Merry everything

I saw that in a card at Target the other day, and it pretty much summed up how I feel about the whole Christmas-Hanukah-Kwanzaa-holiday-whatever debate. Everybody just have a merry everything, and cover all your bases.

So! The big day has come and gone, and Miss Thang is up to her tiny eyeballs in tiny goodies (and we haven't even been to Philadelphia yet). The best part for her was certainly the ribbon, which she ripped off all the packages and wrapped around her neck! (Can you hear the internet's collective jaw smashing into the floor?) Seriously, though, this kid does have a ribbon fetish. I hope this easily-entertained phase lasts a while.

For me, the best part was definitely waking up, putting her in bed with me, and watching the Today show with a wee space heater curled up on my chest. Rob was on call Christmas eve, and being alone wasn't all that fun. But the sweet smell of her head made waking up easier, and her sweet warm softness made staying awake totally worth it.

Now finish hurling and straighten up. There ya go.

Merry everything, internet - I hope your holiday, whatever it was, was as great as ours. We're headed to Hilton Head in the morning, so if this is the only post this week, don't be surprised. It's Christmas vacation, after all. :)


Days until Christmas! Did you notice that November passed pretty quickly this year, and December has been more or less nonexistant? I'm not entirely happy about this (see previous post about lack of time and funds to buy presents) but then again, it's not so bad. We have, after all, scampered right through baby's first cold, baby's first non-scheduled trip to the pediatrician, and baby's discovery of her own bodily functions. Do NOT ask, because wild monkeys with pitchforks couldn't drag THAT experience out of me again.

However, life is still pretty funny, and I'm using my last two minutes to tell you guys that I hope you're managing your holidays, whatever they may be, with the sense of humor I think you need to struggle through. Wait in line, listen to one more person bitch out an innocent sales clerk (and then tell that clerk you love them), watch newscasters tell us what wretched shape we're in... and remember that underneath it all, things are pretty darn good. Smooch.

I get knocked down, but I get up again

I am a good mother. A healer, if you will. Me and my magic friend, the PediaCare nightlight with Soothing Vaportasticness. Norah's feeling much better, and as a result I no longer want to plug my ears with whatever substance is available, crawl into my closet, and die. You wouldn't think a stuffed-up kid could cry that loud, but then YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

Anyway. Days until Christmas = 12! Days I have off between now and then = 4! Number of days of work I need in order to afford unpurchased Christmas presents = 43! I'm getting nervous. Last year at this time, I was finished with the shopping and even 99% finished with the wrapping. This year, I have managed to buy things for four of my eleventeen recipients and to prevent the baby from eating an entire roll of Scotch tape. Other than that, I have had neither the time nor the funding. Some of you may be receiving ornaments made out of wax paper.

Must go eat coffee ice cream, pretend it's caffeinated, and stay up until midnight working on various projects. Bet you wish you were here, don't you?

Baby's learned how to sniffle

Yes, the kiddo has a cold, and I'm a mess. I finally got her to pass out, but only after walking around and around and around the house (silver lining: 15 trips up/down the steps equals buns of steel) and singing every song I could think of at least three times. You really haven't lived until you've made "Tubthumping" into a lullaby.

Anyway, I'm exhausted and I'm going to take my own nap before we go to the pediatrician, so I'll see you guys later. PS - everyone who has snow - wahoo!

Girls who like toys

How cool is this thingie right here?? I learned about Frappr from Miss Zoot, and was instantly fascinated by the thought of bazillions of people putting their little virtual stickypins on my group map. (I know there aren't that many of you, especially since I dumped the old blog a couple of months ago and didn't give out the new address, but humor me here.)

So go add yourself! The four of you who actually read this, anyway.

I went Christmas shopping today and ended up only buying a velour "sleep 'n play," also known as a jumpsuit, for Norah, who already has about eleven velour jumpsuits, but I couldn't stop myself. It has sheep dancing on the front, and it came with a rattle shaped like one of the sheep's heads. And this is how you know the outfit itself was really REALLY CUTE, because the sheep's head reminded me of the horse's head in the Godfather, and there is just something wrong with baby gear that makes one think of the mob.

I also went shopping at Whole Foods today, where I learned that I could happily spend every dollar I'll ever see in my life on really expensive organic hippie food and baby products. And it would be SO WORTH IT. I don't especially like a lot of that stuff - tofu feels a little too much like snot to me - but the beauty of the meat department was completely overwhelming, and I cried, right next to the tofurkey and the Soy Garden spread. The baby aisle is packed with things like $14 lotion (which I bought because it smelled like rain) and an amazingly broad selection of slings (which I did not buy, since I have two already, but all you out there who will eventually have babies? Guess what you're getting.) Me and Whole Foods, we're like this.


I'm in the middle of a rather tense SVU, so my writing skills aren't so hot. In lieu of actual content, here are some adventures with Norah, including...

Our super-hot, awesomely rockin' Christmas photo, complete with overdressed baby and totally adorable Santa/Mrs. Claus dynamic duo, who have been married for 51 years. How cute is that? Our mall hires some quality talent.

Baby Standsalot, who now wails like a fire truck if I don't hold her upright for at least 22 hours a day.

And a big ol' piece of ham. Oh, babycakes, you are so lovely.

Survival of the drunkest: the long story

Time, she does fly. I can't imagine that it's been 12 days since I updated this, but I guess when you're enjoying quality family activities like baking cookies or getting utterly hammered on old people cocktails, you lose your grip on reality.

So Thanksgiving went well (in spite of, or perhaps because of, the three - three! - bottles of gin we went through in four days) and I'm in recovery, a period that's been largely improved by the ongoing presence of pie. We made three for the Big Eat, and yet somehow when those ran out, there were still more pies on the counter. Our pies defied all laws of biology and inanimate object reproduction and totally mated, and I have the thighs to prove it.

The house is in one piece, definitely in spite of the best efforts of six canine crusaders, led by Astrid the wonderpuppy and Gracie, my mom's clinically insane scottish terrier. We had the expected family dogs: Max, Kate's airedale, and Dexter, my uncle's something-or-other. And we also had the orphans, two fuzzy black puppies that we found at the dog park on Saturday. Our neighborhood has a terrific dog park, with very high fences and a lot of woodsy grounds great for endless running. We decided to take said family dogs for a frolic, in hopes that they would chase each other around, eventually die of exhaustion, and thus keep the hell away from the pie. Astrid has her special park tag, but obviously none of the others have it, so we went slinking in, hoping to avoid getting busted until at least one of them passed out.

And of course, when we walked in, a rather good-looking cop beelined right at us. Bumping along at his heels were the puppies, so to cause a distraction and let my mom get the untagged ones into the gate, I immediately began howling and screeching "MAWWWM, look at the little FUZZIES, Mawwwwm, aren't they PRECIOUS!" As hoped, the cop stopped to talk to me, probably because he thought I was completely off my rocker and I was going to go ahead and consume the puppies in one rabid bite.

We learned that they had been abandoned that morning, and that they would be turned over to animal control that evening if no one had claimed them. And I ask you, Internet people, would you have allowed that to happen to something that looked like THIS?

Fortunately, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, Madam Fuzzybritches here and her baby sister have moved in with some very good families, although not before pissing all over our carpet, eating one of the baby's shoes (and I mean chewing and swallowing) and driving poor old Astrid totally up the wall. But we loved them, and they loved us, and I loved having fifty-'leven people and dogs and pounds of leftovers hanging around the house. It was a big ego boost, as everyone kept saying how nice the house looked, and how they were so impressed with the fact that we seem to have our shit together quite well. (And underneath my "oh, THANK you" face, my brain said, "Suckers.")

Princess Norah behaved herself very well, charming the living hell out of the relatives and managing to eat approximately 21 times per day, thanks to my grandmother's obsessive need to feed babies and dogs until they look like little sacks of concrete with eyes. We've discovered that she can stand up while just holding on to our fingers, a nifty little trick that never fails to blow my mind. How can she stand up? When did she grow legs that work? The miracle and wonder of it all! She even managed to be sweet and sunny during the day-long trip to the outlet mall on Sunday. That screaming fussing baby? SHE TOTALLY ATE HER.

Those were the high points, m'dears, and I'll spare you the rest. Gin, puppies, and a baby that can perform like a circus poodle - ain't no party like an our-house party. Wish you were here.

Stay-at-home-mom doesn't actually mean I stay at home all that much.

SO. Someone who shall remain nameless (but who knows who she is) recently wrote about the fact that many of her internet contacts are sick. This person, who is a grad student, also questioned how stay-at-home moms, including me, managed to get sick when we "not actively teaching or in classes and actually interact with a very few people on a day to day basis."

Are you JOKING, you person out there who has obviously taken far, far too much cold medicine and is not thinking clearly? I might not be standing in front of a room full of hung-over undergrads, but I'm also not exactly a hermit down here. Believe it or not - and I know this is hard to imagine - I have developed a life, one that includes actually leaving the house and coming into contact with assorted germ-laden individuals every single day. Just because I'm not a full-time grad student doesn't mean I've permanently locked myself in the house with Ellen, Oprah, and a half-gallon of chocolate overload (as enticing as that sounds).


Anyway. I'm done.

Countdown to Thanksgiving arrivals: Kate - three days, everyone else except my dad - one week, my dad - eight days. I'm moving along fairly well, I suppose. I'm declutterizing the downstairs to prep for the new kitchen cabinets (we have to take everything out for a few days, so we better have someplace to put it all) and trying to figure out exactly where my bundt pan went so I can practice my cakery. That damned thing is never in the same place twice - while I tend to put it on the shelf with the rest of the baking-related crap, Rob prefers to hide it in this dark and remarkably inconvenient corner cabinet. Over the last few months, he's also managed to stash a cookie sheet, one of our cereal bowls, and the food processor down there. It's like we're fighting for dominance with kitchen items, and I just don't know how healthy that really is.

Must go get the Christmas cards off the dining room table - I'm almost done (!!!) but Mr. Salty McCrankyface would probably prefer to eat at an actual table tonight, instead of off his knees like we've been doing. What can I say - there's ribbon involved, I needs me some space.


In a nutshell:

I had a ripper of a sore throat all weekend, which led me to stay inside and gripe to the baby for several days. She was somewhat less than sympathetic, and recommended getting off my dead ass and feeding her piglet self 1250 times a day (I think she's in a growth spurt or something). For some reason I always thought that "feed a cold" thing applied to the sick person; apparently, I was confused.

Thanksgiving plans continue, as we realized we have less than two weeks to prep the house for 10 people. Don't get me wrong, it's going to be awesome having everyone here, but I simply cannot imagine where I'm going to find enough tonic for the insane amounts of g & t's my family puts down. Super Target, beware!

Can you tell I still feel a little schmucky? I hope the kids are good today.

Ooo, by the way - at the doctor on Friday, we learned that Miss Thing now weighs 14 pounds and is 25 inches long, and has a huge giant melon of a head. That's my girl...

MWF seeks internet mystery man for utter devotion and worshipfulness

Dear Craig,

Your list rocks my entire universe.

A few days ago, I got a job as a nanny for a family in Chapel Hill. Aside from the facts that their house is gorgeous, they let me drive their car so that I don't have to use my gas, they asked me if I liked anything special to eat (because they would rush right out and buy it!), and they are paying me ridiculous amounts of money, their girls are cherubs beyond compare. Having Norah with me is wonderful enough; having Norah around them is going to be fabulous, particularly when she starts to talk and uses all three languages that the girls know. I shit you not.

And today, after completing a Harvard study that sister Kate found on your Boston list, I received an email that said I was selected from the survey response pool to receive $80 in Amazon money. Despite the fact that the abovementioned family is paying me the abovementioned ridiculous amounts of money, $80 at Amazon is SO DAMN HOT. At first I thought it was a scam, but Kate cashed in her $10 and it worked, and why would you scam me? YOU WOULDN'T, BECAUSE YOU ROCK LIKE THAT.

For those reasons, and because I am absolutely positive that additional incredibly awesome stuff is just waiting in the wings, I hereby renounce Dr. Rob and select you as my partner for all eternity. You and me, baby. You and me and your super-wonderful-life-affirming list.

Your new spouse

(Can you tell that it's been an ass-kicking few days? God, what a life.)


Good lord, what a week. Things were not exactly pretty at our house on Monday, when we discovered that we were in fact poor (no, for serious - we had to empty the car change thingie to buy beer). So in my state of panic, I applied for several jobs at UNC and Duke, doing much the same stuff I was doing at my previous jobs.

Every little mouseclick was like a shot with a taser. Thinking about leaving the baby at daycare was killing me - not because I think daycare is bad, as I've worked at one and it was really terrific for socialization and collaborative learning and so on - but because we still don't really know a lot about that sort of thing in this area, and I just knew we'd put her at the one center where they make the kids eat grasshoppers and stand in closets when they're bad. She can't even keep her head on straight, so standing in a closet would just be horrible.

So to battle the overwhelming guilt, I put a babysitting ad on craigslist, offering to take kids at our house. And damn if I didn't get an email two nights ago, asking if I'd be willing to go to someone else's house, where they would just LOVE to see the baby, and they'd LOVE for their kids to spend time with a baby, and they LOVE everything about me, and blah blah blah love blah.

Squeals of joy! Joy joy joy!

We are now back to everyday-glee mode, mostly because of the absolution of the daycare guilt, but also because they are going to pay me fabulous amounts of money to spend three days a week with their angelically beautiful little girls.

I'm becoming more spiritual, I think. Lately, when shit happens, I just keep chanting in my head, "Do something good and earn the right to have something good happen." So I make pie for the neighbors, or I clean out the closet, or I donate some stuff to Goodwill, and life gets better. I dunno, maybe it's just a way to take the shit off my mind while things rearrange themselves into something better, but I really think it might be my karma. Earl would be proud.

Postcard from the edge of the road

We're taking off for Hilton Head in a few minutes... My mother, sainted creature that she is, volunteered to deep-clean my grandparents' carpet this weekend. Oh, and she needs me to help too, and it'll be GREAT! Of course it will.

So Happy Halloween, tricksters, and be sure to update your blogs with at least one picture of you and/or your preciouses dressed as monkeys (either this kind or this kind) or other hilarious things. Boo!

Late night giddyfest

First of all, one big fat HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my best pal, who joined me in the League of 26 this weekend (although she managed to do it sans bebe). Eat cake and pretend I'm there, babe.

Congratulations to my favorite graphic designer, Miss Zoot, whose baby girl arrived yesterday. And is she pretty! Such skin, the lucky little devil.

And finally, were it not for the fact that I'm somewhat committed to photo holiday cards, I would so get the ones I saw today at Metropolitan Deluxe, a grand store in the mall. Joseph and Mary were busy loving on their little miracle, and there were the three kings, there were the shepherds, and from somewhere in the crowd a voice bubble rose up:

Jesus Jesus Bo Beezus, banana fana fo Feezus..."

I totally snorted right there in the store, next to a middle-aged fat woman who was buying the Bad Girl's Guide to the Party Life. I don't know which of us was more ridiculous.

One given Sunday

(Editor's note: this post does not contain references to bodily functions. Although I WOULD like to point out that if I want to talk about such things, this is my blog and I CAN. Nyah.)

This was Rob's last day off for quite a while, as he's started his oncology rotation and he'll be working long days with the extremely sick. I asked what made it harder; he explained it with, "Before, when someone came in with a cough, they got some cough drops. Now, if they come in with a cough, they're probably about to die." Ah, I said, and immediately mixed a g-&-t.

So we futzed around in the bathroom (and isn't it SAD that that doesn't mean what it used to mean, instead of meaning sanding down the ridges in my rawther impressive new plastering job), and went for a brief foray around a nearby neighborhood, and roasted a chicken with much success and garlic.

And then, the miracle of miracles: Norah sat up. Granted, she was parked in her Boppy pillow, and she was hypnotized into stillness by the wonder of Desperate Housewives (child-rearin' question: when does she start understanding what "extramarital" and "homicide" actually mean?). But she sat, she sat right there, lounging on her fat little arms, and all I wanted to do was hand her a cocktail with an umbrella and get her some tiny Ray-bans. GENIUS, I'm telling you.

And speaking of precious babies, get a load of the happy face on this wee girl!

Why I had to change my pants today

I took Norah and Astrid to Jordan Lake today, one of our favorite activities now that it's not hot enough to melt butter in my hair. There's a nifty little trail that meanders through the woods on a long and pointy peninsula (question: is a lake big enough to have a peninsula, or is it called something else? A peninsulette?)

Today I pulled a complete genius move, and decided to walk halfway along the trail and then take the pseudo-beach back. What with the drought and all, the lake is super low, and so there's a dry, walkable area around the edge of the water. Ah-ha, sez I, I can just beachwalk all the way back, since the trail - and the parking lot - start at an edge. How lovely!

Ha. A peninsula, in case, you didn't know, can be quite long. This peninsula was not only quite long, but also was completely devoid of shade trees, so after the first ten or so minutes it felt like we were in our own private lakeside version of Sahara, and I was definitely not feeling cute enough to be Penelope Cruz. The temperature was decent everywhere else in the world, but it was 900 degrees where my brilliant mind chose to walk.

We finally got within spitting distance of the parking lot beach, just as I was pretty sure my ears were sweating. However, our progress was abruptly halted by one big, fat, motherfucker of a snake. (And since I'm trying not to swear anymore because of the baby, you KNOW how seriously huge this creature was.) But no, friends, it wasn't just any snake.

It was a COPPERHEAD. (Having grown up in Indiana, where the only predators are snakes and distant cousins who want to hook up, I knows me some copperhead.) And it was on the narrowest part of the beach, apparently enjoying its vacation from the relative shelter of the woods, and it was RIGHT THERE, looking at me like a fat kid looks at a Ding Dong.

I froze, while the idiot dog tried to teach the snake to squaredance and the baby dozed in her carrier. (This is definitely one of many reasons why the world is not ruled by dogs and babies; they have no concept of impending death.) Seriously, I was freaking out. My only option, other than trying to walk past the snake, was to go into the woods, where there were 300 other copperheads who would most certainly chase us down and eat us all alive, bones and everything.

I must have frozen there for ten minutes, or maybe two, I can't remember. All I know is, the little bugger finally turned around and slithered under a rock (you fool, I thought, you stereotypical fool) that was only slightly to the left of where we needed to walk. I decided that this was the part where I put my big girl panties on and deal with it, as they say, so I took a deep breath and started running, and here, HERE is where it gets good: at the exact moment that I passed the snake's rock, I tripped.

I grabbed at whatever I could find to keep me from falling directly onto Norah's squashy little body. Of course, the only thing within desperate grabbing distance was the rock, and after I realized that I was on my knees - in the mud - NEXT TO THE SNAKE ROCK, the adrenaline really started rocking my world and I crawled at about 35 miles an hour, all the way to the clean safety of the parking lot beach.

When I got back to the car, I had a series of park ranger thoughts, like the fact that the poor little snakie had probably made it clear to Chapel Hill by that time, and I probably scared him more than he scared me, and you know, Wild Kingdom shit like that. But then I saw the state of my jeans, and I thought, YEAH FUCKING RIGHT, you little bastard.

(And in case you're concerned, both Norah and Astrid are fine, but Norah has declared that she is the only one entitled to any pants-wetting, so I'd better just grow up and get over it. She's a bossy one, she is.)

You're never too old for a hosing

I used to think that a wild night meant coming home at 4:30 the next afternoon. When I was in college at a certain university (and those of you who know which one, keep your traps shut - they can revoke diplomas, you know) most of the week was spent waiting for the weekend, or at least for Thursday, when the Gin Mill had Ladies' Night.

On a certain friend's 21st birthday, three of us went downtown dressed in our finest stretchy polyester and sparkles. My shirt, a lavender number with the merest suggestion of glitter, had no back, and worse, had ties that ran from side to side. One misplaced hand in a noisy bar and the twins would have been set free to create utter havoc. (And back then, I was way thinner and way cuter - think of the rioting.)

The three of us got thoroughly intoxicated, dragged around the bar district until everything closed down, and piled into a cab to go home. The quickest way from downtown to school runs via an elevated expressway with no shoulder, so we thought we'd be home in plenty of time to watch late-late-late night TV and eat an entire box of frozen pierogies. With butter. And salt. Oh God.

However, the birthday girl opted not to mention how remarkably intoxicated she actually was, and just as the cab mounted the expressway, said birthday girl leaned over and deftly tossed her cookies INTO MY PURSE. I sat there, holding a bag of barf, rather remarkably intoxicated myself, trying to keep my shit together and prevent the cab driver from seeing what had happened. Of course, when you're remarkably intoxicated, keeping your shit together means making frantic gestures and stage-whispering to other people that DUDE THERE'S PUKE IN HERE SHE PUKED IN HERE WHADDAWEDO?

Of course we were busted, and the cab driver jerked over into the right lane and made us get out. Right there on the expressway, with no exit in sight and a two-foot shoulder to walk in (and I ask you, all of you who have been remarkably intoxicated: can YOU walk in a two-foot space without crossing the line? I THINK NOT). We looked like three very expensive teenaged hookers, blindly grabbing at the guardrail and walking home barefoot, dangling blister-inducing platform shoes in one hand.

Fortunately, we only had to walk about a mile before a friend of ours drove past, screeched to a halt, and piled all three of us into his tiny car. The birthday girl and I ended up tangled in one seat - either I was in her lap or she was in mine - and I spent the entire ride just positive she was going to hurl again, yelling into her ear "I swear to God, if you throw up on me one more time, we are no longer brothers!" It made sense at the time.

You know what I did last night? Stripped the baby, her diaper, her blankets, sheets, and mattress pad, and marched the mattress outside where I could hose it off. WILD NIGHT, THY NAME IS BODILY FLUIDS.

Annie needs... to win the Powerball

Well, here we are, boys and girls. My new blog. I miss that Typepad one, I do, but it's better this way: cheaper, more private, and hey, look at that nifty star thing up top! I didn't have a nifty star thing before! These little things, they just send me.

I tried to think of something vastly important to write about for this first post. Unfortunately, I couldn't think of anything - not because there isn't an important thing, but because there are too many. So here they are in four paragraphs or less:

Norah, my most wonderful and beautiful babycakes, has decided that being naked really isn't all that bad. Hence this picture of her butt. (Sorry, sweetie, but Mama had to put up something.) Before today, getting the baby naked was somewhere on par with setting the baby on fire, if you consider the howling and contortions and expressions of agony she went through, so this is a major step forward.

I have successfully stripped the ugly-ass wallpaper from our downstairs bathroom (if you were with me a few months ago, you know about the saga of the ugly-ass wallpaper, and you know that we had decided to leave the bathroom alone and learn to handle the brown with white and navy posies, because we couldn't deal with any more house work. Turns out my handling skills are zippo.) Now it's ripped-up drywall, but I have the necessary tools to fix it up, and so I shall continue.

Tonight is Rob's last night on call at the VA, a very special place where old soldiers go to get their drugs and hassle the nurses. I like the idea of it - after all, these old fellas were very brave and served their country and all - but between the management and the excessive paperwork, it sounds a little nutty over there. Needless to say, Rob is delighted about the prospect of rotating back to That Other Hospital, where the floors are shiny and it doesn't smell like old man skin.

I played a pretty funny game that I got from Adrienne (although it seems that several other people are playing it too) wherein you Google "[your name] needs" and see what comes up. Apparently, I need a wide variety of things, including your prayers for my Himalayan cat, a good home, a job, to escape from the forces of male oppression or something like that, and a creative outlet for my boundless energy. Outlet, indeed.