Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

After seeing The Thrones two nights after seeing The White Stripes, I realize that bands with more than two members suck and are lazy.

Matthew Moyer
Review of The Thrones show at the Thunderdome, Tallahassee, FL 9/20/01

Monday, May 29, 2006

Notes from the Nonlinear Lab

Oat cereal experiment*

This afternoon we fed Ada cheerios (thanks for the good wishes, we've got our fingers crossed that this vomit-free day holds). You can't give her the whole container, or all the cheerios end up on the floor, in the cracks of the couch, squished between our toes, etc. Offering a few Os at a time slows things down and blunts the chaos a bit. In addition, it afforded us the opportunity to make a few notes:

When offered a single cheerio, Ada gobbles up.

When two cheerios are placed in a parent's hand, Ada works hard to pick up both cheerios at once, rather than eat one and then go after the other. This sometimes slows down Ada's eating, as the attempt to pick up a second cheerio sometimes leads to the loss of the first cheerio, which necessitates a small scramble to get back that first cheerio and retain the other O.

Four cheerios are placed in a parent's hand; Ada takes one cheerio, then a second, reverting to the grab-two maneuver only when there are only two left in the offerer's palm.

The pattern does not entirely hold when Ada is faced with an initial offering of three Os. Sometimes a single cheerio is chosen first, leaving the other two for next. But on other occasions, two cheerios are eaten first, leaving the other one for the second round.

*When did Cheerios become the default for round oat cereal? We have been buying Trader Joe's Os (otherwise known as Joey-Os, when we are feeling excitable) but we often call them Cheerios. I grew up with Cheerios(TM); in fact, my sister almost exclusively ate Cheerios, plain chicken and white rice for several years.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

At least it isn't covered in vomit

There is an old theater maxim: if someone brings a gun onstage in Act 1, it will be used before the final curtain falls.

When Ada woke up at 4 am, I went to the bathroom for a towel. There was no vomit, and Chris soothed Ada back to sleep. At 5 Ada woke again and we brought her into the bed to nurse. I put the towel under me to protect the sheets (washed once yesterday) and matress cover (washed twice) from any post-nursing vomit. Ada nursed enthusiastically and then sat up rubbing her eyes. She uncomplainingly allowed herself to be returned to her bed. I got back into my bed after moving the towel to the floor. I took off my glasses and drank some water. Without my glasses I could not see that the cup didn't have a stable place to land when I placed it back on the bedside table.

Good thing I had a towel handy.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Two clothing changes and holding

Ada decided to start the weekend by politely vomiting breast milk into her sleeper. Really, it was almost demure. To distract me from the vomiting (oh thank goodness that playdate didn't work out yesterday), I am fiddling with photos.

Ada and a new friend

Can you see the crown of bruises on her forehead
from her attempts to stand on her own?

Just one outfit from the TWO BAGS
of adorable clothes we got from a swell Portland pal

Our current favorite game

By the time I am typing this at 5 in the afternoon, we haven't seen any more vomit for 8 hours and our own emissary of emesis seems to be on the mend. If we are lucky she might even eat something for dinner.

[Edited to include: Hmm, apparently the 9 bites of applesauce were a bit much for her tummy, as they came back up after the bath. Unsure how to proceed without some Ada-Mama time in the rocking chair, I foolishly nursed my clearly hungry child. That came up too. Worn out by all this food-in-then-out (not to mention the attendant costume changes), Ada gratefully fell into bed and is drifting off to sleep. My fingers are crossed as I type.]

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Don't Fear The Diaper

I think I'm on an all-music themed roll here at Casa Nonlinear. First it's the Beach Boys, then I go banana-song crazy, now I'm humming Blue Oyster Cult. But yelling "more cowbell" belies the seriousness with which I take the issue of diapers. Specifically, Ada's current hatred of the diaper change.

I just don't know what is going on with the reigning king of no pants. She, like most babies, used to get a bit squirrelly when laid down for a diaper change. But now? Now she screams the moment she THINKS there will be a diaper change. She screams as I lay her down, screams while I do the sign for "change", screams louder when I actually take the diaper off, twists and screams while I try to wipe her off, screams and crawls away when I momentarily turn to pick up the clean diaper. She writhes and cries as I try to get the new diaper on and continues to cry until several minutes after the change. For a while she could be placated by getting a toy to hold, and when that stopped working she was amused when I gripped a toy in my teeth, wiggling it maniacally over her. Neither technique is working any more. (By the way, I now know one of the reasons babies drool so much. Have you ever tried to hold a toy in your teeth and murmer to your child? Drool city.)

I was so proud of Ada at 8 months; she would stop fussing when I signed "change" to her. "How brilliant she is," I thought. "She understands what I am doing and is happy once she she's in on what we are doing." Um, apparently knowing what's happening is not sufficient solace for the 11 month old Ada. Please tell me that this is a stage that she'll grow out of. Even better, tell me she'll grow out of it soon. Tomorrow would be good. I hate feeling like I am torturing my child, but leaving her in wet or poopy diapers is not a viable option. She's remained almost completely diaper-rash free so far, and I'm not giving in now. Chris has tried bribing her, but given the size of our backyard, I don't think we can fit any more ponies in there, at least not without some kind of special permit.

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

Look, you gotta lose this guy. A bad clown will really fuck you up.
Lucy (Shakes The Clown)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ode On A Ecuadorian Banana

Ada's ongoing love for the world's most perfect food has on occasion led Chris and me to literally sing its praises. Here are a few of our household's top (banana) hits:

The Knack's My Banana

Ooh my little yellow one, yellow one.
Why can't every one be mine, mine, Banana?
Ooh you taste so fun, taste so fun.
Love to eat them picked right from the vine, Banana.
Never gonna stop, give them up.
Such a yummy fruit. Always have it for my lunch
eating all my yellow loot.
My my my i yi woo. M M M My Banana...

Arrowsmith's Dude (looks like banana)

Crawlin' to a store on the shore
Its picture graced a poster on the door
She a long lost love at first bite
Baby, maybe you taste wrong
But you know it's all right - that's right

At lunch we're having the time
Of our lives until somebody says
'Forgive me if I seem out of line'
Then she whipped out a peel
Tried to take my fruit away.

Dude Looks Like Banana
Dude Looks Like Banana
Dude Looks Like Banana
Dude Looks Like Banana

Barry Manilow's Copacabanana

Her name was Lola, she sold bananas,
With yellow peelings in her hair and some fruit cut down to there
She would make smoothies and do the chopping
And when she made banana bread, Tony was filled with dread.
Fruit fell on the floor, they cooked from 8 till 4
They were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more?

At the Copa, Copacabanana
The hottest spot north of Havana (here)
At the Copa, Copacabanana
Fruit shakes and passion were always the fashion
At the Copa....they fell in love

Banana (to the tune of Tomorrow from the musical Annie)

Banana, Banana,
I'll love ya, banana!
you're only a bite away!

What are you singing around the high chair at your house? I can't be the only one doing this. (Please, I hope not.)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Fun, Fun, Fun

On a recent "night out"* I heard Peter Ames Carlin read from his new biography of Brian Wilson. The reading made me realize that there are some hard-core Beach Boys fans out there and that they take the band's music really seriously. Growing up in southern cal, I'd never thought more of it than the background music to those montage scenes in movies where the kids frolic on the beach while their parents think they are at school.

I guess I should not have been surprised that people take the Beach Boys seriously. Take any band and you are likely to find adherents who adore everything the band has done and take great offense at any suggestion that the band is less than perfect. Take AC/DC fans. I have nothing against AC/DC, but man, those people have no sense of humor.

While I'm unlikely to spend a lot of time playing and replaying Pet Sounds, or trying to parse Smile lyrics any time soon, listening to Carlin speak did get me in a bit of a Beach Boys mood. Today I found myself carrying Ada to the couch, singing "Everybody loves nursing, nursing U.S.A."

*Ok, my exciting night out was a trip to see a taping of the locally-produced public radio program Live Wire. Yes, I go out not to drink or dance, but to sit in the dark at a younger, somewhat hipper (she says defensively) Prairie Home Companion, minus the guy with the long face telling stories about his hometown. Actually, I was pretty excited for this, because in addition to the Wilson biographer and a funny monologue by Marc Acito, the show featured performances by both Robbie Fulks and Stephen Malkmus. For a geek-girl like myself, it was pretty fun to be just feet from alt-country and alt-rock legends. (Look how geeky I am, using the word "legends".)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mother's Day Ride

Or, evidence that we do occasionally take Ada someplace other than the park.

Except in this case, we took her to a park. But it was a park in a different city, so I think we should get credit. But she loves the park. She's started to recognize our local parks, and makes an excited grunting noise when we approach the playground at the elementary school down the street. On mother's day, the park was just an extra bonus attached to the main event - Ada's first carousel ride.

I think baby's first ride on the carousel is one of those things that sounds like it will be more fun than it actually is. The whole thing was pretty entertaining for the adults. Chris and I were charmed by Ada's look of amazement, and the grandparents were thrilled to be there for a "first". For Ada, the experience was a bit confusing, if ultimately worthwhile. You'll notice that despite the fact that Chris has a firm hold on the girl (and she's wearing the mandatory horse-rider "seat belt"), Ada is not taking any chances with this bucking bronc. She's got a firm grip on her dad's shirt, just in case he gets distracted by all the pretty lights and the music and oh! is that popcorn I smell?

We inadvertently put Ada on a horse that did not go up and down. In retrospect, this was a lucky break. Although she did relax a bit once she realized her dad wasn't going to let go and that every 30 seconds or so she saw her grandfather, grandmother and uncle wave at her as she went past, the experience was a bit of a sensory overload for the girl. An added perspective shift might have sent Ada over the edge. She was already getting close to nap time when we got on the ride. She immediately sacked out in the car on the way home, no doubt exhausted by trying to reconcile the hard plastic horses in the carousel with the kind, smiling ones in her books.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Working Mom's Long Day

It was a long day.

Up at 4:30. (Ada is really a trooper when she's sick, but she takes it out on us by getting up extra-early.) I drowse and nurse until 5, when Ada decides it is time to crawl-dance around the bed. I pick her up and we go downstairs.

At 5:45 Ada decides she's tired. I put her in bed and crawl into my own bed. Despite setting my alarm for 6:15, I wake up at 6:30 when Chris pokes me. I make a mental note to get a new alarm clock one of these days. I shower, dress and put my stuff together before Ada wakes up again. I pick her up, kiss her and hand her over to Chris before leaving the house.

On the way out I notice that the tomatoes I planted this weekend are looking wilty, so I grab the watering can. After an hour drive I'm at the office. I work on the introduction to my report, review my presentation, pump, talk to my boss, check only a few blogs. I try to decide whether it is better to wear a slightly stained (what is that, milk? toothpaste?) sweater or a ten year old suit jacket to the presentation. My big boss assures me that it is ok not to wear hose, for which I am eternally grateful.

I hold out until 11:15 before eating my leftover husband-made shrimp fra diavolo. At noon I take a short walk to the farmer's market (snap peas and shortbread cookies). I talked to this great woman standing on the corner with a pro-peace sign:The sign behind her reads: "War, An Unnecessary Evil" How awesome is she, standing on the corner with half a dozen other pro-peace activists, just letting people know how she feels? So awesome. When I am 70 I hope I am half as cool as this woman.

Back at the office I start to get nervous about my presentation. For some reason it is scarier to talk to a group when they are all up in big chairs in a semi-circle around you than it is to talk when everyone is sitting around a table. I'm thinking it would have been less stressful if I'd been presenting to this group instead:
I arrive early and sit in the back of the almost-empty hearing room. I introduce myself to the woman staffing the task force and scope out the members to get a better sense of the their level of interest and knowledge. When it is my turn I walk up to the desk as the previous presenter is getting up. This woman, who administers a program at my old agency, smiles broadly when she sees me. She's one of those people that always looks in command and under control, so I am buoyed by her small gesture.

The presentation goes fine, but I intermittently feel that my tongue is too big for my mouth. I don't say anything obviously stupid, but I wonder whether I should be so casual with these people. Plus, I forget the etiquette, and only remember half-way through the meeting when Joel addresses the legislators correctly. Damn.

I stop by the office to pick up my milk bottles, cookies and sweater. I talk to my big boss about the presentation and vainly attempt to organize my files. The ride home takes 80 minutes. Instead of using the time to talk to a cross-country friend I listen to OPB's coverage of yesterday's primary. I decide that it is okay that I didn't turn in my ballot. This was first time in as long as I can remember that I've missed a chance to vote, but apparently I was not alone. With only about 30 percent turn-out, apparently a few of my fellow Oregonians were unmotivated as well.

I'm home in time to sit on the bed with Chris and Ada. She is in a great mood, and he's pretty happy too. I start the bath and then go downstairs to clean up a little before nursing Ada. When I put Ada in bed she looks up at me with a little smile before turning over to talk to herself a little before sleep.

While I plant the few remaining plants that I've been putting off dealing with, Chris makes us (a delicious) dinner and mojitos. I send a work email and then eat, read blogs, vegetate in my post-mojito stupor. (What a cheap date I've become!) I should be heading to bed but instead I'm watching Lost from earlier tonight. And thinking how great I have it.

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

(Thanks to Dr. Stephanie for the photo)

The apartment is a laboratory in which we conduct experiments, perform research on each other. We discover that Henry hates it when I absentmindedly click my spoon against my teeth while reading the paper at breakfast. We agree that it is okay for me to listen to Joni Mitchell and it is okay for Henry to listen to the Shaggs as long as the other person isn't around. We figure out that Henry should do all the cooking and I should be in charge of laundry and neither of us is willing to vacuum so we hire a cleaning service.

Audrey Niffengger
The Time Traveler's Wife

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Love and burning nostrils

People may talk about tears making their eyes burn, for me crying is a pain in the nose.

Each night after hanging out on our bed as a family, I leave Chris and Ada. They start her bath-books-bed routine, and I usually join them in time to provide the "boob" portion of the evening. Although I love to participate in Ada's pre-bed routine, when I am around after the bath she often wants to nurse right away. With me around she barely tolerates getting dried off and tucked into her sleerper. When I am there she won't stand for reading books with her dad, which is something she visibly enjoys when it is just the two of them. We used to do the books before the bath, but now that Ada's feeding herself, the mess on her clothes is just too much.

While waiting for my command performance, I usually clean up Ada's dinner mess or get in a little web time. Sometimes I sneak upstairs early to spy on my family. The mirror in the hall lets me see Chris and Ada sitting on the bed reading "Peekaboo Kisses" or "Charlie Parker Played Be-Bop". Standing in the hall one night last week, I watched Ada sitting in Chris's lap as he did voices. Ada giggled and reached out to the page. I welled up and felt the sting of the tears in the top of my nose.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Love the couch

We have a small leather couch in our "side room" (the room with the thirteen year old tv, a giant framed poster of John Coltrane's face, and a bunch of Ada's toys). Ada loves the couch. You know that line from the beginning of The Truth About Cats And Dogs, where Abby says: "We can love our pets, we just can't LOVE our pets."? Ada's love for the couch reminds me of that line.

Thinking about it, it is probably more accurate to say that Ada loves to love the couch. When we are in the side room, my gal likes to sidle up to the couch and give it big, wet baby kisses that leave Ada-slobber all over the seat and arm. I think we need to get out more, both for her sake and the couch's. Now that she's got four teeth, I'm not sure the couch can take much more of her love.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Really boring posts

This is one of them. One of those really boring posts where I say thank you to the women who are not Ada's mama but who have mothered her and helped me mother her (sometimes by mothering me).

Thank you Ellen, Sally, Arleen, Karen, Anne, Aarin, Ruth, Janeen, Rachel, Katie, Gretchen, Kathy.

Happy Mother's Day to you. And thanks.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Blog sitting

I'm over at Motherhood Uncensored's place today, making a mess. (This isn't meant to be self-deprecating, mess is what the post is about.) Anyone interested in why I am messier than you can click over to Kristin's site and check it out. And please, I told her I'd replace whatever I ate, so let me know if you make a dent in that chocolate cake she left on the counter.

While we are there, Ada and I thought we should check out the neighborhood. We are off for a walk around the neighborhood.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Made up holiday, real life mamas

Her Bad Mother suggested people share a mom blogger or two. So here we go, with one mama I have read for a while (and met in person) and another I just found:

Heather of Life In Mamaland recently did something very impressive. She stepped out of her comfort zone to tell a co-worker how she felt about an offensive email the person had sent to her. As bloggers, we have space to speak our minds online. It is easier to be honest here, where we know we'll get support from other parents. In person it can be hard, but Heather was honest with her co-worker. The co-worker responded just as you'd hope she would, but even if she'd been less responsive, Heather did the right thing. That's a brave mama, and she deserves to be celebrated.

I just started reading Blue Moon Mama, but I'm already a fan. I love that she describes herself as "a happy young liberal feminist absurdist existentialist". I love that she calls her son the Squeaker (and that he gets indignant when he doesn't get his own ice cream). And her son is clearly a genius. For evidence, see this.

Sunday may be an excuse to buy cards and spend money, but can also be a nice chance to celebrate cool moms. Happy Mother's Day!

(In honor of Her Bad Mother and her good idea, here's what she'd call a gratuitous baby photo. This one gives evidence that "the face" is back, at least occasionally.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Share The Love

Today Her Bad Mother had a great mother's day idea: write about a mama blogger you love and share it with your readers and hers. I love reading this kind of thing and I'm a big proponent of telling people how great my friends are. Recently I wrote about how glad I am to know Bridgermama and her boys. I've got some more love to share, but for now I will share another kind of love (because sometimes you see something so hideous it would be a crime not to share):

Weeks ago I told Chris that for mother's day I wanted him to build me a screen door. (Our front door is a weird size, so it will be hard to find a pre-made one for it.) But just in case he gets any crazy ideas, I want to head this one off at the pass. (Chris, you are welcome to buy me anything you have your eye on at Redux. Any time, really.)

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

A prank depends on (society's language expectations and constructs). If you end up seeing further into or through a situation, then the prank was a lesson; the prank was the vehicle for giving you a new insight. A prank only victimizes to the degree that people are attached to their level of reality - that's what it's really about. The more uptight and constipated someone is about their reality, the more the prank is offensive. The consequence in reality never outweighs the information gained through the prank. After all, the victim walks away. The victim is not hurt - only psychologically - but for his own good. Of course I'm thinking of good pranks, not regressive jock pranks.

Jerry Casale
media critic, founding member of Devo

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mom's Wonderlap of Slumber

Despite giving me all the classic "I'm Tired" signs (yawning, eye-rubbing, ear-pullilng), Ada talked to herself for ten minutes this afternoon and then had a whopping TWENTY MINUTE nap. I decided this was not enough, so I picked her up and nursed her. She promptly fell asleep for another TWO HOURS. Go lap! Good thing I had a compelling book by my side, 'cause sleeping baby is worse than sleeping cat on the lap.

A Room Of One's Own

On Friday I got an email from a woman at one of the contractors I worked with at my last job. A big part my job was contractor-wrangling: holding their hands as we discussed financial spreadsheets; arguing with them about prices and contractual responsibilities; soothing ruffled feathers over minor and major issues. You know, day care for CFOs. It had its ups and downs, but overall it was one of those jobs you are glad you did but are happy is over.

This woman has always been very nice to me. She wrote to let me know that her boss (the Chief Operating Officer) was leaving her organization, and to ask if I was interested in putting my hat in the ring for the job. This is totally flattering, but suggests the great extent to which this woman overestimated my knowledge and abilities. Putting aside the fact that I don't think I am ready to go back to full time paid work just yet, I immediately started day dreaming about what it would be like to work for this organization. I checked the company's web site, I figured out the route I would take to get to the office (and how long that would take), I considered whether I'd get an office. I thought about this last thing for a while.

An office is one of those silly I-shouldn't-care-but-I-do perks that I've never had. In the ten years I have been on a career path post-graduate school, I've worked for the federal government, a consulting firm (stationed in a state agency), and state government. I've always worked in cubicles, and although there is a certain we're-all-in-this-together camaraderie associated with life in cubicles, it also means I have heard way more than my fair share of bad radio sing-alongs, office gossip, and personal information I'd rather not have known. I once endured 20 minutes of my boss's secretary on the phone discussing her hysterectomy in vivid detail. As horrifying as this was to overhear, it was made worse knowing the person who was (loudly) relaying it: a woman with an intense Rhode Island accent, dyed black hair with an inch and a half of grey roots, and dark stockings under white sandals. (Think: morbidly obese Cruella DaVille with less fashion sense)

After I emerged from my dream-state, I looked around at my current job site. On Fridays I work from home, and (despite the fact that we have a huge wooden desk from the 1930s) I take up residence on the bed in our office/guest room. Propped up by my husband pillow, I stretch out with the laptop on my legs, my phone within reach, files spread all over, and at least one empty toast plate tucked somewhere in the mess. Although on this day the timing of Ada's nap allowed me to shower before work, I often work unshowered and in my pjs. It's a good set up (may video conferencing never gain mass popularity).

No matter how good this COO job is, no matter how much it pays or how flexible they are, they are never going to give me an office this good. The coffee will never match what I've got downstairs, and the snacks won't be as delicious and available. And although this is the casual west coast, I'm doubting the polka dot jammies will fly, even on Fridays.

Good thing that I'm not qualified for the job.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to eat goat I go!

While reading Mom-101's excellent post about blog trolls, I remembered the following:

When my father was little, his mother used to read him the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. My grandmother is a Polish immigrant, and although her English is impecable (she arrived in New York when she was 9), she spoke Yiddish with her parents and might have missed some American fairy-tale vocab. She has always been the kind of person who does not like to face questions that she doesn't know how to answer. Rather than face the possibility that my father or his brothers or sister might ask "Mom, what's a troll?", my grandmother read the story as: "...and under the bridge, there was a great big dwarf."

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bath Time is Papa Time

Most nights after Ada eats dinner, Chris and I take her upstairs to hang out on our bed for a while before bath time. This is one of my favorite times of day. Ada loves it too. I am not sure if it is her full belly, the knowledge that she'll soon be in the (beloved) bath, or something else that puts her in such a good mood, but even when she's been completely exhausted and crabby before dinner, afterwards she's happy and energetic. We pull off her shoes and socks and she arranges them, moving them around the bed repeatedly. We tickle her, do "this little piggy", sing and make her giggle. It is the one time of day when she's sure to have the undivided attention of both parents at once. Even better, we are at her level, reclining on the bed while she crawls around and over us.

Chris spent this afternoon at his school's graduation, leaving Ada and me to entertain ourselves on a rainy Sunday. Our usual routine went fine until we got to the bedroom. Ada was happy enough, but she kept pulling herself up on me and leaning over to look out the door. She was hoping to see Chris coming up the stairs to join us. The girl loves her Papa.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Five Friday Photos

free ice cream day

Ada's been boning up on partial differential equations. She's hoping she can finish up that PhD by her second birthday

Better than singing in the shower

I've found a hidden benefit to life with a baby: unrestrained singing in public.

I enjoy singing. Sadly for me and anyone within earshot, I have a terrible voice. I love to sing along with the radio, but due to my vocal limitations, I avoid singing in front of other people. Singing when alone in the car, yes; karaoke, no. (The exeption is honky-tonk country music, which allows me to put on a "bad" voice appropriate to the music and pretend to just be hamming it up. Oh, and rap, but my bad memory makes it kind of difficult to keep that up.)

Even if I had a good voice, I am not sure I'd feel comfortable singing on the street. Despite being a "live and let live" liberal (and someone who has broken mainstream conventions such as not shaving my legs in college), I am kind of a weenie and easily embarrassed about social conventions like singing in public places.

But now singing in public is part of my daily routine. Ada and I take walks daily, and with her strapped to my back, I sing to entertain her between sightings of dogs, cats or children. Granted, I am mostly singing "The Wheels on the Bus" and "Red, Red Robin". But sing I do, proudly.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

I was trying to eat some pizza. I was not trying to conform to the faceless puppet masters of society. Yet sometimes, if you are an automaton, that is the same thing.

Chuck Klosterman
One Slice With Extra Meaning

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Who cares what other people think?

Apparently, we do. Chris's favorite uncle gets us a magazine subscription every year for Christmas. This started maybe 5 or 6 years ago, with a subscription to Rolling Stone, a magazine I thought was really cool when I was 14. I know, I missed the magazine's heyday by a decade or so, but my girlish tastes were somewhat suspect. As I recall, at 12 I was way into Seventeen.

But back to Rolling Stone: it was never a subscription we'd asked for, and not one we particularly wanted. Sure, it allowed us to feel superior as we scoffed at Christina Aguilera's outfit or mocked the pouty little boys of Good Charlotte posing on the cover. Still, I felt some embarrassment every time the magazine showed up in our mailbox. We let this go on for a couple of years before telling Uncle thanks, but we'd prefer something else. Oops, too late, he'd already renewed. Our timing was off the next year as well. Then we made it in time, but couldn't decide what to get instead. We wanted something we'd actually enjoy reading, but didn't want to financially tax the Uncle. The latter requirement is the hard part, as there are few magazines as cheap as RS. (RS practically pays you to get a subscription. They must be raking it in on those full-page ads for Pontiac and Tommy Hilfiger.)

Plus, we already get a bunch of magazines - The New Yorker, Cook's Illustrated, Sunset, Gourmet, Living. Yes, Martha Stewart's Living - yes, it is lifestyle porn, what of it? You enjoy your pornography, I'll enjoy mine. I'm a sucker for the production values and slick photos of leaded glass windows. Ok, and the projects. You just tell me you didn't enjoy learning how to make a silk purse from a sow's ear. Plus, the subscription is another ongoing gift, as are the NYer, Sunset, and Gourmet. (I used to subscribe to the more diy Ready Made too, but then we moved and I let it lapse . . .)

Finally this year we managed to get to Uncle in time, and ask for a different subscription. We ended up having a big talk about it, because he kept suggesting that we get Esquire. Speaking of lifestyle porn . . . unfortunately, not my lifestyle. (nor Chris's, as it turns out.) Why would we need a subscription to a magazine that tries to pass off ads for $4,000 watches as content? But Uncle was adamant. So to head off the full year (and who knows, multi-year) subscription, Chris signed up to get a trial copy. It was as expected - glossy photos of the hot new model/actress on the scene, ten page spreads on men's clothes that Chris would never buy, hard hitting articles on why Dick Cheney is a jerk. (Ok, so I am happy to see the Dick-is-a-dick articles, but I can get those anywhere.)

The magazine is now in our bathroom, where all good trash reading ends up. But this is the bathroom Ada's nanny Juniper uses when she's here. Juniper is a Portland hippy, child of even bigger hippies, and excellently feminist and ecologically minded to boot. Yesterday evening after Juniper had gone home, Chris started to worry about the Esquire in the bathroom. He's sure that she sees this magazine and has formed a view of Chris that doesn't match with the real man. So far I have been too embarrassed to mention it to her at all.

Oh, and the full-year subscription we are getting from Uncle this year is Harper's, which is great. Or, it would be, if we ever read more than just the index. So I feel guilty, knowing good reading is left unread month after month. But when did I think I'd get to it? Did I mention I'm also trying to get through all those other magazines, plus write here occasionally, hold down a part-time job, and oh yeah, parent my child? Something's got to give, I know. Just don't make me give up my Living.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Bathroom humor

Sunday night, in the bathroom. I floss while Chris brushes his teeth. I look in the mirror and notice my sweater.

Me: I've been wearing this inside out. All Day.

C: (through the toothpaste) Mmmhmmm.

Me: And did you notice?

C: Mmmhmmm.