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.