These Boots Were Made for Walking. But Maybe Not Funerals.

Um. I was going to write a post that started out with “I hate packing so incredibly much it’s not even funny and also my whole life I wanted to be that girl who could just throw a toothbrush in her bag and haul ass out the door unemcumbered and I am SO not that girl and so packing is not only a vile experience in its own right but it is also a reminder that I have failed at becoming the imaginary girl I always wanted to be and also did I mention I can’t help but notice I am not married to JFK Jr and I do not live in Tribeca and I do not spend my rent money on shoes and also I forgot I am not Carrie Bradshaw.” Then I realized that part of the problem of having had this blog for almost four freaking years is that I am pretty sure I have already written that EXACT blog post.

So um, I hate packing, blah blah blah JFK Jr blah.

Also, this might seem like a superficial question, but welcome to my world people. Is it inappropriate to wear knee length black boots to a funeral? With a wrap dress, if you must know. It would be very helpful if many of you answered this question and if the answers were all “No, that doesn’t seem inappropriate at all, as long as you don’t wear fishnet tights, black boots are fine!” because otherwise I will have no choice but to wear some too small nylons and hobble around in a pair of stupidly purchased very high heels and why I don’t seem to own any black shoes I can walk in I have no idea, but I think I may have just argued my way into buying some new shoes, which is awesome. Anyhoo, the black boots are the only thing that keep me from feeling ridiculously fat and lumpy in my stupid wrap dress and btw I would like to mention that ma child is now 1 year and 09 days old and that is 09 days longer than the deal we made 1 year and 09 days ago when I told him I would breastfeed him until he was one year old even if it killed me which it darn near did and you would think he could hold up his side of the bargain and learn to use a freaking sippy cup already. Do you know how undignified it is to try to breastfeed a wiggly little bread snapper while wearing a wrap dress and knee length boots?

And I would like to add that I am not sure which one it is, but I have decided either my fubared circadian rhythms or my lackage of weaning of my child are to blame for the fact that I am always freaking starving and therefore cannot seem to lose any weight. I have grand ambitions but come 5:30 they go out the window when I am confronted with the raging beast that is my appetite. Considering that I am now heavier than I was when I pushed said child out into the world and that I am headed to Detroit to be scrutinized by the very people who make me more self conscious than any other people on this earth, I am not too thrilled about this state of affairs. On the plus side I decided to abandon the hilariously impossible idea of packing light and we are now each bringing our own ginormous suitcase and I am totally going to pack a bottle of vodka and a cocktail shaker. I’m like James Bond over here people, minus the heart defibrillator. Also, I’m pretty sure 007 never had to nurse any plus one year olds while wearing a wrap dress.

Also, do you think this is a sign that my brain has turned to mush? When my child wakes up from his nap, the first thing he does to alert me that he’d like to be fetched is to throw his pacifier over the side of the crib onto the floor. I, of course, ignore this in favor of writing psychotic rants on the internet relating to knee length boots, but I also find it so adorable I can hardly stand it. What a clever little thing that bread snapper is.

Please wish me luck in the land of we never turn the television off lest we be forced to make adult conversation or do something other than stew in the juices of Comedy Central.

And please advise as per boots.

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Ten Things That Will Remain Unsaid

1.  I wish you wouldn’t read this blog. I have a lot of things I want to say about you that I can’t.

2. Your behavior disgusts me, but I am too afraid of you to ever tell you that to your face.

3.  I can’t believe you’re related.   I hope I never raise a child as selfish as you are.

4.  I wish you’d write me back.

5. I wonder if I did something to offend you, but I’m not going to try to find out.

6. I wish you loved me more.

7.  I wish you could learn to how to listen.

8.  I am afraid that someday you’ll realize you’ve made a  mistake.

9.  You make me feel fat.

10.  I like the fact that you have such bad taste. It makes me feel superior.

An Old Time Ramble in the Woods

Here’s something you may not know about me. I own every L.M. Montgomery book ever written.  All the Anne books, all the Emily books, Jane of Lantern Hill, the short stories, all of them.  And while I agree wholeheartedly that most television shows and movies made out of the beloved books of my childhood are effing terrible, and while I will never ever ever allow any episode of Little House on the Prairie to be watched on any tv in any house of mine, the movies of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea are lovely finely crafted things and for me Megan Follows always will be everything that I think of when I think of Anne, and I don’t think I’ll ever feel I’ve watched those movies too many times.   And when Gilbert recovers from death’s door and walks down that path towards Green Gables looking skinny and pale but alive! and says to Anne “I’ve come to ask you to go for one of our old time rambles in the woods” I always get that best kind of sad feeling.  You know that feeling? Like how you feel when Patsy Cline sings Crazy or when Buffy killed Angel or when you get to the end of a fantastic book you wished would never end or when you think about a favorite person you’ll never see again but who made your life better for the brief time they were in it?  It’s like the end of childhood, or fall turning to winter or nature’s first green.  The longest day of the year.  A baby growing up and out of babyhood or the ocean on a stormy day.  Finding out that Santa Claus isn’t real.  These are all good things, most of them, necessary things, part of being alive, and if they happen when you’re surrounded with love you know they’re just part of moving on and getting older and they have to happen, but still, they can make you sad, even if it is that good kind of sad.

Today I am that kind of sad.

It’s raining and I realized today that I absolutely have seasonal affective disorder.  I am such a good coper that I never claim to have anything unless it kills me.  Up until now I just assumed that I don’t much like rain and cold and that I have just been crabby for no reason and I was pretty much about to announce to you all that I have agoraphobia and would never be able to stop eating chocolate or lose weight and that I can’t even exercise  because my life is so ridiculously stresful and weighted down by baby and responsibility. Then the sun came out.

I took the jogging stroller out and ran three miles and I was so happy to be out there I almost cried.  I went to Trader Joe’s and out to breakfast and made salads and vegetarian dinners and did pilates and went on about nine walks. I sat out in the backyard and ordered Eli some shorts and daydreamed about smoothies and sun tans. I decided my agorophobia was cured.

Then it started raining again.  Blargh.

So here I am, rambling.

Eli is in the 3rd percentile of weight, and 50th percentile of head size.  We didn’t get any lectures of doom from our doctor.   Instead I looked at her and said “He won’t drink formula. He won’t eat food with formula in it.  He won’t drink milk.  He won’t drink apple juice. He won’t eat fruit. He won’t eat anything sweet. He won’t eat applesauce or cake.  He won’t drink anything but breastmilk or water and we feed him the most fattening things we can think of and he just doesn’t care about food. He eats squash and peas and sometimes cheese.  We put olive oil in his food and cream in his oatmeal and we feed him high fat yogurt.”  And she looked at me and shrugged and said “He’s a picky eater. Try to get him to drunk Pedialyte.  What else can do you?” And that was that.

Lastly. It would appear that Mr. E’s grandfather is heading off to that big farm in the sky.  I did not know him well, but I remain enormously fond of him. He never had a lot of money and he wasn’t a fancy loud sort of guy. He was an old farmer who did the best he could to take care of his family, he went to church every Sunday and loved his wife.  His children say he was the best father there was. I think of this enormous loving wonderful family of his and how none of us would be here if it wasn’t for him and I look at my son and for all that he gave me, I am tremendously grateful.  He is old and tired and I think it’s his time. And yet, still, it’s sad.

Black White and Read All Over

When I was a little girl, every Saturday my father would take me to the library and I would check out the maximum number of books allowed at one time. I think it was 15. And then I’d go home and run up to my room and sit on the floor in the sunlight coming through my windows and read and read and read. It was the happiest I ever was, I think, curled up, alone, in my room, with a book, and with a stack of fresh unread books waiting for me as soon as I was done with the first.

My dad always bugged me to keep a list of all the books I’d read, which I never wanted to do because duh, I wanted to read the books, not write them down. Making a list seemed like such a giant pain in the ass that I never did it. But I would love to have that list now, if I’d kept it, of all the books I read as a kid.

Can you guess where this is leading? I was thinking I would make a quick little note in my blog of all the books I read this year – although I am going to have to bullshit January and most of February because I just thought of doing this the other day. And perhaps it won’t be that interesting to anyone but me, but I do so love lists that I just couldn’t resist.

So far this year, I’ve read:

Forever In Blue – The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood

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I always like these books more than I think I ought to. They are pretty well written and I love the friendship between the girls, I love that they’re not all the same and that they fight and that they do stupid things they shouldn’t do. And I love that these are strong young women pursuing careers and interests and loves and working on finding their passions. The one thing that bugs the shit out of me, for some reason, is how the author refers to the “pants” all the time when clearly they are jeans. JEANS. Quit calling them pants! Annoying. Also, this book was shockingly dirrrrrty for what I consider young adult fiction. Maybe they were trying to move things into an adult genre?

Love, Stargirl

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Ugh. Nowhere near as good as Stargirl. It felt forced and weird and inauthentic. I don’t think you can capture this magic twice. That or I was over it.

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

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boring and not that well written. I skipped from the first chapter to the last just because I wanted to find out what the big secret was, and I don’t even remember now what it was.

Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes

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Also boring. The title is the best thing about it. I skipped the entire middle section.

An Abundance of Katherines

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Nowhere near as good as Looking for Alaska, which I loved. I just felt like there wasn’t much plot to work with in this book. It needed more of something. I liked the characters but it seemed like they had nothing much to do with themselves.

The Absolutely True Diary of A Part Time Indian

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Best book I’ve read in a while. The voice was authentic and real and different. And it kept going in directions I didn’t see coming, which I liked. Obviously I knew that alcohol was a huge issue for Native Americans, but this felt like finding out what it was like to live with that, instead of just talking about it as a problem.  I was a big fan of the nice spare open tone of voice.

Dairy Queen

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This book was ok, although I heard some rave reviews and I don’t know if it was all that, but I can’t really say, since my copy was from the library and was missing the pages from 50-172. The first 50 pages were decent. I liked the cover. Also, I hate my library.

The Book Thief

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So far, I hate to say it, boring. But I’m going to give it another go shortly.

The Things They Carried

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I really love this book. I thought it would be boring but it just sucks you in. I haven’t read that much about Vietnam and this is an amazing read. Kind of sneaky and gets in under your skin in this weird way; it’s not a loud retelling of war horrors, but in some ways I think that makes it much more evocative and it hits harder when you realize what you’ve read.

Billie Standish Was Here

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Fair to middlin’. I enjoyed it while I was reading it, and it wasn’t at all what I thought it was going to be, but it just…seemed a little too pat or something. I read it easily and it was well written but maybe the characters were a bit one sided for me. Everyone was awesome or terrible until you saw their hidden depth kind of thing.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

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I really liked all the parts about the Hmong culture but eventually things just got slow and I couldn’t finish this. I think the author tried so hard to be even handed that everyone came off as sort of sucking and I couldn’t take it after awhile. Even the daughter who ends up in a coma and then passes away sounded like a pain in the ass.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

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I loved this book. LOVED IT. It had a great tone of voice and the author had such love for the characters, who were funny and heartbreaking and courageous and challenging and amazing. It also describes the place Mr. E and I went for our honeymoon in the Dominican Republic as another Eden, and it really was. I wish I would have saved that section, I might have to check it out again and write that down. This reminded me a bit of another favorite book – The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Quirky but in a really loveable relatable way.

The Long Winter

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I was rereading this a few weeks ago on a day we had the most terrible weather of the year and there was a howling windstorm outside and then a tree fell on the house. Nothing will make you feel more grateful for your cozy little house and your full pantry like reading about how Laura had to twist hay and grind seed wheat to stay alive in seven months of non stop blizzards on the prairie. If you haven’t read the Little House Books, read them NOW. You’ll never be the same.

The Kite Runner

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Blarg. I knew I would hate this, and I did! No, just kidding. I liked all the parts about Afghan culture and what is was like to grow up in a country I know so little about, but the plot and the characters were just SO emotionally manipulative it grossed me out. I get that bad things happen to people, but this was done in such a deliberate, creepy, and over the top way that it felt fake and phony and cheap. Tawdry. Evil just isn’t like that. I wasn’t a fan. And it reminded me a little bit of A Prayer For Owen Meany which I hated more than almost any book I’ve ever read, so don’t get me started on that.

Duplicate Keys

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am reading now. Is appropriately scary.

My Entourage Consists Mainly of Emotional Baggage

I have a guest post up at She Likes Purple.

I have what may be the #1 crabbiest baby of all time. On the plus side, for the rest of his life whenever he is this crabby I will be putting this birthday present on him and taking pictures so that I can show them to his prom date someday.

I have to wonder just how long it can actually take for four little teeth to come in. Because, um, hi, it might just be me, but I swear, Eli has been teething for MONTHS and it is KILLING me. I want my sweet little Senor Pants back. Ugh.

I have an enormous sleep deficit and I seriously don’t understand why babies don’t come with an off switch. This learning to sleep thing is the pits.

I have an appointment for a baby falling off the weight charts lecture of doom well baby visit tomorrow. Which I am NOT looking forward to.

I have the worlds most patient husband.

I have a very very SLOOOOOW Etsy banner designer.

And finally, I have something to admit to you all.

Because I totally know better, I do. I know that it’s wrong. But people. I might as well just put this out there. After all, I had to finally admit that I really do love No Doubt even though I felt like I really shouldn’t and also you should know that even though I know it’s not right to love green beans from the can and hate the fresh ones, I can’t help it. I am who I am. And so I might as well tell you that I have the biggest crush of all time on Vince from Entourage. Sigh.

And so with this in mind ever since getting a DVR I have recorded every single thing Adrian Grenier has ever been in, including some documentary I stumbled across the other day because um, hi, Adrian Grenier just does it for me. What can I say? I know Erik is the one the cool girls like and oh I wished I really did like him best but short men and blond men have just never been my thing. I do laugh at Erik and I do get a kick out of Ari but Vince just melts my butter, if you know what I mean, and so I recorded some terrible documentary he was in just as I have watched Drive Me Crazy more times than that movie should ever have been watched by all the people in the entire world.

Unfortunately what I didn’t realize is that this movie (A Shot in the Dark) was about Vince finding the father who left him when he was a baby. And about what it’s like to grow up without a father. About how his mother was also complicit in that life and about how it left him wondering what he was missing out on and what it meant to grow up fatherless.

I was ok with the whole thing and felt just a casual kind of “huh” up until the point when Adrian calls his grandparents to talk to them and his father answers the phone, which he is not expecting. At that point I started to sort of shake and feel sick and and then I had to yell things at the tv. His father reminded me so much of my own – the same creepy phone mannerisms, the same subtle rejections, the same hedging and throat clearing. This is when I had to start fast forwarding because I couldn’t watch it without one eye closed.

The conclusion of the movie was ok, I think, for Adrien. It seemed as though he and his father reached a sort of peace with each other. It was hard to say. I don’t think you ever really get over that sort of thing.

But I can’t stop thinking about it. It made me realize, for one thing, that all my bravado about seeing my father at Thanksgiving was totally ridiculous because I can’t even watch a documentary about a stranger meeting his estranged father without shaking. Hi, I’m so not ready for any meet ups of any kind.

The thing I hate the most about all of my issues with my father is that I can’t seem to move on from them. I want to put them in a box and mark them done and move on, as stupid as I know that is. I just hate that I record some movie hoping to oogle my tv crush and then bam! I’m confronted with the sinking awful father feeling yet again. It’s always there, no matter what I do. I absolutely hate that.

Happy Birthday Baby Boy

Whew. One year old. I can hardly believe it.

You know, this sounds ridiculous, but I just had no idea I’d be bringing this whole other little person into the world. I don’t know what I thought, but I didn’t think I’d be buying my son Jack Johnson’s new album for his first birthday present. I kind of can’t believe I have a child who won’t open his mouth to eat unless he’s holding the oatmeal box while you ask him over and over “Where’s the baby?”. I have no idea where it came from, but I love that when you ask “Where’s your nose?” he sticks both fingers UP his nose. I never imagined he’d shove the dog aside to get to the cat. We all hate the cat, except for Eli. He hates applesauce and peaches and pears but loves mashed up squash above all things. He likes to chew on post it notes. He laughs when he farts. (I know where he got that, and it wasn’t from me. Ahem.).

Eli thinks anything you do while sitting or lying down or holding still is for sucks. He wants to find out how things work and why, right NOW. He studies things. He loves to stand at the front door and yell at people who walk by. Everyone says “He’s so mellow!”, but they’ve never tried to put him to bed when he just wants to hang out. It’s pretty much like I’ve given birth to a college freshman. Loves Jack Johnson, picking his nose, hanging out, and staring at leaves. Won’t go to bed, sleeps in till ten am. Bangs his into the wall because he likes how it sounds.

It’s simply phenomenal to watch this tiny baby become a real live honest to goodness person in front of my eyes. I am left with the feeling, overwhelming, every day, of fortune. I am humbled and grateful and awestruck. It runs through my mind, this quick strand of words, through all the days, now,:

Of all the mothers in all the world. Eli. Thank you for picking me.

The thing, is, really, for me, this is it. I would like to have other children. And I know I’ll love them just as much as I love Eli. And I adore my husband. And I am fond of many other people in this big crazy world. But really, my son, he’s just…He’s it for me. He’s the one, my truly madly deepest. Our worst days are still my best days, because he’s here.

And for me, really? There just ain’t no other man.

I Think the Universe Might Be Trying to Tell Me Something

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