Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Sacred and the Profane

Mr. E sent me this article from Salon last week and it got me thinking.


It's an interview with Barry Glassner, who just wrote a book called "The Gospel of Food". In the article he touches on all sorts of the dieting and food ideas and issues going on today, but the part that jumped out at me most was this:

I think that one way that the food industry is brilliant is in picking up on the bipolar approach to food that we have in this country where we think that certain foods are good or bad, or sacred or profane.

I've become fairly successful at reworking my life so I have a healthy attitude towards food. I eat about half of what I used to and I know what a normal portion of something is and I mostly stay away from fast food and I exercise and I eat vegetables instead of chips and I get a small non fat latte every once in a while instead of a grande mocha with whip every morning. But as I've learned all this and lost sixty pounds and become a runner, I've also gotten worse at separating myself from what I eat, I've also become convinced I don't do enough and I always feel like I could be eating better and that if I did, I'd be a better person.

Inherent in any diet or lifestyle where you're making yourself do something that doesn't come naturally, like eating carrots instead of ice cream, there's always a level of self flagellation. It's how you lose weight. If you didn't want to change, to be "better", you wouldn't have the motivation necessary to get off your ass and put down the spoon. But at the same time I can't help but wonder if it's gone too far when I always feel judged and when I never feel like what I'm eating is the right thing. Is it really normal to feel so defensive because I don't eat whole wheat pasta? I don't like whole wheat pasta, but I still feel like I would be a better person if made myself eat it. At every meal there's a little voice in the back of my head telling me I should be eating kale instead of macaroni and cheese and I can't help but wonder if I need to tell that little voice to shut the hell up. Also, I have no idea how to do that.

The worst part of it all is I don't feel like a "good" person when I eat "the right foods". I just feel like a bad person when I don't.

I can't figure out I feel this way because the lot in life of a perfectionist is to be stuck forever trying harder to do better, or if it's because society's anti fat stance is so strong that we apply it to whatever we think of as scary fattening foods as well. Maybe it's a little of both.

All I know is that deep down I really do know that eating kale won't make me a better person. But at the same time, in the same head space, I also know that I'm a bad person, because I'm not eating kale for dinner.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Nightmare Updated

Seriously? God hates me.
Our dryer broke last night, right in the middle of the 70,000 loads of ringworm related laundry.

But today I am TRYING to look on the bright side. It's not raining, and so everything is drying outside on a clothesline. And just think of how much money we'll save on electricity this way!

Probably almost enough to buy a new dryer.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Complete Nightmare

Can I just stop here for a minute and say?

I am having some issues.

First of all, we just had our roof replaced. It was annoying, but whatever, it was before the baby arrived and I didn't expect it to be silent. It was all arranged by our landlords and while I am happy that I'm not paying for someone to put a roof on the house and all that, some communication more than what's gone on would have been nice. The roofers just show up, do their (very noise) thing for awhile, and then disappear. I thought they were finished on Monday because the roof look finished, although they left a giant leaf blower in the middle of our sidewalk. We put it in our garage so it wouldn't get stolen, told our landlord to let them know they had left it here and they could come get it, and never heard from them again, until lo and behold, someone is RIGHT NOW walking around on my roof, when I thought it was finished. Seeing as how no one has been here for days and the roof appears to be finished, that was a natural assumption, I think. Maybe for the rest of my life they'll just show up wherever I am and walk around on my roof for fifteen minutes. Preferably right when I'm about to take a nap. They still haven't asked for their fucking leaf blower. For all I know I'm the proud new owner of one, despite my total moral objections.

Meanwhile it turns out I have ringworm. Which is almost as disgusting as it sounds. I didn't know what it was at first and then Mr. E informed me "oh, that's ringworm" which really pissed me off, because of course I didn't have ringworm. I would never have something so disgusting. Last time I was at the doctor I asked her what it was and she promptly informed me that it was ringworm (of course!!!) and to treat it with Selsun Blue. It's not actually worms, thank god, or I really would have had to cut off my leg due to the extreme grossness of that whole scenario, my doctor didn't in fact know what it was and so Mr. E had to inform her that it's a fungus. How annoying is that? The doctor did say that I got it from one my disgusting pets and to treat it with Selsun Blue and it's totally not going away, so today I did what all people with weird skin ailments should always do first and I googled "treatment of ringworm" and it turns out I haven't taken it anywhere near seriously enough and so now it's a total nightmare. I have to find out which of my disgusting animals has it (I'm thinking the dog) and then wash everything the stupid dog and my stupid leg have touched and I have to treat it twice a day with antifungal cream and wash my hands a billion times before and after touching it and I can't scratch it and did I mention that my electricity bill was $315 dollars last month? So I am obviously thrilled about having to do seventy thousand loads of laundry and I can't wait to give birth with a giant patch of ringworm on my leg and also to bring a baby home into a teeming cesspool of disgusting dirty animals and their various spreading funguses. Fungi. Whatever. It's a total nightmare.

I feel the need for a Frappucino coming over me. Even though last time I drank one of those it immediately made me so cold it was as though my nipples had been lit on fire and I had to put on two down vests and run around the house screaming.

Meanwhile the only positions I can sleep in (on my side) cause my hands to fall asleep and turn numb. If this doesn't happen I wake up with heartburn or acid reflux so terrible it makes me wish I were dead. This morning I resorted to sitting upright on (ringworm infested) pillows staring at the wall wondering when my library books were due and if I would ever get to sleep again. When Mr. E came in to get dressed I gloomily announced "I feel like I'm falling apart. I have heartburn and ringworm and numb hands and my feet itch."

Meanwhile my pants are getting tighter and tighter, I can no longer wear my wedding band, a double chin has arrived out of nowhere, I just feel gross. Sigh. Will try to get in a better mood tomorrow. Thanks for listening to my deluded rantings.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Butter Yuck

Last night for dinner I made butternut squash ravioli, from scratch. I was thrilled because it was my first attempt at making pasta dough by hand and it all worked out - I didn't use a pasta machine (which I don't have) and the raviolis didn't burst open in the water like I thought they would. However, I was unthrilled because it turns out I hate butternut squash ravioli...the filling tasted way too much like dessert. I don't think it was my recipe either, I think that the flavor of squash in pasta is just not for me. Yuck.
But now that I know how easy it is to make ravioli yourself I'm excited to try some other fillings - less disgusting ones, preferable. I was thinking maybe crab? Does anyone else have any other good ideas? Otherwise I shall throw myself on the mercy of the highest starred recipe on All Recipes. Will let you know how it goes.

PS For the pasta dough I just used a basic Ravioli Dough recipe from Epicurious.com

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Yes, We Have a Theme

Although the theme for the bug’s room should probably be “nowhere close to finished, get your ass in gear, lazies” it is actually children’s books and ABC’s. There’s nothing I love more than books, especially the ones I read as a kid, and I can’t wait to pass that onto my child, so we’re starting early. There’s ABC’s on the crib bedding and the light switch cover and we’ve got some wooden blocks in a jar and a Goodnight Moon poster for the wall and we’ve got a stuffed Madeline and a stuffed Paddington Bear and the Very Hungry Caterpillar and the Goodnight Moon bunny. But no matter how hard I looked I couldn’t find Babar anywhere, the Babar market in this country has dried up, but after all Babar IS from France, so he might not want to spend a lot of time slumming here in America, especially with our current international reputation and all.

Right before my mom made her most recent trip to France I asked her to keep her eye out for Babar and see what she could find, and that’s how she came to spend a whole day in a toy store somewhere in some small french town choosing a Babar from one of many many many varieties on display. She called me from the store and told me all about animatronic Babar and the interactive Babar and Celestes and all the other crazy Babars on offering. Over all the toy noises and the jabbering away in French going on in the background my mom asked me if maybe I wanted the talking Babar, and because I hate noise and I've ordered one of those noise free children and I’m therefore generally a huge hater of toys that make noise, I immediately said no, but then my mom did the right thing and put talking Babar on the phone, and it was truly the best thing I’ve ever heard. It sounded like nothing so much as the MOST POMPOUS French man you’ve ever heard, lecturing you condescendingly on something you have clearly fucked up very very badly. I loved it, every pompous and truly hilarious minute of it, as my mom clearly knew that I would. Talking Babar was tres awesome.

Two days later my mom emailed me a short note from her Blackberry to say that her luggage and the package containing Talking Babar were the first items safely off the baggage carousel in Ohare, and how relieved she was that her luggage had made it safely because she had barely made her flight. I was happy for her and all that because no one likes losing luggage, but I think this is one of those times when it’s ok to revise what you know because another way makes a nicer story. Instead of Babar spitting his way out of the Ohare baggage carousel in a cardboard box, I like to think of my mother, sitting in her window seat on the plane, wending her way across the Atlantic, towards home, towards her grandson, with Talking Babar on her lap, safe.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

(I also bought Oreos, and they are delicious)

Last night at the grocery store the check out guy told us that we were buying the most vegetables he'd ever seen anyone in our generation buy. Mr. E pointed at me and said "You just made her day." He did, too.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Pet Peeve

While I think it's really neat and all that in today's day and age, women refuse to actually sit on the toilet seats in public restrooms, it just means that every damn time I have to go to the bathroom at the movies or wherever, all the toilet seats are covered with pee from someone hovering over it and missing. It's so gross and uncool and selfish, it just gets on my last nerve.

Also, it's one thing if a movie is super boring. I hate most movies so I expect that. But three hours long? It should come with a warning! (The Good Shepherd, I'm looking at you.)

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Ya'all, I am going to tell you a bad secret. Get ready.

(I know everyone means well. I really really do.)

But the whole "oh my god you're pregnant how do you feel what do you look like send us a picture of your stomach" thing is starting to really really really get on my nerves. And also? I find it kind of creepy.

First of all? I know I'm pregnant, ok? But honestly? It's just not something I think about all that much. It's certainly not something I want to define me. I don't wish to be thought of as your "pregnant daughter in law" or "your pregnant friend." I am your daughter in law, I am your friend. Who happens to be pregnant. Who won't be pregnant soon, and who has a lot more on her mind than just babies and stomachs and stretch marks. Let's talk about Battlestar Galactica or something.

And also? It's kind of...personal. I don't know. I just don't really feel like being pregnant is this shared thing. I think it's kind of my deal with Mr. E and the baby and we're sort of doing our own little thing and I know it sounds selfish but I can't help it. It's an insular experience, it just is.

To be really honest I'm also kind of terrified. I cope with this terror by thinking about other things. And that's my coping strategy and if it involves NOT taking pictures of my stomach every two weeks...well, it's my stomach, you know? How about you take a picture of your stomach and send it to me? Not so much? Ok then.

It is inevitable that this little bug takes over our lives. I know that. But right now I am holding onto my own life as much as I can, and that means that if I choose to be ME first and foremost, and pregnant as an afterthought, that's my own choice, my own right, and whether you agree with it or not doesn't really matter. I know that there is a whole other pregnancy out there, one where you only eat organic and you're an earth mother and you don't buy ANYTHING for the baby and you run forty miles the day you deliver and a mother wolf licks the baby off when it enters the world and you grill your placenta and all that, but I'm not having that pregnancy, and it's not because I haven't heard about it and I need you to tell me about it. It's because I'm just not that into being pregnant. I would rather eat M and M's than organic sprouts. I don't want to take pictures of myself naked in the moonlight. I don't want you to kiss my stomach. I like to shop. I'm a little crabby. I'd like a wolf free birth.

Last night we had childbirth class and the nurse teaching us told us that back in the day they just gassed women right when they came in and then when you woke up the next day they handed you a baby. Is it wrong that I thought that sounded pretty damn good?

I know this sounds like nothing more than a long bitchy rant, but really it is just a very long introduction to something more. Because I still think it's creepy when people ask for pictures of my stomach, don't get me wrong. I'd still rather talk about Battlestar Galactica or Britney Spears than birthing class. But admitting that I am terrified about this whole deal has helped me to realize that the most important thing here is that I AM NOT ALONE.

And I didn't really think much about that until the nurse at the doctor's office told us that Mr. E was "inspirational" for coming to EVERY APPOINTMENT and then he went with me to boob class and was the only guy there and then he looked up the Blade Runner soundtrack on Itunes because it's the music he's always found most relaxing and then I realized, that yes, I am going to do this hard thing, this thing only I can do. I am going to give birth and be in labor and be a mom, but through the whole thing I'm going to have Mr. E right there by my side, and there's never been anything, ANYTHING, that I haven't been able to do when he's been there to help me. And when I get scared and when I get lost and when I am in pain and when I am sad I can tell him, and he'll know what to do, or we'll figure it out together. I really believe that, and that's how I know that everything is going to be ok.

Being pregnant hasn't changed who I am, even though sometimes everyone acts like it should. I never wanted to eat organic peanut butter. I NEVER wanted to send you pictures of my stomach! Why would I now? I mean, yes, I'm pregnant, but I am also the girl laughing at the childbirth video from 1972, who is horrified and making faces at all the pregnant PDA going on in the room. I'll always be that girl. But lucky for me, Mr. E is laughing too, right there along side me.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Aw, man...

maternity overalls are so so so so SO unflattering.
I don't think I can do it.
I look like a fat farmer, or humpty dumpty. They're not even that comfortable.
Back to the pajama pants, I guess.

State of the Boobdom

I actually really enjoyed breastfeeding class. They gave us plastic dolls to practise with and I only wacked the baby's head on the table once. Although those dolls should come with a warning label for first time moms:

Attention: Please do not freak out. You will not have to push anything this large out of your hoo hoo. If you do we will be sure to give you copious drugs.

Because how would I know? I don't know what a newborn baby looks like and that enormous plastic doll had me a little freaked out, I won't lie. Mr. E reassured me though, it won't be anywhere near that large. And also babies LIKE it when you wack their heads on the table. So it's lucky that I am already so good at that part of it.

People have strong reactions to hearing that breastfeeding makes me a little nervous. My mom thinks it's ridiculous that anyone would be worried about it because she thought it was "so great". My mother in law thinks a nursing stool is the weirdest thing she's ever heard of..."we never had those..." Friends of mine have loved it, hated it, or merely stuck it out as long as they could. I'm not really in any of these camps yet, I'm just trying to keep an open mind and not get too weirded out by it all, but I am really glad I took a class. It's nothing complicated, situating the baby and all that, but I think if you had never seen it done, it might be hard to figure out on your own. So yes, class was good. Very nonjudgemental, very cool. They even told you what to do if you just HAD to smoke while you were breastfeeding. Not that I plan to do that, of course, but I thought it was cool that they were like "Uh, dude, I live in the real world too, and if you just HAVE to smoke, although you really shouldn't, here's what to do so you can still breastfeed."

Also, pursuant to Number #13 in my previous post, we ALSO have a special DAD diaper bag, yes we do! (Like I would let Mr. E near the Kate Spade.) It's called the Diaper Dude - it was a super cool shower gift from our friend Sarah. I have heard Brad Pitt uses the Diaper Dude, and if that's not a recommendation, I don't know what is. I almost bought something last week called a "Miracle Blanket" based solely on the fact that Heath Ledger apparently has one, even though I don't know what the hell it is, or why I would need it, or what about it is so miraculous that it needs to cost $29.99.

Monday, January 08, 2007

All this crap for one tiny baby?

1. Overpriced yuppie stroller we will never use, size of Texas? Check
2. Second stroller frame in case first stroller is too large? Check
3. Third overpriced umbrella stroller everyone says we'll be desperate for by the time the kid is six months old? Check
4. Oddly innapropriate sports themed clothing given to us as soon as everyone found out we're having a boy? Check. (PS I'm not talking about the adorable Michigan jersey my sister in law gave us - we're not raising a state fan here. I just think it's weird that all these baby boy clothes are covered in balls. Although also? Hee hee).
5. Embarrassing boob related presents opened in front of father in law? Check.
6. Overpriced Pottery Barn crib bedding that dirtiest cat in world loves to rub himself on? Check.
7. Enormous crib child will never sleep in? Check.
8. Bouncer and swing, in case child hates one or the other? Check.
9. Ugliest and safest car seat in the world, exchanged for cute matchy car seat, after having emotional breakdown on Friday when Consumer Reports announced cute matchy car seat is deathtrap? Check.
10. Three Snuglis I'm not sure how we ended up with? Check
11. Sling made of "finest silk in the world", brought back from Thailand by my best friend, made by my mother in law, sure to be instant puke magnet? Check
12. Six million baby receiving blankets and no idea what to do with them? Check
13. Overpriced beyond belief Kate Spade diaper bag, sure to be totally useless at holding actual diapers, sole reason for having child to begin with? Check (am only kidding. Sort of.)
14. Hours of hysterical laughter at my expense after announcing to Mr. E that I doubt I will be overprotective parent? Check.

Ironically, I can't bring myself to buy diapers.

Have boob class (breast feeding) tonight. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it.

At Mr. E's work Christmas party he won some kind of raffle and got a gift card for the movies. We've had it for three weeks now and we still haven't used it because all the movies that have come out here look just wretched. I think Mr. E was whining on about this to his mom the other day on the phone and she suggested we go see "Charlotte's Web" and maybe I was a little blunt in my response but I believe "hell would freeze over" came out of my mouth.

And that's the same way I felt about it when the movies tried to ruin "Cheaper By the Dozen" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Madeline" and "Stuart Little". And it's not because I hate kids movies, although I'm not a big fan of animation. But when I was little girl, a wee one of a thing, these books were my SOUL MATES. I read them over and over and over again. I loved Charlotte's Web so much I still think maybe someday I'll name my daughter Fern. When she sits by Wilbur's pen and she feeds him from a bottle you can tell just by reading about her and how she saves Wilbur in the face of her stern father that she is just such a nice girl. And then she grows too old to really care about as much about pigs and she starts caring more about boys and that moment breaks your heart a little, even though maybe the first time you read it you are too young to know much about that.

And yes, tell me to get over it, but I do find it personally offensive that we're so lacking in creativity that all my beloved children's books are being recycled into dreck by Hollywood at large. And for god's sake people. I understand your kids love Dakota Fanning and you cried at the movie and you looooooved it and all that, but really? Just sit down with your daughter and read her Charlotte's Web and I promise you that something more will come of it than two hours spent crying in a movie theater. I still have my childhood copies of all those books and while I can't remember any movie I ever went to with my parents, I remember sitting with my dad every night while he read to me and I remember when he cried when Laura and Mary had to leave Indian Territory and what it was like Stuart fell in love and when Charlotte died and those books and their imaginary worlds and those moments with my dad reading to me made me a reader, and a writer, and they made me who I am today. They were the very best part of my childhood.

So really, I'm not gonna go see Charlotte's Web. I'm just not. In fact my general policy towards any movie like this is to just ignore the wretched thing and after awhile it goes away. Sometimes the trauma continues (say in the form of Cheaper By the Dozen 2) but I think it's safe to say there won't be a sequel to Charlotte's Web. Although, god, who knows. Maybe I shouldn't tempt fate.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

When I was growing up one of my favorite book characters was Anastasia Krupnik because she was the only person I knew who loved lists as much as I did

Lately I've noticed a rash of people refusing to make New Year's Resolutions because they say they are bound to break them right away anyway. Which seems silly to me. Because I could care less whether I keep any of my New Year's Resolutions, the real truth is that I just love love love to make lists. Because I am just THAT type of loser I always carry around a little notebook with me and I make lists in it constantly and then cross things off the lists and then rewrite the lists when they get messy and then update the lists and then cross reference the lists and sometimes I even write things I have already done onto the lists just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing them off. In fact some of the times I have been most annoyed with Mr. E are the times he has disrespected both the sanctity and the neatness of some list of mine and scrawled something like "31. Put Out" at the bottom of one of my to do lists or written "balls" on a grocery list. He finds it very amusing and looks on in confusion and awe of the wonder that is me when I angrily tell him that it's all very funny in his world I know but now the damn list will just have to be rewritten.
Anyway. Here is my list of resolutions for the year, some of which I am telling you now, I WILL do, come hell or high water, and some of which I will merely strive to achieve, with no guarantees.

1. I would like to write more, and read more.
2. I need to drink way way way more water, and I'm going to accomplish this by making sure I always have a full glass of water with me.
3. I would like to talk less shit. And complain less about people. I mean, after all, we're all just doing the best we can.
4. This is the year that Mr. E and are going to get our financial shit under control, no matter what. It's got to be done.
5. When we have been here for one year (in June) I am going to start going back to school.
6. I would like to run the San Jose Rock and Roll half marathon, so I resolve to train for that, and also I'd like to lose the weight I have gained while being pregnant by the end of the year. But at the same time, I'd like to try to hang onto some of my new insights I've gained this year, and stay rational about weight loss. I look at pictures of myself from this summer and I think "holy shit. I thought I was fat? I was out of my mind." and I think about how much time I spent thinking about all the food I wanted to eat but wouldn't let myself and I think something was a little off there. So I don't want to go back to that place, if I can help it.
7. I will finally finally finally get my drivers license.
8. I would like to concentrate more on being a good, fun, healthy and happy mom and less on buying things for the baby. I don't think he'll care if he has 4 hoodie towels instead of 5. And while I would feel better if I knew everything was all taken care of, if I could walk in to the nursery and see a rocker all ready to go and everything that a baby could ever need set up and if everything was decorated just as I wish it were, I don't think that's ultimately what's going to make me a good mom, and it's definitely not a requirement for bringing home a healthy baby. So I need to tone down the baby consumerism freak out a little.
9. I will decide if I want to return contact with my father.
10. And I will decide if I actually some sort of medically treated issue like the Social Anxiety Disorder I have self diagnosed myself with and if think I need to do something about it or ask for help I will.