Fu-hu-hu-hu-hu-hu-huck

Go here.

Excuse me while I go freak out.

This Is My Brain On Water

I’ve finally gone back to the Y. We moved and then the child watch was closed for a couple of weeks and then the pool was closed for a couple of weeks and suddenly I hadn’t gone in 5 weeks. And I felt like crap.

I went twice last week, but there was so much crappe going on here that that was all I managed. I realized how much I missed it, so I’m going to make every effort to go daily from now on.

My brain goes into this weird state when I’m swimming. Witness:

Into the water. Damn, it’s cold. Why’s it have to be so freakin’ cold?

OK, let’s do this. Push off. Start swimming.

Sploosh, sploosh, splash.

This doesn’t feel that bad, actually, all things considered. OK, I’m going to do a mile. That’s 35 laps.

Up and back, up and back, counting the lengths.

OK, I’ve done 10. That’s 1/7th of how many I have to do. I wonder how many 2/7ths is. I attempt to do fractions in my head. Fail miserably.

Maybe I should do 80 lengths, then I can break it down more easily. 10 laps is 1/8th.

Sploosh, sploosh, splash. Up and back, up and back.

20 lengths. That’s 1/4 if I decide to do 80. Much easier to divide by 2s.

I don’t know if I can do 80. What if I only do 50? Then 25 lengths will be half.

You can do more than 50. That’s not even a mile. Do 70, at least.

Sploosh, sploosh, splash. Up and back, up and back.

OK, 30 lengths. Not quite half of 70, but I’m getting there.

35 lengths. Halfway done! Yippee!

This is starting to feel good. My shoulders are a little poppy, but I feel like I’m working out the kinks. Feels good.

41 lengths. My age. I always get all philosophical at this point. I can’t believe I’m 41. Next length is how old I’ll be in November.

45 lengths. Boy, I am not looking forward to turning 45. I don’t know why I seem to have a hard time with the 5 years. 25 and 35 bummed me out, too.

Sploosh, sploosh, splash. Up and back, up and back.

50 lengths. Oh, I’m not stopping now. I can do another 20 of these with no problem.

Huh. When I’m 50, That Canadian Boy I Married will only be 37. That may be deeply weird.

I wonder how they dust all that steel girding up there. I wonder how they change the light bulbs in those lights over the pool.

Sploosh, sploosh, splash. Up and back, up and back.

60. Almost done. Oh, man, here come those two old men who drove me so nuts last week, standing there, in the middle of the lap pool, having a conversation at the TOP OF THEIR LUNGS. I hope they don’t do that today. Even without my glasses, I can see that 80 year old men should not be wearing Speedos. There should be a law.

Hey, if I sort of drop my shoulders and extend my neck, the way they told me to in deportment and ballet, I can go a lot faster. Wheee, look at that! Who gets a second wind after 30 laps? Me, apparently.

Sploosh, sploosh, splash. Up and back, up and back.

Ugh, I’m getting a cramp in my calf. Ouch. I can’t exactly kick with my foot pointing at the ceiling.

Just keep going. Just keep going, almost done and then I can stretch.

68.

69.

70.

OK, I’m done. I can’t do 100 today. I can’t even do 80 today. I’m glad I did 70. That’s a mile. And a mile is not shabby at all.

And that is my brain on water.

Any questions?

I’m A Handbag Slut

I have been on the search for the perfect pocketbook for years. I have yet to find one. But these people are giving away 24 in 24 hours and I entered.

Interested?

Go here and do the same.

(And yes, they are and always will be, pocketbooks. I loathe the word purse and handbag sounds like something your great-aunt Gertrude would carry, full of used tissues that have Starlight mints stuck to them.)

Enough Already!

It’s been a rollercoaster week here at Casa Bedhead.

It was O’s birthday on Thursday. She’s 14. Which, what the hell, how did that happen? And I don’t want to be jinxing things too much, but considering she’s of an age when she’s supposed to be impossible and defiant and difficult and all those other fantastic teenage characteristics, she’s really a pretty good kid. Sure, she has her moments, but who doesn’t? I know I have mine, in spades. I think my moments are more like days, but whatever. This isn’t about me (for once).

O was supposed to have three friends sleep over on Friday night. I was going to rent them some movies, get them some pizza and some soda and make popcorn and it was going to be a nice, if loud and giggly, time. But then all three friends bailed on her. One girl had a wedding, one girl’s parents wouldn’t let her and the third got a last minute babysitting job. O was bummed. Very bummed.

On the fly, I decided that I’d take her out to dinner and a movie instead. She was happy with that. We were going to go to The Outback (her choice) and to see Journey To The Center Of The Earth on Friday night. This did not happen.

Why? Well, Boo woke up on Friday morning soaked to her knees with pee. Her preschool teacher had mentioned on Thursday that Boo was using the bathroom a lot at school and said that her breath smelled sweet and funky. Alarm bells started going off. I checked Boo’s blood sugar on Friday morning. It was 160. As soon as they opened, I was on the phone to the pediatrician’s office. They saw her that afternoon and found glucose in her urine. The pediatrician wanted to run more lab work, so we were at the office until after 6 p.m.. The results were inconclusive and I have to check Boo’s blood sugars over the weekend and follow up on Monday.

So, no dinner and movie on Friday. We went yesterday and over dinner, I asked O if she would rather go to the movies or go shopping. Her grandmother gave her a $35 gift card to Pac Sun and I said we could spend about $30 in addition, since that’s probably what we would have spent at the theater anyway. She, naturally, decided to go shopping.

She got a couple of shirts at Pac Sun and we went to Macy’s to get some MAC foundation. She’d been complaining about her face, how she keeps breaking out and nothing covers it and I told her about the amazingness of MAC’s foundation. Luckily we have the same skin tone, so we’re going to share it. But ouch – it’s $27.50 a bottle. Still. Since I STILL get zits (and what the FUCK is up with that?? I’m old, goddammit, I should not be getting zits like I’m some pizza-scarfing 15 year-old boy.) and know what a pain in the ass it is to try to conceal them (I’ve given up at this point. Jesus, parenthetical much, Julia?), I thought I’d splurge.

It was a nice night out. We had fun. O talked my ear off, which was nice, if somewhat exhausting. I’m really glad that she likes to talk to me and tell me what’s going on with her friends and her life. It makes me feel like maybe I haven’t completely screwed up.

Back to Thursday, though (man, this post is going to need editing). Her father called her on her birthday. Now, normally that would be a nice thing, but her father hasn’t contacted her in 5 months and hasn’t seen her in almost 2 years, so this was decidedly Not Good. He said he’d called to wish her a happy birthday and that he couldn’t talk but he’d call her back later. O was in hysterics about this. She doesn’t want to talk to him. She sent him an email telling him that 5 months ago – a shit or get off the pot email, saying that she didn’t just want to have a phone relationship with him, that she wanted to see him, that she wanted him to make the effort to visit (he only lives an hour away). She emailed it and heard nothing. For five months. She thought she was done having to deal with him, only to have him come back again and throw her for a loop. It’s really sucked. A lot. For everyone. I hate that I can’t fix this for her, that I can’t just make him go away and leave her alone. I hate that he keeps screwing with her head. And if he ever calls here again, I’m going to tell him that.

In other news, That Canadian Boy I Married may possibly have a couple of herniated discs in his back and has been laid up on the couch every night for almost 2 weeks. He has to get more x-rays done tomorrow and will be seen again on Thursday, but in the meantime, he’s in awful pain. His mother has horrible back problems and I’m afraid he may have inherited her issues, which is worrying. Degenerative disc issues are not fun.

And The Bug is going to be evaluated by Early Intervention because she keeps falling down. I’ve taken her to the pediatrician, too, and there doesn’t seem to be anything structurally wrong with her, so the pediatrician suggested EI. I’m fine with that, and although I don’t know if she’ll qualify for any services, it can’t hurt to have her looked at.

I don’t know what I did in a past life – maybe I killed babies or something – but I do wish this dark cloud of doom would move the fuck away from me and my family. It’s sucking the life out of me.

75 Books Every Woman Should Read

Kerri tweeted this list of books and I thought I’d go thru it and see how woefully underread I am. I hate these lists – they make me feel like a moron. Since I’m feeling like a little self-flagellation, I thought I’d share my lack of akchual literachure reading with all of you.

  • The Lottery (and Other Stories), Shirley Jackson- read the short story but nothing else.
  • To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf- nope, but I loved A Room Of One’s Own. A lot.
  • The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton- nope, but I have read The Buccanneers and Age Of Innocence, which I loved.
  • White Teeth, Zadie Smith- nope
  • The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende – nope
  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion – nope
  • Excellent Women, Barbara Pym – nope
  • The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath – nope
  • Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys – nope
  • The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri – nope
  • Beloved, Toni Morrison – nope
  • Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert- yes. Loved it.
  • Like Life, Lorrie Moore – nope
  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen- of course. Defining moment of my childhood, reading that book.
  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë – Excellent. The pinnacle of gothic novels.
  • The Delta of Venus, Anais Nin – nope
  • A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley – nope
  • A Good Man Is Hard To Find (and Other Stories), Flannery O’Connor – nope
  • The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx – nope, but I tried. I didn’t like it.
  • You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down, Alice Walker – nope, but I read The Color Purple.
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston – nope
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee- Yes. Awesome book.
  • Fear of Flying, Erica Jong – Yes, althought I didn’t get it.
  • Earthly Paradise, Colette – nope, but I’ve read several of the Claudine books.
  • Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt- yes, and it was really fucking depressing.
  • Property, Valerie Martin – nope
  • Middlemarch, George Eliot – nope, but I own it.
  • Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid – nope
  • The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir – nope
  • Runaway, Alice Munro – nope
  • The Heart is A Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers – nope
  • The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston – nope
  • Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë – Yes, although I didn’t like it much.
  • You Must Remember This, Joyce Carol Oates – nope, but I’ve read other books by her and I haven’t liked them all that much.
  • Little Women, Louisa May Alcott- I LOVE this book. It’s one of my all-time favorites.
  • Bad Behavior, Mary Gaitskill – nope (never heard of it)
  • The Liars’ Club, Mary Karr – nope
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou- Yes. Excellent book.
  • A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Betty Smith – nope, but someone in book group wants to read it – I’m hoping it gets picked.
  • And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie – Yes. I love Agatha Christie. Love. Her.
  • Bastard out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison – nope
  • The Secret History, Donna Tartt- Not yet, but it’s on my list.
  • The Little Disturbances of Man, Grace Paley – nope
  • The Portable Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker – nope
  • The Group, Mary McCarthy – nope
  • Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi – nope
  • The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing – nope
  • The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank- hasn’t everyone read this?
  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley- yes. It made me sad.
  • Against Interpretation, Susan Sontag – nope
  • In the Time of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez – nope
  • The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck – nope
  • Fun Home, Alison Bechdel – nope
  • Three Junes, Julia Glass – nope
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft – nope
  • Sophie’s Choice, William Styron – nope, but I tried. I knew the story and couldn’t bear to read it.
  • Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann- yes. Meh.
  • Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford – nope
  • Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell- Uh, yeah. About 847 times.
  • The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. LeGuin – nope, but I have read at least one of the Earthsea books.
  • The Red Tent, Anita Diamant- great book, but the ending felt rushed.
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera – nope, but it’s on my list.
  • The Face of War, Martha Gellhorn – nope
  • My Antonia, Willa Cather – nope
  • Love In The Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez – nope, but I tried.
  • The Harsh Voice, Rebecca West – nope
  • Spending, Mary Gordon – nope
  • The Lover, Marguerite Duras – nope
  • The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy- yes. It weighed about 85 lbs, but I did read it.
  • Tell Me a Riddle, Tillie Olsen – nope
  • Nightwood, Djuna Barnes – nope
  • Three Lives, Gertrude Stein – nope
  • Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons – nope
  • I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith – nope
  • Possession, A.S. Byatt- nope

So yeah. Apparently I am not very well read. *sigh* Great. Something else to feel bad about. Because I don’t have enough issues….

The Things People Buy

The other day, at Big Box Store, I worked in the junior’s department, folding and straightening clothes (because I don’t do this enough at home. Oy.) and came across a couple of racks of clothing that very nearly made me scream in horror.


It was like a flashback to high school. Overdyed jeans (they don’t have them on the website, but at the store, they had purple ones. Purple. Cast your mind back. Screaming yet?), ballet flats and a Michael Jackson jacket. Between that and the layered, shot-collar polo shirts I’ve seen lately, I think it’s safe to say we have re-entered the 80s.

God help us all.

Mo’ Babies

I’m reposting this one from last June, in honour of the Mo’ Babies online shower for Kristen, of Motherhood Uncensored and Rebecca, of Girl’s Gone Child. If you’d like to be a part of it, check out Mothergoosemouse or Her Bad Mother for more information.

Mourning

The Bug has had a cold all week. Last night she developed this nasty, croup-y sounding cough which kept waking her up. Around 2 a.m. she started crying, so I got up to get her. The poor little thing, she was just sitting in her crib, head down, fists scrubbing at her eyes, crying in a hoarse, pathetic little voice. When she saw me, she wailed “Mama,” and held up her arms.

I gathered her up and brought her to bed. She nursed for a bit but wouldn’t drift off until I held her on top of me, against my chest. She snuggled right down, stuck her thumb in her mouth and started twirling a strand of my hair in her fingers. I rubbed her back for a while, savouring the weight of her on me, her snuffly breaths against my neck.

It’s times like this that hurt, when I realize that this is it, that there won’t be any more moments like this. No more babies, no more trusting little bodies curved into mine, no more midnight snuggles, no more milk-drunk infants splayed out across my lap. I’m done.

So I try to carve each moment into my memory, but they’re so fleeting, so ephemeral that I know I’m going to forget some of it. Every quiet moment with her is an opportunity to try again to capture it in my brain, to attempt to hold on to a moment, a moment that made me smile or cry or just stare in wonder.

How do you hold on to that? To the toothless grins, the babbling and cooing, the helpless giggles and even the inconsolable tears? How do you live in the moment while trying to hold on to the past? Because I want to, because as much as I love watching my babies grow and become these people, these funny, happy, sometimes maddening people, I long to hold on to that baby-ness of them, to hold their tiny little hands in mine, to keep them small forever.

Just like this….

(I’m not sure how to link to the shower site with the photo, but if you click on the Mothergoosemouse link up there, it will bring you to it.)

In Case You’re Confused

I don’t usually post email forwards, but I loved this. And it’s my blog.

If you grow up in Hawaii , raised by your grandparents, you’re “exotic, different.”

Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you’re a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

Name your kids Willow , Trig and Track, you’re a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you’re well grounded.

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate’s Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate represe nting a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran’s Affairs committees, you don’t have any real leadership experience..

If your resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you’re qualified to become the country’s second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you’re not a real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you’re a Christian.

If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state’s school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you’re very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family’s values don’t represent America ‘s.

If your husband is nicknamed “First Dude”, with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn’t register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA , your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

From The Working Files

Working at a big box store gives me ample opportunity for people watching. Tonight, there was one man who caught my attention. He was very old, probably in his 80s. Every so often, I’d glance up from my register and I’d see him, coming out of the cosmetics aisle, tottering along, if a 6’+ tall man can be said to totter. He didn’t look lost – in fact, I wondered if he was just doing laps around the store, getting some exercise in while it was quiet.

From the other side of the store, from the woman’s clothing section, an old woman came along, pushing her cart. She rounded the corner, towards the cosmetics section, just as he was coming out.

And he smiled at her; a face-splitting, ear-to-ear grin as he spotted her. And she smiled back, the same sort of “oh my goodness, it’s so lovely to see you” kind of smile. And I watched as they tottered over to my register, him resting his hand on hers as she guided the cart.

And when they came thru my lane, I couldn’t help but grin. Truth be told, I got a little teary-eyed over them.

Please To Explain

I don’t understand the anger that celebrity political views garner. People are infuriated by Matt Damon’s comments on Sarah Palin (read the comments under the video, on the original page – they’ll make your hair curl with the vitriol).

Why isn’t a celebrity allowed to express his or her opinion on politics? Why do they need to stay out of it? Aren’t they citizens of this country, just like the rest of us? Why do people feel the need to claim that they should shut up and just act, not spout off?

We spout off, no matter what side of the political blanket we’re on. We go on about one candidate or another, one cause or another. Why is it verboten for a celebrity to do the same?

If you don’t like what they have to say, don’t listen. If you don’t agree with them, say so. Why hurl epithets and derision? It doesn’t get us anywhere.

In my years of being a political animal, I’ve been able to have reasoned, rational conversations with people who don’t think the way I think. I have not felt the need to hurl insults or call names. I can come up with many ways to say why I think they’re wrong and none of those ways insult the other person in the slightest.

So why do we hold celebrities to a different standard? Why aren’t they allowed to express their opinions too? I don’t understand why this is such a horrible thing, I really don’t.

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