Friday, November 19, 2010

Embracing My Unpopular Parenting Choices: Thank You, Erica Jong

The pressure to be A Good Mom by today's standards: I feel it, I reject some of it, and that is why I'm writing this, finally.

If you aren't immersed in the momblog culture, you may have missed this article by Erica Jong, published -- uh, quite surprisngly, actually -- in the Wall Street Journal. It's called Mother Madness, and she basically rails against extremist attachment parenting and all that comes with it. She cites the push toward all things "natural" and how there is a powerful movement afoot where "good" mothering* means breastfeeding, co-sleeping, anti-sleep-training, cloth diapering, making one's own baby food, and -- of course -- staying at home.

*The article focuses on the role of woman/mother and the notion of feminism, so there isn't really discussion about a man's role. As far as I'm concerned, it seems to me that even if the dad stays home, the same pressures apply.

Here's an excerpt:
"As long as women remain the gender most responsible for children, we are the ones who have the most to lose by accepting the "noble savage" view of parenting, with its ideals of attachment and naturalness. We need to be released from guilt about our children, not further bound by it. We need someone to say: Do the best you can. There are no rules."

As you can imagine, especially because she uses inflammatory language --
"Attachment parenting, especially when combined with environmental correctness, has encouraged female victimization. Women feel not only that they must be ever-present for their children but also that they must breast-feed, make their own baby food and eschew disposable diapers. It's a prison for mothers, and it represents as much of a backlash against women's freedom as the right-to-life movement. "
and rejects the Sears' book/method entirely --
"Some of these stressed-out parents have come to loathe Dr. Sears and his wife and consider them condescending colonialists in love with noble savagery."
-- there are a lot of really really pissed-off women out there in the bloggy world, firing back.

Which I get. But I agree with Ms. Jong, I hear her LOUD AND CLEAR, and I am grateful to have her words to cling to. I can't seem to find many others out there willing to say the same things.

Now, I don't think there's anything wrong with the ideas behind attachment parenting. I like most of them. Breastfeeding is cool. I make food for my kid because it's neat, and I like knowing what's in it. I slept with my infant next to my bed for the first few months, mostly so I could hear her breathe.

But that's not the issue. That's not Ms. Jong's issue, either. I see it like this:

FIRST of all, ALL of us -- all parents I know, all parents I read -- we just want to do the right thing. We want to be the best parents we can be. We are all terrified of baby-rearing, because it's big and important and scary and like nothing else we've ever experienced. And it's complex and challenging. have a HUGE industry of parenting experts who profit from telling you what to do. Lots of people make money from taking advantage of the fear and insecurities of new parents. And even if you go beyond those and into the territory of non-profit, friendly, trying-to-be-helpful websites and experts -- few of them exist to help you feel better. Most (at least most I've seen) exist to tell you how to do things the "right" way.

Except none of them -- not doctors, not experts, not cultures, not any of them -- agree.

There is absolutely no universal method for raising children. There is not one tiny thing about child-rearing that anyone, anywhere can agree on.  THERE IS NO SINGLE RIGHT ANSWER.

And THAT, I believe, is the scariest, least intuitive, hardest thing in the world to embrace. We don't want to hear that, we don't want to believe that. We want the answers. We want someone, somewhere saying, "You do it like this. You are good at that. You are doing it right!"

Some of the smartest, most competent, most amazing women I know have fallen to pieces because they don't trust themselves to make the "right" parenting decisions on their own. They turn to every book, blog, expert they can get their hands on in desperate search for the right answer, and then crumble, exhausted, because the information is conflicting and nothing they do seems to "work" and they are left feeling like parenting failures.

Especially if the solution they do find, eventually, is not particularly favored right now, like, for example: formula-feeding, sleep-training, or giving an infant a pacifier.

Remember that time when Eve was just a few weeks old and she got an eyelash in her eye? And I had to call the doctor's office because I was too afraid to just stick my finger in there and get it out? Because I looked online and found about 97 hundred different articles saying you should never put anything in your child's eye ever, not even for a second, because germs! Oils! Bad things! You can make your child blind for life!

Then when I eventually got so freaked out that I DID call the doctor, they were basically like, "Seriously?"

I think about that a lot and I get mad. How did I lose so much trust in my own instincts as a parent and human being? Where did this gripping fear come from? Where did my common sense go?
[end sidebar]

So we have a culture of new parents who are -- for whatever cultural reasons (and I believe there are many, but that's a different discussion) -- scared to death of raising kids and have no faith in their own innate abilities to know what's best. Instead, we do what we always do: we turn to the infinite amount of data available to us online and in libraries, as well as to our friends and pop icons, we sift through the information, and we make decisions.

But, right. Trying to soothe a colicky baby is not the same as Googling how to sync your Blackberry with your work calendar. For all of the obvious reasons, but also because there's many, many methodologies out there AND tons of data -- whether scientific or anecdotal -- to support them.

Imagine if you DID try to look up syncing your Blackberry and the the first result was to ALWAYS do x and NEVER do y, and the next result said exactly the opposite. And then the next 569 results all quoted the exact same method, which cited neither x nor y but which quoted a very important study, z. So you clicked and clicked to find the original z study, and then finally found it and downloaded (because you are a data nerd) and in reading it you discovered that the results were totally misrepresented by the AP article about it, and EVERYONE is using quotes from the article anyway.

That is what looking up anything about how to raise a kid is like.

So after you've sifted through misrepresented data and yelly blog posts and every other expert trying to convince you to buy THEIR book and you're feeling more frustrated and more confused than ever, you can't help but feel lost.  So you piece together what you can, and come away with a general sense of "I guess I should do what most people seem to be doing."

Because there is some consensus.  There is a general attitude out there, buried in both good and bad** data, and it's that attitude that Ms. Jong is responding to.

Somehow, some way, for some possibly insidious anti-feminist reason but probably more because of a general cultural pendulum swing, there is a broad understanding that "natural" is right, and all things "modern" or "manufactured" are not as good.

Also, and very, very importantly: Parents -- especially moms -- who put their own needs and preferences before their kids' are selfish and not as GOOD at being parents (or people) as those who put their kids' needs first all the time.

And I reject those notions. Not wholly, but rationally, thoughtfully, carefully, and lovingly.

For example: 

I breastfed until I didn't. 

I started supplementing with formula after a few months because I wanted to. Not because I was in physical pain, not because my child was fussy and not gaining weight, just because I wanted some of my life back. I hated having drippy, goopy boobs all day, every day. And while I loved being able to provide something so pure and natural to my kid, I hated feeling like a human 7-11. I didn't like feeling physically tethered to my baby at all times, day and night.

I know that breastfeeding is a great thing. But I refuse to believe that bottle- and formula-feeding is inherently bad or evil.

We DEFINITELY have a long way to go in terms of embracing public breastfeeding, adding pumping stations to all workplaces, and accepting breastfeeding as a natural, normal, perfectly great thing to see a woman doing, wherever she feels like it, whenever she needs to.  I will join in those battles and fight those fights. 

Because you know? I will always fight the battles where women are being forced to make one choice over another. When there's only one "right" option, it's not actually a choice.  When we stop letting women choose -- if they want to breast or bottle feed, if they want to work or stay at home, if, well, you see where I'm going with this.

Fighting for choice is why I can switch to formula-feeding while still fighting for the rights of nursing mothers.

It's also why I can say that a big part of my choice to switch was for my comfort, my sanity, my lifestyle preferences. My taking care of my needs doesn't mean I love my child any less, or that I'm less concerned with her needs. Baby got fed, baby was healthy, baby was taken care of, mom was happy.

Another choice some may frown upon? I'd love to make my own baby food 100% of the time, but ha! I'd love to make my own food 100% of the time, too. 

The reality is that I cook dinner from scratch about twice a week. THIS IS VERY IMPRESSIVE when you consider that before I was married, my fridge contained nothing but a box of wine, butter, and goat cheese. (Here is a post with photos of my fridge having literally 3 items in it. Scroll down for the explanation. It's funny because it's true. Also a miracle I got married.)

Not surprisingly, I have not yet mastered the art of cooking dinner for my family every night.

Instead, do you know what I do do? Work. Write. Other stuff. Stuff that contributes to my family -- and my -- overall well-being and peace of mind.

I think people who DO cook every night are amazing. I think they are also doing stuff that contributes to the overall well-being of their families and their peace of mind. I think it's fantastic that people prioritize cooking higher than I do.

But that's all it is. We have different priorities. Mine aren't in any way better, but they aren't in any way worse.

Other examples of ways in which I've failed the generally accepted "natural" movement and made less favorable choices:

We used and still use Pampers.

I buy plastic items for my child.

Eve uses a pacifier to fall asleep.

Eve sleeps in a crib in her own room, and has since she was five months old.

I swaddled. (I thought I was being all good and accepted-behavior-y about this, at least, but apparently there is a new swaddling backlash and it's now very controversial)(Try to keep up!)

Eve went from bottles to sippy cups.

We read books together all the time, but the TV is on for much of the day as well. She loves -- nay, WORSHIPS -- Yo Gabba Gabba.

I had the occasional glass of wine when I was pregnant, and when I was nursing.

Lastly, I am not a germaphobe. I obviously want my child to be clean and healthy, but I do not take pains to sanitize everything she might ever come in contact with, because I can't. I'll use wipes of all kinds to wipe down a grocery cart, only to have her grab something off the shelf and shove it in her mouth.  When she was tiny and her pacifier would fall to the floor, I'd boil it in hot water for five minutes before returning it to her. Then I switched to just running it under hot water. Then just water. Then just wipes. Then just me, sucking off dirt and handing it back to her.

I can't control it. I can't control everything. And that is okay.

Another excerpt from the article:
"Aspiring to be perfect parents seems like a pathetic attempt to control what we can while ignoring problems that seem beyond our reach. 

...What is so troubling about these theories of that they seem like attempts to exert control in a world that is increasingly out of control. We can't get rid of the carcinogens in the environment, but we can make sure that our kids arrive at school each day with a reusable lunch bag full of produce from the farmers' market.

...Our obsession with parenting is an avoidance strategy. It allows us to substitute our own small world for the world as a whole. But the entire planet is a child's home, and other adults are also mothers and fathers. We cannot separate our children from the ills that affect everyone, however hard we try."
Said another way: You really, really, really cannot control all aspects of your child's life.

The more I realize and accept this, the happier I am.

In the end, the whole reason I wrote this post is to say that I don't understand and refuse to participate in the "how to be a perfect parent" game.  I try not judge others' choices until or unless:

1. I see a hurt, miserable, neglected child (and please note: just because you spend all of your time/ energy/resources on your child doesn't guarantee that your child will be happy)


2. I am the victim of judgment myself; then I judge the judgers.  Because why do you care how I choose to raise my child? Is it because you are so desperate for approval, so desperate to be right that you must dismiss all other approaches? If that's the case, um, how did THAT happen? Shouldn't THAT be the question we're examining?

Many of the folks who were angry with Ms. Jong's article said she's clearly just trying to defend herself because she feels guilty for how she raised her kid. I can't help but think, "Really, angry mob? You sure it's not the other way around?"

In any case, why would one woman's choices invalidate another's?  That's the part I just don't get. Weren't we supposed to have come a long way from that?

[edited to add]
I think a large part of the reason I haven't posted much about my parenting trials and tribulations (such as they are) is because I feel like I'm so far outside the "norm" and have been SO AFRAID of being judged. But the more I thought about that in general -- and in particular, as it relates to this article -- the more I realized I have nothing to be ashamed of. My kid is great, and I think I'm doing a swell job as a mom. And if I have nothing to be ashamed about, then I have nothing to fear from writing about my experiences honestly.

**Example of "bad data": One of the "definitive" articles about the deleterious effects of alcohol while nursing is based on a study that was done in the 80s. It suggested that babies who were exposed to trace amounts of alcohol while being breastfed had poorer motor skill development than other kids by the time they were five years old. KellyMom cites this study, and therefore so do many, many, many blogs and other reputable websites.

However, if you actually read the report and its history -- which I did, because hi. wine. -- you find out that the results were not decidedly conclusive, especially since the subjects were all self-reporting. The original researches decided, therefore, to try to repeat the results TWICE and couldn't, either time. The researchers said their original study was invalid. But everyone cites the study anyway.

Hilariously Notably, in one of the subsequent studies, they actually found that children whose moms drank small amounts of alcohol while breastfeeding seemed to have slightly higher IQ scores than those who didn't!  Obviously, this finding was also never reported anywhere. (Which is fine, I get it, but it's no less conclusive than the original finding, which comparatively was reported everywhere.)

I am not arguing against breastfeeding, but I will state that MOST of the studies suggesting reasons why "breast is best" are at best correlative and at worst completely inconclusive. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Share Your Recipes! Thanksgiving Sides & Desserts! Twitter Parties! Sparkling Wine!

Hey, hey.

I have no fewer than 80 blog posts bouncing around in my head, but they're all stopped up right now because for a million reasons. I know. I sound like a broken record. Also, I owe you a post with all your Jerseylicious pictures, because they are the best things I've ever seen.


Today the Clever Girls are (is?) hosting a Twitter Party at noon PST/3 p.m. EST and we're chatting about Thanksgiving side dishes and desserts and we WANT YOUR INPUT. Plus, we have a few prizes to give away, AND a great deal on sparkling wine which you can BET I will be taking advantage of. (Because yes. I WILL have a glass of sparkling wine on Thanksgiving. You know, after the tequila shots and crack pipes are gone.)

No but really. I do need help. Because I'm hosting Thanksgiving again, because I love hosting even though I have little confidence in my ability to cook everything well. Last year I asked you for ideas and help and I ended up exchanging no fewer than 900 emails with one of my best IIFs who tried to explain to me how to add brandied cherries and almonds to the stuffing and I was all, "but WHEN? HOW MUCH EXACTLY?" and she was all, "um, you just eyeball it?"

So, let's see.

1. If you want to join the Twitter party, just hang out and follow the hashtag #cleverholiday.

2. If you want to be registered to potentially win one of our giveaways, please RSVP for the party before 12 p.m. (PST) today here, then answer the questions as they come up.

3. AWESOME DEAL ON SPARKLING WINE! Direct from the Clever Girls Wine Club. La la laaaaa! Free shipping, too!

Vallebelbo Moscato d'Asti

This Double Gold winner in the 2010 San Francisco International Wine Competition usually retails for $17.99, but we bring you this a clever deal: you can order yours for 25% off PLUS FREE SHIPPING!

Each bottle is only $13.49, and we guarantee it'll be a fantastic addition to any of your holiday celebrations.

Click here to order!

4. In case you're wondering, I'm only sharing the one side dish that I feel confident about at today's Twitter party: it's zesty cranberry sauce with red wine, and it's not SO different from the traditional sauce, but it has a little zing that I think makes it special. Recipe is below.

5. What about you? What are you making? What sides do you love? Or, wait, no. Let me ask this: what side dish do I HAVE to make that I won't totally screw up that will be awesome? Please share! I'll be happy to include it in our recipe-round-up!

Zesty Cranberry Sauce Recipe
(I don't know where I got this from, and I apologize for not attributing it. It's just scrawled on a piece of notebook paper in my recipe collection. Just call me Judith Griggs.)

2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup dry red wine
1/2 cinnamon stick
12 oz pckg cranberries
strip of orange zest

Over medium heat, combine wine, sugar and cinnamon and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves and wine is reduced a little, about 4 minutes.

Add cranberries and orange zest. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 10-12 minutes.

Remove from heat, remove cinnamon and zest.

Set aside to cool. Do not refrigerate.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Music's Gonna Get You Through

A friend of mine has asked me to spread the word about this amazing documentary; it (and its participants) deserve to have their story told far and wide.

Please contribute if you can, and pass it on!

About this project (which I grabbed from here)

The Music’s Gonna Get You Through is a testament to the power that community producing can have. We started this film in 2003 with $1500 and some borrowed equipment. Seven years and lots of great volunteer work later we’ve managed to keep tabs on New Orleans piano virtuoso Henry Butler, as well as the kids who participated in his 2003 music camp, and put together a film that was selected by American Public Television for national broadcast…all because of donors like you!

Though the film will air in many cities, it's not running everywhere and many people will miss it. We are launching a grassroots effort to get The Music’s Gonna Get You Through out into the world beyond public television, so that it can be used effectively in deepening understanding of issues facing the visually challenged (and so that more viewers can enjoy Henry, his students, their music, and their victories!).

Please enjoy The Music’s Gonna Get You Through and help spread the word to others. Thank you!
For more info, including where and when the film will be airing and reviews, go to:

Friday, November 05, 2010

Sugar, Sugar

I'm pregnant. Or rather, I AM PREGNANT! AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!

(Does it seem like everyone is pregnant right now? I swear, I may have actually just caught it.)

I waited to tell you -- I waited to tell just about everyone, actually -- not just until I was out of the first trimester, but until I had also gotten the results of our genetic tests back. Because beyond just the regular WHAT IF THIS HAPPENS terror of the first trimester that pregnant ladies go through, I am also a carrier of a genetic disorder that casts a shadow on the very idea of getting pregnant.

We were very lucky with Eve and I was convinced I couldn't be so lucky twice. But I was wrong, and we are lucky, and I can now breathe a sigh of relief and just worry about the stuff that normal pregnant ladies worry about.


Actually, since I've been in this suspended state of knowing-but-not-believing it, it's kind of like I just found out about this little thing inside me. But it's there, and it's fine and well and growing and I heard the heartbeat yesterday and I guess it's really real.

Come May, Eve is going to have a little brother.

So...Crazy!  And now that the cat's finally out of the bag, prepare to be regaled with stories of the first trimester, which involved some general nausea and very strong, very specific food cravings centering around all things sugar: cake, pie, chocolate, cookies, popsicles, and pineapple. That extra tonnage of Halloween candy? Gone.

You will also get to hear about the longest week ever, which featured a doctor I wanted to kick in the head. Also the story of another doctor who, after explaining to us how I have a very reclusive cervix, did not think that Ish's "YOU HAVE THE J.D. SALINGER OF CERVIXES" was funny. (Wrong.)

I seem to be a lot more relaxed in general this time around, too. I am about a thousand times less concerned over all the little things that made me crazy the first time, and am making a concerted effort to try to actually enjoy this pregnancy (since it will VERY likely be the last one) rather than spend the entire time terrified that I'm doing something wrong.

Overall, we're very happy, we're very excited, and I might also sort of be wondering how much chocolate cake I can eat between now and May.

Monday, November 01, 2010

It's November. That Means I Can Use The Word HOLIDAY Now.

First of all, I am pretty sure the entire reason I had a baby was to be able to put her in this costume so I could take a picture of it so I could post it on the internet.

Eve's destiny? FULFILLED.

Anyway. Since it's November and I can use the word "holiday" AND I have an adorable photo of my child, it occurs to me that I should maybe consider sending out a holiday card this year. (Last year? Eve's first Christmas? Yeah, no. Didn't happen. MOMFAIL.)

Luckily, it JUST SO HAPPENS that Shutterfly is working with Clever Girls Collective on an awesome promotion. It goes like this:
  1. I'm going to tell you about their fantabulous holiday photo card collection
  2. Then you look at the collection. 
  3. Then YOU blog about their collection, and YOU get 50 free holiday photo cards. Rawk, right? 

So let me just start by saying that I love Shutterfly. Even though there are a gazillion other options out there, including artsy-fartsier competitors, I ended up using Shutterfly for Eve's birth announcement. In the end, I found their user interface (LOOKOUT! I'M USING TECHNICAL TERMS) more straightforward and user-friendly than the others, including a site that is absolutely lovely and exceedingly popular (I won't call them out by name, but let's just say that it rhymes with Viney Hints).

Here was the birth announcement:

But, right. It's been a year-and-a-half. I should probably send another card out.

So here are my top three favorite designs from Shutterfly's holiday card collection, though it's actually a little overwhelming and hard to narrow down:

"Initially Chic Green Christmas Card"

I like the modern green color against the designer-y black and white. The only problem for our family with cards that emphasize initials -- while minimalist, which I love -- is that I didn't change my last name, so we can't pick just one initial. Oh, well.

"Cheery Year Powder 2010 Christmas 5x7 folded Card"

I like cards that are more like New Year's cards than any other holiday, because I think no matter who you are or what culture/holidays/traditions you celebrate, everyone likes ushering in a New Year together. (And champagne.)

But I think this one is probably my most favorite:
"Holiday Confetti Christmas Card"

It's just happy and festive and celebratory and colorful and cheery and sums up how I try to live my life. Happy Everything!

So, yep. That's my round-up. Remember, you can get 50 free cards yourself just for blogging about this great collection of Shuttefly cards -- click here for details. And WHO KNOWS. Maybe if we all get started like, this week, we'll not only pick the cards and order them, but actually send them, too.

It IS the season of miracles...

This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Friday, October 29, 2010

What A Neighborhood Drugstore Receipt SHOULD Look Like

So, lucky(?) for you, I have found an iPad that lets me quickly and easily draw over images. This means that I now have lots and lots and lots and LOTS of photos to show you. Not that any of the photos are good, but most of them are funny. I mean, I think.

Like this one:
I love this found receipt for many reasons.

For one thing, buying liquor at the drugstore is so...novel! In Connecticut (where I grew up), this was absolutely unheard of and impossible. You could buy hard booze at the liquor store ONLY. Beer and wine could be purchased at the grocery store, but ONLY at the grocery store.  And you couldn't buy booze after 8 p.m. anywhere (not including individual drinks at a bar), or on Sundays or holidays at all. So picking up some (good!) gin at CVS is kind of amazeballs.

Another thing I find fascinating: Why did the purchaser select two entirely different sized bottles of the same thing? Were those the only two bottles left? Were the gin bottles going to two different places?  If so, which place got the bigger bottle?

Also, if you are buying two bottles of gin, do you actually need Nyquil?

(Although, and I mean this affectionately, this does suggest that the Nyquil is for a sick man, and the gin is for the woman having to deal with the sick man. Just my experience.)

Which reminds me: this is one of the best videos ever. It's called "Man Cold."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

That Time I Wrote About Sports And Penises

What Brett Favre is really wondering...

If I were to do a thoroughly thorough detailed thoughtful exhaustive blog post about sports, this would be it. Ready?

The SAN FRANCISCO Giants are going to the World Series!!!!!

First of all, I need to emphasize SAN FRANCISCO because I am from the East Coast and whenever anyone talked about The Giants they meant the New York football team and I spent a LOT of my first year in the Bay Area utterly confused about why San Francisco cared about a NY football team.

Anyway. The Giants in the Superbowl World Series is really very exciting because my husband spent the first part of baseball season moping and mumbling about the fucking Giants, much in the way he mopes and mumbles about the fucking 49ers and the fucking asshole Denver Broncos. Because he loves those teams very much.

Then all of a sudden the Giants started not completely sucking, and the next thing I know I'm learning about how there's this pitcher named Brian Wilson who is not THAT Brian Wilson, duh*, but who has this wacky dyed-black beard. Then Ish started teaching Eve how to say OOOOOOOOOO as in "Uuuuuuuuuuribe" and then Buster Posey and Cody Ross became household names. Like, in OUR household. And now Ish has not only grown his "playoff beard" but he's threatening to dye it black.

*"Brian Wilson? Like, well, not THE Brian Wilson, right?"
"Are you actually asking me if the Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys is playing Major League baseball?"
"Um, no."

So yay for the Giants! They seem like really nice guys and underdogs and they've distracted my husband from the misery that is loving those fucking asshole Broncos.

The OTHER thing I know about sports is this: No. I would never ask Brett Favre to text me pictures of his penis. But in the hierarchy of pictures of penises I've been sent -- and I've placed ads on Craigslist, so I have seen my fair share of penis pics -- his would have to rank top. You know?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ultimate Family Vacation, Anyone?

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I know. I've been posting like, once a week and the last time I was here I was all LET'S MAKE OURSELVES LOOK LIKE SPARKLY JERSEY GIRLS so what could possibly be more aligned with that than a post about my ultimate family vacation? But this posting opportunity calls, and I must listen.

The truth of the matter is that right now, this very minute, no vacation seems like a good idea. I learned on our trip to New York + this summer that a vacation with a barely-toddling baby means a lot of time spent in silent, dark hotel rooms while your child tries to nap in a strange place and you can't so much as sigh loudly (let alone go to the bathroom) because if you wake her, she will NEVER nap and that just means bedtime will be 5:30 p.m. and you know? That's not exactly fun.

So my ultimate family vacation takes place in another year or two or three or four. (I don't know. You tell me: when is the best age to start taking your kids on vacation?)

Regardless of when, I want to go back to Disney World.

Yes. I also want to go to a ton of actually cultured places with history and interest (Prague comes to mind), but, well. Disney.

When I was growing up, Disney is the only place we ever went on family "vacation." We'd take the odd weekend trip, or visit Nantucket or family in the Midwest, but Disney was something we'd wait years to go to. We'd plan. We'd wish. We'd aspire. And then, finally, we'd go. With my best friend's family. And even though trips like those were rife with tensions -- 9 people with tremendous expectations is a lot of pressure for a family vacation! -- they were exceedingly memorable and basically the best thing I ever experienced as a kid.

I can't wait to give that experience to my own child.

What's more, though, is that I don't just want to take Ish and Eve. I want to go with my sisters and their kids. I want to go with my best friend and her kids. And my best friend's her mom, who is like a second mother to me. I want to go from our motley crew of 9 to our second- and third-generation crew of 14 and 15 and 16...

Nothing could possibly make me happier.

But what about you? Where would you go?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
Here is the part of my post where I WOULD show you, in pictures, what a fantastic time we had at Disney World the handful of times we went. Except all of the photos are still in photo books and scrapbooks and frames and SLIDES, and have not yet been digitized. 

Therefore, I give you the most random assortment of photos from WDW EVER, because I happened to have these shots on the computer for reasons I can't possible explain.

Here is a picture of my mom in Disney Land from the 60s. I don't know why she was there or who she went with. But um, here she is! In a Disney photo. With Doc! You're welcome.

Here is my sister, Healy, and Emily's brother, Taylor, on the monorail.
I don't know why they are wearing masks, because I'm pretty sure this WASN'T the year we were there for Halloween.

The day before we went to Disney for the second time, we all got our hair done.
I got my first perm (it was 1986). My sister, Healy, got a "pixie" cut, and spent the
entire time we were in Florida explaining to strangers that she wasn't a boy.

Above, Healy and my sister Sam with the Imagination guy outside of the
Captiain EO (with Michael Jackson! In 3-D!) movie/attraction. The dragon's name is Figment.

Here, the kids pose in front of the Tiki statues in Adventureland. We have probably just come from the Tiki Room, which is a horrible, horrible place where automatron birds screech jungle-bird songs at you for an hour. My mother made us go, and we have never forgiven her. I hope wherever she is, she's reading this.

For those of you keeping score, that's Healy on the left. Next to her is me, the dork in the giant t-shirt and -- could it be? -- acid-washed jeans and giant white sneakers, adorned with a perm, standing a full foot taller than Emily, who is next to me (I have not grown since I was this age). Next is Sam in a fashionable suspender combo (Sam was perpetually better dressed than I) and Taylor, barely putting up with the girls' antics.

Here we all are, in 1988. I don't know what to tell you about the fashions. I was 13, and yes, that's a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt and jean jacket with 900 pins on it. My dad is the guy in the yellow shirt and my mom is the tannest of us all, in a Minnie Mouse t-shirt standing next to me, Healy and Sam.

Don't forget to enter the “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, for a chance to win your own ultimate family vacation. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Perfect Man: A List

I don't know if you're watching Jersey Shore. I have you assume you are, though, because I cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone wouldn't be.

Actually, well, wait.

FIRST OF ALL, I find Jerseylicious the single most compelling show on television for reasons I cannot begin to fathom.  It's kind of like Jersey Shore, but with fewer STDs and more animal prints, and all set against a backdrop of a hair salon, so there's some vague purpose for the cast to exist.

Also, Jerseylicious provides you with a widget that allows you to Jerse-a-cize yourself, which makes it win.


Please click on that photo and Jersey yourself up and then leave me a link in comments and I'll post all the images. (Let me know if you want me to link to your blog/site if you do!)

But anyway. Back to Jersey Shore.

Every time anyone on the show opens his or her mouth, it's pretty much the worst thing you've ever heard anyone say, ever. Not one substantive thing has been uttered by any of the cast, and that is the whole point. Society? Hell? Handbasket? Yes. Yes. Yes. But man, is that ever one sparkly basket!

On the last episode, Snooki was lamenting (uh, my word, not hers) her lack of boyfriend, and so she decided to make a list of the kind of guy she's looking for. Ostensibly (me again) on the idea that if you put your wants out into the universe, the universe will provide.

I wish I'd had Snooki around when I was single-and-looking. Imagine how much help this list could have been! Online dating profile? IT HAS ALREADY BEEN WRITTEN. 

Dear Invisible Internet Friends, if YOU are single, your search has just gotten easier. Because I now present to you the things Snooki, our Everywoman, wants to find in a man. I daresay the list is even in order of importance:
  1. Tan
  2. Guido
  3. Juicehead
  4. Gorilla
  5. Big sense of humor
  6. Likes to party
  7. Fistpumps and frolics
  8. Isn’t a jerk-off
  9. A dork at heart
  10. Smells good
  11. Pays for meals
  12. Nympho
  13. Likes pickles
  14. Takes an interest into my hobbies
  15. Not so serious
  16. Protective
  17. Romantical
  18. Likes to sleep in
You come to this blog looking for advice, right? Well, much like the universe, I'm here to provide.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

And Now You Know WHY You Should Be Following Me On Twitter

This must be the most brilliantly designed, most scientifically accurate, most magic-encrusted feature in existence today.

Did you know that on the Twitter iPad app, when you go to look at someone's profile, there's now a gorgeous piece of code that adds: "Similar to kristysf"? And then it gives you a list of celebrity and non-celebrity people on Twitter who are likened to you? By some flawless algorithm?

So, yeah. People who aren't following me on Twitter? You're stupid. Because you know who I am EXACTLY LIKE?

In case you can't read that list, it is, in order:
  • LovelyButton
  • joelmchale
  • Pink
  • Oprah
  • taylorswift13

Like, okay. LovelyButton is someone named Sarah from Michigan. I don't know or follow her, I don't think anyone I know is following her, she doesn't have a blog, and so, whatever.

She Tweets a lot about having fun and has a delightfully loose grasp of things like spelling and grammar.  Example:

Naturally, she has over 30,000 followers.

So when you're all, Um, Kristy? LovelyButton is nothing like you, I can be like, SHHHHH. You don't know what you're talking about. I Tweet about having fun ALL THE TIME, and I ALSO have a zillionteen more followers than I deserve.

And then you might point out that Sarah once Tweeted that she "wants fried chicken" but is "going to work out instead" and then you might say, "YOU HAVE NEVER DONE THAT IN YOUR LIFE." And I would be all, FINE. THIS BUTTON GIRL ISN'T IMPORTANT, LET'S MOVE ON TO JOEL MCHALE.

And THEN I would be all, Joel Fucking McHale, bitches! Just because he gets paid to be funny on television doesn't mean his tweets are better. And you know what? Twitter knows it. Do you think Joel McHale looks at his "Similar to joelmchale" list and thinks, "Crap. They're catching on to Kristy's hilarity. I'd better continue to ignore her before she gets snapped up by The Soup."

You bet your ass he does.

Next we have Pink and frankly, I don't have enough time to explain all the ways in which Pink and I are similar. Lord knows that when I've envisioned writing my #1 singles, I include lyrics about kicking ass and punching people in the face. And that's just where our similarities begin.

As for Oprah? Well, come on. I mean, did you miss my tweets about that time I gave a woman with missing limbs a new house?

And finally, Twitter is sophisticated enough to have used avatar-recognition software, right? Because everyone's always telling me how Taylor Swift and I could be sisters.  Twitter's just gone and made it official.

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Kind Of Thing I Should Be Blogging About

Eve is walking now.  It started officially about mid-month, and has only accelerated since. Everyone told us that our life would never be the same, and I suppose that's true, although once she learned how to pull herself up on anything within arm's reach -- including very displeased cats -- we've been in remove-everything-waist-high-or-below mode. Crawling with lightning speed + pulling herself up on everything isn't much different from walking, panicked-parent-wise.

She's not very verbal. I mean, she makes noise and babbles and yells and occasionally does one helluva pterodactyl impression, but she doesn't have an extensive vocabulary that I know of. She understands plenty, of that I'm sure, but she's not repeating much. Which is perfectly fine by me because I am certain that once the floodgates open, she won't shut up.

It's inevitable.

Eve will not say "dada" but she will CHANT "daDUH! daDUH!" for minutes on-end. For the record, "Mama" has no such enthusiasm attached to it. I will, if pressed, get a "mamamamama" but those murmurings are few and far between.

She will meow.

She will say "banana."

She will answer "yeah" to things, but I'm not sure she means it.

She will do the sign for "more" if you ask her to. She will clap and high-five, and do "SO BIG!"

If you ask her where her nose is, she will point to it. Which is adorable and makes her seem kind of smart, until you ask her where anything else in the world is, "Eve? Where is your foot?" "Eve, where is the Eiffel Tower?" and she will also point to her nose.

She is a tiny little thing, still. She has itty-bitty feet and stubby legs. (I WONDER WHERE SHE GETS THAT FROM.) All her clothes fit poorly. Anything sized 12-18 months means they'll be too long, but anything smaller isn't wide enough in the waist or thick enough in the arms. We do a lot of pants-cuffing and sleeve-rolling.

Side note: Did you know that I actually had a pair of my yoga pants hemmed? That should tell you a lot, both about my height and about my commitment to wearing comfortable black clothing.

Mostly, Eve continues to be a wonder-child, in that she's still just great. She eats well, she sleeps well, she's fun and funny and she loves music and she and her six teeth are very healthy. 

She is just starting to test her boundaries.

For instance, she knows she is not to climb the stairs, so she'll go over to them, look directly at me, and put one knee on the first step. And then grin. She gets the same grinning glint in her eye when she decides she wants to "pet" a cat, which we try only to let her do when closely monitored because "pet" and "smack" are not distinctions she's interested in learning.

She also hates having her hair in pigtails, and when she's had enough of playing nice, she'll look me squarely in the eye, pull her pigtail holder out and put it in her mouth.

Two days ago, she was buzzing around the kitchen and suddenly plopped down next to the cat bowls. She knows perfectly well that we do not like it when she plays in the cats' dishes, that she's not allowed to eat cat food, and that we really don't like it when she tips the cat dishes over for the purpose of spilling kitty kibble everywhere. But she likes to do it anyway. (Let's face it: it's fun.)

She grabbed the bowl and looked at me.

I said, as sternly as I could without yelling or sounding cross, "No."

She turned the bowl upside down.

I repeated calmly but even more firmly, "No. EVIE, NO."

And then she smiled and put her finger on her nose.


 This video is in no way "special," just a few moments captured at the end of the day.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Trip That Ate New York! PART THREE

Yes, I'm still going on about this trip.
At some point I decided to declare it happy hour at 4 p.m. and gathered a handful of folks in the hotel bar. In my head, the bar was going to be chic and metro and on a high level overlooking Manhattan. In reality, the bar was off the lobby on the ground floor, and had a great view of an alley jammed with parked trucks. It had no more than one server at any given time, and every server seemed to hate our group.

To the bar's credit, though, they did offer BlogHer specials the whole weekend:

Did I take a picture of my child at BlogHer? No. But I took pictures of the drink menu at the lobby bar. I AM AN AWESOME MOM!

As some of you may know, Queen of Spain was unable to attend this year's conference, and this was awful and horrible and stupid on many levels. But if anyone was there in spirit, she was.

Well, and then she was there in stuck-to-sticks spirit.


And then CalifMom brought it to a whole new (lower) level, as only she can. And in such a way that we know Erin would appreciate.



900 more things happened at the conference, most of which have blurred together in my head.

I know that on Friday night, we had to rush from one event in order to get to the AOL party, and the ENTIRE reason we had to get to the AOL party was so that we (Ish and I) could meet Chef Marcus Samuelsson, guest/celeb at the event. Ish wore his crazy pants in honor of meeting him.

 (Photo obviously not taken in Manhattan,
but the pants deserve to be showcased as often as possible.)

So that was awesome.

And then I met a few awesome bloggers and had a ton of watered-down drinks and then all of a sudden we were with a group of people eating Korean food.

On Saturday, it was more of the same GO GO GO GO GO. Starting with a client-sponsored breakfast at 7 a.m., and ending with a change of clothes and Ish, the Clever Girls and I heading to the "old school" Mighty Meet-Up, hosted by Maggie Mason.

(For the record: this was not a fancy, invite-only type deal. This was a "Hey. We're hanging at a bar with not a single sponsor in sight" type deal. And it was great)

And then everyone left to go do other things, and I hung back because I -- YOU GUESSED IT -- had to go to the bathroom.

You can imagine my surprise when I entered the ladies room at the end of the party and found the hostess, among others, costuming themselves as KISS and um?


The Bloggess taking a photo of herself with a drink in the bathroom.
You know. As she does.
Calling card.
Wrapped in plastic so as not to smudge? I'm guessing yes.

The group.

On the street.

And then one of those crazy things happened. Crazier than being in the bathroom while Mighty Girl puts on KISS makeup and The Bloggess takes pictures of it.

We all have our blog idols, right?

I mean, sure, there's Dan and Brooke. And of course, there's Dooce. But like, well, okay. Back in 2006 in San Jose at my first BlogHer, I attended the "Mommyblogging Is A Radical Act" session, because it fascinated me and I didn't know anything about it, other than that mommyblogging was becoming a "term" people had begun to use.

One of the panelists was Alice of Finslippy.  And I will tell you something. I didn't know anyone could be THAT funny or THAT witty in person, just off-the-cuff.

Razor-sharp. Poignant. And so. Fucking. Funny. I was absolutely awed by her.

If you've never read her, go do that.  It's the kind of thing I don't bring up on my blog because saying something like "Alice is a good blogger, I'm a fan of hers" is really like saying, "You know who's an attractive actor? Brad Pitt." 

(I mention Heather/Dooce a lot because I know many of you read her regularly and she's a point of reference.)

But right. I know a lot about blogging and writing and "the industry" and if push came to shove, Alice is probably the only person/blogger/writer I'd be humbled to meet.

Was humbled to meet.

Ish and Alice.

But I didn't just get to meet her.

A small group of us happened to form outside the meet-up, those of us who were fascinated by the KISS situation, but not ready to join in the festivities. So as the Mighty KISS group left to storm Times Square, our ad-hoc group decided to find a place to get something to eat.

And because I don't actually know what anyone looks like, it took me until we were all seated to realize who I was in the company of. Essentially, I was surrounded by Blogging Greats, and I didn't even know it.


Because here we have Holly of Nothing But Bonfires and her husband, Sean.  It turns out, Ish and I have a scary amount in common with this couple, but I would never know that because I don't assume I have anything in common with BRILLIANT, BEAUTIFUL, FAMOUS BLOGGERS.

My pictures are so bad I should be arrested. Seriously. 
*Also? Can I be proud for one second? Holly actually knew who I was/knew about this blog. I found this both shocking and totally relieving because, up until this point, I had felt a little like Jane Goodall.

Amber (of The Amber Show) and her husband, Rob.
Fearless leaders in the hunt for awesome NY pizza.
Also, blog rockstars.

And then came my favorite moment of the night, possibly of the entire weekend. Even better than when I unintentionally insulted The Pioneer Woman.

On the left, we have adorable Alice. On the right we have -- do you know? Can you guess? Because it's 100% obvious and amazing if you know anything about the blogging world WHICH I SWEAR I DO. But I just didn't put two and two together and so I asked the woman on the right, perfectly stupidly, "So, what is the name of your blog?"

Which, to further the metaphor above, is a little like asking Brad Pitt, "So, what do you do?"

I guess I recovered somewhat. I mean, I didn't actually fall out of my chair when she replied, "Oh, uh, it's called 'Fussy'." But still.


And then when all that was over, we wandered on back to the hotel and I had a lovely chat with Fussy and then it was time for CheezburgHer and crazy, awesome dancing and at some point we ended up back in our hotel room and collapsed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Trip That Ate New York! PART TWO

So then about 900 million things happened at BlogHer. Yes, I'm still talking about BlogHer. Shutup. I've been busy.

Oh, but um? Let's try to do this in order with my famously artistic photos, shall we? OOH! And since we're at it, let's make this a totally random numbered list.  Anyone wanna guess how many numbers will be in this list? (Me, neither.)

1. I get on the plane and HOLY HELL.

That picture there? It's of the SLACK in my seatbelt. Did you know that the last time I flew I basically had like, NO slack? It wasn't quite "close" -- I mean, I could always get the belt buckled, but I didn't exactly have a lot of extra room to play around.

It was a little scary, because I would always think back to a trip to Florida I once took with my best friend when we were little. A woman shared a seat in our row with us, and she couldn't fit in the standard belt; she had to be given an extension. She was horrified, we were horrified. It was awful, and uncomfortable, and she seemed miserable throughout the trip.

I never want to be that woman. Or Kevin Smith.

So, anyway, this absolutely astounded me. I had no idea I'd lost so many inches. That's all Medifast.

2. I get a little drunk on the plane.

FIRST of all, I am a crappy flyer. Flier? Flyer. Whatever. I don't like to do it. For the longest time, I thought that drinking would make my plane fears worse, and so I avoided any medication at all.

Then on a business trip a few years ago, my end-of-day flight was delayed for a few HOURS, and I was alone in the airport, and I decided to have some wine.

That was the best flight EVER.

So now I drink unashamedly on the plane and everyone is happier for it. Especially after United promises the three of us an upgrade and then, instead of upgrading us, cancels our seats entirely. (LET US NOT EVEN HAVE THIS CONVERSATION.)

All you need to know is that I managed, finally, to get my ass to the Buena Vista at SFO and down a couple of these puppies:

So that once Eve, Ish and I got on the plane with the other Clever Girls, I was all WHATEVER FIRST CLASS? WHO NEEDS YOU?  Plus, I had the cutest traveling companion in the world.

So sure. About halfway through the flight, I had to stop sending work emails (plane + wifi = AWESOME) because I was feeling too silly. But I did reply to an email to Brooke (of Dan and Brooke) saying that yes, we were still planning to meet them. It read something (exactly) like this:

Hi. I'm not the best flyer/flier? (how the fuck do you spell that? I do not mean to suggest I'm a piece of paper stapled to a telephone pole...) in the world and so I may have had a few gin and sodas and it's what? 12:45 p.m. and I'm on an airplane. With a baby. Apologies.

Of course we're still on! I BLOGGED that I'd be meeting you. (Also? At least two people wrote me and said that of all the impressive things I've done in my life, meeting you and Dan is the MOST impressive. I just want you to understand that means you beat out my "getting on with my life" after my mother AND THEN father died of cancer. CONGRATULATIONS.)

(Also-also? I really do think that's hilarious.)

(Most people have shitty senses of humor.)

(I should not reply to emails on planes maybe ever.)

We'll see you tomorrow! And I won't bring up cancer!

3. Much other stuff happens once we arrive in New York and go to a great dinner and then have an important work meeting, but at the end of the day, I meet Ish and Brooke and Dan for drinks.

We have a great time. I get mad that my husband made very special dinner reservations for us for our five-year anniversary because, even though I love him and New York and Mario Batali, Dan and Brooke are every bit as much fun in person as you'd think.

Even if my iPhone pictures suck.

We try to convince them to move to Napa. I'm not sure it worked.

And in the end, dinner at Del Posto was great. Yes, five years since Ish and I met. CRAZY.

4. Thursday happens, along with ninety billion pre-BlogHer parties, including 898 billion that I'm not invited to because even though everyone sort-of knows me, I'm on precisely zero "lists."

But I did get to go to Social Luxe Lounge! Not because I'm famous or special or RSVP'd in time, but because one of our clients was a sponsor. So I was there, yes. But I was working. JUST LIKE OLD TIMES!

This is what it looked like before 300 people filled up the space and I was suddenly surrounded by famous bloggers (and their handsome, freshly tattooed boyfriends) in fancier dresses and spikier heels than I could pull off.

When I did get a chance to get a cocktail and wander for a few minutes, I took the opportunity to introduce myself to Sundry, who had absolutely no idea who I was. Awesome. Then I tried to be funny when chatting with Ree, relating our only shared anecdote (about the FIRST time I met her, at BlogHer '07), except it came out a thousand percent wrong and horribly.

I won't be waiting for her call.

5. The actual conference starts and I kick it off with a makeover, thanks to P&G!

So, okay. Forgetting that it's New York AND that it's not even 10 in the morning, I tell the makeup artist to GO CRAZY and do WHATEVER she wants!

This starts off just fine.

But, as happens I guess, my eyes get a little dramatic.

Paired with my cute CAbi skirt and t-shirt...

...I officially look like a Preppy Hooker.  Perfect!

 Next up? Queen of Spain crotch shots! Because we are classy Preppy Hookers.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Then and always.

My only 9/11 post, about my best friend's wedding. It took place 3 weeks after the sky fell, in New York.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What Is In My Purse

I just asked a stranger here at the coffee place for the connector doohickey for the iPhone --> Mac so I could download all my STELLAR photos from the BlogHer-and-Beyond trip so I could write about them. But there are like 900 million and they all suck and I'm a little hungover and so you're going to get a blog post about the contents of my purse instead. Happy Friday.

I've seen this as a meme on Facebook (because seriously, what HASN'T been a meme on Facebook?), where you simply detail the contents of your purse for no apparent reason. Right. And so I just looked in my purse and laughed at myself because I am all kinds of ridiculous.

First of all, I am at a table surrounded by stuff. I am always surrounded by stuff. My laptop, my phone, my sunglasses, my keys, my 90%-drunk Americano, my 100%-drunk strawberry agua fresca, a LARGE notebook, a SMALL notebook (which I was using when I couldn't find my large notebook), earbuds for my phone, and a pen.

In my purse?

1. Power cord for my laptop.
Why is it not plugged into my laptop, since I bothered to bring it here? I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine.

2. Polka-dot neck scarf.
Um? So last week my a cappella group was invited to sing at a movie premiere. I know! Sounds impressive, right? Like, you picture a red carpet and limos and fancypants people, right? Movie Premiere. Ha, except no. It was opening night at a regular old theater and people were there just because it was opening night of a movie. On a Wednesday.

BUT, because we didn't know that, we got all dressed up in fancy black, and added cute 50s/60s neck scarves to our outfits. (Because the movie is called Flipped and is set in that era.)  And then we sang our one song in front of an audience who had no idea why on earth an all-female a cappella group was singing before a movie. And trust me, we wanted to tell them we were every bit as surprised as they were.

Anyway. I didn't HAVE a scarf of my own, so I borrowed it. And that's why it's in my bag.

3. Two additional pencils, a pen, a Sharpie, and what I think is a piece of a pen I don't recognize.

4. Five lipsticks. 
Well, if I'm being totally honest, two L'Oreal Colour Riche lipsticks (incl. my current favorite, "Make Me Blush"), two Victoria's Secret Beauty RUSH glosses, and Aquaphor Lip Repair.

5. Oh, hey! I DO have hand sanitizer!

6. A stray "puff" aka kid-friendly cheese doodley thing that Eve loves. 
Why it's roaming free in my bag? Probably just because I'm a mom.

Plus your everyday regular purse debris, aka receipts and bobby pins and change.

Um, so there you have it. A Friday post about my purse. Perhaps next week we'll talk about my pockets?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Trip That Ate New York! PART ONE

Ish, Eve and I left on Tuesday, August 3 to head to New York. We were there for five nights.

Then we visited Connecticut for three nights (since I spent the first 26 years of my life there and yet haven't really been back since I moved away nearly NINE years ago.)

Then, since we were already on a traveling jag, we decided to spend two nights in St. Louis, visiting Ish's 97-year-old grandmother who had never met Eve (and vice versa).

If you're counting, that's 3 hotels, 4 flights, 10 nights, and countless family/friends/parties/business-ings. WITH A BABY.

The trip was great. Traveling with Eve was great (she is a miracle baby, I swear). But still. It's over and the truth is: I have never been so exhausted from a "vacation" in all my life.

I started looking at the photos I took with my phone yesterday, and laughed my head off. Not only am I STILL the worst photographer ever, but I photographed about .0004% of Things That Happened.

I don't even know where to begin.  But I will try.


I have a lot -- I mean, a LOT OMFG LOT -- to say about BlogHer. If I can pull my head out of my ass long enough, I will try to put together an eloquent post about how the conference has morphed over the years. But for now, let me say that it's a good thing I don't suffer from social anxiety because I would have spent the entire conference hyperventilating in the hotel shower.

My point here is that back when BlogHer first began, there were no special cocktail parties that involved extra showers or jewelry or high heels. You used to attend the conference and then you'd burst forth from the closing keynote to the cocktail area and get yourself a Sponsor-tini and collapse. There was mostly no going back to the room to change. There was mostly one main event. Yes, there were other parties, but they weren't always giant to-dos. They certainly weren't the focus of the conference.

That started to change a couple years ago. By now, by 2010, the parties are a giant part of the conference. There are dozens of them: public, private, sponsored, non-sponsored, on-site, off-site, cocktails, finger foods, dinners, desserts, cheeseburgers. It is The Way Of Things. You attend the conference, you go back to your room, you change for the evening.


That was never, ever MY way of things. I have never been able to attend a party at BlogHer (other than the ones BlogHer hosted, of course) because I was working and/or exhausted AND needing to be up before the sun. I never had a moment to change. I never had a moment to even try to fix my makeup. Wearing heels of any sort would have been nothing short of perverted. My only accessories have been clipboards, Bluetooth headsets, and walkie-talkies.

This year, I'd be DAMNED if I didn't take time to get dressed up.

I'm a whole new person.

I weigh less than I've ever weighed at a BlogHer conference, for one. I actually FIT into dresses and cute(ish) clothes. I don't hate the way I look, and I don't have to wear I'm-working-don't-bother-me black.

I can wear heels! Not like, a lot (there's still plenty of walking, and I still weigh a metric ton), but at least some! A little! Because you know what I can do? I can SIT! WHENEVER I WANT!

Add in the fact that I'd also be there as a representative of the Clever Girls Collective. I'm excited and proud to be part of this venture, thrilled to be able to say that it's in part MY company. My partners are beautiful and put-together women, and I enjoy being with them. It makes me want to look beautiful and put-together, too.

ESPECIALLY since mostly bloggers who've met me have only seen my frantic, sweaty, crazy-eyed, melty-make-upped, clunky-sensible-shoed self.

And also? I got to be me. Not me, the person you yell at when you don't like your lunch or can't find your break-out session or have a complaint about the air conditioning. Me, as a blogger. Me, as an entrepreneur. Me, as a wife and new mother. Me, as someone who loves the blogging world and always has.

I feel good and am looking better, and I really wanted to go to BlogHer as a refreshed version of myself.

So, I shopped.

I thought about my makeup. I thought about my jewelry (I barely ever do this; I barely have any; I've never cared much about accessorizing, even though I've wanted to). I bought dresses that weren't a size MILLION and in fact, weren't even plus-sizes anymore. I bought shoes.

Also? I bought everything on clearance and spent practically no dollars. I forgot what it's like to be able to buy "regular" clothes on sale!

And headed to New York with my husband and daughter and partners and new business cards and more confidence than I've had in years, with more dresses than I've ever owned.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A List Of Random. You Are So Very Welcome.

  1. I feel like a complete idiot most of the time, but maybe never more so than when I'm typing quickly and misspell my own name and don't realize it until AFTER I hit "send." In an email to a client.

  2. You know what pisses me off a lot? Like, a LOT a lot? People who expect praise and accolades and promotions and raises simply for doing their actual job. Promotions and raises come from growth, from going above and beyond what's expected of you, from taking initiative. Promotions and raises are NOT the result of you showing basic competency at the job we hired you for.

    I am not referring to anyone in particular, although someday maybe I will tell you about the guy at my first job who made me fume on a regular basis for just this sort of thing. But wouldn't that be petty of me?

  3. Have you ever seen a dog eat a piece of cheese or meat that had a pill in it? And then like, gnaw and slurp at it but ultimately leave just the pill on the floor, covered in gross? That's sort of how I feel when eating artichokes.

    If a food is like, 90% inedible I kind of think humans maybe shouldn't bother with the other 10%.

    Pre-made artichoke dip is an exception.

  4. This morning I awoke to a text from my babysitter that asked if she could reschedule for tomorrow. A perfectly reasonable request. That made me cry.

    It's just four hours, but it means my plans for getting shit done today have been completely torpedoed. I won't be able to be productive. (I should not be blogging right now, I should be working; except I am full of writey/bloggy thoughts and need to get them out before Eve wakes from her brief, second-of-only-two naps.) I just suddenly felt helpless.

    And then I cried harder because I thought I was being so selfish, wanting four hours to myself. And WHAT KIND OF MOTHER AM I?  Who, at certain points in the day and week, prefers working to watching her own child?

  5. I just finished Week 6, Day 2 of C25K this morning and it was the hardest yet. Not because the run itself was particularly hard, I just was having an off day. (Possibly because of the babysitter text above?)

    So I guess I just wanted to say that the C25K isn't all sunshine and rainbows for me, either. Usually it takes a couple minutes for me to warm up and feel okay, and that just never happened today.  It sucked the whole time.

  6. Also, I need new music. I like stupid, bad, cheesy, pop/dance/remix stuff that has a great beat to run to.  Favorites right now (don't judge) (well, okay, judge, but try running to these before you do):
    - Now I'm A Believer (the Smashmouth version). AWESOME to run to.
    - Hey Ya!
    - Because of You (remix) (SHUT UP)
    - Talk Dirty to Me
    - Gimme Hope, JoAnna (Eddie Grant)

  7. Are you going to BlogHer? Because I am. And you know what? I am SO LOOKING FORWARD TO IT. In all the years I ran the conference, I never had time to do the stuff everyone else does. I shopped for clothes at the last minute and always felt like a stuffed sausage, draped in black, clomping around in shoes that gave me blisters EVEN THOUGH I opted for comfort over any discernible style.

    I am SO LOOKING FORWARD to having actual conversations with people that don't involve how much they dislike the lunch or how I could improve things next year.

    I am SO LOOKING FORWARD to not having sweat pouring down my head and the crazylady manic look in my eyes all day, every day, for a week.

    I am SO LOOKING FORWARD to NOT being the person that everyone comes to with questions that no human could possibly answer.

    I am SO LOOKING FORWARD to attending parties! To hanging out! To having a glass of wine mid-day because I just happen to feel like it.

    I am SO LOOKING FORWARD to getting to go out and see the city that the conference is in! I hear there are some things to do in New York.

  8. And speaking of hanging out at BlogHer, I'm suggesting we make a little pre-drinking happy hour on Friday. Please meet me at 4 p.m. at the Hilton Lounge. Just because! Fun!

  9. And not to make you jealous, although probably you will be, but guess who I'm meeting in real, live person while I'm in New York? Dan and Brooke.  And the angels wept.

  10. LASTLY! Do you remember what you were listening to when you lost your virginity? A friend of mine just launched this website called Virgin Ears. You should go confess there. It's good, hilarious stuff.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Project Mom Casting: "I do nothing right, and then I tell the internet about it."

This post was written for the express purpose of Project Mom Casting. Don't you think I should totally be in a reality tv show/movie about mombloggers and other crazypants internet people!?!?!

 * * * * * * * * * * * 

My point of view about being a mom, a blogger, an active participant in social media, and a human being who makes lots of mistakes and generally has crumbs all over her cleavage is this: there's no point in being anything but honest, even though that means the internet is probably going to yell at you.

Do you guys remember that comment war on my post about MAYONNAISE?

It helps that I have a sense of humor the size of my ass.

I started blogging over five years ago when I was a single, messy twentysomething living alone in San Francisco with stupid cats (SEXY!) and going on lots of bad Craigslist dates.  I gained something of a following.

I blogged about my lifelong struggle with weight and weightloss.  Even more people could relate to that.

I eventually blogged about the dissolution of my first ("starter") marriage. How, two weeks after my mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and given just months to live, my husband left me. OVER THE PHONE.

Folks were a little surprised about that story.

I blogged about everything embarrassing in my life, which was everything in my life because I am a messy, spilly, wholly inelegant woman.

And now I blog about how I am 35, still struggling with weight, but somehow living in Napa(!) with my husband(!) and even more(!) stupid cats. And our one-year-old daughter.

I had to start my life over, and I did. That's what my blog is about.

In a more immediate sense, well. I do pretty much nothing right, and then I tell the internet about it.

In terms of being a mom, this means I drank wine when I was pregnant. I breastfed my baby for a few months but I also supplemented with formula and then switched to formula and suffered the wrath of both the lactivists AND the pro-formula feeders. Sometimes I feed my child organic vegetables that I steam-cook myself, and sometimes she eats processed cheese puffs that aren't a color found in nature. Sometimes my infant watches a LOT of Yo Gabba Gabba. (How else can mom make a conference call?)

Because you asked, my end game is to be a wildly beautiful, successful, happy and well-adjusted person whose child requires only like, the barest amount of therapy. In the meantime, I'll just keep blogging it all. I firmly believe that one day I will manage to leave the house in a non-boob-stained shirt.

Oh, and this is me:
Well, and so is this: