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Showing posts from September, 2008

Anatomy lessons

So I just finished reading Invisible Life by E. Lynn Harris for my book club. My friend aptly described it as soft-core gay black porn. (I know...you're starting to wonder what the heck kind of book club this is, right? We've picked some doozies in recent monts, for sure.) Regardless, the story of a black twenty-something bisexual male living in NYC at the pinnacle of the AIDS scare in the early 1990s sounds interesting, doesn't it? I mean, this is a seriously underrepresented topic and character set in mainstream fiction.

But the book sucks. Seriously. Bad. It's boring and over-explicated, saturated with details that don't help the story at all. Remember the advice in every college writing class to "show, don't tell"? There was way too much telling, practically no showing; this is the only book I have ever read in which I skipped 2-3 pages at a time and still knew what was happening (in fact, I could have predicted the entire thing after reading just …

Happy thought

I'm feeling blue this week. No real reason for it, just a general let-down from the big wedding combined with a little bit of anxiety over all this economic biz. So, instead of getting all melancholy on you, I want to write about a happy time a few years back....

It was just about this time four years ago that I found out I was pregnant. Even though we had been trying to get pregnant for over a year and were feeling pretty stressed about that single aspect of life, it was a time of general hopefulness -- a presidential election year, the Red Sox in the World Series. My husband had been in the hospital through most of the month of August (he will tell you that all the "trying" is what landed him there, but don't believe it), so we were really just grateful to be together and healthy and young. We planned a big Halloween party to gather all our best friends around and just have a good time.

I took a pregnancy test the day before the party, which also happened to be the…

What next?

OK, folks. This is where I draw the line. First there was tainted pet food, then lead-painted toys. More recently and more upsetting was the melamine-enhanced baby formula. But now chocolate? Oh, I think not! I will not stand for that.

This article states that no U.S.-sold chocolate products have been affected. But this is small consolation. Cadbury, Kraft Foods, and Mars have been recalled in Indonesia, and the companies are performing their own tests of chocolate products made in China.

I've been wondering since the baby-food horror if there's any way to tell where the ingredients originate in the food we buy at the grocery market. At this point, I for one would rather not put anything into my body -- or into my child's body -- that comes from China. I suppose the only real way to know is to eat only locally grown, organic food. Or grow your own ingredients. But is that entirely realistic?

As if we don't have enough to worry about, what with the financial world collapsi…

My best friend's wedding

My best friend got married yesterday. And when I say best friend, I'm talking sister-friend --- the friend I've known longest of my life, the one who has grown up by my side, the one I call when I need calming or laughter or love. This was a day that we have talked about since we were 11 years old, wiling away the hours swinging on her porch swing, walking barefoot around the neighborhood, swimming in her pool, lying on the floor in sleeping bags at slumber parties. Her big backyard wedding. With all our families and friends there, smiling and dancing and celebrating.

Her wedding day was exactly as we'd always dreamed. Slightly different only because there have been additions and subtractions in our worlds. My friend was gorgeous in her amazing old-Hollywood gown, the groom was relaxed and happy, the ceremony was beautiful, the family and friends were thrilled. It was all just completely wonderful. But I have never experienced so many emotions in one day, ever.

Of course the…

Little wonders trump big anxieties

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain

This is the chorus of a sweet little pop song by Rob Thomas that's been running through my head since, oh, about July when Sweet Boy turned 3. As those of you closest to me know, I've become a sentimental, mushy, teary mess in the last few months, mostly because I'm watching this amazing little person grow and change every day, and even though I don't really miss the baby times, I feel that it's all going way too quickly. If you're not familiar with this song, take a listen:

It seems in the last couple years the daily, mundane concerns that we all deal with -- debt, bills, our kids' safety, our spouse's happiness, our boss's expectations -- have been compounded by the currents in the country and the world. This has been further compounded for me by the fact that all of this poo started hi…

Banana Zachary and other name nightmares

I had a nightmare when I was pregnant that I gave birth to a boy and named him Banana Zachary...and people kept mispronouncing it as Banana Daiquiri. Which, of course, would have been a perfectly acceptable name if I were a celebrity...

I don't usually love Babble.com, but every now and then they do a funny little list like this Worst Celebrity Baby Names diddy. Check it out, if you'd like to giggle at an innocent child's unfortunate parentage. Far be it for me of the unusual name to criticize anyone's choice of baby name. But really -- Audio Science? Pilot Inspektor? Reighnbeau? Come on!

Some of these kids will luck out and not really have to be taken seriously in their lifetimes because their parents are that high in the celebrosphere. However, poor Puck's child will certainly face repercussions as he gets older. It'll be interesting to find out if, down the line, while all the Toms, Joes, and Mikes in the world are begging to be called names like Moxie, Peyote…

The Dentist

Today was Sweet Boy's first visit to the dentist, a pediatric dentist who was recommended by my hairdresser. (I know...first mistake.)

Sweet Boy loved it. Nonstop Nick Jr. playing in the waiting room, fancy chair to ride in, grape-flavored toothpaste, sunglasses to keep the bright light out of his eyes, prize for being a good boy, a new toothbrush with dinosaurs on it, and his photo on the "no cavities" wall -- what's not to love?

Mommy, on the other hand, did not love it. We had to wait over 30 minutes just to get into the exam room, which of course sent me right into my snappy-huffy place. The hygienist was good about explaining everything to Sweet Boy before she did it, though, so she gained a couple points back.

But I have met DMV clerks with more personality than this dentist. When he entered the room, he didn't even say hello or introduce himself to either of us. Then he proceeded to chastise my child for not sitting still while he picked at his teeth with tha…

A bed of one's own

I heard an interesting statistic on the radio this morning: 23% of all married couples sleep in separate beds. And most of these folks say it has improved their relationship. Hmm.

We've all heard (or lived) the tales of spouses who snore so loud that the other can't get a wink. Or one spouse pulls the covers off the other, leaving shmoopy to freeze his or her tushie off all night. Then there are the toss-and-turners, the spread-outers, or the get-up-to-pee-5-timers. For whatever reason, at least 23% of couples have admitted to living a la Lucy and Desi -- don't you wonder how many others have not admitted it?

I can imagine that yes, sleeping separately could improve your relationship. I mean, when you don't sleep for days on end, you get bitchy, irritable, angry, irrational. I get mean when Big Daddy snores loud enough to wake me up -- I have been known to throw elbows and knees to get him to roll over -- and I punish him with snarky comments for days afterward if I am …

Energy crisis update

Remember my electric bill rant from last month?

Turns out I am not alone. Take a look at yesterday's front-page story here in Delaware. I'm no expert, but it looks an awful lot like Horizon Power and Light is price gouging. Read this little segment of the article, and you'll recognize some similarities in our electric experience:

McGinnis had agreed in October to a contract with Horizon Power and Light, a
competitive provider in Delaware offering a discount to Delmarva Power
customers.
Her rate was a lean 11.01 cents per kilowatt hour -- below the 11.16 Delmarva was charging, a monthly savings of about $1.50 if she used 1,000 kwh per month.
All was fine until this summer, when her bills started to go way up. She said she didn't see a rate increase on her bills, just an oversized bottom line. The company told her the rate had increased after May 31 to 19.8 cents per kwh -- an 80 percent increase just in time for summer air conditioning season.
"They are ripping people off…

Dance your ass off!

Right now I am running on about 2 hours of sleep. I have not done this in a long, long time. I think I might still be a little bit drunk, too, 20 hours later. That hasn't happened since, oh, 1997. My ears are still ringing, and my knees are still throbbing. But last night was one of the most fun of my life.

I've done the bachelorette party thing before, but never with my 20-year best friends. We were not only celebrating the end of our friend's single-hood, we were celebrating just being together for a night, with no other responsibilities or cares. It was fabulous.

We started the evening with some sushi and wine, then hit the local pub for a shot, then on to meet the rest of the girls for the dance party. We drank and we danced and we laughed and we drank -- I lost count of my consumption around seven Long Island iced teas -- and we danced and we danced and we danced.

The night wrapped up around 2:30am with the DJ playing a 20-minute block of 80s dance stuff -- Prince! Sheil…

Here she goes again

Dear reader, I'm sorry that this is another political-themed post. You can skip it; I won't be offended.

But -- I just read another of Judith Warner's anti-Palin columns in the NYTimes, though this one has a very different tone than last week's. I suppose one is bound to get a bit frightened when completely immersed in a group of folks who are ideologically different than oneself, so I'll cut her some slack.

I will not, however, cut her any slack on this: In this column, she's setting up working moms (who, I suppose, she sees as more liberal, progressive, and forward-thinking) against stay-at-home moms (who she seems to set up as the dumb conservatives). This is offensive. I'll say it one more time: We women need all the support we can get from one another, regardless of our working and childrearing situations, and we should not be playing this us-against-them crap! How can this seemingly enlightened columnist fall in to such stereotypical thinking? I'm g…

Remembering

Do you ever have one of those weeks when you just feel grumpy about everything, when the little daily things just annoy and overwhelm? I'm having one of those weeks: My house is a mess, my yard is a mess, my checkbook's a mess. My kid just whines and cries at me constantly, my husband is home late every night, and they both just piss me off. Work is consistently aggravating. I'm short-tempered and bitchy. It's an ugly week.

Then this morning I got in the car to drive Sweet Boy to school, dread creeping in because I know he's going to scream and carry on when I drop him off. So I take a deep breath. After all, it's a beautiful almost-autumn morning. As we pull out of the driveway, a plane passes overhead. And I realize it's 8:45 on September 11th.

Suddenly I'm thinking about that horrible day in 2001 when we all lost so much. I recall the clear blue sky and the panic and the nausea. I recall the sharpness of the images but the fuzziness of my thoughts.

I r…

Hooray for giant babies

Just read that Minnie Driver gave birth to a whopping 9lb-12oz baby boy (and she gave him a pretty normal name, as far as celebrity baby names go, Henry Story Driver).

Rock on, tall girl! I knew I liked you, Minnie, and now you may join my giant-baby club.

Even better, the pregnancy was unplanned, she's not revealing the baby-daddy, and she's not planning on getting married. Eat your heart out, Sarah Palin!

(Oh, wait...Minnie Driver's not American. So Sarah probably doesn't object. Well, I'm sure she objects to Minnie's not being American...but you know what I mean.)

UPDATE -- October 7, 2008
Another reason Minnie Driver's at the top of my Cool Moms List -- she posted her first baby photos on MySpace instead of selling them to a tabloid mag...you go, tall girl!
http://gawker.com/5060139/minnie-driver--baby-business-innovator

The scale is in the trash!

That's right, folks. You read it correctly. The bathroom scale is in the trash. I threw it out this morning. Because it's broken.

No joke. It's broken. Truly. I'm not just saying that because I don't like what it says. (Even though it would be soooo nice to blame that nasty number on a broken scale!)

This morning when I stepped on, the little dial just spun round and round and round. At first I interpreted this as my girls' weekend of nonstop drinking and snacking catching up with me in a big way. Agh!

But then I realized that the scale was, in fact, broken! Oh happy day! And I hummed a joyful little tune as I threw it violently into the bin, making some kind of girl-power declaration about it ruling my life no more.

But then I started thinking...can I live without the weekly dose of self-hatred that the scale delivers? Will not defining myself by the number of the scale just make me blissfully ignorant, lazy, and gluttonous? I mean, I love food. Eating makes me ve…

Ceilings abound

I promise I will not let political discussion take over this blog as it has the TV, radio, internet, water cooler, grocery-store queue, and dinner table. At least I'll try not to.

But these last two weeks have been heavy, have they not? The soaring highs after the Obamas' speeches, followed quickly by the plummeting lows of the Palin nom and the Republican convention speeches. You all know I'm a registered Democrat with fairly liberal views, and I have been longing to see a woman in the White House since, oh, toddlerhood (which is around the time I first became aware of politics, watching my parents pace and wring their hands in front of the TV, watching the results being tallied after the 1980 election).

But Sarah Palin is not the woman who should get that first chance. The announcement of her candidacy initially made me laugh out loud at obvious Republican pandering. But then the more I read about Palin's views, the more I started to wonder if I was, in fact, in an alt…

First day of preschool

As I packed Sweet Boy off for his first day of preschool this morning, I wrote a quick note to his new teachers about some of the potty stuff we've been working on. Mostly the fact that Sweet Boy has been seriously opposed to sitting on the potty at all with us. And I didn't want them to be shocked, for instance, when he walked up to them and said "I pooped. Change my diaper" because we have trained him to say this so he doesn't either (a) have a horrendous diaper rash from sitting in his own poo for hours, or (b) try to change his own mess, thus creating a god-awful nightmarish poop fiasco.

When I picked him up this afternoon, a small folded-over paper greeted me from his cubby. At first I was alarmed, because usually a note home means my child has bonked another child in the eye with a toy car. But not this time. Instead, this one made me smile:
Hi Mr. and Mrs. B.,
Thanks for your note. He had a pretty good day and used the potty for us several times, so were were…

Standing at a crossroads

I received some troubling-but-not-surprising news the other day. The hospital in Ohio that I was hoping would take on Musa's treatment has finished deliberating his case. They are not able to take him on pro bono at this time. And if their estimates for his care are accurate, we'd have to come up with at least $60,000 to pay the bills. I don't know what to do...keep going, or call it in?

If you are unfamiliar with Musa, so here's the brief back story (or, at least, as brief as I can write it): Musa is a little boy who lives in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the nephew of a friend from my church. He suffers from Hirschprung Disease, which is a chronic blockage of his intestine. He has had five surgeries in his 11 years. And now he lives with what's termed a "primitive colostomy," which means his large intestine protrudes from his body and rests in a colostomy bag, along with his waste. Last year when my sister was in Freetown working with IOM for five months, Mus…