Musical 2. Even though he chose to sit out the viewing of HSM2, Dusty was frequently called into the living room to verify the "Albuquerque" locations in the movie. The Munchkin is a little bit thrilled that her uncle attended high school at the real-life analog to the movie's "East High School".

The Albuquerque leg of our trip was also about constant feasting; we stayed with Dusty's college roommate, who is a professional chef. One evening, we had a red wine tasting with a fantastic grilled chicken dinner, during which I discovered the wonder that is kale. We rang in the new year playing games like Blokus and Apples to Apples. Aww yeahh! We got so wild and woolly, we all had to go to bed by 12:30 AM. We woke up the next morning to a fabulous pancake breakfast and LOTS of Lego building with our friends' kids. I mostly made houses. Nesting? Who, 17.5-weeks-prego ol' me? Nahhh...

Whenever we spend time with these friends, we are always amazed at the level of self-confident genius exhibited by their kids. We are convinced that the seven-year-old will someday take over the world. He is a tech whiz who put together a Powerpoint presentation about magnets [with a video!] and pwned his dad on Star Trek trivia. His four-year-old brother is no slouch, either. This kid built a Lego Star Wars drone fighter with minimal help from his mom and Dusty. I think we were wrong; he's not the Pinky to his big brother's Brain. He's the #2 to his brother's Dr. Evil.

All in all, the trip was hectic and fun and crazy and lovely and exhausting and joyous, as predicted. Now we only have 30 more hours of holiday time before we go back to work. Thanks to everyone who sent Christmas cards and wishes and gifts. Happy New Year!

"Home for the Holidays" by the Carpenters. Yes, again. Yay Mighty Girl for introducing me to PictoBrowser!