hmmm... how to convey to blog-world sitting on one's ass and idly twiddling thumbs...

I have some posts a-brewing, one that I am putting off rather a lot because it relates to my upcoming road trip this weekend with my oldest and dearest friend, who is being insensitive enough to achieve the holy grail of the tenure-track job and so leave me and so move to another state... More on that, and the fact that I am using excuse of "helping her move" to lay some serious passive-aggressive shit on her, tomorrow.

Hmmmm. What else??? Ah yes. Coming up--mine and Husband's tenth wedding anniversary... Holy-mother-of-god-how-did-that-happen?
And what are we doing to celebrate? Here are some of the options we have been weighing:

--Trip to Paris? The exchange rate for Dollars to Euros is WHA???
--Minivan? I shit you not--I think I might be only woman in town who both hearts Elliot Smith and secretly yearns for the plush and spacious comfort of a minivan. But as an anniversary gift. Well, it kind of sinks to an all time low.
--Fine Jewelry? For the price of this ring we could buy a Plazma TV!
--A piece of Art? That would be nice, but plazma tvs take up a nice patch of wallspace. And you can do slideshows on it. Of art.
--Plazma TV?? NOW we're talkin'!

Actually, we have done our homework, and we're getting an LCD one. With Home Theater system. Nothing says "I have so cherished these ten years with you by my side" than A Big Fuck Off Television...
Actually, for us, it's really quite an appropriate metaphor, as me and the Old Man likes a bit a'telly... Right in the living room. None of this separate-out-of-sight television room shit for us--Yes, this is our graciously appointed living room, and that monstrosity in the corner is the idol at which we worship. Besides, there's nothing like a comfy sofa, a roaring wood fire and...television.

(And anyone concerned over the lack of romance in my life, do not afear. Old Man is actually quite the romantic sort, and I am sure he has babysitter lined up, dinner-reservations fresh flowers on order, and a box of those chocolates from Fanny May that I love and no he can't have any, well ok, one... ALL IN THE WORKS)

Oh, all right. I'll book the sitter. (sigh)

What else to write?
Anyone want to interview me for BlogHer? Oh, hang on. I'm not going. Is it me, or is this a weird week in the lady-blogosphere for anyone not going? Is this what being Jewish at Christmas is like? Interesting...

Yes, I'd love to be there. But I am of the boozy sort. Especially when it comes to meeting a ton of strangers-but-not-strangers-really at a conference. And while I am pretty extrovert sans a gallon of wine, BlogHer would definitely bring out the boozehound in me and me being in my delicate state would put the kabash on that.

Yes, that's right. I have just used "not being able to drink" as an excuse to not attend what looks like an amazing opportunity to meet some of my favorite writers. And if you think there is a disturbing alcoholic theme emerging in my posts, well what of it??

Seriously, if I am still kicking this blog-thing around in a year's time, then I am going to make the pilgrimage. I might even be able to translate it into some kind of work-related trip me being such a "digital technology academic expert" and all (snort). I'll be the one pumping-and-dumping.

I will leave you with that attractive image as I say to all those who are going--PICTURES. WE WANT PICTURES. AND POSTS. WE WANT LIVE-BLOGHER POSTS.


Nurturing One's Inner GILF

So. One minute you're publicly revelling in, nay, gloating over your second trimester gorgeousity, and the next minute you're puffing and straining your way through an interval-training class with mirrored walls, confronted at every angle by image of ever-inflating self in gray lycra shorts, and wondering "why the fuck am I doing this to myself again??"

[Let me make a comment aside about shorts. I do not "do" shorts. Not even for exercise. I like a nice boot-cut yoga pant, thankyouverymuch. And yes. I have been known to surreptitiously apply lipstick before entering my step class. See above, re: "wall-to-wall mirrors..." Yes. I am that shallow. But Oprah assures me that it is important to feel that you look good when exercising for that extra incentive. So lipstick on a pig it is...]

Gray lycra shorts--unflattering for 99.9% of population, especially female population where crotch-sweat is of possible issue (not for me, I hasten to add. Just the rest of you skank-whores poor afflicted women).

Gray lyrca maternity shorts. A whole new level of ugly.

But it's about 90 degrees outside and humid, and being all "responsible" and shit, I knew it was important to not overheat during an exercise routine when preggo. (uh, how about NOT doing exercise that involves "running suicide circuits" Joy??? We'll get to that bag of angst in a mo. Just hang on.) So I am wearing the shorts and juggling positions because this mirror makes me look way thinner than that mirror. Which one is TRUE???

And as I boinged sweatily around the class doing high-knee jogging and wondering if there was a belly-bra kind of thing that could keep the stomach from feeling like it would rip my core each time it jarred up, I had the (perhaps overdue) sensation that me being in this class at all at 24 weeks was a leeeetle bit fucked up.

OR was I just succuumbing to my typical "let's see if you can rationalize yourself out of this one, Joy..."? For this is also a tactic I know all to well.

So this is the inner turmoil you encounter me in today. Triggered in large part to the fact that the glory-days of cute pregnancy bump and thin(ish) arms and thighs are receding, and that somehow I am managing to mindlessly chow down almost entire packages of chocolate bikkies in one sitting, and that according to the books (yes, the books I like to decry in rant-posts. did I ever say I was not a hypocrite?) that pregnancy requires 300 extra calories a day, which about amounts to one of these and one of these. Oh, let the abandoned eating begin!

(and when I say thin(ish) I mean for me. First tri nausea meant I shed a few, and yes, though sick-as-dog, I was digging the decrease of wobbly bits, even while I knew it would not last...)

Apparently eating for two basically means adding an organic yoghurt smoothie and a (forbidden) cookie to your daily intake of food, assuming of course that you were eating in appropriate range in the first place. Uh. Sure I was. And if you take away all the wine I'm (mostly) not drinking now, that frees up a good 1,500 kcals a week (day).

When pregnant, most of us take this as carte-blanche to begin eating whatever the hell we want, and huzzah to us! But this is less about us needing to feed our faces to feed our foetuses(biologically speaking that is) but about the fact that as women we are given a big old societal pat on the back to keep shovelling it in! No judgement over the ample portions or second deserts. In fact we are heralded and revered for our showy exhibits of maternal hunger.

Even as I write that, the feminist side of me is scolding myself for portraying such a grotesque image of us women merely eating. But I also realize that what I am currently experiencing is intimately related to these gendered ideologies of eating. I feel a sense of liberation from societal mores about women and eating, and at the same time latent anxiety that mine is a body out of control and I am just using pregnancy as an excuse to overdo it.

I'm not just talking about women feeling more pressure to be thin or physically perfect than men (and I think this is rapidly shifting) but the fact that images of women eating always celebrate restraint (Mommy and daughter bond over salads and happy meal carrot sticks in the latest McDonald's ads) or if she is indulging, the image is eroticized as she "gives in" to temptation. Men get Hungry Man meals, but there's no Hungry Jill pancake mix (that fat bitch) and those of you who have been reading along with me for a while know how I feel about those fucking "he fucked-me-senseless goooood" yoplait chicks. (sorry for the repeta-rant here!)

So what's a feminist-chick with penchant for eating/drinking and healthy dose of body-image issues to do?

Join Old Lady exercise class, that's what. I did the old "prenatal aerobics" class with #1 and it's for pussies, I'm telling you. I mean, if taking an exercise class that consists of slowed down geriatric motion exercises will make you sweat, have at. But I was bored shitless.
No, I'm going hardcore with my geriatric exercise regime. I'm going water aerobics. Yes, it will involve wearing a bathing suit (nearly as loathsome as the odious "short"). But here's my thinking:

1. Mirrors. Zero. (check)
2. Body largely hidden by water. (check)
3. Old ladies who make me look postively lithe. (check)
4. Old ladies who will dote on pregnant me and who can teach me a thing or two about what really matters in this world and who can tell me to get a life over the "oh my thighs are getting bigger boo hooo" thing. (check)
5. Sense that even though I can't quite take the jarring exercise of interval training right now, at least I am doing something to keep me moving no matter how lame it feels. (check)

So screw the MILFs, I'm going with the GILFs. Make room ladies, because I do a pretty mean cannonball!!

p.s. Thanks to Amalah for turning many of us on to this site, Shape of a Mother. We need more reaffirming shit like this, seriously (see above).


Who Am I Enjoying Today?

Dad Gone Mad, that's who. I have decided to "out" him here, not because he is in want of any readers, but because I've noticed that none of *you lot* are stalking him like I am (or at least I don't think you are). Apart from MotherGooseMouse, who turned me on to him in the first place (and she, like, knows him).

Actually, this post is mainly for my (Hot) Husband, who had to listen to me lamely try and paraphrase some of his posts this morning before work..

Me: "he's, like, sooooo funny. one time, his kid wanted to watch Power Rangers, and he said "no" and he said the kid went "batshit...." or somethin'
Him: mmmk. Is that a word?
Me: YES! that's a word. For a tantrum. A funny word. OK, another time, his wife is away on a trip, and to make her feel guilty he makes sure to block the kid's t.v. when she calls, and so all she hears is wailing, and he is totally engineering it, and, like, it's totally funny.
Him (not seeming convinced enough for my taste): That does sound pretty funny
Me: It IS.

Despite my shitty ability to recount the hilarity (in much the same way as you never want to hear me try and tell a joke) DGM is dead dead funny. Excellent spinner of the yarn. Think if Bad News Hughes procreated and found himself with 2 preschoolers, or if The Sneeze was three halves Personal Blog...

Today's entry...
"I have kept a watchful eye on the fracas in the Middle East because anytime another brouhaha bubbles up involving Israel, the sphincters of Jews around the world begin to tighten just a little bit more."

I'm thinking that anyone who was forced to go to Hebrew or Catholic School as a kid will relate to this one... Or anyone with deepseated fear of carnies...

Last Week:

"Sometimes I stand in my living room and just sort of freeze there for a moment, taking stock of the hell these two children have wrought. How can two people whose combined age is less than 10 and whose combined height is about even with my nips and whose combined intelligence is hardly sufficient to know NOT to rub shampoo on their eyeballs create such havoc and chaos? Were it not for the fact that one of them looks exactly like me and the other looks exactly like Hot Wife, I’d be thoroughly convinced that the stork was wasted and delivered the wrong baby to our door on two different unfortunate occasions. Join me, won’t you?, as we spend a run-of-the-mill Sunday with The Champ and The Artist Formerly Known As Barney’s Biggest Fan..."

Yes, join him. You won't be sorry... You'll be delighted, amused. You might wee your knickers.

Also last week and my current favorite:

"Hot Wife has embarked on my great annual nightmare, known vaguely as her “girls trip.” For the second consecutive summer, she is enjoying a relaxing and luxurious vacation with a gaggle of her girlfriends while I stay home from work and try to prevent our children from shoving Hot Wheels cars up the dog’s ass."

Ladies who ever dare to hope for "girls trip" of one's own--check out malevolent tactics DGM uses to induce maternal guilt trip and arm yourself. We have to give a begrudging hand to the "stand in front of kid's tv when mommy calls home" tactic, though. Evil, but genius evil.


Karma and the Can

I always love to do a post right after I have got off the phone complaining to my husband how I simply have waaaaay to much to do at work, and, WAAAAH, people keep bugging my in my office and on the phone and "How's a high-level exec like me going to cope??* and "anyway-can't-talk-now-as-impossibly-busy-and-important, buh-bye, i looooooove youuuuuuuu.....!"

But then, THEN, I have an experience I feel I must share immediately, while the moment remains raw and naked fear still grips me! This is what real writing** is about, dammit, carpe diem and all that. And after what I have just experienced, there's going to be a whole lot of carpe dieming going on around here, let me tell you.... For I have just stared death in the face, gazed into the porcelain abyss (if you will) and the vehicle of my mortal decline is to be none other than a faulty lavatory.

Seriously people. I just flushed the office toilet (being polite like that) and the thing fucking EXPLODED with a noise I can only compare to rapid incoming fire. Well. One shot of rapid incoming fire.

I nearly soiled myself. (how appropriate). (And no, that would not have been the first time i had the opportunity to pee myself within the immediate vicinity of the toilet arrangements, but this time it was not circa 1989 and I was not tripped out on heady cocktail of amphetamine/booze at some warehouse "party." This time I would be like person you see on film/t.v. with pee trickling silently down leg to signify deep and primal fear. BTW, did you know that when you die, the first thing you do is "evacuate bladder and bowels"...? Yeah, there's always that to hold on to)

So, no... the toilet did not physically shatter into pieces. But it was seriously loud, like big fucking ammunition.There is no flooding or even the fire brigade to involve (much to my "I need validation" chagrin). Just me standing in the staff-loo going "wha??? huh??? FUCK!!" and grabbing at any passing staff-member "did you hear that, did you HEAR that???" "the explosion...yeah, there was an explosion... uhm...forget it..."

And then picturing my own demise, and my husband having to explain to my son that "mummy loved him very, very much... and...well she was killed by an exploding toilet..." OR "mummy is resting now, but her bootie-butt will never be quite the same...."(Boyo's current favorite word: "bootie-butt." We have no effing clue why, as this is not a term we use freely to refer to arse-cheeks in our house).

The headlines! Imagine the headlines! (because I am so very important, headlines will surely be involved). "Faulty toilet system blamed for tragic death of young mother." Too awful to imagine (but I'll try). "PhD Dies in Freak Lavatory Accident: U authorities promise to clean up their act..." (snort)

I just called maintenance, and apparently the explosion can be attributed to various "airlocks" that are in system after water was turned off over weekend. And I am not the only one to "have been alarmed..." This means that somewhere, across this building, there are people who are silently suffering like me. People who have nearly experienced ass-explosion. Am now off to establish support group for those affected.

*no, i am not a high level exec. i have used the term here for dramatic effect. i am in academia--we shun management-like titles. and order. and accountability in the workplace. luckily for me.

**and by "real writing" I mean blogging, where something as banal has having the toilet make a loud noise can become instantaneous fodder for blog post read by tens of avid readers.


I'll Love You Forever, I'll Suck your Soul....

"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living,
my baby you'll be."
Is it just me, or does anyone have a deeply complex relationship to this goddamn book?
Did anyone else see this cute little munchkin on the cover, think to self "I know this is a classic?" and bring it on home for beddy-byes reading?
Did anyone else get a few pages in and read out loud,"But at night time, when that two-year-old was quiet, she opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor, looked up over the side of his bed; and if he was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth"?
Did anyone else get a teensy bit creeped out by that?
Did anyone else find the accompanying illustration of mommy dearest crawling across the floor kind of, uhm, evokative of that scene in The Ring? Where the girl crawls out of the television and FEASTS ON YOUR SOUL???

And then, does anyone find that despite this chilling experience, at the same time, as you read on to your darling child, you choke on these words: "He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a grown-up man. He left home and got a house across town" You try to read , but your voice is cracking and you stifle sobs as you utter the words because Oh God, one day you'll LEAVE me, and one day I'll grow older, and older, and older, and I will DIE, and I will NEVER KNOW MY GRAND-DAUGHTER!!!!!"
Was just wondering.


If you like Radiohead, you'll lurve....

Who knew? Terri Gross is all, like, "into" one of my favorite bands--Radiohead. She interviewed Thom Yorke yesterday (utters teenage sigh), and appeared to know her Radiohead shit. Mind you, she has seemed to know her Bill O'Reilly and Gene Simmons shit too, but at least she gave those two shit.

Still, hard to imagine Terri getting all contemplative on her drive home from work as she mulls the lyrics to "Subterreanean Homesick Alien." But there you go. She and Thom are both "gingas" (if not, indeed, separated at birth) and this guarantees a mutual bond and shared understanding.

As I googled a bit of Radiohead lore just a few moments ago, I found out another disquieting factoid about the band's fan-base. "OK Computer" was recorded at St Catherine's Court, the country house of Jane Seymour near Bath. Which clearly means she is a huge fan. And here's something else crazy. Hubs and I honeymooned in Bath. How crazy is that shit? I know.

Jane Seymour, Terri Gross. Who knew I had so much in common with those bitchez?


Punani Deficit Disorder

This is Nora. Husband has taken to referring to Nora and me as "His Bitchez."
This is only mildly less disconcerting than the current delight my son gets from declaring

Uh, yes. Clever boy.. (cough).

Both my son's matter-of-fact use of the "v-word" and his discovery of the analogous relationship of mummy's "bits and pieces" to the dog's "bits and pieces"--well, it gives one pause...

I am already outnumbered, as you can see (unless you count the dog) and it seems the willy quota in our house is about to get a serious boost. Yup... It's a Boy...!

The atmosphere at chez ginga is decidedly upbeat at the news--already hugging ourselves each time we refer now to "the boys." By all signs, Sprog is healthy, bouncy, and right on track. Boyo loves to come over to me and "kiss his baby brother" (this can mean having your shirt suddenly yanked up in public spaces, be warned).

There's a part of me, though, that can't quite process that I am to be mummy to "the boys." Let me be honest and say that there is a minute twinge over knowing that I will never have a daughter. (and to any potential trolls out there who might be judging me for not realizing how "blessed I am"--if you do not think that if someone touched a single hair on one of my boy's heads I would hunt that person down and conduct prolongued and devastating acts of torture, then stop reading now...) With each pregnancy I have made all the right noises about "just wanting the baby to be healthy" and have silently yearned for a girl. A daughter.

I can definitely trace the roots of this desire. First being the oldest among 12 grandchildren, and the only girl. I have one brother, who is now one of my best friends, but as a child I merely tolerated him (or more frequently not, as the mood took us). Each time an Aunty Blah-Blah was pregnant, I was crushed to discover another male cousin had joined the brood. And my family produces boisterous types--types who, at family get-togethers when we were all told to "run off and play," would think nothing of wrestling me to the ground to play "doctors and nurses"--yes, to check out my alien "bits and pieces." My complaints were greeted with "they're just naturally curious, how about you just let them..." (What???!!!!). (Meanwhile, I thought nothing of flashing my bum-bum on-request to a boy at school I had a bit of a yen for). The only other girl (who is the only clan member to know about this blog) came when I was 14, when it was a tad too late to be rescued from my gender isolation. This was partly my fault, being a girly-girl and deeply judgemental of all these young and stinky boys.

Deep psychological damage resulting from childhood trauma notwithstanding, I think some of the other emotions I feel about this one might be more familiar to many of us. Part of it is about ego, and even disbelief that you could grown anything that was not really just a reproduction of yourself. A girl. Just like you, only more clever, well-adjusted, and whole. When I found out that my first was a boy, my first reaction was disbelief. How can I grow a male?? Yes, ego, and an erroneous and unbalanced perspective over one's incubatory and and baby-making powers...

As a feminist, I had fantasies of raising a girl who never, ever, questioned her ability to do something because of her gender. Our relationship would be deeply close, our conflicts rare (merely opportunities for us to grow). She would think that her Mum was dead smart, and (more importantly) dead hip... I would handle the talks about menstruation, and sex, and heartbreak, and peer-pressure with aplomb because I had SOOO been there. She would always and without question turn to me.

Yes. Basically I was deluding myself.

But even as I recognize the delusion, I realize that I wish all these things for my boys as does their Daddy (except for the menstruation part, which could be tricky). So far our son (nearly 4) has shown no aversion for things coded "girl" and we delight in how much he loves fairies, crowns, and wands. He does not even have the word "gun" in his lexicon, and refers to the canons on his Playmobile pirate ship as "blasty things." OK, so he has also been coming home with "lots of spitting and name-calling today" on his daily note from preschool a bit too often these days, but I would like for the record to say that he learned to spit and namecall from one of the girls in his class who eggs him on. Which for some reason makes me feel quite a bit better about it. And for the most part you are more in danger of being sidelined with an enthusiastic hug by our Boy than being raspberried at (but don't rule it out).

So, right now Angelina Ballerina and Spiderman rank on a par in my son's world, but I am realistic about the likelihood that he will continue in this metrosexual vein (statisically speaking, that is--if he ends up liking ballet more than football his artsy-farsty, liberal parents could not be more happy, but we also foresee a future of little league and soccer practice). And let me utter the most hackneyed but resonant cliche in the world--whatever my sons chose is fine, as long as they are happy, healthy and rich beyond my wildest imaginings decent human beings. And love their mother. And their father. Unquestioningly. Unflinchingly. Even when we're assholes. Which will be never.


Summer Shocker.. Young Mother Acquires Empathy with Own Parents after Vacationing with her Little 'Un....

Dear Mummy and Daddy,
This letter is a little bit on the late side. (Try 20 odd years). But I feel I owe you a sincere apology and a gratitude of thanks.

First, let me apologize for the many, many times on holiday when I, along with my brother, harangued you about the weather over which you had no control and whined endlessly about wanting to go to the beach, and when can we go to the beach, we want to go to the beeeeeach. it's not that cold, really... When's it going to stop RAINING?????

I commend you for finding activities for us to do despite the weather and our moaning, and always, always having swimsuits, towels, and buckets-and-spades at the ready in the back of the car at the mere offchance that the weather would turn nice. Thank you for listening when, on the way to some maritime museum, botanical gardens, or donkey sanctuary, we would scream from the backseat of the car "I can see a bit of blue in the sky, OVER THERE OVER THERE OVER THERE OVER THERE... MummyMummyMummyMummyMummy..." and then relentlessly chasing that bit of blue on the offchance it signalled a patch of sunny BEACH.

Most of all, I commend you for doing this in England, where the summer is fickle, the water fucking freezing, and the 1970s roadside facilities much to be desired...

All my Luv,

Yep, we're back. And we had a fabulous time. But let me tell you, the term "vacation" is highly contestable when time away with small kids is concerned. And it is that revelation that triggered many a flashback to my childhood, flashbacks mainly characterized by the realization that my parents were fucking saints to take us anywhere at all, and dear lord was I was a big fucking royal pain in the arse. I think my parents can fondly remember one very wet holiday in Cornwall where I spent the majority of the time glowering in the backseat of the car, endlessly listening to my Susan Vega tape on my walkman (for me, wet Cornish countryside will forever have "Marlene on the Wall" as its soundtrack).

Compared to this, my Boyo was a saintly little trooper. Thanks to the lord that Elk Farms have massive appeal at this age. (Yes, that's right. An Elk Farm. Yeah. Husband had same reaction, but he now bows before my find-meaningful-activities-for-your-preschooler parenting ability. So there). But Boyo's only approaching 4, so there's time yet. I wonder if the one I am gestating will be the surly teenage girl I always dreamed of...