Tuesday, July 27, 2004

the hess-hnatusko continuum

there's a surprise around every corner when you and your loved one merge families.  learning more and more about how the other tribe operates can be... fascinating.  yeah, that's what i'll say it is... fascinating.  okay, how about educational?

i have gone on several delightful junkets with my inlaws.  this weekend, we'll be off for my mother's family's much-anticipated family reunion.  juxtaposing my experiences thus far, i present:


hess: swap multiple e-mails replete with web page urls of attractive locations.

hnatusko: rock-paper-scissors for who has to call big sister [staunch luddite, pennypincher, and all-around misanthrope] and hound her about why she really ought to go on this trip.

hess: organize in advance whether the family will be dining out each night [provide location and attire] or if someone will make dinner [menu, please].  cc: entire family acerbic banter between city mice and country mice about pickiness of palates and skill of others' cooking.

hnatusko: where are we going?  let's start with the name of the city.  that'd be nice.

hess: equip oneself with gps device, cell phone, and several maps and directions printed off internet to get to vacation destination at scheduled time.  do not be late under penalty of law.

hnatusko: post all meeting times at least 30 minutes in advance; chronic lateness is a hereditary sickness.  attachment with directions was sent to less computer-savvy sister who claimed it was blank.  can't reach parents -- what parent of a child over 25 actually keeps their cell phone on when not in use?  let's be reasonable here.

hess: plans shift and adjust to suit napping nephews.  for the love of all that is holy, stop talking so loud.

hnatusko:  gotta get home in time to feed, medicate, and let out the pack of dogs -- some infirm, some still puppies, lead by a few precocious shih-tzus.  whoops!  just spray some nature's miracle on it and let it dry.  the smell will come out.

hess: housing arrangements with carefully measured ratio of children per adult -- check!

hnatusko: mom and i seat ourselves with our hearing aides facing the group.  who's coming again? ohhh.  okay.  and where are we all staying now? 

where do you fall in the continuum?

Monday, July 26, 2004

caution: disgusting female functions

it often frustrates me how exclusively female functions are either ignored or made to seem just gross.  i was just reading the least of my worries and was reminded of a time when i became overwhelmed with grief over it. i can't remember what i was reading in bed one night [maybe catfight by leora tanenbaum] but it entailed the pain of childbirth, the treatment of post-partum mothers, and the laws pertaining to maternity leave. i just laid there, letting it all swirl in my head [with an elevated hormonal level, no doubt], and just started weeping. specifically, it struck me as so unfair that there are no medical advances made to help women with easier labor and childbirth. it doesn't seem particularly alarming to anyone else that the pain has been likened to the most a human being can withstand without dying? that a mother blocks it out to ensure the survival of the human race? and people are actually surprised that more and more women today opt for c-sections? epidural-schmepidural: there's got to be a better way. there sure seem to be a lot of erectile-enhancement products out there -- what about taking care of what happens afterward? just ignore it: people do it anyway, right?

what about the whole brazilian craze?  like round hips and thighs, pubic hair is now just another secondary sex characteristic that will actually lessen your chances of getting some action instead of increasing it as nature intended.  armageddon is surely at hand.  when you're up there straddling for a stranger while she painfully rips all fur from every nook and cranny, sing it with chaka: "i'm every woman, it's all in me!/anything you want done, baby, i'll do it  [insert adverb of your choice]!"

trisha writes about a 15-year-old girl who likens breastfeeding in a restaurant to changing diapers at a dinner table. to think that girls today have such a disparaging view of the natural processes of motherhood seems more than a little tragic. now that today's teen icons are getting married, perhaps there will be some provocative moment to make breastfeeding "kewl." i can see it: britney gets knocked up and has a child, then does a rolling stone cover "mid-meal." all doe-eyes, glossy parted lips, and tousled blonde locks, she's seated with her long, tanned legs to one side, her rhinestone-studded la leche league baby tee hiked up as little [insert biblical name] suckles endearingly, oblivious to camera.  the magazine cover reads britney: she told us they were real!

i saw an ad in a magazine that made a used maxi-pad seem as stinky and disgusting as a poop-filled baby diaper. there was literally a baby with a clothes pin on its nose in the ad. no one loves dealing with their period every month for forty years [in the fifth grade sex ed, it sounded like a prison sentence to me], but now we have to be made to feel shameful about it? i figure, why not learn to deal with it with some aplomb and personal style instead of hatred and disgust? i'm checking out the reusable products scene: in addition to being ecologically sound, they do seem like a positive way to make peace with your body [and with all the colors, patterns, and soft fleece, cute and comfy] but the jury is still out. maybe it will take another wardrobe malfunction like xtina's gladrag peeking from her thong as she's humped by three other dancers for those to become hip and trendy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

is pat the enemy?

i was wandering my local target [love it -- two floors, free parking garage, starbucks inside] last night and walked past the little kids clothes sections.  in the girls section, every thing was either festooned with glitter or ruffles, some shade of pink or purple, or both.  amidst the racks and rounders was a baby in a stroller with one of those elastic ruffle-bow headband jobbies on.

why do people feel that those lacy infant headbands are important?  have you ever worn an elastic band around your head all day?   it's not really all that comfortable.  now consider wearing a band around your incompletely formed head without hair or the motor skills to take it off and give yourself a good skull-rub before putting it back on at just the right halo-esque angle.  oh, and don't forget that you don't have the verbal capacity to say if it's pinching your little ol' fontanelles.  is it really that vital to broadcast: "attention, target shoppers!  this is a girl!  repeat: this is a girl!"

what would really happen if you put your baby in non-gender specific clothing?  people wouldn't know how to relate to it, right?  they wouldn't know whether to call it pretty or tickle its chubby tummy a little more vigorously.  are people afraid of the "pat phenomenon"?

if you have a lot of "boy clothes" and you find yourself with a girl, do you really have to go buy all new "girl things"?  why are these things important?

p.s.  there was a really glittery, sassy little tee that said, "princess preppy."  huh?  what does preppy mean nowadays?  there was no grosgrain to be found and i'm pretty sure it was poly-cotton blend... and the glitter?  i never saw glitter at pappagallo, have you?  is there a new definition for preppy today?

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

tho thick [snurp]

o, mighty gallagher!  bless me with your healing powers!

i'm sick.  i have a head cold, so i spent monday on the couch.  i haven't done that in a really long time.  remember when you were a kid and you camped out on the couch when you were home sick from school?  my mom would get me a happy meal and rent me gallagher videos from dog ear video at the plaza del prado.  i'd break out the ol' white melamine nesting tables [my house was the epitome of glenbrook 80's fashion], atop of which i would arrange my tissues, medicines, coughdrops, and happy meal toy.  something about smashing watermelons with a sledge-o-matic i still find oddly therapeutic.  as much as i dread having sick kids, i do look forward to helping them create those rituals that make feeling shitty okay sometimes.  when i was a kid, i thought those parents that made their sick kids stay in bed were sadists. 
i took advil cold & sinus, which i perhaps erroneously believed to be non-drowsying.  as soon as that glistening golden drop bursts in my stomach, like clockwork, I pass out for about 45 minutes then wake up and resume business as usual [upn court-style reality show].  when it came time to actually go to bed,  i was looking forward to bussin' out dat sweet ny-ny juice -- you got it: nyquil.   nope: tossing & turning, channeling messages from alpha centauri.
the odd face rash has once again re-emerged... sans contact with strange cats.  the left side of my face and now both ears are itching like mad.  this morning, a blister spontaneously erupted on my upper lip where it meets my lower lip!  you know that jobby didn't last long -- chomped.  slapped on some "acne-inducing" cream the dermatologist gave me, but it's still ugly.  anyone know why my face would be doing this?  i don't want to go back to dr. lime juice.

Friday, July 16, 2004

someone likes to take pictures of themselves an awful lot

awww... what a cute,  happy li'l bunny.


my cat raynaud is the best birthday present i've ever gotten. 
every day, after walking back and forth rubbing against my face while i type, he lays down on a stack of papers and conks out.  then, if i'm on the phone, he gets up and resumes face-rubbing.  ray seems to get jealous of the person i'm talking to on speakerphone [or maybe he's one of those guys that just bans speakerphone use] so he walks over and knocks the receiver off the cradle to stop the infernal yapping.
toddlers have proven to be a source of fear and hatred for my other two moggies.  not for the squirt.  he rolls around on his back and, despite their squeals of excitement and heavy-handed petting [read "bonking on head with heel of hand"], he is always gentle.  who would have thought he'd ever be close to as much fun as my late ollie was?  i wish oliver was still alive and not in that vase on my bookshelf -- they'd'a been buds.
he does have some odd feral cat habits; we picked him up as a stray from chicago animal care and control [da soufside pound!  holla!].  he paws around his water dish before drinking [clearing a puddle?]  the other cats are like, "dude.  you mind much?  yer gettin' yer digits in my bevvie."  jackson and chippie give him the ol' eff-you, feline style [jerk paw violently and walk away].
one fortunate feral tendency is to bury his crap like a champ.  there's a veritable pyramid of litter over the slightest morsel of waste.  jackson [gumblequeue] can take a few tips: he just leaves a man-size log to fester atop the mound and bails.  it's like stosh the plumber [another story -- another time] came over and got desperate after clearing out the elston white castle... again.
happy friday!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

born-again g.d.i.

i've been reading reviews of and hearing about pledged, a book about behind the scenes in sorority life.

there have been buzzes about the atrocities of greek life before. like the standard big-university, big-national sorority sister that i was, i dismissed the complaints, thinking, "my god, that would never have flown at my house. that's totally some local sorority that has no supreme governing body." from whom what i read and heard, this book deals with more than the unusual bad judgment calls. this book uncovers issues that plague almost any house: psychological ramifications of the selection process, racial and economic biases, phony philanthropic efforts, etc.

i'll prolly get the book, but it's preaching to the choir. looking back on my greek experience, i'd have to say that it was a waste of my parents' money. i am not friends with any of the women in my house anymore, mainly because the ones to which i was closest used me as the butt of all their jokes. a lot of my "sisters" were downright mean to me, and for some reason, i just took it. i now have neatnik tendencies that are seated in some anxiety [insert lemon/lemonade adage here]. a former friend and sorority sister of mine came to this same conclusion years ago, and i didn't get it. i tried talking her out of it. now that i can see it from a far, and she was right. it was a lot of needless, expensive, mean-spirited bullshit.

up until a few months ago, i was still getting the national publication -- i've since discontinued my subscription. i would flip through it and just wonder what the purpose was, what these people who are still so strong with their alumnae societies got that i didn't, and what the draw continues to be. i see my stupid real-gold pin studded with pearls [not cheap] and i get mad thinking what a waste it was. considering i rarely got dressed for chapter meetings because they occurred after dance team practice, i rarely wore it. people actually invested in ones with diamonds? why?

what was the point of it all? why do you value your greek experience? right now, i definitely don't think i will encourage my children to rush. it can be argued that, in some respects, i'm a night-and-day negative of my college self, but i just don't think i ever really knew what the whole point was.

...except a free ticket to mack with all the frat boys. ya got me there.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

quesadilla = pesadilla

after seeing fahrenheit 9/11 last night at the century, we went to cafe el tapatio on ashland for dinner... at 9 pm. combating indigestion, we went straight to fitful, hallucinogenic sleep:

dream #1: this dream came in the middle of the night. i am in an unfinished basement in someone's house when i see what looks like my dad wind up for the pitch and severely bitch-slap my little sister, clutching her shirt. i see my mom running up the stairs. i wake myself up hearing my partially sleep-paralyzed mouth yell "monster!" aloud. it was so vivid and just shocking. [to clarify, my father never hit any of us.]

dream #2: this dream came after waking and going back to sleep, still feeling rotten... and man, it gets weirder. i was in some dining situation with casey and other guys and waiting for a dish that was touted in maxim magazine. this manly breakfast delicacy was called "trout". it was a large oval platter heaped with steaming chocolate cream of wheat with a pie-slice shaped trench at one end. the trench is then filled with maple syrup, in which the chef drops a live fish, about three inches in length. the trench is then partially covered with a hot slice of canadian bacon which is topped with fried egg.

when the platter was brought to the table, the fish suffocating in its pond of maple syrup was swimming, splashing, and thrashing about, trying to throw off the egg and meat trap. the guys were like, "aw, cool!" i was completely horrified and woke up.

moral: don't eat mexican food and go right to sleep [especially if you're a vegetarian feminist with a strained father-child relationship.]

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

closet mojito-drinker?

my large clumps of itching, blistery unhappiness seem to be dissipating: my wrist has a shiny scar, and my foot is still crusty and a little itchy on the outside.

i did manage to break out in a rash on the left side of my face for no apparent reason yesterday when i went back down to isu. red bird arena was hot as always and my hair was nice and greasy and sticking to my face, too. whee. that was fun: meeting my clients and wanting to wail, "i am not... an animal! i am a human being!" my mother suspected ringworm [from neighbor's/shelter cat contact] so i smeared on some lotrimin, just for giggles.

went to the dermatologist. man alive. is it going to take a major health catastrophe for me to have faith in the medical profession?!

doctor: "uh, so were you, like, out in the sun? at a party? drinking mixed drinks? with lime?"

me: [pondering] "no."

doctor: "did you have a drink with lime juice out in the sun? maybe something with lime in it?"

me: "nnnnope."

doctor: "take your flip-flop off...put it back on. uh-huh, i see... well, [prodding my instep] what you have here is very telling geographically. you were having a lime-juice drink in the sun and you contracted an allergic reaction to the lime-juice. yes, that's it. here's some cream. have a nice summer!"

alison moyet look-alike/receptionist:"that's a $20 copay please."

me: wtf!

Thursday, July 01, 2004

air travel for dummies

on the topic of cluelessness, i would love to propose the creation of a traveler's primer. i was at midway airport this weekend and was surprised [read: annoyed] at the number of novice flyers. i know midway serves as chicago's veritable junior varsity airport [insert chicken salad/shit adage here], but i think everyone would benefit from some helpful hints.

  • the self-service e-ticket machines are idiot-proof. just calm yourself and read the screen. stop panicking. if you would have arrived earlier, you would be more lucid right now.

  • attention all men: for the love of all that is holy, either get a purse for all the crap you carry in your pockets that causes the x-ray scanner to beep or get with the program and start taking it out of your pockets when you're about eight people away from walking through. i highly recommend a manpurse. seriously, self-inflicted humiliation can be reckoned with whereas unruly, pissed-off, impatient people cannot.

  • on the same note, be proactive! if you think your shoes have metal in them, take them off. if they don't [gym shoes], spare us. if you cannot discern between the two types of shoes, i can only determine you have metal in your head and give you pitying stares.

  • if you don't have fleas, it's okay to sit next to someone at the gate. if it wasn't, they would not put chairs next to eachother. the infamous 'fag rule' [two guys may not sit together unless they are romantically involved] is not applicable when there is a dearth of seating. be confident in your sexuality, for pete's sake.

  • be kind. don't eat the stinkiest food you can find on the plane. no one wants to smell that, dude.

  • if you have to blow your nose, simply hit the call-button and ask the flight attendant for a tissue. snorting your mucus back into your throat is offensive in some cultures, namely those from places where people don't wipe their butts with leaves.