Friday, November 30, 2012

Come Mr. Talisman, Talisman Banana.

Magical healing spray.

I have been self-diagnosed with OCD-lite for many years now, but only recently diagnosed with real, doctor-approved OCD. Which cracks me up because I've made of joke of having fake OCD for so long now and here it turns out I've had actual, real-live OCD all along. Maybe it's a form of denial? As if to say, "I will joke about this because if I were serious about it I would be scared. Haha."

*Sprays Windex.*

Despite the fact that it's official now, I still view my OCD as "lite." I don't need medication for it (well, aside from Xanax, but that doesn't count, right?) and it doesn't really disrupt my life to such an extent that I don't leave my house or have successful interpersonal relationships. Okay, the latter is debatable. But whatever. It's not like I'm Melvin Udall from As Good As It Gets.

*Avoids stepping on crack.*

I mean, sure, I can't just go to bed when I'm tired. I need to do the rounds. Turn on the dishwasher. Straighten the hand towels. Wipe the counters with Windex®. Straighten the pillows on the couches. Fold the throw blankets. Make sure the dollhouse furniture is placed in the right rooms, according to my own sense of feng shui, and the correct dolls are in their proper beds. Clean my ears with Q-tips every time I pass the hall closet. Line up the Buddhas. The perfume bottles. The shoes. You know, the usual.

*Arranges doll house furniture.*


That baby is not feng shui.

Every time I drink out of a can, I have to tap the top five times before I open it. I always thought this was a child of the 70s thing. My sister taught me to do this when I was a kid and I've never stopped. She said it would prevent the carbonated beverage from exploding. I say "carbonated beverage" because I don't want those of you who aren't from Michigan to make fun of me. We call it "pop." There's pop and diet pop. What do the rest of you call it? Soda pop? Soda pop sounds old-fashioned to me. And kind of backwoods. I suspect ya'll say, "Sody pop" and for that, I am mocking you in my head.

*Taps can five times*

I do a lot of weird stuff in my head. Certain phrases and words can get caught in my brain and I repeat them over and over to myself. Like the Banana Boat Song. I used to think, "Come Mr. Tally Man, tally me banana," as a kid over and over again, whenever I would get nervous. If I hear the song even now, as an adult, I will be thinking it for days afterwards. Recently, I read an article online where the author used the phrase, "The bomb.com." Remember when people used to say that? "Wow, I think that's the bomb dot com!" Well, it cracked me up.

And then I proceeded to say it over and over in my head for a couple of weeks. "The bomb dot com. The bomb dot com. The bomb dot com." It was soothing. I would relax when I thought it. I didn't say it out loud or anything, or mumble it. I'm not crazy, okay? But if I were driving in my car, or sitting at my desk, or trying to survive a boring meeting, I would just think "The bomb dot com" and I was instantly happier. Life was better.

*Thinks "The bomb dot com."*

I guess that's sort of like an ear worm. An ear worm is when you hear a song and you can't get it out of your head. Only my ear worms aren't songs. They are phrases or words that I repeat over and over in my head for days. I like to think it's sort of meditative. It calms me.

I have other little talismans that soothe me throughout the day. If anyone does anything to upset me, or if I get criticism that I don't like, I immediately go to the blog Suri's Burn Book. If I have an unpleasant thought that I can't get out of my head, I click on Suri's Burn Book and just look at a few entries and everything is all better. A fight with someone? Suri's Burn Book. Stress? Suri's Burn Book. Doubt? Suri's Burn Book. I just sort of compulsively click on that bookmarked page and just looking at an entry, even if I've read it before, it instantly calms me.

OMG. Is Suri's Burn Book my The Catcher in the Rye? For those of you who don't know the reference, Mel Gibson's character in Conspiracy Theory was obsessed with J.D. Salinger's book. He would buy a copy of it every time he was upset or something bad happened.

For me, Suri's Burn Book is simple. Straightforward. Nothing but happiness and joy happens on Suri's Burn Book. It's just a picture of a celebrity or a celebrity's child, with Suri Cruise's imaginary snarky fashion criticism.

Suri, I know, baby. She shouldn't be wearing flouncy skirts.


Oh joy. Oh bliss.

*Clicks link*

It's like the Windex® of blogs. Simple. Clean, Efficient. If I'm stressed out at home, I can just spritz Windex® all over the counters and erase any imperfections and dirtiness. I can spritz the floors in Windex® too and everything looks better. Smells better. Shines. The world is just a little bit better. A little calmer. More organized. In control. And everything is Okay.

Basically, it's the bomb dot com.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Through The Anthropologie Looking Glass

What kind of Anthro-fuckerie is this?
Wait. What?

*Presses hand to forehead*

*Sighs*

I just can't with this, Anthropologie. I mean, my god, your store is just a short walk from my house. I spend too much there when the weather is nice. But it is a love-hate relationship. Sure, I can find pieces that work for me on occasion. But on the whole, the shirts and sweaters run too short for a tall girl. You have too many flouncy and A-line skirts that really don't do anything for a tall girl with an hour-glass figure. (More pencil skirts please.) And yes, every once in a while something fits and oh yes, yes, I buy it. I admit it. I even pay full price.

*Gasp*

So in a way, I had this split-personality sweater coming to me. I feel it might be punishment for wearing a one-sleeved dress the other day. As though I crossed into some nebulous world of cockamamy clothing karma and wtfuckerie from whence I will never return. A Neverland, a Wonderland of sartorial madness.

I think I need a cookie. Or a hug. In a metaphorical hug kind-of-way. I'm from a northern clime and we don't touch each other for god's sake.


Craptastically idiotic, even from the back.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Manic Pixie Dream Girl Redux.



I got bangs this weekend. It's not the first time. I get bangs all the time. I'm just too lazy to maintain them so they keep growing out. Though this is the shortest they've been in a while. I tried to get the hairstylist to go even shorter, like a picture I saw in a copy of Allure magazine. It was très française. Par example:




But I don't think he really believed I could go that short. But I can and have. I've cut all my hair off multiple times. I've had a super short pixie cut for years on end. I'm not afraid of cutting hair. It grows back and I happen to have a lot of it. Too much, in fact. My two-year-old daughter has hair past the middle of her back. She's bordering on Crystal Gayle territory. I'm just not certain that she will sit still for a haircut, so she wears it up every day. I hope she doesn't start to look like a Duggar.




I came home from getting the haircut and put on a glittery dress for a party. When my husband came home, he said, "You look nice." Then he paused and said, "Did you change your hair?" So that's proof that men do in fact notice women's hair. What I find shocking is that he noticed my hair when I was standing in the kitchen in 4-inch heels wearing this:




By the way, I looked way better in that dress than that model. She's wearing it like she's wearing a venereal disease. I worked the shit out of that dress. We went to downtown Detroit for a birthday party at the MGM Grand. As soon as I got out of the car, there was an old man standing there. He'd just gotten out of his Caddy. He was wearing an overcoat and a hat, dressed up for the night. He gazed up at me, probably 6'2" in my heels, and said through a pair of glaucoma-glazed eyes:

"Damn girl, you look gooooood!"

I laughed and thanked him. Then I walked over to my husband who was standing by the curb.

"That old man was staring at your ass," he said.

"Give the old guy a break. Good for him for still having it in him!" I said. My husband didn't look too convinced by my new-found laissez-faire joie de vivre.


This is apropos of nothing.


I guess a pair of bangs and a glittery dress can do that for you. Change your attitude. Maybe it was the bangs that got me into that dress? I never wear anything above the knee. My entire life I thought I didn't look good in short skirts. Hell, maybe I don't. But I'm too damn old to care anymore and my bangs are too damn fierce to be in a knee-length dress. I need glitter. I need short skirts. Life in bangs just seems to shine, you know?

I left a trail of glitter everywhere I went that night. I leaned up against my husband and I saw the entire left side of his suit sparkling when he went to get me a drink. I left sparkles all over my car. They're still there now. I'm like a magical fairy with a bitchin' pair of pixie bangs instead of wings.

I feel much younger with the bangs. I read that having them can take years off your face. It's like free Botox®. How can I say "Non" to that? I can't. That's what.

My son Max saw my new hair the next morning.

"Can you put your hair back the way it used to be?" he said.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

He reached up and pantomimed pulling his bangs back from his head in a long, luxurious sweep.

"No," I said and glared at him. My husband snickered in the corner.

Later, I drove my son to the pet store to buy the stray cat we adopted more toys so it will love us. I caught him looking at me in the rear view mirror. He was smiling.

"What are you smiling about?" I asked.

"I'm just imagining your hair the way it used to be," he said.

I laughed out loud. I guess the eight-year-old boy isn't as excited about my transformation as I am. But he does know I like to be younger. I tried to explain the Bang Theory of Looking Younger to him but he was unmoved. Later when we were out to dinner, he advised my husband on my age.

"There's one rule about my mom," he said. "You never say her true age."

I may be failing to educate him on how to speak to a woman about her hair, but I hit the nail on the head with this one. He still tells everyone I'm 39.

Which is just about the perfect age for a girl like me. You heard the old man.



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Reptillian Bird of Prey Amazonian Sex Symbol.

My eyelids are scaly and red. The area under my eyes is swollen and puffy. My ring finger is ablaze. My skin is a seething cauldron of contact dermatitis. I have eczema and I'm also occasionally and unpredictably allergic to my eye makeup and/or my wedding ring. I've recently discovered that some people are allergic to white gold because it has nickel in it. Thanks, jeweler. Thanks for talking me out of the platinum.

*Sighs*

Today I wore glasses in order to try and disguise the fact that my eyes are all rough and scaly like an Iguana's protruding eyeballs. I'm not one to leave the house without makeup. I'm not sure why that is. My sister taught me how to put on makeup in the seventh grade. And she taught me how to do it right, so I wouldn't look trashy. She was a good role model.

Here is what she told me. It's not too late for you to get a dose of her big sistering. Just a little bit of blush. A little powder. Lip gloss. Mascara. That's it. I've stuck to that routine almost my entire life. If I feel like getting fancy, I'll add some brown eyeshadow and some eyeliner on the top lid. Though my beauty routine is pretty simple, I never leave the house without makeup. For me, it's like walking out the door in sweatpants.

In other words, I feel it signals to the world that you've completely given up. You just don't care any more. You're not making your bed. You're not using the occasional yet discrete breath mint. You may even pick your nose at red lights. You can disagree with me if you like, that's fine. But if you do, I'll suspect you're wearing tennis shoes with jeans as you read this.

*Shudders*

I'm sitting here with my eyelids on fire and my ring finger itching like I've got a case of the chiggers. No, I have no idea what chiggers are, but they sound downright hellish. I tried to take a picture of my inflamed ring finger for you, but all I can see is my enormous man hand.


My god. My hand is bigger than my head. I know I'm somewhat Amazonian in stature, but this is ridiculous. I'm surprised my husband hasn't pointed out this physical oddity. I mean, that's a lot of hand to let near your junk.

Wait, I'll try to make my hands look more feminine. I mean, I can't have all of you thinking I'm some kind of big-handed freak. Maybe that last shot was just a matter of perspective? Here's my second try:


Great. Now it's a claw. I have the delicate talons of a bird of prey. Horrifying. Hear me shriek as I descend upon your manhood like a bloodthirsty American Eagle, filled with rage and DDT.

Let's try one more time. There's got to be a way to make me look normal for my blog post. I have an image to uphold:


Eff you, itchy finger. Eff you.


I'm sure this post had a point. Maybe it didn't? I thought I might try and do that Bloggy Nani Po Mo post every day thing. I re-wrote the former boss piece that I mentioned the other day in my Blogverboten post so that the person in question is now unrecognizable from any person living or dead. So I'm still thinking about publishing it. My attorney husband advises me that I may do so, especially considering that I no longer work for the alleged person and I've changed any identifying details. While I decide on that, I give you eczema and self-portraiture. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Crazy About You. Or Just Plain Crazy.


I feel lucky to be married to my husband Fred.

I do. I've known him for seven years and he's my best friend. Though that sounds cliche, I find it remarkable. We are this perfectly odd match. And by odd, I mean I find it odd that I found someone who suits me this well. I mean, how did that happen? What kind of strange cosmic bartender shook the world hard enough to pour out two equally matched oddballs like the two of us?

I didn't think I'd ever find anyone this smart, funny, inappropriate, handsome, good in bed, talented, kind, thoughtful, strange, quirky, witty, surprising and did I mention good in bed? (That second good in bed was for his benefit. Also: sorry mom and dad.) And we're both highly neurotic in strangely similar yet conflicting ways, which adds to the excitement in our relationship.

I joke that we both have OCD-lite. And by "lite" I mean that although we are both compulsive, we're not obsessive. So really, we're just annoying, not life-threatening with our issues. We each definitely have a sense of what's "right" as far as the placement of the household objects go. I mean, it's great that we're both compulsively picking things up around the house, right? I mean, it's not like one of us is a slob and the other is neat. We're both neat. We like to do a daily chant of: "YAY! TEAM NEAT FOR THE WIN!" And then we high-five each other.

We're both quick to grab the Windex® and go at the counters, table and floor. If someone feeds the baby, you never have to worry that they didn't clean the high chair. I've had people comment on our daughter's high chair. It looks like new. She's two. Yes, that's how compulsive we both are. And yes, I've Windexed that thing from top to bottom, including under the seat cushions. We're not animals.

It's funny, though, sometimes our innate sense of what's "right" contradicts. And by "contradicts" I mean, Fred is wrong. To me, it makes the most sense to leave the removable high chair tray resting vertically on a dish towel on the counter top, yet tilted against the wall so it can drip dry. The second Fred sees the tray on the counter, he has to move it back to the high chair where it will lay horizontally. Wet. This is where our neuroses conflict. I mean, really, who puts a wet tray on a high chair? It's madness.

Objects constantly move back and forth around our house. You probably would never notice this subtle dance. Perhaps I move the coffee grinder next to the stove, so it can be near the kettle. Perhaps he moves it next to the sink, so it's not in the center of the kitchen. Less obtrusive. Perhaps the coffee grinder will do a dance, left to right, right to left, like a kitchen accessory tango over the course of a few weeks, each of us surprised to see it has moved since we last replaced it.

Things can also happen to items on the mantle. I like the Buddhas tilted so they're looking at an angle, facing the couch. Fred tilts the Buddhas back so they're parallel to the wall, facing the chair. I put the Xbox controllers behind the TV. Fred puts them in the drawer. I keep a neat stack of books on my nightstand. Fred puts his books in a drawer. There is nothing on the floor next to my side of the bed. Fred's side is covered with wires to his various electronic devices. I roll socks into a ball. He folds them in half. Fred puts the kids' clothes away in the closets. I rearrange where he put them. And maybe even how he folded them. Who's to say? You can't prove it either way. I put my hair brush in the bathroom. Fred puts it in the closet. Fred puts the toilet paper on the floor, I put it on top of the water tank. Back and forth, up and down, the objects in our house move from one place to the next in a subtle dance of compulsion.

When we first got married we drove each other nuts. I think we were both shocked that we were married to someone who actually put things away. I mean, it was nice. It was great! Two neat people in one house. We are Team Super Clean, yay! But then it was like, "Hey, who moved my Buddha? Stop touching my stuff! My placement of household objects is perfect! How dare you question my judgment of the arrangement of stuff. I practically have a PhD in my very own school of Feng Shui that no one else can quite decipher." Whatever. My way is obviously the best way ever.

I'm not sure if we're both crazy, or just crazy about each other. I suspect it's both. And I wouldn't have it any other way.







Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mini Athlete Genius

After taking mandolin lessons for a year, I decided to get a new teacher. I thought it would be beneficial to learn from someone new and perhaps learn something new in the process.

My new teacher has a completely different approach to the instrument. While my last teacher was mostly interested in me learning how to play songs (which makes sense), the new teacher is more interested in how I'm playing the instrument.

It's interesting to take this step back a year into learning the instrument. I hadn't been paying close attention to my instrument any more. I was focused on the notes on the page. I didn't know what my hands or fingers were doing, other than whether or not they were hitting the right notes.

After my first lesson with the new teacher, I changed the way I have my strap positioned on the mandolin. I did this so that I could change the way I hold the neck with my left hand. I tend to grip the mandolin like my life depends on it. I have to remind myself that it's not a paddle and I'm not rowing a boat. I can hold it lightly with my thumb and in so doing, free up my four fingers so that they can move easier over the strings.

My first assignment from the new teacher was to simply run up and down the neck, doing chromatic finger exercises. I was no longer playing particular notes and I wasn't playing a scale. I simply ran my fingers up and down the neck, four notes at a time, and in so doing, I watched my fingers completely spaz out. They did this weird spider-like movement above the strings because they weren't familiar with the new positions. You can see what I mean at the beginning of this video:



After running up and down the fretboard all week, my fingers relaxed and hovered over the strings quite calmly. The weird finger splaying had stopped. 

The other thing the new teacher had me do was finger exercises. I now sit at my desk and flip flop my fingers over one another, over and over again. I don't do this on the mandolin. I just hold my two hands together, palm-to-palm, and I flip flop my fingers over each other. 

First I flip flop the index finger of each hand over each other, then the middle fingers, then the ring fingers, then the pinkies. Then I try doing the first and second set of fingers together, the second and third sets of fingers together, then the fourth. Moving on, I try to do the first set at the same time that I do the third set. This is when things start to get messy. Then I do the second set simultaneously with the fourth and now my brain freezes and says, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT NERVES TO SIGNAL BECAUSE I HAVE LOST TRACK OF WHAT FINGERS YOU WANT ME TO MOVE!"

It is at this point that I realize I'm not using nearly enough of my brain on a daily basis. It makes me understand why they say learning a new instrument or doing crossword puzzles — anything the challenges your brain on a daily basis — is a good way of preventing the onset of dementia and mental illness as you age.

THE MANDOLIN IS SAVING MY BRAIN FROM ATROPHY, PEOPLE.

That's right. The mandolin cures Alzheimer's. You heard it right here. Interestingly, my mandolin teacher says he considers musicians "mini-athletes." It makes a lot of sense. You need to work out the muscles of your hands and forearms just as if you were training for a sport. It takes practice. It takes repetition. It takes conditioning. So now I'm finally addressing the physical challenges behind the instrument and I'm actually enjoying it a bit more. 

And now, just for fun, here are some of my favorite bands featuring the mando:



Here's Brandi Carlile, who I'm going to see in concert this month and whose voice was sent down from the angels or knitted by unicorns. I'm not sure which. Maybe it's both:


And a little uplifting diddy from the Lumineers, thanks to the sprightly strings of the mandolin coming in at around :56:


More mando in the weirdly techno-folk Crystal Fighters. They grow on you, I swear:


And last but not least, Chris Thile on the mandolin from the Punch Brothers, who was also named a MacArthur Genius this week. That's right, folks, A MANDOLIN GENIUS. I'm telling you, learning the mandolin will make you both a genius and the world's tiniest ironman athlete. Oh, and could win you $500,000:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Finding the Melody


The other night I posted this picture on Twitter with the caption: "Too many notes."

That was before I had even attempted to play it. As some of you may know, I've recently started taking mandolin lessons. Learning a brand new instrument as an adult can be a humbling experience.

It's also rather embarrassing. I feel completely exposed practicing like a feeble-handed kid in front of my husband. Did I mention he was a music major?

I must be a glutton for punishment. Or my husband is. He probably didn't expect me to pick up a squeaky hillbilly instrument when he married me. I'm sure I seemed like a normal, northern, cosmopolitan lady.

I've been practicing this new instrument every day, for an hour a day. I practice until my hand aches. I practice until my fingertips burn. I have hardened callouses and the skin peels off. Sometimes I don't feel like playing but I drag the mandolin case out and my sheets of music.

Some nights, when I look at a new piece of music like Gallopede up there, I think I should just give up. There are too many notes. I'll never figure it out. Just who am a kidding, an adult trying to pick up a bizarre musical instrument when I already have more hobbies, activities, children, jobs, and social life than I need.

All of these voices of doubt play through my head and still I sit and stare at the notes. I don't close the book. I don't give up. I want to make music and feel joy in my heart. Even if I sound like a Suzuki Method player doing it.

The only way that's going to happen is if I just get in there and start plucking. Even if I hit the wrong notes. Even if I'm flat. Even if I have to decipher which three notes to play at once, or how to play a dotted quarter note before a triplet or what have you.

The other night after I Tweeted that moment of defeat: "Too many notes," I sat and I started to play through the piece. As I played, I found the melody and the notes were really much simpler than they looked. And I enjoyed playing it.

It's a reminder to me that just because something looks difficult at first, doesn't mean you can't do it. You just have to take it slow. Play it one note at a time and soon you'll find the melody.

Mando et mando.





Note: I wrote this a year ago when I'd just started the mandolin and never posted it. I'm still playing, but not particularly well. Though I must say, looking at the music for Gallopede now is laughable. It looks so easy and those notes look pretty sparsely scattered across the page. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Writing Is Stupid.

Why is writing such a painful endeavor? Why do people do it? Why do I do it as both a profession and a hobby? Is it because I'm a masochist? But then sometimes we say we love writing. It's our greatest passion. So which one is it? Is it torture or sex?

It's a little bit of both, I suppose. There are moments when you get so lost in writing that it's like you've become one with your god. You've merged with the universe and there is no more "you." But those moments are more fleeting than the moments of you staring at the screen like the empty husk of the damned, wishing you'd chosen some other career or hobby. Anything. Play an instrument. Paint a picture. But pull words out of my ass? What was I thinking?

Anyway, this is just to say I'm procrastinating. I'm supposed to be writing something else entirely. See, look at that. I'm so far gone, I'm writing while procrastinating from writing.

Send help.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Working Mom. Or "How to Suck at Being a Mom."

Ready for school.

My daughter just started preschool and it's triggering a mother lode of guilt. 
Read all about it at my Buddha Mama Sans Drama blog.



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dear Ego: I Just Can't Quit You. Love, Mandy.



Here's a meditation on my enormous ego. Just kidding. It's more of a medium-sized ego. Or is that egotistical of me to say? Buddhists have a lot to say about the ego, or Self, and some folks freak out over the concept of No Self. Here are my thoughts on Self and No Self. And also some thoughts on how socially awkward I am when I see my therapist in public. It's amazing I'm allowed out in public at all.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Little Something About Big Emotions



Do forgive the paucity of posts. I scrounged around and found an old draft I'd never posted on my Buddha Mama Sans Drama blog. Wrote it a couple of months ago and it felt too raw at the time to share.

I've been writing but not posting a lot lately. Probably means what I'm writing is pretty damned close to my heart. I'll eventually post them as I feel a little less tender and less vulnerable. So here is one now, close to my heart but not quite so close in proximity.








Tuesday, July 3, 2012

More, Por Favor.



My husband and I are at the mercy of a hostile two-year-old girl. She is demanding. She is cranky. She speaks Spanish and we don't. She also speaks some sort of mispronounced toddler talk that all toddlers speak, but when you add in the foreign language, our mystification goes into overdrive. We don't know what the hell she's talking about.

"Más!" she yells from her high chair, banging her bowl on her tray.

"More, please," we say. Because we are patient, older parents we don't El Strangle her.

"Más PAYAYOO!" she hollers and bangs the bowl harder.

"What is she saying?" my husband asks, looking tired and bewildered.

"She said 'Más, por favor."

"'Payayoo' is por favor?"

"Si," I say and hand him another bowl of Lucky Charms. Or "Amaletos de la Suerte."

The reason our daughter speaks a language that neither one of us speaks is because my friend watches Grace while I'm at work. My friend is half-Colombian and she read that children who are bilingual have gigantic, bi-functioning brains which basically turns them into a race of super humans who will take over the world. So my friend speaks to my daughter in Spanish. It has resulted in the trilingual toddler we have today — and much confusion.

When we walk Grace to the park, she is happy to yell, "HOLA!" to the people we pass by on the sidewalk. When she sees the sky she points up at it and yells, "AZUL!" The grass, "VERDE!" And if a red bike happens to speed past us, she is sure to announce, "ROJO!"

When I'm at the park, I am somewhat embarrassed when the other parents hear my tiny dictator yelling, "MAS SWINGS! MAS SWINGS!" or when she points at their child who is wearing a blue shirt and says, "AZUL!" Which actually sounds more like, "ASSHULE!"

"Yes, that IS a BLUE shirt, Grace! Such a nice BLUE SHIRT!" I say and smile weakly at the offended parent, who clearly hates me.

I can never tell if the parent is more put off by the fact that my tiny dictator just called their golden-haired angel an asshole, or that I'm such a pretentious asshole that I'm teaching my child Spanish. They probably think I'm like those parents on The Real Housewives of New York, the couple who spoke to their kids in French and named them something like Jean Jacques and Francois.

Oh my god. People think my husband and I are Simon and Alex!


¡Ay, caramba! 

In addition to Spanish language, Grace is also learning about the Hispanic culture. For instance, one day when I came to pick her up I noticed she was drinking some sort of tan substance in her sippy cup.

"What is that?" I asked my friend. "Is she drinking chocolate milk?" I cocked my head to the side and narrowed my eyes.

"Oh, that!" my friend laughed. "She saw me drinking coffee and she wanted some! She kept trying to drink it out of my cup. So cute! So I gave her some of her own."

"I...uh...she...I'm sorry, what?" I stammered, my mouth hanging open.

"Oh, don't worry! It's decaf!" my friend said, laughing and waving me off with a Colombian flick of the wrist.

Apparently it's normal in Columbia to serve babies shots of espresso. I now expect to pick up my daughter and find her sitting at her tiny table and chairs. Perhaps she'll have a tiny cup of café in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

"Hola, Mami," she'll say and continue speaking in Spanish to her dolls and stuffed animals. The doll is a refugee from Columbia who left her lover there in the hands of a notorious drug cartel. The bear is an ex-pat from France. He writes short stories and freelances for the New York Times. Hello Kitty is here on a study abroad program from Tokyo. She likes the electronic music festival in Detroit and finds the shopping superb.

They all turn and look at me like the rube I am.

"¿Quieres un café, mamá?" she'll ask.

Well, at least she's learning some manners, I'll think as I sit down to have a cup with her friends.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hitting the Jackpotty.


I've been researching "best potty chairs" for my two-year-old daughter. I'm aware that I may be taking this whole "Things I need to Google" business too far, but whatever. I will not settle for a sub par potty for my baby. She has a delicate constitution.

I thought I'd go with the tasteful, mod lines of an all white Baby Bjorn potty chair. It would give our bathroom the pseudo-European flair that most parents with too much money and not enough quality time covet.

Or I could stick with my heritage. I could respect the long-held values and traditions of my Scottish mother's genes. This family heritage reminds me to value what's most important in life: a biting sense of humor, a deep-held irreverence, an inability to hold liquor, a complete disregard for restraint and good taste, and an unholy love of slot machines.

The Jack Potty from Safety 1st rewards your little gambler for making a "deposit" with bright lights and enthusiastic sounds. Not unlike the the siren call of Vegas, your child will be inexplicably drawn the bathroom over and over again. Because who among us isn't motivated to take a dump beneath flashing lights and a triumphant jubilee.

I can just see us opening the bathroom door and finding little Grace perched on the Jack Potty, cocktail in hand, cigarette dangling from her pouty lip, perhaps a National Enquirer resting on her lap.

Yes, baby. You're a big girl now.




Thursday, June 7, 2012

What's in a Name?

My daughter Grace with the Buddha.

I have a new post on my Buddhism blog, Buddha Mama Sans Drama. In it, I discuss the Precept-Taking Ceremony at my temple and the giving of Buddhist names. Just as I was posting this here, it dawned on me that we have two aptly named people in the photograph. 

The Buddha's name means "One who is awake." And we have a child named "Grace." It might seem odd that a Buddhist would name her child Grace, but I've always been attracted to the concept. I love the idea that the gift of love is given to us whether we deserve it or not. This seems a universal and beautiful idea to me, not specific to any religion or lack thereof.

When I was pregnant with my son, I listened to Sinead O'Connor's "Amazing Grace" almost every day in my car. Frequently, I was bawling. I was scared. I wasn't married and wasn't sure I could do this on my own potentially. There were some people in my life who didn't think keeping the baby was the right decision. But my gut told me that it was. 

I did feel as though I had been "lost" for much of my life and the certainty I discovered in my child was home. I had been "found." I could clearly see that this child was a gift. It was also clear to me that grace is love bestowed on all living creatures regardless of their circumstances, their morality, or anything else you might happen to think about them. We are all blessed with love. It is the human condition. 

This is what I believe. This is my faith. And I know that both of my children are the greatest gifts I ever received. Though I never felt I deserved them, I am grateful to have them. Amazing grace, you see.

Together they are Max and Grace. And I think of them as Maximum Grace. That is what they are to me.

Well, this link to another blog turned into a post itself. Read about the Precept-Taking Ceremony I saw this weekend here: What's in a (Buddhist) Name?


Friday, May 18, 2012

To My Favorite


Happy birthday to my favorite person. 

You're the best person I've ever met. I can't believe I'm so lucky that you liked me back. 
I still can't believe anyone is this fun. Or this smart. Or this handsome. Or this thoughtful.
You don't know it, but the world is a better place with you in it.
You certainly make my world brighter. And I'm a better person for having known you.

Here's to the next 50. I'm so excited we get to spend them together.


XXOO,

Your Wife

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fistful of Dookie

Toddler Hipster Says: Shit Happens.

My husband is the one who usually gives our two-year-old daughter a bath. He's clever enough to use the time to practice his guitar. He stands next to the tub with one foot resting on the toilet while he serenades her. I've mentioned that he may be ruining her for any other man.

When I give her a bath, I'm in a big damn hurry. I mean, sure, play play play with the bathtub toys and the bubbles, but as soon as the hair is washed and rinsed — her bath time minutes are numbered. I let her watch the water slowly drain out of the tub until it forms a little cyclone by the drain hole. She puts her finger in it just like I did when I was a kid. I think watching the water drain may be the best part of the bath, myself.

Anyway, bath time is significantly shorter with Mama. Bath time with dad is a leisurely endeavor. Our bathing beauty gets to luxuriate in her bubbles, every one of her bath time friends gets to do multiple laps and many a water ballet. Dad practices through chords and strums his weekly song for his instructor over and over again while my son and I listen from downstairs.

But this time the soothing melody was interrupted by an "Uh oh!"

"Was that an 'Uh oh' you need me?" I called upstairs.

"Yeah. I'm gonna need some help with this," he said rather calmly.

I ran upstairs and immediately noticed we had some brown floaters among the bubbles. And the precious baby girl had a fistful of it.

"Yucky," she said.

I can't say I blame her. Warm water. Soothing music. Anyone would get relaxed. And getting relaxed before you're potty trained is a bit messier than after you're potty trained. I do wonder if her father will play quite so many songs next time? With his germ phobia, I'm surprised he didn't shit his pants.



Friday, May 11, 2012

A Fistful of Little Ice Cream Sandwiches





In honor of Mother's Day and my birthday, I'm pulling a blog post from ye olde Myspace days. I believe my son was around three years old at the time and I was a big fat meanie. Happy Mother's Day to all my friends out there who are mean mamas too (on occasion). 



A Fistful of Little Ice Cream Sandwiches


I trotted through the doors of my apartment and out to the parking lot, where my son's father's truck was waiting. I'd just finished working out and was wondering if I'd have Happy Three-Year-Old or I-Hate-Mama-Three-Year-Old waiting for me in the car seat.

I did a little jig outside the car window to try to ensure a positive reception.

I could see his little mouth forming the "O" of a wail through the tinted glass and knew I was screwed. I opened the door.

"Waaah! I. Don't. Want. Ma. Ma!" Big tears rolled down his cheeks as he stretched his arm out towards his father and away from me.

"The Little Mermaid and little ice cream sandwiches!" I blurted.

"Noooo, I want Da..." He paused. "Little ice cream sandwiches?"

"Yes."

"And The Little Mermaid?"

"All this and more, if only you come with the mama," I gestured towards the apartment door as though ushering him into the Magical Kingdom.

"And you cuddle me on the couch?"

"Hells yeah!" I pumped my fist.

(Okay, I might not have said "Hells yeah!") Of course as I picked him up and carried him out of his father's truck (his father never puts his shoes on him), he again wound himself up and wailed as he reached his arms out towards his father.

"Littlemermaidicecreamsandwiches," I whispered in his ear over and over again like a mantra.

Thirty minutes of The Little Mermaid ("Under the Sea!") and one little ice cream sandwich later, with a smattering of hair-strokings and a toddler back rub with mini-baby-karate chops, it was time for bed.

"Five minutes," he waved me off with a pudgy hand.

"No, now."

"I didn't eat my 'nother little ice cream sandwiches!"

Okay, the kid had a solid point. Clearly there was an unfinished little ice cream sandwich on his plate and that's just plain wrong.

"Okay, you can eat the ice cream sandwich but then bed."

"No, I hafta finish watching my movie THEN I can go to bed," he said.

"No, I'm letting you eat the ice cream sandwich out of the kindness of my heart, for which you should say, 'Thank you, Mama,' and then you will go to bed a lucky little boy to have had that little ice cream sandwich." I narrowed my eyes at him.

Suddenly I could hear the theme song to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

"I wanna watch The Little Mermaid!" he took the little ice cream sandwich out of his mouth and slid his hands towards his holster.

"No," I said out of the side of my mouth and rested both of my hands on my hips, my thumbs stroking the handles of my guns.

"Yes!" he cried.

Then the room exploded with gun fire.

If you're not familiar with that sound, ladies and gentlemen, that is the sound of Mama being DONE. I can outdraw a three-year-old any day of the week, my friends.

"How about you go to bed now, with no little ice cream sandwich?" I snapped up the remaining ice cream sandwich and marched it to the freezer.

"But Mama!"

"March," I said. "I'm done with this."

"Ma!" he cried. Now the tears were rolling and he looked paralyzed, shocked and completely ambushed by my gorilla-mama tactics.

He wailed as he took off his pants. He wailed as we turned on the hall light. He wailed as I helped him off with his shirt. And then finally:

"I'm sorry, Mama!" His face was overwrought. He truly looked like a little man who was horrified by his own actions and stricken with grief at the price he would have to pay.

"I'm sorry too. I bet that little ice cream sandwich would have tasted soooooooooo good!" I said and rubbed my belly.

Okay, I'm totally kidding about that last line. I would never say that. What I said was this:

"I know you're sorry, baby. Maybe next time you'll say 'Yes, Mama,' instead of trying to negotiate your own bedtime." I pulled his shirt off and grabbed a pajama top.

"I n-n-n-need a hug!" he said and draped his leaden arms around my shoulders, sobbing. I hugged him and rubbed his back.

"I love you," I said.

"I love you too, Mama." Pause. "Can I have a little ice cream sandwich now?"

"No."

"I said 'I'm sorry!'"

"Yeah, but you should have listened to Mama in the first place."

"I'll be nice now, I promise."

"You are nice, I know that. Maybe next time you'll do what I ask and not try to tell me what to do. You know Mama doesn't like it when she has to ask you to do something two or three times."

"I know," he said and sighed.

"So what are you going to do next time Mama asks you to do something?"

"Say 'Yes, Mama.'"

"Smart boy."

"Yeah. I am," he nodded, looking happier again, despite the red-eyes and the wet cheeks. He knew he would live to see another day.

See how easy it is? Listen to Mama and get ice cream sandwiches before bed. No wonder his dad's his favorite. His mama's such a bitch.

*Blows smoke from pistols, returns them to holsters*

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Everything I Learned About Love, I Learned In Moonstruck. And Rehab.

In a pivotal moment in one of my all-time favorite movies, Moonstruck, Ronny Cammareri tells the woman he loves:

Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn't know this either, but love don't make things nice -- it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die. The storybooks are bullshit. Now I want you to come upstairs with me and get in my bed!

Love doesn't make things nice. Love does ruin everything. It complicates everything. The fairy tales only tell us about falling in love, not about staying in love. The staying part is the work. If you're brave, if you take risks, if you're willing to make a complete ass of yourself — make yourself plain and naked with all your faults and weaknesses laid bare for this other person to see — then maybe just maybe you'll last a bit.

But who wants to do any of that?

Why on earth would you make yourself vulnerable to someone with sharp talons and a flesh-tearing beak? We're all capable of tearing each other to bits. Don't give me that, "He would never or she would never" baloney because all really is fair in love and war. One thing for sure is that when your ego is threatened, you're gonna dance. You're gonna float like a butterfly and sting like a mother-effin' bee.

You won't care if it's a girl. You'll punch her in the face.

You won't care if it's Prince Charming. You'll go for his nut sack.

Well, figuratively, at least.

My therapist once told me that conflict brings people closer together. I thought he was completely high off his Freudian pipe. Okay, he didn't have a pipe, but he looked as though he should. I've spent my life running from conflict. I dodge and weave. I duck and cover. I slip out the back, yo.

I remember when my mom went to rehab when I was 12, the counselors assembled us all in a room and asked each one of the kids to role play with one of the alcoholic parents. (This would forever ruin any sort of role play for me.) We each took a turn acting out what we would say to our alcoholic parent if we could say anything.

"What would you say, Mandy? What would you say if you could say anything?"

Standing in the center of a roomful of adult addicts and their children sitting on plastic chairs, I crossed my arms over my chest and shook my head.

"Tell us what you would do, Mandy."

"I would go climb a tree," I said when it was clear they wouldn't bug off. So they had me walk off in the corner and sit in my metaphorical tree. It felt like punishment.

I guess my therapist's point was that if you spend your life sitting in an imaginary tree avoiding conflict, you're never going to get close to anyone. Life is messy here on the ground. You trip. People screw with you. You're clumsy with your words and your actions. You hurt the people you love.

You make a complete donkey of yourself.

You say things you didn't mean.

You interpret their actions through the filter of the past. You don't see anyone for who they really are, but more for what they can do for you or how they make you feel. But that's not love.

Love is messy.

It tears you up.

You've got to get in there and confront it. You've got to cry and let your nose get all snotty. You've got to tell each other when you're hurt and you've got to keep telling each other until you both get it. You keep talking until somebody figures out that you both just want to be loved.

So say something nice. Say you love me still and I'll do the same for you. Wipe my nose and I'll wipe yours even though it's gross. Hug me, even though I'm this ruinous twelve-year-old girl inside who can only fold her arms and walk away. Hang in there because it's 25 years later and I'm finally learning to turn back around, re-enter the circle and speak my mind.





This is another old post from the unpublished vault. I wrote it when I was still dating my now husband. I'm still learning how to speak my mind. We're both still learning that we both just want to be loved. Yep, we're pretty lucky to have found each other.




Thursday, April 26, 2012

Piece of Cake.

My husband and I have children spanning the ages from one to twenty-two. The twenty-two year olds are his, he also has a nineteen year old. The one year old is ours in common and I have a seven-year-old. The funny thing about having five kids spanning the ages from one to twenty-two is that their stages sometimes overlap.

I mean, I couldn't help but think as I watched the twenty-two year old walk across the stage this weekend to receive his college diploma, that he's on the cusp of independence. He's about take his first tentative steps into adulthood. I'm sure his father would like to follow behind and hold out his arms to catch his son if he falls. Not unlike the way he wants to protect his one-year-old daughter as she navigates walking (and god help us) running.

I see the same overlap between my one-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son. This weekend she was fussy and a little feverish. I also noticed that she was drooling, which is not something she's done up until now. It was clear she was teething, as her top two teeth have just come in and now she's got almost all four bottom teeth in too.

In the same weekend, my seven-year-old son lost his two front teeth. Currently he is missing two on top, and two on the bottom. He has developed an utterly charming lisp in the process. So strange to have one child pushing those baby teeth in for the first time with the other is pushing them out.

I asked my husband what he would say if he had a friend who was about to be a father again after the older children had already grown. I know for some people the idea is something akin to horrifying. My own husband got quite a bit of ribbing for it at work.

"I would tell him it's a piece of cake!" he said.

At first I thought he was joking, but he made it clear he meant it. I have to laugh at anyone who can come out of the first year with a baby and say, "It's a piece of cake." But I stop laughing when I realize he's not kidding. I find it overwhelmingly touching.

I see my husband with his arm slung around his graduating son's shoulders and I see him walking his one-year-old daughter down the sidewalk. In both endeavors he has the same look, the same proud smile. He loves them, that much is clear.

Lord knows the 2 a.m. wake up calls from a newborn were not a piece of cake. And raising a child from birth to college graduation is by no means a piece of cake. I think of 22 years of worrying about your children's safety, worrying about their progress, worrying about their feelings, worrying worrying worrying. But when you boil it down to its most basic parts, I think what you are left with is the love you feel for them.

Loving them, that part really is a piece of cake.



I wrote this post almost a year ago and never posted it. On second glance, I like it. Hope you like it too.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Meeting New People Is Not My Superpower.

So I've been wanting to try a new exercise class. I either work out by myself or with a personal trainer. I'm fine in a one-on-one situation. I know what I'm expected to do. I know where to go. I know how I will be treated. I can function this way with a bare minimum of neuroses at play.

A group glass triggers all sorts of red flags. First of all, a new class means new logistics, new location, new routines. What if I go to the wrong place? What if I'm early? What if I'm late? And a group class is filled with new people. In the form of a ... group. In my head, they become a group of fitness Superheroes. They will all hate me on sight. They will be forged in iron and they will leave me in a fat puddle in the middle of the gym while they scoff at what a Flabby McWeakerson I am. I will never be fit enough to work out with the Greek gods that are the fitness SuperFriends.

My brain is a scary place to live, I know.

I finally emailed the instructor and told him I was going to come to class. I thought if he expected me I would feel pressured to show up. But no. I skipped on Monday because my husband gave me an out when he said he had to leave early for work.

Wednesday morning I had no such excuse. I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30 a.m. I put on my gym clothes and contemplated getting back into bed in my gym clothes. I went downstairs and put on my shoes in the dark. I decided I would walk on the treadmill and see if I hated life any less. If I was still miserable and suicidal over joining a group fitness class, I would just stay on the treadmill.

Forever.

Once there, I decided to stay on the treadmill. Sure I was feeling better about life after ten minutes of cardio, but I wasn't feeling any better about how much I was going to suck at CrossFit. Maybe I would try it on Friday?

Or never.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the instructor enter the cardio room. I decided to zero in on the treadmill monitor and stare myself into invisibility. "Do not see me," I said, just like Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker's Dracula.

I even said it with an accent.

Then I saw someone moving toward me but I stared all the harder at the monitor. I could will myself into invisibility, just like I could will myself into Narnia when I was a kid being teased by the neighborhood thugs.

Oh yeah. That didn't work either. Damn.

"So are you coming?" the instructor asked me. He was standing on the next treadmill.

"Oh. Uh. Hi. Um. Well, I, er..." I pulled the earphones out of my ears and did my best to get out of it.

"Come on," he said and waved me over as he walked towards the gym.

"Yeah, uh, I, er, was thinking, maybe it will be too hard for me," I walked behind him, not wanting to be rude. "Maybe I should try it another time? When I'm more fit. I just don't know..."

He walked into the gym and I followed him like an obedient puppy. He introduced me to a group of people who smiled and welcomed me instantaneously.

"You're finally going to work out with the group?" one lady asked. She must have seen me working out with a personal trainer in the gym at some point.

The group seemed happy to have me. No one mentioned that 5'10" losers weren't allowed. I was overjoyed and motivated by both the class, and by the kindness of my fellow human beings.

Acceptance surprises me every time.

Also, I can barely walk today.

Holy.

Hell.

Somebody get me a wheelchair.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

We'll Be Here, Listening to You Breathe

There's a striking age difference among the children in my family. We've got babies as young as my daughter who is one, and babies as old as in their twenties. But what strikes me is no matter how big or small, all of their parents continue worrying about them.

Just last night I put my own sturdy one-year-old in her bed and heard her throwing various stuffed animals out of her crib. The Soothe-and-Glow Seahorse is particularly heavy. It doesn't sound all that different from what I imagine a 20 lb. one-year-old body sounds like as it hits the floor. Then there's the kicking of the side of the crib to activate the Ocean Wonders Deep Blue Sea Soother that's strapped to the side of her crib. She kicks it to activate it.

My point is, there's a whole lot of ruckus going on in there and I think that smart little conniver is banking on freaking me out so I come to check on her to make sure she's alive. But because a pediatrician in my parenting group told me to leave that baby alone for 12 hours and I don't want her to wind up living a life of crime, I leave her in bed.

But I do stand outside her door with my ear pressed to it. And listen. I wait to hear the sounds of her breathing, or rustling around, or making whatever baby murmurs she might make. I also watch my sister talk on the phone to her 19-year-old baby (who doesn't like us calling her a baby) and the way my sister presses her head to the phone reminds me of myself. It reminds me of the intent way my brother and husband email, text and call their college-aged children – waiting and listening – to hear that their babies are okay.

But with the grown babies, they're not as easy to protect. It's not as easy as gathering them up off of the floor and covering them in kisses. It's not as simple as putting the plastic covers on the electrical outlets. You can't follow them around the house and prevent every fall.

More importantly, you have to let them fall. So they can learn how to pick themselves back up.

But I imagine my sister, my brother and my husband don't really see the grown adults their children have become. They still see these little babies in footed jammies, crying because they've bumped their heads. I'm sure they long to gather them up and make everything okay.

It makes me realize as I worry about my little baby sleeping in her crib, that it won't get easier. It gets harder. You get further and further away from the door, waiting longer and longer to know that they're okay.



I wrote this over a year ago and I guess I didn't think it was good enough to post. Now I like it. Hope you do too.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sunshine on My Shoulders Makes Me Have a Biopsy.

I went to the dermatologist this morning to get my annual cancer check. I'm pasty and my husband is paranoid. That's why I go, in case you were wondering. If it were up to me, the less doctor's appointments, the better.

I've had this mole in the middle of my back that has bothered my husband since he met me. Or at least since he's seen me naked, which was not immediately after he met me. I'm a lady. Sort of. Anyway, the mole is dark. Which I guess translates to "cancer" in mole-speak. Over the past few years I've had a a general practice doctor, an oncologist and a dermatologist all look at it. They said it was fine.

But my husband is a worrier. And like I said, I'm pale. Like really, really pale. Most of the time I'm wearing a layer of Jergens Natural Glow self tanner and I'm still the envy of field hands. Most people would be surprised to discover that I wear self tanner at all because I am seriously pasty despite my efforts. As I see it, the self tanner takes the edge of the deathly sheen.

In addition to being pasty, I'm old. Old enough to have grown up in the 70s when sun protection wasn't really a thing. I think I have vague memories of Coppertone 4 coming out and my parents using it on me when we went to Florida, but aside from that, I really don't remember my mom ever putting sun protection on me. I'm sure she will object to this. Most of my memories before the age of five are suspect, I admit.


Exhibit A: Topless, hat-less and most definitely wearing SPF 0.

But back then, your parents sent you out the door first thing in the morning and they didn't see you again until you were hungry. So maybe you saw them at lunch and then at dinner. We spent our summers in the sun. There was no, "Wait, let me put this SPF 75 on you before you go and spend 12 hours on the face of the sun." I also recall getting so burnt in Florida that I had to go the hospital. I was throwing up from either heat stroke or sunburn, it's hard to say. They both happened in the same window of time. In any case, SPF 4 was not sufficient coverage for a pasty white kid like me.


My god, did they ever clothe me?

My mother, on the other hand, used to oil herself up with Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil. She smelled like coconut cream pie. She was slick and slippery when you'd hug her. In the summer months, you'd often find her laying out on one of our folding chairs on the back patio. Chances are she'd be drinking a Tab, smoking a cigarette and flipping through Cosmo while she browned in the sun smelling like dessert.


Babies don't tan, Mother.

I didn't inherit my mother's ability to tan. I'm like my father — I pretty much alternate between pasty and burnt. There's no middle ground of "tan." That's not to say I didn't try to get a tan when I was a teenager. My friends and I would line large cardboard boxes with foil and lay inside them. We'd spread baby oil all over ourselves and shiver in the foil box over spring break in Michigan, trying to approximate the tan our other friends were getting on vacations in warmer climes.



You just can't get this kind of burn from a foil box.

Despite all my efforts, I never really got tan. I even spent a summer in the south of France as a foreign exchange student. I came back from the Cote D'Azur considerably blonder, but not much darker. Fortunately my failed attempts discouraged me from any sort of lifelong dedication to tanning. As soon as they came out with SPF 15, I was wearing it and I've worn every increasing denomination of sun protection as it has been unveiled. 

My children, on the other hand, have barely seen the sun. I'm one of those freaky moms who insisted her infants wear long sleeves, pants and hats any time they left the house. In fact, I'm surprised they both didn't have vitamin D deficiencies. Now I slather my son with sun protection before he goes to camp. I send him with a baseball hat and tell him to sit in the shade if the counselors leave them outside too long. 

It's a miracle he's normal at all.

Once he got a little bit of pink on the top of his foot from wearing flip flops and freaked out.

"Oh no! I have a sun burn! I have cancer!" he cried.

Okay, he didn't say the part about having cancer. But he did cry, even though his sunburn was just a sweet little pink blush. I wanted to show him the lobster red I had achieved as a child and say, "Back in my day when we had a sunburn it was a third degree burn and we were sent to the hospital!"

Anyway, this morning at the dermatologist, I told the doctor that I stay out of the sun and wear sun protection. She examined me from ears to toes. She asked if I had any moles I was concerned about and I said no. But then I reconsidered.

"Only, there is that one mole my husband is obsessed about," I said.

"Really? Let's see it," she said.

"It's the same size, shape and color as it's always been," I said. She was spending too much time looking at it and it was making me nervous.

"If it's something he's noticed we should take a look at it."

"I've had three doctors look at it and they said it was fine."

"Maybe we should take a biopsy of it just to be sure," she said. 

"I'm not worried about it. He is. And he's paranoid. So there's no need to biopsy it or cut it off, I'm perfectly fine with it." I was rambling. Have I mentioned I hate needles?

"I'd feel better about it if we biopsied it," she said. The next thing I knew, I was lying face down on the table getting my back numbed with needles.

"Give me the green blade," the doctor said to the nurse.

"Can we not say 'blade' when I'm in the room?" 

"Green tool. I meant to say green tool," the doctor said.

Ha ha ha. Hilarious. I'm lying on a table in a paper gown getting my back cut open because I'm married to an obsessive (yet incredibly handsome) man. If the mole comes back positive for cancer he's so going to say "I told you so" and that will really irritate me.

I called him after the appointment to let him know that after all these years of worrying about the mole on my back, he would be pleased to know they had finally biopsied it.

"What mole?" he said.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Animal Sacrifice Chic.

I've been trying to come up with a new theme for my home decor. I found this coffee table in the Anthropologie catalog and it really spoke to me.


Yes, those are stone dogs under glass.


Look into their eyes. They will eff you up. That dog is clearly communicating, "Don't even think about putting your cup on this table without a coaster."


Then I saw this side table and it seemed a little spare. It needed something beyond twine handles.


Yes. This. White ceramic animals. A Deer-Goat-Hare orgy can lend drama to an invisible table.


Once I discovered the animal orgy theme, I knew I needed to bring it into the bedroom. I thought this horse head would look nice on my husband's side of the bed. He loves The Godfather.



Admittedly, this chair is not from Anthropologie but I think it really ties the whole look together. Nothing says commitment to a design aesthetic like animal sacrifice.

Baa.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

If a Tree Falls in the Forest and Has the Stomach Flu...

My eight-year-old son threw up twice last night.

I was having a dinner party for friends. Of course. The first time he threw up was just as I was serving dinner to my guests. He puked right there on the kitchen floor. Splat.

"Bon appetit!" said my husband.

Hours later, as the poor boy rested in his bed and we the adults chatted downstairs, I heard the pitter patter of little feet thundering down the stairs. Just as I met up with him in the living room, he splattered the wood floor with his ginger ale.

"Thanks for coming!" said my husband as he ushered our guests out the door.

Later, I tucked my son into bed, stroked his forehead and put a bucket next to his bed.

"Why didn't you run to the bathroom when you felt sick?" I asked. I mean, he had to run past one bathroom and down an entire flight of stairs to reach (or in his case, "miss") the second bathroom.

"Because you can't hear me upstairs," he said.

Which leaves us with a question: If a boy throws up in the toilet upstairs and no one hears him, did he really throw up at all?

I'll leave that for all the eight-year-old philosophers to ponder.