Tuesday, November 22, 2011

MG and Zygote's Thoughts on Vasectomies

My daddy has a boo boo. And a diaper.

Daddy has a boo boo on his pee. I can't touch it.

I don't understand why you need the surgery. You can just not have sex. . . Gross.

If I can't say "balls," what do you call them? What? Testicles sounds worse than balls.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

This Is What A Relationship Looks Like: True Love Edition

Scene: JM finishes telling YG the harrowing story of spending 2.5 hours on a Sunday in urgent care with two sick babies that culminated in some hipster douchebag asking, "is anyone going to do something about that screaming baby?"

JM: Well, so I lost it. I told him he could suck my dick.
YG: That's so crude.
JM: Suck my dick.
YG: You know I hate it when you say that.
JM: Can you think of a more appropriate phrase I could have said to him?
YG: Really, go fuck yourself would have been better.

Perhaps it's time to rethink my language when "go fuck yourself" is the better phrase.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Meet the New Boss

I'm working on a new project, a new blog that narrows my focus down to the things I get all frothy and excited about: food, clothes, nutrition, "women's issues," etc. I wanted to keep the Like Seriously name, but then I couldn't think of a word for women that wasn't either insulting (Like Seriously Bitches) or too twee (Like Seriously Chicks). I went with Grrrls because maybe, deep down, I am still riot grrrl at my core. Check it out: http://like-seriouslygrrrls.blogspot.com

I'm still going to keep this one for updates on the spawn and my never ending job search and whatever else might be jingling around in my brain.

The new blog was born during a class I just took, Working on Purpose (I KNOW), where we had to make lists of things we enjoyed and liked to talk about. Besides my kids and YG and running and watching a LOT of tv, my list consisted of writing and kvetching about food, fashion, feminism. And then we got to the hard part -- is there anything you can do with that? I immediately thought that I could write about those things, but then quickly retreated into "what's the point? no one reads." But, I guess the point is to do it anyway.

So yeah, I'm doing it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back To The Mines


Image from Hyperbole and a Half

Yesterday was my first day back at work. And then I went back today. And then I had to drink beer.

My placard: Will work for new job.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One and Two

Sometimes they look so alike to me. I know they are two different kids with two different personalities, but when they have the same expressions, it can take my breath away. I'm sure this is just the beginning of things that they will discuss later on in therapy. 'YOU never let me be my own person' and whatnot.

Z2, taken Sept 2011 back in Whippany in my old bedroom.


Zygote, taken Sept 2009 back in Whippany in my old bedroom.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's The Opposite of an Iron Lung?

Z2 is lovely for most of the day. And then around 6pm, the screaming begins. Not regular screaming, but ear-piercing shrieks and howls that cannot be placated with food or snuggles or anything. I'm convinced our neighbors think we are torturing this kid. It's terrible under most circumstances, even more so when you are alone and trying to convince the other child not to poop in the tub.

Have a listen to the decibel level on this one, and imagine that, FOR AN HOUR:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering

I have to stop watching all the 9/11 memorials. I feel like that is disrespectful (to whom?) in some ways, but I don't know how I can endure tomorrow unless I go into media blackout. I just sat through MSNBC's special which was basically a rebroadcast of their live show on 9/11/01. Watching all that information filter in, before we knew anything, felt like a punch to the gut. I alternate between dazed and teary. I kind of hope the breakdown will happen so that I can move past the hazy, anxious feeling.

This year seems harder than all the others, probably because of all the intense media focus.

I remember what I was wearing. I wore it for the next two days.

I remember being late for work.

I remember watching everything unfold in Ray's office and seeing coworkers cry.

I remember being in the cafeteria and watching on tv when the Pentagon news broke. I said something about hoping George Bush was up to the job and having a distraught guy physically threaten me for being so callous. He was right. I was wrong.

I remember stopping at CVS to buy a toothbrush because I didn't know where I was going to be staying and for how long. I still have it along with some cheap makeup.

I remember being alone in my parents house waiting for someone to get there. I remember talking to my brother in France and telling him that the Towers were just gone, just vanished. I talked to my friend's mom and my sister and BB and Tom.

I remember my parents finally getting home from Staten Island. It's like I can almost still feel that hug. I have hugged my parents countless times in my life but that one, I will remember.

I remember that we went to a Chinese buffet on Route 10 and could see the cloud.

I remember all the "missing" posters and the segments on tv.

I remember driving back to Brooklyn finally to pick up my cats and how eerie quiet the Turnpike is without the sounds of the airplanes.

I remember Owl's Head Park and the Pier being closed, but we could still see that cloud billowing from my street.

I remember holing up in the small bedroom in Whippany (Brian's bedroom), living out of a suitcase for longer than necessary because I was afraid of going back.

I remember shopping for wedding gowns and hearing numerous stories of cancelled weddings because of missing brides and grooms.

I remember finally moving back in and taking the subway to Manhattan. Everything was bustling and moving, but as we inched closer to Ground Zero, it was dead quiet, and people walked in single file lines down random streets.

I remember there were exceptions. I remember a fight between two men, one yelling at the other for taking pictures of his family posing in front of a particularly scary-looking backdrop. "THIS IS NOT A FUCKING TOURIST ATTRACTION. IT'S A GRAVE!" he screamed.

I remember people clapping for firemen and police officers when they drove down the West Side Highway.

I remember flying to France a few months later and there was a little bit of turbulence, enough to make me white knuckle my seat, and look over at my father who had his eyes scrunched shut and was saying prayers.

I remember that people liked us.

I remember that everyone knew somebody.

It's one of the oldest written cliches, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I can almost taste the sadness. There's no real way to end this, is there?

Monday, September 05, 2011

September 5 Through The Years

More on the 35 milestone later.

First birthday.


Sweet sixteen -- black dress, colored fishnets. I'd still dress this way every day if I thought I could get away with it.





Eighteen, right before college. My mom looks like she could be Zygote's twin.



Nineteen, before I realized that plucking means shaping the entire brow, not just the Scorcese in between.


Twenty. London. With NN and our individual bottles of "California White." Classy.


Twenty one. Mil Mulliganos show at Chucks with BB. That shirt is 100% polyester.




Twenty five. At ESPNZone. Not on a business trip. That says a lot about 25.


Thirty. Lombard Street on my first trip to San Francisco. One of my favorite YG/JM trips.


Thirty one. W Hotel, Union Square. Magnolia cupcakes. He proposed a few hours later.


Thirty three. With the new kid in town.


Thirty four. Walden Pond.


Thirty five.







Sunday, September 04, 2011

This Is What A Relationship Looks Like: Role Play Edition

Scene: YG shuffles the deck of Uno cards for Uno Smackdown Night, also known as what married people with kids do on a weekend night.

JM: Did you fart?
YG: . . .
JM: Seriously, you like fart all the time now.
YG: I'm you now.
JM: . . .
YG: And now I am the Uno Master.
JM: You really are me.
YG: Role reversal.
JM: You fart all the time, you're the Uno Master and you are angrily beating up people in the street.
YG: I didn't beat that guy up. I threatened to beat him up.
JM: Still.
YG: Still.
JM: If roles were really reversed and I wanted to be you, though, I'd just have to inwardly seethe all the time. Just seethe.
YG: Oh don't worry. You're there.

After an epic Uno battle, he won. I seethed.

Summer Reading

Not as much as I would have liked, but good enough. One phrase recaps:

* When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. Funny enough to read in the hospital with a screaming baby.

* That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo. Russoesque, but not as good as his other stuff.

* I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It by Barbara Sher and Barbara Smith. Don't judge me.

* The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. Mormons are even more demented than I thought they were.

* A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments by David Foster Wallace. Most were hilariously brilliant, and the others were probably brilliant but I felt seriously and ridiculously intellectually inferior reading them. Also, I was right about cruises.

* Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann. I miss NYC.

* Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace by Ayelet Waldman. Diaper bag book that is surprisingly relatable considering the author.

Up next:
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. I have devoured and loved everything of his that I've read. Plus, I secretly want him to fall in love with me. And by in love, I mean in that "wait, you're from New Jersey too? And you went to Syracuse too? And you moved to Massachusetts too? And you're hilarious too? I bet you are a great writer. I should take a look at your stuff" kind of way.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Valleys, Peaks, Other Metaphors

The years fly by, but the afternoons last forever.

I've heard that expression twice this week, and holy crap, does it resonate. This has been the week of both 'Look at her. Look at her. Look at how she smiles at me' and 'Maybe I should just go away someplace. Some people really shouldn't be parents. They would be better off without me.' Every week is Bipolar Awareness Week here.

The Terrible Twos really are fucking terrible. The whining, the crying, the tantrums, and the low-grade anxiety over what minor mishap is going to cause an epic meltdown like tonight's deep and sorrowful wailing over a broken tortilla chip. Some days I handle it. Other days (after a few strung together days of 'handling' it) are like Monday. I wake up with the baby around 6 a.m. and feed her and then try to snarf down some coffee or something that can be eaten with one hand. Sometimes I take a shower. On the vast majority of days, I do not. Zygote has a habit of waking up in a crappy mood, an unfortunate genetic trait. In the kitchen, we play the "do you want a X for breakfast?" game. Lots of NOOOOOOOO. Finally, a compromise is reached and YG or I sets her up in her chair to watch Sesame Street, some brief entertainment while I nurse the baby again. But the kid is too smart. She knows that we can fast forward to the parts of the show that have Elmo in it so she starts chanting, whining, crying "Elmooooooo" until one of us complies. {Insert "kids these day" or "when I was a kid, there were only 12 channels" story of your choice.] On this particular Monday, Zygote also made me her displeasure with our juice selection known by pouring it out, making a massive puddle of mess and then crying about not wanting it to be dirty. At this point, the baby's fussy period kicks in and we get some ear-piercing shrieks added to the mix of Sesame Street songs, toddler whining and pre-teen "where's my socks? where's my bag? did you do my laundry?" Pre-teen MG also likes to "help" which is excellent when Zygote is in a great mood, but when Zygote is whiny and moody, MG tries to placate her so Zygote screams louder and MG gets all preteen weepy/mopey about nobody liking her. Vicious circle.

Later Monday morning, YG left to drop MG off at her mother's house. Zygote was still whining and Z2 was shrieking, but I told him I could handle it. Perhaps I was overconfident. Perhaps I am STILL (years of marriage later) trying to convince YG that I am nothing like his first wife and that I am nothing but reliable and calm and just a stellar, roll with it kind of partner. You see where this is going. I could not handle it, so I'll skip the rest of the escalation details and just get to the climax:

Zygote has a habit of kicking and squirming and generally trying to avoid diaper changes. The last straw of Monday's escalation came when she managed to smear a load of shit-filled diaper all over my arm. I lost my proverbial (as opposed to the literal) shit -- screaming at her which of course only caused her to cry louder which made me scream louder. I was so insanely angry and afraid of hitting her that I ran into our hallway, jumped up and down like a lunatic, screamed more, punched walls and threw a water bottle across the room knocking down and breaking a framed version of that blessing that starts with "May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back..." How apropos.

It was UGLY. I managed to get both shrieking kids in the stroller, dropped Zygote off at daycare and walked exactly 4.63 miles with Z2 to calm myself down. Daycare is two blocks from our house and by the time we got there, Z was humming and all "bye bye, Mommy. Love you." I was left with my guilt and the mistaken belief that I had hit my rock bottom in terms of Bad Mommy days this summer.

And then Tuesday sucked worse except this time it was the smaller one that sent me over the edge with an hour of straight screaming and some sort of nursing strike right in the middle of the morning rush. I did my spastic jumping up and down dance, but this time I didn't scream or yell at anyone but the walls. I just sobbed. This postpartum period has been remarkable in its relative lack of tears, but the fucking Hoover Damn broke the other morning. And it was made worse by a two-year-old saying "mommy cry" and rubbing my hair and kissing me and saying "okay mommy."

Guilt overload. I don't want to be Mean Mommy, but I sure as hell don't want to be Sad Mommy. This was the 'maybe people like me shouldn't have kids' day. The how the hell am I going to do this and work day. The how am I going to: do this, work, be a wife, be a friend, eat well, stay in shape, be thin, be better looking, keep up with personal grooming, read books, go for runs, care for my children's full emotional and educational development day. A couple of days out, let's just refer to that as Bourgeois Complaints Day.

Then yesterday was good. Nothing exciting. We went to Target. We did a Mommy&Me meeting. I picked up the dry cleaning. We hit the Farmer's Market. I ran. Today was better. We went to Walden Pond. I refilled the propane tank. We went for a walk. The baby still shrieked and Zygote still whined, but I was okay.

YG had told me, years before when there was only MG, that he never loved anyone as much as his kid, but he was also never as angry as he was around his kid. And I guess that's it -- I don't like peaks and valleys. I hate, probably more than anything else in the universe, feeling out of control. I like things to be steady, calm, in the middle. And nothing really has been since Zygote was born. I have never felt this amount of guilt or this amount of disappointment in myself (and given my general misanthropic worldview, that's saying something) before. But I also never felt this heart-bursting, kiss-giving, want-to-squeeze-you-all-the-time-and-freeze-you-in-this-particular-moment-and-protect-you-from-all-the-ugly-in-the-universe love either.

I want to be present, and I want to be good enough. I am lucky to have them. I want them to be lucky to have me.




Friday, August 19, 2011

Facebook Status Updates Too Boring For Facebook Due To The Kids Or The Boobs And Therefore Only Relevant To A Minuscule Subset of Friend Population

JM:

* had nothing bitchy to say to the woman who told her the stroller was taking up too much room on the bus. If you have nothing bitchy to say, don't say anything at all.

* is a bit like Leonard Cohen except I chafe in the places where I used to play.

* wants to drop these screaming kids off on the Sears' door. Attach yourself to this, fuckers.

* needs a mommy cause to really fit in with the sanctimommies at mommy group. Wild snow leopards and their impact on our children.

* wonders if it's ever appropriate to live blog your husband's vasectomy.

* does sit ups and planks while Z2 does 'tummy time.' So much crying.

* remembers a time when she didn't have to pick things out of other people's junk.

* is fascinated by this Versailles fountain like boob.

* wonders if she's setting Zygote up for a lifetime of failed romantic relationships with all this loud fart encouragement.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

This Is What A Relationship Looks Like: Tapioca Edition

JM: It's gross.
YG: How do you not like this? It's just vanilla pudding.
JM: With balls in it.
YG: You like balls.
Together: In my/your mouth.

#married well.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quotable Quotes From Vacation That May or May Not Be Funny

Re: News
Dad to Mom: You know, Brian listens to that National Public Radio. NPR?
JM to sister: THAT National Public Radio.

Re: Transgendered Members of the Family
Person 1: Well, of course, I accept it, but it's hard. You know in my day, a homo was a homo and a regular person was a regular person.
Person 2, in heavy NY accent: I have to say, it all gets very confusing.

Re: Genetics
Mom: The [Dad's family name] have scary eyes. The baby has warm eyes. Like me.

Re: Genetics Part 2
Mom: That little baby was cute, but not as cute as OUR babies. Our babies have excellent features.

Re: Random
Mom: Zygote's doll looks like Robinson Cano, don't you think?
JM: What? No.
Mom: No, he does.
JM: First off, the doll is white.
Mom: I know, but the features are the same.

Re: Myers Briggs Tests
JM: I alternate between being an ISTJ and INTJ.
YG: ESTJ.
JM: I and J being the strongest, obviously.
Mom: I took that once. I am obviously an E, but I was really surprised that I got a J.
Cue hysterical laughing from JM, YG and Dad.
Mom: No, really, I didn't think I was judgmental.
YG: I really hope that wasn't some sort of seminal moment for you.





Monday, August 08, 2011

This is what a relationship looks like: word play edition

Vacationing in Long Island. . .

jm: The Mosquitos are crazy out here. They keep attacking me.
jm: it must be because I taste so sweet.
YG: and not because you are a big sweaty horse.
jm: ...blink...did you just call me a fat horse?
YG: Yes.
jm: . . .blink...
YG: because of your running. You are so equine.
jm: ...blink...
YG: strong and sleek.
jm: ...blink...
YG: equine. Not...bovine.
jm: blogworthy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This Is What A Relationship Looks Like: Cycling Edition

YG: I've been obsessed with rims lately.
JM: RIM SHOT!
YG: Let me rephrase that. I've been looking into new rims.
JM: Yeah, baby, I'm going to get new with your rims.
YG: I don't even remember who built my rims.
JM: God made your rims.
YG: You really are a twelve year old boy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Offensive and Not Politically Correct

Examples of why I need to clean up my language:

* I was working on an essay and went to describe something as "that's so gay" and thought that I needed something better that wouldn't offend the mos. The first thought that popped into my head as an alternative was, "that's so retarded." Hmmm....

* During a particularly bad toddler tantrum, I said, "Oh.My.God. You need to stop it with this motherfucking crying." Okay if I was Samuel L. Jackson. I am not.

* Dropping something on the floor, I hear Zygote whine her usual "uh oh" followed by something that sounded remarkably like "shit."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Parenting-Related News I Neglected To Comment On While I Was Watching Too Much Bad TV and Nursing This Child

The Casey Anthony Trial

I didn't really follow any of this and in fact, finding that Wikipedia link was probably was the most information I've ever consumed about the case. Generally my rule is that if Nancy Grace is talking about it, it isn't worth following because she is a fear mongering nutcase. Of course, I am horrified by the murder of this child, but I honestly don't understand all the media attention and the righteous indignation by people who seemed to be overly involved in this case.

There's a whole chapter in The Mommy Myth about women who kill their children and our sick fascination with them. There's a part of us that likes to see them suffer because it makes us feel like better parents of a higher moral character. Okay, maybe, but isn't 'I didn't murder my kid' setting the bar really low? Even though my parenting philosophy could best be described as "good enough," I aim higher than that. I don't know if she was guilty or not, but a USA Today/Gallup Poll said that while about two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) believe Casey Anthony "definitely" or "probably" murdered her daughter, women are much more likely than men to believe the murder charges against Anthony. The poll reported that women were more than twice as likely as men, 28 percent versus 11 percent, to think Anthony "definitely" committed murder. That's definitely a gap.

It seems to me that the anger is misdirected, as usual. I am angry that this woman, murderer or not, will probably get some sort of book deal and end up on the celebrity circuit and that the real systematic problems that we should be angry about won't get addressed because we're all too busy watching her on Dancing With the Stars or some shit like that.


Taking Your Fat Kids Away

A LOT has been written about the obesity specialist who is suggesting that the State intervene when children get too obese. Because state intervention with children always works out great. There are so many things wrong with this suggestion, but I think my favorite quote might be that state intervention "ideally will support not just the child but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible. That may require instruction on parenting."

Instruction on parenting. Yes, parenting. No instruction on healthy eating or avoiding advertising or peer pressure or marketing or how to eat healthy when there are no grocery stores in your crappy neighborhood. Nope, what you need is instruction on PARENTING.

I absolutely loved what Lesley Kinzel had to say about this:

"Placing a child in foster care is not a minor inconvenience, and yet here we are in a world where researchers can frame it as “discomfort” and nothing more. I am inclined to blame a cultural ideology in which fat children are not identified as individuals requiring personal attention and support, but are instead simply an embarrassing problem to be solved — or eradicated.

The focus on childhood obesity at the expense of focusing on health for all children creates a Machiavellian situation in which fat kids are to be slimmed down by any means necessary — even if it means taking them away from loving and attentive parents. Meanwhile, average-sized kids who also subsist on fast food and a lack of exercise are ignored, because these “risky” behaviors are evidently only a problem if the child is fat.

Placing fat kids in foster care only serves to punish both kid and parents in a brutally public way, as the child will undoubtedly internalize the reasons for their removal as being their fault (and who will pay for the years of subsequent therapy they may require?), and the parents will be socialized as monsters who are slowly murdering their offspring."


Breastpump Action
I read this post on Motherlode a few nights ago while I was bleary-eyed and up with Z2. A woman wrote in to discuss her coworkers who were offended by the mere presence of her breast pump. Okay, seriously, when will people grow the fuck up? I have never encountered anything like this personally and I try to ignore any stares or tsks/tsks I get when I am feeding Z2 (and Zygote before her) out in public, but you read so many horror stories -- I have a hard time understanding why this is actually an issue. That's what boobs are made for! I do not enjoy flashing my tits in public (post-college anyway), but I have to feed my kid. And when I am at work, I have to pump to feed said kid. It's about the food. And trust me, there is NOTHING sexual about pumping. To this lady's coworkers: get over it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Six Weeks

Z2 turned six weeks old today. As with Zygote, the time has alternatively flown by and dragged ridiculously. It's amazing how little I manage to get done with all this supposed time. Z2 is doing well. She's a porker (12 lbs at 1 month old), so the vast majority of my time has been spent feeding her while watching lots of TV (finally jumped on the Glee bandwagon!)

Other things I have been doing:

* I got the okay to start exercising again even though I still need to wait a few weeks for my incision to completely heal before running again. I've been walking 3-4 miles daily with the stroller and generally just enjoying the weather. One of the benefits to having a newborn is that she's relatively portable. If she's sleeping, I can pretty much go anywhere. Not sleeping is a crapshoot.

* I joined a bunch of moms' groups. I discovered this great resource in the Jewish Family and Children's Service -- there are basically meetings every day of the week, and I always have someplace to go. Today I ran into someone I "knew" from back when I was active on Indiebride. I still find it hard to just go up to people and start talking, but hey, I'm trying.

* ACTIVELY searching LinkedIn and the job sites, along with reading a lot of what color is your crappy parachute stuff.

* Catching up on my blog stalking. This primarily occurs during the nighttime feedings, and I make notes to write about the things I'm reading, but see above: lots of time, but no time.

* Lots of laundry. Seriously, it's ridiculous.

* Hanging out with YG. He has an office in Harvard Square this summer, so we have been able to have some lunches together.

* Puttering/avoiding writing thank you notes.

It's pretty boring actually, but at least this time, I expected that. With Zygote, I kept referring to my impending maternity leave as "my summer off" and people laughed like crazy - something I understood when I finally got there. This time, it's ....nice.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Two Books

I am taking pleasure in the small accomplishments. I finished two books since Z2 was born. Nothing major, but a reminder that I still get to be me sometimes.

Links I Have Loved

Another blogger pointed me toward 30 Lessons My Parents Didn't Teach Me, and it deserves much more praise and reflection than I can give it right now. But it resonated deeply with me. I have been spending A LOT of time with my parents lately, and I am grateful for all of their help post baby, but with parents and kids there is always baggage. But now I'm the parent, so how do and can I prevent that baggage from being overwhelming to the Zs?

My favorites from his list (read: lessons I understand in theory, but don't actually practice):

Nothing will make you happy for very long except growing. You can set goals and go get them, but once you do, there's a void, and you're back to square one. Embrace the fact that the fun is in the quest, not the achievement itself. Or just kill goals entirely.

When you do buy things, buy things that are going to give you more time or money, not things that will become liabilities to suck them up.

Don't hold on to things that you "might use someday." A lack of clutter in your life is worth so much more, in terms of mental clarity, focus, and calm than the cost of buying that thing again, should the need actually arise for it (which it probably won't).

Being shy (which I am, and will probably always be at the core) is not a valid excuse for choosing not to help someone who needs it.

This is your life. It's not a rehearsal. Having kids helps you to see this, when you realize that they're seeing you the way you saw your parents, and seeing their house and life the way you saw yours when you were little. That time is gone for you, and one day it will be for them, and they'll be thinking this about their own kids.

Being talented isn't very important, nor is it fulfilling. Lack of talent is nothing but a very convenient excuse. People achieve things by working hard at them, taking lots of small risks, and learning from the results. And that's way more interesting than just being "gifted."

People fallaciously believe they will have far more time in the future than they do today. The perfect time to start isn't going to come. In fact, it was probably yesterday.


Thanks No Meat Athlete.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

This is What A Relationship Looks Like: Emails I Have Received Edition

Email from YG: Please keep the weekend of November 18 free as I am going to need a ride and will be on the couch.

Subject line: Big V - Snip, Snip

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Exile Over (Kinda)

I gave myself a month to just be with Z2. No projects, no writing, no real reading, although I did manage to finish a David Sedaris book that made me pee my pants a little. Z2 turns one month tomorrow.

Time to find a real job.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

Old pics. Me as a baby with my mom, and my mom as a little kid.



Followed by Z and Z2.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

So Much Crying. The Baby, Too.

That about sums it up. That's one of Larry Smith's, founder of the Six Word Memoir Project, best ones yet. Check his blog post on Isis.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Z2's Birth Story

Unedited.




Dear Z2 –

Here is the story of your birth.

As with your sister, for some reason, we never really expected you to come early. I prepped my hospital bag around week 37, and your dad and I made arrangements for someone to take care of MG and Zygote, if needed. Still, we just knew you would be hanging around in utero for a while. We both went to work everyday; Zygote went to daycare and besides a lot of obsessive-compulsive cleaning on my part (very out of character), not much changed.

Around early May, my doctors started to figure you were going to be a big baby. Not a surprise. Zygote was big too, and you just felt like you were running out of room. The nurse practitioner told us that the best prediction of a baby’s size came from the mother – if mom felt the baby was big, it usually was. You were starting to feel like an enormous bowling ball I was lugging around. When I sat in a chair, I could feel your head pushing down, and I knew that you weren’t as jumpy as you had been earlier on. Still, we played a game every night. I would press my hand against my belly and push in, hitting your knee or foot, and you would reward me by kicking back. Even in the dead of night, praying away my insomnia, it would always make me laugh.

Dad and I decided to get an ultrasound to see how big you were before making a call about how exactly you would be born – by appointment for a repeat Cesarean section or by trying the “normal” way. We had a few date nights to ourselves while a babysitter watched Zygote – going to the movies in Davis Square and out to dinner in the North End. We had wanted to stroll around, leisurely eating our gelatos like we had pre-babies, but it rained, so we ended up back home early lounging around on the couch.

On the day of my ultrasound appointment, I wore a purple striped t-shirt your dad called my ‘Where’s Waldo’ shirt. I drove into Boston where the ultrasound technician found your heartbeat right away. We couldn’t get a glimpse of your profile, though. Your fists were bunched up and covering your face. Every time she moved the ultrasound want, you would turn your face and look away. She did a bunch more measurements and came up with 8lbs. 15 oz. for you at 37 weeks and 3 days. Those measurements can be off by up to a pound, but still, we knew. You were big.

We spent that weekend around home. On Saturday, we celebrated MG's 12th birthday with Nana and Papa and Auntie Kelly, Osmani and Rena and the boys, and Sol. On Sunday, we went to Worcester to see your cousin Brittany graduate from college. It was cold and rainy, but Dad and I thought it was important to be there, to show our family’s support for such a big accomplishment – she’s the first person in the family since your father to graduate. For us, it probably won’t feel that long until you and MG and Zygote graduate.

During the week, we continued to get our house ready for your arrival. We met with our nurse practitioner and chose Monday, June 6, as our surgery date if you didn’t make an appearance sooner. We liked the idea of having an extra weekend to wait for you, and we quickly told our friends and family that Z2, our nickname for you, would be arriving on the 6th. A few short hours later, we were bumped up to June 3, and well, Mommy lost her shit. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with June 3. It’s a perfect day – your birthday. It’s just that Mommy likes to feel like she has some semblance of control over her own life and body, and there is no way of controlling labor. I was angry that they took my one thing I could control away from me. I pouted and I cried, and I got over it. Phone calls were made. Babysitters lined up. And while we still hoped that you might surprise us with an early appearance, we knew the date and time that we would meet you.

I spent that last week, puttering around the house and doing things I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to do later. I got a pedicure and went clothes shopping and took a trip up to Gloucester with some people from work and walked along the beach. I ate Pinkberry on the roof of one of Harvard’s buildings with a group of friends on a hot day. I wrote a lot and finished some books. Dad took a lot of bike rides and long lunches. On Memorial Day weekend, our last at home without you, we stayed in the neighborhood, eating burgers and drinking wine on the porch. We took Zygote to the park to ride on the ‘whee’ (swings) and to play in the sprinklers. On Thursday, we finally, FINALLY, put on ‘Out of Offices’ and got ready to meet you.

Nana and Papa drove up that night, and we all went for a final meal out at Elephant Walk. Later that night, I was nervous and couldn’t sleep so I watched videos on the Internet and chatted with Nana who never can sleep. I kept going in to Zygote's room to kiss her and lie with her, and then, I finally fell asleep.

On Friday morning, your birthday, the alarm went off at 5:15 a.m., and Dad and I got caffeinated and ready. It felt weird to be putting in contact lenses and make up on to go deliver a baby, but I couldn’t really think of anything else to do. We said goodbye and headed to Mt. Auburn Hospital an hour later. We checked in easily and headed toward the birthing center. I stopped to pee about 500 times on the way.

We met our nurses, first a nice, dark-haired woman whose name I forget, and later, a woman named Katherine who seemed about my age and was with us for the rest of the day. I changed into my gown and paced the room while your dad ate breakfast. I watched the clock inching toward 8:30, the time our surgery was scheduled for.

The next hour was what we will forever refer to as ‘Just Get The Fucking IV in Already.’ Giving blood or anything IV-related is always a problem for me because of small veins. Add dehydration due to the fasting I had to do before surgery, and it got ugly really fast. The first nurse, a former IV nurse, tried three times and couldn’t get it, so she called the team from the anesthesiologists’ office down. The anesthesia nurse tried again a few times while I found back tears. She kept saying that the last thing someone in her field would want to do is hurt someone. She also said my small and rolling veins made me “uniquely difficult.” Dad and I got a big kick out of that, saying that it would be my descriptor from now on. Nurse 2 gave up too, and the actual anesthesiologist was called in. She numbed one arm with lidocaine to make me more comfortable, but still no vein. I was watching her sweat as she numbed my hand, and still, nothing. Finally, after numbing my other arm close to the bend in my elbow, she found a vein and started the drip. The nurse taped it down with some industrial looking bandages to spare me the annoyance of having to go through the whole process again. Over a week later, both my arms are still black and blue.

Our doctor came in for a visit, and I signed a bunch of consent forms. I peed again. Fun with an IV pole. Your dad kissed me goodbye, looking very funny in his scrubs. They were his second pair. He had been wearing a smaller pair earlier, but the nurse told us that they made fun of guys with too-tight scrubs, remarking, “Nobody wants to see that much of your stuff.” Then, I walked down to the operating room.

The operating room was bright and FREEZING. There was a bunch of different people milling around in there, all women, including one nursing student who was watching her first C-section. They explained how the spinal block and operation would work, and I hopped on the table (or lumbered onto) to get my back taped up. The needle tapped a nerve going in and my entire right leg started to shake. It wasn’t long, though, before I started to feel pins and needles and then just numb. I lay down on the table, and the nurses put the screen up and covered my belly in iodine. Shortly after, your dad came into the operating room, followed by Dr. Koontz.

I don’t remember too much of the actual procedure. There were a lot of people talking in very technical terms, and Dad and I just waited and kept looking at each other and smiling. They told me that it was time to expect some pressure, and there was a lot of tugging and pulling. The curtain kept jumping and jerking, and I heard, “do you have it?” and “not yet,” and a lot of grunting and groaning. Finally, “Sorry, Jennifer, you just have a REALLY big baby in here.” More pulling and jerking and then, “Got it!” It was 9:22. The pressure subsided and we heard your first cry.

“It’s a girl. A big girl!” the nurse said.

“What did she say?” Dad asked.

“Girl. Another girl,” I answered, and then we both got teary.

You kept screaming louder and louder, and the doctors and nurses commented on your big set of lungs. I watched them wash you off and weigh you. 9lbs. 4 oz and 20.5 inches long. The nurse handed you to Dad, and he held you close to my face to get a look at. You were rosy and chubby cheeked and looked like your older sister.

Dad went with you to the nursery while I stayed behind to get sewn up again. I chatted with the nurses about babies and labor and asked how the nursing student had survived. It went by quickly, and I was back in the quiet recovery room waiting for you. Dad wheeled you in, saying, “Did anyone order a baby?” We undressed you and lay you on my chest where you immediately latched on, nearly perfectly.

We ended up staying in that small, windowless room for hours because there were no available rooms on the maternity wing. Very Jesus and the manger, but um, not. Nana and Papa came to visit, along with the hospital’s chaplain, one of our friends from First Church.

Later that afternoon, they put us in room 516, supposedly one of the best on the wing. It had gorgeous views of the Charles and Boston and lots of sun. Dan from church came to give you a blessing, and Nana and Papa brought your big sister and pizza for dinner. Within minutes, there was chaos. Water, soda and pizza all over the floor and Zygote jumping on the bed. The laughing made my incision ache. Welcome to your family, kid. They are always there for you, but always with a lot of noise and a lot of mess.

You met your other sister, MG, the next day, and you and I hung out in our hospital room cocoon for the next few nights. We brought you home on a sunny Tuesday morning and introduced you to the rest of your family and friends. Welcome to the world, little Z2, youngest child. We can’t wait to see who you turn out to be.

Love,

Mama

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Off To Have A Baby

Wish us luck, and catch you on the other side.

Friday, May 27, 2011

June 3 & Other Odds and Ends

That's one week from today. If nature doesn't run its course before then, at this time next week, I will likely have a new baby and will be spending my first night in Mt. Auburn. Baby by appointment. Weird.

Z2's 37 week ultrasound showed him or her measuring at 8 lbs 15 oz. Those measurements are notoriously fickle, but I feel like this is another big kid. I read a story on the Internets about a woman who delivered a 12 lb baby. Then I promptly had a nightmare about it.

I had not wanted this to end. I was not happy to be scheduled before my due date. Today was 92 degrees, and I have the worst allergies ever. I have slightly revised my thinking.

We ate dinner on our porch and played ball in the yard with Zygote. She was running around laughing and hurling herself all over, and I realized that this will be our last weekend where it's just us. Just me and her. Of two minds about that -- happy and nostalgic.

Zygote has a pair of discounted Keens that I found for her online. I mentioned that her footwear qualifies her to be a Cambridge lesbian in training. SKB pointed out the acronym for that was CLIT. And we laughed. That really needs to be a real group.

I am in supreme nesting mode. I cleaned ALL the things. And then I made a pie.

Not sure I am ready for this.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Currently In Love With: Curve Appeal

Via blog stalking, I stumbled across this awesome site, Curve Appeal. Lots of cute, curvy chicks in their underpants, sometimes more, sometimes less. It's refreshingly honest.

My favorite feature is the 'search by size' one because it makes my own body dysmorphia really apparent. I look at the other women my size and think they are adorable and curvy and hot. Look at myself? Not so much. I'm still worried what I will end up looking like after this pregnancy thing is said and done. I probably worry about the looks part too much, veiled under some bullshit statements about caring about my health and my running. I do care about those things A LOT, but they tend to be secondary.

As of now, I run about 210 lbs, wear a size 14 maternity and I'm not fucking kidding with these jugs, a 40E:



Last fall at pre-preggo weight, around 175 lbs, size 12/14 and 38DD:



Being objective, I look okay. :-) Please feel free to remind my brain of this when I am in post-baby insanity. Kthxbai.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The End of The World As We Know It (But I Feel...Full of Cake)

Well, I'm still here. But just in case the world was going to end, I made sure to gorge myself on grilled meats and about 10 slices of a lemon sheetcake from Verna's, or essentially a giant cake of lemon donut. Go ahead and judge me -- tis the season, after all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Niche Market (Or This Month's Favorite Keywords)

Google Analytics always makes me happy. You have found me using the following search terms:

* I really had to poop (who googles this?)
* Brother sister pee stories
* Jesus is risen blog (this one makes me laugh only because I wonder if Jesus 2.0 is going to tweet about his impending arrival)
* Peed my pants at a babysitter
* Woman who pooped on herself

Poop, pee and Jesus. Well, I guess I have a niche.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

This Is What A Relationship Looks Like: Listen Harder Edition

YG: [unintelligible mumbling] beauty sleep
JM: What? What are you talking about?
YG: Can you listen for Zygote in the morning so I can sleep in? I got up with her.
JM: I always listen for her.
YG: ....
JM: It's not my fault that you get up with her.
YG: Just listen harder.
JM: How about you listen to my fist up your butt?
YG: [Shakes head, walks away].

Seriously, it's MY issue if he gets up with her? Be a bad parent and pretend you don't hear. That's the way it works.

Friday, May 13, 2011

36.5 Weeks

And much like last time, I am still here, kind of hanging out with nothing going on. I have another big kid and another "tight as a drum" cervix. I have heard that expression used three times this week, and while I never really imagined what kinds of adjectives and terms one might use to describe a cervix, that one just sounds wrong. I had a brief moment of imagining that things might be happening last night when I had a series of contractions -- something that never happened unassisted with Zygote -- but they petered out.

So we wait. And collect information. We are getting three different opinions regarding the feasibility of a VBAC. Two of the three are gently nudging me toward scheduling a C based on the size of the baby and the size of my "petite pelvis." (HUZZAH! Something about me is petite). I meet with the third on Monday, and then on Friday afternoon, I have an ultrasound to check for the size of the baby.

In anticipation of a possible VBAC, I attended a class this week for parents contemplating going the natural or at least, vaginal (hee! VAGINA!) route post C-section. It was basically a lot of stuff that I had already learned, but the best thing that came out of it was meeting other people who were still rather ambivalent about the choice this far into their pregnancies.

Because ambivalent is pretty much where I am right now. I would like the opportunity to have a "regular" birth because there's a better chance for a quicker recovery and it would make life with a toddler and a newborn much easier, but I don't have a strong conviction that pushing is an experience that I HAVE TO HAVE. I experienced labor, more than 30 'joyful' hours of it, some of that without drugs. I just didn't get a chance to push. And I was never pressured to make any decisions during the whole process.

I feel like there is this pressure for me to feel like I HAVE to push or to feel like I was somehow gypped by my last operation or worse, to make a strong case that I am not one of those women who schedule a C-section because it's more convenient in between their tennis lessons and Botox appointments. I don't really feel any of those things. I just feel....undecided.

I was reading this story on Slate the other day about the Baltimore midwife midwife who pleaded guilty to two felonies for her role in a Virginia home birth where the breech baby died. From the article, "Depending on your point of view, Carr is either a compassionate professional who believes in a pregnant woman's autonomy or an ideologue who acted as if she was above the law." And then if you read the 400+ comments after, you will see that there are plenty of people with passionate points of view about it. And again, I am there in the middle -- ambivalent, undecided.

I'm happy that we have the time to collect all this information and contemplate these decisions, and I'm sure I'll be okay no matter what happens. I had to have a non stress today at the doctor's office (because of these stupid fucking hives, arghhhhh) and I let myself sort of nap, listening to the heartbeat speed up and slow down and then speed up again. I realized that I just want to meet this kid, and that while I did a good job of being pretty laid back about the process last time, I'm even more relaxed about it this time. I can write the best friggin' birth plan in the world, but what's going to happen is going to happen. Maybe I am confusing relaxation with ambivalence? Hmmm....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Five Books That Changed Me

A friend in Oz told me about this blog post, The Books That Changed Me. I don't know who this woman is other than what her descriptor says -- "named one of Oz's top 20 public intellectuals and Humanist of the Year 2011" -- but I liked her books, and I was inspired.

1. Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maud Montgomery: This book kind of started it all -- this lifelong love affair with reading. I remember reading through it and dying to beat down Gilbert and have a bosom friend like Diana, and I sobbed about poor Matthew. And then I was hooked. I would be practically breathless wanting to get the next book in the series at Happy Booker in the Morris County Mall, and blabbering to my dad all about it. I reread it a few years ago when we bought it for the MG, and it stands the test of time. It also affirms my belief that most Canadians tend to be pretty cool, although in elementary school, I probably had no idea that Nova Scotia was actually in Canada.

2. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger: So, whatever, I KNOW. It's a cliche, but nobody knows that the FIRST time they read it. My dad gave me his copy of this to read. It had a maroon cover and yellowed pages, and I read it in a few days in the hot upstairs room in Long Island. I WAS Holden Caulfield. Again, I had no idea that everyone else thought they were Holden Caulfield too. This made me want to be a writer.

3. The Great Gatsby -- F. Scott Fitzgerald: I swear that I have read more books than those on my junior year AP reading list, but put aside prejudices about this book being one of those 'forced to read' ones. To me, it's nearly perfect. I have read it multiple times, and there's always something new and beautiful. The language just. . . moves.

4. The Seven Storey Mountain - Thomas Merton: I wouldn't think that I had a lot in common with a monk, and to be honest, this sat on my shelf collecting dust for a while (having been gifted to me by someone that felt I needed a "spiritual awakening") until I saw some hipster dude on the NYC subway reading it. Merton gave up his life as a writer/intellectual to become a monk, and the self-deprecating, normal writing style made it attractive to me. So many "conversion" stories are written in that crazy ass 'can I get a witness' evangelical style, and I can't relate to it at all. This was a good book about a religious journey during the right time in mine.

5. Sexus: The Rosy Crucifixion 1 - Henry Miller: It's unfair to pick only one of the books in this trilogy since I read them all in one summer during college. Also, I know I'm supposed to hate Henry Miller because "ooooh, he's a misogynist...oooooh, he treats women like shit.....oooooh, bad feminist," but I don't care. The trilogy left such an imprint, much more so than either of his Tropics books. It reads like a narrative, and while most people focus on the crazy sex and his insane marriage, the struggle to be a writer is what I always remember and how it took him years of wading through shit to get to write. I wouldn't want his life (not now, anyway, it was different in 1995), but it's a fabulous life to read through.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Random Mother's Day Pics While I Think of Something To Write About

Because there's not anything very succinct you can say about being someone's mother. Or daughter, for that matter.

















Friday, May 06, 2011

HIVES

Motherfucker.

That.is.all.

Two days of steroids, and I am still itchy, itchy, itchy.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

This Time Last Year, Five Years Ago, Ten Years Ago, Fifteen Years Ago

I saw this post, “This Time Last Year…” A Family Reflecting Activity, on Alphamom earlier today, and it put some of my latest headcake into perspective. I keep thinking that I am completely stuck and that things on the career front are never going to change, but a lot can happen in a year. Or five. Five years ago, my little family in this family reflecting activity didn't even exist.

This year we are waiting for Zygote 2.0 to make an appearance. We still live in Cambridge. We are enjoying Zygote's unique brand of Spanglish.

This time last year, we were getting ready for Zygote's first birthday. I was training for the half marathon. YG was training for his metric century. MG was finishing her first year of middle school.

This time two years ago, we were attending natural birthing classes and waiting for Zygote to make an appearance. YG had just transitioned into his new career.

This time three years ago, we were in France on our honeymoon. I had long hair. I didn't like it. The hair, not the honeymoon.

This time four years ago, we moved into this apartment after concluding that we would not find a place that would work for us.

This time five years ago, I still lived in New Jersey and quit the worst job I ever had. I was in the middle of divorce proceedings. I was looking to move to Boston to see if the whole thing with YG would work out. I found a job in a new industry.

This time ten years ago, I was preparing to leave my first apartment to move to Brooklyn and live in my grandparents' old place in Bay Ridge. I had just started grad school at night.

This time fifteen years ago, I decided to stay in Syracuse for the summer before my semester abroad. I took a poetry class and wrote a poem about Guinness. I was working at Brueggers Bagels. I hadn't met BB yet and had no idea I was about to embark on the funnest summer of my life.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Bin Laden, Parenting, Etc. and How They All Jumble Together In My Head

Unless you are living in the cave that Osama Bin Laden was supposed to be hiding out in (and wasn’t), you know by now that he is dead. Killed in a firefight by US forces in Pakistan. I don’t feel very Christian or human feeling relieved about someone’s violent death. There are people celebrating in the streets and chants of ‘USA! USA,’ and while I understand the sentiment and I’m very proud of the Seals, I’m not feeling joyous.

I can’t describe all of the different thoughts buzzing through my brain – as it is, I have an endless slideshow of where I was on 9/11, who I talked to, what I wore, what it smelled like, that cloud, the endless news cycle. What is it that I’m feeling mainly? Relief, maybe? I feel sad. That’s the little-kid version, but I can’t think of a better way of saying it. I have a feeling that some sort of justice has been done, but I’m not sure that justice undoes anyone’s losses – the losses that day, the losses in the wars after, the losses that may still occur. I feel relief that this will provide closure, and possibly healing, for a lot of people. But I’m sad, because even with closure, those people aren’t coming back.

I had just turned 25 on 9/11/01. My main worry was trying to make sure that my parents and my friends were all right and phoning my siblings to tell them that everything was alright. I distinctly remember pacing my parents’ house in New Jersey (I had given up on getting back to Brooklyn from my job in NJ), waiting for them to get home, and having them cry when they walked through the door seeing me there. We watched a lot of the television coverage over the next few and I would heave and sob whenever there would be an interview with kids or spouses begging for news of a missing dad or mom or sibling. I couldn’t imagine losing my parents. I needed them there to calm me down. I just wanted to be NEAR them.

I didn’t have any children on 9/11. Ten years later, the day after Bin Laden’s death, I have a stepdaughter and a daughter and another kid on the way. I’m thinking about those same interviews and trying to imagine what it would be like for MG or Zygote if something happened to me or YG. And I’m thinking about all those parents who never got home to their kids. That just about slays me.

MG already asks us about 9/11 a lot, and I’m sure the other kids will too. It seems so odd that an event I can precisely recall nearly minute to minute will be something that they learn about history books, along with Bin Laden’s much-later death. They will ask questions, but they won’t feel it. The same way I know all about where my parents were when Kennedy was shot and where my grandparents were during Pearl Harbor, but I don’t know what it felt like to be them.

We do all the right things. We answer our kids’ questions the best we can, we travel and go to work and live our lives without taking unnecessary risks, we know who we would want to be our kids’ guardians if something happens to us both, but it scares me to even think about that question. After 9/11 , a hypothetical question became a reality for a lot of families. And my answer to ‘who do you want to raise your kids?’ is nobody. Nobody will love or know my kid(s) the way I do. Most of the time I feel like a huge fuck up about this whole parenting thing, but that I know is true.

Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have even considered these things. [Insert standard disclaimer about having kids doesn’t make you more understanding, better, moral, whatever.] I was outraged, angry, and belligerent. But having these small people has changed me and made me fiercely protective. Bin Laden’s death is probably not going to make me or my children any safer, and while I understand the outpouring of emotion in the streets, I’d rather hang with my girl tonight and do some puzzles and eat ice cream. And just be near her.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

A Video Montage for Post # FIVE HUNDRED

I didn't realize it and therefore had no very special moment planned.

How I spend my time when I am not writing and/or in the place that dare not speak its name (read: work).



Saturday, April 30, 2011

Nerves/Nose -- Who Cares?

My kid is infuriating a lot of the time, but she makes up for it in cuteness and smarts. This morning she wanted something that I wouldn't give her (I can't even remember what it is right now, as she is always demanding something). I told her that she needed to wait and this immediately set off a set of hysterics and fake wailing that generally sets my teeth on edge. She will hurl herself on to the ground and wail if I say as much as, "No. Just wait a minute. I'll give you your toothbrush when I'm done wiping my ass." She wants what she wants NOW. I scooped her up into my arms, and she immediately shut up.

"Kid, you are getting on my last nerve," I said.

She then took her pudgy little finger and pressed my nose.

"Nerve, not nose."

She pressed it again, and I started to laugh.

"Neeerrrrve."

She pushed her head up to mind and rubbed her nose against mine.

"Mama. Nooose."

It is very, very hard to stay irritated.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bored, Not Boring?

So more on the work stuff. Or enough that I feel comfortable sharing. My annual review this year was shitty. Or that's not true -- the review was fine, but the related compensation was not. I got zero, nada, zip -- a 0% raise. And that's something I could probably swallow if the company was doing shitty or there was something in my performance review that indicated I was worthy of NOTHING, but neither of those things were there.

Words used to describe me (directly from my review AND my clients):
* Highly competent
* Efficient
* Pleasure to work with
* Backbone of the team
* Workhorse
* Master tactician and project manager
* Results driven
* Goes above and beyond to support what needs to be done
* Independent, needs minimal supervision
* Honest
* Loyal
* Committed.

Um, so what's the fucking problem? That all sounds pretty good, right? Someone you would want to work for you?

Well, I'm boring. I'm not passionate. I don't think 'outside the box.' [Feel free to fucking gag right there]. I have not convinced people that I really want to be at work. I'm not thinking as strategically as I can.

To be fair, I disagree with NONE of that, but my problem is that I cannot fake passion. I cannot fake that tech keeps me up at night because it doesn't. It's my job. I go in and I do it well. I go above and beyond, and I get shit done. That's always been enough, but now it isn't. The message I'm getting is that I should go in, bust ass, do the best I can, but if I can't muster enough PASSION for it, then there's really no reward.

So yeah, I am having a bit of an identity crisis. I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am BORING. YG says that I shouldn't think this way -- that I am "bored" and not boring, that any company would be lucky to have me and once I can match the passion with all the bullets listed above -- well then, there's no stopping me. I really WANT to believe him. I want that to be true, but I'm having trouble accepting it. I feel like this is another example of me striving to do the right thing (whatever that thing is) and then getting slapped in the face because really, nobody cares that you're honest and loyal and committed. They want something else.

This is my pattern, of course. I've always wanted to be the good worker bee and the good student and reliable person to have around. I checklisted my life and did all the items on the list: decent college, job, grad school, house, marriage, etc and then ended up miserable. Five years ago, I made the conscious choice to do something for myself by moving here -- something that wasn't on the list -- and it was fantastic. But I somehow got stuck in the same pattern with work, and I can't get out. I justified it by saying that at least I was getting rewarded for being my good old reliable self. But now I'm not getting rewarded. The message I took is that I am worth nothing, and fuck, man, that does NOT sit well.

I mentioned that YG and I have a plan -- that we're saving money so that I will hopefully have some time to figure out what I want to do next, what companies I would like to work for, what career path I might like to take, etc. And I do take comfort in the fact that we have a plan, but I can't let go of that nothing feeling. Some days are better than others. Other days are bad. And when I think about my other career -- my writing career -- I totally freak because how many writers do you know that have been described as 'lacking passion' and 'boring' and 'reliable'? Yeah, that's what I thought.

I just want to be useful.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Recently Read: Farewell Jessica Darling

In between my last couple of books, I managed to finish the Jessica Darling books with Fourth Comings and Perfect Fifths. I am alternatively thrilled to know what happened and very sad to see them go. While I was trying to find links to the books, I thumbed through some of the reviews and I'm dumbfounded that the vast majority of people didn't like either of them, and thought the first three were better. I found the last two the easiest to relate to, but perhaps that is because I am so old and high school and 'coming of age' are in the VERY distant past.

In the fourth book, Jessica has just graduated from college and is mulling a marriage proposal from Marcus. The book spans the week while she's thinking it over and is written in journal form. What else? She lives in a shitty apartment in Brooklyn. She doesn't know what to do with her degree. She's trying to understand her parents and is realizing that their relationship is less than ideal. She's desperately trying to hold on to her friendship with her best friend, even though work, among other things, is driving them in different directions. She's in love, but Marcus' quirky characteristics that were once endearing are now a little embarrassing to her. What's NOT to relate to in here? Really. A lot of reviewers found the ending unsettling, but I thought it was appropriate. To accept a marriage proposal at 22 would be pandering to the reader who wants a happy ending. The realistic ending make me sad, but only because I knew that a fifth book was next.

In the fourth book, Jessica is a few years old (still way younger than me) and literally runs into Marcus in the airport after not seeing him for years. The book spans the day that they reconnect. Okay, some of the haiku crap irritated me, but I LOVED that this book was almost entirely dialogue. A lot of other reviewers dinged it for that, saying that it was trying too hard to be witty, but that's them -- their relationship -- trying to outdo each other. I liked the way the backstories were encapsulated and the feeling of character growth. I abandoned all my "don't pander to the reader" bullshit that I wanted in the paragraph above. I wanted the big wedding scene and all the other characters' reactions, but in a way it was fitting to bring it back to the two heros.

It's hard to explain why I liked these books so much. They read more like YA fiction than books for adults, but I liked watching the character develop over the span of almost a decade. And of course, I related. Dry, wishes-she-was-wittier girl from suburban New Jersey wants to be a writer, wants to get the guy, wants to not be a huge dork, and makes enormous mistakes along the way. I'd love to see what happens to Jessica as she gets older. How did Megan McCafferty envision her? I want her to be happy and I want her to have figured some things out, if only for my own instructional purposes.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jesus has Risen! So has my Blog!

Happy Easter all. We had our Easter egg hunt and baskets this morning, followed by church and a few hours in the pool. Now its early dinner and hopefully sunset on the Gulf.

I know that posting has been light these past few days, but still I did it. Bloggin for Jesus over 40 days and 40 nights. I have not had a laptop and only sketchy wireless access since we've been here, so hopefully the judgers of random Lenten promises will cut me slack. It's been interesting in that sometimes I had nothing to say and other times, things just came to me. A useful writing exercise. Now on to my next project. Any suggestions?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

American by Birth. Jersey by the Grace if God.

Florida may not seem like "the South" but we keep running into reminders that we are a long, long way from home. These include:

* A LOT of Confederate flags
* Even better - Confederate flag with "redneck" embroidered on it
* Country music. How many times have you heard 'Proud to be an American" where you live? Point.
* A much slower pace. Frustrating and kind of great too.
* Actual friendly people.
* And the worlds best bumper sticker: American by birth. southern by the Grace of God." It's everywhere.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

On this most holy day, I am going to lounge on my balcony with this cool guy, read some books and swim in the pool. Maybe I will contemplate...something. Most likely not. Or maybe I will contemplate if I should go to the beach later or just stick to the lanai. Such sacrifices.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Puttin' On The Ritz

YG and I are poolside at the Ritz. No kids. Early anniversary present. Life doesn't suck.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Recently Read: A Lot of Meh

A couple of books I really wanted to like. One I did.

1. South of Broad by Pat Conroy: I couldn't decide if this was terrible or not. The thing keeping me from declaring it truly terrible was the fact that I couldn't put it down -- it just kept getting more and more outrageous. I like Pat Conroy. Is he a genius writer? No. But everything of his that I've read before, I enjoyed. With this book, it seems like he took every theme that was popular in all of his other books and threw it into one. You have suicide, mental illness, church abuse, mommy issues, etc. Then add in some AIDS and a hurricane, and wow, sort of a mess. Disappointing.

2. Beginner's Greek: A Novel by James Collins: I probably should have saved this for the beach. I might have enjoyed it more. It had promise -- Jane Austeny chick lit. And overall, I liked the characters. But man, this book was long. I found myself speed reading through certain sections just waiting for something, anything to happen. While the love story was interesting, I liked what I interpreted as a love letter to New York City a bit more.

3. Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran by Roxana Saberi: I saw Saberi speak at last year's Simmons Leadership Conference, and bought her book on the spot. She chronicles her time in prison as a journalist in Iran, detailing her interrogations and her so-called court case. She is very respectful of Iran, but I found myself alternating between "what the hell is wrong with these people" and wanting to laugh because the Iranian government's level of paranoia was preposterous. The book ends rather abruptly and I wanted to know more about what she is doing today, but I guess that's what the Internet is for.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Travel logging: En Route to Florida

We are in the airport, heading down to Florida for a week. Traveling with a toddler and a pre-teen while 33 weeks pregnant on a crappy airline with a stopover may not sound like your idea of a great time, but I can't wait to get the hell out of here. Hopefully in a few hours, I will be poolside at my parents' condo, letting other people fawn over these kids. When I was a kid, we went to Florida every April to visit my grandparents. I already detailed a few memories in the post about my brother, but here's a few more:

* I only remember flying once when I was really little. We drove down every other time, stopping in Maryland to see my aunt, and then taking 95 the rest of the way down. It's a loooong drive in a minivan from NJ. Becky and I always had to sit in the back, and Brian had the middle seat. I wrote an essay about these trips called, "Carolina Pottery and Other Adventures on I95," that I have been pitching relentlessly. Seriously, who WOULDN'T want to read about my families' road trips? It's pretty goddamn funny.

* What is Carolina Pottery? Wow! You Gotta See This Place!

* We also did South of the Border a lot, spending more time there if my dad wasn't traveling with us that year. He is too highbrow for a Sombrero Tower in a place called Pedroland Park. When I was 10, I bought an aqua blue South of the Border half shirt with flourescent pink palm trees on it. I would pair this with layered aqua and pink socks. It was beyond hot.

* I also had a flourescent yellow Mickey Mouse tank top that I bought at the Red Barn flea market in Bradenton. I would wear this with matching hair clips.

* I still think that Coquina Beach in Bradenton is one of my favorite beaches in the world.

* My grandparents lived in a mobile home. Everyone in their park was from someplace cold, and would hang signs with their names on them inside an outline of their home state. Betty and Joe from Michigan, Al and Sue from Ohio, Peg and Jack from Pennsylvania and of course, our house, Tony and Cookie from New Jersey.

* Everyone in a mobile home park goes to sleep early. It would be dead quiet on the street after dinner.

* My mother always had this misguided idea that she should do our own taxes, but being a member of my family, she would always wait until the last minute. Tax day almost always fell while we were in Florida. We would haul a box of papers down from NJ and she would stay up all night in my grandmother's kitchen drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes until she got them done.

* We would have fresh orange juice in the morning. My grandfather and dad would eat grapefruits from the tree, halved and sprinkled with sugar. Everyone in the neighborhood came to our house for morning coffee.

* We went to the pool in the morning because children weren't allowed to swim between 11 and 3. Sometimes we played shuffleboard. We also played a lot of mini golf.

* When I was older, in college, my sister and I flew down to Florida with my parents. We were late, as always, getting to the airport and my mom shoved us toward the gate while she was waiting for my father to park the car. "Wait for us in Tampa," she shouted. This was before cell phones. Luckily they busted through the doors just as they were closing.

* I always remember my grandfather's peanut butter pie when I am down there.

* My grandfather's sister had a house on the same street as he lived on. Now my aunt has a condo a few doors down from my parents, and my other aunt also owns a place in Bradenton. I guess we are up next, in about 30 years.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Three Dreams

he pregnancy insomnia is KILLING me. I am blurry eyed and zombie-like during the day and ready to polish our floors at 3 a.m. Three dreams I managed to have last night:

1. I was running the Boston Marathon. YG and I were on Boylston Street on Saturday night and saw the finish line which is probably why it was on my mind. Also, the weather is glorious for running right now, and I not-so-secretly hate all the people who are not waddling. In my dream, I was in some sort of competitive run with someone my size, meaning another Clydesdale, and I wanted to beat them. Even in my dreams, I know I am not an elite runner. We made our way onto Boylston Street and the last few blocks of the marathon, and I tripped and bloodied my knee. I got up and took off. I flew. It was exhilarating.

2. This was followed by a typical “the technology doesn’t work” dream. I was trying to send emails, but I couldn’t remember how to push send and when I called the help desk, I couldn’t find a way to explain the problem. “But it just doesn’t want to GO,” I kept saying.

3. I had a dream about YG and that we were back in The Birds and Ships night at The Milford. We were there, and then I woke up, and I was holding his hand really tight. I wrote this down, “I dreamt about Birds and Ships. You didn’t know me that well then, or maybe you did. I read enough crappy women’s magazines to know that confidence and self-assurance is supposedly more sexy than anything else. I think I had that then. And now I freak out because I can’t cook the chicken right. I am not confident right now – I woke up clutching your hand like a life raft. Forgive the cliché. And the worst part is that even with ‘for better or worse’ and all these kids and basically all your emotional support and financial backing, I still find myself wondering about the inane, bad feminist things like, ‘does he think I am pretty?”

We ALL need a vacation right now. We leave for Florida in less than 24 hours.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

More Tina Fey: Prayer For A Daughter

This one is making the Internet rounds right now. It's from Tina Fey's "Bossypants," which I have to have right this second. Thanks, NN, for pointing it out. Given recent conversations in our house, this is very apt. Also, sorry Mom, for years 12-22, that first husband, for teenage angst in my 30s, etc.

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Amen.