Mama's Little Marketing Exec

Posted on 6/30/2007 07:37:00 AM
We're getting ready for the day and I've thrown a bowl full of Fruit Loops in front of The Dormouse to save time because she woke up late. She begins eating, then pauses, looks at me earnestly and says quietly:

“Momma, I need to say something to you.”

She places her spoon down deliberately and raises her voice to imitate Don Pardo. Then slowly, ploddingly, as if she's a twelve year old boy reciting a poem in front of the whole classroom, or George Bush reading a speech in front of the press (oh wait, same thing) announces:

“Fruit. Loops. Aren’t. Just. Weird. They. Are. Good. And. Healthy. Cereal. Cereal. Doesn’t. Go. Bad.”

I have no idea where that came from.

I guess there is improvement, because she used to just call Fruit Loops "Rainbow Cheerios." That was before these came out:

(I think Cheerios owes me some money)


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Hair of the Dog

Posted on 6/29/2007 07:55:00 AM
After one too many nights of waking up at three am from a dream that the Boston Strangler had come into my house and chosen me as his next victim only to find my hair wrapped around my neck, I finally garnered up the effort to pick up The Phone and make an appointment to cut it all off.

I've been trying to wait it out until it was long enough to cut off and donate. Because, apparently there's a great desire among pediatric cancer patients to look like you're auditioning for a revival tour with Devo.

But despite the photos on their website, it seems like a great organization and a good thing to do because, after all, it's for the children, right? So I had the stylist cut it all off.

My hair has never been so long:
or so short:
in my life. (My bathroom mirror has also never been so filthy.) It was also quite amusing that in the time I had not been going to get my hair cut with my regular stylist, they not only remodeled the entire place, but she also got pregnant and had another child, who is now nearly a year old. That ought to be a window into how fast my hair grows.

I'm not a short-hair-kind-of-person, so I fully expected my head to look like a bee sting caused it to swell eight times
its normal size the second I exited the salon. And it does. I'm banking on the hormone-laden pregnancy to help this grow into something I'm more comfortable with as quickly as possible. What I didn't expect was how much darker my hair became once ten inches were removed from the ends. I never realized what a redhead I'd become with the long hair and I have to say, I miss it.

I've always had a thing for redheads -- from the time I was a teenager. I think it goes back to the senior I had a crush on and got to sit next to on a trip to the Sonora Desert Museum during my sophomore year. Because if you, too, were driving through the desert with your science teacher in a school-owned van toward Yuma, Arizona, the only thing you'd have to look at is the senior in the seat next to you and you'd probably develop some sort of weird transference that would last the rest of your life, I guarantee you. Or maybe that's just me. The funny thing is I don't even remember what that kid's name was, nor do I think I could find him in my high school year book if I really even tried.

But from that point on I always loved, and wanted to be, a redhead. I'm not a dye-your-hair-kind-of-person either (mainly because that would require my spending more than $20 and fifteen minutes inside a hair salon every two months and that would be unacceptable), but I have spent a lot of time over the years silently willing my hair to become red all on it's own. Not just red highlights, but the kind of red I was naively certain as a teenager that Deborah Kerr and Maureen O'Hara did not get from a bottle but had been born with - the kind with which God had played a cruel joke by neglecting to bless me. (I also seem to have spent a good deal of time as a child watching old movies, as those are the only two famous redheads I could come up with off the top of my head and I then felt it necessary to place a wiki link to them since I doubt any people outside of my mother will know who they are.)

I dyed my hair once in college. But since my hair by then was actually quite dark brown, it really only succeeded in making my hair look a little red in the right light. Friends and potential dates got tired of me dragging them outside the building into the sunset and waiting for an expression of "Wow, look at your red hair!", which never came. Once, a janitor at the place I worked asked me if I got my red hair from my mother or my father and it was the greatest compliment I'd ever received up to that point in time. I may have hugged him.

So, despite my life long desire for my hair to magically change color with no effort on my part at all, I have resigned myself to what my drivers' license says my hair color is: brown. Not even brunette, because that would somehow imply that it meant to be that color, but rather brown as in, "well, it's not blond, red or black... it's definitely not green... so the only thing left to call it is brown." I secretly hoped that somehow The Dormouse would be born with red hair, so I could vicariously live my life through her in the years to come, but there again, God opened up his mouth, let out a great "Ha!", and then gave her the same dishwatery blond hair I was born with.

So now I'm lamenting the fact that I was probably as close to being a redhead as I'd ever be in my life and I just cut it all off because of a couple bad nights and some high humidity. And I'm wondering if there's a wig out there for me. Perhaps a red one?


Just the color the kids were hoping for


(All kidding aside, this is a great organization, which I don't mean to belittle in any way. Even if your hair is not a long as their specifications, you can still donate shorter lengths of hair, which they will sell to help fund their mission. Check it out if you're at all inclined.)

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"Momma, what does this picture on my car seat mean? The one with the circle and the line on the seat." "Oh. That means 'don't put the car seat in the front seat'."

"Why not?"

"Because it's dangerous."


"Oh... right! Because children can't drive.... that would be very dangerous."

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Maybe This is What We'll Call Her on the Blog

Posted on 6/27/2007 10:55:00 AM
"What should we name the new baby, honey?"

"We should name her Cinderella."


"Well, as lovely a name as Cinderella is, I don't think we'll be naming her Cinderella."


"Weeelllllllll... we could name her Sara...... and call her Cinderella for short!"

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Did You Just Order A $5 Milkshake?

Posted on 6/26/2007 09:42:00 AM
I know this is a crappy photo taken with a camera phone, but I love it.


I guess when you consider that we shared it, it's two $2.50 milkshakes.


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"Randy Quaid just measured my uterus."

"Should I be worried?"

"OK - maybe not Randy Quaid, but if Randy Quaid had a twin brother who was an OB-GYN... that'd be him. He also yelled at me."

"Am I gonna have to beat him down?"

"Randy Quaid sucks. I'm never watching his movies again."

Between the OB-GYN, the Perinatologist, blood draws and lab work, the Witch Doctor... er... Pain Specialist, and whatever other random appointment I'm told I need, I'm
in a doctor's office at least once a week, often more. Not only have I spent more time in waiting rooms than exam rooms the past several months and am sick of that rigmarole (if one more nurse makes me sit around in their waiting room for forty-five minutes past my appointment time with a full bladder, I'm afraid I'm going to have to pee all over their nice upholstery) but my purse is decidedly lighter every time I have to pay for someone to take my blood pressure, run a tape measure across my stomach and perform no other medical intervention. I realize that one of the reasons the United States has a lower infant mortality rate than most other countries is because of the constant monitoring and prenatal care and that makes me happy, but on these visits in between ultrasounds and blood tests, it irritates me to pay over $150 for the same information that I could get from two quarters at a pharmacy blood pressure machine and giving The Dormouse a tape measure.

So last month, when I had to schedule an in-depth evaluation and ultrasound with the perinatologist, I did not feel the need to schedule an additional visit with my regular OB. What the perinatologist was doing was more extensive and detailed than anything my OB would do... and.... aren't they supposed to be sharing information? It's not like I'm sneaking out in the middle of the night to visit Dr. Doom in a dirty, back alley abortion clinic on the sly. I've done my due diligence in full disclosure, thank you. So I went to see Dr. Doom and had a two hour ultrasound where they measured everything from the baby's head-to-rump length to the size of her fingernails. A copy of that report was then sent to my regular OB and all should have been kosher.

At the beginning of the month, I got a nasty phone call from the OB's office in a tone that basically accused me of child abuse: "We haven't seen you in a long time and we're wondering what's going on?"

"You haven't seen me in five weeks... and at my last visit, I told Dr. BeenThereDoneThat that my next appointment was at the perinatologist's office for the twenty week ultrasound. He said you could do that here, but I told him that since the perinatologist was doing more extensive measurements, I'd do that in place of my twenty week ultrasound here." Apparently, there's been a little competition and patient stealing between the Dr. Doom and Dr. BeenThereDoneThat and it seemed to be a sore spot at the time. But I still wanted the big, cool ultrasound where they'd actually spend more than fifteen minutes with you, and Dr. BeenThereDoneThat said it was my decision.

"Oh, OK. Well, we need to see you about every four weeks, do you want to make an appointment for this month now?"

"Sure."

So I made an appointment there and then a few days later during the first week in June. Unfortunately, I ended up having to play for a funeral on the day for which I had made the appointment. (Funny how you never have those kinds of things written into your schedule weeks in advance. How irresponsible of me.) I called as soon as I found out about the funeral to reschedule my OB appointment. The nurse was completely understanding and helped me schedule a make up appointment. The only spot they had available for me was three weeks later. So I rescheduled for this past Friday.

Walking into the office on Friday, I signed in and the receptionist looked at my signature and gave me one of those cranky schoolmarm looks, "We haven't seen you in awhile." Apparently, I'd been talked about.

"I had a perinatologist appointment in place of the OB one last month."

Once I was led into an exam room, the nurse gave me the same lecture: "We haven't seen you in awhile. You know we really need to be monitoring you every four weeks."

"Yeah, my appointment last month was at the perinatologist and he did all the measurements you would have done here and then some. You should have a copy of that report."

She glanced through my chart and nodded, "Yeah, we do."

"OK then."

"But it's been almost eight weeks since your last appointment."

"I had an appointment two weeks ago, but I had to reschedule because of a funeral. This was the only other time you had available."

"Hmmmpf."

She closed the chart, checked my blood pressure, gave me a million and one instructions for next month's glucose test, the only one of which I remember was "put this stuff in the fridge before you drink it because it tastes nasty", and left.

Enter Randy Quaid. This is a new doctor in the practice they hired after Dr. Coolness had a heart attack last year and, somehow assuming that his medical needs were more important than mine, retired. Randy Quaid looks and speaks just like the actor; the only difference being that in his white lab coat, he appears slightly less creepy... slightly.

"It's been awhile since we've seen you," said Randy Quaid with disapproval in his voice.

So I explained the whole thing above... again.

"Well, we really need to be able to monitor your blood pressure and make sure you aren't having any signs of pre-ecclampsia. You really, really need to have an appointment here every four weeks." Tsk, tsk, finger wag, etc., etc. Yawn.

"Well, I hear that perinatologists have training in taking blood pressure too. Dr. Doom took mine - 123/80 - and wrote in in the report. You don't have a copy of that?"

"Well, we also need to be able to monitor other things too. Like the baby's heartbeat and your uterus."

"Did the perinatologist not do that either?"

Glances at the report, "Yes, he did."

I kept my tongue at that point, feeling my silence has said plenty.

Randy Quaid then did three things: glanced at the blood pressure the nurse took - 124/83 - ran a tape measure across my belly, and jammed a heartbeat monitor on my stomach to hear the baby's heartbeat for approximately four seconds before turning it off without even approximating a per/minute count. It took all of three minutes and he was gone. $165.92 for those three services.

Thanks, Randy Quaid. I think the actor might have at least looked like he did more.

Would you let this man check your cervix??

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Clearly Lacking Direction About Workings of the Physical World

Posted on 6/24/2007 07:33:00 AM


"Speaking of eggs," (we weren't, but this is how every question like this begins) "where do eggs come from. Daddy?"

"Eggs come from chickens. Chickens lay the eggs and we use them."

"And.... when you plant an egg in the ground, it grows into an eggplant!"

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Inappropriate Songs (vol. 15)

Posted on 6/23/2007 02:46:00 AM In:
I have not really paid attention to this show, but The Dormouse saw it on PBS yesterday and has been singing its theme song non-stop. The actual lyrics go like this:

It's Maya (it's Maya) and Miguel (and Miguel),
Brother and Sister, and Best Friends as Well!
It's Maya (it's Maya) and Miguel (Miguel),
What they will do next you never can tell!
When The Dormouse sings it, however, here's how it comes out:

It's Maya Miguel,
Best Friends are Cigarettes she's Brother as well.
It's Maya Miguel,
Best Friends are Cigarettes she's Brother as well.
Repeat ad nauseum.

Sometimes I wonder what she thinks things actually mean when she repeats them. Because when I hear this, the image that pops into my head is a chain smoking transsexual with multiple personality disorder. Let's hope whatever image The Dormouse has in her mind isn't an Axis I diagnosis.

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Where Did Your Potatoes Come From Today?

Posted on 6/22/2007 09:11:00 AM
It's always good to know where your food comes from, I guess.




My potato-farmer ancestors from Rigby are looking down on this and smiling.

(I also find it fascinating that Today's Potatoes seem to be made from 100% real beef. The world of Potato Farming has changed since I was a child, it seems.)

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Great Ironies of Pregnancy

Posted on 6/21/2007 09:31:00 AM
People close to me know that I'm not the best at being pregnant. Even the so-called "good parts" of pregnancy don't thrill me. I don't enjoy the extra attention. I hate Hate HATE shopping... especially for maternity clothes. I don't relish discussing my plans for delivery or whether I expect to breast feed with people in the elevator who now feel it's appropriate to ask about these very personal decisions even though they've not exchanged three words with me in the past four years. I don't like strangers feeling my belly without asking. I don't like strangers asking to feel my belly (What is that anyway? I have never, NEVER, felt the desire to touch a strange pregnant woman's stomach.). I don't want to describe how I'm feeling every second of the day to everyone with whom I come into contact. I feel crappy, thanks. Can we move on now?

Though I'm sure my husband's version of the story would differ, I have tried very hard to keep the bitching and moaning to a dull roar around my house and for this reason, I have posted few entries about my physical woes and pregnancy observations on this weblog. I seldom discuss it with other women, because I'm generally sick of myself and when I talk to another adult, I want to be distracted, not go through a laundry list of my symptoms. I'm pretty much in pain about two-thirds of each day and I know myself well enough to realize that if I allow myself to start bitching to everyone I know, I won't be able to stop and then people will be like "C'mon already! If it was that bad, what'd you go and get knocked up for in the first place?" Indeed.

Let the record show that my overwhelming attitude and feeling is that I am genuinely excited and grateful to be undergoing what by all accounts so far, looks like a normal pregnancy and I will, without reservation, continue suffering if it means that at the end of it all I will have a healthy child to bring home. YOU HEAR THAT KARMA?!? You can't touch me now! See me knocking on this wood, crossing my fingers and throwing salt over my left shoulder? OK - so maybe there's a healthy dose of superstition thrown in there too. I feel like if I complain too much now, especially knowing that all of these symptoms - even the constant static in my ears - will most likely go away the minute I give birth, I'll have something much worse to deal with tomorrow. Call me superstitious. Oh, and by the way, there's something of which you'd never hear my husband accuse me. If you ask him, I'm never, ever five things: superstitious, illogical, sentimental, selfless, or pay attention to commercials.

That being said, Monica requested "more stories about how pregnancy sucks and belly shots". And I am never one to disappoint. What's below is what I've taken from the half a dozen posts I've started over the last several weeks that I later did not publish because they were either too whiny or I was simply sick of thinking about the issue by the time I sat down to write so I never finished. I call them my 25 Great Ironies About Being Pregnant to Accompany This 25 Great Things About Being Pregnant List That Dr. Google Found (for short).

1. You're guaranteed to stop traffic whenever you cross the street.
Except you'll absentmindedly walk out into the middle of the street against the light because you have pregnancy brain and then you'll feel the need to run to show the car about to hit you that you know it was your fault and you're sorry. After running for two lanes, you will pay for it the next day.

2. People look at your stomach and can't help smiling, as if the mere thought of your being pregnant has actually made their day a little bit brighter.
Most people look at my stomach and have one of two reactions: male) shakes head sadly, mutters "too many M&Ms" to the person next to him or female) smiling is accompanied by "Pregnant in the summer, oh you poor thing!"

3. You can eat a whole pint of chocolate-chunk ice cream and not feel guilty. Every night.
Until several months later when everyone knows that breast-feeding burns calories and you haven't lost a pound yet.

4. You can -- no, you must! -- take naps. Lots of them.
But you will not be able to sleep for more than fifteen minutes at a time. All. Night. Long.

5. Getting to name another human being.
Getting to hear from relatives and friends just how bad
the name you're thinking of is and how it's the absolutely worst name anyone ever thought about in the history of naming and your child will grow up unloved and unemployable because of the name you chose, and you might as well just name your kid Charles Adolf Hitler Manson, so live with that guilt.

6. Watching your husband turn into a father when he kisses your belly good night, reads to the baby in utero, or stays up until 3:00 a.m. putting the crib together -- just in case the baby decides to come eight weeks early.
Watching husband complain that he hasn't been able to feel the baby move yet, and then try for 3.2 seconds to put his hand on your stomach before giving up, exasperated, saying, "She never moves for me." Toddler has more patience.

7. Sex: For once in your life, you're neither worried about getting pregnant nor trying to get pregnant. You can have sex just for the pure fun of it.
"Can", but do not have the energy or pain tolerance for it.

8. Buying a bathing suit. It's not about hiding your flaws; it's about flaunting your belly.
You belly may want to be flaunted, but your giant thighs and upper arms' desire is to be hidden. Must put on pants by throwing them on floor and gingerly working one foot and then the other into leg holes so trying on any clothing is undesirable.

9. Those wild, intense, amazing pregnancy dreams in which every remote person from your past makes some sort of appearance. None of these dreams can even begin to be analyzed or understood.
Have you met me? Hi, I'm Alice. I'm crazy. See this entry.

10. The amazing anticipation. It's like all your previous birthdays and holidays rolled into one.
That goes on and on and on and on and on and on until... (anticipa.............tion is not all it's cracked up to be)

11. Imagining the possibilities.
The possibilities that something catastrophic will happen and my body will no longer be able to sustain this life, how the fact that homicide is the leading cause of death among pregnant women in the US will come into play, that I'll be in a car wreck and deliver at twenty-two weeks, that this baby will grow up to hate me and choose a life of crime just to spite me... ah the possibilities!

12. More personal space! And you have no qualms about claiming it.
Also fill up more personal space and have been accidentally groped or felt up by everyone from a missionary to a cable repair man. Number of people who now have direct access to look at and touch my bajingo has now increased ten-fold.

13. You eat healthier, drink more water, and carefully read ingredient labels. Suddenly, it matters more to you what you put in your body.
Tell that to my body that craves only Diet Coke and Sausage
, Egg and Cheese Biscuits from McDonald's.

14. In the middle of a boring meeting at work or a meaningless argument, you feel your baby squirming inside you and the sensation takes you away. It's your own secret communication.
Every time this feeling happens, feel like I'm on a roller coaster ride and must suppress urge to throw my arms up and yell, "Weeee" during staff meetings.

15. Getting to hear the swish swish swish of your baby's heartbeat on the Doppler.
Worrying in between every doctor visit that you won't hear that swish swish swish kind of sucks, though.

16. Playing "Guess the part sticking out," usually at bedtime, when your baby starts moving furniture around or whatever it is he does in there.
Or more accurately, "Guess the part that's sticking in my cervix."

17. The extra attention you get from everyone -- your husband gives you more foot rubs, and your friends call to check in more often. Neighbors offer to help; coworkers volunteer to get lunch for you; little presents (a bottle of water, an afternoon snack) mysteriously show up on your desk.
Everything I touch ends up on floor; floor is suddenly three feet further away from reach. People are only interested in helping if it means they can carry something heavy. No one wants to wheel me in my rolling chair to the bathroom or pick up the eighteen pencils that are under my desk. Am still waiting for a foot rub, by the way.

18. The pregnancy beauty package: thick, silky hair; long, strong nails; beautiful skin; big boobs.
Exhibit A: strange clump of baby fine hair growing out of left side of forehead which cannot be combed, pulled back, curled or sprayed into submission

Exhibit B: need to shave legs twice as frequently, but cannot reach legs to do so
Exhibit C: twice as likely to need to brush teeth; cannot do so without gagging... or gums bleeding
Exhibit D: bra that looks like David misplaced his sling and instead used it to throw the rock that slayed Goliath.

19. Getting to skip to the front of the line in public rest rooms.
Needing to ask to do that on average twenty-seven times per day.

20. Shopping for a person you haven't met yet: tiny clothes, all-new furniture, and adorable room decorations.
Paying $30 for a dress made from material equivalent to a $2 remnant piece.

21. Dreaming about the first time someone calls you "Mommy" and the first time you hear someone call your husband "Daddy."
Strangely inappropriate and creepy, though, when people at work start every email with “Hi Mom.”

22. Baby showers! They remind you how special your friends and family think you are.
Unless you don’t enjoy playing games like Stages of Labor Concentration and eating melted candy bars out of diapers.

23. A continuous sense of accomplishment. You can answer "What did you do today?" with cool things like "I made ears" or simply "I'm making a person. What did you do?"
And yet, inexplicably, “I finished publishing that book from my hospital delivery room” didn't lead to the raise I wanted when it came time for my annual review.

24. Spending immeasurable amounts of time trying to remember all those nursery rhymes, children's songs, and lullabies.
And then later singing the same one, over and over and over. I think most people aren't aware that the portion of my brain formerly set aside for the olfactory sense has been re-appropriated and is now simply filled with song lyrics.

25. Knowing that all the bad stuff -- the heartburn, swollen ankles, backaches, and the rest -- doesn't last forever. And that in the end, it's all worth it.
Can't see ankles anyway.


And now the requested "belly shot". Ugh.
Enjoy, because that will probably be the last one for a long time.

25 weeks


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My Not So Sweet 15

Posted on 6/20/2007 08:00:00 PM
Last weekend, I was asked to accompany some singers for a friend's daughter's quinceañera. For those of you not similarly engrossed in Latin culture, the only way to describe a quince is thusly: a birthday party on steroids. Quince is the Spanish word for fifteen. The closest thing to a quinceañera in American culture is possibly a Sweet 16 party - but only if you watch that annoying reality show with the rich kids on MTV. Maybe it's even closer to being on a par with a Bat Mitzvah without quite the the religious significance. It's basically a coming out party disguised as a wedding reception for a girl who's fifteen and not getting married.

When I lived in South America, I attended dozens of these parties... my favorite tradition at them was the ribbon cake, where small charms with ribbons attached to them are baked into the cake with the ribbon end sticking out. At some point in the evening before the cake is cut, all the teen-aged girls get to choose a ribbon and on cue, yank theirs out of the cake. One of the charms is always a small ring and whoever is lucky enough to get this one is the recipient of either a) good luck for a year or b) the first marriage proposal, depending on local superstition. At one party I attended, they let me pull ribbons with the other girls although I was decidedly NOT a teenager at the time. I got the ring. It took another eight years for my first marriage proposal after that event, so I'm going with the good luck theory.

At a quinceañera, the birthday girl dresses up in an opulent white gown that is only slightly less ornate than a wedding dress and chooses several of her best friends, who have the dubious distinction of being her attendants and dressing in bad bridesmaids' gowns. Not unlike a wedding. Each of them is either accompanied by her father, or a like aged-boy, in a tuxedo. They process in and stand there looking lovely (but never lovelier than the birthday girl - that is not allowed) while everyone goes through the reception line, gives presents to the birthday girl and greets everyone else in the receiving line. Then they party their brains out.

Quinces
are always elaborate, but the one this weekend took the cake with even more pomp and circumstance than those I remember. They had formal presentations of gifts and flowers, each symbolizing something about turning from a child into a woman, two singers, an emcee, and a waltz. Each section of the program represented a different stage in life. I was disappointed to note that my favorite tradition of the ribbons and the charms in the cake apparently isn't a Brazilian custom, because those were absent. But the cake itself rivaled any wedding cake I've seen in the past - three-tiered and decorated with flowers. And, unlike any party in Brazil I'm sure, the food came complete with Halal, Kosher and Vegetarian options. It was crazy intense.

After the girl, her family, and her friends all processed in, they simply stood in a row looking lovely and holding their not-a-bridal-bouquets in front of everyone while the program ran on. There was a musical number, some talking, an exchange where someone took away the doll she carried representing her childhood and replaced it with a bouquet of flowers representing her emergence into adulthood, more talking, introducing of all the attendants, another musical number, more talking, dancing, etc.

After the second musical number, I looked up from the piano in time to see one of the little boys in a tux buckle at the knees and start on his way to the ground before the mother of the birthday girl caught him. She looked up and uttered the understatement of the night, "Is anyone here a doctor? He's not feeling well." The party planner in charge (yes, they hired a party planner) was also apparently a part time nurse so she ran up, caught him by the legs and they carried him off into the lobby while everyone else, including the emcee, simply stood by looking.

I thought to myself, "I know what this is." Many was the time back in my high school choir days when some nervous, overdressed kid locked his knees standing on the risers, then forced all the blood to his or her head singing and passed out. It happened at least once a semester. (I've heard lots of tall tales about kids falling off the top riser, falling into the choir to be caught by peers, and even one about a tenor who passed out during the death section of the Requiem Mass they were performing and fell into the orchestra pit on top of a trombone player. He supposedly later sneaked back on stage during the resurrection section of the Mass, thinking it seemed the appropriate thing to do.) So it didn't really worry me or anyone else in the room and the program simply halted while they waited for the boy to come back and take his place.

While everyone was standing around staring in awkward silence, the thought occurred to me: "Hmmm... maybe the girls who are left standing should sit down too." and I looked up, wondering how to tactfully suggest this, just in time to see a young girl in a peach ruffled dress nearest the piano start to swoon. I hauled my enormous pregnant bulk off the piano bench and ran to the side of the room and brought back a chair just in time for her companion to sit her down in before she hit the floor. She was out cold. People immediately crowded around her, yelling her name and trying to fan her with their hands, which was now a lost cause because they'd formed a bubble around her so tight that little air could enter or escape. I tried to hand her the water bottle I'd grabbed off the piano bench but by that time, I'd been squeezed out.

Which, I guess, is a good thing because while everyone was all concerned about her and the boy who was out in the lobby, the other girls were still left standing. I looked up to see yet another little one start to swoon, grabbed her date by the elbow and said, "She needs to go outside and sit down... now."

The meeting planner looked up and said, "Ladies who are left standing, please make sure that you aren't locking your knees." About this time, another teen-aged witness to the carnage had an emotional breakdown and began sobbing uncontrollably.

"I have a better idea," I said, "Why don't you all go out into the lobby, get a drink of water and sit down until this is all sorted out." The girls did and we all adjourned into the lobby, leaving the confused DJ to play the only thing he had handy: strangely inappropriate salsa music.

As it turned out, everyone was fine. No one was really sick, just overdressed, overheated and overnervous. They were all able to come back to the party later on, save the one girl who actually passed out and was simply too embarrassed to show her face again. Hope she rented that dress rather than bought it.

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Kid Jokes

Posted on 6/16/2007 08:00:00 AM In:
"Momma, I'm going to tell you a joke."

"OK - go ahead. Tell me your joke."


"What do castles move when they have a wallet to do?"


"I don't know, what do castles move when they have a wallet to do?"


*laughs hysterically*
"That's a funny joke! Isn't it, Momma?"

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Next, We'll Make Loaf Meats

Posted on 6/15/2007 08:47:00 AM
"Hey, momma, can we make some circle breads?"

"I don't know what circle breads are."

"I love to eat them."


"But what are they?"

"Breads... in a circle... we made them before."

"Huh?"

"Like a popcorn ball."

"I'm sorry honey, I don't understand. I don't know how to make circle breads."

"But I know the recipe: first you dough, then you put them in the oven, tic tock tic, tock, ding."

I've only just now while typing this realized that she meant
dinner rolls.

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Inappropriate Songs (vol. 14)

Posted on 6/14/2007 08:58:00 AM In:
The Dormouse, singing along to the tune of the Sesame Street Theme with the television: "Ruuuun awaaay, Bing-ga-dah, Ruuuun awaaay."

Me: "What does bing-ga-dah mean?"

DM: "It means that you run away from your mom and dad."


Me: "And that's what Sesame Street is teaching you?"


DM: "Yep, told ya."

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Hoof in Mouth Disease

Posted on 6/13/2007 07:47:00 AM In: ,
President: "Let's go around the room. Please tell us who you are and one interesting thing that's happened to you recently or is going to happen to you in the next few months."

Me: "My name is Alice and
I can't think of a single interesting thing that's going to happen to me in the next few months."

Attendee who doesn't understand sarcasm: "You're expecting a baby - that's pretty interesting."

Me: "Oh that? Yawn."
I am wrapping up some loose ends this week from last weekend's meeting at work. We do this twice a year - people from all over the country come in and spend a weekend talking, bitching and theoretically solving the problems of the profession, only to lay all the real work in the laps of the people who work in the office and go home again afterwards absolved of any real accountability because they've said their piece and now all they have to do is sit back and watch it happen.

Part of my responsibility at this meeting is to give a half hour report on all that I've been doing for the past six months... a sort of Justify My Love, where it looks like a status report, but my real goal is to remind everyone how overworked I am and how if they could just stop calling me to look up a phone number that they could easily find in their directories themselves, I'd probably get a lot more done. But... you know... with tact.

Somehow, (I'm sure denial has the lion's share of blame here) I'd let it get past me that I've been working at this job for ten years now. So after I gave my report, wheezing and sucking down water due to the parasite... I mean... baby... that is slowly stealing all my breath, I asked if there were any questions. The President said she had something to add and stood up to present me with a large plaque/photo arrangement for ten years of service.

It was sweet, actually. I've been working recently on trying to be more grateful for the things I have and despite all the problems and issues with my job - a good half of them due to the fact that I have to work at all and not the job itself - I realize what a good deal I've got. I don't know of many other organizations where they would do that for you in a public meeting. I don't know of many other organizations where the Treasurer brings you her old maternity clothes to wear because she heard you were pregnant, either.

But because this pregnancy is destroying my brain, or because I am simply an evil person, when the President said, "Congratulations on your ten years!", I said, aloud, "Thanks.... seems like twenty."

Realizing almost immediately how that sounded, I told this story about my husband, and when it was our third anniversary and I said something about how I couldn't believe it had been three years, he wholeheartedly agreed and replied, "Yeaaaaah... seems like ten." Then he immediately started backpedaling and explaining: "No what I mean is... that it just seems like we've always been together and I can't remember a time when we weren't together and... oh crap... just send me to sleep on the couch now." So it's been an inside joke between us and our thing to say ever since then.
And that's not entirely a lie - he did say that. But I'm not sure if they bought it.

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Gratitude

Posted on 6/12/2007 10:37:00 AM
Yesterday, I played the piano at a funeral for a friend who died last week. It was not unexpected - he was 92 years old and in failing health - but it was sudden. He died late Thursday night but I didn't hear about it until Sunday morning and not twenty minutes later, I'd agreed to play for a duet of vocalists and we were trying to figure out how to throw something together that a) honored him and b) sounded good, knowing that we had about an hour to practice before the funeral. In the end, we just turned to his favorite hymn in the church hymnbook and all improvised together - me comping chords and pretending I knew how to do that kind of thing and one of the singers improvising an obbligato over the other one's melody. Afterward, a man in attendance who studies the organ pretty seriously pulled me aside and gave us all a nice compliment by asking if he could have a copy of the arrangement we used because he'd really enjoyed it and would like to perform it somewhere too. I was like, "Um... no." Then explained that we probably couldn't repeat it again if we tried, but if he had any good arrangements he'd like to share with me it might be a little less stressful the next time I'm asked to do something like that. Ah, musicians.

The eulogy for this man was eye opening. I've known him almost as long as we've lived here and I was superficially aware of things that had happened to him in his lifetime, but as the saying goes, I had no idea.

He was born in Germany during World War I only a few days before his father was sent to fight on the front lines. His father was quickly killed in action, leaving his mother to raise him alone. She then died four years later from an illness and he was sent to be raised by an aunt he'd never met. As a young man, he was drafted against his wishes into Hitler's army and forced to fight for a cause he didn't believe in. He received a three day furlough after what amounted to basic training to marry his wife and was then immediately sent to the Russian front, where he was taken as a prisoner of war. He didn't see his wife again for the next five years. Somehow, he survived that and after the war the family was sent back to Berlin just as the wall was going up there. They ended up on the Eastern side and could not leave. Through a series of what I can only term as miraculous events, he escaped with his wife and their young son to come to America. In Washington, D.C., he worked for the German embassy under more than a few American Presidents - many of his colleagues were in attendance at the funeral.

During the service, it was pointed out by a confidante that recently he had begun having flashbacks of things he'd done and seen during World War II and was concerned that he would never be forgiven. This weighed heavily on his conscience and occupied his thinking much of the time for the last several years of his life. I saw him every week in church and was never given a clue. He was never anything but happy, smiling and sang to my daughter in German as she danced around his cane, and later his walker. Despite living under horrible conditions, he had nothing but love for the Russian people and talked about them with respect. More than once, I heard him describe the moral conflict he had while being forced to fight for Hitler and only express gratitude for the way things had turned out for him and his family despite a storybook of experiences and events they lived through - any one of which would make a normal person feel otherwise. They never had grandchildren, thanks to a physical attack on their young adult son while he served as a missionary which left him with life long physical and mental problems and kept him from marrying. All the family they had were the three of them - everyone else had been killed in the war or left behind when they left Germany. But all I heard from his wife at the viewing was introductions of people who were "like a daughter" to her to other people who were "like a grandson" to her.

I watched all this yesterday with wonder - from the viewing, to the service, to the grave site, and then back to the church again for an unreasonable amount of food afterward. How could they seem so grateful for all they had been through? Why am I not more grateful for my pitiful little trials - or at least less bitter? I've studied human behavior for a long time and I don't know any more now than I did in my high school psychology class what makes one person rise above the horrible things that happen to them and another crumble under a ridiculously unmatched amount of pressure. Maybe it's biological... maybe it's just... a choice. I think sometimes when it comes right down to it, some people just choose to be happy.

So when I got up this morning and looked at the unfinished post I'd written yesterday morning about all the things I hate about pregnancy and bitching about the physical problems I will look forward to saying goodbye to once this baby is born, it felt somehow inappropriate to finish and publish. Just for today, I'm going to try to be grateful for them instead.

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Proof of the Amazing Power a Mention on Wonkette Gets You

Posted on 6/12/2007 07:39:00 AM
Continuing on with the 'say it in pictures' theme:




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Actually, She Was Right in the First Place

Posted on 6/12/2007 12:14:00 AM
veg·an (vē'gən, věj'ən)
n. A vegetarian who eats plant products only, especially one who uses
no products derived from animals, as fur or leather.

Conversation at work, where a colleague was handing out samples of soap she collected from a recent conference:

Colleague 1 *excitedly*: "This is vegan soap... It's VEGAN SOAP!" (pronouncing it "vejan" both times)

Colleague 2: "Vegan soap? Is that even the right term?"

Colleague 3: "Yeah... wouldn't you call it 'made from natural ingredients' or something like that? I think vegan has more to do with diet."

Colleague 2: "And I believe it's pronounced 've-gan' with a hard g, not a j."

Colleague 4 *sarcastically*: "Who knows? Those Vegans, you know how they love to confuse matters."

Colleague 1: "I thought those were Anarchists."

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What I Continually Fail to Understand About Men:

Posted on 6/07/2007 03:35:00 PM


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Labor and Delivery

Posted on 6/06/2007 06:55:00 AM In:
I decided to try out a new grocery delivery service this week. Not sure why, my regular guys have always served me just fine; I guess I just need variety in my life. Actually, I do remember why... I hadn't ordered from my regular place for a while because their delivery time options haven't gelled particularly well with my schedule in the past few months.

Anyway, I decided to give a competing store a crack at my business for the first time this week.
For those of you who do not have groceries delivered, I understand. I too, was once a Grocery Delivery Virgin who had never before ventured into this wonderful world. But then The Dormouse was born and I couldn't count on getting out of the house for awhile, so I decided to try it for a few weeks while on maternity leave. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that not only is the delivery fee waved when you order a reasonable dollar amount (something we always do when making grocery runs anyway), but you also get better produce than can be found in the store of the same name (at least in my area) and can put stuff in your online cart one item at a time as you think of it rather than going through the useless task of making a list which I always leave something off of or lose by the time I make it to the store. I'm also much less likely to buy impulse items like nine boxes of mac and cheese because I know all the ingredients are right there in the box and more likely to pull out a cookbook, and put all the ingredients in for something that I actually might have a chance at convincing my mother would be part of a healthy, well balanced meal. (Who am I kidding? My mother eats popcorn for dinner.)

But I digress. The new service delivered yesterday and despite the fact that they have a lot more delivery times to choose from, I'm not so so impressed my experience. I'll let the fact that they came a half hour late go and get right to the real issue: How is it possible that a major grocery store chain that everyone in the country has heard of is OUT OF DIET COKE!!? What do they expect me to drink? Water? I'm thirsty, not dirty.


When I started to put everything away after the delivery guy apologized profusely about the lateness and lack of DIET COKE!! and I pretended not to think it was a big deal and sent him on his way, I started to notice some inconsistencies in what I thought I had ordered and what I was putting in the cupboards. At first, I just thought I was drunk when I filled out my order on line and I really did order two dozen apples for two people and a child by mistake. But going through the rest of the bags, I started to notice first, things that I didn't think I ordered and then later, things that I would never intentionally purchase myself.

So I took out the receipt to compare. I did receive everything I ordered (with the notable exception of the DIET COKE!!), but either there were a lot of Buy One, Get One Totally Unrelated Item Free Specials in the store at the time, or the nice delivery guy dropped off a couple of bags for the next person on his route along with mine. So... can someone please be so kind as to send me a recipe that I can make with:
  • 1/2 dozen limes
  • 1/4 lb. ginger root
  • 14 containers plain yogurt
  • 2 containers strawberry yogurt
  • 2 zucchini(s)
  • 3 packages of mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb. red, seeded grapes
  • 2 pints sour cream

Sorry, person who was planning on making Ginger Lime Zucchini Mushroom Goulash today. Guess you'll be having Mac and Cheese for dinner tonight.

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Essential Maternity Gear

Posted on 6/05/2007 01:37:00 PM
Flipping through "my magazine" (aka Target Advertisement/Catalog that came in the mail) and seeing this:


"Mom! Mom! Look... these are REALLY good for kids and preg-nant ladies! We should get it!"

Personally, I'd rather have this. It says "4 Yrs. and Up"... anyone know the weight limit?

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Too Early for the Birds and the Bees Talk

Posted on 6/05/2007 08:13:00 AM
Announcing my pregnancy to people at church last Sunday:

"My mommy ate a WHOLE LOT of food. And now... she has a baby in her tummy! Because that's how you get a baby in your tummy."

I bet the eight-months'-pregnant woman who was in audience at the time was surprised to learn that fact.

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Rash Precipitations

Posted on 6/04/2007 03:03:00 PM
"What did you do in school today?"

"We saw Mr. Aaron's butts."


"WHAT??!?"

"Mr. Aaron showed us his butts. He brought them to class and we got to touch them."

*taking a deep breath, trying not to freak out* "Honey, what, exactly do you mean?"


"We saw, spiders, bees, and a tarANtula."

"Mr. Aaron showed you his buGGGGs?"

"Yes.... Mommy why are you laughing?"

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Ethnicity

Posted on 6/02/2007 07:24:00 AM
While I'm not exactly your typical blond-haired, blue-eyed, dolly-looking person whose skin seems as if it might burst into flame after spending one minute too long in the sun, I'm generally pretty wasp-y looking.

But I do have this one peculiar characteristic: no matter where I go, people seem to think that I am whatever ethnicity they themselves are.

It really got out of hand when I lived in South America, where all the Uruguayans thought I was from Uruguay; all the Argentinians thought I was from Argentina; all the gringos from the East of the United States, assumed I was also from the East Coast, etc. It was the joke that on my birth certificate under "place of birth" it said, "where ever you were born".

This week, no less than six strangers either have pointedly asked me if I am from a Latin country or spoken to me directly in Spanish, assuming I would simply understand and speak back in the same language.

There's the guy in my neighborhood who, no matter how many times I've told him I'm from the States, says to me every time I see him and utter my un-trilled 'Rs', "Are you Dominican?" I can let that go because we're all pretty sure he's drunk about eighty percent of the time anyway.

This week there was the guy in the elevator who looked me in the eye and asked in English: "Espanish?"

Me: "Huh?"

Him: "Uespanish?"

Me: "...... um... excuse me?"

Him: "Es Latina usted?"

Me: "Ooooooooooooh..... no."

One guy came to the door of the house the other day selling Spanish Children's Bibles. He gave his whole schpiel (and if my use of that word doesn't prove I'm not Latina, I don't know what does) in Spanish, only thinking to ask "Oh, do you speak Spanish?" as an afterthought. I told him I spoke a little but not really, hoping to get out of the long philosophical discussion I was anticipating. He ignored that and went on extolling the virtues of the illustrations and how much my criatura ('little creature' - a phrase I've always loved) would enjoy them. I was on the verge of pulling ten bucks out of my purse when I realized, hey my criatura doesn't read... and she definitely doesn't read in Spanish.

What's more interesting, and probably less understandable, instead of telling them "I only really speak a little bit of Spanish anymore, it's been a long time", I simply answer in Spanish. I haven't lived in a Spanish-speaking area for more than ten years and my language is pret-ty rusty, to say the least.... like Can't Even Really Follow Sabado Gigante Anymore Rusty (but to be fair, I doubt native speakers can follow that show). But I still feel it necessary to attempt to carry on conversations in Spanish whenever given the chance and when someone asks me if I speak the language, I'm compelled to answer "yes" and attempt to have a conversation, even if I'm pretty sure that I'll miss every fifth word.


Maybe I'll just get one of these instead.

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Sandemicity

Posted on 6/01/2007 07:27:00 AM
As I was flipping through television channels last night in a desperate attempt to put my feet up and possibly see my ankles once again, I happened to catch this show on the Travel Channel and couldn't believe my eyes:

Sand Blasters 2007: The Extreme Sand Sculpting Championship

Now I am aware that there are people o
ut there who are really into sand sculpting and I've even seen some pretty cool competitions and some amazing sand sculptors in the past when I lived on the West Coast. How anyone can devote the necessary time in life, practicing to get good enough to create something like this:


out of sand is beyond me. I never even had the patience to devote a scant couple of hours a day to practicing the violin. But I can appreciate the artistry, at least.

This competition, however, brings a whole new twist to the ummmmmm... what is the word here?... Art?... Sport?... Event?... Maybe I'll just go with Competition.

From the Travel Channel webs
ite:
This popular event is back and brings a new level of competition to Travel Channel. Paired off into teams of two, 16 of the world's best sand sculptors descend on picturesque Pacific Beach in San Diego, California, for the chance to win their share of $15,000 in prize money. But there's one big twist -- Explosions!

Over the course of this intense two-day competition, five of the eight sculptures will be randomly selected for complete destruction by a Hollywood pyrotechnics crew. The unlucky blast victims then have the remaining time to create another world-class sculpture in order to contend for the title of Sand Blaster Champion.
Basically, eight teams have two days to create a sculpture from the giant block of sand provided them. But every so often throughout the competition a horn sounds, everyone runs for cover and one masterpiece explodes due to pre-planted pyrotechnics paraphernalia hidden away in the original block of sand. The unlucky owners of the pile-o-exploded-sand must then start again from scratch.

Teams also purposely build elements into their sand castles so as to inflict the greatest amount of damage on the sand castles of those nearby should theirs be one of the ones randomly selected to blow. Super slo-mo replays give commentators the chance to discuss the awesomeness factor of each explosion and describe in great detail which part of the sculpture went first and how far sand was blasted across the playing field.

They also pontificate on the "emotion" of the piece and whether the conceptual idea was simply "too edgy for the judges". As if someone judging a sand sculpting contest isn't already teetering precariously on the brink of normalcy.

After all the awards are given and prize money is handed out, they blow up the rest of the sand castles just for fun. I sat, unwillingly riveted to the tube through the entire program. I can't say I'm a better person for it, but it's opened my eyes to a whole new counter-culture.

I'd say I've seen it all now, but I know I'm just one ESPN Channel Xtreme Sports program away from being disproved on that statement.
And it really didn't have to stop... it just kept on going. And so castles made of sand slip into the sea, Eventually.
(Name that tune.)

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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