Spectacularly Normal

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I have a tendency to unconsciously appropriate other peoples' affectations, leading me to say things like y'all.

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Johnsmom wuz here

Now she is gone and I have time, once again to resume my regular postings. And how better to do so than to memorialize the best gifts my mother-in-law has ever brought us by publishing photos of them here?

These are some new friends of Sophie's. Last night I heard them pillow talking while she was asleep about overpopulating her room and then taking control of the world. Or maybe it was our apartment.

This is a book that will be extremely useful now that John and I have decided to give up drinking for a while. Much like the bread maker that we got for Christmas from Johnsmom (note: we don't eat bread), it is a gift that will keep on giving.

I have nothing funny to say about this gift because I am a crossword junky and this book totally rocks my world.

Much the same can be said of this record...yes, that's vinyl people and I have a turntable on which to play it...because it's fucking Richard Pryor for god's sake...on vinyl.

This is for Amanda

Dear Amanda,

I hope you'll forgive my responding to your post on my blog, but I'm hoping that other people who have experienced any of the things you and I have, might find some sort of comfort here.

First off, I think you have to stop putting so much pressure and blame on yourself. While on the one hand mollycoddling yourself all the time won't make the situation better, you have to remember that you've got a condition that is in a large part out of your control and that it's going to take baby-steps to find an appropriate pace at which to move in your life. You need to think about what's right and necessary for you to feel good about the world around you: what kind of stimuli set you over the edge? what kind of environment are you most comfortable with? are there changes in activity or diet or sleep that might support a higher level of functioning for you? do you need more time with friends who love you, but in smaller doses? could you make a deal with yourself to go out one night/day if you had friends in the night/day previous to that? Does any of this make sense?

For me, the process, which is clearly still very much a process, has been one of understanding how to construct the right conditions under which I can overcome the limitations imposed by my bipolar diagnosis. As we've recently found, sleep is a big factor...huge factor. Alcohol, I believe, is also a factor. Spending too much time in crowded places with too much stimulation is also overwhelming. These are just a few examples of what I meant in my questions above.

I can certainly understand your fears and concerns about meds. The first time the question of meds was raised was last summer when John and I were in India for a wedding. We were there with all of our friends, as well as Johnsmom. One morning, after a long night of celebrating, John suggested that maybe I would be more consistently happy if I looked into meds. I didn't smile as much anymore, or enjoy the things that had once brought me so much pleasure. He was right, of course, but I'd been doing such a good job of convincing myself that if I just lost another 7lbs or another 5 lbs everything would be better, that it never occurred to me that there was anything else wrong in my life. I should say: wrong in the way I felt about my life.

Needless to say, when he brought the issue up, I refused to consider it. I was terrified of meds. I had totally irrational presumptions that I would end up a fat emotionless vegetable if I started taking something. And that my brain wouldn't belong to me anymore. Worse yet, I was raised to believe that people who needed medication or had any kind of chemical imbalance were sick freaks that were discountable. That people like that were weak. Now, let's be perfectly clear, I didn't believe any of those things myself, but this is back when I was still talking to my family (for the most part) and the thought of their response to my taking meds was enough to close the issue. When my brother was 15 or so, he was diagnosed depressed and put on Prozac, then Zoloft, and my father acted like my brother was a pariah. Only when my brother went off his meds did their relationship start to mend. When, directly preceding my own diagnosis, my brother was diagnosed bipolar, my parents totally wigged. It was a good three months before I confessed to them that I was undergoing treatment for the same condition, but I refused to talk to them about it. If I told my mother I was having a bad day, she would suggest that my meds needed to be adjusted. If I told her I was feeling great, she acted like the issue had never existed. I swear, it was as if I was a dog who was learning to stop peeing on the floors...bad girl, good girl, here's a treat. Ridiculous. In her own way, I believe, my mother was trying to be supportive and even innocuous, but the best thing she could have done was to actually learn about my disorder.

I don't know what kind of relationship you have with your parents, but maybe (if they haven't done so) your parents could read about your anxiety...suggest that they read some of the same books that you are. They should make the same attempt to understand what your experiencing in the world that you are. I would guess that their questions about your condition are very similar to your own and that their behavior towards you is bred of ignorance. I don't know, I could be wrong since I don't have full back-story. I know that (in leu of my parents) having the support of a family (which is, of course, largely comprised of my friends) that I do makes a huge difference for me. It's what gets me out of bed when I can't do it on my own. I believe as well that if my parents were actually available in my life, really available, then the quality of this struggle would be, and have been, incredibly different.

Now, as far as meds go...again...I have friends who take (or have taken) them. One of my closest friends has found her way back to life through Zoloft. I mean to say that she was in the darkest hole I've ever witnessed and for her Zoloft was the light she needed to find her way out. I know that sounds dramatic, but it was. Another of my dearest friends takes Wellbutrin. He, like me, didn't realize that the emotional dips in his life were indicative of a long period of functional depression. Wellbutrin has worked remarkably well for him without side-effect...at least none that I know of. Unfortunately, the medication side of a clinical condition really is a total crap-shoot. I know that isn't very reassuring or inspiring, and I know that it will be even less so when I say that I do believe what a doctor prescribes often reflects what the pharmaceutical reps have encouraged them to sell, but...and this is an important but...if you have a doctor you can trust, that shouldn't be an issue. I know that my shrink, for instance, favors Depakote. She's had a great deal of success with it, so it's her typical go to drug when the condition and potential recovery of the patient seems to warrant that as a prudent choice. I know, however, that if the Depakote wasn't working for me she would try something else because my relief is more important than a pharmaceutical perk.

Something that stuck out for me in your post was that you're seeing a therapist, but it's your internist who's responsible for monitoring your meds. You may find better guidance with a psychiatrist to prescribe this sort of medication to you since that's their specialty. More importantly, a psychiatrist will meet with you monthly in order to make sure that the medication is doing what it's supposed to and not messing with your system in some unexpected way. Most (or many) shrinks don't do the actual therapy work, so you'd probably be right to stay with the woman you've formed a relationship with (assuming you're happy with her) so that you have someone to continue talking this out with (you know, who's better at it than me).

Now, this is totally silly, but when you were a kid did you read the Little Miss and Mister books? Do you remember Mr. Jelly? He's petrified of everything in the world around him and thinks that every leaf falling from a tree is the world coming to an end or a band of ruffians out to get him? Well, towards the end of the book he meets a tramp who tells him that the answer to overcoming his anxiety is to count to ten every time he feels like he doesn't have a handle on things. I know, I know, it's so inappropriate to bring up a children's book when you're going through something real and serious, but Sophie was "reading" this book to us the other day and I can't get out of my head how true that is. How taking a few seconds to reevaluate and calm down can make a difference.

I don't know if any of this is helpful. Other people have given you good advice to your post as well, from what I gathered...reading was a helpful, less isolating, step for me. Finding blogs written by people who knew what I was going through had an enormous effect on me. And then writing a blog...exposing myself and exploring myself through writing, that moves the process along too. Just remember to breathe when it all seems like way too much, because often it probably is and I know how suffocating that can be.

Best,
I.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Oh boy

It is 4pm. My boss, the woman who trained me, and I were out to lunch and drank lots of wine. I drank mine on a mostly empty stomach. Now, I'm a little less depressed, but would also like to go home and sleep.

I'd also like an exorcism performed to rid my body of the peanut m&m's I ate to sober me up.

Shit.

On an alternate note, my ex-husband did a very nice thing and had a friend of mine, an author with whom I haven't spoken in a while, sign his newest book for me and messengered it over. This makes me feel all the more cared for.

I know I'll figure this...whatever...out and all will be better eventually.

I appreciate the time any of you have taken in sticking through it with me .

A short list of unhappiness

Here is what I know:

My life is too good to be real.
I have an amazing child and an amazing partner.
I am surrounded by friends and people who love me.
I really enjoy my job.
I love to laugh.
I used to enjoy just about everything so much more than I do now.
Everything John did used to be endearing.
Nothing John did made me irritable.
I have the world’s greatest mother-in-law.
I can be really stubborn.
John’s taught me, just by being him, how to be less so.
Until a month ago, (give or take) I was doing really well.
What’s wrong with me is beyond my immediate control.
My sleep isn’t regular or deep anymore without a pill.
I like to talk a lot, but lately I have very little to say.
John is possibly one of the most patient men alive.
Sophie isn’t getting a whole mom right now.
This makes me sadder than I already am.

Here is what I don’t know:

Why this is happening.
If it will get better and stay better.
Whether it will come back and be worse the next time.
How to fix it.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I just really can't explain it

Things are bad. I don't know why. I don't know what to do about it, but things are bad. Maybe it's because I was so undisciplined about the sleep thing? Maybe my meds aren't working? I really don't know. I've been irritable and depressed again, as though all of the amazing stabilizing is suddenly undone. I don't think I'm rapid cycling...at least not in a familiar way, but I do feel like I don't want to leave the house most mornings, or talk to other people. I don't want to blog much.

Everything has become an effort. A hurculean fucking feat.

Where am I anymore?

I see my shrink next Thursday.

Why I like to read

But, as that year wore on, Dora was not strong. I had hoped that lighter hands than mine would help to mould her character, and that a baby-smile upon her breast might change my child-wife to a woman. It was not to be. The spirit fluttered for a moment on the threshold of its little prison, and, unconscious of captivity, took wing.

Moral Dilemma

Is it wrong to wish that someone would just die already, even if she is a fictional character?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

In which Sophie displays her developing skills as a speller



Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Warning: very disorganized post below

Remember a while back when I wrote about never having time for anything? Somehow, I have even less time now. I have a theory that it's got something to do with the fact that every second of my day is accounted for (I'm staying in for lunch, to answer your question) coupled with the new bedtime, but then I could be way off.

This job is kind of amazing, because I care about it and am engaged by it, but it's also making me realize just how many extra hours I used to have and took for granted. While it was never especially easy to work all day and then come home and be mom and housekeeper and spouse, it was much easier when I had the space to be me. It was nice to do all of my web browsing and blogging during the day. I had so much time to think and be away from my life.

Life is a little more claustrophobic now.

I'm starting to feel like my only identity is becoming the one I have in our apartment. Like the only thing I talk about at a party is Sophie or John, but rarely my own interests. I'm resentful of that and it's starting to take it's toll on our family.

Last night I spent more time reprimanding Sophie than I did enjoying my time with her. I felt tempermental and impatient and although a part of that is PMS, I'm not going to shirk my own responsibility for the way things went down. Yes, sometimes Sophie just has crappy days and is less than pleasant to be with, but yesterday that wasn't the case. She was charming (until I started browbeating her) and even read a book to me on the subway ride home.

What's weird is that I'm finding more and more that it's when I walk into my apartment, that I turn all Hyde. Even on the evenings when Sophie and I have a good commute, or if I'm coming home without her and am super psyched to see John, I get cranky as soon as the key is in the lock. And I think a big part of that is my developing dislike for and discomfort in my living space.

Our apartment has somehow become the physical metaphor for my mood...it's cramped and messy looking (even though we clean), a bit cluttered and incomplete. It's the same apartment I've lived in since a year after Josh and I got married. It's become this symbol of stagnancy and maybe the point is that I don't feel like I belong there anymore. Or that I'm just impatient for a new place.

March was so full of incredible leaps forward. We finished our mediation; Sophie got into school; I got a new job; Josh got a new job; I discovered that cotton jersey is a miracle fabric. And now I feel like I'm standing still. It's so frustrating.

She talks about these things with her dad instead

S: I want girl-boobs.

J: What?

S: I want girl-boobs. Like mommy has.

J: (hopefully reinterpreting) You mean you want a bra?

S: Yes a want a bra like mommy wears and also princess Jasmine. But it can be just a little one.

J: Um, okay.

S: And it should be red.

Sentimental to a fault

Yesterday John proved once again that he is purely outstanding. The guy managed to do all of our laundry, clean up the house (including the toilet, ladies) and cook an amazing Southern dinner which included:

Pork shoulder with Carolina mustard sauce
Black eyed peas
Fried okra
Homemade Slaw
Cheap red wine

Uncle TJ came over for dinner and we all ate ourselves nearly sick, leaving no leftovers to enjoy today. One day, when uncle TJ becomes Father TJ, by virtue of the internet, I hope he will remember this meal and be gentle in his conduction of our wedding services.

Further evidence of John's eventual sainthood arrived in the form of an email from my friend Emily regarding a party we went to last weekend:

It was small gesture, but it was the kind of beautiful thing John does. Even when blotto, the man has great humanity. He wasn't blotto yet, okay. But when he found out I wasn't drinking and brought me over the only other person in the room who wasn't drinking, the lovely Saadi, I felt wonderfully befriended. Just a small but endlessly classy move. Just wanted to say. It's always nice to hear nice things about the people you love, isn't it?

It is.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Annoying

It took six different tries over the course of 20 minutes to get my post to actually publish correctly. Either the line breaks were non-existent, or some of the text was cutting out. I feel like I've been having more and more trouble with Blogger over these last few months and it's very upsetting to a geek/neurotic like myself. I've been researching alternate blogging options, both software and hosts, so I may decide to make a change soon, but it's hard to bitchslap Google, no matter how often she slaps you first.

Ah, loyalties.

Life in the trenches

First of all, Blogger is being very weird right now.

Also, after an amazing week of spring in NY, the weather has officially taken to sucking ass by reverting to early winter temperatures and overcast sky. I have a space heater on beside me. It’s sick.

And would you like to know what I'm doing right now (I mean before I started typing this post)? I'm banging my head against the desk because Microsoft Excel refuses to roll over and be my bitch. The software seems to be under the impression that if the numbers don't add up it's because I did something wrong.

What's that about?

I made a really important decision this weekend to abide by the 10pm bedtime that goes along with my depakote dosage. I’m not happy about the fact that I need to, but last Friday was the most depressed I’ve felt in a very long time. I mean, full on please-don’t-look-at-me-I’m-hideous-and-should-live-under-a-rock depression. It was a very dark time that carried over well into Saturday and I really don’t want to feel that way again, particularly if I can avoid it by just following the damn rules.

This experience of getting on meds and adjusting to them, and trying to eek out an extra hour of awake time here or there, has been really interesting. I honestly thought that my doc was being overly cautious about the 10 o’clock thing, and I felt a little resentful that I would have to miss out on a lot because of it: less time with John in the evenings, or to myself, or with friends; no going out on the weekends; no starting a movie after Sophie goes to bed. But my doc was right…I really do have to be that disciplined in order to have my mental health in hand.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t still plan to go out the one weekend night I don’t have Sophie, but it does mean that if I’m planning to do that, the lights better be out on time every other night.

For now, that's all I've got.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Crap Crap Crap

Today the weather is blechy: overcast, threat of rain and it's cold. To match, I feel blue and restless.

I'm feeling fat again (thanks PMS) and for the first time in quite a while it's actually affecting my life.

Tonight, I'm going out with friends and I'm actually dreading getting dressed for it. Somewhere inside I know that's silly, or at the very least irrational, but that hasn't stopped me from wanting to shut myself away all weekend.

Last night, I had a dream in which I was sitting down to dinner with my parents and my father told me I had gained too much weight and he thought I shouldn't eat anything.

It's 1 o'clock and I haven't eaten today and I'm not very hungry.

Um, could someone please bring out the sun again?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Reasons why I'm cranky right now

1) I don't know;
2) I just got home (early) fifteen minutes ago and John's already gone and fallen asleep on the couch;
3) The apartment is a mess and no one seems to care except me;
4) I want McDonald's cheesburgers, a donut, a jar of nutella, some KFC crispy strips and some fries;
5) I won't eat any of those things;
6) I'm lying because I would totally eat any of them, but then I would hate myself for it;
7) It's almost that time of the month and I feel like a fat ass;
8) I don't feel sexy or attractive in the least;
9) Sophie's not here;
10) I'm kinda bored, but kinda not and also very restless too;
11) Why isn't there any fucking nuttela in the house?;
12) How can John be sleeping right now? What happened to the us time?;
13) All of the funny and entertaining things that have happened to me this week involve Microsoft Excel, fritatta and office equipment;
14) That creepy guy who wouldn't stop staring at me on the train.

For Pooja, who's doing some sort of important stuff in law school

My three misunderstood minutes in heaven

Last night John and I took Sophie drinking at the Gowanus Yacht Club, because it's the cheapest place to hook a homegirl up with cheap beer and a hot dog. The place was so swamped that seating was a complete impossibility and we wound up getting Sophie a dog and taking our group over to Pacifico instead. Next Thursday, however, John will be spending the entire day at the Club so as to secure some space for those of us who are trivia and/or booze hounds. It should be especially fun because Johnsmom will be in town.

All of this is to say that Sophie and I arrived about 45 minutes early and had a lot of fun playing in Carrol Park and scoping out the Beanie Babies at Eckerd's, where she informed me that she was really smart and illustrated such statement by usuing the word often correctly and by throwing around the phrase we should look that up.

Right before John showed, we had this conversation:

S: I really like the Incredibles movie, because I really like violence.

M: Um, what?

S: I said, I really like the Incredibles movie, because I like violence. A lot.

M: Honey, did you just say you like violence?

S: Uh-huh.

M: Okay, wait, say what you just said to me one more time.

S: I said, I really like V-I-O-L-E-T. She's my favorite.

M: Oh, jesus. I thought you said something very different. I thought you said you like violence.

S: What's violence?

Our Housekeeping

I've been reading DAVID COPPERFIELD* and came across this paragraph, which I love (even though it's right after he goes and marries that insipid twit of a woman Dora) describing the first housekeeper he and his new (damn her) wife hire:

Her name was Paragon. Her nature was represented to us, when we engaged her, as being feely expressed in her name. She had a written character, as large as a proclamation; and, according to this document, could do everything of a domestic nature that ever I heard of, and a great many things that I never did hear of. She was a woman in the prime of life; of a severe countenance; and subject (particularly in the arms) to a sort of perpetual measles or fiery rash. She had a cousin in the Life Guards, with such long legs that he looked like the afternoon shadow of somebody else. His shell-jacket was as much too little for him as he was too big for the premises. He made the cottage smaller than it need have been, by being so very much out of proportion to it. Besides which, the walls were not thick, and whenever he passed the evening at our house, we always knew of it by hearing one continual growl in the kitchen.

If that right there isn't Dickens, I don't know what is.



*Don't venture to ask me how long I'm taking to read it, because I'd be too embarassed to answer.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Humorous Feminist

Sophie drew this at school today. Apparently, it's a reinterpretation of the Disney film The Little Mermaid. In this version, the prince decides that he wants to be a mermaid in order to be with the woman he loves and even goes so far as to get some "boobies" in the process. I think this really validates my parenting skills.

For the love of a good band

My co-worker Sarah has just introduced me to Kudu, an electro-clash funk band. Allmusic.com compares them to Ladytron, but I have to disagree. Kudu is far more funky and easy to listen to than Ladytron, particularly on repeat. It's the kind of music that makes me want to dance on the train. I love that feeling.

A feeling I don't love quite as much is coming home to find a sink full of dishes that I thought was taken care of this morning by somebody else before he left for the airport. No fancy cheese for him tomorrow.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Egg hunt

Sophie had her first Easter egg hunt last Saturday (she was with her dad on Sunday). We decided to reuse the tiny plastic eggs John's mom sent her (originally full of coins and chocolate kisses) by filling them with gummy bears and tagging them with questions that would lead her along in her search. She did a fabulous job. Her clues were:

-What's pink that you put on when it's cold inside?
-Where does John work?
-Where do you sleep?
-Where are the snacks?
-Where do mommy and John sleep?
-What's nice to ride on a sunny day?
-Where do we keep the coats?

At the end of this jaunt round and round the apartment was a basket of goodies, including gummy bracelets. Mmmmmm.

Except, not really.

Cake

Last week, for Passover, I experimented with cheese cake. The idea was to find a good form to bake the cakes in so that Housing Works can sell them (yes, I am finally getting on the ball) in individual portions. I wasn't pleased with my first go round. The cake to crust ratio was just too close. I used mini-loaf liners, but I think next time (later this week) I'll give it a go in large muffin liners instead. I figure the cake itself will be higher and that will improve on the ratio discrepancy.

Tonight I'm putting together my first vegan cake. It's a carrot cake with "creamed cheese" frosting. I replaced the eggs in the cake with applesauce and I used Toffuti spread for the frosting. The frosting tastes like it's real dairy; I've yet to try the layers. I love a baking challenge.

John asked me this weekend what my plan was for the business. What I told him, which is the truth, is that I don't feel like I can think about cake design just now. The last few months have been kind of crazy what with looking for a job and a school for Sophie, getting through the mediation, and now the training and finding a new apartment. It's too much at present, so cake is mainly on the back burner. Once things settle though, I intend to devote a set number of hours designing and constructing dummies to photograph for my portfolio, so there's that for all of us to look forward to.

Oh how time flies

It's my third week at the office.

Today was my first day at my proper desk, which meant I answered the phone too. It's so strange how something as simple as answering a phone can seem daunting when you're doing it for the first time in a new place. At one point some telemarketer called and asked who she was speaking to and I said: I'm the office manager and for a brief moment I felt this little rush of pride.

More exciting was ordering new desk accessories...wooooo...yes, this is a very sad thing, but not as sad as how thrilled I am to be working in Excel. Which I am...I'm totally stoked...seriously.

Next week I get a business card. Amazing, eh?

A Power Puff Story

When the Power Puff Girls did something special and told Professor something special they want to do.

The Power Puff Girls told Professor they wanted to do something special.
Buttercup said she wanted to go on a boat ride. Blossom and Bubbles said "Yeah! That's a great idea Buttercup."

Then they flew there and got on the boat. Then they said "come on, let's play."


They said, "I dunno." But Buttercup went and played and bumped into everything.

They said, "see, I told you Buttercup."


Then Buttercup said, "alright, I won't do it again."

They said, "thank you Buttercup."

Then Buttercup got on a seat with the other girls* and went on a long journey. The other girls held Buttercup's hand (uh-oh). The Power Puff Girls said, "oh no!"

Then the Power Puff Girls went to the beach. They got their fishing poles out and Buttercup caught nothing, but Blossom and Bubbles caught fish.

Professor said, "Buttercup, try again."


So she did, but all she got was a little kitty cat that was in the water playing with fish in the water. The kitty cat had a whole basket full of fish and the Power Puff Girls added their fish to the basket and they ate fish at the beach.


Then they went home and had lollipops. Pink for Blossom, a blue one for Bubbles, a red one for Dymano and Dymano got a doggie and a green one for Buttercup. Then they went to sleep.


The end.




*The "other girls" are different girls who are not the Power Puff Girls.

Friday, April 14, 2006

See for yourselves


Why I hate technology

because I have spent the last 45 minutes trying to upload a video clip and have yet to meet with any success.

Taking advantage of the time I've got by publishing far too many posts

It was an earthcrack

Sophie is home from school today and, thanks to the close of the stock market (at the drop of a hat), I'm off too.

She has taken nearly all of her stuffed animals and piled them on the couch under blankets so that they can take a nap. However, there was an earthcrack in care-a-lot and now most of the animals have to move to her bed in order to build a new care-a-lot.

At this very moment the animals are split between the two care-a-lots and sleeping. Sophie, meanwhile, is watching Dora the Explorer and yelling at the t.v. in Spanish. She is pronouncing all of the words with r's in them as if they had l's, for example: grande comes out as glande.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Is that a lamb shank or are you just thrilled to see me?

Last night we had Passover dinner with my ex. I made brisket for the first time...which is strange to me since I've been cooking for roughly 16 years now. I'm a big fan of brisket. Especially the brisket at Gahm Mi Oak*, which is sliced just thicker than paper, served cold and piled over with shredded scallion and red pepper flakes. Yum. I cooked my brisket in lots of red wine and veggies, then served it along with spinach and baby carrots and pearl onions. There was also, of course, matzoh ball soup, so for the first time in a very long time broke the carb ban in order to eat one of my favorite foods ever.** For dessert there were individual chocolate cheese cakes with an almond crust and raspberry sauce. Through the miracle of Splenda I have made cheese cake an acceptable indulgence in our starch-free home.

It was nice to be together as a family. It's an unusual situation we've established for ourselves, but it feels so good and makes me so happy that the three of us can come together in this way to share a child and to share holidays. The only downside is that sometimes Sophie gets cranky, because she doesn't have the undivided attention of each parent and is forced to deal with our frustration as she continually interrupts. Last night she was great. After an hour or so of trying without success to make herself the focus of the table, she gave up and started playing with her toys instead.

I love watching children play and Sophie's got an incredible imagination. None of us were prepared, however, for the shock of watching her pull Power Puff Girl Blossom out of her sister Buttercup's head***. It was a moment so creepy and mythic that it silenced us in mid-conversation; an effect that Sophie was subtle in noting.

I didn't take pictures like I was planning to, but John did manage to get this one of Sophie mind-melding with the t.v. before dinner:





*Which is only the best Korean food in NYC, located on 32nd street between 5th and 6th Avenue.

**I basically hold Josh of Carpathian Kitten Loss responsible, because after all of our banter about pancakes and maztoh-brie, what self-respecting Jewess wouldn't cave?

***For those of you as neurotic about detail as I am, the Blossom doll was a 5" plastic one and Buttercup is a backpack with the straps cut off. Blossom had gone missing a week ago.

Stubborn

Sometimes (okay, often) I have trouble asking for the things I need or want.

Specifically, I'm off today because of Passover and John is going to work from home. My expectation was that we would do what we always do when we have the house to ourselves...watch 50 episodes of something in our pj's while eating bacon.


Right now, I am typing in the kitchen and John is in the bedroom reading. And I'm not happy because I know that after he's done reading he'll need to wash some of the dishes from last night's sedar (I've already washed half) and then he'll need to work and then the day will be gone and I won't have finished season 2 of Arrested Development.

Is it stupid that I'm sitting here stewing instead of just telling him what I want? YES. Am I usually much much better about this sort of thing and communicate my needs directly? For the most part, particularly with John.

But right now it's 8:30 in the morning and I'm cranky because last night we'd both said how much fun it will be to have a day together and then someone went and started his own day without me.

Photographic evidence that the apple hasn't fallen very far from her tree

Here I am explaining to John that if you can't think up a funny caption for your readers, it's probably best to post a pic with lots of turbans.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I might have to end the ban

Did y'all know about this and not tell me?


Monday, April 10, 2006

She really is ALWAYS talking


Here Sophie is explaining that when you eat food it turns into poop and then the poop comes out, so eating lunch is really just a waste of food.



Here she is telling me to go to hell.

Elaboration on a familiar theme

I've been thinking about the last post I did about body issues. Okay, the last rant I posted about body issues; fine. Maya, my faithful commenter raises a good question: Why would I want to join a community of women who are a size 16 or higher?

I wouldn't. Er, not exactly. But what I would really like is for women of all sizes to be supportive of one another, because issues are issues regardless. Let me take a step or two back, so that all of this can have some context; even though it's after the fact.

There are two blogs I read that are written by women who are in the size 16 range: Tales of the Cupcake Mafia and She Just Walks Around With It. Both of these women have dealt with their weight and with fluctuations in their weight and with shopping difficulties throughout (and recently in) their lives.

On March 22nd, Nancy (Cupcake) wrote a post about her dissatisfaction with her size. Around the same time I was on a losing crusade to find clothes for my new job, and I decided to do the one thing that would make me feel less miserable: I blogged about it. I referred to Nancy's post and took a position of solidarity, because I think the problems that affect curvy women affect them at all sizes (though of course there are varying degrees even as such). More than a week later I encountered a comment on Nancy's blog in which Anonymous wrote:

I was just reading Spectacularly Normal. I was shocked at the not-so-subtle passive bitchery of your "friend". She goes on about being "morbidly obese" then lists her size, 4/6 next to yours, 16. Nice.

Thankfully, Nancy didn't see it that way and came to my defence (Thank you again!!). But the comment was effective and it gave me pause. It also made me really fucking angry*.

Last week, Kristy (She Just Walks) did a post which I thought was really brave and just really great. I read through some of the comments and felt that same solidarity and was about to leave a comment when I thought better of it. I realized that the bulk of readers responding to the post related to Kristy's words through life experiences that I couldn't lay claim to. Even though I've had those feelings, even though I've been overweight and am the only woman in my family (aside from cousin Heather with whom I am not genetically associated) who is below a size 14, it was clear that my words of commiseration would have no place in that forum.

That's when I wrote my post. Because it isn't fair, right or appropriate that a woman should hesitate to empathize with her peers.

As Maya points out in her comment, we all have issues. At least many of us do. There is a lot of pressure put on women. Even John has said that men don't have to put as much work into maintaining weight and appearance because it's up to them to bring home the bacon (happy dieting John! he he) and he's one of the most progressive thinkers I know. And maybe Maya's right that many of us just deal with those things on the inside, and for some that works, but wouldn't it be great, for those of us who would like to talk it out, if there was an arena in which that could happen? Where women big and small could lend each other support. Or even better, grab steel pipes and take their woes to the designers throughout the land.




*I think it's fairly obvious that I never "go on" about being morbidly obese...I make a joke about how ridiculous it is that even a smallish woman with curves seems to be considered too fat by today's design standards.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

I was thinking of getting another one

This is a fairly bad photo of the tattoo on my wrist. I got this done immediately after a really terrible relationship during which my first bout of anorexia began. The four stars stand for letters. They spell both the name of that boyfriend and the acronym H.A.L.T. - hungry, angry, lonely, tired - conditions it's best assess before getting into arguments or heated debates with your partner. The butterfly represented transformation...the something more beautiful that I was determined to become. It was intended as a visual mantra (I won't do that again) and it worked.

This was a few months before I started dated John.

I'm thinking about getting the exact same tattoo on the other wrist in shades of blue, green and purple. The stars would stand for JOHN. The butterfly would represent a new beginning...the something beautiful that I feel I am.

The amazing thing my life is and will be.

A day in the park










This is what dinner looks like when the child is with her father


*Three kinds of pate
*Champignions
*Peppery olives
*Goat milk gouda
*Grapes
*And wine (which did not fit into the photograph)

Oh and about 16 episodes of Arrested Development, our new favorite show, but I'll get into that later.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

I should really be getting ready for brunch right now

But I have something on my mind. And I'm frustrated. And this won't be orderly. So here it goes.

I've been reading some blog entries lately about weight issues. Somehow, there are always weight issues. What's on my mind right now, and this is something I've never been able to shake, is why women over a certain weight/size are more entitled to their issues than women like me.

I know. That sounds really gross and inflammatory. That's not what I mean to convey.

What I'm saying is, that being a size 6 isn't always easier in one's head than being a size 14 or 18 or 20. What I'm saying is that being me is hard every day. Because while I'm incredibly grateful for my life and my mind and my sanity, I have to face the fact that my body isn't an easy one to dress and that there isn't a "group" I fit in with. I can't post my feelings on a website dominated by heavy women because then I'm just some skinny bitch who complains too much about problems she can't begin to understand.

But you know what? Fuck that. I've BEEN a size 14. I gained 50 lbs during my pregnancy (right, remember, that whole I have a child thing?) and it didn't just magically disappear over-night. I worked really hard to get back to a reasonably thinner size/body...this was before the eating disorder...by walking 6 miles every day and eliminating bread/pasta/sugar from my diet. I did Slimfast for months, even though I lived in perpetual fear of my own bowels as a result. I did what I could because it was hard to carry the extra weight around all of the time. And because I didn't feel like that was the right body for me.

And you want to know the worst fucking thing? I still had a really hard time shopping for clothes because I wasn't quite fat enough to wear the really pretty clothes at say Lane Bryant, but I was too fat to wear the reasonably less ugly clothes at say New York and Company, which was comparable...I didn't even bother looking at the higher-end chain brands.

So what's the deal? Why aren't women who aren't *fat*, but are extremely curvy not supposed to talk about the way they feel in the world? Why is that less valid?

Can you tell that I feel really frustrated?

I work really hard to stay my size. I've stopped eating almost all of the things I used to love that proved to be pitfalls for me weight-wise. I've gotten into yoga. And most importantly, as a woman who used to starve herself daily, I'm learning to like my body and feed it well at the same time without indulging myself. So I feel like it should be okay to be cranky if after all this the fashion world still makes it difficult for me to get dressed in the morning.

Friday, April 07, 2006

While I was on my way to work

John took a shower while Sophie got herself dressed. When he'd dried himself off and put on a pair of boxers, he went looking for Sophie. She was nowhere to be found. Not one to panic, John made a second search of the apartment, and a third, at which point Sophie jumped out from behind the couch and yelled SURPRISE!

Then ensued the following exchange:


S: (Jumping out from her hiding place) Surprise!


J: Oh, I was just looking for you.


S: (Pointing) You need to hide something.


J: (Looking down at his crotch) Oh, sorry.

S: (Shielding her eyes) Was that part of your privates?


J: Yes, sorry about that (making necessary adjustments).


S: That's okay. When people live together it's okay to see their privates.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

These are for her daddy

I'm a little late with these to be honest, since Sophie drew them on Saturday when we left her under the talented care of our friend Emily. In the afternoon, before Emily came to babysit, Sophie drew this:


Cute, right? This is what was awaiting us when we came home at 1:00 am she was still awake:






Is it any wonder she pees on the couch?


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Winter in April

I know that every other NYC based blogger has posted about this today, but it's Spring and this morning tulips were planted outside of my office building. So what was up with all of that snow? It didn't stick, but still.

My theory is that because of this Venus proximity thing*, mother nature decided to give us a nice hearty back-handed bitch slap to remind us who's boss.




*Or some such astrological phenomenon

An example of how much more mature Sophie is than her mother

cum: with; along with; combined with.




Working Girl

It's been fine, thank you for asking. I think that once the job is more completely mine, meaning I'm the only one responsible for the details the job entails, I'll be really happy. I like to be busy. I'll also have a minute or two to post.

The place is such a boys' club though. Which I find funny now, but will probably be annoying in the long run. Someone actually witnessed me bent over unloading some paper and asked if he could help me. Sounds kinda nice right? Let's just say it sorta wasn't.

I find it interesting that they positioned the only female vp in an office that overlooks/overhears the front area I work in.


The people
are really nice though and if I can find a yoga studio in the area, I'll be set.

John leaves for DC (again) in a few hours. It's something I just can't get used to.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Um...that was weird

Dear Miss Kendall,

As the governing body of this domicile, we must give formal reprimand for the "accident" you had on the couch earlier this evening.


Please see the guidelines which fully define the term "accident".


We believe you will find that holding it in until it is too late because you don't want to stop coloring, is not among the currently acceptable definitions of the above term.


In the future we would appreciate an effort on your part to break your mind-meld and take care of business.


Thank you,
Your parents

The fillies love the chocolate

This line is from an episode of the Powerpuff Girls and has absolutely nothing to do with what I'm writing about today.

I started my new job. I think I'm going to like it there. The people are really nice and the vibe is good. Also, I am quite clearly a total piece of ass, since there are only men in the office (except for the one female VP), which will be...um...interesting.


I actually walked into an office today and found that one of the partners actually had a magazine laying open to an ad featuring Halle Berry's new Versace campaign. I'm having trouble locating a photo to post with this entry, but, needless to say, the dress she was wearing was cut down to her navel (literally) and she had one leg naked to the crotch sticking out of it. This wasn't some haphazard page flipping either...the man had managed to pull off a professional variation on the Snap On girl poster right there on his desk.

I sort of thought this only happened in romantic comedies.

Thus far I've learned: finance, finance, jargon, jargon. It's pretty cool.

Oh wait, I forgot to mention this

In my post seeking advice regarding the Sophie/grandmother speaking situation, I forgot to mention that the reason there are specific days delineated for my mother to call is that my ex and I have an incredibly equitable custody arrangement whereby Sophie is with her father every Wednesday night. We also alternate the weekend days, which makes them harder to predict.

So my "scheduling" of time (as anonymous puts it) isn't a control issue at all, just a practical solution, not to mention the only way I can avoid direct contact with her. I gave my mother a specific list of days when Sophie is here to talk to her in an attempt to facilitate the likelihood of their conversing.

As for Sophie's learning to give time to the people she loves, I just don't really see that as a problem. She is one of the most loving, compassionate and engaging children you're likely to meet. I don't think a lack of desire for phone talk can change or minimize that in any way. Her father, step-father and I are all like this: none of us likes to talk on the phone, so maybe it's genetic?

For the record, I encourage Sophie to talk to her grandmother constantly, but I can't make her do it.

And no, it doesn't make me happy when she doesn't feel like talking because it's a big pain in the ass to know that my mother is somewhere in Florida thinking more evil thoughts about my corruption of the next generation.

My question is how do I handle my mother...not Sophie.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

This is not about my mother

Really. It isn't. I'm actually asking for advice. I'm assuming that most of y'all reading my blog are decent, intelligent, good people who may have hit up against some of the tribulations recorded here. So now I'm looking for your input. Here's the deal:

My mother has called twice to talk to Sophie. The first time, last Thursday, I put Sophie on the phone even though she really didn't want to talk (she felt tired and was groggy from sleeping on the train...not to mention that she was finishing dinner) and had her tell my mom that she didn't feel like talking. I figured it would be better if Sophie said so directly.*

Today, even though I specified week days on which my mother should call Sophie (in two separate emails), she's called again and, once again, Sophie doesn't want to talk. She stayed up too late last night with her babysitter and is tired this morning.

So what do I do? I mean, I know that my mother is going to assume that I'm somehow manipulating Sophie into avoiding her grandparents**, but I can't really force the child to talk on the phone if she doesn't feel like it.

I'd love to hear some suggestions on this one.



*Um, at which point my mom actually asked her 4 year old granddaughter whether she didn't feel like talking because she "didn't like mimi anymore?".

**which couldn't be further from the truth considering I'm now in a position to talk and/or think about my parents for the sake of their relationship with Sophie even though I'd rather not deal with them anymore at all.

On the way to the bar

I expressed to John the wish to transliterate or communicate in some way to my reader the deep feral grunting that bracketed Sophie's need for the bathroom during the McDonald's episode.

He immediately offered up this formula: 13
u's, 3 n's, 2 g's and 1 h.

Which would make a sound like this:

uuuuuuuuuuuuunnnggh


Someone was shit faced last night and it wasn't me*

J: Many people here have confirmed that you are the end of everything.

I: What?


J: I've talked to people here who think you're the hottest woman in the bar.

I: Really?

J: You're the end of the process for a lot of people.

I:What are you talking about? Wait. Should I be grossed out?

J: No. I'm just trying to say that this isn't as small as high school and you aren't hot shit.

I: Alright. Hold on. Can I repeat to you what you just said? Because you're not making any sense at this point.

J: Okay. Yes. Please repeat what I said.


I: You said this isn't as small as high school and...I didn't quite catch the last part, but I think you said this isn't as small as high school and you aren't hot shit.


J: Yes! That is exactly what I'm saying. This place. It's not as small as high school. The bar.

I: Can you agree that makes no sense?


J: Oh, wait. I think I was just imagining that Clark Kent had a crush on you.




*One of us doesn't remember having this conversation either.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

How Sophie expressed her frustration over the McDonald's fiasco

Freakin' Hell

Last night I went shopping for work clothes with my friend Bess, which is a whole other possible post. While I was out spending his money, John was picking Sophie up from school and taking her out to dinner. This post is a transcription of the story John told me last night. I've tried to keep it true to his tone:

So, we're riding the train and joking around and suddenly Sophie says
"John, my belly really hurts. I have to go to the bathroom." and she's clutching her stomach and bending over. I tell her she's just going to have to wait a little longer because there isn't anywhere to go and we're almost home.

So, I decide that before I take her to McDonald's we should maybe make a stop at home first, even though she insists that she's feeling all better and doesn't need to go anymore. I figure better safe than sorry, right? So, we're at home for a little while, maybe half an hour or so, and Sophie says she wants to go to
Old McDonalds' even though she hasn't used the bathroom. We get maybe a block and a half and she starts grabbing her stomach, squatting in the middle of the sidewalk and grunting "John, my belly really really hurts and I need to go to the bathroom. It really hurts."

We're about a block from McDonalds.

So, I get her up and she continues walking and as soon as we get into the McDonald's we head for the bathroom on the ground floor. Luckily it's empty. Of course we get in there and it is disgusting. I mean, paper everywhere, no clean surfaces and Sophie and I are forced to devise a method by which I can suspend her over the toilet so that she can go. She then proceeds to take one of the hugest dumps I have ever seen in my life. Now, I have maybe taken a dump like this four times total. It is about 16 inches long and 2 inched in diameter. It is foul. Only then do I notice that there isn't any toilet paper, right?

So, I leave Sophie in the bathroom, tell her not to touch anything, run and get napkins, and do clean-up. Now, because she hasn't been sitting down on the seat, there was no cheeks spreading to make way for the poop; instead she basically had her butt clenched the whole time and now everything is just a mess in there. It takes about 8 napkins to get her clean and she's good about it, but complaining because they're rough.

When it's all done and we wash our hands, she says in a really frustrated voice
"I hate this McDonalds. It's freakin' hell." I look at her in disbelief for a second, then I ask her to repeat what she just said, so she says "It's. Freakin'. Hell."

I told her that was something kids shouldn't usually say. But she was right.