Friday, July 31, 2009

Baby steps

We're at the playground on one of the first nice days we've had in what seems like forever, shaking off the fever, both cabin and viral, and slathering sunscreen. The bigger kids are playing make believe by the swings and climbing like monkeys on the aptly named bars. They're sliding down slides warmed by the sun and running through the slightly damp sandbox as fast as their coltish legs will carry them, golden locks trailing behind. CC looks on with longing, not quite satisfied with the mulch she's playing with, too small to run after her big sister. Too small to do pretty much anything within the confines of the fenced area. She doesn't like the feel of the sand on her bare legs today or the taste of it after she absentmindedly chews on a green plastic shovel, so she's crawled over to a shady spot under a tree where we sit and watch the glory unfold together. A small sigh escapes from her pink bow lips.


The distance between the table leg and the drawer her sister is digging through is only about four feet but may as well be a mile. She holds on to the leg with one hand, the other willing the plastic containers and odd lid into her chubby fist, each colorful bowl like the Holy Grail. She lets go and takes one step, then two, then down on her diapered rump she falls. Instead of crawling to the drawer she crawls back to the table leg and tries again. This time she only makes one step before plopping down on the floor. Then again. And again. The most she manages is four steps before she gives up. Her sister, in a rare moment of kindness, brings her a purple rubber lid and a wooden spoon.


She's getting the hang of this walking thing - Step, step, step, thump. Step, step, step, thump. She doesn't give up, she doesn't stay down - Step, step, step, thump. Step, step, step, thump.

I cheer quietly from behind her.


From twenty feet away they spot me in the crowded airport and she tries in vain to wiggle free from her father's arms. He puts her down on the industrial carpet and through a sea of people busy rushing here and there she walks toward me, small arms waving wildly over her head like an orangutan, a big smile on her face because she knows she's accomplishing something amazing. It's hard not to notice the amused looks on the people's faces around us, the appreciative stares from older parents and the childless alike, but my eyes are on her while my heart threatens to burst with pride. I throw my arms wide to catch her as she propels toward me. I can barely keep the happy tears from pouring from my eyes. She is a wonder; a perfect, tiny human being with the zeal and moxie of someone ten times her size. She is ready to take on the world. She couldn't be more pleased with herself. I couldn't love her more if I tried.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm too sleep deprived to come up with an interesting title. So: Post-BlogHer '09 recap post. Yawn.

Raise your hand if you've never said or done something you really wished you could take back.

The three of you who raised your hand, the ones who are either sainted, mute, or have lived alone in a cave all your life, you can put them down. Your prize is waiting for you over there - a lifetime supply of Turtle Wax and a map of the road to Righteousness. Sorry it's 2009, the GPS to the road to Righteousness.

As for the rest of us, we're human. We say dumb things. We DO dumb things. We have a finite amount of time on this earth to try and get things right but in the meantime we're stumbling around in the darkness, feeling our way along the path to being perfect, until St. Peter comes calling and we have to defend our lives in front of God and a choir of sparklingly clean angels with golden ringlets, floating on downy clouds. Or some shit like that. Feel free to insert your own dogma here.

This does not excuse us, however. It doesn't give us a free pass. When one has foot in mouth disease (as I do, and I was called on it this weekend and didn't do nearly enough bowing and scrapping) you learn to live with the nasty aftertaste. When we do something we dearly regret later, as we all have, we need to live with that memory forever.

Where it gets sticky is in the year 2009 we have this thing called The Internet. And The Internet never forgets.

As internet users and internet writers, we have the responsibility to use our words correctly, and in the presence of others we need to check ourselves because chances are there are people watching who aren't afraid to use their words. Words are mighty. Words are powerful. Things written or said - I'm not talking about specifics here - in jest or seriously can be judged and analyzed, blown out of proportion or taken in correct context. And those words that are said out loud or written will come back and hit you where [choose your deity] split you.

So whether your words are being directed toward a corporation or an individual person, keep in mind that you're not living in a bubble.

I don't judge. Like I said, I have occasional diarrhea-of-the-mouth attacks as well as someone-stop-me-from-being-a-dumbass syndrome. You did what you did because for the .02 seconds it took you to decide it seemed like a really good idea. We've all been there. You'll know better next time.

I guess what I'm trying to say, again without getting into specifics because chances are you know the specifics, is that from now on maybe we can start to remember that what we say, write or do is being watched by the world. And the world? It has access to The Internet and it's not afraid to use it.


This was not the post-BlogHer recap that I set out to write.

What I set out to write was all about the positive aspects of this conference from my perspective because for me there were more positive than negative. But after three different revisions and too many rewrites to count, this is what you got. So if you came here for links to the more unpleasant happenings, sorry. You're not getting them here.

But I'll be happy to tell you about what was good about BlogHer '09, as seen by little ol' moi:

I decided to stay away from the panels this year, not because I wasn't interested in what was being said there - to the contrary, I was very interested and wish there was more time - but because I was set on attending the Room of Their Own breakout sessions. And for the most part I was very happy with my choice. Most were very informative and the ones that weren't, well, at least they were entertaining.

The best party had nothing to do with swag, it had to do with friends getting together and dancing like damned fools. To the ladies at MamaPop: Best. Party. EVER. To quote your honorary gay boyfriend, it was legen - wait for it - dary.

My bags made it to Chicago and back and didn't get lost once. Wheeee!

I had a gracious roommate who tolerated my late night tiptoeing (so as not to wake her delectable baby) and genuinely enjoyed her company, if for no other reason than because she's damn funny and she made me laugh and I'd like to think I did the same for her.

I had great non-conference-sponsored meal conversations with wonderful women that both set the tone for my positive weekend experience and nicely wrapped it up (and please let me know if I didn't link to you because I really want to! I just can't deal with sorting through these business cards yet.), and shared cheesy bacon fries and mutual admiration with someone I expected to like, just not as much as I did. I'm now planning on abducting her and moving her into my home.

I approached a writer, who has long been a favorite of mine, after his moving keynote reading and at the risk of being a fan girl told him how much his writing touched me. I may have freaked him out but he didn't run away immediately, so there's that.

I spent quality time with someone who is becoming a cherished friend and met another who, though tiny enough to fit in my pocket, is a powerful force to be reckoned with and as genuine a person as you'll ever meet. Just don't try to get past her at a party.

I met my twin (okay, not in an outwardly physical way but trust me, twins.) and though we didn't spend enough time talking, we finally were able to speak face to face. And discussed the skunking of her dog. If I could I would take the train to her, rescue her from the stench and bring her to live at my house. I'm thinking of starting a commune.

I introduced myself to others I knew only by blog or Twitter name or avatar; in elevators, in bathrooms, in the hallways, just because. Shook hands and shared hugs, just because. Danced wildly, even though it's not my nature, and laughed hysterically, which is in my nature, just because. Was even coerced into going out to a nightclub at 2am (fer chrissake) against my better judgement and I'm glad I did, just because. But most important I made personal connections, just because I wanted to.

I talked with old friends and made new ones. Yes, the people in the computer are my friends. The gin was only a partial help because a majority of this was done during daylight hours.

All in all, swag or no swag, an experience I'm happy to remember over and over.

And now I need a nap.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The search for the perfect pair of jeans. Alternate title: The grass is always greener on someone else's thighs.

I am at war with my body.

After two kids and almost 37 years on the earth, not to mention the winter and long, cold, wet spring we just went through (or as I like to call it, Nutella-Palooza, '08 - '09), things don't look quite the same as they did back in the day. "The Day" being when I was a size 0 and my legs looked like tree branches. Skinny, knobby tree branches. Skinny, knobby tree branches that then were the source of much teasing but are now in style. Fucking tree branches.

I'm having difficulty reconciling the fact that my body is different than it used to be. I was always very skinny, naturally so, and I never had to work out (though I did, it's much more enjoyable when you don't have to) and eating a Quarter Pounder with Cheese with a side of large fries and washing it down with a 10 piece Chicken McNugget was something I never gave much thought to.

(Nary an extra pound nor bout of heartburn to contend with. Ah, memories.)

Do you hate me for writing that*? It's okay, I kind of hate me right about now. More to the point, I kind of hate the 22 year old me (and 19 year old me, and 15 year old me and...) for not liking the way she looked back then. I'd like to go back in time and shake her by her slender neck (the one that didn't have the beginnings of a waddle hanging over it) and tell her to lose the negative body image thing (Because, really? You're 110 pounds and 5'8. Suck it up, Buttercup) and enjoy going into any store she wanted to and buying whatever type of clothing caught her fancy without ever needing to try it on. I'd kind of like to tell the 30 year old me the same thing. I'd also tell her to wear more sunscreen.

My body, though still on the slender side, has changed. Things that were once flat are now bumpy and things that were once firm are now jiggly. Which is fine if you're a jello salad but not so much if you're a woman with body issues.

Pants don't fit the same and Spanx is not something kinky one does in the bedroom. And I certainly don't have the luxury of going into clothing stores and buying things without a trip to the dreaded changing room, with their flourescent lights (very flattering to dimpled thigh fat, by the way. If I wanted a diorama of the Grand Canyon I'd make one out of a shoe box and some modeling clay, thank you very much.) and institutional paint job designed to make sure you don't get all cocky in those new clothes.

But believe it or not, this post is not about negative body image.

(Really Tania? After all that this isn't just you bitching about your body? No really, you should thank me. What I've got on that subject could fill the entire internet and if I did that there would be no more room for videos of cats falling off of pianos, so I'll save it for now. You're welcome)

No this post is about denim. Or more to the point, the search for the perfect pair of jeans.

Like ROUS's, I don't think they exist. (Gosh, that joke never gets old, does it?) At least not for less than the price of a used mid-sized sedan. But still I search. I try on. I squeeze and tuck - you know, got to put the muffin top somewhere - and grunt and groan. And then I get frustrated and pig out on french fries.

All I want is a decent pair of jeans that don't make me look like I'm smuggling watermelons in my thighs. Except for cupcake top around my middle (I know it's a muffin top but cupcakes are sweeter. And they have frosting. And I love them with all my heart. And that may be why I have a muffin top.) I'm still on the smaller (read: medium) side and my hips aren't too bad, it's my upper thighs that always get me. I keep hearing Stacy and Clinton say, Look for a pair of pants that hits you at your widest point and then goes straight down from there. Yeah, THEY DON'T MAKE THOSE.

Two words - Skinny. Jeans.

Two more words - Fuck. Off.

Still, they have to be out there somewhere. I shop, I buy, I come to my senses, and I return. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. That's how I roll.

But let's take this step by step, shall we?

So here is how I shop for the perfect pair of jeans, in 18 easy steps

(Okay I know - 18?? It was 29 but I edited. You're welcome.)


Step 1: Go through your entire wardrobe and try on every pair of jeans you own. Chuck out the old, the tired, the out of style, the "What in the Sam Hell was I thinking?" and the "Not in a million years and an eating disorder will you ever fit in these again". Realize you're down to one pair of jeans that fits and you're only keeping those because picking up your child from preschool whilst nearly naked from the waist down is probably not going to win you any friends.

Step 2: Cry over the death of your youth and then give your children the stink eye for ruining your figure. Then hug your children because you feel badly for thinking that way (Oh, you're totally still thinking it, but with love.)

Step 3: Decide to shop for jeans online because poking at your thighs and squeezing your belly flap is more socially acceptable while standing in your own bedroom. While popping Hershey's Kisses.

Step 4: Ask lovely people on Twitter where they shop. Love the people on Twitter. On Twitter no one knows your thighs aren't as thin as they once were. Unless you tell them. Which you will because it's TWITTER.

Step 5: Take suggestions and then search every website known to man. Make disparaging remarks about the anorexic models and their nonexistent hips. Words "bitch" and "bite me" may be used. Liberally.

Step 6: Put a a bunch of jeans that don't scare you in your virtual shopping cart. You can always return the ones you don't like, right? Gasp audibly upon seeing the total while checking out. Decide you could stage a coup in a small third world country for that amount of money and delete a couple (read: all but two) from your cart.

Step 7: Wait for cute UPS guy to deliver a package. Chuckle over the word "package" in relation to cute UPS guy because you're a 12 year old boy. A twelve year old boy with 36 year old hips.

Step 8: When UPS guy shows up 5 days later with your package (heh) answer the door side ways to give the illusion of smaller midsection and smile winningly. Try to ignore his bemused expression and his quick exit. Take box, slam door (but first, watch UPS guy's butt as he makes quick getaway), and then run to bedroom with box in breathless anticipation for Best. Jeans. EVER.

Step 9: Break a nail opening box. Swear. Lie about what those words mean to impressionable four year old who was helping you open the box.

Step 10: Take jeans out of box. Look at them quizzically. Hmm, they looked different online (after two glasses of wine).

Step 11: Try on jeans. Try to find place to put the jelly roll that is your tummy. Above the waistline? Below the waistline? Decide to try to tuck it in like blousy shirt.

Step 12: Detach flesh roll from zipper. Apply Neosporin.

Step 13: Look in full length mirror. Hmm, kind of tight in the thighs. Typical. Maybe heels are needed. Yes, heels are much better! Makes legs look slim! Grunt while running to closet to find pair of heels that don't hurt your broken toe. Give up and decide pain is worth it. Limp back to mirror. Ah, much better. Excruciatingly painful, but better.

Step 14: Decide to take pictures to send to husband who is in California (or Michigan, you forget at this point) to get his opinion.

Step 15: Look at picture in camera screen. Consider Photoshopping your legs before sending picture. Also wonder if your camera is broken. Or maybe your mirror.

Step 16: Cry while on the phone with your husband. I'm sure they look great, he says. Refuse to send him picture. What does he know? He's in Michigan. Or Florida. You forget.

Step 17: Package jeans to return. Suck up shipping fees both ways. Realize that was your iced coffee money for two weeks.

Step 18: Get frustrated. Feel hopeless. Decide after much denial you have no choice but to go to the Mall.

Oh yes, the Mall.

Sometimes, a woman has to do what a woman has to do.

And that is enough for now, lambs.

Tune in next time for THIGHS. IN. SPACE. Er, MALL.

(Okay not really, just part two of The Search for the Perfect Pair of Jeans. Or, If a 100 pound sales girl is murdered in the dressing room of an upscale department store and she totally had it coming but no one is around to witness it, will anyone mourn the loss?)


*And careful about what you say about size in relation to image problems. Many, many years of teasing has made me what I am today. You picking on me for hating the way I look sometimes will only get you a beat down of epic proportions. Also, I'm fragile.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Not dead yet...

... Just busy. Very busy. And lacking inspiration to write anything in this blog. Which is great right before a blogging conference.

But the sun came out finally. So there's that.

So we've been taking advantage of the nice weather. For instance, we've been spending many, MANY hours in the car so we can drive all over the state to visit relatives. Yep, that's some prime quality outdoor time right there.

There has been some actual outdoor-not-in-a-metal-box-on-wheels time, though. Working on our tans. Playing in sandboxes. Oh and bike riding. Lots of bike riding.

I'm sure inspiration will hit soon. Until then, I'll be the one pushing my almost walking 13 month old around on a tiny scooter and then applying Icy/Hot to my poor, tired muscles in the evening. Well worth the pain, if you ask me.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

And no, Christopher Cross is not invited

It's the Thursday before a holiday weekend - except for you Canadians, happy belated Canada Day! - and we here in the North East are experiencing a pattern of weather that I like to affectionately call A Hundred Pounds of Shit in a Five Pound Bag.

Too harsh? You should have seen what I deleted.

No one has any desire to do anything but stare slack-jawed out the window at the rain and thunder and wish for Mother Nature to throw us a freaking bone already and give us just a little peak of sun. Except for you in those states that actually have sun, but I don't feel like thinking about you right now. I may say something... unpleasant.

Anyway. In honor of the rain (seriously, I think I just saw a chipmunk on a tree bark boat go floating down my driveway) it's audience participation day! Oh goody!

I'd like to know what you would take with you on an ark.

Think of it as Ark-fest 2009. Or "Ark 2.0 - The New Millenium : Moses Noah* Returns. And this time he's pissed". Or something like that.

I'll start.

I would of course take my computer. I'd Twitter the whole thing -

Day 2, This isn't too bad. We're all getting along. Even the donkey's are cooperating. Hope we don't run out of carrots.

Day 11 - Okay, what the hell is that stench? I'm looking at you, elephants.

Day 19 - Planning on inviting the pigs to the lido deck for "dinner". Craving bacon.

Day 36 - Hey! Is that land? Nope, whale. FAIL. (Get it? Fail Whale? HA!)
The second thing I would bring is toilet paper. This isn't the BC's, people. We can put a man on the moon, we can certainly install terlets for the humans.

And the third thing I would bring is John Krasinski. He would be my "Plus 1". We could repopulate the earth with adorablely lanky babies who would have their father's quirky dry wit and my love of shoes. You can thank me later, world.

So, what would you bring on the ark when the flood waters finally overtake us? And they will. Oh yes, they will.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA...*cough**choke**gag**cough* Ahem... BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

(And yes, I know I'm supposed to bring my husband and kids. But I've been stuck in the house with these people for days on end. After this last month? They're fending for themselves.)


*Yeah, yeah... I said Moses, not Noah. Honest mistake. I mean, I know Moses and Noah didn't have anything to do with each other, but wouldn't that have worked out excellent for each? Hey, Moses. God's sending this great flood somethingorother to teach us all a lesson. How's that parting of the seas thing you've been working on? *looking over his shoulder* Wanna give it a go, uh, now? Moses? Where you going?

Seven years of Catholic school right here, baby.