Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Don't Want It All

My friend over at Guerilla Mom posted this today.

It sums up my opinion of the "Having It All" debate.

I don't want it all. Having it all means juggling even more and you know how I feel about that.

I'm lucky to be in a place in life where I get to start over in a new city and figure out what I want.

Maybe in a few months I'll want it all but for now, I'd be happy just to sleep in until 8 am on a Saturday.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tackle It Tuesday

Things I Hope to Tackle on Tuesday:

  • Wake up before 7
  • Shave my legs
  • Find a house
  • Pack a box or two
  • All of the work that I didn't do today
  • Write a blog post for company blog
  • Make appointment with therapist
  • Make a real dinner instead of take-out or drive-thru
  • Take L.E. to the park
  • Let L.E. watch a movie while I flop on the couch
  • Not lie about my Weight Watchers Points
  • Avoid posting angry tweets with the hashtags #WeightWatchersSucks, #IHateWW, #WeightWatchersIsDepressing or #WTFWeightWatchers
  • Submit an application to at least one blogger portal
  • Go to bed before 10

Thursday, June 21, 2012

32 and Pregnant

I love this video. The whole time I was pregnant, I would watch 16 & Pregnant and cry because the girls on that show all had their moms to help them but my mom was across the country.

This video reminds me of all of the "problems" Dr. T and I faced. Below are actual quotes spoken by either of us during those 40 weeks.

"Prenatal yoga is too early in the morning. There's no way I can make it anywhere by 11am on a Saturday."

"Why do you want a crib from Pottery Barn Kids? The one from Crate & Barrel is way nicer."

"I really keep going back and forth on different parenting styles. My parents always made fun of me and I turned out fine."

"Which Moby wrap is more flattering, the black one or the plum one?"

"Oh shit." (Spoken simultaneously as L.E.'s gender was revealed.)

"I'm so glad I'm having a girl. I really don't think I could handle the masturbation years."

"Honey, we're out of organic peanut butter! Do you really want your unborn child to ingest Skippy?"

"I'm not buying a new dresser because the one we have is 2 shades off from the changing table."

"Do we really need all of these diapers?"

"You need to breast-feed even if it kills you."

"I don't care if Maxim Talbot is who scored the Penguins' Stanley Cup-winning goal. We're not naming her 'Maxine'. Terry, Lynn and Franco are also off limits."

"Don't worry, I plan on breast-feeding for at least a year."

"Our hypnobirthing instructor told us all about the 'propaganda' the hospital will throw at us with their talk of interventions."

"Isn't the hypnobirthing stuff just another type of propaganda?"

"Hey honey, I think this parenting book your boss gave you might be old. It says babies should sleep on their stomachs."

"Oh don't worry. Those bumpers will be coming out when we bring her home. So will the 10 stuffed animals that are in her crib."

"I really like the name Francine. We can call her Frankie!"

"It's midnight. I can't sleep. I need to order a bassinet."

"You signed our Christmas cards with Hazel." "I signed our Christmas cards with a lot of different baby names to try them out."

"Public school. Really?"

"What type of diaper pail defines me as a parent?"

"I'm making my own baby food as a trade-off for not using cloth diapers. That's fair, right?"

Now it's your turn, Mommies. What were your "32-and-Pregnant" laments? Sound off in the comments!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Plates Are Falling

I've previously blogged about all of my spinning plates.
It's gotten worse.
I need to write down all of the things I have to do this week. This is as good of a place as any to start. Maybe I'll even get a little traffic out of it...

  1. Plan for garage sale this Saturday
  2. Go through things to sell. Cry over sentimental value of the first CD Dr. T. bought me. Throw it in "for sale" box
  3. Dig through "for sale" box for missing half-eaten string cheese for screaming L.E. and drooling dog
  4. Distract L.E. while putting toys she's never played with in garage
  5. Prepare house to go on market
  6. Clean off bookshelves, dining room table, bar, kitchen counter, bathroom counter, dressers, end tables, TV stands
  7. Find lost ring. Hurrah!
  8. Hire cleaning people
  9. Look for house in new city, preferably one in a great location with good schools that has a remodeled kitchen and is close to a park, a restaurant and shops
  10. Mind-wandering: "Is a good school really that important if the house we like is close to a bar?"
  11. Look for job in new city, preferably one in a great location that's part-time with summers off doing something I absolutely love like blogging or reading people's Facebook updates and/or Twitter feeds, while getting paid handsomely
  12. Plan all of the things we want to do before we leave this area
  13. Look at real estate in San Francisco even though that's not where we're moving
  14. Look at upcoming live shows in new city
  15. Move "finding a babysitter in new city" to the top of the list
  16. Figure out whose birthday party invitation it was that got thrown out with yesterday's mail
  17. Mind-wandering: "I forgot to set the DVR to record the new 'Dallas'!"
  18. Do some work, short-timer.
  19. Blow off people I haven't seen in months who are just now realizing we're leaving in a few weeks
  20. Cry when realizing I'm fully incapable of blowing people off
  21. Buy a Father's Day gift
  22. Blog on my current company's website
  23. Try not to lose it over this morning's weigh-in where I gained 1/2 a lb this week
  24. Convince myself a cheeseburger and fries is not the answer
  25. Beg my readers to tell their friends about me so I can get a book deal
  26. Get mad at Dr. T for not responding to my last email. Oopsies, I didn't push "send."
  27. Mind-wandering: "Since this is a permanent move, should I get a new cell-phone number?"
  28. Suggest a divorce to Dr. T. so I can go back to college as a single-mom and get more financial aid to put towards a teaching degree (He said no because wanting summers off is not a good enough reason to become a teacher. "You hate teaching!" "So?")
  29. Wonder how many Weight Watchers Points are in a cheeseburger and fries
  30. Stop writing things and start doing them. Jeez!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


This is the only image of ghosts I could find that weren't scary.
I'm not old but I'm not young, either. But I definitely feel like I'm too young to have friends die.
Isn't having a friend die something that happens in the old folks' home when you're almost 90? "Did you hear Cecil didn't make it through the night?" "I bet Mavis is next."
But here I am on the upper end of my mid-30s and I recently lost another friend the same week my best friend lost her mom.
Another friend, another parent, another memorial, another celebration of life, another round of pain in the knowledge that I'll never see them again.
Another feeling that I'm being watched.
I believe in ghosts. I believe when people pass away young and unexpectedly, they watch out for their friends and family.
I've never actually seen a ghost, despite the number of guys I see wearing beanies who resemble Josh (died 2009) or the sheer volume of lookalikes my friend Mike (died 2005) has in existence all over the U.S. (I swear I saw him on a boat in Hilton Head.)
I'm not sure I've ever felt a ghost's presence except for the time I was up late at night with L.E. when she was just a few weeks old. I was sobbing, once again feeling like I wasn't cut out for this mommyhood shit and wondering when her real parents were coming to pick her up. It was then that I smelled my grandma (died 2001). And I immediately felt better. I don't know if her spirit was really there or not. It could have been the sleep deprivation and depression was making me crazy. But for that instant, the moment I smelled the scent of my grandma's hands, I felt like I could handle this. Like I wasn't alone.
I always joked that Bill (died 1997) was my guardian angel of driving.  I had a near-miss once where the car should have hit me but didn't. I still to this day have no idea how I didn't get hit. I'm convinced he was looking out for me.
I've had dreams about Pap but I haven't sensed him yet. There was a weird incident that happened the day after he died, though. T, L.E. and I were in San Francisco. L.E. was 9 months old. We met my best friend and her boyfriend at a bar down the street from the bar where we watched the Steeler game at 10 am with a bunch of drunken Irish-folk who genuinely loved having a baby in the bar, but I digress.
This meth-head with Tourette's (ahhhh...San Francisco!) walked in and was shouting at the bartender and pretty much everyone else. He looked over at me holding L.E. and asked when her birthday was. I pretended not to hear. But then he started screaming about his sister who was crazy and hoped my baby's birthday wasn't the same day as hers: October 13th. I froze. I said, "What did you say?" T and my friends were telling me to ignore him but I couldn't because what are the odds (I guess 365-to-1?) that he would say the day of my grandfather's birthday. My grandfather who had just died. Dun dun dun.
These instances sound like the ravings of an insane person.
But to me, the fact that I have experienced these things is comforting. Like most self-absorbed people, I'm terrified of death. So maybe the best way to get over that fear is to realize that you won't be alone when your time comes. Those you have known who have passed will be waiting for you, even if you barely remember what they looked like.
One night a few weeks after Josh died, I asked T if we die when we're old, how do we look in the afterlife? I hope that I look 30 and not 85. He said that we don't look like people, we appear as balls of light. Let me interrupt myself and share that I have never heard my husband ever speak of the afterlife, life, religion, spiritualism or anything like that. But there we was saying this with such conviction. I asked him how will we know who are loved ones are? He said, "Oh, you'll know." It was such a surreal moment. I'm pretty sure I fell in love with him all over again.
That night I dreamt of warm balls of light that sniffed each other like dogs. I knew who they all were. And it made me feel really good.
So to Walter and to my Reno-Mom (died May 18): if you see a cluster of people (or balls of light) who are gathered around watching a life that's about as exciting as that one lame episode of Golden Girls (you know, the one about Dorothy; those ones always sucked!), introduce yourselves and say hello. And welcome to the group who watches out for me.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Walter's Bean Dip

Walter's Famous Eight-Layer Bean Dip
Our good friend Walter passed away from ALS on May 19th.
To correspond with his memorial being held in his hometown in Virginia, all of his Reno friends are getting together tomorrow to celebrate his life and share stories about him.
And drink Bud Light in his honor.
Walter would make this amazing vegetarian bean dip anytime there was a party. Until now, I never knew what was in it except that it was delicious and really killed my stomach, in a good way.
We managed to procure his recipe through various channels. For the amount of e-mails exchanged, it was as if I was getting secret codes to a bank vault.
I feel funny sharing it with you so I'll just give you the gist of it.
Refried beans, cheese, Morningstar vegetarian sausage, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, more cheese, vegetarian chili, jalapeƱos (twice the amount a normal person can consume) and yes, more cheese.
Layer it up and bake.
Walter claims it took over three hours to bake. I think he may have been drunk when he said it.
So in tribute to one of the nicest and most sincere people I've ever known, we shall eat the bean dip. And run for the bathroom immediately afterward.

"We may not be here for a long time; but we're here for a good time."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


This post originally appeared at
You think she's gonna drop the baby, don't you?
(Photo from

A woman is rarely judged as harshly as she is the day she enters motherhood. When the first sign of a baby bump appears–earlier than three months along for some of us–she is met with a barrage of advice, criticism, complaints and "You know what I heard?" statements. If she even looks at a plate of California rolls, screeches of, "You can't eat sushi!! The baby will die of mercury poisoning!!!" ring out. Not to mention what happens if a tray of Camembert cheese is nearby…
I had barely found myself out of my first trimester before I was faced with mom-judgment. I reached out to an acquaintance who was also pregnant. She and I weren't friends but I thought that by being pregnant at the same time, we would be kindred spirits. However, this was before I learned that pregnant can really bring out the crazy. "We're sending our child to *insert preschool with a PHILOSOPHY here*, not *company-subsidized onsite daycare*. We want our baby to actually have a chance in the real world," she said one day over decaf, non-fat lattes. 
Ouch. We're talking about newborns, right?
Immediately I was awash with guilt. Was there something wrong with *company-subsidized onsite daycare*? I mean, I wanted my kid to have the best chance, too, but at the same time I thought my priority should be giving her a name that won't get her picked on throughout grade school.
Society is tough on moms. If you're a working mom, you're letting someone else raise your kids. If you're a stay-at-home mom, you're unambitious and lazy. If you work part-time, you fit in nowhere because you seem to have this utopian lifestyle of being home as much as being at work and you have perfect nails. That alone will make every mom out there hate you.
What happened to "It takes a village to raise a child?" Now it's, "You better do this right because if your kid even looks at my kid sideways I will have them thrown off the playground." It's like moms always have to one-up each other to make themselves feel better. 
To a working mom, the worst question to be asked isn't, "Are you sleeping yet?" or "Why has it taken you over two years to lose the baby weight?" or "Have you seen how fab Beyonce looks already?" Although those questions should never ever never be asked, the absolute worst one is, "How do you juggle it all?" Because as Tina Fey wrote in her bestseller Bossypants, the inquirer is really implying, "You're fucking EVERYTHING up, aren't you?" After feeling overwhelmed and wondering how I do juggle it all, I realized that I was seeking out the answer for what everyone else thought of me. I've succumbed to the unrealistic expectation that being a working mother means I have to be 100% of everything to everyone 100% of the time. As a result, I'm judging myself more harshly than anyone else is. Of course I'm fucking everything up! It's hard having all of these spinning plates. So I had a wake-up call to figure out what's most important and what can wait. Indefinitely. 
I now know the two spinning plates that should never fall are the ones labeled FAMILY and WORK. I want my daughter to be happy, well-loved and respectful. I want my husband to remain my best friend. I want to be good at my job because it's fulfilling to be mentally stimulated and working is part of my identity. All of the other plates labeled with things like LAUNDRY, DESIGN CLUB, VOLUNTEERING, VACUUMING, GARDENING, CALLING OLD FRIENDS YOU HAVEN'T HEARD FROM IN YEARS, ETC. can wait.
Working has made me a better parent. I enjoy my time with my daughter. But I also know that she needs to grow and learn in her own environment. She loves being around other kids every day and is quite smart and social. And the hug accompanied by, "MOMMY!!!" that I get when I pick her up from daycare gives me something to look forward to all day.
The unexpected other side to this is how being a mom has made me a better worker. I can maintain a level head in my on-the-job responsibilities. (Except for when the printer breaks and I have an RFP due in two hours. Then I just may lose it.) I'm way more organized than I was before I became a mom. And I'm a much better communicator now. I can multi-task better than I ever thought I could. In short, becoming a mom is the best thing I could have done for my career.
Moms shouldn't be in competition with each other. We shouldn't judge each other. We're all in this together.
Being a good mom is about loving your children unconditionally, yet doing your part to raise happy and well-adjusted members of society. Enough with the judgment. If your child is happy eating organic, free-range strawberries and my child is happy eating sand, does it really matter in the long run? As long as they're happy and they're eating, I wouldn't complain.