Best Job In The World

I know many of you are aware of the contest promoting a gig as a caretaker in the Great Barrier Reef, since several people sent me the link to apply. Unfortunately, I’m not able to do so, but last night I found out that a friend and former coworker of mine has applied. Beth has a background in marine biology and she has spent considerable time traveling and working abroad. She would be perfect for the job.

So, if you have a few minutes to spare, watch her video application and vote for Beth!

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Free LOVE

I’m giving away a free 10×10 metallic print titled LOVE on my photography blog. Stop by and leave a comment if you would like to enter.

You Know Your Blog Is Neglected When

You log in and do not recognize the dashboard.

I’m still working through much of the events of last year and wondering how and if I’ll ever write about them. Or rather if I’ll ever write again because I’m not sure how to write about anything else, or how to address everything safely, neatly and in a mostly harm-free package.

In the meantime, I decided to start a photography blog, and will let it speak for me.

Happy New Year to those of you still following!

Too Much Crazy

I’m so far behind the blogging curve, and cannot even begin to organize a proper update, so instead, Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate!

Three bizarre Max-isms from the morning:

(Overheard while in the shower)

MooOOOOoom! MOM! Do beatles have teeth? Do they have to floss? What if they eat poop?

(Seconds later)

Oh, MOooOOOm. Are you out of the shower yet? MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!…Anyway, Mom. How do cars drive on the Silk Road?

He has been awake since 4:30, anticipating Thanksgiving. I’m glad he does not believe in Santa Claus, because I can only imagine the havoc waiting for the old fat guy would bring.

I’m safe though, Because Max apparently celebrates his own Judeo-Christian holiday.

Knishmas.

According to Max, Knishmas is celebrated this coming Tuesday. I think I can manage.

For now? We’re off for a walk around Somerville to find the Great Wild Turkey.* Hopefully the kind in a glass bottle.

*You know. Like looking for leprechauns or the gold at the end of the rainbow or any other holiday tradition devised by desperate mothers.

This is Fucking Hilarious

No matter how annoying your virtual husband’s quirks are–say he leaves his socks scattered around cyberspace or stays up late fondling his mouse and ignores you– do not murder him in Second Life, or like this woman in Japan, you could find yourself jailed for killing his avatar.

Make sense? Didn’t to me either.

Twitter and the big yellow bus.

Quick post to let you know that I finally joined Twitter. Click here to follow me.

Also, today Max will ride a big yellow school bus for his first field trip. Some of you may remember how car seat safety obsessed I am, so my imagination is running wild with pictures of my son bouncing around in a bus, completely unrestrained as the bus collides with a tractor trailer truck or careens into the ocean or is abducted by aliens or something equally unlikely, statistically speaking.

Yes, I know buses are safe. But my imagination? Totally phobic dangerous place.

Something for nothing

Well, almost nothing.

I’m offering free shipping worldwide, October 15th and 16th, on all listed items in my Etsy shop.

Sorry to be all viral spambot and add to the roaring din of self promotion on the internet. I noticed a few of you have marked items in my shop as a favorites, so wanted to give a heads up.

Hooray!

I sold my first photograph on Etsy this morning.

ROFLickerExplored

Two nice surprises were waiting for me this morning when I powered up my MacBook after putting the coffee filter in assbackwards and spilling grounds into the brew.

Jessica of Oh, The Joys passed along a September ROFL Award in honor of Max rocking the cat’s balls.

Thank you, Jessica! As soon as I hit publish, I’m going to stop listening to Diamonds and Rust and visit some of the other awardees.

In other happy news, the image below cracked the daily 500 of Flickr’s Explore at #247.

Favorite things

I hope you’re all well. I’m sorry again for being such an absent blogger and reader these past few months. My groove is just gone, and Facebook and Flickr are so much easier and less given to self-indulgent introspection and vulnerability.

See? Something about this text box makes me all maudlin and heavy. Go read something FUNNY!

Unfit Mother is on the road

Go visit and bow down in awe of her ability to negotiate room rates with 3 kids in tow.

Sharif Don’t Like It?

This morning, while driving to school in the rain, enjoying a hit of classic Clash, Max’s Ernie-esque giggle rose above the music as he chimed in with

……Rock the CAT’S BALLS….Rock the Cat’s balls!

When I pointed out the correct lyrics, and pleaded with him not to sing about feline testes in school, he began to wail…..

Sharif don’t like it…..Rock the cat’s paw! Rock the cat’s paw.

I warned his teacher that he was full of it this morning.

The Cat’s In The Bookshelf

In my son’s playroom…..

Hilarity Ensues?

Guess what? Infidelity is still not funny.

Yesterday I posted my opinion of a travel article featured on MSNBC promoting the best hotels for conducting an extramarital affair. In the comments, I mentioned a poster on a forum I sometimes read had written to the author of the hotel piece, explaining how very painful and unfunny it is to be betrayed by your spouse. This is the e-mail my fellow forum member sent to author Danielle Pergament, and the alleged response she received. (Note that I say alleged only because the e-mail was not sent directly to me, not because I doubt its veracity.)

Ms. Pergament:
It is unfortunate that you actually put your name on the article that appeared on concierge.com “Best Hotels for an Affair.” You and the editors who accepted it for publication should be ashamed.

Infidelity has become a joke, something to gossip about and laugh about – until it happens to you. I hope it never happens to you. I hope you do not have a significant other who would sneak off to a hotel – any hotel – to have a quick little romantic romp while plotting your demise. I especially hope you don’t have children who would become devastated by being discarded by a parent.

In the event your life is ever touched by such a heinous betrayal, please visit us at (name of site removed by request). We will be there to help you pick up the pieces of your devastated life. In fact, come visit us anyway. We would welcome the opportunity to show you just how horrible this is and what it does to people – not just the one who has been betrayed, but to the betrayer as well as the friends and family in their lives.

And the flip and defensive response she received from the author:

In fact, infidelity has been a part of my life – several times and to several degrees of horribleness. I find it unfortunate – and ridiculous – that you would presume to know anything about me. That you think the article was in any way ernest when it discussed “plotting your spouse’s untimely demise” is frankly absurd. I was no more advocating infidelity than I was first degree murder. It was clearly intended to be a joke. I’m sorry you didn’t take it that way.

Sincerely yours,
Danielle Pergament

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Well, Ms. Pergament as someone who has recent experience with this particular sort of horribleness, I would welcome some advice from you on where to find the humor in the situation. I would also love to hear more about your particular experience with infidelity, specifically what makes you qualified to be so rude and dismissive in your response to a reader who reached out to you, obviously still in pain. Assuming you have already been compensated for your work, would it have killed you to have shown your outraged readers a shred of compassion?

In case you have fabricated or exaggerated your own experiences with infidelity,or perhaps you’re approaching this issue from the point of view of the Other Woman, let me assure you that betrayal of the my-ex-boyfriend-kissed-another-girl-and-he-liked itvariety pales in comparison to the pain suffered by spouses who learn after years, and often decades, of marriage, that the person they love and trust most in the world has gone out for some extramarital fun.

Frankly, I do not see how anyone who has ever looked at their small child and wondered how they can forgive that same small child’s unfaithful parent, could find your riff on cheat suites amusing. Nor could a 70 year-old who just learned his wife of 40+ years has conducted a decades long affair with another married man. Or maybe the woman who learns her husband has been sleeping with her sister might find your pithy write up worthy of a chuckle?

When you sat down at your desk, wondering how to repackage the information on several high end hotels languishing in your research file, combing the current headlines for inspiration, what convinced you that pairing these properties with Elliot Spitzer’s dalliances and infidelity would make a great pitch? Who was your target audience?

That you Ms. Pergament, would claim to understand the horribleness of infidelity, strikes me as ridiculous.

Let me reiterate: Infidelity is not funny. Your joke is in extremely poor taste and your readers deserve an apology.

WTF is wrong with MSNBC

For running a travel article promoting the Best hotels for an affair ?

And more specifically, what the fuck is wrong with the author, Danielle Pergament, for making light of wandering husbands and wives plotting their spouses deaths?

Built in 1845, it’s the kind of house you duck into, wearing a hat and maybe those short little gloves, to rush into your lover’s arms and plot your spouse’s untimely death.

Extramarital fun, my ass.

Most disturbingly, she seems from her website to be a serious journalist, with enviable clips. Why on earth would she need to stoop so low to garner attention and hits? There is nothing remotely cute or funny about infidelity, Danielle. Nothing.

I’d write more, but I’m not sure WordPress or your readers can handle the combination of expletives racing through my mind at the moment.

Flower child

Snapped outside the library this afternoon with my new Nifty Fifty lens. More here.

Zipcar Suggests I Go On A Diet

This morning I woke to find the following invitation/scolding from Zipcar:

Hi Karrie,

We know that you might be busy with work, errands or underwater macramé class Monday morning, but we wanted to invite you to the kick off of the Low Car Diet Boston at Back Bay Station.

In case you don’t know what LCD is, we’re essentially challenging a select group of new Zipsters to drive less and start walking, biking or T-ing more. Crazy, we know! But we feel very strongly about the concept of living as car-free as possible here in the very walkable city of Boston.

Why not come out and show your support of your fellow Zipsters. And of course, if you have a friend that hasn’t signed up for Zipcar yet, bring them out for a special half-off membership fee and have them use the refer a friend program to score $50 in driving credit.

Our laundry list of cool Low Car Diet partners (minus the fabric softener) includes Equinox Fitness, Whole Foods, MBTA, Boston Ski and Sports Club, New England Aquarium, Amtrak and vitaminwater.

The kick-off takes place at the Orange Line’s Back Bay Station at 10am and will last about 45 minutes.

See you Monday morning,

The team at Zipcar Boston

Hey Zipfucks!

Guess what? Almost none of the driving this “select” new member has done has been in the very walkable city of Boston. I joined Zipcar after my car was nearly totaled last month, and have used your vehicles to attend a wedding more than a hundred miles away in Walpole, NH, to visit a beach not easily accessible by public transportation, and twice to shuttle home several 44 pound boxes of cat litter and other necessary items for running a household full of pets and a local business, from Costco.

I challenge you to do those things car-free, with a 3 year-old.

(Crazy, I know!)

In the month since my car has been in the shop, I have used the MBTA several times to run errands in other parts of the city, to visit the Museum of Science with my son, and walked every place else– visiting friends, local restaurants, the grocery store, parks,our CSA pickup, the library and the circus on foot. My husband uses his membership primarily to run errands related to a retail business he operates in addition to a full time day job.

Save the patronizing low car diet bullshit for someone else.

(For the record, we do not live in Boston proper. We live in Somerville, in an almost suburban neighborhood with scattered bus stops, but without subway access. It is possible to run most of our everyday errands on foot, but we do need a car for the situations described above. )

Make Way For Fucklings

Yesterday I was thumbing through a Suze Orman book, and came to the inevitable passage about how you need your environment to be clean in order to make way for positive energy, wealth, fame and everything else. So, I cleaned out the fridge, started several other cleaning projects, took the trash outside and promptly locked myself out of the house.

Of course I had on ratty old shorts, a tank top with no bra and was dripping sweat. Of course one of the neighbors was outside staring in disgust at this:

I have not seen a unit like this since childhood and have no idea how it ended up in front of my house.

Max would not answer the phone or respond to my messages asking to be let in, so I had no choice but to break a window. And pour myself a large glass of wine after I was safely inside again.

Then a few hours later, one of the comic store employees stopped by with an adolescent cat who followed another employee into the shop. The kitty is very cute, but I have enough things that poop and demand my attention. Since I have two other cats, one of which has a heart condition, and since the poor little stray has a cut and possible bite on her neck, she is quarantined in a large pet tent in the bathroom. I’m going out to double check the missing cat signs scattered around the neighborhood, and if none match her description, I’m taking her to the vet this afternoon for an exam and shots. Hopefully she’ll find a nice home, but I’m doubtful as her stomach seems a bit swollen, and I fear she may be with kittehs herself.

Suze Orman, fear my wrath. I’m never cleaning to make way for new things again. Antique washing machines and a third cat were not what I was hoping to receive.

M&Ms, Day Care….It’s All The Same,Right?

Go read Kelly’s post and chime in.

ETA: Also, if you enjoy approaching these kinds of issues from several angles, go read what Emma has to say about the same situation from the perspective of a working woman who does not have or want children.

Auto Erratic

It has now been almost a month since a young guy plowed through a stop sign and almost totaled the Honda Pirate. A mostly auto abstinent month. Our neighborhood does not have a subway stop. We’re suburban enough to be dependent on buses or a 30 minute walk to Lechmere or Davis. Thankfully it is possible to walk to several playgrounds, the library, a few small shops and Bloc 11.

I am so fucking bored by these same urban strolls setting the tone and structure for our days. While you certainly can lead an enjoyable car free existence in Boston—I did for several years—doing so with a small child, especially a small child who is accustomed to long road trips and last minute dashes across town to a favorite swimming pool, wears thin.

Toss in the exhausting marital drama that I am unable to write more about, an exploding water heater, a laptop missing it’s “T”, a dog that shits in the dining room when I leave for 10 minutes to walk to the library, my tendency to want to be on the move, and you have one cranky, stir-crazy mother.

A weekly date with fleet of handsomeZipcars has eased the pain and boredom a little. So far I have driven a Toyota Matrix named MacDonald, had a one night stand with a Honda CRV whose name I never got, fika’d a Volvo S 40 named Schmidt, and have holed up for the weekend with Victor, a neon blue Nissan Versa.

The Matrix was spare but serviceable, with surprising pick up for such a small car. The CRV provided a bit more room, and a familiar Honda sensibility, but I felt as if I was cheating on my Pilot with a lower rent substitute. One that pulled to the left and threatened to tip over while making left turns or encountering a mild breeze.

The low-slung Swede has been my favorite so far, which should not surprise since most of my miles have come from that part of the world. While Schmidt was obviously not a full-blooded Swede, showing signs of being a true Taurus in the design details and body mass, he was stiff and powerful like most of the other Swedish tanks I have powered down the road. Schmidt also came equipped with a fancy radio system that provided song and artist info, as I impatiently spun the knobs.

Victor the Versa is fast, cheap and fun, and waiting for me to finish this entry, place my hand on his gearshift and crank his engine.

The Honda Pirate better come home soon. I’m feeling lonely and neglected and vulnerable to trading in for a new model.

Oh, The Self Importance

Perhaps you are already aware of this this attack on a relatively new blogger. If not, I’ll wait while you get up to speed.

I’m still waiting for a thoughtful critical analysis myself. In the meantime, if someone I considered a friend pulled this kind of immature, insensitive crap and tried to explain her actions away as humorous, necessary and insightful, I would call her on her bad behavior, rather than rush to her defense.

I would also ask my friend to take a few minutes to remember what life with a newborn baby was like. To remember the sleepless nights, the hormonal highs and lows and how vulnerable she must have felt behind her ever-present sneer. I would also consider the possibility that this new mother–who already has several other small children–might also be vulnerable to the same postpartum depression plumbed to generate her friend’s own emo ridden, parasitic content.

Remember postpartum depression? Remember banging your head against the wall of early motherhood so many times, and begging someone to convince you life would get easier? Now, Alli seems perfectly cheerful and emotionally healthy, and I’ve yet to see any mention of PPD on her blog, but how can any of us know for sure? Tracey, did it ever cross your mind that cutting down a tired new mom could have caused real harm? Do you care?

No, women do not need to pretend to like one another, but unsubstantiated public attacks, on unsuspecting, newly postpartum women is not behavior that should be allowed to hide behind a label of humorous, straight-talking, cultural commentary. What the fuck is wrong with the lot of you who believe it should?

And on the topic of humor, the importance placed on pretending there is some wider ranging, meta issue of what constitutes original ideas for anyone with offspring to consider before launching a blog,rather than admit one of your own is simply behaving badly, is hilarious. Best of luck developing that discussion.

Gorgeous

Go visit Stuck in Customs for one stunning travel shot after another.

A Meme From Missy

Hi Missy, and thanks for the tag. I’ve been a rather absent blogger and most days when I glance at Google reader, I shrug my shoulders, and mark all items as read. There are elephants in my writing room, and I don’t know how to tiptoe around them, so ennui and neglect win most of the time in favor of any passable content.

This post will be no exception.

Seven songs that are shaping my summer? OK, then.

The first song is my near constant companion while playing WordTwist on Facebook. The opening strains of Strange Way remind me of New Mexico. I want to gallop into the impossibly blue Taos sky, wave to the black dog guarding the pueblo and duck beneath the door to a sweet little adobe, where the smell of burning pinon mingles with strong coffee and sage. This ache is not soothed by the fact that I keep reading and re-reading Natalie Goldberg’s new guide to writing memoir,Old Friend From Far Away.

The next song is one I turn to again and again. How can you not want to slip into a morning from a Bogart movie or visit a country where they turn back time, when Al Stewart’s Year of the Cat begins to play?

Similarly, a few melancholy moments ofTime Passages reminds me as I glance at my ever-changing son, that years really do go falling in the fading light.

These are the three. I wish there were seven songs. Seven loud, raucous songs that spoke of days at the beach and good times on the road, but so far, it is not shaping up to be that sort of summer.

I Smell Diapers and Desperation

Man, what sleep-deprived new mom could pass up an opportunity like this one gleaned from Craigslist?

Freelance Blogger on Babies & Parenting (Work from Home)

Perfect job for a new mom.

* Location: Work from Home
* Compensation: $2 per daily 100 word post with bonus for measurable results
* Telecommuting is ok.
* This is a part-time job.
* Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
* Please, no phone calls about this job!
* Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

TWO whole dollars? Hot damn! It’s 1983 again, and I just spent the cash I earned for half an hour of babysitting on a fluorescent green bottle of Wet & Wild nail polish and a snack-sized bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.

The lucky new mom who lands this gig could almost support a tall latte per day habit.

How to Stay Up Late Reading on a Playroom Couch

I cannot say much more than Thank you, Theo, for writing your memoir.

On a semi-related note, why does UPS always deliver my Amazon prime orders in the evening after I’ve scrubbed my face clear of makeup, eaten a bunch of garlic and taken off my bra? While I’m far from glamorous normally, I’m embarrassed that they must associate my address as the one where a mother screams at her child to Stay right there!, runs down the stairs and throws open the door to reveal toxic breath, and sagging flappentitz swinging free under an ancient t-shirt above stained, holey yoga pants.

Hot.

Got CSA?

I’ve been inspired by Venessa and Adrienne to try and document a few of the meals I base on goodies from our CSA.

Last week was the first CSA, and since this is New England, it was greens, greens, a turnip or two, more greens and some rather anemic strawberries. No matter. This week already showed a bit more variety, which tonight’s kitchen reflects.

Got turnips? Got kale? Got no idea how to incorporate both into a meal? You’ve got Vegan Linda’s turnip and kale soup, with a twist. The twist in the form of slightly overripe grape tomatoes, paprika,a can of tomato paste, twenty something cloves of garlic and a liberal pinch of rosemary infused sea salt.

This is what it looked like before I stirred in some already cooked arborio rice.

We’re fortunate to have a fantastic little Italian market, Capone’s, at the bottom of our hill. Max and I have been shopping on foot quite a bit this week, and picked up the rice, and a bar of dark chocolate infused with earl grey tea earlier this afternoon.

Speaking of arborio rice, this week’s CSA also included a small head of cabbage, which I decided to use to whip up a make-as-you go batch of meatless stuffed cabbage. I happened to have a tube of Gimme Lean sausage style in the fridge, so quickly browned the faux meat in a blob of Earth Balance spread, olive oil and the last two garlic scapes from this week’s CSA. Next year, I may add garlic to my container garden–more on that later—simply to gorge on the delicate, flavorful scapes.

I steamed the cabbage until I was impatient enough to deem it tender, ripped off the leaves, and stuffed them with the Gimme Lean mix, and some of the aforementioned arborio rice. I briefly considered making my own tomato sauce, but a scan of my shelves unearthed a dusty container of Muir Glen chunky tomato sauce. I covered the cabbage, dug into the fancy sea salt, sprinkled some ground pepper and tossed the whole shebang into the oven.

What Do You Mean?

Worn out from personal drama, the totaled Pilot and nearly four years of utter sleep deprivation,I needed to laugh-spit-dribble lukewarm coffee down the front of my six year-old Grand Circle Corporation Worldwide Business Works t-shirt this morning.

Political Picture - Dick Cheney
see more politics and fun!
Thanks toAlison for directing me to Pundit Kitchen.

My Friday the 13th

Started out like this in Wingaersheek:

And ended up like this in Cambridge:

Both Max and I are fine, but the Pilot is seriously fucked. A young guy ran a stop sign, and plowed his even larger, heavier SUV into my driver’s side. At minimum the axle is gone and the brake line ruptured beyond the obvious cosmetic damage. (ETA: According to the insurance company, a broken axle can flag as totaled. More fun to follow.) My neck feels a bit odd, so hopefully I will not wake up tomorrow unable to walk–which happened when I was rear-ended almost 20 years ago– because walking is exactly what I’ll be doing for the next week or so.

Putting The Voyage Back in Mom Voyage

As some of you know, life has thrown us a few curves lately. I do not want to discuss the specific challenges here, but I need to clear my mind and hell, before prices at the pump soar past $10 a gallon, I need to hit the road again.

So, in mid-July, after my baby brother’s wedding, and Grunty willing, this not-so-young mom will once again go West. And North. And probably in circles, with shaken fist aimed at the GPS goddess in the sky.

Since we’re wandering with a bit tighter budget and aiming to camp this time, suggestions for campgrounds and slightly off the beaten path inexpensive things to see and do along a yet to be determined Northern route very much appreciated.

Top Ten Questions I Have Fielded Today

10. Why don’t jellyfish have eyes?
9. (In Trader Joes) Where is the frozen dog? Mommy, what animal eats dogs?
8. How do worms poop?
7. When you were little, did you have to use tossitories?
6. Mommy, do you put chemicals in your mouth? (I think he means mouthwash.)
5. Not a question, but up there: Mommy, I know a dead person. She’s your fwend before college. She’s always happy and she has freckles and she says hello. Also? She’s not worms. She’ll be OK. *
4. How many books are in the library? Why?
3. When are you going to grow a beard? When you’re a man?
2. Can I have ketchup for my pancakes, please?
1. When the Mommy and Daddy do the special hug, does the placenta do a special hug too?

*Eerily close description of my friend Beth, who died in a car accident when she was 18.

Bonus just now: What is macaroni and cheese made out of?

Add your own.

And pass the margaritas.

Happy Mother’s Day

My mother and Max, pondering the options at a carnival we found in a small New Hampshire town earlier today.

Light on Content

Slowly moving away from exclusive use of auto focus mode on my Rebel.

Schmapped!!

A photograph I snapped at last year’s Harborfest was selected to represent the event by the virtual guidebook Schmap!!.

Unfortunately, WordPress does not support the widget code used to link back to Schmap!!, so click here, squint a bit, and direct your eyes to the far right to see Bostonians waiting to enjoy a free concert, with my name credited beneath the image.

Free Night of Camping

If you’re down with KOA–I know, it’s kamping lite, but the playgrounds and clean restrooms are nice with kids–several locations are offering a free night of camping next weekend. I’m trying to decide between several participating locations in New England, to break in ournew tent.

Details here. You need to reserve an overnight stay for Friday, May 9th, and the following night,Saturday, May 10th, is included free. This is a fund-raising event to generate money for KOA Care Camps .

If Dali Were Three

In the past few days, Max has suddenly began to draw and paint images that are very clearly what he claims they are supposed to be. So far his surrealist art includes a wolf with four eyes, and four V*AGINAS–who is not feeling well tonight; a hedgehog monster that poops a lot, the big, blue sun shining on a jellyfish and a p*enis, and just a few moments ago, a purple walking toast machine with one leg that does not bend.

Button, button

I picked up a copy of the April issue of Parents magazine yesterday. No excuse, really. I am a bit compulsive about buying magazines, even ones that have annoyed me in the past.

Page 25 suggests that readers with “Some bunny to love”, get over the disappointment that their infants cannot indulge in Cadbury Mini Eggs this Spring by noting “…you still get to celebrate the holiday by dressing her up real cute.”

Real cute.

Yes, I know there is another rag titled Real Simple, but I have always hoped it was intended to read as two separate words.

I decided to chalk up real cute to insidious marketing copy and paged past to a piece designed to provide helpful suggestions for taking a vacation with your friends and their families.

Leslie Pepper, your content is fine, but can you explain why the young girl in the red bikini in the center of the group shot on page 192, smiling broadly into the camera, is missing her belly button? Perhaps a medical procedure is responsible? I sincerely hope magazines do not airbrush the bellies of young children.

It is irresponsible enough that the article about postpartum weight loss on page 151,shows a svelte mother struggling to button a pair of skinny jeans, in spite of her flat waist and the obvious extra material around the waistband of the pants.

Real cute, Parents. Real cute.

As I Procrastinated One Morning

I have to crank out 1500 words on the subject of Wystan’s work in the next couple of hours. So why am I reading Strollerderby and sipping my iced tea while staring out the windows of Bloc 11, eavesdropping on phone conversations about the details of dry-cleaning and watching people duck into doorways to escape the driving rain?

Beats me.

For Fighting Windmills, pictures of a few of my baby plants.



Time is watching from the shadow…..

A Rambling Update

Sorry to be such an absent blogger and silent reader. I’ve been busy wrapping up the semester and all of my spare time and energy has been directed towards the garden. There are rather elaborate plans for the front and side yards, and the roof, as well as raising seedlings in every available sunlit spot in my kitchen and dining room. The soil in my existing buckets and yard has mostly thawed so I was able to plant a few early blooming flowers last week.

You know you’re a (crazy) mother when thinning seedlings makes you teary-eyed. I yanked a bunch of carefully nurtured cilantro and tomato infants and sent them to compost over the weekend. I felt so dirty afterwards.

Oh, and when I’m not obsessing over plants, I’ve been trying to get the accounting books for the comic book store up to date, and working on amending a couple of personal returns from previous years. I am decidedly not a numbers person, so morning meetings with our accountant have the effect of rendering me spent and useless for the remainder of the day. I think I am slowly getting the hang of things though.

Hope you’re all well! I’ll try and catch up on reading soon, and will write again once I take the new tent out for a spin or to share pictures of the gardens in progress.

Groovy

These Earthships in Taos are almost better than a Roadtrek.

I’m partial to this compound with it’s attention to detail, bottle art, indoor koi pond and streaming sunshine. The listing is a bit pricey, but the area where it is located is stunning, and the property also includes a beautiful guesthouse.

All part of my master plan to lure my husband out there for a visit where he will also become mesmerized by the piercing blue skies, incredible mountains and friendly, artsy, earthy vibe of Taos.

(Hopefully it is OK to copy a few pictures from the listing to share. There are several other beautiful properties in the area, but I adore this one.)

Send Saltines

Even though the most interesting trip I’ve taken this week was to Costco, I woke up this morning with the unmistakeable eggy burp, roiling digestive system and transition-worthy labor pain that is giardia.

Couldn’t the little parasite have at least hitched a ride from contaminated mountainside spring and not the shopping cart handle that likely infected me? I suffered a severe bout in 2001, so it is possible that I’ve been carrying dormant cysts around with me since, but I find that unlikely.

If you have thus far been spared from intestinal parasites, pass on this one. It is beyond nasty.

Love the One You’re With

Since a Roadtrek RV is out of the question for now, I have transferred my gear lust to
this two room cabin tent.

This nylon giant is roomy enough that James could join us if he wanted to, and with the room dividers in place, Grunty could have her own spacious room, with plenty of extra space for Max to bring a few books and toys.

Now I just need to figure out how to balance my wanderlust with the desire to have a garden this summer.

ETA: Amazon’s Buy with one click button is evil. The tent is on its way.

Vegan Hater

Can the person who keeps visiting from the search string “I hate vegans” explain themselves?

Did some mean-spirited vegan tofu bomb your car? Dump soymilk in your coffee while you were not looking? Join you for dinner at a steakhouse and only order salad? Hand over a cruelty free lipbalm when your lips were chapped? Fill us in.

If you’re going to be filled with hate, other people’s dietary preferences seem an odd place to direct that emotion. Sure, I understand there are vegans with strong opinions with which you might disagree, but why the hate?

Come Swim In Our Garden

I think these container gardens arranged in in plastic wading pools might be the balm for my urban gardening woes. Since our neighbor is concerned that a roof-deck will somehow devalue her property and create more noise, my dream of a rooftop vegetable garden was shelved. Until now!

Since I cannot have Max with me up on the roof weeding wading pools, and I have concerns about soil pollutants in our neighborhood,I’m going to try and find a few smaller plastic pools and line the side of our house with strawberries.


The used tire gardens on the same site as the wading pool gardens, also look like an interesting idea.

Six Word Memoir Meme

My friend at Fighting Windmills–unsure if she uses her name publicly or not–has tagged me for a Six Word Memoir Meme.

The original concept is from a blogger who loves memoir. Hey, me too!

Here are the rules. I hate rules.

If you would like to play, consider yourself tagged.
1. Write your own six word memoir

2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like

3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere

4 .Tag five more blogs with links

5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Keeping with my rule-breaker theme

No turn on red? Fuck that!

Barred

I just pulled up an article in the Sunday Times about bars banning strollers–and I guess by extension, very young children.

I’m not sure how I feel about this kind of ban. On one hand, I can think of a few local spots that have such a decidedly high-end and/or adult vibe that I would never consider stopping by with Max, regardless of the hour, but on the other hand, I am having trouble understanding why a business owner want to turn away parents who are dropping by for a couple of afternoon drinks? (Which is apparently when the parents were hanging out at this Brooklyn bar.) It seems rather hateful. I’m not familiar with the particular pub mentioned in the article, but it also serves brunch and looks a bit run down.

My rule of thumb has always been that bars that have a menu and additional seating should be fair game for lunch or an early dinner. Occasionally I have noticed a few dirty looks and snide remarks. Most notably at a going away dinner for a coworker of James, held at a local hipster hangout. We arrived very early–around 5pm–secured a booth far away from the bar, and ordered dinner. Max was busy eating and very well behaved, but every time I would lift my glass, a man at a table next to us would shoot dirty looks. When he escalated to rude comments, I asked for a to go container and we left. It was no longer fun for me to be there.

I completely understand wanting to go out with adults, far away from screaming kids, but are bars in Brooklyn really so hopping at 3pm on a Wednesday afternoon that the presence of parents would scare away other patrons? Or are parents of very small children really crowding bars at 9pm on a Friday night? Somehow I have a hard time believing either scenario.

Is anyone reading familiar with the Brooklyn bar that is banning strollers? How do you feel about kids in bars?

It seems like more of a common sense issue to me. Parents might want to leave a bulky stroller at home, or parked outside, and pub owners and patrons might try to be a little more accepting of a variety of ages before the sun goes down.

I Caught Flu From Matt Damon

I caught flu from Matt Damon.
She caught flu from Matt Damon.
It’s not a cold, it is the flu.

I caught flu from Matt Damon.
And I’m passed out on the couch
Blacked out in the shower, and I crawled across the floor.
Wrapped up in a towel
That was hanging from my bathroom door.

I caught chills from Matt Damon.
She got phlegm from Matt Damon.
Never share your diet Snapple!

I said I caught flu from Matt Damon.
She said she got flu from Matt Damon.
Her nose is redder than an apple.

Knock knock!
Who’s that knocking at my door?
Influ.
Influ who?
Influenza from Matt Damon.
She caught influenza from Matt Damon.

Post-travel Depression

Hell, if I can suffer from post-partum depression, certainly post-travel depression is a valid diagnosis, right?

It probably does not help that my full-spectrum lightbox is nowhere to be found, or that Max kept me awake all weekend and I of course managed to come down with the bubonic plague or giardia or whatever other shit he brought home from pre-school bundled up with wet mittens, and elbow macaroni glued to construction paper.

I have sat here most of the morning, staring at a document I created with ideas for articles and appropriate places to pitch. Just staring. No writing. Unless you count sending my friend Jenni an e-mail response that consisted solely of JPEG attachments of a bong and several bottles of tequila as writing.

Really fucking useless, this depression thing. Especially when it starts to shape shift. Or when the cat throws up on the sofa next to me and grabbing a few sheets of Bounty seems a monumental task on par with securing a visa to Bhutan.

Send the sun, a goddamn dozen palm trees, a new passport and the wind at my heels.Or just come over and kick my coughing, sneezing, feverish ass. Because if you don’t, it is cat puke, laundry and utterly banal self-flagellation here in Somerville.

Thank You, Whole Foods

For making the decision to stop offering plastic bags.

Before you roll your eyes and scroll on to the next post in your reader, I understand that convenience frequently trumps ideals. When I learned that the majority of plastic items ever made still exist –including that headless Barbie I used to drag around or those plastic butterfly barrettes that were all the rage in 1977–I was shocked into pushing myself to be more aware of how much plastic I consume.

Also, consider that switching to reusable shopping bags is a relatively painless way to limit your consumption of plastic. I cannot tell you how many miles of highway we passed that were littered with all manner of plastic garbage, but the damn plastic bags by the sides of the road outnumbered tumbleweeds in many parts of the wide-open West. Even in areas you would expect some respect for wildlife, such as Everglades National Park, dirty plastic bags were more prevalent than egrets and herons.

Don’t Stay At Home, Mom

Oh, you’re so brave! I could never do that. My child screams in the car on the way to the grocery store/husband cannot wash his own socks and would never let me leave for that long/What if we got lost? I have no sense of direction/weren’t you afraid?

Several people have asked me how and why I decided to take an extended road trip with a highly active three year-old and my sixty year-old mother. Most assume that my son is an easy child,that my mother and I never get on each other’s nerves, and that I have endless reserves of patience and courage. They are wrong on all counts, especially the last two.

So before all of the details of the trip fade and are forgotten, I am going to explain exactly how I was able to pull this month long road trip off.

The first thing you need is inspiration. I have always loved to travel, yet something about my transition to motherhood dimmed that desire. Fear loomed large in everyday life– Was my child eating enough? What about his poop? Is he so cute that some sicko might kill me and steal him right out of the grocery cart in the middle of Trader Joes and no one would even notice? What if he somehow finds his way to our roof and falls off? And Dr. Meyer, have you ever noticed that his pupils are different sizes. I believe his has congenital anisocoria (And he does) but want to make sure he is not dying from some rare form of fatal cancer of the eyeball. To say I check all of the doors and windows and stoves and lights and the knives to make sure they are pointed sharp side down before I go to bed each night is an understatement.

Quite simply, I am not that brave.(And I sure as hell am not patient!) But the side of me that aches for adventure was clamoring too loudly to be silenced by the neurotic part of my personality that likes to imagine the worst possible scenario and plan accordingly. So, I turned to search engines to help me find examples of women who travel alone with their children. While I did find a few intrepid mamas, most people traveling with very small children–at least those who write about it–are couples.

Since my husband works full-time, and was also planning to open a comic book store during my proposed period of travel, I decided to invite my mom, who was between jobs and in the midst of a nasty divorce. Having driven cross country once before–with James when Max was an infant–there were so many things that I wanted my mother to see and experience.

My mother and I have always had a complicated relationship. She sometimes put relationships with men before her children and made a lot of other painful choices that quite frankly, I resented her for making. When I first lived in Boston in the early 1990s, we did not see one another for almost two years, even though we lived within driving distance of one another. Our personalities can clash violently. In short, I am a typical, brash Aries and my mom a stubborn, quiet Taurus who sometimes has to be prodded to reveal what she *really* wants, needs or would like.

This made for some interesting arguments along the way.

But back to traveling with a small child, since I suspect most of you reading are more curious about how to pull that off.

The answer is relatively simple: you do it at home, everyday. If you are a stay at home mother or if you work any number of hours outside your home, you have to deal with the little people’s shit anyway, right? Changing the scenery does not change that fact, although the lack of housework and/or office politics might just tip you in favor of taking a trip. You do not have to head out for a month or more, if that seems overwhelming or you simply cannot find the time or the money. Although on the last account, you need much less money than you think to have a good time traveling with your children.

One of the best ways to save time and sanity is to do a little advance planning. No, I am not suggesting you draft detailed itineraries, jam-packed with twelve hours worth of non-stop fun, fun, fun–because let’s face it, if that is how you roll, you will not enjoy packing up the little ones and heading off into the sunset. What I am suggesting is that you spend some time looking for state parks or playgrounds in the areas you will be visiting. Kaboom, a clearinghouse of places to play around the country, was one website I visited nightly. Also keep in mind that most elementary schools have playgrounds, and if you stop after school has let out or on a weekend, the chances of anyone busting your ass for playing are slim to none. State park signs in many parts of the country feature a helpful playground logo, so keep an eye out for these as you’re barreling down a four lane highway listening to I’ve Been Working On The Railroad for the 17th time, while your small child yells Stop the cah! Get me outta heah!Now!

Just keep in mind that some states are so proud of our national treasures that they will post a sign 300 miles away from the actual park.

The next step in remaining relatively sane on a road trip with the under 5 set is to limit the number of consecutive hours spent strapped into the car to 2 or 3 at a time. Remember that trip you took with your best friend years ago, where you both took turns driving, driving, and driving stopping only for more gas and a pack of Twizzlers to share? Now, forget about it if that is what you think of when someone says Road trip!

I found that for us getting a very early start worked best. Max tends to be an early riser and this proved no exception on our trip. If you are staying in a hotel, being awake early will also make your time at the breakfast buffet a bit more bearable, since the likelihood is high that none of the other guests will be awake to hear your child loudly insist that a chocolate frosted, sprinkle coated transfatty donut is an appropriate breakfast. And, guess what? Sometimes such a donut is a fabulous breakfast for a cranky preschooler. Even if you lean towards food snobbery and obsessive label reading at home. (As I do.) While we are on the subject of food, every morning when you get into your car, do not drive away unless you have a couple of snacks and small toys located in the front where you can quickly pass them back to your child. It is a rule of the road that even a child who ate a full breakfast just 15 minutes earlier will decide to have a growth spurt and beg for food in a voice and tone straight out of the most pathetic Dicken’s novel as soon as you try to merge into oncoming traffic. Be prepared.

Another advantage to rolling out of your hotel as early as possible, is that you will probably avoid the stress of navigating the morning commute in an unfamiliar city or town. When we stayed in hotels, I tried to find those a bit outside of major urban areas–both to save money, and if timed appropriately, to limit the likelihood of getting stuck in a traffic jam. Google maps was very useful for locating slightly smaller towns outside of major cities, and for figuring out where we could plan to break for a playground stop or local attraction.

I was just interrupted by both boys in my life, so forgive me, as my train of thought is now completely shot. Two more quick, unrelated practical bits of advice.

Number one: while most hotels have on site laundry for guests to use, they usually only have one washer and one dryer. If you have accumulated more than one load you will most likely be better off finding a local laundromat and washing all of your clothes at once. (The good news is that you will probably only generate a load or two of laundry each week.) At a Best Western in Galveston, Texas I nonchalantly threw in a load of laundry one morning before breakfast, switched it into the dryer and started another load only to come back down later to find that not only had workers decided to cordon off the laundry room and paint everything associated with it, but the dryer was a total pussy, and I was left standing there watching over my sopping laundry for the next hour and a half while trading angry stares with some dudes who wanted to paint the floor.

Number two: There will be many, many things that you would have otherwise loved to do, see or experience that will need to be saved for another trip. Example: I love to snorkel. Max can barely hold his breath under water and is given to grabbing my bathing suit in a panic and shouting Boobies!. Guess who was not able to explore the reefs at
John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park.

There is always next time!

ETA: If you have any questions, fire away and I’ll answer in the comments. I know this was a bit disorganized, but there are several living things clamoring for my attention at the moment.

I’m Not That Flexible

On a lighter note. Will the person who found this blog searching for “Moms who fuck Hondas” please explain themselves?

For more hilariously wrong search strings, visit Suzanne.

Who Turned Off The Lights?

While driving Max to preschool this morning, it dawned on me that the reason I want to chase a month’s worth of Wellbutrin with several pounds of rotini is not because I am a depressive sloth by nature. Rather New England is ruled by an evil troll who dims the lights every November and refuses to turn them up again until sometime in May.  Even at high noon on a mid-winter day, with the sun at full power, it shines like a 15 watt lightbulb pulled from the depths of a dollar store bin.

This lack of exposure to quality light has a trickle down effect that causes some people to slouch, grimace and hide under purple chenille throws while sipping gallons of raspberry Earl Grey tea.

Publishers that put anthologies on hold indefinitely might also shoulder some blame.

Who else?