Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Blame Game

First of all, I have to thank you all so much for the incredible outpouring of excitement and support. Jeff and I feel so loved, and so does The Bean/Baby Z/Fetus Kahlo/Beh Beh LaZor (my sister came up with that last moniker, based on Zsa Zsa Gabor).

Secondly, I meant to blog last night, but falling asleep before 10 kind of cramps my productivity. In fact, I fell asleep on top of Jeff on our couch, and when he attempted to move me I actually kicked and wailed. He then tried to pick me up, and I whined, "I'm not a baaaaaaaaaaaaby."

"Could have fooled me," he replied. I sat up.

"Well, actually," I said, pointing at my stomach, "I am part baby."

That is the biggest perk of pregnancy so far: blaming the baby for everything.

I can blame it for inexplicably crying while doing dishes... and then abandoning said dishes until they begin to form the same slick, cheesy coating that is currently protecting The Bean from being pickled by amniotic fluid.

I can blame it for the state of my digestive tract at any given moment, and any effect it may or may not have on the air around me.

I can blame it for weight gain, regardless of how many entire pizzas I may have consumed that week.

I can blame it for forgetting to do things like return emails, brush my teeth, or pay my taxes (right, IRS?)

I can blame it for my constant fatigue, since it makes me get up twice a night to pee (and is, in fact, peeing inside of me as I type this. So, double pee.)

I can blame it for not being able to wear pants, and thus favoring a fetching evening ensemble of my oversize Tim Gunn t-shirt and sweat socks.

I can only imagine all of the future things I can blame it for: missed work days due to "child illness," financial ruin, loss of bladder control...

This baby is going to be born such a sucker.
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

30 & Pregnant

I wasn't planning on writing this post until my birthday. For some reason I thought it would be fun to make my big reveal on the day I turned 31. But then I thought, fuck that! Why settle for one day of congratulations when I could get two?

Okay, actually, that's not what I thought at all, until just now (because it's true). I did kind of want to wait until the bump looked more like a bump and less like some backed-up Chipotle, but gah! You guys have no idea how hard it was to wait three months to post this.
Babies grow fast, y'all.
Kidding! I'm only 14 weeks, not 48. This is more like it:

Contents: Compressed air, pizza, fetus.
Actual size.
I wanted to tell you about how I found out I was pregnant because at work one Tuesday I received a drugstore.com package I totally forgot I'd ordered containing 6 pregnancy tests and two boxes of Dr. Scholl's plantar wart removal pads (do you think they judged me while packing it? I do...) and even though I was at work I was all, fuck it, I want to get my drink on tonight, so I went to the ladies room and peed on a stick. And then I had to go back to my desk and try to act normal. And then when I got home I told Jeff and he made me take another test even though I was kind of dehydrated, and this one was digital, and when it said "PREGNANT" we took a photo of it because we're saps.

I wanted to tell you about how I managed to completely avoid morning sickness and how I felt all superior until I suddenly developed uncontrollable gas, which Jeff thinks is super sexy, especially when he's putting the moves on me and I say something like, "Baby, I don't know if I'm going to fart or vomit."

I wanted to tell you about how we saw the baby on an 8-week ultrasound and it looked exactly like the Glo Worm doll I had in 1984, except without the nightcap.

I wanted to tell you about how I hold my jeans together with a rubber band, and haven't washed them in 10 weeks for fear they will never fit again. About how my boobs grew a cup size, and how I probably could have skipped getting Jeff an expensive birthday gift because I've never seen him more thrilled.

There is so much ground to cover, I just don't know where to start. So maybe I won't. Maybe I'll save it for the coming weeks and months, which, I'm sorry to say, will likely be full of what UsWeekly likes to call BABY JOY! But don't worry, I'm still me. Just... bigger. Fuller. Definitely gassier. And with an extra heartbeat.
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Nobody's Erfect


I took this photo back in October, and have had it on my desktop ever since. It serves as a reminder that nobody's perfect, not even people whose job it is to put up signs spelling the word 'perfect.'

I've needed the reminder recently, because thanks to a busy work schedule and a new project that's taking up a lot of my time (and which I'll be able to tell you about soon), I often feel like an inadequate blogger. Sometimes it feels like I've just run out of things to say, and then I'm reduced to writing about shoe trees and my own butt, and even though I'm lucky enough to have readers who actually express interest in seeing a photo of my newly reorganized shoe tree (oh, and at this point I should reveal that it's actually one of those hanging canvas sleeve things, not a true shoe tree--I know, I'm a charlatan!) I still worry about letting you down.

BUT.

Nobody is erfect. Not me, not you, not the person who decided to put a safety cone at the bottom of a ladder (like that's going to stop me someone from trying to climb it). Definitely not the person who copy-edited this tee-shirt:

If your labia look like that, see your gynecologist.
(Jeff wanted me to caption this, "Loose lips sink ships." HA.)
So, yeah, I may not have a ton of inspiration this week, but at least my labia haven't freed themselves. God only knows what a NATO intervention would do down there.
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Anatomy of a Blog Post

Here's a typical Sunday night at my house:

I am falling asleep on the couch in my Slanket, half-heartedly watching an 80s comedy involving either Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy assuming someone else's identity, with predictably hilarious results.

Jeff nudges me, and I make a noise like a wounded elephant.

Jeff then says, "I think it's your bedtime."

"But I haven't blogged!" I moan.

"Let it go." Jeff says.

"Nooooooooo!" I whine. "I can't. My readers will think I abandoned them. Or died."

"Okay. Do you have anything to blog about?"

"Well... I reorganized my shoe tree. And I think I pulled a muscle in my butt."

"Go to sleep."

But! Obviously I have defied Jeff's orders because here I am, at 10:30, pulling a blog post out of my pulled-muscle ass, because I will always choose quantity over quality.

And you can quote me.
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Friday, March 25, 2011

TGI...WTF? Ultra Unsound

Hey ladies! Have you been looking for a belt that doubles as a Storm Trooper helmet AND X-rays your nether regions to broadcast your uterine activity like so many episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians?

"Nice belt buckle!" "Oh, thanks... it's my fetus."
Well, look no further than the PreVue pregnancy screen, an "abdomen attachment" that acts like the oven light God forgot, projecting an image of your developing baby using ultrasound technology.

Before I continue mocking this, let me say that I understand, on a basic level, why some people might want it. As someone who's had a miscarriage, I understand that many women have pregnancy-related anxiety that might be soothed by being able to check in on the baking bun whenever they needed reassurance that all is well. But come on, people. This is fucked up. You are subjecting your baby--not to mention your body--to constant, high-intensity sound pressure that has been shown in some cases to enhance inflammatory response and heat soft tissue. You might as well just hump a microwave, is what I'm saying. Well, you might be saying to yourself (hopefully with a finger snap), Tom Cruise bought an ultrasound machine for to use at home on his employee wife Katie Holmes. To which I say, yes, that is true. And if you want to take medical advice from someone who believes in Xenu and feels that it is acceptable to place his feet on Oprah's couch without asking, then be my guest. But in my opinion, when you're taking it a step further than Tom Cruise, you'd better stop, drop, and roll yourself over to Betty Ford before you become a danger to yourself or others.

But I'm not being fair. According to the PreVue site, the device lets family members (or bodega clerks or bank tellers) "connect with the fetus in its context." The context, I guess, being just floatin' in amniotic fluids tryin' to grow some organs! The site's illustrations are helpful in demonstrating its myriad* uses.

*R.I.P. Heather Chandler.


Like, forget playing Mozart to your belly! Why not teach your fetus how to read? After all, it's never too early to start your unborn child on the path to an Ivy League education. (Only, since the ultrasound doesn't go both ways, does she realize the baby can't actually see her book?)


Judging from the above, I'm assuming that the PreVue doubles as a delicious, steaming bowl of spaghetti bolognese that your husband can munch on in lieu of intercourse. Which is, actually, a really savvy feature.


Just make sure to read the manual, and don't under any circumstances, push "eject."


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You Give My Heart A Bone-On

Wow. I had no idea how my post yesterday would strike a chord with you guys. I got super weepy reading the comments. And even though I didn't mean for my story to be so depressing (I sort of pictured telling it as a stand-up comedy monologue with lots of Seinfeldian word emphasis), I was touched by how many of you shared your stories of middle school misery with me. It was like an "It Gets Better" for the non-gay but unpopular.

Anyway, to lighten the mood and cleanse the palate a bit, I wanted to share an email I received yesterday, titled "For Your Robust Bone-On." I've added my reactions in red.

Dear Una,

Yes?

Experience the efficiency of most innovative medications we have for your penis!

Oh. Haha. You mean the penis with which I get bone-ons? Not only are you bad at gender identification, but I suspect English is not your first language.

Do you worry, when you climb under the covers, that you’re starting something you can’t finish?

How did you know I was reading Oprah's unauthorized biography?

Well, now advancements in natural medicine are making it easier than ever to promote a strong libido, firm, natural erections and enhanced desire.

It's really not that titillating. I don't think she even does it with Steadman.

Now thanks to this exciting natural breakthrough, you could get an erection “on demand” and when you do, sustain it long enough – and keep firm enough — to fully satisfy your wife in bed. Even if you’re in your 70s, 80s or older!

Gross.

As a doctor,

Oh, I highly doubt that.

I’ve learned something over the years that may surprise you—age has very little to do with sex. There are men out there having the best sex of their lives well into their 80th year and beyond.

Hef doesn't count. I've read he just watched gay porn and falls asleep.

Lucky? You bet.

Eh, I don't think it's luck. Bone-ons don't just fall from trees, you know.

But you too could give your body the nutrients it needs to support your entire sexual health.

OK, fine. I'm listening. What?

Best doctors al over the world use antibiotics to treat they're patients’ bacterial infections.

Wait, what?! Where did that come from? Are you saying I have a UTI? What happened to your spelling? And what happened to my penis? I knew I should never have trusted anyone who couldn't come up with a proper euphemism for erection. Good day, sir.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The White Girl With No Friends, and Other Stories

Last Friday Jeff and I went to see the first preview of Mike Birbiglia’s one-man show, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, at the Bowery Theater. If you haven’t heard of Mike Birbiglia, you should download his stand-up on iTunes, or get his book, Sleepwalk With Me. He is hilarious, and my favorite thing about him is that his humor comes pretty much entirely from his own painful or awkward life experiences.

I don’t write a lot about pain on the blog (awkwardness, I think we can agree I've got in spades). I touch on it, in a self-deprecating way, but I’m still a little scared to dive in. (Which may be because I can’t dive. I never learned. The closest I can get is putting my hands together like a steeple and falling as gracefully as possible off of a diving board while bending forward. I also never learned how to tread water for more than thirty seconds at a stretch, which is why I avoid boating and also why I was never allowed to go on “dingles” at Camp Onas, which sound like scatological underpants findings but which were actually day-long canoe trips.) Anyway.

Mike’s show (yeah, we’re on a first-name basis, in my mind) got me thinking about pain and humor, and how they’re intertwined. So I thought I’d share a story of one of my most painful memories, from the files of adolescence, that nebulous period of budding self-awareness in which all emotional pain is new and sharp and most likely to burrow under the skin like a jagged splinter for decades to come.

This particular story takes place in seventh grade. I looked, as you may recall, like this:


For reasons at the time confounding and deeply hurtful to me, one April afternoon my best friends Vanessa and Jesse suddenly and unceremoniously broke up with me in the locker room before gym class.

“We don’t really want to hang out with you anymore,” Vanessa said.
“Yeah,” Jesse piped up. “It’s not you … it’s us. We’ve changed”
“Also we’ve been talking about it,” Vanessa said, “And we think you’re really annoying.”

So that happened. I self-medicated with bedtime Garrison Keillor tapes and Blossom hats. And then I tried to find some new friends. The only other girls in my class were, for lack of a better term, the Asian clique, a group of about six Chinese-, Japanese-, and Korean-Americans and one beautiful, dusky Indian girl named Marina. I don’t remember how or why we started hanging out, but knowing 7th grade me I just inched closer and closer to them and started laughing knowingly at their jokes and following them around, hoping they wouldn’t notice that I hadn’t always been there.

Things seemed to be going well for about a week, but then one afternoon, as I was having a snack with my mom after school, I reached into my backpack and found a folded-up note.

It had been typed up and printed on computer paper—an incredibly formality for adolescents in the early nineties. And it wasn’t a note, really, or even a letter. No, it was a one-page burn book.

“I don’t even know why she hangs out with us.”—Alice
“I hate her clothes!”—Dorothy
“She’s so annoying!”—Helen

Yes, they had typed up quotations as a means of rejecting me, as if they were blurbing a nonexistent book I had written called The White Girl With No Friends, or testing out dialogue to workshop a play of the same name.

It stung. The instant pain and humiliation knocked my breath out of my lungs. And the worst part was that my mother was right there. She saw it. She knew.

I was thirteen, friendless, and, by all accounts, unbearably annoying. I had acne and braces and a mushroom haircut. I wore the wrong clothes and fetishized A Prairie Home Companion. My life felt over.

But it got even worse.

The next day, at school, Marina approached me in the hallway.

“Did you get our note?” she asked gently.

“Yeah,” I said. “It’s okay.”

It’s okay.

That’s the part that breaks my heart. It’s okay. It was not okay. It was cowardly and cruel and devastating. I had nothing to lose at that point. I could have said, “Yeah… and fuck you and your dot-matrix printer.”

But I didn’t. I said “It’s okay” because I wanted them to like me even while they were rejecting me. I wanted to be voted Most Agreeable Middle-School Outcast 1993.

Which is funny, when you think about it. And, of course, sad and more than a little bit pathetic.

But funny. Because it so completely sums up who I was in seventh grade. And who, in many ways I still am.

When I do write my bestselling memoir White Girl With No Friends, however, I'm so going to use the dot-matrix line. Because that bitch had it coming.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Michael Jackson Lyrics For Lazy Couples

(Sung to the tune of "Rock With You." Invented by me and Jeff while preparing dinner, after watching too many clips of Jimmy Fallon impersonating famous singers on YouTube...)

Female part*:
*Same-sex couples, please forgive the presumption, and change gender references accordingly

Boy, close your eyes
Let that Slanket cover you
Don't try to fight it
30 Rock is on Hulu

Relax your mind
Lay back and pour me some wine
You got to rub my feet
While I go pick a boogie
Share that Haagen Dazs

I wanna chillax with you all night
Drool on you till sunlight
I wanna spoon with you all night
We're gonna sleep the night away

Male part*:
*See above

Leave those socks on the floor
There ain't nobody there but us
Girl, in those sweats
There's a magic that must be love

Just take it slow
'Cause we got so many episodes of this show
I'ma rub your feet
But I think you have a boogie
Share that Slanket of love

I wanna nap with you all night
Spoon you into the sunlight
I wanna laze with you all night
We gon' 30 Rock the night away


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Friday, March 18, 2011

TGI...WTF? You're Abusey-ing My Eyes!

If you asked me to name two of my favorite things, things I would love to see combined into one life-affirming photograph, I might say, oh, I don't know... Colin Firth bouncy castle.

("Clive Owen chocolate fountain" was harder to Photoshop).
On the other hand, if you were to ask me to name two things I would never, EVER want to see happen at the same time, I would say, without hesitation, "Gary Busey pole dancing." Or, maybe, "Gary Busey eating corn on the cob." But, you know, same idea.

Well, guess what? [Warning: Seriously do not look at this if you are eating or getting ready to make sweet, sweet love to anyone.]


WHY, GOD, WHY?

Unless someone can procure John Krasinski and a Slip-N-Slide immediately I am going to have to wash my eyes out with lye.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Everything I Need To Know I Probably Didn't Learn in Preschool

So I don't know if this kind of stuff makes it outside the New York city limits, but the big news yesterday was that a mother is suing her 4 year-old daughter's private preschool for letting her actually play instead of teaching her the kinds of things that will get her into Harvard.

Yes, really.

The lawsuit even says, in all seriousness, "... getting a child into the Ivy League starts in nursery school."

This makes me sad for mankind, obviously (although I don't know why this woman is freaking out; the kid's future college essay about her painful legal emancipation from her insane, controlling, overly litigious mother is sure to get her a spot somewhere). But more than that, it makes me wonder how I ever got into college, considering that I spent most of my nursery school years finger-painting and peeing in my long johns.

I mean... they couldn't even spell the school's name right, so what hope was there for me?
When I was four, my family moved to Texas and I matriculated to the Austin Waldorf School for two years of kindergarten (What can I say? I was advanced.) The Austin Waldorf School was opened in 1980, so when I arrived in the fall of 1984, it was still new, not having yet evolved beyond its stereotype as a granola-crunchy, touchy-feely haven for the children of hippies. My teacher was a big-boned woman who wore both her breasts and her braids long and loose. She favored grass-skimming prairie skirts and had a broad, kind face that never bore a hint of makeup. Our classroom, as I remember it, was shaped not unlike a prehistoric stone cave or Hobbit hole. Under the domed, earthen ceiling we sang songs and wove rough cornhusks and yarn into the sort of dolls Laura Ingalls Wilder might have received in her stocking on a particularly lean Christmas. The Waldorf Schools of America, founded by Rudolph Steiner, are based on the philosophy that each human being is a unique individual who passes through distinct life stages and that it is the responsibility of education to address the physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs of each developmental stage, but the main thing I remember is seeing this kid Jacob's penis when he came out of the bathroom once, unable or unwilling to pull up his pants. We also made candles. So there was that.

During my Waldorf years I also took to dressing like a wayward, dumpster-diving  Zappa child, and began what would become a life-long love affair with sweatpants.


Jesus. No wonder I was rejected from Yale.

I'm going to sue Waldorf for every corn husk they've got.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

De-Tag or Not De-Tag...That Is The Question

I got tagged in a photo on Facebook yesterday. Which is normal. Except that when I went to go check it out--you know, to see if I looked awesome or if I needed to do my patented move, which is to wait a few days and then de-tag so that the person who tagged me wouldn't realize how vain I am--I couldn't find myself.


I was all, "I'm not even in this--" OH, WAIT. BUT I AM.


I am like the saddest corner of an Edward Hopper painting.

Also, my friends are cruel.

But you know, that mac and cheese was worth it, so fuck it. Not de-tagging. Enjoy my lusty eating/vomit face, world.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Scenes From a Marriage: Bryan Adams Interlude

This photo is from last September, but also happens to perfectly capture Jeff's impromptu nineties love ballad face.
Jeff, hanging up his tie: Look into your heart... you will find... there's nothin' there to hide. Take me as I am... take my life. I would give it all, I would sacrifice...

Me: What?

Jeff, taking off his shoes: Don't tell me it's not worth fightin' for. I can't help it. There's nothin' I want more! You know it's true... everything I do... I do it for you.

Me: Oh my God.

Jeff, curling up on the pillow next to me: There's no love like your love. And no other could give more love. There's nowhere, unless you're there. All the time... all the waaaaaay...

Me: I cannot believe you know the lyrics to this song. This is literally the best day of my life.

Jeff, his voice turning into some combination of Cartman and Elmo: I would fight for you! I'd lie for you! Walk the wire for you! I'd die for you! You know it's true... everything I do... I do it for you.

He waits for my swooning to subside, and then...

Jeff: P.S. I also know "A Whole New World," from Aladdin.

Just when you think you know a guy.
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Friday, March 11, 2011

TGI...WTF? Troll Dolls Trolling For More Than Just Hugs

Seriously, what in the name of She-Ra is this?


According to the Today Show (and you know I trust me some Matt Lauer), my beloved Troll dolls have been defiled, their innocent, chubby bodies stretched into gaunt, freakish elf shapes, their wide noses filed down to nothing more than tiny nubs, their lips garishly inflated, their eyes transformed from gentle brown marbles to giant,  creepy painted orbs. They've even tarted up the name--Trollz. What, are they just Bratz dolls that live under a bridge? Tiny hookers with candy-colored Al Sharpton hair? What, now they're too good for wholesome felt tunics and gingham? They have to dress like Britney Spears circa 1998? Is nothing sacred? Is Dora the Explorer one questionable map away from stumbling into Katy Perry territory? Do metal pasties even go with a backpack?

STOP STEALING MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES, CORPORATE AMERICA.

You are officially on notice.

UPDATE: Reader Michelle writes in:
The sad news is - they've already made over Dora.
I remember hearing about it a few years ago on the news. Caused quite a stir, if I recall correctly. Granted, she's not super sexy - but why? I remember the argument being that they wanted to reflect her growing older, but isn't that the best thing about cartoons? They never age?

This has turned into a troubling epidemic. First Strawberry Shortcake, then Rainbow Brite...even Plumpy from CandyLand got turned into "Mamma Ginger Tree" (Lipo AND a sex change. Not cool, Hasbro.) What's next, sexy baby dolls? (Don't even answer that; you know it's coming.)
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Walk To Remember (Shut Up, Mandy Moore, You Don't Own That Title, And Besides, You're Dead) (In The Movie, Not in Real Life. In Real Life You're Just Married To Ryan Adams, Which is Random)

Today is Jeff's birthday! It is also Jon Hamm's birthday, as well as the birthday of a Pakistani cricketer named Ijaz Butt. Coincidence? I think not. There are also two Gaylords born on March 10--Gaylord Birch, drummer, 1946, and Mitch Gaylord, gymnast, 1961--which is funny because every time we drive up to see his family in Massachusetts, Jeff laughs at the sign for the Gaylord Rehabilitation Center, and I have to sternly remind him that my grandfather stayed there following his aortal aneurysm, and he keeps laughing anyway, and I suddenly feel like Mary Kay LeTourneau because I am married to a twelve year-old. (Also, I am turning a blind eye to the fact that March 10 also happens to be the birth date of James Earl Ray, Mark David Chapman, and Osama bin Laden.)

Last year I did a faux-inappropriate post about the time he gave me birthday head (don't worry, it's just a sneaky play on words, totally safe for work... and for children, assuming they are too young or too naive to get colloquial references to oral sex), so this year I figured I'd try something new and be, like, sincere. You may remember a terribly earnest (and somewhat cringe-inducing in hindsight) prose poem I wrote for my beloved that began "Once upon a time I fell in love with you on a bridge."

Well, gather 'round, children, because I am going to tell you that story.


The year? 2003. The night? April 12 (one day before my 23rd birthday). There's a whole lot of rambling backstory to how Jeff and I started flirting, involving tango and beers and a trucker hat bearing the likeness of Pit Pat from Mr. Show, but all you really need to know is that one day earlier that spring I showed up at an art gallery in Chelsea not wearing a bra and the rest is basically history. Anyway. So Jeff and I had been flirting for a few weeks, and on the evening of April 12, 2003, he called me and asked what I was doing. I had just come from a giant high school-themed dance party, to which I wore a wife-beater and baggy jeans (I fancied myself the Mary Stuart Masterson character from Some Kind of Wonderful) and was now showing off my butch plumber costume to a group of friends at a trendy Lower East Side bar, where a college acquaintance was celebrating her birthday (in keeping with the high school theme, I was also wearing a backpack in lieu of a purse). Though he didn't know many people there, Jeff joined us for a drink, and when I started getting ready to leave just after midnight, he seemed disappointed.

"Let me walk you out," he said as I wrestled with my Jansport. It was now the wee hours of my birthday.

We left the bar and walked over to the Bowery. It was a warm night and we took our time wandering through the streets, still busy in the early hours of a Sunday morning. I don't remember what we talked about--we still didn't know each other yet, and I was nervous in that way you get nervous when you start to suspect that the boy walking you to get a cab might be more than just the boy walking you to get a cab--but I remember what Jeff said when we came to the mouth of the Manhattan Bridge:


"Let me walk you home."

Home was in Brooklyn, three miles away, across a river. It was two o'clock in the morning. I think I said something really articulate and classy, like "Um, excuse me?" It was like Jane Austen was feeding me lines, Roxanne-style.

"C'mon, it's nice out." Jeff lived over 200 blocks in the opposite direction. He was going way out of his way. He was cute. And he wanted to walk me home even when I was dressed like Natty Gann (rent it!). So I said yes.

(Here I feel the need to add a note to any non-New Yorkers: The Manhattan Bridge is not the Brooklyn Bridge. It is like the Brooklyn Bridge's runty little brother. No one ever says, "Let's walk across the Manhattan Bridge!" This is because the Manhattan Bridge walkways are tiny and claustrophobic and surrounded by the kinds of fencing commonly seen at maximum security prisons. But for the sake of this story, it's the most romantic place on earth, so just go with it.)

We started walking, and I told him it was my birthday.

"What's your favorite birthday memory?" he asked.

"This one's got potential," I replied, because, in my heart of hearts, I aspire to be Lloyd Dobler.

We smiled at each other. We looked out at the city lights. At one point, we tangoed. We never kissed, never even came close, but I felt like... something important was happening. Normally I'm skeptical when people say that they knew, the first moment they laid eyes on their future spouse, that they were The One. I'd seen Jeff many times before, and, quite frankly, I hadn't always given him a second thought. But that night, on that bridge, I knew. I may not have known in my head, but I knew it in my bones. April 13, 2003 was the day I knew I'd met my husband.

So I guess it was really my birthday that started it all. But the point is that the man I love--my escort, my tango partner, my restless night owl, my perfect match--was born today. And without him, this wouldn't be a story. Without him, I'd have spent that birthday as just another fashion-challenged tomboy high schooler trying to hail a cab. Without him... I shudder to think.

(By the way, when we got off the bridge, he picked me a daffodil and sang to me and we had cheeseburgers at a 24-hour diner. And he made good on his promise. He walked me to my door, hugged me tight, and then turned around, at 4 am, to make the 90-minute trip back home. I know a keeper when I see one.)

Happy birthday, darling. I love you so much I want to throw up all over my legs.
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Texts From My Sister: The World Is Not A Stage

This normal hipster-looking girl on the D train just broke out into opera singing. Although impressive, I think that's the most annoying subway performance choice... Opera singing is intense, yo. Especially between Pacific and Grand*. Seriously. Also it smells like I am literally inside someone's asshole right now. I can't tell if it's my seat or the whole car. I hope the smell doesn't rub off on me. I have my scarf wrapped around my face like a ninja. I hate when you step into a train and realize your car sucks (because it smells like urine, or there's a mariachi band in it) but then it's too late. Gahhhhh.
*Important footnote to non-New Yorkers: These are two subway stops divided by the East River, meaning that there are no stops in between for a duration of about 10 minutes.

This text made me laugh out loud (I refuse to say LOL, except for just now, in order to state my boycott) because it really is so true: New York City subway cars are like a minefield of horrifying urban legends. There might be a fragrant homeless person, or a rat on the loose, or a gaggle of tweens shoving each other and laughing like hyenas at the slightest provocation. Or, worse, you might be the victim of a surprise attack. Just the other week, I sat down on a civilized-seeming train and started to read my book, when the elderly gentleman next to me began pointing at me and muttering to himself. Then he farted.

I didn't get up, though. It was rush hour, and I have my priorities.
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Humbling Realizations While Listening to iPod on Shuffle During Morning Commute

  • Before I die, I really, really want to reenact the opening scene from Adventures in Babysitting by dancing around my apartment to "And Then He Kissed Me" by the Crystals. Of paramount importance is the very first move, that arms-out shimmy Elisabeth Shue does over the opening chords. Someday, I will do a frame-for-frame remake using a Flip. I will make my future children play it at my funeral.
  • It is one of the great tragedies of my life that no men have ever battled for my heart by doing a sing-off of "Two Princes" by the Spin Doctors.
  • I still know all of the words to Madonna's B-side "Hanky Panky" from the Dick Tracy soundtrack. I know them because when I was ten I habitually roller-skated around the house listening to the song on my Walk-Man and doing saucy dance moves in the hopes of impressing the neighbor boy, whom I had a crush on.
  • I want to do an unironic, flawless hip-hop routine to Wreckx-n-Effect's "Rumpshaker," in front of anyone who has ever underestimated or wronged me. I will be wearing booty shorts and at the end everyone will slow-clap.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

How I Got My Hair Did And Was Not Mistaken For A Drag Queen

I finally got my hair cut this weekend, which needed to happen because I was starting to look like 1970s Cher crossed with Rosanne Rosannadanna. It was not cute.

I went to a place in my neighborhood I'd never tried before. I chose it--as I do with so many things, included but not limited to nail polish colors, Zipcars, and primary care physicians--based on the name. Also because someone on Yelp compared visiting the salon to "walking onto a John Waters set." Um, yes, please.

Guess which haircut I got?
As I walked in, my stylist, Arturo (which was already a great sign, since Jeff and I are both big fans of the movie Overboard, and have been known to shout "Catalina!" and "Arturo!" at each other like we have Garry Marshal Tourette's), was saying goodbye to his last appointment, a tall woman dressed in a retro ensemble that made her look like she was going to an elegant sock hop: circle skirt, collared blouse, fitted cashmere cardigan. She had just chopped off 8 inches of bronze-red hair to donate to charity, and to match her outfit Arturo had given her new bob a sassy little flip. "That's her natural hair color," he sighed to me by way of introduction. "We call her 'Bitch.'"

I always get nervous going to a new hair salon, because I never know if the stylist is going to ask me for my life story, and I don't know about you, but I have trouble forming a coherent narrative while simultaneously staring at myself in a giant mirror. I've always turned into a narcissist when faced with my reflection; in high school I could never prepare oral presentations by doing the speech-into-the-mirror thing because I was too busy winking at myself in profile or trying to see how much I could pout my lips before it looked like I was doing it on purpose.

Anyway, it ended up not mattering, because all Arturo wanted to talk about was his previous client. He told me that he had a few drag queen clients and that even though the statuesque redhead had been beautiful and feminine, he was shocked--shocked!--to discover she was a natural woman. As he chattered excitedly about her enviable coloring and exquisite fashion sense, I wondered what he might say about me to the next woman to sit in his chair. I was wearing a Dirty Dancing t-shirt I'd gotten for free from a friend and had applied concealer hastily, so that my blemishes were not so much hidden as they were highlighted with smears of an ivory color a few shades lighter than my acne-reddened skin. "Now she, she could never be a drag queen," I imagined him sneering. "Not with that skin! And someone needs to tell her that wearing Patrick Swayze on her boobs will not bring him back. Demi Moore tried it with pennies, and honey, that shit does not work. The best you're gonna get is Patrick in Whoopi Goldberg's body, and nobody wants that. It completely defeats the purpose."

Lucky for me, I got a preview of my assessment--a much kinder one than I had envisioned--as I went to pay. "Honey, when you came in here you had more hair than body," he said, looking me up and down. "A big pile of hair on a petite little body--I can't have you looking like a Bratz doll. Now you have balance."

I tipped him 30%. A good haircut is hard to find, but not looking like the Bratz doll version of a bygone SNL character? Priceless.
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Friday, March 4, 2011

Scenes From A Marriage: Apartment Building Amour

Nothing ruins the mood like hearing your upstairs neighbors having sex.

You'd think it would be sexy to hear sex sounds, but it's not, especially when the people making them once flooded your hallway with their toilet.

"Let's put on some music!" said Jeff, who was not about to give up that easily.

"Um... okay." I leaned over to our aged CD player. "We've got... Garrison Keillor... David Sedaris... ooh, Michael Beschloss reading LBJ's secret White House tapes!"

"Um, no. We are not getting it on to your sleep aids. Try again."

Under a two-inch layer of dust I found some John Coltrane. I turned it on and waited for the bass line to drown out the awkwardness.

"You know," said Jeff in his best Barry White voice, "this album is called 'A Love Supreme'." He started puttin' on the moves.

"Do you think it's too loud?" Suddenly I was worried about our downstairs neighbors. What if, in muffling the upstairs sex noises, we were bothering the people below with our smooth jazz (which, let's face it, is basically sex noise anytime it's played after 10 pm)? The last thing I needed was squealing from above and a broom handle banging on the ceiling underneath us. We would be stuck in the middle of a sex-rage sandwich!

It occurred to me, as I leaned over, desperately trying to lower the volume on our Jurassic-era "boom box" while trying simultaneously to plug my ears, that this is a problem very specific to apartment dwellers. If we lived in a ranch house way out in the boonies, we would never have to hear anyone have sex, except maybe for livestock.

Then again, it's always the remote ranch houses that get terrorized by psychos. So, six of one, half dozen of the other, really: Whether you need to invest in ear plugs or a shotgun, no matter where you live, you're always going to have to deal with some bullshit.

Like post-coital Rock Band. Which is just mean.
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oscar Fashion Throw-Down, 4 Days Late... Because You Still Care, Right?

Woah, Nellie*! How about them Oscars, huh?! That was not so long ago that they are now irrelevant, right? Right?? Listen, the last thing I remember was nestling into my Slanket on Sunday night and now it's Thursday, and other than a $5 footlong I found wedged in the crook of my elbow I have no idea what went on. Except I'm pretty sure I missed the episode of The Bachelor where they all go to a remote island and get to use "the fantasy suite," which is totally code for boning. Sigh. That is my favorite episode.

*I wish I knew someone named Nellie, so I could say, "Woah, Nellie!" to her all the time and laugh and laugh. Because of this, though, the friendship would likely be short-lived. Like my friend Cecilia, to whom I kept complaining that she was breaking my heart and shaking my confidence daily, until she unfriended me on Facebook. Okay, that didn't really happen. I wish. I also want to find a Renee whom I can plead with to not walk away. Basically, avoid me if your name has been used in any popular song.

Anyway. There were some controversial looks at the Oscars. Looks that would not get you into the fantasy suite, if you know what I mean (what I mean is sex in the back of the limo). Like, take Cate Blanchett:


Actually, this wasn't controversial at all--everyone fell all over themselves loving Cate's gown, despite the fact that her boobs are looking out a giant porthole. I will grant that it has pretty colors and nice--if horseshoe-shaped--saddlebag detailing. But PEOPLE. It's like she's wearing Givenchy... for Maytag. If her hair wasn't so obedient to gravity I'd swear this was Swinton.

Nicole, on the other hand, looked like herself--albeit a self wrapped in a bedsheet bedecked with puff paint.


And crazy ol' HBC, our favorite velveteen saloon wench, showed off the luggage tag Tim Burton forgot to take off after he claimed her at LAX.


Melissa Leo was the favorite to win--and win she did, dropping the F-bomb along the way. But to me, the below photo begs the question, WHY would someone with a VERY HIGH PROBABILITY of being on a GLOBALLY-WATCHED program seen by MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of people choose to wear an intricate doily with cap sleeves? And what you can't see here is that the DOILY SHINES. It shines with the might of a thousand iridescent American Apparel hotpants! Melissa, this is the dress you wear to the Golden Globes when you're up against Meryl Streep twice for playing both Leni Riefenstahl and Margaret Thatcher. This is the dress you drink your sorrows in, the dress you still have on the next morning while Jeremy Piven is giving you a tour of his walk-in humidor. This is not the dress you win your Oscar in. Of course, it's too late now.


Sharon Stone wasn't up for any real awards, but she threw herself into the running for Most Literal Interpretation of Black Swan. And also, Most Unfortunate Placement of Sad, Flaccid Bow.


I'm not sure which upsets me more: Emma Stone's weird, Spirograph-inspired mini dress and 45 year-old Waffle House waitress wig...


... or the fact that Emma Stone used to look like this:


THAT IS NOT OKAY.

Moving on. Another red carpet trend this year was See-Through Lingerie Disguised As Eveningwear. Not even ScarJo could pull this off, in what looked like a Frederick's of Hollywood Victorian body stocking.


Ginnifer Goodwin, also known as Pouty McLemonFace van ChristianSirianoHair, also had trouble not looking like she fell out of the bordello tree, hitting every branch on the way down.


Jessica Szohr, the only marginally non-white Gossip Girl cast member, draped her Gap khaki skirt in a thorny shroud. I can only assume it was mourning her nipples, suffocating above in a wrinkled vinyl sack.


And Zooey, sweet Zooey. What happened to cotton, which I know is the fabric of your life because I have watched your insufferable commercial, the one in which you pretend that your natural singing voice sounds like Billie Holliday gargling cough syrup, approximately a bajillion times? Cotton would never have done you so wrong--you definitely wouldn't look like you had chest hair, for one. (And seriously, who is stockpiling the Spirographs? Because I WANT.)


Now that I've dispensed with the bad and/or fugly, I'll move on to the dresses I found myself torn over.

Mila Kunis, for instance, wore what amounted to some pasties and a dust ruffle, but somehow she made it look great.


And Michelle Williams looked like 1970s Mia Farrow crossed with a baby duck covered in sequins, and yet she also looked chic.


I don't love Amy Adams' dress--it's a little Tonya Harding for my tastes, and cap sleeves are not my friend--but I think she pulls it off. With the exception of the necklace. I spent the whole night just wanting to rip it off of her, like a jealous character out of Dynasty.


Oh, well. At least they let Anne accessorize her colostomy bag with some rosettes.


You can tell Tim Gunn is being really supportive. I bet in this photo he's whispering, "You know, Annie, normally I would say that ass goiters are a little last season, but you, Miss Mia Thermopolis, are Making. It Work."

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Radio Silence--With Baked Goods!

Hi guys! So, I tuckered myself out live-blogging the Oscars, and I have a super busy week, so I just wanted to let you know that I am NOT trapped under something heavy or face-down in a plate of blondies, and that Jeff has NOT been keeping me chained to the radiator as penance for finishing the Peppermint Bark he's been hoarding since Christmas.

I'll be back later this week (even though I'm here right now, I say "I'll be back" A) for the Terminator reference, and B) because, let's face it, this post does not count--blogging about not blogging is an exercise in absurdity), maybe even tomorrow, if I can get all of the chocolate chips out of my hair (okay, the blondie thing was a lie).
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