Sunday, December 6, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Image via WikipediaSelf-Loathing is not fashionable. It's never in style no matter what era.
After my oldest daughter Holly was born, I went on Zoloft and gained a lot of weight. One of my friends said that Zoloft had numbed her fears so much that she just didn't care anymore, about anything.
I told the doc what happened after Holly was born (GI problems, single kidney, hole in her heart) and he said, "Geez, no wonder you're on Zoloft. I made the same gesture the delivery guy in Christmas Story did when Ralphie's dad says, "What's in the box? Fra-gee-lee! That must be Italian!"
Because of not caring about anything, I didn't lose any baby weight until Holly was 3 years old. In fact I still wore maternity clothes until then. People kept asking me when I was due. I kept saying, "Um, 3 years ago?"
I really hated myself then from all the mind-numbing. I thought I let Holly be born that way. Even when everyone around me told me not to blame myself, I still did. So I took weight gain upon myself as sort of a self-mutilation. Some girls cut themselves, (like Lindsay Lohan) starve themselves (like Lindsay Lohan), or do drugs (like Lindsay Lohan). Instead I put on weight from pure hate.
In 2002 I switched to Paxil and lost weight right away. But it wasn't really the anti-depressant that made it work (in fact, if you ever miss a dose, watch out! It'll feel like your lips are falling off). Then I ate better, exercised more and finally took off weight. What a concept!
I remember crossing the street at an intersection pushing Holly in a stroller, and some guys in a car yelled, "Hey, want a donut?" It was right after I lost my first 10 pounds. Come to think of it, I wasn't wearing the most flattering clothes - a frumpy T-shirt and light blue maternity biker shorts. Ladies, if you have any issues with your thighs at all, do NOT wear light blue. Imagine cumulonimbus clouds brewing on a sunny sky-blue day. And then add cellulite.
I may not be down to my vegetarian body from my twenties and I don't expect it (bacon just tastes WAY too good). In fact, I went into a dressing room this weekend for the first time in years. I hated those flourescent lights on my legs. This time, I looked at my imperfect self and said, "Whatever!" and tried on a pair of Vera Wang jeans. And I loved them.
I love Vera Wang because a) she has a line at Kohls and b) she's not only a designer to the stars but to little ol' mommy bloggers like me. Now, I no longer fear self-loathing.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Image via WikipediaMy 10-year-old wants to know about the birds and the bees. Yippee. She didn't know boys had different body parts until we got a boy dog. She asked, "What's that?"
I said, "That's where the dog pees. Human boys have the same thing."
Or maybe I said "Thingies."
I am so bad at this.
What makes her inquisitive are the Viagra commercials playing on TV in the background. She asks, "What does it mean to be healthy enough for sex?" Then she tacks on an "Eww."
Yep, it's time.
Viagra commercials are akin to those tampon commercials we watched in the 80s while our boyfriends sat on the couch eating popcorn and wondering when they could put their arms around us.
As soon as we heard the phrase "Now available with WINGS," we hit the mute button and say, "Hey how 'bout those Packers or Brewers or Cubs or (insert any random sports team)?"
Just to turn the subject away from feminine hygiene products. It was too late because those poor guys already lost their appetite. But that's a whole, though related, different topic which will garner more "Ewws."
The terms for "thingies" at my daughter's school these days are Australia for boy parts and Africa for girl parts. Perhaps I can work in a geography lesson along with the sex talk. I wonder how I'll work in the plate tectonic theory.
One of my Facebook friends (Eric) said explain it to her like this: "Daddy pulls his train into Mommy's train station. If Mommy's lucky then Daddy's train stays on the track for more than 3 minutes. On second thought, leave off that last part."
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Image by RW PhotoBug via FlickrYesterday Holly asked me if she needs to drink milk in order to grow breasts. I said drinking milk is to build better bones but you don't need it for breasts.
She thought the milk went from her stomach to her chest. April asked, "Do I have breasts?"
I said "Yes and they'll get bigger with milk after you have a baby. Breasts are for feeding babies and that's how I fed you."
Her reply: AHHHHHHHHHH!
Just a few more years before breast size obsession. Yippee, can't wait. When I was in 6th grade my mom said I needed a training bra. I thought they came with wheels like bikes and when I grew breasts I took the wheels off.
Before I started a new school in 8th grade, I bra shopped with my sister. One bra had little sponges in the cups. I thought, well, that's convenient in case I spill my milk in the cafeteria I can whip out these thingies and viola! Crisis averted. Or if I got wet? BOOM! Instant Dolly Parton!
My sister said the sponges were to make your boobs look bigger. Even then I didn't believe in false advertising so I passed. I settled for the training bra, wondering when I could take off the wheels and go for a ride on my own.
Good thing I didn't buy the sponge bra because 8th grade was full of girls whispering who stuffed. I thought girls naturally kept their Kleenexes in there because we cried so much. Did I have a lot to learn!
I don't know what made us so impatient for big boobs. They grew into their own in high school, college, marriage, pregnancy and BOOM there they are. Serving a purpose.
Now in our forties we struggle to keep them off our belt loops. Maybe I'll go out tomorrow and try to find that sponge bra again. And recite my own version of the Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity
To accept my breasts I cannot change
Courage to change the breasts I can without plastic surgery
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Image via WikipediaRemember when gentlemen gave up their seats for ladies on a crowded buses, subways, or waiting rooms?
Forget it, it never happens anymore. The last time a man ever gave up his seat for me was when I was pregnant. And that was only because I was about to pop and he didn't want to see my water break right on the floor.
Today I took my daughter to one of her many, many doctor appointments. The waiting room was crowded and I looked around and saw many seats occupied by small children who were not sitting in their seats all the time.
When my kids were little in crowded waiting rooms, I sat them on my lap so adults wouldn't have to stand.
Today, I sunk down to the floor having an incredible time doing so since I proudly own titanium rods in my back, along with almost 30 screws and bolts. I saw a chair open so I struggled to get up and walked over to the seat.
Two parents stared at me. I said, "I have a really hard time sitting on the floor." I didn't go into my rigamarole of back surgery because I don't like to tell strangers my life story right off the bat. Surely, I thought, these parents saw me struggle getting up and down on the floor.
The dad said, "You just took my son's seat. If you're okay with that, then..." I saw the 4-year-old boy and said, "I'm sorry, sweetie, do you want to sit here?" I got up and walked to a wall, struggling to get down on my knee and sit upright. The little boy just kept walking around, staring at Spongebob on television.
Then a mom with a leg brace came in and she also sat down on the floor because no man in that waiting room cared to give up his seat, or even tell their wee tiny children to give up their seats.
Finally one dad came up to both of us and said, "There's two seats available." Leg Brace Lady said, "No, I won't be able to get back up." I saw that the two seats were next to Rude Dad with a son who still wasn't sitting in his seat. I said, "No thanks, I'd rather wait."
I said nothing because I knew karma would bite Rude Dad right in the butt soon. Like me writing about him in this blog. And I left in a good mood because my daughter's doctor looked and sounded like Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean.
Image by Laughing Squid via FlickrIn a world of the interwebs where anyone can contact anyone instantly, be it a friend from grade school or a celeb you adored in the 80s when you wore matching neon socks and sweaters, one has to wonder when do you draw the line between e-mail frenzy and cyberstalking?
There has to be a light that goes off that says, "Danger, Will Robinson, that person on the internet who IMs you every time you're on Facebook needs a hobby!"
Unfortunately, that light switch never seems to waver from the OFF position.
For me, I don't have time to cyberstalk. One of my Facebook buddies from high school, Eric Hoegsted, put it best:
"I work 24/7 so I'd have to be like okay, I can stalk you in 6 weeks at 2
o'clock but only for 18 minutes because I have to make my delivery on time or
I'll be late."
I'm getting off this computer right now. As soon as I check my e-mail because AOL just pinged me.
Monday, November 2, 2009
"I want to hate but I have no room for it in my heart."This is what my pastor Ron Armstrong said as he sat in court fifteen away from the three men who murdered his son the day after Christmas last year.
I can imagine struggling with forgiveness. I understand staring at the men who took your oldest child away and think, no way are these men going to the same place my son is right now after they leave this earth.
Imagine the strength you need to fill up your heart with hate. It's easy to hate, don't you think? It isn't. It takes more strength to hate and it exhausts you more quickly. It takes more passion to despise and it envelops you more.
Having no room for the people who most deserve hate is a strength most of us will never achieve.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Image via WikipediaAs I shopped this weekend for Halloween goodies, I noticed the Christmas decorations right next to the costumes at Target.
Although most everyone says it's way too early to think about Christmas in October, I was thankful because it reminded me of one of the best Christmases our family had in the year 2000.
In the ICU Children's Hospital of Los Angeles on an early December morning, Dr. Winfield Wells strolled into my daughter Holly's room.
His street clothes looked like Pat Boone circa 1962: polo shirt, plaid golf pants and white shoes. Holly's cardiologist said he was the best pediatric cardiac surgeon on the planet and I think he knew it.
His team of doctors clamored around him like an entourage with their clipboards and white coats. He said, "It looks like we don't need to put in a pacemaker after all!" A few days earlier he easily patched up Holly's 15-month-old heart with Dacron like a piece of fabric on a rag doll.
She was born with a large ventricular septal defect. After the surgery, it was doubtful Holly's heart would ever beat on its own hence the need for a pacemaker. I talked to God the night before and said if she needs a pacemaker then she needs one.
My husband Tim and I will deal with it. When Holly was born there was never any doubt that Holly wouldn't survive, she just needed extra care. My parents helped us out with that for the first 10 months of her life.
My mom said she would never leave me to take care of Holly by myself. And I think I knew why. My grandmother died from something similar - a leaky heart valve at age 39.
When I told Mom the news about Holly, she immediately put her hands over her face and wailed, no doubt remembering how she watched her young mother pass away.
It took Holly 15 months to gain enough weight for the operation. When she was ready, Dr. Wells said he could wait until after the holidays but we said no, we wanted it done right away.
If she was in the hospital on Christmas day then so be it. There will be more Christmases to celebrate the regular way if there is a such a thing. Most people find the antiseptic smell of hospital rooms annoying but to me it's comforting.
That smell reminds me that we are in the hands of God and that He sends us angels in the bodies of doctors and nurses clad in white to fix whatever needs fixing. The morning Holly went in, a tall nurse with perfect makeup and a bright smile with a Christmas bow on her surgical cap told us,
"Now is the time for hugs and kisses," right before they took her into OR. She gave Holly a teddy bear with a tiny green surgical mask.
When Holly came to, she was attached to tubes and wires when she opened her mouth to cry but no sound came out. My husband left the room but I stayed for her to hear my voice and feel my hand on hers. She had such a small soft hand which gripped my fingers, scarred from surgical tape and IV tubes. Holly was too little to understand the concept of Santa Claus.
I was glad I didn't have to explain that Santa also delivers gifts to hospitals on Christmas Eve. But I wrote her a letter on memo pad paper answering any questions if she was old enough to ask them.
She might ask, "If I'm not allowed to have a Christmas tree in ICU, where does Santa put the presents?" I'd say, "He delivers them to the doctors and nurses and mommies and daddies to bring them to you."
Or she might ask, "Hospitals don't have chimneys, how does he get in?" I'd say, "The nice workers let him in through the front doors."
But there was no need for explanation. The night before her scheduled second surgery to insert a pacemaker, her little heart started beating on her own.
The nurses checked and rechecked the long strips of paper that printed out the rhythm of her heart beats. Doctors upon doctors came into her room looking at the monitors, then at her, then at us. They all said the same thing: "We didn't expect this."
Within a day, Holly began sitting up, dancing in her seat to Disney cartoons. We left the hospital on Christmas Eve. I got to hold her while a nurse wheeled us out which I was robbed of after she was born since Holly had to stay in neonatal ICU.
When Holly saw the sunlight as the doors opened, she smiled, giggled and clapped at it like she just found her favorite toy. On the way home we stopped at McDonald's and tasted those salty and crispy French fries while she chomped away. No more baby hospital food!
There were dark circles under her eyes as we unwrapped presents by the tree that night. But her hazel eyes lit up as she saw the orange teddy bear named Ojo from the TV show Bear in the Big Blue House.
Today, as a ten-year-old, she wants nothing to do with that bear but I keep it up on my dresser, ready with a patch and thread if it ever needs them.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
*Hair courtesy of Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame.
*Collar courtesy of one of Elvis's jumpsuits.
*Makeup courtesy of whatever was on sale at Walgreens.
My mission back then was to be deliriously happy because that's what Bruce Willis wrote in his high school yearbook. Who says dreams aren't achieved?
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
God loves fathers. He is one. ~Dr. James I. Lamb
*George Harrison - father of his look-alike son Dhani
*Hunter S. Thompson - father of Juan, who was at his house when Hunter shot himself.
*Orson Welles - father of Christopher, Rebecca, and Beatrice.
*Ray Bradbury - father of Susan, Ramona, Bettina, and Alexandra. Mr. Bradbury writes back to those who send him things via snail mail. He knew he had to pursue the creative life when he met Mr. Electrico.
And to my own celebrity dad, Bob Fortney who said this as we watched Donna Summer perform on TV one night: "Donna Summer? Isn't she on Three Different Strokes?"
February was always the cruelest month for Hunter S. Thompson. An avid NFL fan,
Hunter traditionally embraced the Super Bowl in January as the high-water mark
of his year. February, by contrast, was doldrums time. Nothing but monstrous
blizzards, bad colds and the lackluster Denver Nuggets.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Sorry I forgot :( to put this check in Holly's card. I'm so
forgetful. At least I haven't stuffed your dad in the clothes dryer
Monday, September 28, 2009
*Will I need surgery to have breasts? Why does a woman want surgery to have bigger breasts? (after I explained what boob jobs are)
*Why did your then two-year-old sister stare at her food on the table but didn't hesitate to eat it off the floor?
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Image via Wikipedia
She asked, "Just like mint soup?"
"Yeah, like mint soup." I added she sounded like a poet.
"What's a poet?"
"It's when a writer uses words to make them sound pretty."
"I thought a poet was an animal," she said.
"Yeah, that too."
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Image via WikipediaSome days I strive to be just like Donna Reed in my quest for perfect motherhood. Other days I feel more like Sylvia Plath, who at least made her kids peanut butter sandwiches before she gassed herself to death.
When I found out my first child was a girl, I thought, oh how sweet, I'll have hours of enjoyment brushing her hair every night. Nope. She runs away screaming if I even come near her with a comb, brush, or even a plastic fork to get the knots out.
When my second daughter came along, I thought, oh how sweet, they'll have hours of enjoyment dressing up in fairy costumes and having tea parties. Nope. They'd rather wrap themselves up in towels, put their hair up in ponytails and play Sumo wrestlers.
Since Donna Reed kept a pristine House of Order, I first vow to keep on top of laundry. But my girls go through more wardrobe changes in a day than Cher, Madonna and Mariah Carey combined. Costumes are strewn all over the master bedroom. Wigs adorn lamp shades. The buffet table back stage serves only M&Ms and grape Popsicles.
You know the scene in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas where Raoul Duke wakes up in the hotel room wearing fisherman boots and a dinosaur tail? He wades in a foot of water and sighs, "Oh Debbie," to Debbie Reynold's shrine at the altar. That's what my living room looks like.
Most days I maintain a nurturing voice like Donna Reed, but I still lose my cool. I knew I had to stop cussing in front of my kids when my then 4-year-old asked me how to spell DAMMIT on the fridge with magnetic letters. Another time my older daughter said, "I'm so sick of this crap!" And I had a REALLY hard time explaining that crap isn't technically a bad word but used in that manner it is. Which really frustrates the crap out of me.
Regarding my appearance, I maintain a somewhat demure Donna Reed-like manner in my choice of fashion. But with some young women that my girls encounter, I can't cover their eyes quick enough.
One evening, I took my daughters to a restaurant called Texas Loosey's. I had "Kids Eat Free" coupons so silly me for thinking it might be family-friendly. Our waitress comes to the table. She's dressed in a bikini, leather chaps with the derriere hanging out, belly ring, and a cowboy hat (cover your head dear, Lord knows we don't want you to catch cold). My youngest took one look and said, "WHAAAAAT?"
When the day is over and we settle down, we do have those moments that probably would make great sappy television. We get together and I'll read a book like Nancy Tillman's On the Night You Were Born, or anything by Karma Wilson or Eric Carle.
We also have in-depth conversations on what it's like to be different ages. My oldest daughter asks me what age I'd like to be. Not to let on that I want to be anything different than I already am, I say, "I want to be 41." She, at age 9, replies, "I want to be 14." And my youngest, whom I dub "The Princess of Non-Sequitur," says, "I want to be a donut."
And then my need for Donna Reed subsides quicker than a commercial break.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
The worst thing about the internet is that anybody can say anything they want to for the world to read.
Hence, I created A Jackass's Guide to InterNetiquette
1. Don't namedrop. Why? Unless you have something unique and interesting to say about a celebrity, No.One.Cares.
Nobody really cares if you saw Mario Lopez at the gym, or Dean Cain at Venice Beach, or Elliot Gould at the post office (all of which happened to me by the way. See? See how annoying that is?) I'm all for hearing great stories about great people, though, so if you're going to say something, make it worth reading.
Here's an example from one of my internet friends Sam from Mayberry:
I actually got to meet Paul Stanley with my wife and kid at Wentworth Galleries a couple of years ago.
We bought a print of "Green Planet" and Paul was extra cool to my little girl, Kenzie.
She told him that she was just starting to play bass and he asked how old she was and she told him 11. He then said he had a son that was around the same age and that the two of them should get together and jam.
Without missing a beat Kenzie looks him dead in the eye and says, "Hey, sounds good. I'm always lookin' for people." To which he laughed heartily.
2. Think up comebacks quickly. You look like a loser if you wait more than 24 hours to say whatEVER to someone who typed an emoticon with rolling eyes.
3. Never say anything you wouldn't mind getting beat up for in public.
4. Don't make fun of what anybody does for a living, or what someone doesn't do for a living. Stay-at-home moms work harder than you ever will. So don't try to intimidate us with your nasty remarks from your big scary keyboard.
5. Never tell anyone they're wasting time on the internet and they should spend more time with real people. Because look around you. You aren't exactly the social butterfly yourself.
Follow these 5 simple rules and you'll be a well-rounded person in virtual AND real time.
Image via Wikipedia
"It's not just that you're never coming back to me, it's the bitter way that
I was told." -- Elvis
Costello, "The Comedians"
Elvis Costello sure got around in 1989. He had a great album called Spike, a hit song "Veronica," and wrote "My Brave Face"for Paul McCartney. But the one song I most remember Costello for, in spite of an illustrious songwriting career, is "The Comedians" for Roy Orbison's album, Mystery Girl.
All these songs were hits at the same time I dated my ex-boyfriend, fiancee, whatever you want to call him. Always a ring but never a date despite everyone asking us when the BIG DAY was.
He took me to a wedding in which he was a member of the party. I sat at my table fuming while watching him dance song after song with a beautiful brunette bridesmaid who sang at the wedding. He asked me, "Isn't she a wonderful singer?" This is where the phrase, "Dance with the girl you came with" found its literal meaning.
I watched them dance, and when I they stopped I thought, maybe, just maybe, he'd ask me to dance. Yet, DJ played another song and they kept dancing.
Before I sat down to watch these comedians, his brother helped me with my chair at our table. When he struggled with pushing me in, he said, "My brother's right, you have gained weight!"
Wow, how many blows can a gal take? The kicker was that I wasn't even fat, at least from my 41-year-old self today looking back 20 years . I just didn't fit into that skinny '80s aerobic biker short and leg warmer ideal.
It was after Marilyn Monroe but before J.Lo when curves were embraced; that horrible Jane Fonda-type era. Not only was Fonda Hanoi Hanna, she helped throw young girls into body obsession.
There were so many songs that year that helped me overcome this breakup. One was "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" by Tom Petty on Full Moon Fever. It's practically a copycat of Roger McGuinn's performance of the same song. No matter. All that really mattered were the lyrics:
Now I got to say
That it's not like before
And I'm not gonna play
Your game any more
After what you did
I can't stay on
And I'll probably feel a whole lot better
When you're gone
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Image via WikipediaHolly came up with an astute analogy on writing the other day. She said it's like an ice cream sundae: writing is ice cream, people reading it is chocolate syrup, and getting paid is the cherry on top.
Think about it. You can enjoy the ice cream by itself by just writing. It's even better with the toppings. But you don't need the cherry to delight in the entire experience. I think, how does she do that? How is she on this earth for only ten years and come up with that? And why didn't I think of it first?
Maybe when I need to discipline her I take away her books. And for that I have to thank Paula Danziger and her Amber Brown series which got Holly to not only start reading but to enjoy it. She related to the second grade character whose best friend moved away which happened to Holly in second grade also. Amber grew up but didn't get past 4th grade because sadly Danziger passed away from a heart attack in 2004.
I mentioned to Holly that some day she could continue the Amber Brown series but she said no. Her current project is a comic book series called Die Barney, as in the purple dinosaur. I'm not sure whether to be proud or disturbed. I'm banking on pride.