Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Spinal Tap

Yesterday, I gushed about Girl-child’s birth. (And last night, there was much flaming of food at the Japanese Steakhouse, and too much cake afterwards. Heavenly Yum.)

In my post, I mentioned that the epidural they gave me was in “the wrong place”.

The lovely Orange asked me in comments, “did you get the spinal headache the next day like I did? The Mother of All Headaches?”

Why yes.

Yes I did.

Egan, honey, ya might want to look away for a while, because I’m digging specifics about that today, and really, it’s just another thing an expectant father need not worry about. (Only 1 in 100 have this happen, according to Wikipedia, so chances are your wife will be FINE.)

Seven years ago….

After the epidural was inserted, and after the morphine had worn off, while in the middle of contractions and pushing and the nurses all being their sweet nurse-y selves with their strongly encouraging words, I started noticing that I was feeling a LOT more pain than with my son. LOTS more. I asked the doctor and the nurses, “Are you SURE I have an epidural? ‘Cause I can feel everything.’

They assured me, Oh, yes, of course, everything is fine.

Oh. No. It wasn’t.

But, as this was my first non-induced delivery, what did I know?

Well, I can tell you, when the OB announced he’d have to make a little ‘snip’ to help Girl-child come out, and the snip came, I felt THAT.

And when Girl-child was pulling all her limbs through that opening, I felt THAT.

And when the OB stitched me up, oh gawd, I felt THAT.


It wasn’t so bad, really, I mean, it’s CHILDBIRTH. If it was easy, they wouldn’t call it “labor”, now, would they?

I was fine immediately afterwards, elated and tired and so in love.

Everything was fine until later that day.
When I tried to sit up to feed my baby.
I thought my head had exploded.

Check that.

I thought someone had snuck up behind me and hit me with a steel bar. Repeatedly. As if to kill.

It was, as Orange said, The Mother of All Headaches.

I’d had migraines before, and I know what that pain felt like. But jeebus on a popsicle stick, this was like nothing I’ve ever felt…or felt since. I couldn’t string two words together in a sentence, the pain was so terrific. I tried to sit up, but it felt like Andre the Giant slapped me down again with his big ol’ paws, and then a bear came and chomped on my cabeza.

I called the nurse’s station to ask if someone could come check me out. They then lost that smiling nurse-y demeanor I’d seen just hours earlier when they told me how brave I was and to just PUSH. They suddenly became these uncaring monsters. “Oh it’s probably just the pain medicine wearing off.”

“But you don’t understand, I Can’t. Sit. Up. To feed my child.”

“Well you HAVE to feed your child. Just sit up.”

They finally decided to check on me when I couldn’t stop bawling.

“Well,” one nurse said, “something could have happened with the epidural. But it probably didn’t. You’re probably just tired is all. But…if you insist…I’ll send a doctor in to check on you.”

The most helpless feeling in the world is knowing your baby needs to eat, and you physically can’t move to feed her, and both of you are crying your eyes out.

After what seemed like forever, a doctor came up, examined my spine, and said, “OH! You’re leaking spinal fluid! The epidural needle must have gone through the space and punctured the dura. Your brain. Is losing is cushion of fluid. THAT’S why you have a headache.”

I could have kissed the man. Had I been able to sit up.

“We can do a procedure to clot the hole. We’ll take some blood from your arm, and inject it back into the epidural hole, and once it clots, the fluid will replenish, and you’ll be fine.”

After a quick phone call to Sergei to update him, I signed the consent form. The nurses watched my baby while they took me down several flights to a procedure room. Four of them had to help me sit up, with my head hanging down, and held me so I wouldn’t fall over. I swore a lot. I know one or all of them was secretly hitting me in the head with cement blocks. Had to be.

One of the nurses drew some blood, and then I could feel the needle go into the hole in my back (they didn’t numb it and I really didn’t care). 30 seconds later, I felt like I could conquer the world. The leak stopped. My brain had a pillow.

They wheeled me back to my room, brought in my baby, and I fed her for a good, long while.

The nurses all seemed to be in denial about the whole thing.
I never even got so much as a ‘sorry’.

Two days later, at home with my newborn, the clot in my spine dissolved, and The Mother of All Headaches appeared at my door, with a bucket of nasty in one hand and a boxing glove in the other. I had to call my mom to come up and help me, as Sergei had to work, and I couldn’t do anything for either baby Girl-child or 3-year old Boy-child. That time, I called the doctor, who said, “Just deal with it, we won’t do another blood clot in your spine…you’ll live.”

I did live.

But holy gravy.

I’ll remember that headache For. EVER.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Snowstorm Baby II

She was breach.

The little girl in my belly was sitting upright, like a Buddha, content and warm.

The doctor was not pleased.

“If she doesn’t turn over this week, we’ll have to “manipulate” her into position.”

“What does that mean?”, I asked.

“Well…we can try to turn her around from the outside, which is not exactly pleasant. OR we can go inside and try to move her around. Also, not pleasant.”

After 9 months of watching my body perform the ‘Baking a Baby’ show, after 8 months of pricking my finger four times a day to test my glucose, after 1 month of giving myself insulin injections every night, after constant UTIs and raging hormones and worrying how Boy-child would feel with a new little one in the house, it was almost time to pop.

Trouble was, I wasn’t exactly sure how to do it.

The first time, Boy-child took three days to emerge, and then it was a series of false-starts and frog positions and epidurals, and the final salad tong forceps that brought him out, screaming. It was long and involved, and not what I expected.

With Girl-child, her smaller size indicated a more comfortable process. But how, exactly, did that work? When would I know it was ‘time’? What about this 'breach' thing?

I was due at the OB’s office on Thursday. Wednesday night, I slept fitfully. Something I ate, or maybe gas, kept my belly tossing and rumbling. I was nauseous. I asked the OB at my appointment what it could have been. He checked my belly, and announced, “She’s turned!” My Buddha Baby was now “engaged”, head down, ready to swim out. The OB said that, because of the gestational diabetes, they’d induce the next week if she didn’t appear soon.

They didn’t have to wait long.

Saturday night, around 11 p.m., I started to feel, well, “not quite right”…a tightening in my belly like I’d never felt. We waited, and I finally determined they were contractions. Just to be sure, though, we trekked to the hospital, Boy-child bundled up in the midnight snow, bleary-eyed and confused, Sergei and I hopeful and a little nervous. We’d planned to have Ultra-Cool In-Laws come stay with Boy-child, but we didn’t want to call them yet…just in case it was a false alarm.

“You’re in labor!”, the nurse announced, and we made two important phone calls…the OB, and the In-Laws. The snow that was little more than flakes when we ventured out was now a full-blown blizzard. In-Laws would call from time to time with an update…on the highway, should be there shortly…highway closed…will be there as soon as we can….

The contractions got harder and closer, and more painful than I’d remembered with Boy-child’s delivery. Morphine is a wonderful drug, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It was the only thing that got me through the night. Sergei left at some point with Boy-child, to meet In-Laws at our house, and fortunately the nurse upped the drug so I was comfortable while he was away. Sergei returned, my rock.

The OB finally arrived, with tales of the awful roads. An epidural was put in place, but for some reason, I didn’t feel the effects. (It was only the next day I found out they had done it wrong, and instead of injecting soothing medication into my spine, had pierced ‘the wrong place’, and I leaked spinal fluid the next day. But that’s another story.) The pain got stronger, the urge to bear down overwhelming, and I felt everything. It was too much, and yet, I was fine.

The morning of Super Bowl Sunday, in the year 2000, in the middle of a blizzard, a beautiful baby was born, with a thick head of hair, and a loud strong voice. I remember trembling as I held her. She was so perfect. So beautiful. So unbelievable.

Today Girl-child is 7 years old.

I’m all teary, because I can’t believe how much joy she’s brought to our lives. And how lucky we are.

Happy Birthday, honey! I love you, so much.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

We went sledding yesterday, at a local sledding hill known for steep curves and icy exterior. Boy-child’s friend, Little Big Man, brought his snowboard and saucer, and we loaded up several sleds, bundled up Girl-child and Boy-child, and traipsed over in the brutal cold.

I was just gonna be “Official Sled Holder”. Because I’m old, and feel pretty fragile, and haven’t been a sledder since I was a kid.

But after Girl-child went down a couple times, and I stopped freaking out that she’d go too far and skid into the parking lot, I asked if we could ride together.

I’m a big clucking Rhode-Island Red of a chicken butt.

So we went down.
We didn’t tip over.
We didn’t hit any other sledders.
We didn’t skid out of control and land in the parking lot in front of a semi full of pianos.
And it was FUN.
Out of control. Fun.

So we went down again.
And again.

I stood at the top of the icy hill and watched as Boy-Child and Little Big Man pushed off the sharpest edge of the hill, went out of site, and ended up sailing across the vast white plain on the other side.

Sergei and Girl-child went down the same side, first together, then separately. My heart was frantically staccato until I saw Girl-child, her hair blowing behind her, safely down.

After an hour of being wind-blown and butt-bumped, I decided I’d had enough, and opted to stand at the bottom and watch. Girl-child went down with me. We laughed and bumped to the bottom. Tumbling off, she waved “See ya!”, and started up the hill, pulling the orange sled behind her, while I crunched around the hill to watch her daredevil down the other side. I watched her ascend, stunned that this small child, my baby, was brave and strong enough to do this, all this, by herself. I watched Boy-child and his friend go up and down and up and down, on their bellies, their butts, their backs, forward and backward, sideways, and still trudge back up even after getting the wind knocked out of them and almost hit by a tree.

Girl-child came down one last time, bumping at the bottom and biting her tongue hard in the process, and ran to me crying. I hugged her for a while, and suggested we go home and make hot chocolate and popcorn and sweet things, and the boys would follow in a few minutes. She only cried for a minute, and held my hand as we wandered home, the snow hitting our faces, her tongue stuck out to catch snowflakes, her boots clump-clumping on the sidewalk. We talked about her upcoming birthday party sleepover, and school, and how many marshmallows should be in hot chocolate.

I told her she was brave going down the big hill all by herself.

She looked at me with her eyes shining and her cheeks like red roses and her mouth in a perma-frost grin.

“Yeah. I was, wasn’t I?”

I could learn a lot from that kid.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Poetry Friday: The Word is PITCH

I'm doing a little Happy Friday anna two-a anna three-a, turn and dip!....

The Poetry Friday Word is PITCH. Feel free to toss this versatile word into your blog post today, in whatever uniform fills up your fantasy league roster...poem, story, photo, version of "Who's On First", YouTube offering, banjo pickin' style....

I have one contribution, a piece of fiction, something that might be the start of a longer story. I've learned that my attention span is cruelly short when it comes to writing. I have dreams of writing "The Great American Novel", but I know it will never come to fruition because I'm easily bored with my characters, and the thought of manipulating them through 400 or 500 pages sends me into fits of panic and trepidation. I'm more a snapshot sorta gal. A feeling here, a pretty flower there, and I'm happy.

The piece below is fiction, inspired by one childhood memory...a local party store in the summer, me with a quarter to spend, and the man who worked there. I'll never finish it. But in my mind, it's already finished, with an O. Henry ending and a movie script in the works.

Have a good weekend, y'all!

Nickel Candy

“What is the skin of a Slim Jim made of, anyway?”

“Pig parts, probably. Intestines. Guts. The stuff they pitch.”

“Huh. Well. It’s good anyways.”

Cindy sat down beside me on the stone slab in front of Pete’s Party Palace. She had a hand-dipped chocolate cone in one hand, and licorice in the other. She always went for the sweet stuff. Me, I was more into salty. Pete had a barrel of peanuts in the shell, and for a nickel, you could reach your hand in there and pull out one big handful. I’d hand Pete a quarter and fill up my pockets, and then hold the bottom of my shirt out like a hammock and fill it up. Momma could always tell how hungry I’d be for dinner by the amount of peanut shell dust on my shirt.

I popped open a peanut and balanced the nuts on my bony knee. Then I took my Slim Jim and licked it, pressed the end onto a peanut, and stuck it in my mouth.

“What ya wanna do today?”, Cindy asked, stretching her legs out and then doing that ballet thing she did, pointing her toes, and pressing her heels together so her legs made a tan diamond.

“Dunno. Too hot,” I said, chewing my late-morning snack.

Momma was at work, and Bobby was at the Porter’s house. We knew Bobby would come home dirty and smelling like a dead animal, ‘cause the Porters had too many “mangy critters”, Momma said. But he liked being there more than he liked being with me, which suited me fine. Bobby was too young to be fun, and anyways, his papa wasn’t my papa, and Bobby went and ruined my life by being born and making my papa go away.

“I’m thirsty”. I shook the peanut shells off me and padded into the store, leaving Cindy to the rivers of chocolate running down her arm. Pete never charged for water. He never shooed us away neither, which was one reason we hung around his place. Well, that and the food.

“Pete?” I called out. I expected to see him in his cap and apron, with a glass of water waiting for me, like he always did when I bought 25 cents of peanuts. But there was no Pete. Not nowhere.

Pete was the sort of guy who stood guard, like a watchdog, whenever he was working. He was serious that way. He’d go an entire day without peeing, just so he could be ready for someone to buy a paper, or a pack of smokes, or condoms behind the counter.

There was one rule in Pete’s place…never go behind the counter. But seeing as that’s where the sink was, and as the peanut goo was sticking in my throat, and with Pete disappeared, I started getting anxious. “Pete! Peeeeete!”

Cindy wandered in. “Where’s Pete?”

I couldn’t talk. I pointed to my throat. The peanut dust had formed a tight ball deep down in there. I thought about getting a Coke out of the cooler and just telling Pete I’d pay him later, but that would feel like stealing. I was starting to not feel so good, like I couldn’t breathe, and I had to do something. Something. My eyes got all misty, and then I really couldn’t breathe, and then I just did it.

I just ran behind the counter, grabbed a paper cup, turned on the cold cold water, and drank, drank, drank, four little cups, until my throat finally relaxed and my lungs let air in.

“You better get outta there!” Cindy hissed at me. “Pete will be so pissed at you!”

“I know,” I hissed back. I turned to throw the cup away, and out the corner of my eye I saw a hole in the floor, underneath the cash register where Pete stood ground. I edged over to the opening, and as I got closer saw that it wasn’t a hole, but a door, with a brass handle and little carvings of animals on the lip.

“Git outta there!” Cindy was yelling at me now. She’d seen Pete mad once, and it scared her so much she’d peed her pants.

“No! Come here!” I waved my arm and pointed into the pitch blackness of the cellar, or whatever it was that the door opened onto.

Cindy tiptoed slowly up next to me. “What’s that?”, she whispered.

“I dunno. Maybe that’s where Pete went?”

We peered into the opening and stretched our arms down into it. It was cool and quiet, like Granny’s root cellar. There was no light below, no light for Pete to see by, even if he did go down there for jam, or hootch, or whatever he hid in it.

“Pete?” I tried to make my voice sound faraway, like I was calling Pete from the proper side of the counter. “Pete? Are you okay?”

A sound like ten tornados whooshed up from the floor, pushing out of the hole, rattling the door with the brass and animals, rising and rising until the floorboards started shaking and the glass candy jars threatened to explode. I heard a scream, and wasn’t sure if it was me or Cindy or both, our screams mixed with the wind and the sound pulled us. In a panic, we found our legs again and we ran, ran and ran, around the counter, out the door, and across the street, still screaming.

Me and Cindy stood in front of Al's Garage and hugged each other for a long time. So long I thought we’d stick together and become one person. When we finally pulled away and brushed away the tears, we looked across the street, into the store.

There, in the front window, stood Pete. At the cash register. Keeping guard over the dry goods. He turned and stared us through the glass. He smiled, but there was something in it…something knowing, something warning, something that shook Cindy and me so hard, we wet our pants a little, and ran, screaming, down the street, down to the cluster of lilac bushes, down where we could hide until we couldn’t see the smile any more.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Poetry Friday WORD for tomorrow, plus calcium!

We have, for lack of a more descriptive phrase, a HUGE-ASS dictionary. It’s one-a them unabridged versions, oversized, the kind you can get lost in. At dinner not long ago, one of the kids asked for a definition of the word “pitch”. We gave them one…then another…then another. Sergei pulled out Huge-Ass Dictionary after the table was cleared, and turned to the p-i-t section. There were over 50 definitions for the word. FIFTY. Which means not only that it’s a versatile word, but that apparently our ancestors got lazy at some point and started calling every new thing “pitch”. (“Hey Jebediah, whut ya call that there black sticky stuff you put on yer roof?” “Hell, I dunno…uhhh…pitch??”)


The Poetry Friday WORD for tomorrow is PITCH. Feel free to brush that sticky word all over your thatched-roof blog tomorrow, in whatever fashion keeps you watertight…poem, story, photo, alternative definition, Cockney rhyming slang, shoe fetish sculpture….

I want to thank y’all for your comments to my post yesterday. They reallyreallyreally helped me get out of my whiny funk. It’s funny, the older I get, and the older my friends get, the more open we seem to be about discussing intimate things like that. The more we have in common. So here’s a big ol’ MWAH from me to you. You rock!

Oh, and here’s a little tidbit I re-discovered this morning…I’m still scared of the dark. HAH. Still. When I was five, and would cry out for my parents in the night because it was too dark, my dad would try to ‘cure’ me of this fear. Once he took me into the bedroom, pointed at the stars out my window, and said, “You’re never alone. You have the stars to keep you company.” Then he tried to sneak out while I was looking at Orion’s Belt. But I busted him and started crying. ‘Cause stars can’t hold your hand when you’re scared and get you a drink of water and tuck your covers way high under your chin.

I had a scary, realistic dream last night, wherein I was at work, and our night computer operator physically attacked me. I remember screaming at him and yelling for people to pull him the hell off me. This morning when I left for work, and walked outside in the darkness, I freaked out. Remembering the dream. I stared out across the lawn, at the snow lit by the streetlamp, and something crashed at the house across the street. Panic. Probably just an icicle falling. Or maybe a stray cat. Or maybe the computer guy trying to get me for real. I stared for a time down the street one way, then another, then around the sides of the house, but saw nothing. I pulled out into the street and my car, as if on auto-pilot, circled my block, looking for Bad Guys. Circled three times. Trying to find things in the darkness. I was ultimately satisfied and came to work. Fortunately, the computer guy was gone when I got in. I’ll have to tell my boss about THAT dream.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

For the Ladies Only

I needs me a little girl sympathy. D’ya mind giving me some?

I need to get graphic.

So you guys might want to check out ESPN or watch Giada on Food Network or somethin’….

Ladies, here’s the deal.

I’m SO over my periods.

I can’t even deal.

As I’ve aged and had children, my usual 28-day cycle has become a 25-day cycle. Which sucks, because it basically means one more period a year. But I coped.

Then a few years ago, my OB-GYN discovered a fibroid. He said unless it was painful or caused extreme or breakthrough bleeding, they’d leave it and menopause would shrink that sucker down to nuthin’.

Last year’s OB appointment showed a couple more fibroids. But we waited. And nothing bad happened.

My last period was 24 days from the previous. Not too far off.

This morning My Little Red Friend showed up. 22 days since the last one.

Even earlier. WTF??

This pisses me off.

And frightens me a little bit. Because if it is the fibroids, the OB said the best/only thing he’d recommend is a hysterectomy. Which scares the pee right outta me.

On the other hand, it might just be my body’s way of a final FcukYou before I hit early menopause.

Either way, it bites.

I’m gonna try not to obsess about it (although I have won the title of “Ms. Obsessive” every year since kindergarten, and pretty proud o’ that…I think).

But still….

Can I get an amen, somebody?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

In the event of something happening to me

1) It’s a wonder my husband didn’t banish me from our bed. Last night whilst channel-surfing, we stumbled across a (VH1?) documentary about the Bee Gees. Now, in my much younger days, I loved them. Yeah. Sue me. Sergei couldn’t suppress that “Oh you’re SO old!” grin as I sang along to “New York Mining Disaster 1941”, and “Jive Talkin'”, and many others. I almost swooned when Andy Gibb came on the screen. I know. I know.

2) This is the MOST brilliant video I’ve seen in a while. Wax on. Wax off.

3) This is the MOST brilliant mano-a-mano movie scene…'s Bruce Lee...and Chuck Norris…I need not say any more than that….

4) I can’t wait to see this!

5) I am re-addicted to “Studio 60”…thanks to Bravo television for the marathon this weekend, and to NBC for FINALLY showing a new episode last night.

6) Thanks for the help yesterday with the broken finger. This morning it's not swollen and not painful. So I think it was just traumatized. How did I do it? Shut it in a car door. Because I'm graceful like that. (In my defense, if my seatbelt had retracted when it was supposed to, this never would have happened. Stupid seatbelt.)

7) You're still weirded out about the Bee Gees thing, aren't ya? Well alright then, who's YOUR Guilty Pleasure Band from your youth?

Monday, January 22, 2007

My Left Finger

I’ve written 3 different posts today, and hate ALL of them.

I’m just in that sort of mood.

Not a bad mood…just a critical mood.

So…here’s my question for y’all:

How do you know when you’ve broken your finger?

Can you still move it? Does it always bruise? What could a doctor do to fix it other than splint it, and couldn’t I do that with two popsicle sticks and some bandage tape?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Poetry Friday: The Word is COFFEE

Unending thanks to the wonderful and talented Mother of Invention for the word this week. It’s warm, and wonderful, and stimulating. It’s COFFEE. I’m sipping my second cup right now, it’s 6:40 a.m., and I’m hearing my co-workers bang sleepy doors and shuffle through white noise to their cubes, to the coffee machine, to a Friday morning.

Please feel free to stir this word into your blog post today, however it opens your teeny-tiny container of half-and-half…poem, story, photo, musical interlude, bare-assed dance in the snow….

Coffee to me conjures up songs. And movies. And remembering.

Have a Good Weekend, y’all!

Mona Ponders Coffee

1) When I was a child, I loved coffee candy…those hard tan disks that melt slowly in your mouth. My parents hoped I’d hate them. They were sure I would. But the milky smooth bite of them was sinful and delicious, and who was I to say no?

2) Growing up, we had a percolator, which was only used for post-funeral suppers. My folks, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents, always used instant coffee. Aunt D and Uncle T always drank their instant coffee with glops of sweetened condensed milk, and three spoonsful of sugar. Even though I’ve grown a bit coffee-snobbish over the years, I find a certain charm in a cup of instant coffee. My childhood sitting there in inky swirls, sweetened with Splenda, and half-and-half.

3) Nothing goes better with coffee than dessert. Especially pie. If I could eat pie and drink coffee at every meal, and not have it expand my backside to enormous proportions, I’d do it. Every. Day.

4) Back in the early 80s, I discovered the band Squeeze. I fell for them hard. Lead singer Glenn Tilbrook was and always will be a Secret Fantasy Boyfriend. I saw them in concert five, or six, or seven times. I’ve lost track. When Mother of Invention offered up the word coffee, I immediately heard Glenn’s voice calling out to me. Oh, to be making coffee stains in his notebook….

5) Jim Jarmusch has always been a favourite filmmaker of mine. A few years ago he came out with “Coffee and Cigarettes”. Loved it. This is one of my favorite scenes…Iggy Pop and Tom Waits meet for coffee.

6) I love Otis Redding. The first album of his I got was one of those ‘Best Of’ compilations, and I remember sitting in my living room, stunned, at his voice and his passion. Whenever I’m up really late, like REEEEALLY late, his song “Cigarettes and Coffee” immediately comes to mind.

7) Target sells little jars of chocolate-covered espresso beans. I. Am. Addicted.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Poetry Friday WORD for tomorrow, plus a steady stream of unconsciousness

The lovely and talented Mother of Invention has chosen the Poetry Friday Word for tomorrow…and that word is…COFFEE.

Which makes me just shudder with delight.

The only thing on my mind this morning was coffee. First thing I did when I got to work (before 6 a.m., mind you) was make a pot of coffee, and then I sat at my desk hunched over a steaming mugful, gulping it down like it was lovely liquid morphine. It was the only thing that kept my butt going this morning.

Feel free to splash the word COFFEE in your blog post tomorrow, in whatever oversized coffee mug you like…poem, story, photo, secret for making the perfect espresso, EKG printout of you drinking two pots of triple-strong coffee….

This morning in the bathroom I had a myriad of blog ideas. Which I didn’t write down. What filtered through is this:

1) I love Stevie Ray Vaughan.

2) I love Louis Prima.

3) No way 5 hours of sleep is good for you.

4) Especially when you have ‘fake dreams’. For instance, I had a dream that my alarm went off and it was very muffled. I turned it off and went back to bed. Then my alarm went off for real, and it wasn’t muffled, and I nearly broke my arm finding the damn thing. I also had fake dreams that involved canned and fresh peas, television personalities, turning over in my sleep (I dreamt that I turned over in my sleep, then I did it for real…how lame). I feel like I got worked over by New and Improved Rocky Balboa in my sleep.

5) I threw my back out this morning. By doing nothing. Sitting at my desk drinking coffee and checking my email. How. Does. That. Happen?

6) I have a new Fantasy Boyfriend Floater…Seth MacFarlane.

7) Slim Jims do NOT make an appropriate breakfast food. Ugh.

8) I can't View my blog today. Whazzup, Blogger? More shenanigans??

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

You Made Me Love You

Sometimes in our stack of mail we find a small box with a Free Sample inside.

The kids are old enough now that we don’t get boxes of Huggies.
Sometimes we get a mini-package of laundry soap. Which I keep but never use.
A sample of Feminine Hygiene Products came in quite handy at work, thankyouverymuch.

Generally, though, I detest such blatant consumerism, and the wasteful spending habits of WhateverCompany’s advertising department, who thought it was a good idea to buy a mailing list and blindly send stuff out.

Last fall, my husband got a Free Sample box from Gillette. It turned out to be one of their new Fusion razors.

Now let me tell you, when I originally saw the teevee commercial for this product, I thought they were kidding.

I thought it was an SNL skit run amok.

Five blades.

FIVE frickin’ blades.

Who needs that? Okay, yeah, if you’re a Yetti, or maybe our night operator guy, yes, sure, the thatchwork covering your facial area might warrant such a sharp-edged tool. But come on…what’s next? A gross of blades? A googol? Too much.

Hubby scoffed at the razor, as did I.

I pulled it out of the box and turned it around, thinking how overkill it was, and how heavy and bulky it would be to use. I turned to throw it away…but something stopped me.

My hairy legs.

I was still wearing shorts, and, well, ladies…y’know when you have that Stubble, and you walk across the floor or try to curl up on the couch and the porcupine quills on your legs startle you into realizing it’s been a while since you hacked those puppies off, and the next time your youngest child sits on your lap they’ll scream, “Ooh! Your legs are all pickery!”

So I took the bleedin’ razor in the shower with me.
As an experiment.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

I loved it.

I bloody frickin’ loved the thing.

It didn’t pull my skin.
It shaved really close.
It cleaned out easily.

I’ve been using it for months now, and I’m sure I need a new pack of razors for it (which are no doubt HELLA expensive…THAT’S how they gitcha).

But I’m torn.

‘Cause I don’t really WANT to like it.
Because it’s a stupid idea.
Some Marketing Guru’s idea of a catchy improvement.
It makes my legs feel GOOOOOOD.

Stupid free samples….

(FYI, this is NOT one of those paid blog advertisements. Do people really make money offa those things, anyway?)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Days and Nights of Mona

1) I can’t even take a day off without coming back to three times as much work as when I left. Fack. I’m swamped.

2) I spent the entire day with the kids yesterday, and except for that hour at the grocery store when it was all “He touched me/She touched me first”, and the Girl-child’s meltdown at having to finish her homework, it was a great day. I could SO stand winning the lottery.

3) We finally got Winter. December was unseasonably warm (50s), and it finally dawned on Mother Nature to throw some snow and ice our way. Which she did, the bitch. I went out to my car at 5:30 a.m. today and had to chip away at the giant ice cube that was my vehicle. I couldn’t open the drivers side door…heck, I couldn’t even unlock it. 15 minutes of defrosting and several gallons of gas later, I was able to get the thing driving. What astounded me was that there were so many people out this morning. More than usual. At 6 a.m, it was like afternoon rush hour. WTF? I’d rather y’all stayed in bed, thankyouverymuch, so I don’t have to deal with your speedy-SUV-ness and your I-never-drive-in-snow-yikes-ness, and your bloody-hell-I’m-late-ness.

4) Has anyone seen my libido? I swore I saw it around here not long ago….

5) I’m an impatient person. I was reminded over the weekend of a show I used to watch, and love…”The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd”. Amazon says it’s not for sale yet. Sigh. Well, MAKE it for sale! If y’all can get “Survivor” and “The Simple Life” on DVD in a matter of months, git offa yer ass and get Molly Dodd on DVD, son.

6) I so need a nap.

Monday, January 15, 2007

...and the kids are screaming, "Moooooom!"

I'm home today with the kiddos, it being MLKJr. Day and all. Schools are closed, no mailman, and the roads are a slick sheet of ice. I'm s'posed to be dialing in to work to 'check up', and I will...eventually....

I invited Boy-child and Girl-child into bed with me this morning after Sergei left for work, for some snuggling and cartoons. As I lay there in the enveloping body heat, I remembered the dreams I had last night, and could not make sense of them....

Gloria Estefan called me on my cell and, just like in the commercial, the call got dropped. I kept punching buttons screaming, "Gloria! Gloria! Call me back!", but she never did.

Big Hulking Friend came to me all sad-like, and we wandered through an Egyptian market, me pointing out things that would make him feel better, him being Eeyore. We finally settled on chocolates in the shape of those Russian Stacking Dolls.

Tim Meadows (that guy from SNL a few years back) came over to us with a huge afro and a sari on (!), and wanted us to come to a ceremony for a friend of his who was going through Buddhist Monk training.

And I wanted to go, but I was worried about what the hell Gloria Estefan wanted.

Kids are screaming for my attention and not liking my first option, which is "Do your homework." I think I need to go play Attentive Mom for a while.

Tell me about your dreams.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Poetry Friday – The Word is KITCHEN

I can’t seem to get focus this morning. I woke up every couple hours last night, looked at the clock, and resumed some crazy dream of Japan and video games and being naked.

It wasn’t unpleasant.

The Poetry Friday Word for today is KITCHEN. Please feel free to use it in your blog post today, in whatever colorful ball of yarn you choose to knit with…poem, photo, audio post of you cooking breakfast, tapestry hanging, Aunt Edna’s recipe for green jello with carrots.

Me? I can only do fragments. In addition to sleep dep, I’m cutting down on coffee, which is making the synapses mis-fire in sparkly little patterns this a.m.

Have a good weekend, y’all!


1) One of my fondest childhood memories is of riding my tricycle in the kitchen, in the space where the table used to be and where another table was yet to be built. I was 4 year old. Maybe 5. My mom was making grilled cheese and bean soup. There was music, and winter snow piled up outside, and it was the most secure I ever felt, or will ever feel.

2) My mom started teaching me how to cook when I was 9. The first thing she taught me was how to use a paring knife. I was amazed at how she did it…she’d hold a piece of fruit or a potato in her left hand, and peel it with her right, and every stroke sent the knife into the meaty part of her thumb. But it never cut her. She carefully explained it was because she’d had lots of practice, and she never hurt herself. I think of her every time I peel a potato, and how my thumbs are now like hers.

3) The house we live in now has an itty-bitty kitchen. I can touch all the countertop surfaces at once. If I ever won the lottery, I’d attack the kitchen fiercely and make it bigger than the garage.

4) My first job out of college was in a restaurant, in the kitchen. I had a torrid little affair with the cutest guy there, and we’d sometimes lock ourselves in the little bathroom off the back.

5) Now-defunct band Groove Spoon cut a cd in the early 90s that was very sexy, and very funky, and it’s remained one of my favorite cds of all time. I tried to search for lyrics and just got lost. Ah well. This is all I remember, to go with ‘kitchen’:

Black Pepper

Let me into your kitchen baby
I got some cookin’ to do
Wit you
We gonna cook up some of that love potion
Gonna put it into that stew

If you’re cookin’ up a recipe
To put life in your bread
Better keep these finer points in mind
Like my momma said

Brown sugar
Black pepper
Don’t go together

We’re gonna
Bang bang bang
Bang them pots
Momma I got just the utensil for you

If you’re cookin’ up a recipe
To put life in your bed
Better keep these finer points in mind
Like my momma said

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Poetry Friday Word for Tomorrow…I dish family

Last night my husband and I were watching a surgery show, and got on the subject of my parents. My mom really needs an operation to help her walk better, owing to an ever-worsening childhood condition. My dad, however, is very dependent on her for every household chore…especially cooking. If my mom were laid up for any length of time, my dad would face a serious meal crisis, and due to his very demanding personality, would no doubt guilt her into leaving her sick bed to cook him some dinner, woman. (He’s done it before, after she had heart surgery…the phone lines shook when I called to bitch him out about THAT one).

My dad can’t cook. His idea of a self-made meal consists of opening a can of Campbell’s Soup and eating it cold. He might stoop so low as to make himself a sandwich. But then he requires days of praise for it.

My mom tells me that in her day, in the 50s and 60s, the women took care of the men, and that’s just how it was. Girls in high school learned how to cook and clean and sew, and the men weren’t expected to do any of it. What were the men expected to do? Depend on the women, and walk around with huge important ego-erections, apparently.


Men need to learn how to cook. Not for any egalitarian reason, but because it’s life-sustaining. You can only open so many cans of soup before you go insane.

My husband cooks. It’s one of the many reasons I fell in love with him.
Most of the guys I work with cook. We have spectacular potlucks at work.
I know many of you male bloggers cook. That’s why I’m your Number One Fan.

But a man who can’t cook?
Might as well cancel his membership in the Human Race.

Rolling these thoughts over in my head have resulted in the Poetry Friday Word for tomorrow…which is KITCHEN. Feel free to whip this word up into a frothy topping, in whatever blender speed you like…poem, story, photo, YouTube offering, recipe for Beer and Sauerkraut Fudge Cake, tutorial on making a really good stirfry, your first experience working at McNasty FastFood.


Hasta manana.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Silly Rabbit

One thing I needed to incorporate back into my life, both diet-wise and health-wise, was salads. Now, I’ve always loved salads. I hate making them, because I want to dump every veggie imaginable on it, and that just takes too damn long to peel and chop and core and wash.

But I love eating them.

Even so, I stopped eating salads last fall, around the time of the ‘poison spinach’ scare. Remember that? Some farm out west had a poo backup that splashed runoff water into their fields and made their spinach leaves nasty and toxic, and everyone had to yank them from the shelves and restaurant menus. I had a bag of spinach greens in my crisper that I treated like radioactive waste.

THEN they came out and said, wait, it’s not JUST spinach…it’s other salad fixins, too.

I couldn’t be bothered to remember which was poison what day, so I just stopped eating the entire genre of leafy greens. (Don't freak...I still ate veggies, lots of 'em...including green broccoli and beans and brussel sprouts and limas. But the thought of salads made me shudder.)

And then it came to me…those times in the last few years when I had stomach flu, the pukking “I-Wanna-Die” belly flu, when no one else in the family got sick, was probably food poisoning from toxic salad greens, as I’m usually the sole consumer of those ubiquitous bagged salad greens in our house.

A. Ha.

Well, in my effort to lose weight the non-pukking way, last week I decided to buy non-bagged lettuce, the ‘real’ stuff, and stumbled across a package of lovely romaine heads in my grocery store.

Stumbled over is right.

Because the bag had 6 heads of romaine. The package was as big as a smallish bed pillow. But it was cheap. And fresh.

My husband laughed at me as I finagled a space for the lettuce in the refrigerator. It took up half the bottom shelf.

“You’ll never eat all that!”, he said.

I hate to be wrong. I became a 4-year old, and stomped my feet, and retorted, “Oh yes I WILL!” (Nah-nah-nah-nah-boo-boo.)

Because I hate to admit a pillow-ish size bag of romaine was a silly purchase, even though cheap and fresh, I’ve been stuffing my maw with a salad every day. And I’m trying to use an entire head each day. For lunch.



I just finished with today’s massive bowl-full, and feel like I just swallowed several acres of underwater grassland.

I feel like Peter Rabbit in Mr. McGregor’s garden, and McGregor is on vacation and all the lettuce is mineMineMINE.

Yes, it’s good for me, and fills me up, and I’m sure my guts are thanking me.

But dammit, next time I’m getting a smaller package.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

This time I’m losing my mind this time

I used to really freak out about things coming up missing.

Until I started losing my mind.

When the kids started school, we encountered the typical torrential downpour of backpacks-and-lunches-and-homework-and-notesfortheteacher-and-gymshoes-and-snowpants-and-boots-and-mittens-and-hats-and-coats-and-sweaters-and-waterbottles-and-snacks-and-librarybooks-and-popsiclepictureframes-and-and-and…

Something would always come up missing.

It was usually something small, say, a mitten, or a hoodie thrown aside during gym class.


I dragged my poor children up and down the halls, like some manic Indiana Jones looking for treasure, patting the tops of lockers, pawing through Lost and Found, forcing my kids to ‘trace their steps’ like some sort of sick Bad Cop.

We almost always found whateveritwas.

I’d lecture the kids about responsibility, and how important it is to keep an eye on their hats and coats, especially in zero-degree weather, and how inconvenient it was to drag them hither and yon finding all this stuff.

They listened.
They started keeping track.
They do a pretty good job.

And then,
I started to lose my mind.

It started innocently enough.

Where were my car keys?
Not that pocket, no.
Oh, my purse.

Where is my grocery list?
10 minutes later, oh…here it is.
How’d it get there?

Waking from a sound sleep…
…did I take out the garbage?
Did I pack the lunches?
Or did I just think about packing the lunches?
Is there even school tomorrow?

I started losing my car in the parking lot of Big Grocery/Everything Store.

There were several close calls with…uh…’feminine products’.

I lost receipts and ToDo lists.
I lost the eyeglasses from my face.

Piles of work ‘in my hand’ just a second ago disappeared before I could walk next door to talk to the boss.

I lost a full grocery cart once. (I still don’t know what happened…I had filled it with groceries and was looking at lamps for some reason…turned around…and couldn’t remember the last time I had pushed the cart. Traced my steps and still couldn’t find the thing. Had to sheepishly re-shop. Thank the Jeebus I had no kids with me….)

Now, I could chalk it up to being really busy, really stressed with the ins-and-outs of two kids and their activities and school, and the hubby, and our jobs, the house, car trouble, the cat puking yet again, the injustices of the world we’re trying to undo, whatnot.

I could say it’s because I’m getting older.

I might blame My Stupid Thyroid.

And it might be a combination in greater or lesser part of all of them.

But the kids are catching on.

I can see that look in their eyes, whenever I morph into The Mom Who Lost Something, and I get that panicked ‘oh-shit’ look.

The kids are thinking, Oh no, not again…do we HAVE to lecture Mom about responsibility?
Silly, stupid woman.

I’m just hoping they put me in a nice retirement home.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A New Year...I'm Naked Under My Clothes

Slacker blogger, me.

But it was really delicious.

Happy New Year, BTW!

We had a total of 5 Christmases. FIVE. All the relatives (minus a couple siblings I'd really like to see), lots of food, too many gifts, a trip to a fabulous museum, a quiet New Years, three days of work last week, and back to "Normal" this week...the kids started school today, hubby and I are back to work on the old schedule.

My head is full of 'stuff' I wanted to post about during my, what, 2-plus weeks of non-blogging. I have several dozen posts lolling about in my head, that will probably never be posted because life. chugs. on...and there's always something more to say.

But I'll dump a few things on you, just for what-for.

1) My favorite gift this Christmas...this book.

2) Current food turn-on...roasted peppers, eggplant, and zucchini. (Hello, South Beach Diet? Yeah, I'm sold.)

3) Last CD purchased...this one.

4) New drugs...Fergon (iron) and Synthroid (stupid thyroid stupid thing)

5) Best news of the day...ophthalmologist today said in two months I can get the insane shunt outta my tear duct. Wear contacts again. Eye makeup. And can really rub the sleep out of my eye. I nearly hugged him.

6) Fantasy Desire...Mythbusters. See one naked. Or be one.

7) Real-life Desire...involves the bed and my man. Wait...flashback...second thought...don't need the bed...maybe the clothes dryer...yeah....

8) I really mean it...I missed you all. How are you?

9) I can't believe...I ate so much over the holidays that I made myself physically sick. Every damn day.

10) This year...I have no resolutions, but think it would be satisfying to write something bigger than a blog post by the end of the year. And find a voice for myself.