Friday, July 18, 2008

earth, sun, moon

here's a meme i snagged from jamie jamerkins.

directions: set your ipod to shuffle and click to the next track to answer the questions below. i've taken the liberty of locating the lyrics, or sample of the track when an instrumental is used, and linking them to the title. to read or listen, click the track title. i've also given my guess as to a meaning behind the track. glad that ol' english degree is being put to some use... extracting meaning from song lyrics... for a blog.

1. what would describe your personality?
"there must be an angel (playing with my heart)" -- eurythmics
translation: thrown and overblown with bliss isn't a bad personality to have.

2. what do you like in a guy/girl?
"summer here kids"-- grandaddy
translation: all the world loves a stick in the mud.

3. how do you feel today?
"all countries" -- tristeza
translation: mellow, purposeful, chugging along

4. what’s your life’s purpose?
"jump in the river" -- sinead o'connor
translation: just do it full force and eff everybody else!

5. what is your motto?
"eros' entropic tundra" -- of montreal
translation: no one loves you as much as you love them... or something.

6. what do your friends think of you?
"day o" -- raffi
translation: let's work hard and get outta here! seems apt given that i see most of my friends in a work setting.

7. what do you think of your parents?
"don't be afraid" -- aaron hall
translation: egads! i prefer not to think of my parents that way, but i suppose this, at one time, was probably quite fitting.

8. what do you think about very often?
"pelican narrows" -- caribou
translation: uhhh... pelicans? don't know -- it's an instrumental.

9. what do you think of your best friend?
"neutral"-- eliot lipp
translation: deep affection + rabid frustration = neutral?

10. what do you think of the person you like?
"royksopp's night out" -- royksopp
translation: these damned instrumentals...

11. what is your life story?
"iron man" -- the bad plus
translation: an elegant interpretation of a story about someone cast out from society

12. what do you want to be when you grow up?
"for the dishwasher" -- grandaddy
translation: a disgruntled, low-wage worker. neat.

13. what do you think when you see the person you like?
"minor detail" -- sondre lerche & the faces down quartet
translation: fear of losing someone so incredible? yeah, i get that.

14. what do your parents think of you?
"silverfuck" -- smashing pumpkins
translation: a heartless, heartbreaking manipulator? again, neato.

15. what will be played at your funeral?
"picture this" -- the beastie boys
translation: she lived life seeking the answers to questions no one else wanted the answers to... or something.

16.what is your hobby/interest?
"uptown" -- aya
translation: dance and think about loved ones. okay, i'll give you that.

17. what is your biggest secret?
"brush your teeth" -- raffi
translation: yes, this is my secret for getting otto to let me brush his teeth. i actually sing it to him every day as i scrub the moss from his chiclets.

18. what do you think of your friends?
"k (feat alison jear)" -- layo & bushwacka!
translation: no track available to hear. lyrics? uh... sun? some moaning and screaming? um... i have no idea. damned instrumentals.

19. what should you post this as?
"earth, sun, moon" -- love and rockets

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

houston, we have penis.

today was my 21 week ultrasound and yes, as i had initially guessed, el dos es verdad un hombre.

i realize some of you find ultrasounds just so dreadfully banal, but for the rest of you, please enjoy some of our finer shots of today's photoshoot. you can click to enlarge and view them in all their spendor.

on a different note, the tech said pictures turn out best when the mother isn't so big. my 200+/week minutes on the elliptical machine are paying off, and it doesn't seem as though junior juice is worse for wear: he's already over a pound [that's 65%ile]!

greetings from the cryptkeeper.

kisses to all my peeps. mmmwah! mmmmwah!

there it is: tha moneyshot.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

where have i been?

well, i've discovered facebook. as any facebooker can attest, it can sure suck up your time on these here internets.

since becoming a member, i've connected with plenty of current acquaintences, but also some old friends from as far back as elementary school. i'm not ashamed to say i've done some lurking as well.

my findings? most everyone is fat and old-looking, which can only reaffirm my suspicions that i, too, am fat and old-looking. many old boyfriends aren't married -- how many gay men did i date? the big bellies, bald heads, and grey beards are positively shocking to me. are we that old? a lot of girls i knew in high school list themselves with their maiden and married names yet post only pictures of their children where their profile shot should be. seems like a strange dichotomy to me; clearly, they list a maiden name so they can be found, yet don't show you their face. without going so far as to upload their senior picture, do they only want to be remembered for the way they looked when that was their name?

some folks look untouched by time or gravity. lucky dogs. i've seen one or two that are just downright hot and i think, didn't we used to play together in middle school? why the hell didn't i make out with you in high school again? and then you remember the slight, brooding boy in the smoky concert t-shirt, leaning against the auditorium wall. you remember your broccoli bangs and your cheesy, handmade navy polyester circle-skirt and nude tights you wore on game fridays and realize you probably weren't much of a catch either.

facebook is strange, awkward yet freeing at the same time. how do you determine whom you friend-request? what's your threshhold for adding someone?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

no, i didn't ghost-write the article

i receive the daily babble, a daily newsletter from a modern parenting website called babble. though i do receive the valuable [albeit sometimes bland, dumbed-down, extremely conservative, and alarmist] newsletters from babycenter, i cherish the daily babble for its progressive, whipsmart humor. it's like perez hilton for parents.

today, daily babble served up a link that made me laugh out loud multiple times, entitled:

granny manual: 8 things grandma needs to know about babies

in grandma's defense, things really do change constantly. i am noticing more and more dos and don'ts this second time around. now, i've gotta gobble down two giant, nasty omega 3-6-9 capsules twice a day. they take even more blood for the first trimester screens than last time [oh joy!] and crib bumpers are the devil.

Friday, May 23, 2008

rest in peace, jackson gumblequeue

late last night, we had to put gumby to sleep.

before we went to bed, we tried to give him his mirtazapine, an anti-anxiety, appetite stimulating medication he's been taking every three days since his diagnosis of lung cancer. normally, he sort of reluctantly gulps it down with a small smear of cream cheese, but he really fought it this time, as much as a cat with about 60% lung capacity could. he just wouldn't take it, and he stumbled away from our arms mouth open, panting. we could see that, of late, he just hasn't been his happy gregarious self. he just couldn't really breathe. he would just sprawl his wraith-thin body out and his lungs would pump in and out like bellows. we just knew this wasn't the way to leave your buddy.

after a few minutes of agonizing whether or not we should, casey decided it was the right thing to do. scott graciously agreed to act as sentry while we were gone. after he arrived, casey and i tearfully whisked jackson off to the emergency veterinary clinic on clybourn. he passed peacefully with his head tucked lovingly into his daddy's arm.

casey's off to mount whitney, just outside of los angeles today. though i know he's been swallowing back some fear over climbing the highest mountain in the united states, he surpassed one of his most dreaded moments last night. i hope he'll find he can scale those rocky heights, feeling invincible and at peace this memorial day weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

the aftermarket car alarm from hell

so far, i've had a very nice, tranquil pregnancy [knocking furiously on wood] and am amazed to be in my fourth month. no crying jags, no insane compulsions to cram as much food in my gullet as i can at one time, no nausea, you get the picture.

i have had several vivid, often violent dreams. they may not, however be from the pregnancy, as i recently discovered. of late, i find it hard just to get to REM sleep due to this bone-jarringly loud disruption each and every night. it's the kind of noise that makes you want to get up and just whack the shit out of whoever is making it. at first, i thought it was just some incredibly stupid person with both thumbs on the horn buttons of his car, pressing each button very fast in opposition for just a moment. i would awaken in a blind rage, ready to thrust my naked torso, bare pregnant breasts and all, out the window to find out where the ruckus was coming from. i'd then try in vain to quiet my monkey mind from formulating a plan to call the police and.... give the plate number? complain? how about find the car and write a note on it? ummm...

last night, after being shocked awake twice by this loud-as-hell, split-second atom bomb to my earholes, i figured out that it was someone's frigging car alarm being engaged. wtf! it's not the standard chirp-chirp or even the slighly obnoxious horn toot our hondas make. it's a full-on, full-force beebahbeebahbeeeep!

we heard it today again. i can hardly believe that there is nothing that can be done about this... short of moving, i suppose. any suggestions besides earplugs?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

mixed blessings

it's been a while since i've posted, but it's been a crazy time. i am not a religious person at all but the most apt expression for our recent weeks has been the lord giveth and the lord taketh away. our family is dealing with two situations -- one very positive and one negative -- and they take turns eclipsing one another.

our negative situation is that one of our three cats, jackson [a.k.a. gumby] has been recently diagnosed with lung cancer. how weird, right? how does a cat? get lung cancer? smoking? we'd noticed he's gone from a robust black beast to a spindly, bony spectre. when we had him weighed, he was 13.5 pounds, certainly shy of his normal 18. his xray showed the top quarter of one lung was completely consolidated and two small tumors were nestling inside the bottom healthy parts. the doctors don't think he will see autumn. right now with the help of some appetite stimulants, he's able to enjoy the springtime and gorge himself on plenty of sloppy-good wet food. we just take every day as it comes and lavish love on the guy whenever we can. he gets right in there and snuggles hard against his daddy at night, happy as can be. otto gets in plenty of eskimo kisses, too.

our positive situation is... that we're expecting our second child! my official due date is november 5, and we are pretty much just referring to the baby as he until we know otherwise in two more months. our first trimester screening came back today -- important now that i'm technically of "advanced maternal age" -- and we're looking good! here are some ultrasounds below...

this one's at eight weeks...

... and this one's at twelve weeks.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

c'est dur, dur de ne pas pleurer!

i had heard this song way back in the day, but i'd never seen jordy's performance of "dur dur d'être bébé" [translated as hard, hard to be a baby to my monoglot readers].

watching this gave me the exact same reaction as promenading otto across the catwalk at a recent fundraiser-cum-fashion show i participated in for my alma mater. i almost started crying just walking across the stage with my son who seemed more fixated on the big lights than on performing whatsoever. if i were la maman de jordy sitting in the audience, i think i would have just burst like a giant saline bubble and soaked whitney houston's dress. given that she eschews air conditioning, she might have appreciated it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

in defense of the schlumpadinka

a lot of shows are hell-bent these days on helping women with less than fashion-forward wardrobes break out of some diagnosed rut they've dug themselves. now i'm as voyeuristic as the next makeover show addict, and i settle in for what not to wear and ten years younger from time to time myself, but mostly to soak up the snark that spews forth from the hosts.

if you've never checked these types of programs out, they go like this: first, view secret footage of the guest dropping kids off at school, eating lunch with a buddy, or correcting her student's homework at her desk. snicker loads. present guest with various outfits to try to wear on for certain specific occasions. guest appears dubious, and the hosts roll their eyes at how hopeless their charge is.

i think the producers must know we viewers want the mean girls redux because even when the guest is all, "okay! that's so cute! i love it!" they hosts still find a way to be cutting about the guest's mom-jeans or wardrobe comprised entirely of cotton jersey. oprah has even coined a name for these victims of sartorial scrutiny: the schlumpadinka.

yes, i will absolutely agree that the high-rise, peg-leg, acid washed jeans need to go, and the old stained t-shirts need to find their way to the thrift store and into the loving arms of some spindly indie rocker. i also totally agree that if you're traveling to another country, you just can't go around wearing workout clothes and gym shoes and complain how rude the [insert european of your choice here] are. what i don't agree with is the lack of attention to the guest's lifestyle.

a common theme is to take a stay-at-home mom of small children and secretly decide everything she should wear should be dry clean only. cruel! i mean, if i'm getting ready for a day of laundry, changing diapers, and grocery shopping, i sure as hell won't be, "let go of mama's linen pantleg for one second, otto. mama needs to make her shirt placket a little crisper with this searing hot iron." what about just, oh, up-to-date jeans, a slightly fitted cotton knit top, and some kind of casual non-athletic shoe? worst of all, they always put this manipulative twist on the show by insisting that the mother needs to stop doing so much for everyone else and start taking care of herself. i am pretty sure that, if i had more time in my life, it would not be spent spit-shining emerald green patent slingback pumps to wear to the jewel.

and the schlumpadinka spinsters aren't spared either! there was some other twentyish woman who had a less than corporate career, like she was a teacher or an exercise instructor or something who didn't need business casual clothing, and she liked to go out with friends for lunch in some other standard schlumpadinka attire. they put her in... a shirtdress and heels! guffaw! if i went out to breakfast with friends wearing that, they'd be like, "what the hell's happening here? are we being punk'd?"

so what do i say? i say rise up, fellow schlumpadinkas! embrace your casual chic! makeup, be damned! the ponytail lives forever!

Friday, March 14, 2008

the secret lives of package delivery drivers

as most of you know, i work at home and, between continual shipments from my office and our endless love of online shopping, i'm here to receive a lot of deliveries. this means our delivery guys know me and we exchange pleasantries as we exchange packages and signatures. though there is a slightly larger cast of characters that come bearing gifts, our leading men are the cute little latin ups driver with the huge white smile and the wilfred brimleyesque, grandfatherly fedex driver.

most of the time, the ups delivery guy is super-friendly with a smile that corrugates both sides of his face. as a home office worker, i like to see another smiling face from time to time, and i can usually count on getting that little happiness fix when he stops in with some amazon purchases. once in a while, i've seen mr. ups driving his open brown truck about town with a sullen expression, and then turn and wave brightly to me, beaming his beatific grin. i've thought, "hm... is that a thinking face or is he like, man, i hate driving this stupid truck with no doors in the winter."

grandpa fedex sees that a lot of my packages come from a cheerleading company so, when he brings a particularly heavy box [usually filled to the brim with scoresheets for a competition], he'll heave the box into my doorstep and say, "hello, dear. looks like they shippped you a cheerleader this time!" we chuckle at the old-man humor and he says, "have a good day."

he dropped a small box of staff applications to me last week and asked me how i was doing. "i'm doing well; how are you?"

"not so good. okay, have a good weekend!" he replied and walked off.

yesterday, he came bringing more fedex supplies that i ordered and again, asked me how i was. i replied, "great, how are you?" head down, he dropped the stuff inside the door and said, "have a good day," and left.

do i ask him more? do i stop asking altogether? it's sort of awkward. i sure hope he's okay.

Monday, March 03, 2008

mondays with otto

thank goodness for spring.

thank goodness for the end of the competitive dance team season...

and thank goodness for mondays!

each monday, i am without gina, our new and terrific nanny. on these days, i masquerade about town as a stay-at-home/not-working-for-money mom. we find small errands to run to keep the day interesting, which is far easier when the weather cooperates. sometimes it's hot doug's for veggie dogs and punk rock music. sometimes it's just the lowly kinko's on western for some fed ex needs.

today, i took otto to the one person that really cuts his hair damn well -- the barber in roscoe village. when we sat him on the board and put the cape on, he did cry some big fat tears, but the barber did a little mambo step for him and went zoom-zoom with the clippers and trust was reinstilled. he watches the barber very intently when he changes the guards, and he really loves the tickle of the clipper buzzing around his ears.

well, the lollipop he received before and after never hurt either.

looking forward to writing more this spring!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

breakin' up is hard to do: nanny rebound

i had to fire our beloved nanny yesterday. by all means, the circumstances that have transpired really gave us no other choice, and this fact was corroborated by an informal poll of family members and friends. it still broke my heart.

for almost one year, she cared for our little baby. she helped him learn how to eat food, encouraged him to walk, and logged in hundreds of miles on the macwagon all around the city. almost every summer day, the two would head west to the portage park pool for hours of splashing and sun, and then she'd tuck our tiny tanned towhead in his crib for a much-needed siesta. she figured prominently at his very first birthday party, hoisting him blow out the candles on his toppling cupcakes. the picture of the two of them dressed on halloween keeps shuffling to the forefront of my mind and the tears start to flow. otto doesn't say very many words, but at 9:30 in the morning since she left, he walks to the front door asking for "ah-na. ah-na. ah-na." and it kills me.

not for nothing, as a WAHM, the only other face i saw was hers until casey got home. we chatted for a few minutes over coffee when she'd arrive, and then i'd lumber off to my office while she danced and sang and did dishes and the laundry, practically simultaneously. we'd visit a minute or two later, and then off she'd go. we'd laugh and console and help each other with our spanish-to-english translations, passing otto back and forth all day long. at 5:30 she'd hug otto goodbye and head for the bus, leaving us with a clean house, a stocked closet of clothes, and a very content child. in so many ways, she was wonderful.

things just started eventually falling apart, however. once the weather got cold, she huddled to bad influences for warmth. when she returned my call yesterday, she was friendly and chatty, so i could barely contain my sorrow as i began to let her know the nature of the call. only hours before, her landlord called to verify that she was employed by us, so i knew she was probably behind on rent.

when the words finally tumbled their way out of my mouth, she was silent. she asked if she can have me as a reference -- she really doesn't get it: how can i possibly recommend her to another family? i'm firing her!

i told her a box was coming to her with all her things and a check for three days of work; the three days she missed for an unacceptable reason or the three days she would have worked this week had we not fired her, you decide. she intoned, "ay, paola, that is not nice that you are not giving me two weeks." tears streaming through my clenched teeth, i explained that, had we had to let her go because we were moving or no longer financially capable of keeping her employed, we would have given her two weeks, maybe more. "you should give me another chance," she finally asked. angry, heartbroken, frustrated, i spat "i'm sorry. i just can't. i know otto really loves you, and we sincerely appreciate everything you've done for us, but we have to do what is best for our son and our family."

"thank you very much," she warbled softly, and hung up.

now, we are with what i affectionately refer to as my rebound nanny. i'm not sure she really fits the ticket yet -- older, quite short, not very proficient with english, allergic to cats -- but we're enjoying a three-day trial run. though it's never fun to break a new hire in, i must say, in many ways, she's a breath of fresh air. she works. she kept otto laughing. she maintained the roughly-hewn schedule i had cobbled together for her to the minute. i don't hear her cell phone ringing constantly [well, because she doesn't have one]. whether her fate as our new nanny is determined by her lungs and their tolerance for the feline fecal fiesta that is our home, or that i feel otto needs someone to nurture his lacking verbal output, i have a few days to escape, stop feeling sad, and keep my sites set on a new, loving replacement.