Tuesday, December 04, 2007

can't get any easier

for 35 years, my appreciation for how challenging it is to celebrate my december 20 birthday has had time to mellow and cure. let's face it: christmas and new year's take up so much energy and concentration that, try as you might, it's just harder to really devote any large amount of energy toward yet another quasi-holiday. i feel for you of mixed- faith households. my god, can you imagine having to push a baby out on that day? i would have just sunk to the bottom of the tub like a rock from sheer exhaustion... my poor mama.

perhaps i have a severely overblown idea of what birthdays are supposed to be like, but when you grow up knowing everyone will be in florida or mexico or the caribbean over winter break and you're at the snoop shop, possibly the 80's most exciting north shore birthday party destination ever, for your eagerly anticipated birthday party, and you're licking your severely chapped lips while painting your oversized hamburger plaster plaque all by your lonesome while a treacherous amount of snow falls outside, just the notion of getting to hand out treats during homeroom to throngs of sugar-crazed kids seems like most exciting, self-celebratory moment ever. we won't even mention how absolutely decadent it seemed to have actual birthday gifts that aren't piggy-backed with another holiday's gifts were.

okay: call the waah-mbulance already. my point is, i'm older and wiser and have gained perspective. i have learned that, if you want fabulosity on your birthday, you've gotta roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty. as dirty as your computer keyboard, anyway.

if you were planning on giving me a gift for my birthday, i've gone ahead and taken all the guesswork out for you. you can find everything my greedy little heart desires at:


now, you don't have to spend any time schlepping aimlessly through the mall, sweating your ass off in your winter coat, resisting the intoxicating aroma from auntie anne's, trying to find a gift that, heck, i might end up having some kind of nervous breakdown over anyway. instead, with a little clickety-click, you've gifted, and you can come celebrate my 35th with me!

oh! and even better? you can use that list for christmas, too! woot! see? double-dipping those holidays really does pay off!

now, what day works best for you? friday the 21st? saturday the 22? or sunday the 23rd?

Friday, November 30, 2007

are you smarter than kellie pickler?

how absolutely mortifying. lucky for her, she doesn't even know the magnitude of her ignorance.

holiday spirit in a virtual box

though the holidays instill anxiety in so many, i am actually finding the christmas spirit is lessening the a sense of dread i usually feel as i draw closer and closer to the dance competition season. soon, my life will be filled with:
  • papercuts on chapped, raynaud's-afflicted digits

  • visits to kinko's to make endless copies where i bask in the winter sun through the window in efforts to lessen any seasonal affective disorder

  • compulsively checking the mainframe like a freak for new entries again and again

  • weeknights getting lost in the dark while driving back from the north shore suburbs after coaching for some freelance ducats

as i dive headfirst into the logistical soup that is staffing my events for starters, i dial up a station on pandora called "jazz holidays". instantly, i am craving:

  • celebrating birthday after birthday with laughter-filled meals

  • cozy scarves, warm socks and my mega-heavy boots

  • trips to starbucks for delicious holiday drinks and snacks

  • back and foot rubs on the couch with family, snuggled under blankets

  • the sense of accomplishment i feel looking at all the gifts on my list purchased and beautifully wrapped

heck, i might not even object to breaking out our spartan collection of christmas decorations... if we could just figure out how to do a tree now that otto is walking.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

meme designed by burglars

here's a great meme from jamie to save the day for those of us who, gosh, really want to post but [insert excuse here]. here goes!

1. what kind of soap is in your bathtub right now? j/a/s/o/n tea tree. it's a little harsh for this time of year. we usually have method olive leaf.

2. do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator? not anymore. i just stopped buying slices.

3. what would you change about your living room? i would make it wider so we have more options to place furniture. i'd also spring for the can lights since it tends to be pretty dark in there. i also wish we had a clock in there. casey and i are always asking each other what time it is. or, i wish someone would install the pucklights that i bought a long time ago into the built-ins. that'd sure be nice.

4. are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty? dirty.

5. what is in your fridge? a lot of yummy food. point?

6. white or wheat bread? wheat.

7. what is on top of your refrigerator? a small television, otto's halloween candy, and a bottle of bacardi.

8. what color or design is on your shower curtain? we have glass doors on our upstairs shower and our downstairs shower is clear with a blue tint and has a bubble pattern.

9. how many plants are in your home? eight.

10. is your bed made right now? yes.

11. comet or soft scrub? neither -- bon ami. it doesn't contain chlorine bleach.

12. is your closet organized? mostly: all shirts are arranged by color, and pants are sort of together, at least on my rod.

13. can you describe your flashlight? i have a firefly: it's a lid for a nalgene that is embedded with a small light. when you turn the light on by pressing the small button on the top of the lid, it makes your bottle a lantern. i love it!

14. do you drink out of glass or plastic more at home? glass.

15. do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now? no.

16. if you have garage, is it cluttered? no, i don't think so.

17. curtains or blinds? blinds.

18. how many pillows do you sleep with? one.

19. do you sleep with any lights on at night? no, none.

20. how often do you vacuum? maybe once a week on mondays. otherwise, ana does most of the vacuuming.

21. standard toothbrush or electric? standard.

22. what color is your toothbrush? a putrescent pearl and seafoam.

23. do you have welcome mat on your front porch? no.

24. what is in your oven right now? nothing.

25. is there anything under your bed? no; storing things under your bed is bad feng shui.

26. chore you hate the most? vacuuming the effing stairs. never again, mark my words, will i have carpeting on a staircase!

27. what retro items are in your home? some old vintage lamps, old guitars, old drums, old amps. hell, this is an old-ass house! it is, itself, retro.

28. do you have separate room you use an an office? sort of; my landing on the second floor is not enclosed but it's my office.

29. how many mirrors are in your home? 5

30. do you have any hidden emergency money around your home? why are you asking?

31. what color are your walls? in my office, they are dove grey.

32. what does your home smell like right now? a delightful melange of murphy's oil soap, homemade tea tree surface spray, coffee, and cat. mmmm...

33. favorite candle scent? i like fig, honeysuckle, and most herbal fragrances. nothing foody -- it clashes with the base notes of the litterbox.

34. what kind of pickles are in your refrigerator right now? cack! none!

35. ever been on your roof? no.

36. do you own a stereo? yes, at least two.

37. how many tv’s do you have? i think we have five. jeez, a lot of inventory questions... are you planning a robbery or what?

38. how many phones? four.

39. do you have a housekeeper? yes, nanny/housekeeper.

40. what style do you decorate in? depends what area of the house you are in. upstairs, we endeavor to decorate in a minimalist modern style. downstairs is more mid-century modern mixed with splashes of fisher-price and a few elements of sports authority... oh, and don't forget those artful touches of cat vomit.

41. do you like solid colors in furniture or prints? i prefer solids.

42. is there a smoke detector in your home? you betcha.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

disturbed sleep = disturbed dreams

o, benevolent miracles & milestones™ select-a-show soother™, what would we do without thee?

with the ever-emerging teeth in otto's mouth, even a pre-emptive strike in the form of children's motrin at bedtime cannot prevent him from waking once the sweet drug's magic has worn off. he'll sleep well for eight hours, but after 4:00, all bets are off.

my sleep this morning was pockmarked with warbling shrieks and, consequently, two visits to the nursery. at some point after having gotten otto reasonably soothed, i had the most awful and disturbing dream.

i found myself at a sales presentation. i sat there and listened to the rep's spiel about some kind of infants' and children's hibernation chambers. there on the floor were what looked to me to be cheerful little caskets. some were pink and glittery and shaped like a fiberglas canopy bed, perfect for your little sleeping beauty. there was a thomas the train model, all glossy and blue. there were green jungle ones with fiberglas bananas hanging from the corners and sports-themed units with baseball bats welded to the base. there was even a tiny, creme colored bassinet sized chamber and my fellow audience members gushed over how sweet that was. each one was capped with a heavy, color coordinated lid.

i observed the presentation but i was totally confused; what the hell are these things? there was no mention of how exactly these chambers were used, so i leaned from my folding chair and asked my sister and a few other people seated around her, "hey. i don't get it. what do people do with those things?" everyone looked at me like i had three heads. my sister kindly replied, "the best time to put them in is when you know they're going to take a long nap already."

i thought, hm. okay, well, some days otto naps for two and half hours but...what am i thinking? my eyes bugged out at the heavy coffin-like doors that adorned each model.

"but wait," i asked, "people just put their kids in those? and shut the door?"

"uh, yeah," another patron replied with knitted eyebrows, looking me up and down. "for, like, six weeks!" the others tittered. "ah, duh!"

"but why?" i pleaded. i could not understand it. you just plop your baby in this box and shut the door and hope he likes it? that he'll just shut off like a doll until you're ready to take him out? i didn't see any cheerfully painted oxygen tanks or feeding tubes nearby.

the other women glared at me and then gave my sister a stern look and she politely replied, "uh, you know. so you can get things done, go on vacation, whatever..." she rolled her eyes a little and the presentation went on.

i awoke at a reasonable hour to hear otto in his crib, rocking out to his lights-and-sound machine, and sighed in relief.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

wanted: toddler-size sleeping bag

otto in daddy's backpack on a walk in the woods

though many have likely already seen these photos on casey's blog, here is a link to the album from our most recent camping trip to wisconsin. this time, we went with some friends. fortunately for otto, amongst them were owners of many, many nascar matchbox cars.

if i look slightly more pallid in the 'do rag shots taken the next morning, that would be because i groggily stuffed my small one into my sleeping bag in the middle of the night, and he was not unlike sleeping with a small goat. throughout the night, he would reach up and grab a fistful of my unruly, growing-out hair, then drift back off into slumberland, still clinging to my head.

note otto's level of dirtiness as the trip progresses. even though we made great use of the acid-trip fleece blanket given to us by the canton hesses, it was no match for the sheer scooting force that is our son. he would not be contained, but he'd occasionally return to the blanket to clutch it to his chest and coo lovingly. even after we washed the booties and brand new pants [thanks, nana and gamper], we were still picking clods of dirt, leaves, and burrs from the seams.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

for the love of dog

i just saw this article and accompanying video of ellen degeneres. very sad. i understand why a stipulation would prevent people just giving their rescued dogs up, but in this instance, it seems like the organization should consider the circumstances and recognize that the spirit of the law is not being challenged here. i know that what will really need to happen is for the family to start double-dutching that red tape: immediately apply to adopt that dog right now. do the little dance. speak the little language. it will be worth it.

this incident reminds me of the movie casey and i saw on sunday, into the wild. like requiring someone to wait twelve years to receive a permit to kayak down a river, had someone used a human ear to listen to ellen's plight instead of just dogmatically [pardon the pun] marching down and yanking the little dude away, it seems to me that this heartache could have been avoided.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

crazy cathy: when mothers attack

i absolutely commiserate with women who are eager for the opportunity to make friends as adults. from almighty oprah to the lowly chain email, girlfriendships are rhapsodized every where you turn. not having female friends? why, that's just unamerican!

i myself recently fell into a friendless stupor. fed up with feeling bled dry by some of my more parasitic pals, i declared myself a friend-free zone. the song 'circle of friends' by edie brickell & the new bohemians became the new national anthem for the nation of perdedora, population 1. as i luxuriated in shivasana at the end of my weekly yoga class, a tear of self-compassion rolled down my face and on to my very un-sticky stickymat.

unbeknownst to me, some small message was cast out into the galaxy that i need alliances. old buddies of every stripe were emailing, calling, and inviting me to lunch. i got a call from my best friend from junior high who now lives nearby with her toddler. a very close friend of mine may be moving back here pending the precarious state of her marriage. another former co-worker moved back here from new york.

i think the heavens may have been a mite bit too fruitful, however. on friday, our little family unit set out for sushi. we like a little place in lincoln square that has good parking and is pretty kid-friendly; usually, all the high chairs are occupied by toddlers brandishing chopsticks while parents gleefully swill their sapporos with little concern. our food had just arrived and we were about to dig in when in comes a woman and her toddler, about the same height but a good ten pounds heftier than otto. his name is willy. she chose a table next to us and plopped her progeny into a high chair facing ours. at first, the interaction was standard and benign: how old's your baby? what's his name? isn't his hair cute? say hi to your new buddy! she introduced herself: cathy.

just as i would begin digging into my rolls, cathy would sip her cocktail, then wheel around and ask me question after question:

where did i live?
what did we order for otto tonight?
what size clothes is otto?
do we need any hand-me-downs?

she insisted repeatedly that she got my number because she just has loads of clothes and they're barely worn. casey and i admitted that, though we have been fortunate enough not to have had to buy any clothes for otto thanks to gifts and loads of clothes from his four cousins, we were experiencing a gap in cool weather items aged 12-18 mo. this was met by another insistance to get my number, so, when she turned to order her big willy some of what otto was chowing down on, i asked casey for a pen and paper. i figured why not give her my number? maybe she's really nice? if anything, we can score some free clothes. casey's eyes darted to the table and back to me. he hissed, "get her number. get her number."

i scrawled my cell on a tattered ATM receipt and passed it over. her eyes lit up and she slowly crumpled the receipt into her pocket. that was it. in retrospect, i now know that was like feeding a wild bear some succulent delights you have hidden right here in this flimsy old tent.

her husband arrived, but you'd barely know they were dining together. after a few more sakes, the questions to me were coming fast and furious. this time, each answer to her question was nonsensically trumped. for instance:

"isn't it frustrating to figure out what they want to eat?"

"oh, my gosh, yeah. so much of what he loved he will no longer eat. i have a whole freezer full of pureed broccoli and sweet potato ice cubes that i have to bury in pasta sauce to get him to..."

"oh, yeah. i did the whole organic make-your-own baby food thing. i did that for a while and then... [rolls eyes and turns to sip sake, then turns back]. i'm gonna call you."

or there's:

"who's you pediatrician?"
"town and country."
"so's mine."
"oh, okay... which office: lincoln or clybourn?"
"clybourn! we see pappas. who's your doctor?"
"i hear great things about pappas! we were seeing lundquist, but we switched to jameston. lunquist wasn't very supportive of our vegetarianism."
"oh, i did the whole vegetarian, vegan, raw-foodist thing for a while, too, yeah. and then i... oh, waiter! can i have another sake? i'm totally calling you, just so you know."

at this point, our friend cathy must have been buzzing to beat the band. she was practically screaming as i hurriedly woofed down my food and casey paid the check. this is when the showstopper, the pièce de resistance finally occurred, thus culminating any further bizarre fumblings for common ground:

"where'd you give birth?"
"northwestern prentice."
"so did i. didn't you just love the birth?"

at this point, casey lobbed one in to the rally.

"she gave birth in the tub."

"[pause] you did? wha-it? they didn't have that when i was there, or i totally woulda done it. when did you do that?"

"um, thirteen months ago.

"they totally didn't have that when i was there and i was there... um... when was i there?"

"uh, isn't willy fifteen months old?"

"uh, yeah. uhhh... nice meeting you."

i'm learning to be receptive. we spent all yoga today opening our heart chakras and concentrating on receiving goodness, breathing it in and out with each loving breath... but i will totally fucking cringe if i get a call from crazy cathy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


while i've never been one for moderation per se, i am a creature craving balance.

otto has been suffering his emerging molars for the past week or so. he wakes up crying between 11 and midnight each night. sometimes, all it takes is a few minutes of snuggling to get him back down, but last night required quite a vigil. he cried in pain which would occasionally afford him some mercy, only to jolt his entire body back into a squealing, bowlike arc.

each time i'd carry otto down to the dark first floor, gumby, the big black cat, came thundering through the catdoor connecting the stairs to the kitchen and launch himself onto the back of the couch in the family room. he gets very agitated when anyone is crying, ill, in active labor, or doing anything at an illogical hour, so he goes into this hypermode like he's some fat, furry superhero only he has no special powers. by the third dramatic entrance, i was over it... so i stuck my bare, flexed foot out and, clutching otto in my arms, tripped the motherfucker. i dutifully soothed the toothed as the minutes ticked by and collapsed into my bed two-plus hours later.

otto woke up crabby and exhausted, so exhausted he fought his nap awhile, but i knew i had to put my game face on: it's well-baby check up day! i spit and hissed at dawdling cars all along clybourn, leaching out the last few drops of concentrated venom before embodying the alert, friendly, smiling mom archetype that garners the best results in this hustle-and-bustle lincoln park pediatric office. i chose words carefully, answered questions thoughfully [but not verbosely], and remembered the questions i needed to ask as otto was measured, prodded, and shot full of holes. ah, the twelve month appointment ain't a pretty one, but my little man blasted through it with flying colors. no time to cry; must. remove. bandaids! he's a budding phaneromaniac if there ever was one.

we return home, i pack a little lunch [soy nut butter and seedless organic blackberry jam on whole grain wheat bread, water, and dried fruit], and the nanny and otto are off to swim at the y. i get to crank out some emails and... time for my conference call! oy.

my friend/colleague and i talk pre-call about how we pine for the annual fall meeting. how invigorating those meets used to be. how these series of calls in replacement are nothing but groupthink sessions, not forums for lively discussion. so not motivating like the old memphis pilgrimage of yore.

after a long night and day of relentless responsibility, what do i do? crack open not one but two blue moons and settle in for a long listen on speakerphone. when answers no one wants to hear are solicited to questions no one wants to answer, i quietly play a few chirps of a cricket .wav file from my laptop and snicker into a pillow like i'm twelve again.

Monday, September 10, 2007

if i were britney's assistant...

i didn't tune in to mtv's vmas last night, but i did catch a glimpse of britney spears' performance this morning on perez hilton. though i must admit the song is hot, i watched in honest horror for her as she marked her way through what could probably have been good choreography. she looked like she could barely stand in those heels, let alone really dance with any zeal. i wonder if the z-list in the back of the venue could even see her, her moves were so small. during those blessed moments when she needed only to stand, she couldn't even muster up the stage presence to strike a fierce, cocky pose. her insecurity, especially as the piece wore on and on, was palpable. the proof is in the pudding: she partied all week and didn't rehearse. if i were evaluating her as a dance camper, she'd be getting the ol' snowball -- the white ribbon-- and the accompanying speech: "keep practicing and once you get the memory, you'll really be able to have fun and smile!"

i'm mainly just sad and confused for her. britney doesn't have the discipline to force herself to work on this momentous performance. never before has the fact that the media sustains itself off her poor judgment hit home like this. every television executive and poptart wrangler stepped aside to let this disaster unfold. she looked like an amateur imitating her former self. without a shred of schadenfreude, i thought about how she has two little boys, both hopefully oblivious to how ridiculous their momma looks in front of millions of people.

i wish she'd follow the footsteps of her mentor, madonna: reinvent thyself! the fashion knowledge i have would fill a scintilla of toilet paper, but i still think i could have gleefully been her stylist. i offer four simple tips:

1) kick the weaves. take it from me: you chopped off all your hair, so you gotta own it. rock out a short retro cut with platinum chunks like p!nk does, or just go ubershort like annie lennox.

2) less is...less. i don't think your body looks that trashed after two kids, but who are we kidding? those hotpants are making your muffin-top rise, girl. let's find something black and glittery, but corseted, covering, and confining. hold that junk in there a little.

3) dancers are there to dance. until you can learn to juggle it all, just sing. pay the young, talented dancers many, many dollars to dance and, hell, gyrate on and grapple you, if you must, but just friggin' stand there, look mildly amused at them, and sing.

4) nail tips are so nineties. if you feel you must glue plastic to your fingers, at least go with a natural or nude look. that french manicure betrays your redneck past.

what would you suggest?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

tortilla chips: the aftermath

went in and got my stitches from my mole biopsies removed. the little buggers were embedded in there and the physician's assistant had to dig with a small trowel into my freshly-scarred skin to get them out.

i rather pointedly mentioned that i had yet to receive a return call with the results of my cytology [or a return call back about correct aftercare, but oh well i guess, right?]. the p.a.'s big blue eyes registered awkward surprise. after the sutures were plucked, he came back with the results. the beast on my back was totally normal, which i knew. the ones that were removed from my front displayed some dysplastic atypia, and while they're not cancerous, it was probably good that they're gone. he recommended i come in for a screening every six months.

as i left, my cell rang; a private call. it was the dermatologist? calling? with the results of my biopsy? she cutely described them as being a three on a ten-point scale of weirdness, and that i needed to come in once a year.

"josh said every six months," i muttered, petting my bandages gingerly.

"josh? when'd you talk to josh?" she asked.

"uh, just now? i just had my sutures removed?"

"ohhh... okay. six months or a year, whatever you're comfortable with."

i guess the million dollar question is: how comfortable am i with having small chunks hacked from my body? not very -- i will keep my six-month appointment.

anyway, the good news was that i don't have cancer! woot! how did i celebrate? sitting at the milwaukee/damen/north stoplight, i reached back with my blunted thumbnail to give the giant crusty scab on my back one last satisfying attempt at freedom.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

what a day

yet again this week, i have an ear infection gone systemic: i feel achy and have a low-grade fever. waiting for my dental dose of ibuprofen to kick in, i quietly churn out some work. casey emails me from the hospital -- still waiting for his appointment, and did i talk to the dermatologist yet about the biopsies? she called last night and left a message and i didn't know. the receptionist took the message that i returned the call and let me know that it would be after four when i'd hear from the doctor because "only she can let you know the results". it's only 2:30! i have at least an hour and a half to try and conjure up a mental image of the carnage that was casey's skin cancer removal and then superimpose that image on the tender skin beneath my small, sagging bosom. neat.

an email then pops up in my inbox entitled "tough one" from the coach of the team for which i've been choreographing since 2001. after a valiant campaign against a handful of bloodthirsty pom moms, she resigned this morning. the battle had been long and tearful, and this ragtag bunch of angry parents have effectively forced my friend's hand to write the letter ending her tenure. this is a team that was recently listed as one of the top 25 dance teams in the nation according to the perez hilton of competitive dance and was a hair from reaching the finals at nationals. now, sans choreographers [my co-choreographer and i have jumped ship], the entire program has been turned on its head.

this squad's losing its fearless leader is devastating to me on several fronts. from a professional standpoint, i've lost a key account, a big name, and an event host. yeah, in terms of personal finances, it stings a little bit: i am losing a little chunk of change not working for them as a freelance consultant, and at my age, finding a new program to work with isn't always feasable or even fun. what hurts the most is being robbed of something i love to do: seeing the ideas that keep me awake at night incarnate, connecting with young women and making an impact on their lives, and working hand in hand with another smart, diligent woman who also has a passion for seeing these girls reach their goals.

as cheesy as it may sound, it's heady stuff. i still harbor some residual addiction to the rush i felt standing in front of 800 dancers and directors, making them laugh, cry, and even yawn. they yawned on purpose of course -- i'd "command" them to yawn during a drill down and then i'd unleash a pent-up yawn and they'd follow suit, laughing at the same time. i taught for twelve years, and now that my ankles are wooden-stiff, my arms have lost their sinew, and my abs have given way to a pregnancy, this little team was my last bastion of creativity. lastly, i really enjoyed my friendship with the coach. we always laughed and gossiped and marveled at improvement together. after a few years, she learned what fueled me and greeted me with a bag of gummy bears, a black gas station coffee, or a diet pepsi when i walked in the gym. some of the parents were terrific, too. they'd pick me up from the airport and give me a hug. it was nice.

at 5:30, i figured i'd be a noodge and call the derma, anxious for the results. she'd already left for the day... without calling me back.

Monday, August 27, 2007

otto is one!

here are some shots casey took of otto's first birthday party. he took the pics and i added the cheesy captions: were a good team like that. enjoy!

Monday, August 20, 2007

i never got into greek guys, but...

casey and i watched 300 last night. i have to say i really enjoyed it quite a bit. the story is really rather simple, and the cinematography is breathtaking, but i have to say i enjoyed feasting my eyes on some very fit, very attractive men.

i'm totally not one for beefcake at all, but good gracious, if women have a reptile brain, then by golly, mine was slithering. i kinda figured that the makeup artist had enhanced the faces and bodies of the actors, and at one point, when the light was just so, everyone's chiseled abs just sort of melted away. after seeing photographs of gerard butler, the actor who played luscious leonidas, i have to say the makeup artist should win an oscar. he's not bad looking, but he ain't no sexy spartan either.

here he is on the left, looking quite kingly on the set...

... and in real life. [yawn]

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

tortilla chips, anyone?

oh, moley moley moles. i had three chopped out today. less than fun. one was just a cute little "cocoa spot" that perched atop my pregnant belly. what will the scar look like when i'm knocked up with #2?

another was a slightly more sinister looking macule hiding out under what is left of my right breast, all stretched and sneaky-looking like a squinty eye. that one required two sets of stitches... yow!

the last, and certainly not least, was the great big colossus that itched the beejeebees out of me in the center of my back. they should ship it to africa and feed several starving villages with it, for chrissakes. roast it on a spit like dr. seuss's roast beast. it was unceremoniously shaved off and is now longingly stinging for its phantom appendage.

for the love of all that is holy, please make an appointment to have a skin screening, everyone. as the surgeon who removed casey's melanoma said, "we go to the dentist regularly, but no one ever dies from a cavity. yet, we neglect our largest organ."

go and be scanned!

Monday, August 13, 2007

ukrainian havoc squad returns!

at long last, i have curated the collection of photos from the family reunion for your viewing pleasure.


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

wanted: photos of ukrainian havoc squad

we're back from the fourth annual hnatusko family reunion in gainesville, ga, and this is the only photo i have to show for it. here's otto at takeoff, snuggled into the sling with his woobie, ready for some sweet, sweet mi-mi time.

see, i've never been a picture-taker. the only reason i have a camera at all is because the one i have i gave to my husband who ended up giving it back to me once he got a fancy-schmancy one. having a camera with a bonafide neckstrap is a declaration that you are hereby the family historian. it's likely that any pictures he's taken will be posted to his web gallery, but if there are any family members reading who would like to donate your photos to posterity, please email them on over.
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little people, big mistake

oh man. i just saw that matt roloff, the dad from the TLC show, "little people, big world" was busted for dui... from a friggin' field sobriety test. ridiculous.

here's what i don't get: for one, why would you submit to a field sobriety test, like, ever? it seems to me to be about as subjective as judging a dance routine. some people just aren't coordinated enough to walk a straight line while sober. when my sorority president was arrested for driving drunk, she did a mandatory seminar for the house on the topic as a form of penance, in which she instructed us to always submit to a blood or urine test and eschew the dodgy field sobriety and breathalizers.

two, how on earth could this guy be evaluated in such a manner -- he walks on crutches! poor little dude. his smile makes me sad.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

the cousins outing: ravinia

last friday, i met up with my sisters and some of my cousins [i'm greek -- i've got a lot of cousins!] at ravinia. the shots are few but poignant. check 'em out. click to enlarge and view in their full splendor:

this is me, pre-ravinia, looking very aggro. note the corrugated brow. i called a cab from my house to the ravenswood metra stop at 5:15 to come at 5:45 -- the cab came at 5:20. because i am just that way, i declined the cab and called back at 5:40. that one never came [they sure showed me!] and so casey and otto drove the CR-V dukes-of-hazzard style uptown to the station. i leapt from the car and ran like a total freak, pushing people out of my way, to the platform, only to discover that, not only was the train ten minutes late, i would have to wait for the next one because there would be no more room on the one i wanted to get on. neato. in retrospect, at least the ride ended up being free.

here are more people who were left in the dust as well. why are they so unruffled? many of them had coolers with actual cold beers nestled inside.

here i am with my lovely sisters dina and nicole, looking far more pleasant. in my hand is a drinking receptacle fashioned, again, á la dukes-of-hazzard with a plastic knife and an immutable desire for a cold, alcoholic beverage. despite the fact that my gracious cousins brought practically anything that anyone could have ever needed for a fabulous picnic including a sundry wines and cocktails, cups were accidentally forgotten. i was not to be deterred. having taken the train with my cousin, dena [we have a lot of denas in our family -- did i mention that i'm greek?] from kenilworth, my sisters were already in a fun-loving mood.

much later in the evening, my cousin elizabeth stuck her pert bottom in a pre-surgery-kenny rogers look-alike's face, seated in the yellow and white chair. that's cousin dena [the dena from before, not another dena, although i do have another cousin dina but she lives in new zealand now... have i confused you yet?] laughing into her sangria with her long, flowing locks in the foreground. pictured in the background is my cousin-in-law, greer.

caption: "yooolikeit? yooolikeit!"

at the close of the evening, long after the throngs of wasted north shore teens had staggered from the park, we are packing up in the dark. pictured is dena and elizabeth, attempting to shove a jampacked picnic basket into my late yia-yia's shopping cart... for the third effing time! each time, the basket falls out along with a cascade of plaid cloth napkins and tealights, and each time, we bowl over laughing. as you might expect from a mass of messed-up multiparas, incontinence is not far behind.

caption: o chichonia! [only in my family do we make allusions to rocky and bullwinkle's fractured fairy tales cartoons.]

can't wait for another get together soon!

Friday, July 13, 2007

grosse pointe beckons

i spent a large part of yesterday in pursuit of justice to be meted out by our fair city of chicago. you see, in a nutshell, my true love was summarily duped into writing a check to a child who told him that he was trying to raise money to afford to attend northwestern. you can see the actual scam in action online. casey's a musician and, having attended berklee college of music, felt for this schlubby city kid trying to realize his dream.

after calling 311, getting transferred to 911, being referred to area 5 detectives, then being referred to a police station that ended up being the wrong police station, only to call another station to then be referred right back to 311, i have determined that no one in this city really cares and casey and i should go knock over a bank.

then later, once otto was snug in his happy little bed, the garden variety car alarm starts going off. right in front of our house. and doesn't stop. casey remarked that it was like the gods were yelling, "OT-to, OT-to! WAKE up! GET up! PACK up! GROSSE pointe! MOVE there! GO now! HUR-ry!"

today was more of a pro-chicago day. the weather was fresh and lovely. the cubs fans crawling down addison were spirited. i truly did enjoy running a few quick errands to my local target, cleaners, and whole foods without driving a ton in preparation for tonight's kintonis cousin's outing to ravinia to see the steve miller band. i'm certain an idyllic evening there on the north shore, so very accessible via the metra, will put a few more points in the "stay here" column...

... until the elotes cart ladies come peddling their goods, honking their bike horns like mad in the street tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

mean girls: the update

just when i was convinced my email was relegated to spam hell, i received a reply from my friend whom i'd written [see a few messages back]:

oh my gosh!!!! what a surprise and a thrill to hear from you!!!!! what on earth got into you? :) first let me say thank you for the kind words, it touched my heart to know you think that of me after all of this time. secondly, apology accepted! you have to know how much i have adored you ever since we pledged chi omega! good lord, everytime i hear "groove is in the heart", i think of you and our ridiculous dancing at frat parties! i don't remember what i said to you back 6 years ago, i do remember being pissed off and hurt....and yes you did let me down quite a bit, but we all do stupid stuff and the years have taught me well...

funny that she mentions the ridiculous dancing: we really did make supreme asses of ourselves back then and i kinda smile and cringe at the same time. she goes on a little more to say that she's recently had a baby and that we should catch up via the phone sometime soon. phone calls are challenging for me but i will, in the name of rekindled friendship, give it the old college try [no pun intended]. so, um... yea for friends! woot!

Friday, June 29, 2007

dwell = porn

awwwww yeeah... sock it to me!

at the end of a long day of huffing litterbox fumes; contending with old, leaking windows; and the conundrum of how else, if at all, can our living room furniture be arranged, i wash up and retire to the aesthetic sanctity of our master bedroom. with its vaulted ceilings, clean lines, and muted greens and greys, this is the haven to which i retire... to seethe greedily over a magazine.

i'm not ogling famous beefcake or poring over a tome of sartorial splendor. through clenched teeth [don't wake the baby] i mutter to casey, "oh my god, will you look at this friggin' spread? shit, crap, and dammit, that's so awesome. grrr..." i slide my modern design magazine across our blanketed laps to he can get an eyeful of a fantastic home. on each delightfully matte page of the chunky issue, we drool and moan over fabulous prefabs, immaculate rehabs, and damn-sexy bathrooms... and then we jealously curse the homeowners. "fuckin' assholes," murmurs casey.

whooda thought a bathroom would be sexy? mmmmosaic tile... sssssizzling saarinen womb chairs! ahhhhlessi kitchen accessories!

got any unusual trigger-trippers?

Monday, June 25, 2007

my college experience in a nutshell

here is a picture that best depicts each year of my college experience. enjoy!

freshman year:
holy mackerel, can you say wasted? horrifying. note the standard anonymous cup of random booze featured prominently in true amateur fashion. i think the most appropriate caption to this would be, "boys! whee! drinkies! whee! having access to wardrobes that don't include smocked empire waists and lace peter pan collars! wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeaghagggppppppfffuugh..."

sophomore year: here i am posing with another dance teamer from my sorority before a football game. i was as pumped up this year as my hair [the broccoli bangs, paired with red lips, are still in effect, but only when dancing]. i was struggling to bring up my abysmal GPA, but hey! i was on the dance team and... not kicked out of my house. goody!

junior year: this was as good as it got. i would leave class to go take step aerobics, then motor my scooter across the river for two hour practices, then run five or six miles, then enjoy a hearty meal of a glass of milk and a red delicious apple with the marlboro girls on the sun porch outside my window at the house. i actually had the clout by then to not have the room with the beds that share the same wall as the toilets. i was so effing fit, i kept getting mistaken for a fieldhockey player. everyone was talking about them then because they were big ten champs or something and also happened to be all hot blonde... lesbians. [pause] at this time, i myself was single and dating loads of guys. life was swell.

senior year: not pictured. i was a prisoner. i was living in an apartment with the mean volleyball-playing blondes, miserably single with acne, and the captains of my dance team who were juniors jointly decided we were not going to nationals so i had given up on dance team as well as working out. i never even went to drown my sorrows in free alcohol i could legally drink at fraternity parties, either. i think i went home every weekend i could get a ride. blahhhh...

oh, the humanity!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

mean college girls

preface: a few years ago, i was talking with one of my sorority sisters, and we got to discussing our house. she hit the nail on the head. in the most straight-forward, unapologetic yet unoffensive way, she said she hated it. she said everyone was so cruel, that they'd pick someone out of our friend-group and target them with abuse, and she doesn't feel anything positive about her affiliation anymore. at the time, i think i was a little hurt, partly because she and i were honestly really close [when we'd go to parties, we'd tell guys we were twins], but mainly because i knew that sometimes i jumped in line to pin the proverbial tail on the donkey... when i myself wasn't designated the ass. i tried weakly refuting her claims, but i couldn't really change her mind. she didn't seem mad about it anymore; she was over it. anyway, our friendship officially ended a little later in a huge, vicious argument about her sending me endless political propaganda emails, and me getting tired of deleting them. it was the ugliest, meanest phone argument ever, and that was that.

the other day, i logged on to our national website and got her email address. here's what i wrote, saved for posterity in the event it never reaches her inbox.

dear sister-in-the-bond,

hello, there. it feels like an extremely long time since we talked -- six years i think -- and i hope that you are enjoying your summer. how's matt doing? do you still have that beagle? any little babies?

you're probably wondering why i'm writing, but i woke up with an overwhelming compulsion to get in touch with you. over the course of a few days, talks i've had with family and my husband have made me think a lot about friendship. to make a long story short, my thoughts inevitably turned to our sorority experience, and i remembered what you'd said a few years back and how i disagreed with you at that time. i just wanted to tell you that i have thought a lot about it and i know now you were right. especially with our group of "friends", there existed a pretty overwhelming mean girls ethos. i think about how ruthlessly people picked on others and made people feel small. i think now about how that experience shaped me, how i interact with people, the way i treat people, and i have to say it was kinda scarring.

the saddest part is, looking back, you were probably the only person within that clique of people that i can honestly say was genuinely kind and giving of yourself. i realize this is probably worth nothing now, but i apologize if i jumped on the bitch bandwagon and was less than appreciative of your friendship. since the start of college, you and i had a natural affinity towards one another, and though we live really far apart now, i can't help but be frustrated that things fell apart. as i recall, we don't necessarily agree on all topics, but i thought we were pretty close friends with a lot of fun memories and i'm sad that our connection doesn't exist in any capacity anymore.

i'm not really sure how to close this email. i just feel very relieved to tell you that it's taken me a long time, but i now see the light. i do truly hope you're well and that we'll get in touch again sometime.

have a wonderful summer,


Monday, June 04, 2007


i've found the supreme timewaster... friggin' classmates. good lord, what a guilty pleasure. it's so addicting to just look people up and see what they've got going on. i have literally found myself jarring awake in the middle of the night, thinking, "mary! must... look up... mary.. and see what she's doingzzzzz...and danny! miss my buddy danny p..."

i've looked up college friends and high school friends, old chums and ex-beaux. it's fascinating. each time i've gone back to the site, they want me to fill out more, more, more about myself. some people have full bios, all questions answered, and are even brave enough to have recent photos posted.

it seems to me, however, that very few people ever seem to connect with anyone using the site. there is even a question asking why you've come to the site and most profiles i've peeped have the bashful "i don't even know how i got here" or "just curious" answers. heaven forbid anyone admit they actually want to reunite with high school friends. gawd! the database serves as a veritable lurker haven of sorts, like perez hilton for the layperson.

have you entered your profile on classmates? ever get in touch with any old friends? anyone reach you via the site?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

have a happy meme-orial weekend

i got an email from my cousin, elizabeth, with this meme and i immediately thought, “blogfodder!” feel free to answer these questions yourself in the comments or on your own blogs… especially if i’ve tagged you.

three things that scare me:

1. cockroaches [totally irrational fear]
2. mascots/characters at amusement parks [i run into both all the time, thanks to my job]
3. the constant concern one has as a parent that anything will befall your child

three people who make me laugh:

1. casey
2. my dear friend, jeannine
3. my cousin, elizabeth

three things i love:

1. our cute little family
2. being on a plane, reading a beautiful magazine and listening to “shopping music” on my ipod
3. duh! my toothbrush! [see the post from a few days ago]

three things i hate/severely dislike:

1. insecurity [wreaks havoc on anyone upon whom it preys]
2. olives [good god, you put that in your mouth?]
3. pushy stage parents

three things i don’t understand:

1. religion
2. money
3. politics [it’s a good thing for me that it’s not polite to discuss any of them!]

three things on my desk:

1. la croix raspberry seltzer
2. my non-returning customer list
3. five paperweights [yes, I still collect them]

three things i’m doing right now:

1. watching otto play with blocks
2. trying to breathe again after having run on the treadmill
3. figuring out what to pack to bring to detroit

three things i want to do before i die:

1. perform again [i miss dancing]
2. have another even easier pregnancy/childbirth
3. go back to kaua’i! waaaaah!

three things i can do:

1. make a mean linguine primavera à la da eduardo’s
2. sew babyslings
3. help make people feel included

three things i can’t do:

1. play sports
2. lie
3. listen to country

three things i think you should listen to:

1. ben watt – buzzin’ fly vol. 1-3 [total summer music]
2. public radio
3. your intuition

three things you should never listen to:

1. the fashion mags
2. people who bitch about their kids all the time
3. a dog barking at 6:50a… if i have anything to say about it, damnit.

three things i’d like to learn:

1. japanese
2. how to be a better friend
3. midwifery! [if i can get past all the blood]

three favourite foods:

1. mexican
2. thai
3. anything from green zebra

three shows i watched as a kid:

1. tom & jerry
2. m.a.s.h.
3. the benny hill show

three things i regret:

1. letting people i thought were my friends in the past abuse me
2. not getting right back into working out after the baby [as i sit here unable to breathe]
3. that’s about it: i try to live with as few regrets as possible

three people i tag:
people that need to post on their rancid, rotting, stagnant blogs already:
1. jess
2. scott
3. my mom

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

today my horoscope read...

daily sagittarius forecast:
today you'll be happy to sacrifice any short-term gains for long-term growth.

well said.

Monday, May 21, 2007

i can't get enough

so, yeah, i think i am addicted. i knew i needed a new one [my old one was pretty worn out] so i picked up another just yesterday. i just grabbed one that seemed soft enough without any concern for color. i just wanted to make my transaction and get away quickly.

i took it home and put it away until the evening. last night, alone in the bathroom, i peeled back the wrapping with anticipation and examined my new purchase. hmmm... the handle has a nice little spot of squishy silicone to soften your grip. fancy! i gave it a liberal squirt from the tube in the drawer and thought, "here goes nothing!"

that's when i knew i could settle for no other. the working side, if you will, has multiple textures to really help get the job done. the other side, however, is blessed with a pad of glistening blue jelly with a nubbly texture to really add to the sensation... it felt like millions of tiny little fingers giving an invigorating massage... where you wouldn't expect it! like nothing i had ever felt before! just amazing! i was in there for a good five minutes, really exploring the possibilities with my new find until i finally felt i was totally finished. whoo. i think i might need to use this little gadget, like, three times a day or more!



this new toothbrush is the greatest!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007

mothers' day debunked

you can call me a whistleblower, that's fine. no, i'm not going to out santa or the easter bunny or even the tooth fairy. i've just experienced my first mothers' day and, for those who have not yet or never will be a mama, i am here to expose the ugly truth, pull back the scrim, and let in the harsh light of reality. here it is:

it is just another day.

nothing will be different or special. in the end, you are the only one who can do what you do, so guess what? you are going to keep doing it. all day. just like yesterday. just like tomorrow. your lovely burgeoning bundle of joy doesn't know what day it is either, so he's not going to give you a break. in the end, there are lunchboxes to pack and toys to remember not to leave behind and diapers to be changed and cribs to be curled up in and you, my dearest, will be the one doing the doing. after all, mothers' day falls inauspiciously in the heat of probably every playoff season except football. you will be left holding the bag. the cruelest part of the joke is that the folks that will really want to take good care of you that day will be other mothers, but they'll be so busy doing their own mothering, they just can't stop to shoulder any of your load.

the truth is, i think they're busy earning their points. from what i can tell, it seems there is some frequent mothering program and as a new mama, you're a brand new cardholder with a big fat goose egg on your annual statement. in time, you'll receive some meager paybacks in the form of construction paper and glitter cards, followed by popsicle stick jewelry boxes, then quasi-edible, child-prepared breakfast in bed and so on. whee. alas, lovies, it does appear a little grim at first, but i reckon you can expect to see some change in your status once your small ones can largely fend for themselves. you'll know you've reached that coveted gold status when you're taken out for brunch by your adult children, awarded a pretty darn nice gift, and allowed the lion's share of your day to do what you want to do unfettered. the prestigious platinum elite members get it all, including the chance to actually relish time with little ones [grandbabies] on that day with little muss or fuss. membership does have its privileges.

i think the truth of the matter is we should all just cut to the chase and call it national greeting card day. those bastards make out like bandits.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

giving vegan parents a bad name

can someone send a copy of this to prison for these dummies to read?

just got done reading this article and i'm just sad and frustated for the baby and other veg parents as a whole. the bottom line is these folks were just plain ol' not qualified to have a baby on the grounds that they are dummies.

Monday, May 07, 2007

run, big girl, run.

nothing quite like that first time working out. i think the last time i set foot in the gym was july and i was almost 9 months along. i'd just go and walk on the treadmill, my heartrate soaring, and then stretch and stretch and stretch. some woman came up to me and said, "i recognize you from the stretching room. good god, honey, you'll have no trouble giving birth." what a great little vote of confidence. i mentally opened the olive green tinted glass door of my bubble of peace after that one [it's a hypnobabies thing].

i think the capper to any further expenditure of energy was when i had my fetal non-stress test. i laid there, counting everytime i felt otto move, and watched the pen recording it bop and jive on the strip of paper. there was another pen that would draw its own giant hills on another line. i didn't really pay too much attention to that until one of the midwives came in and said, "can you feel that?" i told her no. after the next mountain, she asks, "does that hurt?" nope, i told her. i was having contractions every 3-5 minutes. after that, she said, "yeah, you need to chill out and take it easy." after that, i signed myself up for the roma-bark and lemonade diet and lived in the blowup pool in the yard, reading palaniuk.

now, i have what we used to call "dancer tan" in my dancing days [sigh] when your face gets brutally red from exertion... only i wasn't dancing [just schlumpfing on the treadmill] and this one is going to linger for hours like the mark of shame.

Friday, May 04, 2007


"shazbot! i'll never marry you because you're not [burp] catholic..."

after i moved to the city, i dated this little drunky irish guy who's name, when said very fast, sounds a little like "nanoo-nanoo", as in the trademark greeting of mork & mindy's mork. nanoo-nanoo is now the name my sisters and i use when referring to him. you see, he was short, with a big mardi gras head, a barrel-shaped torso, and little limbs. he would toss back a few too many and just be one of these mean, grimacing drunks, like an evil leprechaun.

just how irascible was this troll? i went to some cheesy, crowded lincoln park bar with him one night [well, almost every weekend, but i digress]. at some point, some big redfaced porkchop head was pawing at me, mumbling something about "sauce". nanoo-nanoo, noting his size, cowered by my side to grab my hand and whisk me home. by the time we arrived, he had sufficiently worked himself into a lather, stomping his little rumplestilskin feet and fuming that it was my fault because i was "dressed like i was ready for action." after all, i was wearing my most revealing turtleneck and my fuck-me khakis. tsk! shameless harlot.

now that he's long gone, my family asks, "wasn't he, like, part midget or something? like a dwarf?" he was a twin, i reasoned. besides, you can't be part midget like you can be part german.

today, i asked ana, our nanny, about
a cute little song she sings to otto. it goes something like:

un enanito
tire un bolita
¿donde fuera caer?

i knew it was about something throwing a ball and wondering where it went. an enanito, i also concluded, is a smaller enano. what's an enano? i asked her...

a dwarf.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


click to listen to its workout music

i was driving down ashland today in light, late afternoon traffic and passed [or was passed by] quite a number of joggers. i was feeling mildly guilty, sitting in my car on my fat duff in such prime weather for outdoor activity when i saw a skeleton in sweats bounding by. its head seemed fairly normal, healthy even, with a light tan, but its twisting radius and ulna exposed below the raised cuff of its sweatshirt glistened with sweat. the bouncing it did on its haunches at the stoplight did not strain its track pants with turgid, flexing hamstrings. it looked rather like a merrionette bobbing on invisible strings. my mind immediately generated a list of ways i could gesticulate to it to somehow derail it on its maniacal quest for death. i envisioned myself leaning over to the passenger window to do the babysign for "eat" [pursed fingers pecking lips] and seeing reason spread over its face like a beam of light.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

am i being punk'd?

it's not even one o'clock, and the string of aggravating nonsense like boulder-sized breadcrumbs obstructing my path has already agitated my brain to a fever pitch. i can't get away from it. numbers transposed incorrectly, resulting in pissy emails. errors due to inadequate information are rearing their ugly heads. repeated requests to disregard last [insert your preferred method of bitching here]. all issues that are NMP [not my problem] but i'll end up adopting them anyway. that's just the kind of masochist i am. that's why i make the big bucks(?)

and here i sit at my desk, on a cool but sunny spring day, trying to duck and weave, shuck and jive, smile while wincing.

i need a vacation -- oh, wait. i just got back. damn.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

dancing with the starlets?

i predict no three-peat for cheryl... and look at that dead person's hand around her waist!

generally speaking, i am not a big tv watcher in that i don't commit to many shows. i hate to be tied down to having to sit in one place for an hour or more and focus. since the introduction of satellite tv and its accompanying dvr [like tivo], i've been more interested in what the boob tube has to offer.

my latest love is "dancing with the stars" -- i can't get enough. it makes me miss dancing like crazy. the only problem i have is, since i never watch it live, i never vote. anyway, the couples are so cute, each in their own way, and i almost always agree with the judges. apolo anton ohno with his professional partner julianne hough are so ridiculously cute i could cry every time i watch them. i just read julianne is one of eleven kids and from utah. is she a lapsed mormon? ah, to be eighteen again. joey fatone and pro kym johnson are incredible, too. he is not afraid to shell out his fair share of the effort, busting out a tour-jete or head-high battement here and there. those women are, by far, the strongest choreographers, but they also happen to have the guys that can manage challenging routines.

i'm a little bummed that only one female star has survived. i wonder what lady could garner the fan power to be a serious contender. it'd have to be someone down to earth that would please even the cattiest of callers. maybe gwen stefani? charlize theron? halle berry? ellen degeneres? who would you suggest? do you watch the show? who are you hoping to win?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

extreme makeover: p3 edition

at 2:45 today, this is how i looked.

yucky, useless layers, poking me in the face and flopping about pointlessly around my shoulders. all i needed was my mom jeans and a minivan strewn with cheerios and the image was complete. i couldn't take it -- my hair was killing me. okay, maybe not killing me, but certainly robbing me of much needed sleep. well, i guess if i didn't do something quickly and stop my endless yummering about it, maybe casey would have killed me, so i suppose the hair was, indeed, killing me... indirectly... hypothetically.


20 minutes later, i look like this:

i brought in photos of my hair four years ago and joan from exsalonce was able to duplicate it using the shears a little and a razorcomb a lot. no, i don't look as fresh and firm as a thirty year old, but this chop did extend my shelf-life a little.


Friday, March 30, 2007

t.g.i.f. [teeth grow, i flounder]

okay, so i don't know what ended up happening to the person that misappropriated a shocking amount of money and then played really dumb about it, but i do know that the situation was made right for me. this is great news today as i am running on a compromised amount of sleep and feel like a mess. otto's top left tooth was doing some late night excavation and he was in agony from 1:30 until 3. the good news is it appears there's some progress -- there's a small hole in the gum and you can see a little tiny bit of white poking out of the swollen flesh. the bad part is there is way more where that came from.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


have you ever been in a situation in which the only way to save your own ass is to make someone else look like a total numbskull?

i am in the midst of such a pickle. a resource on which i must rely severely fumbled... at least twice. many, many dollars have cascaded into the toilet of overexpenditure. the powers that be looked angrily my way for an explanation and i had no choice but to bust out the perpetrator.

this will either blow up in my face [not sure how but there always seems to be a way] or i will emerge wounded but victorious. stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

we are dirty hippies

it finally dawned on us. we're kinda dirty hippies. i wish i took a picture of our house at its crunchiest, but i didn't so i'll just have to describe it room by room, beginning in the back and moving forward.

laundry room:
on the floor is a pile of camping stuff in need of washing. in the washer are about six lunapads and liners that were previously soaking in a pot of water and tea tree oil.

guestroom: full of an odd assortment of camping equipment from casey's latest trip to new mexico, including a giant backpack. click here to see his photos. a tent is set up on the bed. i made some mods to it so it doesn't blow around so much the next time casey camps in 40 mph winds, and the silicone seam sealant is drying.

kitchen: on the table are...
  • tent pegs
  • dirt from new mexico from tent pegs
  • sewing machine, still set up from making mods to the tent so i can make another few slings
  • various and sundry energy food bars, gels, and trailmixes
on the counter is...
  • blender, surrounded by oatmeal and rice dust from homemade super baby food porridge
  • yogurt, juice, and soymilk bottles, rinsed out and awaiting the recycling bin
  • still more bags of granola and soymilk powder
  • homemade all-surface spray, made with water and a few drops each of tea tree oil and dish soap
on the shelf are about a dozen vegetarian cookbooks [including two on feeding a vegetarian baby] and gnarly, overgrown houseplants. under the highchair is a basket of food-smeared wipecloths and bibs. three smudgy bowls of catfood are in the corner, surrounded by half-chewed nuggets because chippy, my 12 year old himalayan is missing some teeth. in the other corner is a catbed covered in grey hair.

living room: the catbed in the window has a big, chunky hairball in it, which is more like a hairpoo [not really spherical]. on the sidetable are issues of bitch, bust, backpacker, and dwell. there's also a recycled watch tin that holds scratch paper, which is really recycled office paper. all lamps contained compact fluorescent bulbs.

front porch: cf bulb in porchlight, illuminating planter filled with last summer's dead gerbera daisies.

not likely showered since it's the weekend.

otto: barefoot, covered in cat- and momma-hair

showered but the seven hairs left on my head are stringy with grease anyway. stubbly stinky pits because my natural deodorant seems to have given me an itchy rash.

i guess it's time for some grooming focus... or an appearance on an episode of wifeswap.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


how much costies? me wanties.

i am an avid reader of perez hilton. i never buy a people or an us -- i'm too busy throwing magazines i really want to read into hospital toilets, evidently. i can't, however, get away from perez. it's lower than low brow with his bawdy scribbles and lexicon of hilarious hybrid words [among my favorite adjectives are "whoreanus" and "shiteous"]. it's really, gosh... i know, but i can't stop. it's cruel and negative and degrading and catty... but i must see pictures of celebutards with hearts drawn on their genitals. it makes the world go 'round.

Monday, March 12, 2007

my postpartum hairloss

the haircut doesn't really amount to a dramatic change. basically, it seems like about 40% of my hair fell out between 3.5 months and 6 months after otto was born. for all the prior warning you get, it's still pretty alarming. the hairloss i experienced seems to be as dramatic as when my mom went through chemo for breast cancer, only being a new mom doesn't give you license to shave it off... unless you're britney spears.

anyway, what i was left with was long, stringy locks under which is growing a downy layer of new hair. my receding hairline rivals casey's and, with 10 lbs of baby fat, i felt like i was channeling aileen wuornos.

after much hemming and hawing and eyeing many sassy short do's, i just had a few inches cut off. bo-ring. the annoying part is that the stylist clipped some "faceframing pieces". these should come with a surgeon general's warning:

caution: side effects may include persistent yanking, greasiness, lingering odor due to constant contact with the hands of infants covered with various edibles, blindness from persistent poking into the eyes and/or the batting of playful cat paws, trichotillomania, postpartum psychosis, and just general orneriness.

the stylist told me, "...and when you're around the house, you can just pin these pieces up like this," pulling the shortest, most egregiously offensive strands straight up and to the top of my head. oh yeah. good idea. that's so hot. really balances out my giant lower mandible there. mm-hm...

does my hair behave now? negative, ghostrider. it needs wrangling. the $35 nioxin snakeoil system i was duped into buying just makes my hair sticky and itchy and even more stubborn.

oh, britney. i'm right there with ya, sister.

Friday, March 09, 2007


today, in loving support of my husband who is undergoing a rather unfun procedure, i am about to have an anxiety attack. i am sitting in a very small, crowded waiting room at the hospital with a television. what's on? frigging "home improvement". it doesn't really matter what is on; since when do tvs belong in these oases of peace? what happened to reading? i brought two dwells and an angie's list, eager for quietude. the phone keeps ringing, only ten feet away, every time the receptionist gets up. the temperature is rising. if i hear that hot effing pockets commercial one more time, i'm gonna crack. i feel like i'm having a nic fit only it's not a square that'll soothe me. i just can't focus. it is so polluted in here. hospital sterility is overrated.

after leaving casey's coat with the receptionist, i broke out. i have no idea where i am going. i locked myself in a single bathroom, propped my lovely reads on the slick metal shelf over the toilet and ran my hands under ice cold water. ahhhh... cool quiet. i take a second to wrangle my new bad haircut. my scalp is sore from my constant yanking on it. i feel like i can finally breathe until... schllllip, my fucking magazines fall into the crapper. goddamn it.

with paper towels in hand, i head for another large lino-floored waiting room. the omnipresent tv is suspended overhead but, relief, it's off. only two little old people share the space, so i sit, sure i will find peace. not. the woman is an unstoppable small-talker. the man she is sharing her life story with seems to keep finding a good endpoint to then turn away and enjoy the silence, but she keeps talking and talking. out comes her brash, flashily dressed daughter in grapeskin-tight pink jeans and a black lace shrug. "i got my tips and some sangwiches, ma. i either don't eat nothin' or i eat all day." sigh. i check my watch; he's been in for an hour now. i think i'll go take another stroll.

with moist mags in hand, i go find the soda machine, ensconced in a little glass room like the smoking lounge at lambert airport. makes sense to allot such an activity to a small, mocking fishbowl since signs hang everywhere reminding all that no food or drink is permitted. the room is also equipped with four chairs, placed there for those indulging in illicit pepsi drinking.

i am phototropically driven to the one area of cleansing natural light: the bright skybridge over wood street. i park ass on the cold metal white metal railing and watch a man riding a runaway wheelchair, jackass-style, below toward taylor street. it's been an hour and a half. time to head back to the dreaded waiting room.

i gobble down a lemon lunabar, grab the piss magazines and tuck my contraband diet cola in my purse. i return to the room, which smells more like stale cigarettes and dirty hair than ever. please be done violating my hungry honey. i wanna go to golden nugget and feed him maple-soaked pancake mush until he lapses into a food coma.

it's 2:30. what is going on? it's been three hours. rachael ray's constant yelling is like a cheese grater on my nerves. my mind begins to traverse into the dark zone. what's the rate of complication for this procedure again? why isn't anyone coming out to give me the scoop? people have come and gone, and here i am, still listening to personal injury attorney commercials in the no-pepsi zone.

casey comes out at 3. he's groggy, holding pictures of his colon. good god. still no verdict. ugh. off to get some greasy breakfast.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

out of hibernation

wow. so it's been a long time, and i did it: i got through an entire dance team competition season with a baby and actually survived. some corners were, well, rounded... okay, scalloped, but only where they tucked hospital-style underneath those matters that required my utmost precision. fortunately, i work with some very wonderful young women, many of whom were eager to help shoulder the load of putting on the best possible event weekend after weekend. i definitely have a new-found respect and appreciation for my staff and i'm humbled to discover that they are abundantly capable with out my persistent hovering.

i crammed in some time to work with dancers from various very talented teams and got a lot of joy out of that [not to mention a nice little extra cash]. it's thrilling to get a little taste again of the rush i felt teaching hundreds and hundreds of dancers for twelve summers in a row. despite the fact that just standing for three hours straight in a high school gym leaves my postpartum body sore, it sure is rejuvenating.

i am most proud of my mighty little team from southern illinois -- in the face of major personnel change [five old dancers and five new], they managed to advance into the semifinals [and were a hair away from the finals] at nationals. didn't get to see them but that's neither here nor there. they're now a name to know, a team to look out for. it's exciting to be a part of something that is growing, gaining speed and momentum, all the while taking you with it, like a warm and fuzzy snowball.

similarly, otto has been such fun. it's cool to see him growing as well, to see clothes shrink before our very eyes. i almost screamed when i stuck my weather-beaten finger in his mouth and found those tiny, serrated teeth. he knows us now and vibrates with glee when his kitty-cats rub against him as they pass by.

what do i plan to do with this newfound mental freedom? i owe some people some slings, a nephew a cow-spotted blanket and matching personalized pillow for his fifth birthday, and myself a short vacay. while casey is hiking with some buddies in new mexico, otto and i will be heading down to sarasota for a long weekend to visit nana and gamper tom.

i'm looking forward to blackened fingernails from making ukrainian easter eggs, to camping again at kettle moraine south, to seeing my sister's twins on their first birthday [cinco de mayo themed -- olé!], to the annual hess outing to sanibel with otto avocado in tow, and to reentering the blogosphere more frequently.

thanks for passing this way again!