I Didn’t Go There and Neither Did Anyone I Know But I Like the Sweatshirt

I just noticed that the University of Minnesota sweatshirt that I’ve had for ages and that is a key piece of my hot maternity wardrobe doesn’t actually say “University of Minnesota” on it.

Instead it reads, in huge letters across the front:

UNIVERSITY
MINNESOTA

What happened to the OF? It reminds me of when the 90210 kids when to California University.

I feel quite traumatized. The missing OF is driving me crazy!

Seriously, I don’t think I can wear this stupid sweatshirt anymore.

Luckily I have another one, that just says “MICHIGAN”. I can live with that.

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Pictures of You

I rarely take pictures when I go on trips. This drives people crazy, for some reason, but it makes perfect sense to me. I spent two weeks in France and didn’t take one picture, but I can still remember the view of the Alps from my bedroom window and the tiny strawberries that grew on the side of the road and the neighbors laundry hanging outside and the husband and wife standing behind their mile long cheese counter at the farmer’s market. I couldn’t remember these things any more clearly if I had ten thousand pictures of them. And when I think back on my trip to France I really don’t want to remember trying to take the perfect picture of the cheese man, I want to remember the cheese man.

So generally when I travel I don’t even take a camera, but that doesn’t mean pictures aren’t valuable to me. My father is an amazing photographer and in some sense I remember my childhood through pictures he took of it. There is an amazing shot he took of my sister in the instant after a jack in the box had popped open that conveys the absolute essense of who she is…it is a moment of pure glee, pure joy, thrilling, captured on film forever.

When I was a little girl I loved to drag my baby album down off the shelf, mine was the dark brown one, and pore over it. I always thought my parents chose the dark brown album for me because of my eyes and it made me feel special. And it was filled with all kinds of cool stuff…the gown my father wore at the hospital the day I was born, stuffed into a letter sized envelope. A label from the cigars my parents handed out to their friends. The plastic id bands my mother and I wore in the hospital. Pages and pages of the graph my dad kept of my mom’s contractions. Cards from family wishing us well. And of course, there were pictures, my mom, huge, standing on a rock by the lake, or making french bread. Then I arrive, and there are first the ones they take in the hospital, a tiny yawning me framed in an oval and wrapped in pink. There’s my grandmother, who I was named for, washing me in the sink, my dad, with a hidden me in a Snugli, me in a long white christening gown, and later with the pink satin blanket that was given to me by my father’s bosses at EF Hutton and that to this day remains my most prized possession, what I would save from a burning building. There are hand written captions – things like “Cool it!” under a picture of me in an ice chest, wailing.

This is all from memory. I don’t have any of these pictures, and I know there are more that I’ve forgotten, but my dad would never let any of our baby albums out of his possession and now that we don’t speak mine is lost to me. And it hurts. Mr. E’s mom is making a story board of both of us when we were babies for our shower and I did manage to find a few pictures of myself as a little kid for her to use but for some reason it really bothers me that my first hospital picture won’t be up there and I am missing all the pictures of my mom when she was pregnant with me, and I wish I had that crazy graph.

It feels like part of my childhood is missing. And it’s bothering me more than usual, not only because now I am having a baby of my own, but because having my life slapped up on a piece of posterboard next to Mr. E’s is a giant reminder of how our lives are different, of how mine went wrong. He comes from a huge loving family and needless to say none of them are estranged and when you look at his parents you can tell that after 35 years of marriage they love each other even more now than they did for the first 35 years of their lives. Mr. E’s entire childhood is preserved in his parents basement, crammed into boxes, his mom has his first hat and his first blanket and his first and second and third letters he wrote to his grandmother and pictures upon pictures upon more pictures. When she called and asked me to have my mom send her my baby pictures and I had to say to her “hmmm, my mom doesn’t have any baby pictures of me to send you” it just hit me and that moment really hurt.

My dad called me and left me a message on my birthday and I never called him back because I didn’t want to talk to him, and I didn’t know what I would say to him after five silent years. How do you start that conversation? But part of me wants to call him now to say “Hey, I don’t really want to talk to you, but here is my new address, could you please send me my baby book? Hope everything is great!” I don’t know. I don’t think I know the right words.

I guess the best thing I can do now, the only thing I can do now, is to ensure that this never happens to my son. We’re about to take a really long journey together, him and I, and this time, I promise, I’m going to take a shitload of pictures. And I’ll buy him an album that matches his eyes and I’ll fill it with pictures and captions and graphs and then I’ll make sure he never has to wonder, some day a long time from now, if his baby pictures were thrown out in a move.

P.S.

The baby shower game you can’t play if you don’t want to be touched involves everyone guessing how large your stomach is and then cutting a piece of string to that length. Then they wrap it around you and whoever is closest wins.

Isn’t that the most horrifying thing you’ve ever heard?

We won’t be playing that game, don’t you fear.

No gadgets? WTF?

Seriously, the new James Bond movie was tres tres bad. Well, not even bad. Bad would imply…I don’t know, that something worth caring about occured. Instead, it was just very very very VERY boring. I haven’t been that bored in a long time and that includes the ten minutes I spent watching some crazy lady sell Dooney & Bourke purses on QVC this weekend.

Also, hi, if there aren’t any gadgets, it’s just not a James Bond movie, pure and simple. Thank god the movie theater has Necco wafers, anything involving Necco wafers can’t be considered a total waste of time.

You all are so right

First of all, a great miracle happened here, and the random stranger canceled and did not come to stay with us. (As an aside, when I was a little girl, my dad always read us a story about King John, who was not a good man, but who one christmas said over and over again “Please, Father Christmas, if you love me at all, bring a big red india rubber ball.” Father Christmas did bring it to him, by the way. Last night when Mr. E was getting the voice mail I found myself saying over and over to myself “Please Lord, if you love me at all, let this loser not come stay with us.” And he didn’t, and it was awesome.) Kind of scary how happy it made me.

Secondly, reading over the comments I did have a bit of revelation.

You guys are right.

Even though I knew, intellectually, in my head, that I am pregnant, and not fat, I still felt fat. It is hard for me because at times being pregnant feels so much like what it felt like to get fat in the first place that it is difficult to remember that it’s not the same thing. And it’s really not. This time the point is not how good I look or how round I am. The point is to have a healthy baby and I have a healthy pregnancy and I am a lucky lucky woman. I am able to have a child. Some people never get that.

I cannot imagine the heartbreak of losing a child, and in the face of that, it seems really selfish and stupid to complain about being fat. But even more so than that, it’s not correct. Being pregnant is not being fat. It’s being pregnant. Two totally separate things.

So I apologize. I apologize for bitching about being fat. I’m going to start being grateful for being pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. I’m going to start remembering that I am getting bigger FOR A REASON. Thanks for the wake up call.

Fat Bashing

So Kirstie Alley gained a bunch of weight and then lost a bunch of weight and then put on a bikini and then went on national tv wearing it and apparently this annoyed A LOT of people. Well, I don’t know if it annoyed them, so much as everyone then thought it was ok to say rude shit about her and about how she wasn’t bikini ready, whatever the hell that means, and about how big her thighs were and how she shouldn’t have gone on tv with those thighs wearing a bikini and how she cheated by wearing nylons and blah blah blah.

First of all let me just say I don’t really care about Kirstie Alley one way or the other. I don’t have an opinion on her personality. I enjoyed her on Cheers just as I enjoyed every person on Cheers so I guess I give her the Cheers Free Pass even though she is a Scientologist which freaks me out, but overall I don’t wake up in the morning and think “Hmmm, do I or do I not like Kirstie Alley today?” But regardless of how I feel about her, don’t blog that you think she has monster sized thighs and then when you get called on it say “oh, no no no no no, NO, I’m not fat bashing, I have big thighs too!” Uh, guess what? The size of your own thighs has nothing to do with it. Insulting someone because you think they have big thighs IS fat bashing. Period.

So the fat bashing was the first thing. The second thing was the bikini thing. Because really? Aside from those of us who are either fourteen or supremely genetically gifted, dude, none of us is “bikini ready”, whatever the hell that even means. Luckily, that doesn’t mean we don’t get to wear bikinis. We get to wear whatever the hell we want, whenever we want, no matter what size we are, no matter what other people think. That’s just how it works. And whether or not you have big thighs, and no matter what other people think, if you feel hot in a bikini, well, damn. You might just have found the secret of life, so don’t cover it up with a damn sarong, flaunt it on Oprah and more power to you.

And so all this blather got me thinking. Obviously my weight loss issues and efforts have been derailed by the demon spawn I am currently gestating but last year when I was a size 4 and the smallest I have been for a long time and running 30 miles a week, I was also having a crisis of self confidence. Much of the time I felt not good enough and I felt very self conscious and I had way too many fat days. I’ve put that all on the back burner because now that I’m pregnant I need to just not care how I look, since if I think too much about it I will be freaked out at how fat I feel and it’s not something I can do something about so I just choose not to think about it. But all this bikini talk. Well.

Well, it’s just that I have worn a bikini many many many times in my life, and very few (ie none) of those times did I have a Sports Illustrated swimsuit body but I didn’t give a shit. I love wearing a bikini and lying on the beach and I thought I looked hot and I felt confident and I rocked it. And it was only later on that I would see pictures of myself or I would become obsessed with how I once looked or I would wonder what other people thought of my stomach and then I would start to feel foolish and think back on when I wore a bikini to the beach when I was larger and I would think “Holy crap, I can’t believe I wore that, I really shouldn’t have been wearing that” or sometimes I would tear the pictures up into tiny pieces and I would feel shame. Shame that I let my fat thighs out in public, in a bikini no less, shame that I had no better judgement than to cover my fat self up. I do have lack of self esteem, but for some reason it works in reverse. With rare exceptions I’ve never had a problem putting the bikini on but I find it impossible not to castigate myself for it afterwards.

And so I am going to try to give that bad habit up. I have come to the conclusion that if you feel good in something when you put it on, that moment is really hard to come by and it needs to be all that matters. If you put on a bikini and go on Oprah and you feel good about you, fuck everyone else. When I put on a bikini and lie on the beach I feel like I look good and I feel happy and that’s a powerful thing, not everyone has that. Taking it away from myself afterwards by telling myself I didn’t deserve to have that self confidence in the first place is unfair to me, and it’s really soul killing, in a way. I am lucky I can have that Oprah bikini moment even if it is only in my own mind and I need to tell the crictic in my own head who tunes in afterwards with the doubt and insults to quit with the fat bashing and shut the hell up.

Whine

I’ve never been what you would call a big drinker. I’m not like, morally opposed to it or anything, it’s just not really my thing. And actually it’s kind of odd that I’m not more into it because both my parents drink a lot. When I was growing up my dad drank in the car while he was driving and I never even realized until a few years ago that it’s not normal to drink beer in the car while driving your kids around, because he was always drinking. My mom can also put it away, although she and my step dad are the classy type of drinkers where they seem to know a lot of about wine and they have happy hour every single night starting at 5 oclock. The happy hour drinks vary by season, but not by a lot. (Martinis in the winter, gin and tonics in the summer). Then they drink wine with dinner and then sometimes they have drinks after dinner. Now that they live in France they have chucked off even these so called rules and the wine pretty much just flows like water, all day long. I personally dig the happy hour concept because it reminds me of my grandmother and the east coast and silver dishes with salted nuts and all that lad di dah, plus there are snacks involved, but I only bust out happy hour on special occasions or say, on camping trips. Otherwise we just have dinner and sometimes Mr. E drinks some beer. So although you could say I am predisposed to the sauce, it just…isn’t really for me.

For one thing I just don’t really like the taste. I did do the usual college drinking and to this day I can’t even look at a bottle of peach schnapps but overall I am not committed enough to anything to be a drinking every night type of person, and besides I have this weird beverage drinking OCD thing where no matter what beverage it is I am physically incapable of finishing it, ever. To be honest with you I don’t do it intentionally but when I stop to think about it, the last two inches or so left in a cup do sort of gross me out. It’s always too warm and by the time I think “Oh, I should finish that” I’ve moved on. It’s why I used to wet my pants all the time when I was a kid. Too busy to bother.

There are a few things I really enjoy drinking but even those seem kind of pointless. For example I found out after Mr. E lugged home two bottles of it that I love Dominican Rum. Just on ice. Damn, that’s good. But once it was gone, I mean, I can’t just walk into Safeway and get some Dominican Rum, and I don’t like regular rum. Then I discovered my most favorite of favorites, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and right after consuming about nine hundred mini bottles of it over ice (although never getting even a slightly noticeable buzz) I discovered that I was basiscally drinking straight fat and that as best I can tell 1/5 of a cup of the stuff has aproximately one bajillion calories. And when I started Weight Watchers just like everyone else I could indeed tell you how many points were in a very teeny glass of wine but after awhile it was like, what was the point? I just don’t like wine enough and then when I got down to 20 points a day and couldn’t even eat my flex points, anything that didn’t make me less hungry wasn’t on the menu. It’s the same reason I ate nuts instead of baked lays. Baked lays don’t fill you up, wine doesn’t fill you up. Nuts fill you up, so that was where my points went.

All the same whenever I would go out or go to parties, which was not all that often, I drank, because to be honest I am a socially awkward person and I just needed it to be able to make idle chit chat with random strangers and not die of ten thousand tiny awkward social moments. Most often I would end up getting sort of bombed because I would refuse to eat anything at these parties due to the fact that I knew I was ingesting too many booze calories as it was and so I would just drink my dinner and that’s why last year I fell off our porch at a party we had and ended up killing a bush. Good times, good times. I’m not saying weight watchers turned me into an alcoholic so much as it highlighted the fact that while I don’t drink every night and I don’t even really like beer or wine and the only booze I like I can’t have, sometimes there was social awkwardness and what can I say, I needed some drinks.

Now that I am pregnant I have not had any alcohol for 24 weeks. A LOT, I mean A LOT of people have told me that so and so who they once knew’s best friend’s doctor told them that it’s ok to have some wine or some beer or whatever when you are pregnant. That is all fine and good and I am happy for those people, but I am not in the habit of taking third party medical advice from friends of friends doctors and my doctor who is a safety gal such as myself told me not to drink and so I do not. And honestly in the first four months of vile pukeness known as pregnancy the site of a wine bottle was enough to make me gag and run for the hills, so it wasn’t much of an issue.

But now here the holidays are almost upon us and we have started to attend actual social events with actual people that we are trying to meet in this new town and it’s a whole new level of social awkwardness and I cannot have my three wine glass buffer to smooth things out and it SUCCKKKKKKS. Big time. Last week we went to a wine bar to try to socialize with new people and the obnoxious woman who was sitting next to me who I was trying to be nice to in spite of my opressive and total soberness actually explained to me as if I was twelve years old what a flight of wine is and I knew when I had to sit on my hands to avoid stabbing her with my fork that I had never ever appreciated the way that even one glass of wine takes the edge off. Imagine what a whole flight could do.

Even when it’s hanging out with old friends it sucks because everyone else is re living their college days over a costco sized bottle of jack daniels and making total asses of themselves in a terrifically boozed up way and having fun and being drunk, and I am sitting in the corner, sober and quiet and boring and lame. Pretty soon we are headed to Detroit for the holidays and I will only say about that that when I remarked to my sister in law recently that being the only sober one in a group of drunks bites the big time, her answer was “Huh? Does it?”. Uh huh.

Perhaps it this would be a good time to reflect on the fact that I self medicate my awkwardness and shyness and various social disorders with booze and that maybe that isn’t a good thing, but to that I say, no thank you. To that I say, hey, you have your medicine, and I have mine, and how many more weeks do I have to be pregnant?

The light at the end of the tunnel is that I have read, in an actual book, that drinking is not strictly verbotten while breast feeding. And I am looking forward to experimenting with my tolerance once I push the kid out, because I have the feeling that it may be the only time in my life that 1/5 of a cup of Bailey’s gets me straight up drunk. I’m really hoping there are mini bottles at the delivery.