Monday, November 03, 2008

VOTE for all GET-OUT!

Just a quick note to say that I'm feeling excited, uneasy, crazy, wild and hopeful (with a dash of cynicism) about tomorrow's election.  The one thing you have to give to Obama-- even if you're not an Obamaniac like we are in my family-- is that his campaign is ORGANIZED AS ALL GET-OUT.  

They've been calling us, we had a knock on the door this afternoon, we've had emails and facebook updates galore.  GOOD!  I hope they bug all of us out of our Bush-induced lethargy.  It may take years of therapy for the people of this country to come to grips with all the nastiness that has gone on the last eight years.  I can think of no better leader than Obama to help us back to sanity.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my husband and I are going to raid my son's sidewalk chalk bin and chalk the streets in our neighborhood for Obama.  Part of me wants to do it naked as an ultimate act of defiance, but I'll spare everyone the sight and thought of that ;)


Monday, October 20, 2008


I've composed this blogpost in my head probably fifty times in the past week or so, so here goes.  You, my dear blog reader, whoever you are still (and who are you, by the way, who burns the candle at both ends and checks back with me even though the last lame thing I posted was a Matt Damon video in September?) will surely excuse my delinquency in posting.  I'm keeping it on the down low (as should you, ahem, fellow facebookers) that I am now 9 weeks preggo.  Assuming I make it through the next three weeks (which I sometimes doubt), I will be due to drop another youngling into this world in May of 2009.

You see, I've had so much time to contemplate this blog post because I've been nauseous (AGAIN-- I know, I can't believe it either) as all get-out.  Luckily, apparently all get-out is still not as nauseous as I was with the last one, so that's good, right?  Anyhow, a big shout out to mommy brain for me conveniently forgetting how boneachingly boring and annoying and, well, sickening being nauseous all the time is.  Seriously.  How could I have forgotten?  

Anyhow.  Beside the point now.  I'm fighting it as best I can with the cooperation of my baby-daddy, the professor.   He makes me only the food I ask for, never makes any suggestions, cleans the kitchen, loads and unloads the dishwasher (which makes me very funky and gaggy).  In short, he's been amazing.  What a godsend.

My son, still clueless, has been very sweet as well... coming into bed for cuddles; making me wooden sandwiches from his play-kitchen.  Nodding without complaint when I tell him that Tootsie Rolls and Starburst are special mommy-tummy food.  

Still, even the second time around I am really struck with how foreign my body already feels.  I feel like I am one day away from being announced as this year's newest balloon for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.  I feel like my breasts alone could take over an entire Manhattan city street, buffeting up against the skyskrapers.  

Anyhow, enough about me and my bosom.  I have to go find something to eat before I get nauseous again.  

Remember... shhhhh!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


So now you can create a word "cloud" of all the most frequently occurring phrases in your blog.  I just copied my whole blog pageview, and this is what I came up with (click on image for larger view):

...guess I talk about chocolate a lot!

Friday, May 02, 2008

As is

I woke up early this morning (before the toddler voice screamed bring me juice! through the monitor). Not sure exactly what woke me up-- be it the veritable Everest of blankets, tossed on top of me by an overheated husband-- or the annoying cat mouthing his grievances from the playroom downstairs-- or a fleeting itch, forgotten in the waking.

However, I think it was probably far less poetic than that. I think it was the subconscious remembering-- today is the annual McMansion neighborhood garage sale. Garage sale!

Most of the year, those two words hold no sway for me. I have so many of my own outdated knicknacks nesting in my closets, why should I go and browse those of others? And, might I add, those "others" inevitably are of the dried-flower, not-my-taste variety.

Last year my girlfriend and I packed her minivan full of stuff that has actually been very useful this past year-- the kids' table and chairs, the pop-up tent, the train table, the cardboard bricks. In one fell swoop I populated my giganto-basement with things that make the toddler heart go boom-boom. And somehow, in it, is some measure of pride.

I have thought about this a lot recently... I've caught myself bragging about how good of a deal I got on something.

Beautiful necklace. Yeah, $10, can you believe that? With matching earrings, too... though I wouldn't wear the earrings. I don't like matchy-matchy.

Nice chair cushions. Where did you get them?
Homemade. A deal on the fabric, too.

That shirt is really flattering on you.
Thanks. $4 on total clearance at Target. You can't beat that, can you?

And the list goes on and on and on... What does it say about me-- am I deflating myself? Or am I somehow trying to make myself look smarter, i.e. I'm no schlub and I won't pay retail?

I'm not sure that it's either. Or perhaps it's both. All of the above. With a little dash of hunter-gatherer thrown in for measure.

Whatever it is, I'm not sure whether I inherited it genetically or via conditioning by my mom (she who spends 2-3 hours mozeying around Target humming and talking to herself and getting "ideas"). (Translation: these "ideas" usually cost money, be they expensive or cheap.)

Yes, buying is the opportunity to add a little patch of something onto reality. It's just important to realize it's only a small patch (ergo, it should probably be as inexpensive as possible), lest one become convinced that it actually changes something.


When I finally hit out for the garage sales (after the child was at school), it started to look ominous out. Ominous, quickly followed by torrents of rain. I made mad dashes in and out of the car. I found a few cute little odds and ends, but not large victories like my friend, who pulled up with her minivan packed to the gills again. Her "scores"? A drum set. A small motorized ride-on jeep. (Excuse me, but what the f%#k was she thinking? These sound like mother torturing devices...)

Then, as she drove away, I swore I could hear the drumroll. Man those things are loud, I thought, and was disappointed when I realized it was only the thunder.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I loved my psychiatrist in Germany.  He was a tall, thin man with a long, white coat and short white hair.  The kind of glasses you push to the tip of your nose.  
In Germany you had to go and see a psychiatrist if you wanted your health insurance to pay for therapy.  I had an American therapist (Jewish to boot), but I had to go to this German psychiatrist quarterly to have him ask me the kind of questions I thought were once reserved for eye doctors: Better, worse or the same?
But usually he wouldn't get to those until the end of our 20-some-odd minute appointment.  Once my German became proficient enough, we talked art.  We talked politics.  He was a fan of Woody Allen movies (should this surprise for a shrink?) and wanted to know if Woody's voice in English sounded like his dubbing actor's voice.  (It doesn't).
During one of our conversations, I told him that I had started to realize a pattern: when spring started to spring, I started to get anxious.  My two major depressions both started late-spring.  Just when the flowers popped and the leaves popped and everything got that intense color of green they only get in spring.  Was this normal, I asked?  I mean, what time of year, generally speaking, do most people go nuts?  Spring.  Apparently.
I've always considered myself a sensitive person.  Most things I've ever found a talent at doing in my life have been an exploitation in some way of this sensitivity.  I'm a soft-shell gal who has to sometimes walk around with very heavy coats to keep from sucking up my environment too directly, too liberally.
So there are things that I have learned not to do.  I never watch the local news, no matter where I am.  Never.  My friends have to call me and tell me when school is closed for a snow day because otherwise I will have no clue.  
I won't go to movies where there is violence or suspense because it gets me spinning.  Whenever someone mentions Harry Potter my husband has to mention that we were reading it aloud to each other for a time but had to stop in the middle of book 3 because I started having nightmares.
Obviously, though, there are some things in life you can't control, you can't select out.  And for me, the highly, so sensitively cat-gut strung that I am, I cannot stop the earth's rotation.  I hibernate like it's nobody's business and then springtime comes and, even with all the devices in the world, I go anxious.  My energy goes furious.  Everything goes spinning faster, as though the little cuckoo inside the clock must come out every fifteen minutes instead of the hour.  Every hour is fifteen minutes and are we crazy yet?
Perhaps this is the way we humans are supposed to be after a long winter.  There's shit to get done, you know?  Though, life and weather not always cooperating, without the survival push, it is almost an autoimmune disease.  Fifteen minutes until the next pecking.  Anyone hungry for a little bird?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Creepy, Crawly, Crawdaddy?

Via an article in the NYTimes today, I found this amazing illustrated book-- The ABCs of Invertibrates.  It was illustrated by a mathematician who had a rare progressive brain disorder which, amongst other symptoms, manifested itself in a heightened artistic drive.  

Since I'm all excited about brain disorders in general (I think I nurse some myself), I of course find this fascinating.  Reminds me of a lot of the writing of Oliver Sacks who, by the way, is an avid collector of all sorts of weird stuff himself (and not just stories!)

Anyhow, go and browse these interesting and creepy illustrations.  Perhaps it will inspire you (or someone, anyone, please!) to do something about the doggerel rhyming texts.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bye Bye Birdie

Well, it's official: Green will come. The tulips are pushing their dumb little heads up through the crusty gray surface of the earth. The garden hose, left out to freeze, is now uncovered. If it still works?

We all are beyond cabin fever. We take every small sign of spring as a miracle. We may believe in the eventuality of the calendar, but this winter tested our faith in it.

Should that hunger for spring lead us to the aisles of the grocery store, however, we must beware. The fruits of springtime are not yet here.

To wit, this article in the NY Times today tells of a disturbing connection between all those healthy, fresh foods we crave even on the darkest and shortest of days, and how they are killing songbirds. Yowza.

So, regardless of whether you think it doesn't matter for your health if you buy an organic or a conventional banana (after all, it's peeled anyway, some say), take a look at this article. Then, if you're so price conscious that the extra 10 cents a pound kills you, go buy your organic produce at Trader Joe's, which won't sting so much as buying at Whole Paycheck.

Half past Easter and down the path to Passover, it's a particularly a good time to think of those eggies that we love, dye, coddle and roast: don't let the hype fool you. The birdies, they not so happy with your spring.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Domestic (and otherwise)

The sun is shining today.  The temperature gauge in my car reads a desperately hopeful 59 degrees.  I kept the sunroof popped (except when driving by the two-day-old skunk roadkill, which requires a hermetic re-sealing).

Mostly idyllic.  Yet somehow, the domestic discontent has come home to roost.  

Last night, my husband sported home one of those white parcels which I know-- the second he walks in the door-- is from my mother-in-law.  Don't get me wrong.  I love those parcels.  In terms of gift-giving folk, my mother-in-law is tops on my list.  Always thoughtful, never in bad taste.  Most often using chocolate as packing material.  What could be wrong?

The package was addressed to my son, who almost leapt from his skin in excitement.  We opened it to find a cartoony, old-style dinosaur lunch box.  Inside, full and I mean FULL of easter candy... Oh, of course the good kind.  All those deliciously multicolored, foil-wrapped little swiss eggs-o-love.  A Lindt chocolate bunny.  On a bed of wood-spun, naturally-dyed easter grass.  Beautiful.  Stunning.  It's 6:15pm, my son's hungry, and I haven't started dinner.

We tried a sneaky approach.  We said "Oh, those are dinosaur eggs."  (Hey, not totally improbable... we had just been playing with dinosaurs expertly crafted out of Play-doh who were sitting on a nest of dino-eggs.  Anyhow, not as outlandish as you would think.

My son cries out, as if in pain, "That's chocolate!  Those are chocolate eggs!"  

Do you think he could smell the chocolate through the wrapping?  Jesus.  OK, plot failed. Three-year-old cannot be outwitted on this count (and, sadly, on fewer and fewer occasions). 

We let him have one, with the promise that we will bring them out again in the morning.
He isn't having any of it.  He's tugging furiously at my husband's leg as my husband robs the proverbial easter nest of its loot and transfers it into a ziploc bag.  My son begins to bay and squeal: "They're stealing my chocolate!  They're taking it from me!"

At once so desperate, so unjust a situation.  I couldn't not see it from his perspective.  I have to admit: I am the bad guy.  My husband looked at me with a sad, yet entertained look and I said, "OK, one more, and then they are going away until tomorrow morning."

And here I sit, evil mother.  Sometimes I don't seem to know when it's right to give in, and when it's right to stick to my guns.  I mean, come on!  My heart (and eyes, and thighs) delighted at the haul just as my son's had.  But then, being the adult, I had to say no.  I had to make the wise decision that if I let my son eat to his heart's content he'd bounce around like a baby on crack and then get so wound up that at the end of the evening there would be a giant temper tantrum, tears, and my feeling like I needed to be checked into a mental institution.

And in the hopes of avoiding all such occurrences, I reined him in.  I keep everyone on even-keel, even though half the time I'd like to join them on a bender or two, be it staying up late or playing the music loud or shoving my face with chocolate.  

I could tell you that it all probably stems from my childhood, and it probably wouldn't be wrong.  Still, somehow I feel like I have to find a little more of an erratic balance sometimes.  I don't know-- maybe it's the weather, the little tulips workin' hard for a livin', the promise of tomorrow's backhand slap of snow-sleet-crap.  

Or maybe it's the smell of that chocolate that's got me all worked up-- and, if you'll excuse me, hold that thought.  I must attend to my moronic cat who is trying to barf up a little piece of foil he found on the floor.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Oh yes.

"Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well." -- Barack Obama 3/18/08

'nuf said.

Monday, February 25, 2008


No, it's not an acronym for some prehistoric reptile with only two teeth.  It's the founding of a new blog!  Anke and I have had so much fun coming up with nonsense definitions for the Captchas on Blogger that we've decided to take it to the next level.

Thus, the founding of the BICADIBL, The Bilingual Captcha Dictionary Blog, at   ...So go on over and enjoy some of the first juicy tidbits and join in the fun with a morsel of your own.  It's meaning-making on a useless (but highly personally-rewarding) level!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Every cloud has a...

...microbial lining?

Fascinating and apparently true, there be little critters up in the mesosphere (ahem, that's above the stratosphere, for those keeping score).

So, perhaps we should think twice about whether that white, untouched snow is really that much cleaner than the yellow snow....

Go read. It will do your brain good!

Monday, February 18, 2008

It's a Snowmergency!

OK, well maybe not really a "mergency" (as my son calls them), but we are all pretty much going bananas up here. Not only have we pulverized our previous snowfall total record (which, I may add, was set in the notoriously noxious winter of 1978), but we are apparently getting a little too loopy up here.

I would call it cabin fever, but, being that we all live in some form of modified suburbia, I'm not sure that that keeps to the spirit of the phrase. All I can say is that my gas fireplace (controlled by a switch, thank you very much) is workin' overtime.

I just went out a while ago to shovel the 10 feet from my driveway to my front door of its 8" of snow (underlayed with a stunningly beautiful 1/2 inch of ice) and it took me over a half an hour. After which time, aside from being in a slightly surly mood, I couldn't feel my fingertips.

Well, I had planned to go out and take pictures this morning of the gorgeous trees, branches encased in ice (they looked like wonderful, weird tootsie-roll lollipops) but alas, it was too cold. I was too much of a wuss. I could say something deep about the fleetingness of beauty and change and blah blah but truth is, most of what I can think of is "Thank God for the Attached Garage".

Then, I stumbled upon this post on the Isthmus (a local Madison free newspaper) web site titled, "We're one snowstorm away from anarchy" (make sure to read all the way down, it gets better and better) and almost peed my pants. I said almost, friends. Thank God I didn't. No one likes peecicles.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Down to Earth

So I know it's been a while since I've written a "real" blog post... and suddenly, kapow! I have ten million things I want to write about. And, of course, very little time to actually sit down and do it. Better that way than the other way around, I suppose!

Today I was reading a Richard Scarry book to my son for the umpteen-millionth time. (I say that with all love, because I do truly love Richard Scarry books, and I love that my son loves them). He requested a story that hasn't been on our top ten Scarry radar, called "The Accident". Now, there's nothing grand about "The Accident" per se. It has the usual Scarry cast of characters who get into an unfortunate pile-up because they were not looking where they were going. Then a fellow named Greasy George comes along and he does a predictably bad job at putting all the cars back together, equally combining the parts from all the cars and the motorcycle until each vehicle is absurdly cock-eyed.

Again, cute, but we've seen this kind of thing before. And then, in an aside, you see a voice coming out from under an engine hood. It's Seargent Murphy's radio. It says, "Come in, Seargent Murphy! Your little girl Bridget will not take her nap. Come home immediately!"

I've seen this page probably zillions of times, but today this little snippet just made me heave a happy sigh. I'm not sure when Richard Scarry wrote this story, but it was probably at least 30 years ago. And apparently back then mothers were getting fed up with their kids some days and calling in the big kahuna.

Sometimes I feel like a wonderful mother. Sometimes I feel like an hysterical knit-wit who doesn't even know how to garner the cooperation of someone 1/3 of her size. And sometimes I feel like I'm insane for getting frustrated and saying to my husband (as we all do, I suppose?) "Here. Here's your child. Now you deal with him!"

Somehow it's the collision of all these feelings that gave me some moment of clarity today. That, and the fact that, suddenly, my little guy is saying things like, "Hey mama! Come here! I have an idea!" and wanting to have his hands cleaned and even eating gasp! stir-fried chicken and vegetables over rice at the table and trying bamboo shoots and liking them. "Bamboo! Bamboo! Bamboo!"

Yet for all the progress today held, I still must type with the strains of evening protest in the background (doesn't want diaper on, doesn't want this set of pyjamas, wants those pyjamas) which makes me so annoyed and yet amused. Seargent Murphy, we have a problem indeed. Come in immediately!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008


My husband is an inspiration. He has figured out how to play the national anthem on our electric toothbrush-- simply by by varying how open or closed he has his mouth.

He is also the source of the following little ditty we sing to our son at toothbrushing time. Sung to the tune of "Take me out to the ballgame":

Take me out to the bathroom

Take me out to the sink
Bring me a toothbrush and some toothpaste
I don't care if the paste goes to waste
Let me brush my molars and canines

If they're not clean it's a shame

For it's one, two, three strikes you're out

At the toothbrush game!

Something makes me think that, aside from science, he has multiple callings in life.