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?