Monday, December 29, 2008

my own romper stomper

These boots were made for stomping...

And that's just what they'll do...

One of these days this Sith is gonna make cookies for you!

Yes, it is an excellent segue, thank you.

Quote the Biscuit, regarding these sugar cookies that we baked and iced together:
"I don't really like these cookies. I would like another kind of cookie."

Then she licked up all the icing and kissed her brother on the head, leading me to believe that he had some sort of nasty head scabies.

Nope. Just icing.

Friday, December 26, 2008

prolonging the magic

Yes, Biscuit has been alive for 2 previous Christmases, but this is the first one for which she was conscious of the magic. Last year, she waddled around and looked vaguely interested in the presents we unwrapped for her, but she didn't really get the all-important concept of major American consumerism. Our main joy was watching her face light up each morning in December when she saw the tree again and shouted, "Tee! Baws! Tee! Baws!" Because everyone loves a tree covered in balls.

This year, she was shrieking, "Oh my goodness! Oh, wow! There is a present for me, probably!", and when she tore into a gift, it was reminiscent of an alligator ripping into a bloated 'possum carcass. Seriously. The kid is rabid with joy and enthusiasm. And we love it.

We loved shopping for her gifts. We loved replacing all the ornaments she pulled off the tree. We loved dramatically staging her stocking for maximum excitement. We loved eating the giant ham from Target that we got so we wouldn't have to cook this week. And we really loved setting out milk and cookies for Santa, and then gulping the milk and taking strategically placed bites out of the cookies.

To be honest, Christmas hasn't been magical since 1989, known around our house as "The Year of the Nintendo". Imagine, if you will, the two of us at the high point of pre-teen awkwardness, separated by 250 miles. Dr. Crog is gangly and pale, wearing a Guns N Roses t-shirt. I am short and pudgy with a Dorothy Hamill haircut, wearing a Maggie Simpson shirt. And we are both cracked out on the original Super Mario World. Little did we know what the future held for us, outside of beating Bowser on level 8.

But I digress.

Christmas is magical again. That's what matters. Seeing Biscuit's eyes light up when she saw the tree. Watching her deliver gifts to her great-grandparents. Listening to her play with her new globe with her grandmother. Hearing her ask her grandfather to read her a new book. Dr. Crog and I, sitting on the couch, bloated with ribs and peanut candy, watching Gross Pointe Blank while Biscuit enjoyed her new shopping cart and blissfully ignored us. And just watching T. Rex look around with that cross-eyed, bewildered, Winston-Churchill-on-LSD look that all 4-weekers share.

Life is just so much richer than I had imagined possible.

Kinda like those 7-layer cookies that my friend Christine made last week. But without the toothache.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

is it munning?

For no identifiable reason, my oldest child pops awake before 6am each day. Her first question, upon looking outside at the inky blackness of night: Is it munning?

Our unequivocal answer: NO, IT IS NOT MORNING. GO BACK TO SLEEP!

That ploy rarely works. One of us generally has to get up, bleary and annoyed, before 7am to avoid a constant, shrieking chorus of MOMMY! DADDY! MOMMEEEEEEE! Despite two alarm clocks, too many toys, and complex algorithms involving naps, bedtimes, and yogurt as variables, it's always pitch black when she's rarin' to go. UGH.

So today, with holiday spirit abounding, we turned lemons into lemonade. Or, to be more precise, stinky beans into coffee. We all woke up, got dressed, and went to IHOP to feast.

And you know what? It was lovely. The excitement of doing something different; the opportunity to watch the sky slowly change from black to blue and talk about when the sun would peek out; the peaceful drive down a curvy, empty road; the lack of crowds. T. Rex slept calmly, Biscuit asked intriguing questions, and Dr. Crog and I bantered back and forth under our breath. Again, lovely.

Even breakfast was delicious. It was fun watching the Biscuit spoon her grits all over everything, mainly because it occurred on Dr. Crog's side of the table.

And after breakfast, we went to Target, where I loaded the cart with stocking stuffers for my little dudes. Hello Kitty features prominently. Compared to all the other current commercial toddler obsessions, she (at least) doesn't have a mouth and therefore can't say things like, "Don't swipe, swiper!" or "I'm a beautiful, anorexic princess!" Here's to hoping the $1 bins at Target are made in the Chinese factories that don't use lead or melamine, if they actually exist.

When I first heard her little voice at 5:45am, I cringed internally as I tried desperately to get T. Rex back to sleep and find my own oblivion. But by 7:03, I was eternally grateful for a beautiful sunrise, a happy family, and some whipped-cream-slathered pumpkin pancakes.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

my magical sock

You know why Christmas is so magical? It's the pageantry. Lights, trees, decorations, songs, cookie icing, family traditions, Santa and the reindeer-- all the events and lore we've made up for a holiday that nowadays has very little to do with a scrunchy little guy in a manger.

For example, today, I asked Dr. Crog to watch the Biscuit while I went to the $1 bins at Target for stocking booty tomorrow. He didn't understand why it was necessary for me to hide these purchases from our astute little dude, and I explained that Santa needs to be more secretive than, "Hey, look at that elephant!" while I drop stickers in the grocery cart. And he wasn't sure we wanted to "do" Santa.


My basic argument was this:

Magical: Santa came down the chimney and put stuff in my stocking!

Non-magical: My mom put some crap in a sock.

See how that works?

Religious or not, creative or not, whoever you are: you've got to admit that Santa is pretty cool.

Friday, December 19, 2008

quote n' dote

First, the quote.

The Biscuit has a wonderful friend, practically a twin. They are on the same level physically, mentally, and cute-tastically. And her mama is a wonderful friend to me, and we both have scrunchy little newborns, so it's basically a triple date. We met them at the boggy playground yesterday to run some energy off our toddlers and commiserate on mothering two, and I overheard this conversation:

Biscuit's buddy: Ow! You bumped into me!
Biscuit: I am sorry I bumped into you.
Biscuit's buddy: I am sorry I bumped into you, too.
Biscuit: You should be more careful next time!

And then the Biscuit fell backwards off a big kid swing, landing on her head. She got up, crying, dusted herself off, and said, "I AM TOUGH AND STRONG!" And then she quit crying, wiped up her tears, and went back to swinging.

See why I love this kid? Funny, cute, and resilient. And she has her daddy's rock-hard skull.

* * *

Now for the dote.

I dote on Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane tea. I just want to drink it hot, bathe in it, turn it into lotion, turn it into cookie icing, turn it into room deodorizer. It's like peppermint crack. And i'm koo-koo for peppermint crack.

And i'm going to drink a cup right now, even though it's 70 degrees outside and doesn't feel a blasted bleb like Christmas. I'm going to drink it with a shot of stevia in my newest hand-thrown mug, because everyone knows things taste better in handmade pottery.

Man, that was a really boring blog entry. I've been reading too much, because now i'm all blogtimidated. Isn't that just blogical? I'm going to go drink my blogea and read more Twiblog. Blog blog blog.

Seriously, though. Do they put crack in this tea? I think they might.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dr. Crog, pwned!

Daddy: Biscuit, who's your favorite Star Wars character?
Biscuit: Dat blue robot, probably.
Daddy: R2D2?
Biscuit: Yeah. He was out in the rain. He got dirty.
Daddy: Mommy, who is your favorite Star Wars character?
Me: I know it's unforgivable, as someone who's read all the books and watched all the movies 1000 times and claims to be a fan, but I just love the Ewoks.
Daddy: Biscuit, do you know a good divorce lawyer?
Biscuit: (puts her head down on the table, embarrassed by her mother)
Daddy: Yeah, that's definitely unforgivable.
Me: But they're all attached to my youth and magical Christmas mornings and getting to stay up late for the stupid Endor special with that little curly haired kid. They were my first bridge into Star Wars. But I'd say Boba Fett is definitely #2, especially once I learned more of his Mandalorian background.
Daddy: Well, that's more reasonable I guess.
Me: Who's your favorite character?
Daddy: Jar Jar Binks. He's just so funny! Although I also like C3PO.
Me: You are the lamest person ever. Like, ever. You also have a 3rd nipple. But, really. Jar Jar Binks? I think I just threw up in my mouth.


See, that's what we call revenge. I just told all 34 people who read this blog that you like the 2 lamest characters in the Star Wars universe. And then they'll tell two friends, and then they'll tell two friends... and then, like, 58 people or so will know your awful secret. And they'll have to make a Lifetime movie about it. Meredith Baxter Bierney in "I Love JarJar Binks, and I'm Not Afraid To Tell The World, and Also, I Was Kidnapped by Ice Cream Salesmen: The Dr. Crog Story".

In conclusion, quit showing off your flat belly while i'm lamenting my postpartum floppiness, jackass!

ps. I love you, Dr. Crog.

Friday, December 12, 2008

C is for cookie!

I'm not the most domesticated woman. Sure, I'm potty trained and turn up my nose at store-brand cat food, but I don't generally excel at the whole "home-cooked meal every night" thing. Truth be told, by the time dinner rolls around (mmm... dinner rolls....), I'd rather just have a small bowl of cereal, tidy up the kitchen, and collapse into bed.

Now you know why Dr. Crog doesn't have a pot belly. It's all my fault.

Anyway, after a stressful day like yesterday (don't ask) and an insane night like last night (involving fire alarms, shrieking babies, blood, urine, and Lost), I woke up to a sinus cavity filled with early-90's-era Nickelodeon slime. I seem to have caught that hideous cold that turned my child into a demented, spastic snot-monkey for two weeks. Hurray. So that's one cold for November that saw me through exhaustion and labor, and now a new cold to plague me as I try to get through December with a newborn and a toddler on preschool break. Vitamin C and probiotics have surely failed me.

So there's the boring digression on how I'm a bad housewife with a cold. That's not the point.

The point is: staring down a day at home with two children, I decided to bake cookies with my daughter. And it was wonderful! My mom tells me that as a child, I loved to bake cookies. I think she's remembering that I mainly like to *eat* cookies. Which is still true. So here is the story of our cookies.

Step 1: I found a recipe for "Easy Oatmeal Cookies" on, an excellent site
recommended by my fabulously talented friend, Christine, who can actually cook real recipes. Like, for food. I'm always impressed.

Step 2: The Biscuit posed with her "CHEEEEEEESE!" smile, which really just looks like she's saying "cheese".
Step 3: We mixed some junk together.

Step 4: Into the oven!
Biscuit's Public Service Announcement: "It will burn me!"

Step 5: EAT!!! pwned! She's trying to wink with a thumbs-up and somewhat failing.

So we had a nice morning, and i've hosed down the kitchen, and now we're mainlining oatmeal cookies.

Heck, I might even cook dinner!

Great googly moogly! Next thing you know, I'll be walking on my hind legs and wearing a girdle.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

whoa, a la Keanu

Okay, stay with me here.

With a little outside help, I made two people.

Basically, out of nothing. Some cells, some Lucky Charms, some time, and... POOF! Little people.

And now one of them is walking, talking, singing, playing, begging for TV and fruit leather.

And that one can actually hold the second one! Like... like... like little nesting dolls!

Like freakin' abracadabra, man!

It's just too meta for me. See?

Yes, I know my standards for utter mind blowage have gone down a bit, but it's still pretty amazing, when you think about it. Dr. Crog and I have basically replaced ourselves in the muddy pool of humanity.

...because we need someone to continue our plans to take over the world via robot army, remember?

You don't remember? You obviously do not read this blog often enough.

I will tell the robots.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

don't be a Vader hater

That's right. Dr. Crog took the Biscuit to Target this morning, and she returned in a Sith costume carrying a lightsaber and two sheets of Hello Kitty stickers, most of which were stuck to her Star Wars shirt.

Today will be her official inauguration into the utter dweebitude that is our love of Star Wars. Since her favorite things in life are robots, fuzzy creatures, and Daddy, I suspect it will be a hit. I have been threatened with removal if I comment on "how violent New Hope is", to quote a stern Dr. Crog.

My only demand is that she understand from the start that there is nothing cool about JarJar Binks.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

yes, we have no placentas

Well, I was going to show you my placenta. Not that anybody asked or dared me, but just because...

Because i'm proud of it. I mean, it takes a lot of work to make a big, meaty organ like that. And the picture is just fascinating.

But then I realized that my husband might not like his work colleagues to see my bloody guts. That would totally destroy any claim I had to dignity, poise, and grace. Right?

Because nice, well-mannered girls simply don't go around showing people their gooey afterbirth.

At least, I think that's what Emily Post said.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

not the mama!

No, just kidding. I totally *am* the mama, and I have terrifyingly gross pictures to prove it. Don't double dare me. I'll show you my placenta!

But here's a picture of T-Rex, just because he's so darned good-lookin'.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I owe it all to Kotex

Yes, Virginia, sometimes we all have those "not so fresh" days. Especially in the weeks following childbirth, when a woman can feel like some sort of bodily vending machine.

Disgusting, but true.

Luckily, the fine people at Kotex have gotten on the advertising bandwagon to make our trips to the loo both interesting and instructional. I am speaking, of course, of their "Kotex Tips for Life" campaign, which is handily printed on the sticky backing of their fine maxi-pads. Because when you're in severe pain and peeing lightning, you might want to get some health tips from your feminine hygiene products.

Here are today's handy tips:

* Avoiding caffeine may help reduce cramps and headaches.

* Drink 6 - 8 glasses of water daily to help keep you hydrated and feeling fresh.

* Staying active during your period can help relieve cramps.

* Try Kotex Lightdays Pantiliners... also available in Longs, Extra Coverage and Purse-Paks.

Wait, you don't speak English? Ne t'en fais pas! The tips are also listed in Francais and Espanol.

I am just flabbergasted. I have always considered billboards to be the most ridiculous form of advertising, as the last thing a driver needs is to take their eyes off the highway to read the 1-800 number of a cheap divorce lawyer. But now i'm entranced by the marketing geniuses who think that reading bathroom trash should be enlightening. Or influence my purchasing agenda.

Oh, drink more water? Thank you! MUST. BUY. KOTEX!

Harumph. Just another reason to go cloth.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mr. Turkey, for reals.

Never has there been a Thanksgiving when I have had so much for which to be thankful.

Like the incredible grammar skillz it took to write that sentence, right?

Anyway, here's my top six list. I'm sure there are 4 more, but i'm sleepy, dangit.

1. My family. From the squashy little dude asleep in the wrap on my chest to the amazing husband making my beautiful daughter laugh downstairs. And my parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles, and I suppose the cousins, too, although we don't really keep in touch, and some of them are lunatics. I'm also thankful the lunatics all live far away.

2. This special time at home. If I had had surgery, I would have spent Thanksgiving in the hospital, hooked up to things and bored and in pain, while nurses bustled in every hour and woke me up. The food was reasonably decent, but it ain't my mama's cooking. But I have had 3 wonderful days at home snuggling with the ones that I love and catching up on sleep.

3. My friends. Honestly, only a true friend will sit around for 5 hours while you scream, cry, bleed, whine, complain, gush fluids, and push an 8.5 pound person out of your body. And i've got *2* friends like that! And then I get back to my laptop and find well wishes busting out of Facebook, my ICAN board, and my other messaging forums. And, thanks to my sweet friends at the baby shower, i've got a gorgeous stack of cloth diapers for T-rex's cute little bum, as soon as he's done exuding crude oil. And calls, and text messages, and cards. I have never in my life had so many wonderful friends, and I just feel warm and fuzzy all over.

4. Technology. I have digital pictures of every stage of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum joy, so that I can have memories of a time when my eyes were mostly squeezed shut. Folks were texting me during labor, and my friend was updating folks on her mini laptop. And today my wonderful, thoughtful, hard-working husband bought me a Flip camera for Christmas so that we can start recording all the tiny moments from the new baby stretching with Dr. Crog's "annoyed" face to the Biscuit singing about eating Mr. Turkey in her tiny little toddler voice. And while I blog, my Roomba is vacuuming the living room. Short of calorie-free ice cream, I really don't know how much better technology could get.

5. Health. If i've got one, it hurts, but recovery is still going superfast. I'm amazed at what my body was able to do, and i'm pretty impressed at how quickly it's returning to "normal". I'm thankful that the afterpains are waning and the stitches are chilling out after yesterday's coughing episode. And my cold is almost gone, too. I hear so many horror stories about what can go wrong before, during, or after delivery, and I thank my lucky stars (and charms) that my undercarriage and innards are still mostly in one piece. Mostly.

6. Yo Plus vanilla yogurt. I really, seriously missed this stuff while I was pregnant. It's so creamy and cold and sweet, perfect with an apple. What on earth was I thinking, eating all those cheese hot dogs, Lucky Charms, and Taco Bell chicken quesadillas? So i'm thankful for my normalized taste buds.

So now it's bath-and-a-nap time, for which I am also very thankful.

Oh, yeah. And if you haven't heard, I had a baby last Sunday. He rocks.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

finally, the truth.

Biscuit: Mommy? Mama? Ma Ma? Ma... Ma.... Ma....Farmer Jed... holding hands Farmer Jed-dy... oh fly me oh de wall de day... wah wee wah wee... roll it... roll it... Wallace and Gromit... I'd like to watch Wallace and Gromit.... where's Wallace and Gromit?.... Wallace and Groooooomiiiiiiiit.... a purse... there's a purse... there we go... B-I-N-G-O-E-I-E-I-O.... Ma.... Ma Ma.... Mommy?.... Mommy?

Me: WHAT????

Biscuit: What are you doing, Mommy?

Me: Trying not to go completely insane. Are you actually trying to drive me insane?

Biscuit: Yeah, I am.

Me: AAAAAAAARGH2398#$%$%^#%$&%^*%^*$%^*%^

Biscuit: (obliviously starts chewing toenails)

why Andre Benjamin > Twilight

Why? Only because Idlewilde sent me into labor with The Biscuit, and despite the magnificence of Twilight and my 10-minutes-apart contractions throughout it, I am still stolidly 2 people in one troublesome, bloated body.

But I digress. And enjoy using '>' more than I should.


Dear Diary,

Saw Twilight tonight at 6:45 at our Totally 80's Theater, and it was *-.-*aWesOme!*-.-*

Yes, Dr. Crog and I were the only people in the theater over the age of 15, aside from a really amusing mom in her paralegal costume who sat in between her skater-esque tween boy and his cute little Jenny Weasley of a "girlfriend". Judging by his "The Three Best Things in Life are Football, Girls, and Partying" t-shirt, we expect he will have knocked someone up by 17 despite his mother's embarrassing hovering.

I had warned Dr. Crog of the demographic to expect, especially at such an early show, but we were both caught off guard by the insecurity and hormones roiling off the Twerds like stink off buffalo. We had such fun pointing out all the stereotypes and making fun of them quietly. "Oh, look at me, I bought a small, plastic corset at Hot Topic and think i'm da bomb, but my braces spoil the whole 'hot vampire' look."

Remember what it was like to be young and have to tell the entire world who you are all the time through your clothes? ::shiver:: Scary.

But I am absolutely sure no one made fun of me when I waddled out to the bathroom during a far-too-pivotal scene. Nothing funny about me at all. Waddle waddle waddle. Blockin' the screen.

I had insane contractions, especially through the first 45 minutes or so of the movie. Actually thought we might have to get up and run to the hospital, or, at the very least, escape out the back door if my water broke. Wouldn't you love to sit in that seat after me? HA! Alas-- I was just excited, and it calmed down.

Oh, yeah. The movie. It was great! Granted, i'm a huge sucker for the vamp genre, especially the romantic ones. I'm sure i've posted about it several times and even admitted to our soft spot for Queen of the Damned, possibly the worst vampire book adaptation ever. Although my internet research and magazine reading had led me to doubt the casting, it all worked well on-screen, even Peter Facinelli, aka "Mike Dexter is a GOD!" as Carlisle.

What, you don't like cheesy teen movies, too? Check out Can't Hardly Wait for some fine holiday fun, where Jennifer Love Hewitt walks constantly in a slow-mo spotlight and Seth Green attempts to be black while wearing goggles.

Digressing again. Okay. Casting was good. Soundtrack was excellent, very natural and yet impressive, the best kind. You never stop and think, "Oh, there's the music," you just walk out of the movie having enjoyed the integrated whole. They decently turned a big ol' book into an appropriately-sized movie without losing too much detail, although I missed all the well-written backstories and funny conversations.

I was especially impressed with Robert Pattinson's ability to express the anger, horror, humor, fascination, and infatuation Edward battles internally, most at the same time. The book portrayed him as an awkward but beautiful amalgamation of so many emotions, and the movie conveyed that well, although I cackled at his fury/hunger in biology transposed against a stuffed owl. And Bella did a great job as a heroin(e) who doesn't act like a heroine, somehow managing to remain a loner even among friends.

My complaints? Rosalie wasn't pretty enough. Jasper just looked like a constipated blond version of Edward Scissorhands without enough explanation of his motivation. Emmett should not wear his cap sideways. I don't think they chose the right actor to play Jacob. And although they did a better job than I had anticipated, the characters looked ridiculous running superfast and climbing trees and jumping. It's just bound to look silly.

Happy surprises? The art in the Cullen household was extraordinary. I wish I had the setpieces to hang in my own home, especially the cap collage. I was impressed that Robert Pattinson actually played the piano. I liked that they managed to make the baseball scene intriguing instead of just silly. I appreciated that they let the characters look ugly-- that Bella wasn't always flawless. Her closeups didn't include the usual caked-on mascara and manicured fingernails we see in movies, even on peasants and scullery maids.

And, as adults, Dr. Crog and I found it very comforting that even a super-beautiful 22-year-old guy chosen to play the most gorgeous, god-like, 17-year-old creature ever and coated in pancake makeup... had wrinkles. More wrinkles than we do.

Yeah, we're petty and vain. Why do you think we like vampires so much?

In conclusion, as much as I wish Baby Shmoo had already joined us, i'm really glad I had the chance to see Twilight in the theater. I have already extracted a promise to buy it on DVD, where we both look forward to seeing it again, this time without all the giggling and shushing and WOoOOoOoO!ing.

Two very enthusiastic thumbs up. Fine holiday fun.

Who knew that in one week, after devouring 4 books and a movie, I could go from completely oblivious adult to total dorky fangirl of a teen vampire romance series?

Oh, yeah. Anyone would guess that, wouldn't they?

Friday, November 21, 2008

why midwives > doctors

So i'm supposedly 38 weeks and 4 days along, although it's iffy. Doctors count the "average" pregnancy as 40 weeks, although the actual average is more like 41 weeks 1 day. Many doctors will let you go up to 42 weeks, although most prefer to induce between 41 and 42. After 42, according to the statistics, it gets dangerous for all concerned. Blah blah blah.

I'm done. I look done. I definitely feel done. I am like a turkey with that little thing popped out of it.

And here is what my beloved midwife said when she walked in the room today for my weekly appointment, because they make you show up once a week to be sure you haven't exploded or gone postal.



Midwife: Well, there's not much I can do about it. You're ready. Go eat some Scalini's eggplant parm and have lots of nookie.

Me: That sounds horrific. Isn't there something else you or I can do?

Midwife: Sorry, honey. It's up to you. I just catch 'em.

That's so much better than some dude in a white coat making me undress in a cold room and putting me in the most uncomfortable situation possible outside of the back of a Volkswagon, then threatening me with induction or surgery if I don't go into labor before Thanksgiving and/or his next golf game.

God bless the midwives!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

cats and bags

Scene: Like a complete dork, I am riveted to the Twilight movie site, checking out the trailers and photos for the first time. I am paying absolutely no attention to my child. I look up, and she's standing in front of a window wearing one crystal and lucite high heel from our rehearsal dinner in 2002 and one mangy flip-flop. She is holding a thick plastic bag that recently held a gift for baby Shmoo from our dear friends Serena, JohnPaul, and Grayson. In the bag is a black cat Beanie Baby stuffed animal. She's talking to herself...

Biscuit: It's hard. It's hard to put this cat in here. Cat want to go in bag? Little bitty kitty cat say meow-meow, want to go in the bag?
Me: Um, buddy? Whatcha doing?
Biscuit: I put the cat in here!
Me: Why did you put the cat in the bag?
Biscuit: Issa present! For Baby Shmoo!
Me: Really? That's very sweet of you!
Biscuit: (chuckling) Noooooo. Issa present for ME. This is MY cat.
Me: I see. And do you want to let the cat out of the bag?
Biscuit: I do not.
Me: Where is the adorable little red shirt and pants that were in the bag?
Biscuit: They on the floor.
Me: But those are a present for Baby Shmoo!
Biscuit: (runs to the kitchen, gets the clothes off the floor, throws the cat on the floor, stuffs the clothes in the bag, brings it to me...) There you go! Issa present for Baby Shmoo! From ME!
Me: That's very thoughtful.
Biscuit: Yeah, I know.

And then she put the little red diaper cover on her head.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

risotto is not mushy rice, people!

It was a good day, mostly thanks to the wonderful people in my life.

My good friend Christine treated me to homemade risotto with shrimp, preceded by Nutella-stuffed croissants. Then she entertained Cleo and me for 6 hours and sent me home with a huge bag of newborn cloth diapers to borrow. And, of course, with her big wooden spoon and patient ladling, she taught me that risotto is not, in fact, mushy rice. And THEN she let me borrow that magical little gadget that turns an iPod into a stereo, because just today it occurred to me that taking a loaded iPod to the hospital was missing a vital step in the music listening business. I am such a Luddite.

My more recent friend Jenny thoughtfully brought me her copy of Entertainment Weekly so that I could read about the Twilight movie and scoff about casting choices. Peter Facinelli? REALLY??

Then my sweet husband brought me more Taco Bell, which i've craved horribly (and I do mean horribly) for the past week.

And although my beloved, darling child refused to nap and annoyed the everlovin' spit out of me all evening, she sang a wonderful song on the way home today. Let's call it Mr. Turkey, 2.0. Wanna hear it? Here it goes.

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Mr. Turkey
Mr. Turkey
Nice and fat
Nice and fat
And big and fat
And fat fat fat
And big and ni-i-i-ce and fa-a-at
Mr. Turkey
We are going to eat him
We are going to eat him
Mom? Mom, I want some turkey please, Mom!
Please, Mom, can I eat some turkey?
Ribbit ribbit
Mr. Turkey

She also put her face up to my belly and hollered, "C'MON OUT, BABY SHMOO! GET OUT OF THERE NOW!" Which is helpful., if he just had the good sense to listen to his sister. C'mon, Shmoo!

Monday, November 17, 2008

an open letter to Justin Timberlake

Dearest Justin Timberlake,

I know that I am totally your dream girl and could beat Jessica Biel into a mound of pulverized, Flowerbomb-smelling blond shreds, but it cannot be. Although you have tenderly wooed me over the years through your hilarious appearances on Saturday Night Live and, occasionally, your music, I have pledged my troth to another.

I will never be able to Bring It On Down To Omeletteville.




I know. I'm a dark and offbeat artist who should probably have unholy lustings for Johnny Depp and Johnathan Rhys Myers-- dark, brooding, tortured types. And, well, I do. But Justin Timberlake is like my guilty little crush.

He's the Ding Dong box in the back of the organic vegan's cupboard of my heart.

Luckily, I don't think Dr. Crog is concerned.

Anyway, if you didn't catch it, as I did not, check out the YouTube video of JT on SNL with Beyonce in the spoof of her "Single Ladies" video as directed by Paul Rudd. PRICELESS.

You know, it's funny. I can imagine me and JT trying to have a conversation...

JT: So, I'm starting my own label. Do you like fashion?
Me: Nope. I think the models look like cracked out storks.
JT: Okay, what about hip-hop music?
Me: I like Gnarls Barkley. And Andre Benjamin. And when Cypress Hill gets angry. Oh! And that song you did with Timbaland was quite nice.
JT: Quite nice? Okay. Um. What about, say, BBQ and New Orleans-type food?
Me: BBQ is okay, I guess. But not so much on the creole. Crawfish creep me out.
JT: Wow. This is tough. Wanna feel my bicep and eat an omelette?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

...or possibly something involving p-nut butter?

On the way home from a dinner with the fam-o-lee, Dr. Crog and I heard one of those breathy, sleazy commercials for an adult "entertainment" shop. Some half-drunk ho-ho seductively slurred that we could choose "from over 18,000 of the finest adult toys, starting at only $5.99".

And we were like... isn't this one area where you want to spend a couple of extra dollars to make sure you get *quality*? I mean, if it breaks... you're in the Emergency Room with a flashlight. Or you get a nasty electric shock and smell like burned hair for a week. It's not like opting for the Wal-Mart brand of cola, where you just grimace and go on with your life. You could get seriously hurt, or at least desperately embarrassed.

So we tried to come up with ideas for "The $5.99 (or less) Special":

* cork on a string
* cantaloupe with a hole in it
* ziploc baggie of pudding
* root beer bottle with a rubber glove
* nude photo of Cloris Leachman
* paper bag of clothespins and a tube of Icy Hot

And much worse things that Dr. Crog wouldn't want his work colleagues to read about.

So there's your public service announcement for the night:

Buy the generic Lucky Charms at the Piggly Wiggly and use the $2 you saved to make sure your significant other doesn't end up with a lifelong scar and a horrible story about you.

Friday, November 14, 2008

blah, blah

Okay, you know what? I'm going to admit it.

I have a thing for vampire romance fiction.

I swooned over Brad Pitt as Louis and read the entire Anne Rice library in the 90's, before she wigged out and started writing about Jesus. I found Charlaine Harris on our buddy Larry's bookshelf waiting for his wedding to start and blazed through the whole Sookie Stackhouse series. And, yeah, I'm punctually perched on my parents' couch every week to watch the latest On Demand installment of True Blood as I scarf down an apple and a cheese stick.

And today.

Today I stopped at Borders, bought Twilight, and read the whole danged thing over 4 glorious, golden hours at The Coffee Park while someone in a much jollier mood entertained my child. I'm pretty sure I had some hot cocoa and a biscuit about 100 pages in, but I don't really remember. I found splotches of beverage on my shirt (big surprise) and crumbs in the elastic waistband of my maternity jeans, so I'm pretty sure there was food involved. I'll have to check my Visa bill to know for sure. 498 pages, i'm yet again enthralled by some pasty dude and his laiason dangereuse with a slightly clueless chick.

And i'm not embarrassed. So let's just lay it all on the table. I read Diana Gabaldon's Scottish-time-travel-romance-fiction. And I read Star Wars books. Lots of them.

And, yes, I read vampire romance fiction. Rabidly.

But those are the only embarrassing secrets i'm going to reveal today. So don't ask me about my secret mole, what happened at Duke in 1990, or what my parents would have named me, had I been a boy. Cuz I ain't tellin'.

I am a kraken from the sea!

So, yesterday, I totally lost my sh*t.

No, really.

After an annoying morning spent in my midwife's overheated waiting room with a frustrated toddler and nothing but Cigar Afficionado to read, I stopped at Kroger for some staples. No, not actual staples-- tea and frozen raspberries and the other articles without which the world can't turn. Don't be silly.

As we were meandering around the aisles, I suddenly started to... see things.

It was like looking at the world through the bottom of a crystal scotch glass, or looking at the sun too long and then trying to watch TV through someone's windows. It made me a little dizzy and nauseated, but i'm 37 weeks pregnant, so dizziness and nausea are squid pro roe at this point. Hoping I had just looked too long into the fluorescent lights, I finished shopping, checked out, and got to my car, where I checked my eyes completely. Everything looked normal, except for the bizarre flashing alien light disturbance, my glasses were clean, and I was about 3 miles from home, so I decided to just drive until the aliens took over.

About halfway home, I was getting a little scared, because it wasn't going away, and I watch too much House, and I was imagining myself in the pre-opening vignette, about to see a raging kraken rise from the moat of the castle on Cox road and then wake up to find myself covered in lacerations while suffering sarcastic verbal diarrhea from Hugh Laurie. Which actually sounds pretty good. But I could also end up at the business end of Dr. John Dorian and his manure-splattered hair if I went to the wrong TV hospital, so it wasn't necessarily the ideal. Anyway, I put in a call to my midwife and my husband and hightailed it home, safe and sound. I did not attempt to pull into my garage while seeing alien lights, because I pride myself on having both side mirrors.

In the end, with a helpful friend's input and some internet searching, we think it was an optical migraine. The midwife thinks it was a blood sugar issue, but the apple, cheese stick, orange juice, and mint 3 Musketeers eaten in the previous hour beg to differ. The visual disturbance continued for about 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of confused peace, followed by 30 minutes of an odd, hollow headache that felt like 1000 parakeets clawing my brain with their tiny talons while shrieking in Gaelic, followed by a metaphysical draining of 3 quarts of blood and a flu-like sleep coma.

In conclusion, pregnancy is WEIRD. Can we get the baby out now so I can be "normal" again?

Well, normal for me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

and she's musical, too

Sitting behind me today on the couch while I typed, Biscuit sang this song in a sort of stream-of-consciousness babble. The tune began as Frere Jacques/Where is Thumbkin and just oodled around a bit while she looked at an Eric Carle book about a spider.

Mr. Turkey

Mr. Turkey
Nice and fat
Nice and fat
He only say one word
Wobble wobble wobble
The firefighter rabbit
You know you know you know you know
Mr. Turkey Mr. Turkey Mr. Turkey
Cat say "meow meow meow"
I am stuck I am stuck
He is hiding!
Gobble Gobble Gobble
He only had
The one little word
He had a wobble wobble wobble
Oh, he had a pig!
Dat's not a doggie,
Dat is a doggie!
OH! I am so so funny!

Dr. Crog and I agree that it is the best song we've ever heard.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

stickin' it to the (wo)man

My friend Christine and I had many intriguing conversations and many fine laughs and much fine food today. At one point, we were discussing folks who thoughtlessly play art critic in public-- from online forum readers disparaging public artwork as a waste of time to fellow cafe-goers who feel the need to comment on my art. One conversation went like this, to the best of my remembering and storytelling abilities:

Me: So i'm sitting at The Coffee Park, painting thank-you cards, and this lady walks over and looks over my shoulder and says in this kindergarten teacher sing-song voice, "Oh, aren't those nice! Look at those pretty paintings! You did a very good job!"

Like I care what she thinks! Like I need a stranger 3 years plus or minus my age to confirm that my paintings are "pretty"! I don't need a freakin' gold star sticker from some nosy, self-important mommy to validate my art!

Christine: (breaks up snorting and laughing)

Me: Whah? That I want my art to be taken seriously?

Christine: It's just that you have a smiley face sticker on your nose.

And one on your cheek, and they're all over your shirt... so... like... you *did* get your sticker!

And, yeah, it was true. I had, like, 20 smiley face stickers all over my face and chest. I had a smiley face pasty. Thanks, Biscuit.

Proof, yet again, that even if I want my art to be taken seriously... I don't really find the need to be taken seriously myself. We had a good laugh at that one.

tweet, tweet

Behold the nesting!

If you know me, if you've been to my house, you know that I can do "tidy", but I rarely do that sort of deep cleaning that involves old toothbrushes or Q-tips. When your child and mate leave a trail of destruction and packratty gradoo in their respective wakes, it's really easy to overlook the crumbs in the fridge door, you know? We don't have bugs or mold or unsightly fungi, and we'd never be chosen on Clean House or How Clean is Your House?, which is unfortunate, because I would love to meet Niecy, Aggie, or Kim, although I hate being scolded. But we have a level of "you must be this tidy to exist", and we rarely go above and beyond it.

Until now. I am a cleaning machine. I would call it inexplicable, but it's obviously related to the impending baby. Of course, I get so meta that it's hard to tell if i'm compulsively nesting, or nesting to feel like i'm nesting to feel like i'm that much closer to labor, because i'm getting desperate, people.

Anyway, here is a rundown of my nesting thus far:

Previous to this week:

* Cleaned out the guest room; painted it blue (with mom's help); set up the crib and twin bed; cleaned out the closet.

* Removed 300 VHS and DVD movies from the armoire and dragged them into our closet.
* Cleaned and oiled the entire armoire, folded all 0-6 baby clothes, sorted socks, and filled the armoire with tiny little itty bitty baby things.

* Generally tidied the house with Dr. Crog's help and, to be honest, force.

The past 3 days:

* Sewed 26 cloth wipes and 4 sets of nursing pads.
* Used almost an entire packet of disinfecting wipes to get every little nook of every cabinet in my kitchen. Like, the little corners and around the handles and everything.
* Cleaned all 3 toilets and put those little blue pills in their tanks.
* Used more disinfecting wipes to clean the fridge, microwave, and dishwasher, including the inside of the microwave and the rubber edges of the fridge.
* Cleaned out the laundry closet. I had forgotten what the top of the dryer looked like.
* Bought all those little doodads I almost forgot: antibacterial hand gel for guests, Gatorade and peppermint oil for labor, a trash can for cloth diapers, etc.

And still the disinfecting wipes are calling me. I need to get the coffee granules out of the freezer, and clean anything old out of the fridge, and dust the blinds, and get more Magic Erasers. So much to do, so little ability to bend at the waist!

I'm not yet in labor, but by cracky, I AM LABORING!

Monday, November 10, 2008

the things we say

Dr. Crog and I have such intriguing conversations.

(The set up: we're leaving Barnes and Noble at 11am on a Sunday morning. I spot an obese man holding a guitar case outside the Chili's restaurant. Go!)

Me: Oh, no. *Please* tell me they don't have live music at Chili's on Sunday! That's just adding insult to injury!
Dr. Crog: Surely not. That's disgusting.
Me: But there's a dude getting out of his car with a guitar strapped to his back....
Dr. Crog: No way. No way he's playing his guitar at Chili's. He probably played it at church, and now he's carrying it in with him so it won't be stolen...
Me: Yeah, as opposed to stowing it safely in the trunk? Who carries a guitar into Chili's?!
Dr. Crog: Good point. Oh, no. Oh, no, he's actually doing it. FAT BOY, GET THAT GUITAR OUT OF CHILIS!!!!!!
Biscuit: GET OUT OF CHILI'S!!!!

Good times.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

on eating blubber

As I lolled hugely on my parents' bed waiting for the Unisom to kick in today, I enjoyed watching Survivorman, a show I know mainly through Michael Scott's obsession on my DVDs of The Office. Watching TV at my folks' house is like being on vacation, since we only get out our bunny ears for presidential debates and the yearly premier of The Office. My favorite TV shows, outside of The Office, are all those quasi-reality shows where you can learn helpful things while watching filthy, fat, or unfashionable people receive helpful hints that totally turn their lives around. So watching this dude overturn his canoe in the Canadian wilderness and try to live for 7 days was quite interesting. Although I think the good folks at What Not To Wear would have had some things to say about his all-fleece-and-fur wardrobe.

Right now, i'm about as fragile as I can get, but I generally like to think of myself as relatively tough, unless it comes to highway driving or overheating after eating fettucine alfredo. Dr. Crog and I have often discussed taking one of those "survive in the woods" courses, once our kids are of a manageable age. We'd like to make fire and shelter, fish with string, dress game, all the things Mr. Survivorman does on his show. Just to see if we can, and to bolster our perceived usefulness once the zombie apocalypse occurs.

Dear mom friends: can you see me, out in the wilderness, with sticks in my hair and ash smeared on my face, holding up a bloody rabbit on a stick in the dancing firelight and howling triumphantly?

Because it's honestly on my list of things to do, along with taking my kids to Washington, D.C. and learning how to crochet. There are so many things I want to do, and so much of it will have to wait for a few years, and i'm fine with that.

I suppose my point is this: when I was little, I thought the main goals in life were marriage, kids, and career achievement. But I couldn't care less about a career, and marriage and kids have felt more like a natural continuation of a trajectory than huge stepping stones. I have always felt that achieving many of my goals would come later in life. I look forward to giving my kids new reasons to be proud of me, of letting them watch me better myself and grow in my relationship with my husband. I consider myself an unbelievably fortunate individual in every way, and life so far gets better every year.

But I can admit that I never want to pick up a big, cold bag of blubber and rip off a hunk with my teeth in the Alaskan wilderness. I want to be hungry, but not that hungry. I hope they paid Survivorman extra for that episode, because it totally grossed me out.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

you have to WHAT???

Two things to keep in mind: 1) Biscuit accompanied me on my midwife visit today, and 2) I am sick and must constantly remind her to be gentle and quiet. Here is the conversation:

Biscuit: I must take a big piss!
Biscuit: Take you big piss. You sick.
Me: Um, okay.
Biscuit: (wraps a piece of cloth around my wrist) I take you big piss!
Me: OHHH! You are taking my BLOOD PRESSURE!
Biscuit: Yep. You are okay!
Me: Oh, good! So i'm going to live?
Biscuit: Yep. Probably.
Biscuit: (holds out a small Little People cooler that generally holds pretend hair gel) You take... you have a... you need this.
Me: What is it?
Biscuit: Is uh... is uh... dat fing you take. To feel better. Make you feel better!
Me: Oh, it's medicine?
Biscuit: Yep. You need it. To feel better. Here you go!
Me: Doesn't that box usually hold Daddy's hair gel?
Biscuit: No, it's always medicine.
Me: Does Daddy know you put medicine in his hair every day?
Biscuit: Heh heh heh... nope.

I admit I cracked my first real smile of the day.

bad, more bad, badderest

Bad: living in a 36 weeks pregnant body.

Badder: getting a cold/sinus infection while living in a 36 weeks pregnant body.

Badderest: realizing that laying pathetically on the couch in a cold/sinus infection coma in a 36 weeks pregnant body makes you a very easy target for your toddler's every whim and desire. Honestly, I feel like Napoleon's body servant. If I eat another fake cupcake, i'm going to vomit fake vomit all over her cute little pants.

* * *

It's funny to think that when I used to work in Cubeland, being sick was actually kinda fun. You got sympathy at work, stopped on the way home for nasty comfort foods, and then went into a Nyquil fugue while scarfing mint Milanos and watching your favorite movies in a cozy, dark room in your comfy bed. And you weren't in your cube! And they were pretty much paying you to be there, whether through PTO or sick time. Ahhhhh.

Now, it's just adding insult to injury. I am already unwieldy, klutzy, congested, nauseated, and exhausted most of the time. I've been taking 2 probiotic pills and at least 2000 mg of vitamin C a day to keep my immune system up. And this is what I get?

Life, I demand a nanny, some 7 UP, a Ryan Reynolds movie, and lots of homemade chicken soup. And a milkshake. And a coma. And some new socks. And a coma.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

a hump like a snow hill...

If Shmoo hangs out too long, the Biscuit would like to request a harpoon for Christmas.

Avast, thar be the Great White Whale!!

Image courtesy of Simon Effendi of Artistic Moments Photography,

Monday, November 3, 2008

when was the last time you danced?

Query: If you were planning a solo exhibit, and most of the paintings represented motherhood/pregnancy, what would be the soundtrack in your studio?

Let's see... something tender and loving... lots of woman power and fertility... vacillating from gentle lullabies to kickass grrrl celebration?

Naw, not my style.

Seems i'm painting this entire series to St. Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley. Because when I think of motherhood, I think of "a Syd Barrett-like descent into madness," including themes of "paranoia, schizophrenia, necrophilia, and suicide", as Rolling Stone magazine describes the platinum-selling first album by producer Danger Mouse and former gangster/gangsta rapper Cee-Lo.

And no matter how many times I hunt through my CD collection or prattle about iTunes, I keep listening to this CD again and again and again. It just calls me.

That's what I love so much about art-- you don't call it; it calls you.

I don't feel like I get to decide what each painting will be, how they will fit together, what sort of voodoo is going to call them into the light from the ether. They just happen. That whole "it's the journey, not the destination" cliche. I don't consciously go into the studio thinking, "I'm going to use this pose and these colors and head in this direction". I just wake up and say, "Time to do stuff," and then, as they say, shit happens. And i'm left with dry, stained hands and a navel full of paint.

It's a lot like being pregnant, really. Sometimes you plan it; sometimes, it just happens. You don't get to choose how many babies or what gender or what hair color-- it just happens. You don't get to choose whether you have a calm or crazy pregnancy, when or if you're going to barf, when the baby will arrive. Often, despite the best planning and research, you don't even get to decide how or where your little masterpiece enters the world.

You're simply a vessel for a body that comes from nothing and becomes something, oftentimes dragging you through hell and shaking you like a ragdoll before you get there.

I like art, and I like pregnancy, and I like Gnarls Barkley. Go figure.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

the incredible lightness of heaviness

(A meditation on the art of maternity)

As I was standing in front of the mirror in underthings as dainty as late pregnancy will allow, trying desperately to draw my right arm using my right arm, it occurred to me that some might think it strange that I am so anxious to paint my own bloated and partially exposed body repeatedly and then show it to everyone from my parents to random strangers signing up for piano class.

But you know what? It's not really my body.

Seriously, when i'm pregnant, it's like wearing a costume. This isn't me. This isn't my body. This isn't who I am, or how I picture myself. So I honestly don't feel very modest about it at all. Luckily, when it comes to art, Dr. Crog doesn't mind, either.

I have now drawn myself over 50 times, mostly in a bra and boy shorts or pajama pants; never showing my face. I have drawn myself with red hair and blond hair and dark hair. I have drawn the beautiful lines of my taut belly and curvy hips, and I have drawn the hideous lines that I hate, the ones where my underarms get a little jiggly and my back wrinkles with the extra weight of pregnancy if I bend the wrong way. A few images even show my c-section scar from the wacky trainwreck that was the birth of the Biscuit.

And i'm pretty proud of it all. I'm not going to tell you that i'm one of those women who think of stretch marks as medals of honor or tiger stripes, because i'm just not. Dr. Crog and I have actually had discussions about what to take care of first once my birthing and nursing days are over-- getting my poor little mole eyes Lasiked or getting my permanently flabby-wabby belly tightened and de-lined. I miss working out and bellydancing and walking fast and feeling good in my smallest jeans. Let's face it-- to be an artist, you've got to have some degree of vanity.

But for now, this body is a gift. Not only because it creates and nourishes new life, someone I absolutely cannot wait to meet. But also because it's like having my own personal model in my studio 24 hours a day. I can find the exact pose I need and hold it as long as I need, provided I can still find a way to hold the board while i'm drawing. And the paintings covering every flat surface of my dining room are somehow completely removed from my mental image of *me*, as foreign as the sketches from ART 102 in college showing models from a Native American elder to a dude with the biggest jew-fro i've ever seen and too much dangle to ever show my dad.

There are many indignities to pregnancy; and i'm not going to list them here, because I may have to look some of you in the face again. Google "pregnancy woes" if you are unfamiliar and like a good horror story and are considering adoption. But there is an amazing beauty here, too-- an abundance and fulfillment found nowhere else.

That's what i'm hoping to capture in my show this January-- the expression of the pregnant body as a landscape, a season, an archipelago, an archetype, a fleeting impression all the more beautiful because it doesn't last, yet leaves behind something far more powerful. It's the longest and shortest 9 months of your life, and holding that perfect, tiny baby in your arms, there is still a sadness in knowing that your belly is gone forever.

Although it's nice to lay on your back and see your feet again, I readily admit.

If you're going to be in the Atlanta area this January and would like more details, please let me know. Unless you're a creep, because I don't need creepy people ogling my goodies, even if they're covered.

Halloween: the good, the bad, and the enormously pregnant

I think I speak for us all when I say: Best Halloween EVAR.

The Biscuit was a witch.

I was her black cat. Apparently, she hasn't been listening to Bob Barker, because I was definitely full of kittens.

Dr. Crog was an Interview Tool.

Yes, it's a pun on one of his job duties. We just shaved off everything but his mustache, slicked back his hair, and made him look as tooly as possible through clothing and accessories. What has two thumbs and likes Weekend at Bernie's? THIS GUY!

We had a great time walking around the neighborhood and teaching our little dude to trick-or-treat. She has no idea what candy is, but she enjoyed collecting colorful stuff in her pumpkin and saying, "Tankoo". She was more frightened by the friendly old ladies trying to give her candy than of the haunted houses, spooky graveyards, and teenagers in bloody makeup. At the end of the night, we let her have half a fun-size Twix, and she's still talking about it.

And you know what? She's totally forgotten about the rest of the candy. Score!

No wonder Halloween is our favorite holiday.

Friday, October 31, 2008

viva la freshness!

For our weekly lunch together, my mom took the Biscuit and I to a fabulous new Mexican gourmet restaurant called The Bridge that is nearby and emphasizes freshness. And I must admit, the food definitely gave me a new definition for the term "fresh".

We sat down in a booth near the front door. The service was a bit slow, and the salsa was really quite hot, but we found the food to be delightful and, indeed, fresh.
The Biscuit was chowing down on beans, rice, cheese, sour cream, and chicken, and my quesadilla was delicious, with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and very fresh chicken.

Oh, and the roach.

That's right. A living, squirming, frantic cockroach dropped from the ceiling directly onto my plate, landing squarely on my quesadilla, right next to my fork. I was utterly speechless and could only gesticulate madly until mom noticed. Biscuit kept on chomping. At that moment, with me unsure whether to kill it, scream, or barf, the waitress came by to see how were were doing. I pointed with my knife. As it scurried onto the table and towards my child, the waitress grabbed an empty beer bottle and squashed it mostly flat right next to the chips, where it continued to squirm and flap around in a way that was even more disgusting than just the scurrying.

I started laughing, because it was all just so ridiculous and gross. And I kept on laughing, like some sort of idiot, until about 3pm this afternoon.

A nice man, who I assume owns or manages the restaurant, stopped by to apologize and explained that it was all the fault of the coin laundry next door, which is obvious, because cockroaches are known for enjoying clothes and cleaning products. Not piles of half eaten food and sugary beverages in restaurants. I'm sure it was the coin laundry. He offered to get us new food, but my mom wisely spoke for me, saying, "We're just going to leave now".

And since then, i've eaten 2 apples and a Kit Kat bar, because food just hasn't been very appealing.

Moral of the story? Don't eat Mexican food by that coin laundry.

Or ever again possibly.

Tomorrow: Halloween recap: The Good, The Bad, and The Enormously Pregnant.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Great Birthday Guessing Game

Anybody wanna guess when Baby Shmoo will arrive?

Leave your guess in the comments, and we'll see who gets closest.

The dating ultrasound at 8 weeks said December 2. The 20 week ultrasound ranged from November 26 to December 2.

I look like a dirigible and am experiencing prodromal labor.

Got a guess?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

this is not my crap

A conversation:

Cashier: Do you want to hold onto this Heath bar, and the Reese's cups, and the Dr. Pepper?
Me: No, thanks. That's not my crap.
Cashier: These aren't yours?
Me: Well, i'm paying for them, but they're for my husband, who is going to be cracked out on Fallout 3 for the next 2 days and will probably forget to eat unless I put those in his lap.
Cashier: Yeah, it's a pretty good game. Hey, is this bag too heavy for you?
Me: No, i'll make my husband bring in the groceries.
Cashier: You think he'll quit playing for that?
Me: If he wants his Heath bar, Reese's, and Dr. Pepper, you bet yer a$$ he will.

I like a jovial teenage cashier. Makes life a lot easier.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Well, I have my little peach sticker telling everyone that i'm a Georgia voter.

And I have to say that it was one of the loveliest voting experience of my life.

Arriving at the library at 10am in 44 degree weather, I was considered "disabled" and pushed to the front of the line, despite my protestations. Everyone was friendly, kind, and jovial, and most folks couldn't believe that an egregiously pregnant woman would carry a 27-pound toddler on her back. I tried to explain how it balances out my front, but I think they were skeptical. We were out of there in 30 minutes!

So, my recommendations are as follows:

1. VOTE.
2. Vote early.
3. Wear a big pillow under your shirt so they let you vote first.

a child's judgment

Guess what Biscuit made today at school?

A big, black spider. Made of her little handprints in black paint, with googly eyes.

Her comments?

"Look! I make a big, black spider! Like run up mommy's leg make her scream like a noonie bird!"

Makes more sense when you know that "noonie bird" is our family term to replace anything from jerk to idiot to "complete f'ing moron dumba$$ who can't f'ing drive". We just say noonie bird.

And apparently, I screamed like a noonie bird.


Monday, October 27, 2008

I am a sniveling girl

I generally pride myself on *not* being a sniveling girl. I used to train muay thai and a little jiujitsu. I like snakes, lizards, sharks, and rampaging stallions. When not shaped like a planetoid, I love to climb trees and boulders and be all sorts of tomboy.

But this morning, I totally lost my cool girl cred.

Because I woke my husband up screaming like a little girl.

Because there was a 3-inch diameter wolf spider running up my velour pajama pants.

Which I then beat to death with a toddler bicycle helmet in front of my slightly confused toddler.

Now, I know perfectly well that this is a harmless, even beneficial spider. I am sitting 4 feet from the fireplace, and I suspect that the flue isn't quite closed all the way. It's fall, and windy, and the most obvious place in the world for a big ol' spider to go would be to the warm indoors. I know that there are only two venomous spiders in Georgia, and that they are both teeny tiny and reclusive. Especially the Brown Recluse.

But I just couldn't stop myself from jumping up and down and screaming. Because, honestly, it was 7am, and I hadn't had coffee yet, and I don't have very good eyesight, and it was really really hauling ass up my leg.

So, yeah, today... i'm a sniveling girl. And an arachnicidal maniac.

But at least that is balanced out by the fact that I made horrible coffee, shrunk Dr. Crog's new sweater to a Junior size 5, did the worst ironing job possible on his nice work pants, and generally sucked as a housewife this morning. So maybe I kept a little bit of tomboy, right?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

quote of the day

Mommy: Biscuit, what time is it?
Biscuit: Forty o'clock.
Mommy: Well, look outside. What time of day is it?
Biscuit: It is night.
Mommy: So what do we do at night?
Biscuit: NOOOOOO!
Mommy: At night, after we have our yogurt, we go upstairs. What do we do?
Biscuit: Have a vitamin.
Mommy: Um, no. Okay, what are these? (pointing at teeth)
Biscuit: Teeth.
Mommy: What do we do with our teeth before we go to bed?
Biscuit: Put a vitamin inside of them.

Mommy and Daddy laugh uproariously. Truly our child. Daddy and Biscuit are now brushing teeth. I suppose that when a vitamin is the most sugary snack a kid gets in a day, they really look forward to Vitamin Time, but honestly... that's just freaking hilarious.

Okay, now go read the bit about Medieval Times, because that's the real blog for today.

my big fat Medieval birthday

As i've mentioned before, there aren't a lot of fun activities open to people in their 8th month of pregnancy. Ice skating, roller skating, rock climbing, amusement parks, running with the bulls, and sky diving are totally out. But I needed to celebrate 31 in a fun way, which led us to Medieval Times.

On the Epcot Trip in 6th grade, we went to the MT in Florida, but the experience was darkly colored by my teacher's concussion and my own insecurities. I mainly remember Ms. Everiss flying into the bus windshield, not quite knowing what to do with an entire chicken and no silverware, and trying desperately to pretend that I was cool despite the fact that I was pudgy with bad hair and no friends.

It was much better as an adult.

Here's the play-by-play:

6:15 - My mom shows up to watch the biscuit and we drive to Medieval Times in the rain. Although I am utterly terrified by highways (thank you, mortality salience!), it's so relaxing to be sitting somewhere cozy and not moving that I really have a nice time.

7:00 - We arrive at MT and meet The Kids. We give them our preprinted tickets, which entitle us to "The Royalty Package". We are VIPs. Which is why they give us cardboard crowns and take our photo with the king and princess. The king is pretty realistic, but the princess looks like that girl from your high school drama club that gets all the roles requiring a girl to be pretty in an extremely caucasian and harmless way. For one brief moment, Dr. Crog and I realize that we are utter dweebs, but we come to terms with it. Dr. Crog gets a big ol' beer in a souvenir glass and makes me hold it for him while he uses the can, which makes me feel totally redneck and/or medieval.

7:05 - We realize that when the website tells you to be there an hour early to ensure good seats, they really mean that they want to hold you captive for an hour by the open bar, souvenir shop, and $2 torture museum. We opt for the torture museum, OBVIOUSLY.

7:15 - We slip by the executioner and his wench to enjoy the torture museum for 10 minutes. They have many interesting torture devices with colorful descriptions and illustrations. I am somewhat bothered by the fact that the couple behind us in line appear to be Mennonites, or some other extremely modest sect that involves the woman covering every inch of skin and wearing a little basket on her head. Feeling them read the description of a chastity belt over my shoulder and exposed cleavages is a little surreal.

8:00 - We Lords and Ladies are invited to sit. We are in the Black and White section, front row center. Luckily, the black-and-white knight is one of the better knights and is always on a fabulous horse. They bring us tomato soup in a pewter cup to sip with some garlic bread while the show starts with a bunch of drama and subplot. The microphones attached to the actors are a bit distracting, but I suppose it's better than bullhorns. As we're big movie and book fans, Dr. Crog and I immediately know whodunnit, but i'm too busy drooling over the villain's Friesian horse to care.

8:15 - The Master of Horse exhibit begins, and they bring out a parade of gorgeous Andalusians, Lippizaners, and Friesians. It is total horse porn for a girl like me, and I am practically drooling into my lap watching all those big, sexy horse feet. I'm talking dirty under my breath to a particularly sassy Andalusian with a gorgeous, thick, dappled neck when I realize that someone has placed half a chicken and half a potato on my plate. It's like MAGIC!

8:30 - The King's Falconer comes out, and a hawk starts swooping over our heads, and we have a discussion on the difference between being the Falconer in the actual medieval times, being the Falconer for Medieval Times TM, and being the Falconer from Saturday Night Live. We agree that the real thing would have been best, even with the rickets and lack of toilet paper, because anyone would get sick of 13 year old boys asking stupid questions every day or having your falcon, Donald, constantly reject and abandon you to go do coke off a hooker's butt.

9:00 - Or something. The games begin, with jousting for rings, picking up sticks at full gallop, tossing things from horseback, etc. We are impressed with the horsemanship and lancemanship, and we really enjoy watching the knights have fun while performing esoteric and utterly unpractical tasks. We can completely respect a guy who says to himself, "You know, I want to have long hair and wear tights and fight with a sword, but selling candles at the RennFest ain't enough. I'm going full-time." And then he actually does, it, does it well, and makes a living off it. We are also curious as to whether the dude who has to pick up the horse doodies actually applied for that job, or if they just make the latest person each night do it, or if they draw straws.

9:30ish - Actual jousting, swordfighting, maces, lances, and fisticuffs ensue. Each knight must choose a Lady from his section to carry his token. Our knight wisely chooses a four-year-old girl with a pink furry princess hat who is celebrating a birthday. Her extremely drunk mother later defends her daughter's knight by standing up, shouting obscenities, and shooting a bird at the knight who unseats him in the joust. Classy!

The Kids split sometime around here due to Adrienne's ferocious horse allergy. Poor girl! You guys are so good to humor us when we act like giant 7-year-olds with endocrine issues.

10:00 - Things happened. We ate all our food with our fingers and used wet naps. There was drama and subplot and (gasp!) betrayal. There were silly little moments, like when we realized that the gimp-masked bad guys were really the knights who had been grievously wounded in swordfights. In real life, their intestines would have been spread all over the dirt after the many broadsword gut slashes, but in MT world, they limped offstage to recover, some in the princess's bower. Bom-chicka-bomp-bom! We found ourselves shouting and waving our pennants and really pulling for our knight, who would have won, if not for (gasp!) BETRAYAL.

A good time was had by all.

In conclusion, if you are a big ol' dork (or a small child) who likes pageantry and fun and greasy fingers and really sexy horses, we highly recommend Medieval Times. Four very enthusiastic thumbs up.

And the bonus? The Biscuit got a crown and pennant, and she's been cheering for us all day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

forced eavesdropping

You know how sometimes, you can't help eavesdropping? You don't want to hear it. You'd just like to read, or eat, or have your own conversation. But they're so loud and obnoxious, you have to listen.

Here is one such conversation today, possibly the most ridiculous one i've heard in a while:

Lady 1: You know, I wanted my son to be a good eater, but he just isn't. He only wants to eat sugar and snacks and stuff, no veggies. He likes cookies and cereal and cake and chicken nuggets and french fries.
Lady 2: Yeah, I don't get it, either! My kids do the same thing!
(note: They have brought a bag of McDonald's food into a coffee shop for this conversation...)

Lady 1: So I think he might be lactose intolerant. Or be allergic to milk.
Lady 2: Yeah, my kids, too!
Lady 1: But I can't figure out the difference between lactose intolerance and milk allergies.
(note: They have a laptop on the table, and the coffee shop offers free WiFi...)

Lady 1: Like, his stomach is always messed up. But he seems okay with cheese and yogurt.
Lady 2: I always get really sick after I drink a milkshake or eat ice cream, so I think I must be allergic to milk.
Lady 1: Yeah, same here! But lattes don't make me sick, so whatever.
Lady 2: Maybe it has something to do with if it's whole milk or fat free. Like, maybe the fat makes you sick or something.
Lady 1: No, I think that's the lactose intolerance, not the milk allergy thing. Lactose intolerance has to do with the fat in the milk or something.
Lady 2: Does lactose intolerance give kids ADD, too? Because my kids are real hyper.
Lady 1: No, they're just born with that.
(note: Their 3 kids are running around, screaming, knocking into people, while drinking sodas...)

In conclusion, I was just dumbfounded. In today's world, how can anyone not know the answers to these questions? And, if so, how are they not on Google finding out? I wanted to turn around and scream, "GUESS WHAT? YOU AND YOUR KIDS ARE CRAZY BECAUSE YOU EAT NOTHING BUT SUGAR AND FAT, AND THAT MESSES WITH YOUR STOMACHS. DRINK SOME WATER AND EAT A VEGETABLE!"

I know that i'm a "learning is half the battle" kind of person, but honestly... if I thought something I was feeding my child was making her sick, i'd check it out. If not on the internet, if not on a message board, then with... oh, I dunno... her DOCTOR.

Ignorance is one thing, but it's so easy to look up answers in this world. You don't even have to go to the library and find an encyclopedia-- you just type something into your "search" bar and start reading. Even Ask Jeeves could tell you what lactose intolerance is!

Ah, well. I'm just going to hope these girls watch Oprah on the right day and buy stock in Tums.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

31 is pretty good so far: part 2, electric boogaloo

Let's see...

17. Eleventh grade. I wear brown corduroy pants and an argylel sweater to school, and my friends give me a pair of argyle suspenders and matching argyle socks, because I apparently think i'm a Scottish clown. So I spend the day dressed like a clown with a balloon bouquet tied to my pants. I get my highest bowling score ever. The bowling shoes really added something special to the ensemble.

18. Twelfth grade. After having my heart broken over the summer, I consent to a spaghetti dinner and homecoming dance on my birthday with a seemingly nice boy who later rapes me at knifepoint after 3 months of concentrated stalking. He makes a big deal about driving his father's Mustang, how expensive dinner is, and the ridiculous book on Esperanto he ceremoniously gives me. Pretty much the only birthday/year not better than the previous one.

19. I'm a freshman in college, and my mom sends me a care package including Dr. Suess's "Oh Say Can You Say?" and encourages me to get drunk and enjoy the tongue twisters. I follow her advice and vomit in ever receptacle from my shoes to my roommate's trash can. My boyfriend gives me a large long-sleeved Toasters t-shirt that makes me look like a man. Still, it's better than last year.

20. I'm a sophomore in college, and my roommates and I are still having a grand time and not bugging the crap out of eachother, so they each give me sweet little gifts. My high school friend breaks into my house through the kitchen window and sets up a battle of miniature plastic pigs on my kitchen table. I receive Marduk the Armadillo, a corporeal god who still guards my studio. My boyfriend, some guy named Craig, leaves huge, hand-cut wooden signs around the house for me, the loss of which bothers me to this day.

21. I'm a junior/senior in college. I'm dating a nice vegetarian boy who works at The Cookie Company. I eat a LOT of cookie cake for my birthday.

22. I'm at my very first job. They have a cake for me and give me little gifts, and I feel like a grown-up for the first time. I'm fairly certain that I went to see The Blair Witch Project for free at a second-run theater where a friend worked, and I nearly gave myself a heart attack coming home alone and walking through the creepy, unlit garden.

23. Still at the same job, I must work a huge gala event on the night of my birthday. I'm in metallic red snakeskin pants and mile-high heels until 3am serving rich people champagne. Dr. Crog meets me afterwards, and we go to Kroger to buy a little white puppy-shaped cake covered in sprinkles, which we eat at my kitchen table.

24. I'm in Clemson, living in a one-bedroom apartment with Dr. Crog. He puts up signs for me, one of our favorite traditions. Dr. Crog conspires with my friends to throw me a fabulous birthday party at the local skating rink, where we bribe the DJ to play nothing but 80's music, which heavily confuses the children. Dr. Crog comes in 2nd in the limbo contest. I have a great time skating in a tiara, eating cake, and opening my first DVDs for our brand new DVD player. I don't think we've ever watched The Mexican again.

25. I'm in Pendleton, SC, happily married to Dr. Crog. He puts up signs and gets me a cake. The girls at work take me out to my favorite restaurant for greasy fried haddock and chips. My girlfriends throw me a sleepover party, where we dance, get drunk, watch silly movies, and I gorge on my very favorite cake with rainbow chip frosting. They call me "the mouse in the belljar" for nibbling off the cake plate all night.

26. We're in Birmingham. We have no friends and are generally pretty miserable. Dr. Crog takes me to Steak and Ale, our favorite restaurant. He buys me the most hilarious cake-- yellow cake with chocolate whipped icing, covered in toy cars. I try really hard to pretend I like it and fail miserably. Tres pathetique.

27. We're in Alpharetta. I don't remember a lot from Alpharetta, really. I have no recollection of this birthday. I'm assuming there was cake involved somewhere.

28. We live in a little one bedroom apartment and are about to get pregnant, although we don't know it. Jan takes me to Anna Lee's for lunch. Dr. Crog takes me to Killer Creek for dinner. Some day that week, my parents take us to Red Lobster for Super Shrimp Glutton day. I eat a lot of shrimp and make myself sick.

29. We take our 2 month old baby for her first big road trip to meet her Savannah grandparents and to attend my dear friend Amy's wedding on the beach. We have a wonderful time at the beautiful wedding with lots of old friends. I have lots of cake.

30. We drop Cleo off with my parents and go to Five Guys for lunch with Adrienne and Evan. Then everyone humors me by pretending they enjoy ice skating as much as I do, even though most of them are in serious pain from the cold, falling, or skates. Dr. Crog and the kids give me lots of cool art supplies for my birthday, which i'll one day get to use for encaustic painting when i'm done pregging and nursing. Dr. Crog also gets my first, very own, super special beautiful Cake by Darcy, which I eat in, like, one week and share with my friend Christine, who gives birth on the 23rd and is able to eat the cake the next day.

31. I'm 8 months pregnant. I wake up before dawn, worrying about stupid crap, but manage to salvage the morning with waffles, a steaming 30 minute shower and the chance to read on my favorite couch while the family sleeps. Dr. Crog and Cleo wish me a very happy birthday. My good friend Christine makes special Nutella-magical-calzone thingies that taste like hot brownie mix on crack. I buy some shoes. A fine evening is promised. We're going to Medieval Times on Friday, since watching grown men beat eachother on horseback while drinking Sprite out of a goblet is really the only exciting event/activity a preggo can enjoy.

In conclusion, CAKE. And I like being much, much happier at 31 than I ever thought possible at 16. No wonder I can't watch cheesy teen movies anymore-- life is so much better now.

now we are 31: first blood, part 1

What a bizarre number: 31. It's prime, it's all odd, it's an icy mint green, according to my synesthesia. But since pretty much every year of my life has been better than the last, I don't think i'll complain.

Here is an attempt to remember my past birthdays:
1. No memory. I have seen pictures of me in nothing but a diaper and bib, stuffing my gob with as much chocolate icing as possible and later holding two stuffed bears. Sounds pretty good.

2. No memory. Was this the year my mom made a Holly Hobby cake? I think i've seen pictures.

3. No memory. I think my parents gave up on the whole "photographs" thing around now. I wasn't quite as cute.

4 - 5. No memory, no pictures.

6. I was in kindergarten, and I have no memory of my birthday party, but my mom took me to Richway to buy the first My Little Pony, which was a foot tall, made of hard plastic, and simultaneously winked and twitched an ear when you pushed a button under her chin. We went to my dad's work, and my Aunt Shirley gave me some old butterscotch that tasted like cigarette smoke. I thought I was the luckiest kid on earth.

7. I don't remember the party, but I do remember getting my first Cabbage Patch Kid, Sherri. They were so popular then that a woman tried to pry her from my arms as I proudly walked to the checkout line, and my mom almost decked her. What is wrong with people?

8. Second grade. I took 3 friends to go ride ponies at a ranch. I had mental images of my friends and I, dressed as cowboys, galloping around a field and jumping over logs and yelling "YEEEHAW!" In reality, a bored teenager led us each around the ring once on the back of a very bored pony, I cried inside while my mom paid them $50, and then we went back to my house for pizza. And then Jonathan Poister threw me a football, and I broke my finger catching it incorrectly and spent the rest of the evening with an ice pack.

9. Third grade. I had my first sleepover, featuring school friends, neighborhood friends, and the older sisters of neighborhood friends to pad the list so that I could brag about how many people came to my party because I wasn't very popular. After telling me for 3 months that I would not be receiving a Cabbage Patch Kids Cornsilk Kid TM, my parents surprised me with one, who had auburn hair and was wearing a yellow dress and black party shoes. My cake was from a bakery, white with a horse's head poorly done in sparkly brown gel icing. We watched the Care Bear movies.

10. Fourth grade. No memory. Was this Chuck E. Cheese? Or Showbiz Pizza? I think so.

11. Fifth grade. No memory. Probably another sleepover.

12. Sixth grade. Had a sleepover with people I thought were my friends who actually hated me. Terribly depressing to remember. Received a bike for either my birthday or Christmas, which enabled me to get exercise and drop some chunk.

13. Seventh grade. Had my room redone in shades of mauve. Got my first TV and VCR. Thought I was cool.

14. Eighth grade. Actually began to somewhat be cool, in that I lost 20 pounds over the previous summer, grew out my toupee hair, and quit hanging out with people who hated me. I think I had a party, but I don't recall. I'm sure I was very blase and vegetarian about it, whatever it was.

15. Ninth grade. Had a very cool boy-girl party, my first. My parents redid the house with a widescreen TV and pool table. I think I got a stereo for my birthday and began wondering, "Who is this Nirvana guy? He's kinda cool."

16. Tenth grade. Dad took me to get my driver's license and left me at school with mom's car, which I used to promptly skip school to go to the opening of North Point Mall with my boyfriend. My friends brought me a cookie cake at lunch, and when the school bully was cloyingly nice and asked for a piece, I laughed in his face and said no, so he told me we were going to fight behind the church after school. He didn't show, so I won by default.

To be continued...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

a very nearly ideal day

Normally, weekends are not my favorite. My friends are all busy, my parents are "crashed", and my husband has his only true time to relax, which mostly involves jiujitsu and napping. Which means it's just me and the biscuit, which makes for a pretty exhausting day, considering i'm a whale.

Today, however, was outstanding.

1. Sleep in while Dr. Krog entertains the biscuit. Wake up and roll around ecstatically in the cold sheets, cackling happily in the dappled sunlight.

2. Go to Ikea. Eat a cinnamon roll. Get stuff for Cleo's Big Girl Room. And a few things for me. I have an aloe plant now! So I will probably burn myself accidentally, just to prove its usefulness.

3. Go to my folks'. Eat so much of my grandmother's vittles that I seriously think i'm going to spew. Loll in bed watching the Style Network while mom chases the biscuit. Burp a lot, because my stomach is squished down to about 4 inches square and being repeatedly kicked by my alien child.

4. Come home and clean while Cleo naps.

5. Prepare the Big Girl Room, complete with twin bed, new linens, traded paintings, Ikea tent, easel, and general rebranding. Then watch her smile and gallop around.

6. Go on a 7:30pm impulsive sugar run for my first Icee in, like, 5 years. It is the most unnatural substance i've ever tasted. Not even vaguely frootlike. Lovely consistency, though.

7. Bed. My favorite sleeping weather. And tomorrow I get to paint.

The only porblem? I was so stuffed this afternoon that I told my mom to keep the remaining half of Mimi's chocolate pie, and I could really use some of that pie now.

Mmmmmmmm. Pie.