Grinching Halloween?

OK internets, I am in an ethical quandry of unrivalled magnitude. Tommorrow, if you did not know, is HALLOWEEN. We dig Halloween in these here parts, especially as one parent grew up in desperate environment where there was no halloween. (And by "no halloween" I mean none of the loot-getting activities that typify this fine, fine nation. I hear this has all changed now, but too late for ME!).

So here's the dilemma. My boy is gifted with parents who both like to accompany him on his loot-getting trip. We love it. We both bicker over who should stay at home and give out candy. We both want to be there for those precious, precious moments when he says "trick or treat!!!" (and then complains bitterly and audibly over being given non-candy treat like a spider ring or someshit. we've raised him well, my people).

Question: is it ok to leave your house festooned with lit up punkins on the doorstep, but with NO light on to invite T and Ters? (last year we left a basket of candy with dumbass instructions of "please take only a couple!!!!!!!!!" on a playful little paper ghost notice. Yes. We're schmucks. And Yes, there was carnage on our front lawn that evidenced early-evening teen-frenzying of said basket).

I await impatiently for your sage advice.


Barney Frank...Where have you been all my life?

The Old Man and I got ourselves all Worked Up and Righteous the other night when we watched Barney Frank on Bill Maher. In case you missed it, watch Barney smack-down nasty Republican Homophobe with Glorious Rhetorical Swordplay.

(and yes...I need to stop stalking the YouTube quite so much and tell you something substantive about the state of my cervix or mucus plug or something very scintillating like that. Worry not, I will get to it....luckies... But for now....)


Borat's got nothing on those Belarusians

Minsk! Who knew it was the dance capital of the universe???

Actually, there are portions of this that eerily resemble the "After Dinner Disco" of my own wedding video.


And Speaking of No Shame....

Behold....The Motherload.

Be honest... Do I look fat in this?

Rest assured I do not leave the house in this get-up. Too much. The sight of my frighteningly taut stomach flesh, not to mention the monstrosity that is my tummy button--it could very easily scare small children. (I generously spared you a picture of my tummy button, more as a gesture to my fellah, who finds it just too disturbing to contemplate).

One thing that scares me about these pictures is that I have still have 4 weeks to go, and no fricking CLUE where I'm going to put it. I am someone who (despite having ample hippage) carries all "up front." And somehow I managing to put on a couple of pounds (plus) a week right now. When this was brought to my attention at last doctor's visit, I mumbled something about "did not take off my boots when nurse weighed me..."

But I know better.

My stomach is about a quarter of its normal size, and yet, I am managing to pack it away like there's no tomorrow. Even better, while I am in the process of packing it away I mumble to my husband between mouthfuls "I really should stop eating large meals like this. I feel full already. I should stop. I should eat smaller meals. I keep getting heartburn." (shovel. shovel. shovel. "are you going to eat that?")

And then, later that evening, I lay like a beached whale on the sofa whinging about heartburn and letting off burps that would make an adolescent boy blush. "Oooooh. My chest. Oooooh. BUUUUUURP. That feels better. BUUUUURP. Ah, yes. Much better. Hey, love? Is there any of that Chubby Hubby left? Can you get me a bowl? There's a love. I really can't get up. Really" (makes feeble gesture to show how "getting up" is physically impossible). "I need the calcium. Really."

He's a good man, my fellah. He even put my socks on this morning. (You've seen nothing more pathetic than me trying to put my socks/hose on right now. It involves much hopping around and whining on my part).

So. 4 weeks to go from today. Maybe.


OK--this is my last one.... maybe

This skit reminds me of quite why I love French and Saunders so much. Dawn French prancing around as a prima ballerina, explaining how she "just can't help but be petite and beautiful.. I even hold my cup of tea beautifully..."

Well...it just is beautiful. Seriously.

I grew up with these ladies, and a healthy dose of French and Saunders as a teenager in the 80s can do wonders for the self-esteem of a spotty girl. I wanted to be like *them.* To not give a shit, like *them.* 20 years on, and a bit of F&S can still restore the spirit and put a bit of perspective on life. And give me carte blanche demonstrate how a T-Rex (probably) bellows for my son, or do (drunken) robotics dancing for house guests. (those luckies).

French and Saunders--thanks for giving me the gift of no shame. Us ladies need more of that. xxxx.


Another of those Bergman sorts of days, I'm afraid...

What's a Monday morning without some pondering over existential questions about mortality, loneliness, and faith? Or a nice cup of tea?

Oh, and if you are thinking this video-blogging is a complete cop-out on my part you'd be completely right.

Must go, as I am about to have fleshly intercourse with the Evil One again.

(that's the end...)


Being British in America--Retirement Opportunities

"LOOK AT THE MILK! that's half milk, half fat that. We love it."

French and Saunders. Quite possibly the best comedy duo EVAH.

(brace yourself for a slew of favorite clips)


I Bet That You Look Good in The Classsss-Room (I'm Not Lookin' For Romance)

OK, so every person who has ever taught at University level has this moment where the "generation gap" between you and your students slaps you in the kisser. This moment, for people of my generation, normally comes when you attempt to make something in the classroom relevant to "last night's episode of The Simpsons" or "that episode of Seinfeld where people think Kramer is a retard" and receive blank but pitying stares. When you find yourself making witty references to Blue's Clues or Dragon Tales, you might get amused reactions, but you've completely lost 'em.

However, being the gargantuan consumer of teevee that I am, someone who attempts to keep her finger on the pulse of what them there young-uns are digging these days (I am, indeed, proud owner of a Facebook Account) I like to think that I am still relatively good at connecting with these young minds I have been charged with bending to my will educating.

I like to think that... But I am clearly deluding myself.

Flashback to about an hour ago. My classroom. I have a student who is writing a research report on Illegal Downloading. (Hey, I know about that. I am hip, techno-savvy prof who knows aaaallllll about that).

Student: "Uhm, so I am finding research on how illegal downloading is a Bad Thing. So I am going to write about how it is a Bad Thing."

Me: "Interesting topic.... (insert part here where I ramble about "Audience" blah blah, and "Purpose" blah blah, and "balance" blah blah).

Me: "Also! (gives knowing look) Is illegal downloading ALL bad?"

Student: (blank stare)

Me: How about the argument that it's good for independent music and musicians? That it only hurts the corporations? Have you found any research that presents that perspective?

Student: (blank stare)

Me: For instance, what about that group? You know. The ones who became huge purely through making their music available for free via downloads. They got big. You know the ones. They're huge.

[yes. I know. and I am charged with helping these guys get artikalat].

Me, practically yelling to class: "Whoozat group? You know. The ones. The ones who got big off the internet. They had that song. You know. They're English. Uuuuuhm. "I think that you look good on the dance floor." That one. You know.
[resists impulse to sing it with authentic accent inflection]


Me: You Know!!! (begins desperate clawing at laptop. googles lyric). AAAHHHH! The Arctic Monkeys! THEM! The Arctic Monkeys. You've heard of them, right? Right?

Class: UNIFORM BLANK/PITYING STARES. Slow shaking of heads. A few snorts.


(I give up).


Is it just me, or....

Is it just me, or did everyone else (with a sizable arse) have the same schitzophrenic experience when watching that Gap commercial with Hepburn for the first time?

Cue Hepburn:
"I raaather feel like expressing myself, and I could certainly use the release"
(Me: "Huh? Whassis?")

Hepburn jumps out of frame; cue hard rock anthem "Back in Black."

(Me: Oh! Now that's different. I approve. I get the reference. I've seen Funny Face. I feel happy and smart. How creative. How fun.)

Kaleidoscopic Hepburn dancing to Hard Rock Anthem

(Me: Oh! How creative. How fun.)

Cue tag line, and fade: "The Black Skinny Pant"
(Me: Agh, Shit.)

I am simply not ready to give up my bootcuts, people. Though I knew its day had come (Project Runway is purely an educational experience for me) I am not ready. Trinny and Susanna have assured me that my body type demands a boot cut (dammit). Anything else will render me pear-shaped and squat. That is my truth.

Is this sign of age? Or of pure, primal fear over the return of the skinny pant, the skinny jean, of leggings? I fear that stirrup/ski pants will worm their way back before we know it, and then I am royally screwed. More countless hours hoisting up the crotch on my trousers, as the stirrups make my underfoot ache. Nice.

More importantly though... Will the bootcut become the highwaister jean of our generation?

Tune in, October 2007, to see if I've managed to squeeze myself into "a" skinny jean and a pair of fringed slouch boots, or if turning 36 means I have turned a fashion corner and become....my mother.


I Feel Like A Woman...

I debated over whether to use that pithy lyric as a post heading because I may receive hate-mail for putting Shania in your head. Loathe all pop-country with a vengeance. But...

Yes, I am feeling my womanliness a great deal lately--both in terms of the biological hand nature has dealt me (yes, I continue to bloat ripen and swell bloom) and in terms of the gender role society has alloted me.

Wait, don't go! This is not one of those theoretical wanker rants. Just a bitch session amongst us ladies (and enlightened males) OK?

I've been horribly negligent of all things bloggy lately, and this is probably compounding how I am feeling. Stressed, overworked, blobby and pissy. One of the main reasons I've been absent is because work has taken every last ounce of my energy lately, and even though a good blog can restore the spirits, so can a comatoze evening in front of Battlestar Galactica 2.5 on big Fuck-Off Television (and if you are *not* watching BG, you crazy).

I spent the main chunk of last week in Illinois at a conference/workshop that took up a great deal of my time and energy over the last month. I won't bore you with the details, except to say this was one of those meetings with a demographic that is largely white and male and overeducated.

And, it seems, ad hoc experts in all things prenatal....

Let me tell you, there is nothing like going to a reception populated by several dozen complete strangers, and realizing that the only other woman at the thing is the head-honcho's wife, and she's busy making sure everyone has napkins. She offers me a glass of wine, and as I think "uhm, HELL YES." and demurely request a "small glass" a nasal voice from behind inquires "Are you allowed??? Phnar-phnar-phnar"

It was one of those moments where you find yourself in the face of a complete stranger, fumbling over "uh, it's the last trimester, and uh..." "HAHAHA! I'm European! HAHAHAH" and "well, studies show....blah blah" and so forth. When instead what you should really say is "Mind your own fucking business, and go ask your colleague if all that cheese dip is good for his prostate health."

And I wish I could say that this incident was an isolated one. But judging by the number of times my choice of beverage or food was questioned, you'd think I must have made short work of poisoning my unborn right now. That Coke after lunch, the coffee at the 8am meeting, the tuna croissant. Poison I am telling you. I could now provide you with a litany of rationalizations--that I am not really a Coke drinker, but it was that or drooling slack-jawed at my seat; that I drink coffee in the morning, but not again in the day; that I eat tuna, but avoid it more than once or twice a week... I do drink wine now and then, not in the first trimester, and always with gobs of food to absorb it--But fuck that shit... It's my business.

One thing I love about being pregnant is how complete strangers can show support and kindness towards you. I am always delighted to tell the cashier, if she asks, when the baby's due and if it's my first. That it's a boy, and yes, he has a brother. I don't even mind if a fellow gal pats me on the tummy, and makes a kind remark about how I am glowing (even though I am not). In fact, at this conference, I met some women that I'd corresponded with via email, and their first response was to give me a hug and delight in my bump. T'was a nice and "bondy" moment.

One thing I loathe about pregnancy, and this is part and parcel with the above, is how you become a form of public property. How the control over your body becomes a collective process, in which everyone, it seems, has a stake. Or at least, people seem much more comfortable with voicing opinions about how you should, or should not, be behaving right now. For the most part I can let these comments roll of my back--I am pretty secure in myself, and am acutely aware that although the lore surrounding pregnancy might often have all the trappings of medical fact, it ain't necessarily so...

Sushi? If it's good enough for Japanese women, it's good enough for me. Fresh mozzarella and brie? (see above on "being European"). But that's me. I also know that for some women, peace of mind stems from knowing that they've done everything by the book--and I respect that. Whatever works for you, baby. And while I might like a bit of cabernet now and then, I do draw the line at getting good and lubed (see how restrained I am?) This latter fact might indeed account for some of my pissiness of late.

I fear this cavalier attitude will induce a nice bout of botchilism and a hospital stay in the next few weeks. And I'll be eating my words. But on the other hand, there's a whole cornucopia of angst to be had over "what might happen" that are related to things you can't control. And I don't have the energy to get worked up about them (much). No, instead these days I apparently prefer to direct my energies by losing it over the stupidest of things.

(like bursting into tears because the dishwasher's not been emptied, or spending the morning frantically looking for my sewing machine manual, because apparently I cannot even thread the fucking needle without poring over the "how-to" guide. Did I mention I am making curtains right now? Well, I have made 1 curtain of 6. Only more evidence of my insanity. This project was selected as a relaxing respite; but I now realize that the very act of measuring, cutting, and pinning the things to the right size on the floor while I lumber and sway on hands and knees is an athletic feat in itself. But 5 more are coming, so help me....)

So yeah, you could say I am a real gas to be around right now. It's nothing that 4 or 5 margaritas wouldn't help out, but for now I must channel my stress into the simple meditative pleasures of sewing. Or bitching. Online. Yeah, that'll work.