Friday, August 31, 2012

look away, I'm 'bout to talk politics. and religion.

Mitt Romney gave his acceptance speech last night. Where were you? I was watching it while stuffing my face with froyo.

There were a lot of things in Romney's speech the irked me: the invitation to have a giggle at climate change, the implication that Obama raised taxes on middle class (he did not), his contrived emotional outbursts while talking about his family. But really, I was most annoyed by his short monologue regarding women in leadership. After telling a short story about his mom running for the Senate because “Why should women have any less say than men, about the great decisions facing our nation," he ticks off the positions to which he appointed women while he was in office. Prior to his speech, Jane Edmonds even claimed that Romney had increased the number of women in senior-level leadership positions while he was in office. The GOP is clearly trying to paint Romney as a president who would protect women's rights, despite evidence to the contrary.

I have not, in this blog, really discussed my personal history with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (from here referred to as the Mormon church). Long story short, I was baptized into the church at 19, practiced faithfully and dutifly, and decided to disengage when I was about 24. None of these decisions were decisions I took lightly. I feel obliged to say that I do not resent the Mormon church for anything, and in fact, there are many practices from the church that I still (attempt to) follow and respect. Nonetheless, there were many reasons why I left the church, one of which being the regard for women.

In the Mormon church, women do not hold any leadership positions over men (although they can hold leadership positions over other women). They are not allowed to bless sacrament (or communion or Eucharist or whatever you call it). They cannot baptize or confirm members. They are not given authority to offer blessings of healing or comfort to other congregation members. They are not allowed to consider serving missions for the church until they are 21, and then only for 18 months, unlike their male counterparts who serve 24-month missions at 19. These are simple, doctrine-based truths. Of course I knew all these things when I joined the church, I just didn't know they would bother me later.

I remember the moment I started to think I needed to move on. It was General Conference (a meeting during which church leaders address the membership), and they were broadcasting reruns of old talks, one of which was the church president's 2003 address to women. During this talk, in an attempt to praise us I suppose, President Hinckley labeled women mothers, housekeepers, chauffeurs, shoppers, companions to their husbands, and nurses.

Aaaaaaaand that was it. That was the end of the list. I remember thinking, aside from being a "companion," I'm none of those things. And (at the time) maybe I don't ever want to be any of those things. My worth as a woman in this context is being measured only by how self-sacrificing I am to my family. While admirable, I always planned to fill roles other than wife and mother, and being told from the pulpit that I may only ever be valued for the cleanliness of my house and the punctuality of my children is insulting. It's condescending and defeating. It negates our individuality. It reduces us to servants who would have no purpose were it not for the existence of husbands and children.

So Romney standing at a podium professing his respect for women and their authority to make decisions on behalf of men is a little unbelievable to me. Of course there are Mormon men who respect and treat women as equals. But I find it hard to believe that any male feminist would ascend to the ranks of Stake President as he did. While he was there, he likely never challenged the traditional roles of women in the church. He likely never rallied for them to be allowed to hold priesthood authority or to have an equal voice in church leadership. He was probably just a normal Stake President who followed all the rules and served the needs of his congregation well. Good for him. But that doesn't make him a trailblazing female-identified-man. That doesn't earn him the chops to finally narrow the many gender gaps in our society. And it certainly doesn't make me believe any of his pandering bullshit about how "heroic" we are for raising kids when our men aren't around.

As it turns out, Romney did not actually increase the number of women in senior-level positions. And the fact that he only discussed women he appointed or hired suggests that women can only achieve these things when hoisted up by men. It also suggests that while he may believe it's okay for women to have a say in inconsequential matters of a temporal nature, he ascribes to a value system that disqualifies women from presiding over more important matters of an eternal nature. Nonetheless, while a lot of the inequalities that exist for women in the Mormon church are doctrinal, a lot of them are cultural, and for which Romney cannot be held responsible. So, I'm not saying a Mormon should never be president. I just don't think he should be the first.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

dog day care

For those of you who did things in the right order, (e.g. get married, graduate college, get dog #1, drop out of grad school, buy a house, get dog #2, get rid of dog #1, go back to grad school, get knocked up), you may be familiar with the stress that comes with introducing a new baby to your spoiled dog-child.

Lots of caring people have bestowed upon us oodles of unsolicited advice. We've been told to snag the receiving blanket with all the baby goop to give to the dog before we come home. We've been told to put out all the baby stuff and turn it all on (all at once?) so Buster can get used to it. We've also been told (by several people) to just lighten up and not worry about it.

That is not an option, so I called our vet for some advice. He basically told us to just make sure Buster is smothered with attention and exhausted all the time after Meatball comes home. When I mentioned dog day care, he concurred that it is an appropriate way for yuppies to let someone else deal with their needy dogs post-baby. He suggested we start before Meatball's arrival, so as to acclimate him to these life changes one at a time.

So today, Buster went to day care. I took him in early, so there wouldn't be too many other dogs at first (at the suggestion of the day care). I told him to behave himself, and handed him over.  I got into the car, and was immediately filled with worry and remorse. What if he doesn't like the other dogs? What if he gets in a fight? What if he catches fleas or something? What if he hates me when I pick him up for sending him into a gutted warehouse in a sketchy part of town with 100 yelping latchkey dogs?! Ohmigosh I'm paying someone $18 a day to ruin my dog. He'll never forgive me.

I called the day care later to find out if he adjusted, and of course they were like "oh you have the best dog ever he's so cute and well-behaved and we'll see you when you pick him up." Click. Then I felt ashamed and entitled. Like they even know (or care) which dog is mine. They're dogs for pete's sake. They eat poop and tissues from the garbage. They sleep on the floor. Animals.

Almost immediately, I sensed the parallel of this situation. We're fortunate to have in-home child care for the time being, but that's likely not permanent. One of these days, I'll be dropping my own daughter off at day care for the first time, and if I felt this emotional about dropping my dumb dog off at a day care, so emotional that I called the day care like a meddlesome, self-indulgent parent to check on him, I can only imagine the crushing regret I will feel that first morning I watch Meatball go to her cubby to hang up her coat. Everything I feel for my dog, I will feel for my daughter times 100. Which also means that I will be 100 times more relieved when I pick her up, as I did Buster, and realize she survived. She probably won't hate us, and she'll probably be fine. I'm sure there are worse things we will do as parents than take her to day care. Just wait until she brings home her first boyfriend (or girlfriend).

Monday, August 27, 2012

i'm so excited

Okay so this weekend I had a minor Jessie Spano moment and baked four loaves of bread, three lasagnas and a pan of enchiladas to stick in the deep freeze. I'm pretty sure Mitch will starve after we have this baby, since I do all the cooking. I also bought a bunch of frozen pizzas and veggie burgers, since I can't be sure he'll bake a lasagna.

Getting prepared for Meatball has plateaued, so I think we're both searching for things to do to make us feel like we're making progress. But mostly I'm bored, and I'm trying to fill the void that would normally be consumed with drinking boxed wine. I've moved things back and forth from one shelf to another in the closet more times than I can count. I put little bottles of hand lotion by all the sinks in the house (note: two) because I'm positive our hands will chap from all the washing. All the little tiny baby clothes have been washed, folded and put away. The crib and stroller are assembled. We even have a car seat. But by far, my favorite has been wandering into the living room after wondering why it was so quiet in the house, and finding this:

courtesy of youtube
I have never been more attracted to this man than I was at that moment. Hands off, ladies. He's all mine.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

every freaking time!

I'm pretty obviously pregnant at this point. I mean, I've been asked for a cigarette in the last week, but I just thanked the guy for not being judgmental. Nonetheless, I'm assuming that most people assume that I'm knocked up.

Which is why it's so infuriating that the last three times I've gone to the grocery store, the bagger has left my checkout lane as soon as I start to check out. Apparently, the Krogetto in my neighborhood has not instilled in their employees an unconditional fear of pregnant ladies pushing food around in cages.

I would not consider myself a high maintenance, wispy pregnant lady. I mowed my own lawn (using a rusty, manual push mower, cuz we're hippies, remember?) into my third trimester. I wear heels to work still. I moved all the furniture in the nursery several times, by myself, before I was satisfied.

But there are some things I simply cannot do anymore. For example, reaching. Reaching and almost-full-term bellies are diametrically opposed. Thus, bagging my own groceries should be beyond my capacity. But I'll be damned if I ask for help! So I braved the Braxton Hicks and leaky bladder on the day Kroger had canned fruit on sale, and bagged and loaded my own friggin' groceries. And I'll keep doing it every time, too, because the whole time, I'll be praying the my water breaks all over the checkout lane. That'll show them.

Unrelated. Mitch is indulging my love for Robert Downey Jr. (and his love to kitschy action flicks) by watching Sherlock Holmes. Is Robert Downey Jr. really that hairless? It kind of makes him look a little geriatric. But he's still my #1 boo.

hey boo!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'm apparently popular with 15-year-old basement goblins

If you operate your own blog, you may or may not be familiar with Blogger's feature that tracks your page views and audience and whatnot. I suppose it's useful for people who actually make money from their blogs. I noticed this feature a few days ago, and explored it a little. I mostly expect just friends and family to read this blog, since it's super stupid and I only post it on facebook when I have a belly update. Anyway, I was interested to learn that this feature also tells you through what websites people are most commonly accessing your blog, aka Traffic Sources. Again, I expected facebook to be pretty much it. But no. I was wrong.

Who do I know from Russia?

Hmmmm. What are these interesting websites that seem to be giving people access to my blog?

PORN. They're PORN websites.

First of all, I don't know how these sites are linking to my blog. I assure you, I am no consumer of porn. And if I was, it would not be shitty back-alley budget porn that these sites offer. Second, which of you SICKOS is clicking through these sites to get to my very dignified and classy blog?! Apparently, I am getting views from people other than my friends and family, and it would be nice if you creepsters acknowledged yourselves. I would also like to know what is so misleading about the content and/or title of this page that would lead you to interrupt your porn viewing and click on the link to my blog. I hope you were not disappointed with my mundane tales of chickens and unborn babies. There's plenty more where that came from.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I like making my own cleaning supplies. It's cheap. Really that's it. But I tell people it's because it's more environmentally friendly. That part makes me feel superior. So I've been infusing white vinegar with kitchen leftovers before I compost them. It makes the vinegar smell waaaaaaaaay better. I started getting creative with my recipes. Lavender, lemon, and thyme. Grapefruit and basil. Lime and rosemary. Mostly combinations of citrus and herbs.

So one day, I said to myself, hey, let's get crazy. You know how cucumber cleaners smell really good? Let's make cucumber-basil infused vinegar.

NO! Stop right now and put down the cucumber. You know what that makes?! PICKLES.
Does it use pickles to clean, or does it clean pickles?
So crap, now I have a whole jar of pickle-scented cleaner, and nothing to do with it. I can't just throw it on the compost; it'll kill all the worms. So the dishwasher repair guy comes to fix the dishwasher (cuz it was broke), and he fixes it and tells me to run it again with some vinegar. This is something I do regularly anyway, but I was like, awesome. I'll use the pickle cleaner.

NO! Omigosh, just stop. You know what happens when you put the pickle cleaner in a steaming appliance? It makes pickle steam. Now my entire house smells like a Jimmy John's. I may be a hippie, but I was Polish first. Please. Learn from my mistakes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I don't think I have ever done this on this blog, but I just feel the need to talk about how much I love this stuff. Klorane Dry Shampoo (non-aerosol) is freaking amazing, and will probably save my dirty hippie ass after I have this baby. It allows me to go days without showering (note: 4 days), and eons without washing my hair (note: 5 days). Plus, the fact that it's non-aerosol appeases my hippie guilt. Because really, if you're a true hippie, you're not supposed to use too much water. But if you're a hippie with a day job in an office with other people, you also can't look scrappy, and using aerosol cans of dry shampoo is just not acceptable. Al Gore will come to your house and peel all the bumper stickers off your Subaru if he finds out you're using aerosol cans. I should have taken pictures to prove it, but I'm lazy and don't think that far ahead. If you really care, my 34 week pic was taken on day three of no shower, and day four of no hair washing. Awesome, I know. But seriously, if you hate bathing, but you live with someone who prefers that you don't look like Nick Nolte's mug shot, git it.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

34 weeks

RAWWWWWWR. I'm huge.
How'm I feeling, you ask? I mean clearly you didn't ask that just this second because this is a one-sided conversation, but either you have already, you will the next time you see me in person, or you're wondering it currently. So, I feel fine. Sure my back hurts sometimes, but that's what happens when you add 15 pounds entirely to the front of your body. Sure I have weirdy aches and pains, but that's expected when your organs are displaced by a writhing butternut squash-sized mini-me (I swear I felt my stomach growl on the lower left side of my back the other day). But other than that, I'm fine. And I think it might be a little disappointing when I don't have complaints. So for those of you who would be more entertained by bitching rather than anticlimactic conversation killers:

AHMAHGASH these 'roids are killing me! You try walking around with a searing hot butt raisin hanging on to your sphincter all day and still be pleasant. And look at my feet!!! They're like Barney Rubble feet. My damn toes don't even touch the ground. And the heartburn I get every night makes me feel like a volcano. Like a volcano spewing hateful lava with the heat of a thousand suns. And I had to have my wedding ring sawed off the other day because my sausage fingers tried to swallow it whole. I can't even make a fist anymore! THIS IS SO AWFUL! GAAAAAAAAHHHH foam foam spit rage. 

So when I bore you with my boring responses about how boringly normal I feel, just pretend that I have a searing hot butt raisin.

Mitch had a panic attack this weekend about how unprepared we are for having this baby. Let me back up. We were at our friends' house Friday night, enjoying a fire in the backyard, and right in the middle of some riveting discourse, the lady of the house turns to me and says, "I'm sorry, I think my water just broke." Rude. Mitch didn't even get to make a s'more (by the way, they had a beautiful baby girl the next morning after a super short labor, because the lady of the house is apparently a super hero).

On the way home from their house, Mitch started freaking out that we didn't have a car seat. Apparently the impending doom only then became real for him. We only just bought a mattress for the crib last week, so I don't know where this panic has been until now. I think it's been hiding under motorcycle repairs and the champagne of beers, but I'm glad he's finally catching up. Now I think he gets why I have been freaking out about finding the perfect end table for the last two months.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Ever since I found out that I was losing my funding, my job has been a clusterf*** of business managers and voicemails and administrative assistants and paperwork and training and grants. I'm thrilled to be employed, but I have had to fight tooth and nail for this shit.

I thought I had finally worked everything out about a month ago, when I weaseled my way onto another grant so that I could be gainfully employed until my new job is effective when I come back from maternity leave. There was just this little problem with getting paid. Or not getting paid in my case. Some hosebeast in charge of doing the paperwork has been draggin' her feet, so I have been working for free for this grant for about a month now. She finally got around to it Friday. Just in time for me to get a letter saying I had been denied FMLA benefits because I didn't have enough hours in the last year to qualify.

W. T. F.

So because some jaded pencil pushing troll couldn't be bothered with emailing my business manager an account number (yes, that's all she had to do), I have been denied an additional six weeks of job protection. And apparently admin and HR are immune to sobbing pregnant ladies and snarky emails. Bureaucracy and red tape shall not be rushed.

Nothing has sent me into a rage more often during this pregnancy than trying to figure out FMLA benefits. You'd think that I'd have a pretty good handle on it, considering I'm getting a Master's in Public Health with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health (someone should complain to my program director; I really should know this stuff). Apparently the first six weeks after you have a baby is just to guarantee you've had enough time to practice not pissing yourself in public following the assault on your nether regions. The next six weeks are just for additional "bonding." Nevermind breastfeeding. That's not important. And nevermind that "bonding" increases self-efficacy in new mothers, decreasing the incidence of postpartum depression and improving future secure adult attachment in their new infant. It's really only for people who can afford to stay home and engage in self-indulgent baby snuggling. Thank you federal government. Thank you for indulging the selfish whims of new moms. But only selfish moms who have worked a collective 1250 hours in the 52 weeks prior to pushing out the baby.

Anyway, as it turns out, my hours will count retroactively, so as soon as the HR leprechauns give the account parchments their blessing, I'll be eligible for the full 12 weeks again. It also means that I'll get like, two months of back pay in one paycheck. I think I'm going to use it to help jaded pencil pushing troll move out from under her bridge. Sunshine will be good for her.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Nine years in eight pictures.

omg who let these babies get married
I had written a post about our nine year anniversary that was trying to be all sentimental and introspective, and then I deleted it, mostly because sentimental and introspective don't suit me. I don't wear them well, like skinny jeans (but damn if I don't try).

Instead of that, I've decided to do a greatest hits post. Like when sitcoms have episodes where they play all the funniest parts of the show in rapid succession. It's overstimulating and makes you foam at the mouth a little. So submitted for your approval, some of my favorite moments of the past nine years. But mostly just things of which I happened to have pictures.

No beard?
Mitch is dressed as Elmo. He agreed to be Elmo at our friends' kid's birthday party. This was the moment I realized I could procreate with him, since he clearly has no standards. Maybe no dignity. He doesn't have Elmo hands, but rather regular gloves on, because the costume rental place lost them. Some kid at the party had an aneurysm upon seeing him, since her parents didn't believe in TV or something, so fun with Elmo ended early. This kid's parents also didn't believe in immunizations, climate change, or women learning math.

I think I spy some peach fuzz. Nope, wait, that's just some stray Old Bay.
One of our most favorite places on the planet is Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. My dad always curses me that I didn't marry a Lingo, the real estate mob family of the gayest beach in the First State. Mitch's favorite place in our favorite place is Lazy Susan's, a crab slaughterhouse with newspaper covered tables. Mitch happily massacres crustaceans while I, having been a vegetarian for most of our trips there, mourn the loss and judge the styrofoam plates and cups. I think this photo perfectly captures my sentiments. And my super cool hemp and seashell choker. I'm going to bring that shiz back.

Still no beard.
So we got this dog and named her after a TV show. She was kinda wimpy, so one day we were walking downtown, and stopped in one of those cute little overpriced doggie boutiques to buy her a sweater. I picked out that really snazzy one you see featured in this photo, put it on her, and took the tag to the counter to pay for it. SIXTY BUCKS. Mitch almost divorced me on the spot. But alas, it was already on the dog and out the door. Plus look at her. It makes her look so classy. Now we own neither the dog nor the sweater (custody has been transferred to my brother), but at least we have this really awesome photoshoot to help us remember it. We used shots from this as our Christmas card photo that year.

BEARD! This is apparently when Mitch stopped caring.
At some point during our marriage, I lost my mind a little. I was like, minutes from shaving my head and beating SUVs with an umbrella. I sold all our shit on craigslist and moved us across the country. During the trek, I made us dilly dally all over the Corn Belt and Tornado Alley, stopping at every national park and historical site we could find (This is some battlefield in Oklahoma. Or Texas. Not really sure). We're in a death match with some friends of ours to see who can get the most National Parks stamps in their passport book. I'm not really sure what the winner gets (a bunch of wasted vacations?). We agreed on the terms too long ago to remember. Anyway, we finally made it back east just in time to move in with my parents and run out of money. I like living on the edge.

Beard AND long hair. I think he's trying to get me to leave him. Not gonna work!
We went to Guatemala for our fifth anniversary. We almost died getting to our first hotel because we got abandoned at the airport, had to hire a shady cabbie who drove us to the beach and made us get in a creepy motorboat in the middle of the night, and then upon docking said motorboat had to get in the back of an unmarked van to drive the rest of the way. Had we died, we might have won Darwin Awards. The next morning, I clambered out from under the mosquito net to peer out the window at the beach, and started yelling at Mitch to get his lazy ass out of bed. There were sea turtles on the beach!!! He yelled back at me to put my glasses on. Sure enough, the majestic sea turtle was actually a trash bag full of horseshit. Later that day we saw a wild dog rolling all over our sea turtle.

He has totally given up.
Mitch had knee surgery. He was freaking out so much before the surgery that the nurse pumped him full of happy juice just to shut him up. Boys are such babies. Then I asked the surgeon if we could write a thank you letter to the family of the dead guy who gave Mitch his ACL, and the surgeon called security to have the dirty hippies removed from his office.

Maybe our baby has a beard.
And of course, the greatest hit of all. BAM. We made a baby. I know I skipped a bunch of stuff, like Portugal, raising chickens, vocal cord surgery, and putting together Ikea furniture, but the past nine years have been far more exciting because I found an amazing man who can grow an amazing beard. He lets me do stuff, and doesn't judge me for it. I'm a pretty lucky gal.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

32 weeks

Mitch insisted that Baby Buster make a cameo.
I had not, before today, parked in an "expectant mother" spot. After this apparent lapse in judgment, I realized why I will never indulge in the "expectant mother" spot again. Why? BECAUSE NO ONE CAN SEE YOU'RE PREGNANT WHEN YOU'RE SITTING IN YOUR CAR. Apparently, this means that everyone walking within 20 feet of your car is entitled to yell snarky comments and give you nasty looks. A-holes.

Buster has slipped into a deep depression. His doggy senses must be telling him that a crying, energy-sucking demon baby will soon replace him on the hierarchy. He pretty much sulks around the house, voluntarily sequestering himself in his kennel. We often find him sitting in the dark in the corner behind the rocking chair in the nursery. Just sitting there. Staring into the darkness. Just so you can get the full effect of a depressed Buster, here are some pictures of sad corgis. 

Oh geez.
My life is terrible.
Just leave me be.
We were so good together.
SO SAD. We figure he'll look like this until Meatball starts eating solid foods and tossing her leftovers on the floor. Then he'll be happy again.