Monday, March 31, 2008

What's the Protocol?

In the past few weeks, I’ve read (on one of my favorite blogs, Variety is the Spice) and had conversations with multiple people about the proper course of action to take when you don’t like a friend or relative’s boyfriend. (Or girlfriend).

In theory, I want my friends and/or family to tell me if they don’t like who I'm dating. An outside perspective can be good and helpful and may lend insight to the relationship that I’m overlooking.

But when the situation has actually arisen in my life, it has…sucked. It’s no fun thinking you’ve made a big old mistake choosing your beau. And in some cases, I think your pride can keep you from listening to the people who care about you.

Sometimes you’re so blinded by love or lust or longing that you hold onto things that don’t suit you well—and when someone tries to tell you to let them go, it makes you want to hold on tighter.

Then, when you dig your heels in, it’s even more frustrating for the outsider who has identified a glitch in the relationship that you don’t see. They either have to choose to keep stating their opinions and observations OR keep their mouths shut and watch you go through whatever nonsense you’re going to go through.

If they tell you they think your significant other is wrong for you, it can create a maelstrom of resentment. This happened last year with my sister—she kept telling me I shouldn’t be with someone who I couldn’t get along and be happy with. And instead of heeding her advice, it just made me angry. It made me push her away. So what’s a concerned sibling, coworker or gal pal to do???

Do we take the “to each his own” stance? As I’m typing this, there’s a little ticker tape running through my head saying Keep Your Side of the Street Clean… Do we have to just keep quiet and have faith that the involved person will figure out their love’s shortcomings or inherent ickiness eventually? Or do we have a duty to do everything in our power to prevent our loved ones from making mistakes?

What do you all think?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Anyone Speak Science?

So dating Mr. Wonderful is like living in a world of puppies and cotton candy pillows where the only thing to eat is chocolate, cheese, bread and wine. Seriously. I have consumed more cheese and chocolate in the last 4 months than I did probably all of last year. Don’t get me wrong, it’s exquisite and decadent and joyous. But I’m wondering if perhaps there is a scientific transmutation occurring in my body.

If any of you have backgrounds in biochemistry or physiology, maybe you can tell me whether this is possible…

Let’s just say that one night Mr. Wonderful and I go to Whole Foods and buy mini wheels or hunks of Camembert, Petit Basque, Brillat-Savarin, La Tur, Jarlsberg, Brunet, and oh say Smoked Gouda. We eat slice after slice, smear after smear on pieces of raisin bread—washing it all down with a nice bottle of Shiraz. And then we throw in some Dean & Deluca chocolates for dessert, just for good measure. We’re stuffed, but Mr. Wonderful starts to put the moves on me on the couch.

Is it possible that he could get me so hot and bothered, he would curdle the cheese in my stomach and cause it to instantly turn to more cellulite on my butt?

Because that would explain why I’m getting more and more jiggle…

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Spy

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but I think it’s what keeps the Internet alive. We all want our daily fixes of Britney instability, LOST spoilers, Chinese horoscopes, and dating blogs…because…well, we’re curious.

But with social networking sites popping up like dandelions, we’re now able to take our piques of interest to a whole new level. We can now, more easily than ever, do the one thing we all love to do...if only on the rarest of occasions… Snoop on our exes.

Oh come on, you know you’ve done it. Or at least wanted to.

In the past, you had to rely on friends of friends, or chance encounters, or nonchalant “just checking in” emails. But now you can go on Facebook, Linkedin, MySpace, Google and even to track down those dastardly dudes who used to light up your lips.

I recently had a dream about an ex from 2005. He was younger and gorgeous and all wrong for me. So of course, the chemistry was explosive. We only dated for 3 months—the last of which, he was living in my apartment—but we dropped the L-bomb on each other and I was devastated when he moved to the east coast (even though I knew it was coming all along). After a couple weeks of being away, he decided he “couldn’t do the long distance thing” and about 6 months after that, I pretty much stopped hearing from him altogether.

I’ve thought of him many times since then, and even tried to email him on a few occasions. But I've never received a response. Where could he be? What is he doing? Did he ever wonder what I was doing?

Thanks to the almighty F-book, I now have my super sleuth answer: Shorty McHotPants is (wearing a suit in his profile pic) back on the west coast, going to grad school at Pepperdine. Not everything I hoped to find out, but it’ll do. Curiosity case closed.

Now, if I could just track down the guy from 2004…

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gotta Lotta Love

I know I already wrote about Eckhart Tolle, but the man is like a little German spiritual yoda—and he’s using The Force for good. So I just can’t help but champion his efforts to educate us on "being."

Today a coworker sent me a link to an online interview with Tolle and it completely verified what I’ve always been told about love. You know when you were in college and you’d be complaining about how one of your ears was half an inch higher than the other and your boobs were too small and you couldn’t drive a stick shift and no boy was ever going to love you, and your mom would look up from loading the dishwasher and say, “You can’t be in love with someone else until you learn to love yourself.” And you’d roll your eyes and bury your nose back in your Poli Sci 102 book.

But now, I realize that mom and her dirty Pyrex pan were right!

You do have to truly accept and adore yourself before someone else can (or will). Eckhart talks about how we try to heal our own perceived shortcomings or wounds by covering them with other people. But that will never work. You have to look within for love—not scavenge for it and expect someone else to make YOU feel love for YOURSELF. He says:

“The Spanish language is the most honest in this respect. It uses the same verb, te quiero, for "I love you" and "I want you." To the ego, loving and wanting are the same, whereas true love has no wanting in it, no desire to possess or for your partner to change. The ego singles someone out and makes them special. It uses that person to cover up the constant underlying feeling of discontent, of "not enough," of anger and hate, which are closely related. These are facets of an underlying deep-seated feeling in human beings that is inseparable from the egoic state.”

“When the ego singles something out and says "I love" this or that, it's an unconscious attempt to cover up or remove the deep-seated feelings that always accompany the ego: the discontent, the unhappiness, the sense of insufficiency that is so familiar. For a little while, the illusion actually works. Then inevitably, at some point, the person you singled out, or made special in your eyes, fails to function as a cover up for your pain, hate, discontent or unhappiness which all have their origin in that sense of insufficiency and incompleteness. Then, out comes the feeling that was covered up, and it gets projected onto the person that had been singled out and made special—who you thought would ultimately "save you." Suddenly love turns to hate. The ego doesn't realize that the hatred is a projection of the universal pain that you feel inside. The ego believes that this person is causing the pain. It doesn't realize that the pain is the universal feeling of not being connected with the deeper level of your being—not being at one with yourself.”

Brilliant, right? You can read the full article at

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Times, They Aren’t a’Changing

This past weekend, I brought home a cardboard under-the-bed box from my parents’ house. On the outside, it just looks like a swollen, splitting, aged, sweater receptacle. But the inside is a veritable treasure chest of junior high and high school memorabilia.

In addition to approximately 568 notes from girlfriends, it contains a stack of Spartan and Falcon newspapers, dried crumbly carnations, a navy and powder blue pom-pom, a Kevin Costner “Robinhood” action figure, a Seventeen magazine prom issue from 1994, my 7th-8th grade diary, my faded graduation cap, and every birthday card I received from age 14 to age 18.

Given that the box is on its last legs, I decided to sort through it and relocate the good stuff to a Rubbermaid tub. So, the past few evenings have been spent reading notes, cards and letters, separating the wheat from the chaff.

What I’ve discovered, is that things haven’t changed much since I
was 16.

I’m still close friends with the same girls I knew then. And our conversations are relatively similar to what they used to be...
“Ohmygosh Marty is so cute, I want to attack him.”
“Ryan is being such a jerk today, I want to punch him.”
“I really like your top, where’d you get it?”
“Do you want to go to the mall with me this weekend?”
“This last hour is dragging, I can’t wait for the bell to ring.”

Yep, pretty much the same. Sure, the crushes’ names have been changed to boyfriends’ and husbands’ names. And the communication isn’t on lined notebook paper—now it’s just online. But so many of the interactions mirror those of our teenage years.

Makes me wonder if we’ll ever really grow up. Maybe not. And maybe that’s for the best.

For another great post on this topic, read Anita Stylist’s blog.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Highlight Reel

Just want to quickly acknowledge some of my favorite moments from Easter...

• Watching my cousin's 18-month old son eat jelly beans off the grass and then drool pink spit down his neck and onto his white collared shirt.

• Taking credit for making my cousin's husband show up to our family dinner in a ruffled mint green 70's tuxedo.

• Picking out herbs at the Hollywood farmer's market with Mr. Wonderful then helping him plant them in the new flower beds we leveled in his backyard on Saturday.

• Holding my precious 5-month old niece after she cried in her Easter dress and was allowed to strip down to a onesie and socks.

• Holding my little peanut 2-week old second cousin.

• Having to ask my mom what her mystery dessert looked like a mound of melting vanilla ice cream with sliced strawberries on top.

• Watching my 9-year old niece try to tickle Mr. Wonderful while giving him a "back rub" after dinner.

• Coming out of the bathroom in the morning to discover that the Easter bunny had stopped by and left me a little lavender basket full of dark chocolate goodies and a book on house-buying. Every time I think Mr. Wonderful can't get any cuter, he goes and proves me wrong...

Friday, March 21, 2008


Four weeks ago, I jumped on the Oprah book bandwagon. Yessirree, I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth in hopes of improving myself…and saving the world, of course.

The writing is pretty deep and heady (as are the online Q&A broadcasts), but the principles Tolle introduces, and questions he raises, are fascinating.

One area I found particularly interesting was about how we define ourselves. Humans are masters at labeling—from the moment we learn to speak, we begin giving names to objects and people. As we get older, those labels often become more detailed…and harsh. My mother-in-law is a [NUTJOB]. My ex-boyfriend is a [DOUCHEBAG]. My car is a [HUNK OF JUNK].

Even benign labels can pigeonhole people into certain roles. She’s a [MOTHER] she’s supposed to be nurturing. He’s a [PHD STUDENT] he’s smarter than the average person. I’m a [WRITER] it’s my job to talk a lot.

That last one, the “I” definition, is the most dangerous. By allowing our labels to define who we are, we run the risk of losing other parts of ourselves. Same goes for how we view the labels others press upon us. If we believe we are only what people tell us we are, we’re no better than human hermit crabs (ah, yet another label)—surrounding ourselves with borrowed shells.

But we don’t have to be nurses, wives, wine connoisseurs, sisters, scrapbookers or ball busters. We can just be. We can just be who we feel like on the inside.

Once we redefine ourselves as who and what we are that can’t be named, maybe it’ll get easier to stop applying naming conventions to others.

And maybe, just maybe that will give all of us the opportunity to be something more than we are today.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's a Dirty Job

When we start to fall apart, it is so incredibly easy to point fingers; pin blame. Sure, we can see that we may have a hand in our circumstances, but so often we’re more concerned with what other people have done to contribute to our strife and unhappiness.

This rings particularly true with significant others. We allow ourselves to get so entangled in one another’s lives—any step our counterpart makes seems to have the power to destroy every shred of our wellbeing.

When I was in my trickiest relationship, and going to counseling once a week, I would analyze my boyfriend continually. I’d tally up his flaws and think about how I could fix him, help him become “more together.” I would tell my therapist how he was all over the place—talking marriage one minute and biting off my head the next. Insisting a certain photograph would make a good engagement announcement, then packing his bags to move out of my apartment. But he was the product of a bad divorce and he had a hard childhood and a broken spirit and on and on.

I was so mired in his mess I couldn’t see what was going on with ME. And then one day, my counselor dropped a line from AA on me.

Keep your own side of the street clean.

It immediately evoked Sesame Street-like images of a cute little sidewalk with my couch, scrapbooks, cats and home accessories strewn about it. And it wasn’t as spot-free as it could’ve been. But it was a lot cleaner than my boyfriend’s.

The problem, though, was that pointing out the trash and emotional debris on his side did me no good. It didn’t make my side suddenly tornado into order and tidy itself up. It was simply a deflection device.

The only way to make my life a better place to live was to stop pointing out his dust bunnies and start doing something about my own. Because the bottom line was: It wasn’t his fault my sidewalk looked the way it did. It was my fault. I made every decision that led me to my mess, and even assessment by comparison wouldn’t make that mess clean.

Now I find myself regularly taking stock of my side of the street. And I try to catch myself from complaining, “You stink!” when someone else’s garbage starts wafting my way. Instead, I walk over, light a scented candle and get back to sweeping out my gutter. Because nobody has to live in my filth except me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bar Slop

I guess if you go out on a night like St. Patrick’s, you have to anticipate the possibility of being surrounded by a very sloppy crowd. Any holiday that centers around alcohol consumption is sure to include some sights you don’t really want to see…sixty-year-olds in painfully low-cut tops that read “kiss me I’m Irish,” public urination and vomiting, and my favorite—inappropriate displays of affection by people who just met.

Last night, I found myself in the sweaty bowels of an Irish pub, drinking green Guinness and listening to a somewhat off-key cover band. It was all good fun, until I turned to say something to Mr. Wonderful and saw a late thirties lady licking a guy’s neck from shirt collar to earlobe. As my girlfriend said, it deserved a silent scream a la Danny in The Shining.

Moments before, the woman had been drinking and dancing with her girlfriends. Apparently, it didn’t take long for her and her new boyfriend to fall head over heels for one another and immediately start trying to consummate their relationship through their clothing. Faces were quickly being devoured and buttocks spanked.

My group of friends took turns narrating what was happening and shuffling our standing places so we could all witness the makeout carnage. It was so so bad. And not just because she was wearing high-waisted jeans. Even if the couple had been attractive, I wouldn’t have wanted to watch that action in public. Okay, maybe in the privacy of my own home with a glass of wine, but not in the middle of a pub, pressed up against a grimy barstool.

Acting like that might (read: might) have been somewhat acceptable when we were 18, in Mexico on our graduation trip, swapping spit with co-eds in rum-soaked t-shirts and dirty flip flops. But it is not okay now.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Why I {Heart} the Irish

I’ve been a U2 fan for quite some time, but in 2002, my worship of Bono and the boys flash flooded into complete adoration of the entire population of Ireland. I took a trip to the old Emerald Isle and learned that there’s a lot more to love than just Guinness and clovers.

The Clotheslines
I was on a tour, so we covered large chunks of the countryside on a daily basis. Almost every home our bus drove past was perfectly manicured and had a charming little clothesline hanging outside. Made me want to grab a bar of Irish Spring and wash myself while I washed someone’s clothes.

Elderly People in Bars
In the states, it’s sort of sad when you see someone in their seventies gulping a pint alone at the bar. In Ireland it’s commonplace. The first night we were in Waterford, the owner of our bed and breakfast bid us goodnight then showed up at the local pub about 20 minutes later (at 11:00 p.m.) for a nightcap.

Spraypainted Sheep
Our guide told us they do that to keep the Catholic sheep separate from the Protestant ones. I wonder if the Jewish lambs wear yarmulkes...

Thick Brogues
I can’t recall the area where we took horse-drawn carriage rides, but I sat up front with the driver and could barely understand a word he said. My friend rode in a separate carriage and was only able to decipher her driver’s (drunken) declaration that she had “a lovely head o’hair.”

Mothering Maids
I believe it was in Sligo that a short, plump redheaded hotel maid called me “dear.” I wanted to hug her.

A Nose in My Ear
I was thrilled when a cute local boy wandered over to me at Buskars nightclub in Dublin. He had dark hair and light eyes and when he leaned in to talk to me, that sexy Irish accent came spilling right into my ear…along with his nose. I tried to politely pull away, but it was loud in the club and every time he asked a question or made a comment, he leaned in so far that his nostrils made contact with my lobes. Old Irish mating custom? Perhaps.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Friday, March 14, 2008

That Poor Girl

Yesterday I was flipping through my work notebook and I stumbled upon a little smear of personal writing scribbled on the back of a concepting page. There was no date next to it, so I only know it was written sometime last year, during what (I hope) was the most difficult relationship of my life.

We dangle “I love you’s”
like carrots, waiting to see
if the other will bite. Hanging
them out there with nothing
but a strand of truth supporting them.

How could I have let myself get to that point? Who wants only a sliver of sincerity holding together something as big as “I love you”?

If there is one thing I learned from my 14 months of heartache, it’s that truth is the most important component in any relationship—including the one you have with yourself.

If I had been honest with myself from the beginning, I wouldn’t have stayed with him. I knew he wasn’t right. I knew he might hurt me. My subconscious screamed it at me in dreams and small anxiety attacks. Yet, my stubborn pride seemed to want to prove everyone (including myself) wrong.

It wasn’t the first time I had done this. Over the years, I’ve polished my ability to convince other people and myself that certain situations are “fine.” Better than fine, “what I want.” But there’s always a part of me that writhes and pounds its fists shouting, “You Know This Is Not What You Want.” When you’re settling, your deepest self will always tell you.

Learning not to silence that voice has been the greatest gift I could’ve received from him. For all the bad he brought to my doorstep, that one good thing makes it all worthwhile. So for that reason, I have no regrets. But I do have lots of sad words jotted throughout my notebook.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My Tats

Just typing that made me want to cross my arms gansta style.
(Can you say: dorky white girl?)

Last night I went out with a group of childhood friends, all of whom have multiple tattoos on various (painful!) parts of their bodies. The evening was organized to celebrate one friend’s engagement, but quickly morphed into a trip to the local tattoo parlor to add some ink to available skin real estate.

On the drive to Resurrection, I asked the girls if they disliked the tats they had gotten when we were teenagers. “No way!” was the collective response. Those tattoos represented rebellion and youth and all the memories of our senior year of high school. They were proud of their matching ankle roses.

It occurred to me then, that these girls are like my tattoos. Sure, if I walked into a friend parlor today, I might not pick the exact same designs I chose when I met each of them. But they’re a part of me now. My style may have changed, but the affinity I have for what they stand for, what we’ve been through, how they’ve always been there for me can never be altered. They are permanent marks on my being.

I held my pal’s hand while she sat under the needle. She squeezed the hell out of my fingers. But it was worth it knowing that if I ever needed to do the same, she’d offer up her palm in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Incapable of Multi-Tasking

My friend emailed me today in a dead panic because the guy she’s dating hadn’t replied to a text message she sent last night at 9:30. They’ve only been seeing each other for about six weeks, so things are still in that sticky, undefined phase. She was certain she had become the victim of a blow-off.

I told her to take a breath and explain the circumstances to me.

Apparently the guy had a very important project to finish up. Aha! That simply meant he was toiling away—not ignoring her. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to talk to her, he was just incapable of doing so. Why? Because he’s a man. And men can’t multi-task.

A different friend proposed this theory to me last fall and I loved it.

Men are hunters—they have to focus on one thing at a time. Women are gatherers—they have to carry around their crying kid, while boiling water, collecting berries and picking up the dry cleaning. We are evolutionarily predisposed to juggle. Men are not.

Those sweet little man brains aren't built to think about us as much as we think about them. They have to focus on other things, or they’ll never get anything done. We, on the other hand, can keep our new crushes in the back of our minds all day while we draw up business plans, listen to our ipods, chew gum and shoe shop (all at the same time).

I told my panicked friend to distract herself. He’d text back eventually. In the meantime, read a book (or a blog), chat with a girlfriend, go to a movie.

Now that I think of it, maybe that’s the real reason we’re good at multi-tasking—because we have to occupy our overactive imaginations and keep ourselves distracted so we’re not devoting every joule of our energy to wondering whyohwhy he hasn’t returned our text message (it’s been 16 hours!).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Is It Me?

Sometimes I hate having an XX chromosome-governed brain. It makes me ponder things I would probably never think about if I were a guy.

For instance, if Mr. Wonderful says something like, "I'm sure you'll get sick of me soon enough," or "My stomach feels so fat," my mind (after initially thinking how precious—he's a little bit insecure) wanders down the avenue of Is He Projecting?

I start to worry that maybe he is getting sick of me (or "will soon enough"). That he is thinking my stomach is pudgy. And that he doesn't even know he's feeling this way, so his mental state comes out in backwards comments and projected verbal vomit.

My girl brain then goes into analysis overdrive and I start looking for patterns to help me discern whether he's projecting or just self deprecating. I start weighing the "You still want to hang out with me after 4 months?" questions with the "I suck at pool" self criticisms and then have to factor in his perceived level of interest and the number of times we've seen each other in the past few weeks, divide those by 73, carry the 4 and spin around in my desk chair six times before I can get the answer.

It's exhausting.

Maybe I need to stick with an Actions Speak Louder than Words philosophy...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fearing What I Want Most?

Yesterday I went to visit my 5-month old, translucent-haired, blue-eyed angel of a niece, and I was reminded of the amazing power a baby can have over a room of grown-ups. Something as simple as a smile or a burp can turn every adult in a 20-foot vicinity to mush. In my family, we’re definitely whipped.

My mom and dad bought the baby a stuffed animal sheep on their most recent vacation, and every time I tapped it against her tummy and made a psst noise, she broke into hysterical giggles. She had the entire family mesmerized and cracking up right along with her. Every belly laugh she gave sent all of us into a frenzy.

On the drive home, as we gushed about how cute she is, I was hit with the now familiar mix of “I want” and “I’m terrified of having” a baby.

I’ve always seen myself as being a mom one day. I’ve spent hours and days of my life babysitting and working as a nanny. I’ve taken care of 2-month old twins, out of control toddlers and even unruly teenagers. I feel like I’ve accrued an ample amount of experience in the child-rearing arena. But the older I get, the more afraid and unsure I am about having kids.

I think the reality of what it all means becomes more crystallized with each passing year—making my fear grow and grow. When I was young, it just seemed like you had them, fed them, changed them, helped them with homework and sent them to college. However, now I see that you have to change your life. A lot. You can’t just take a nap whenever you want and stay out a half an hour later than you ‘d planned. You can’t eat girl scout cookies for dinner because you have someone else to cook for. You have someone else’s life in your hands. You have to protect them and shape them and teach them. It’s a huge responsibility that just gets more gigantic each time I think about it.

And this makes me wonder: Am I really cut out to handle it?

I’m really great at being an aunt and a babysitter. Maybe that’s all I’m supposed to be. Maybe that’s how I’ll get my kid-fill for eternity. Just plug those yearnings with other people’s children.

Then I think about being pregnant. In addition to always thinking I’d be a mom, I definitely always wanted to be pregnant. The thought of someone else invading my insides, moving around when they felt like it, keeping me awake at night, giving me a big fat stomach—it all seems fascinating. I cannot imagine not experiencing that. And maybe that’s enough.

Maybe wanting to take the first step is all it takes to handle becoming a parent. After that, you just tackle the next step when it’s in front of you.

I’m sure I’d be filled with trepidation if I stood at the bottom of a 14,000 foot peak. But I also feel confident I could climb it. Especially if there were cute smiles and belly laughs along the way.

Friday, March 7, 2008

6 Letters; Synonymous with Spooky

True story: Last night I was playing Scrabble with Mr. Wonderful and some otherworldly force took control of my letter tiles. It may have been one of my deceased grandmas having fun with me, or maybe it was just pure coincidence, or perhaps it was Fate, pushing me to blurt out a phrase that probably scared the pants off Mr. W.

We were about halfway through a bottle of Pinot Noir, a third of the way through LOST, and a few dozen words into our game, when I drew four new tiles and saw the following on my wooden rack: VIUOELI

I started rearranging to try to identify the highest point combo…and there they were…those six letters… I LOVE U

Yes, there was a superfluous “I” in the mix, but those six were what mattered.

“Hmph,” I said to him, “I have a phrase over here right now.”

“Oh yeah?” he asked, more concerned with adding up his score.

I didn’t want to read it aloud, so I grabbed L,O,V, and E and lined them up next to an R on the board. Mr. W chuckled and suddenly I found myself spinning my rack around and saying, “It said ‘I love you’ before I laid those down.”

I wasn’t looking directly at him as I said the words, so I’m not sure whether his eyeballs detached from his retinas and momentarily popped out of his skull. But I took his quiet, “Huh,” as an indicator that I may have freaked him out. Perhaps I should’ve just told him my letters spelled VILE IOU…

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fish Hos, and Other Sluts of the Animal Kingdom

Back in November, a friend of mine at work bought a fish tank. Since then, one of the little swimmers she owns has gotten pregnant and squeezed out kids twice. Total aqua slut.

Each time this happens, my friend's daughter gets excited and is subsequently saddened when the newborn fishies disappear.

And why are they disappearing, you ask? Because mom is eating them.

Talk about marinelife irresponsibility. First she accidentally gets pregnant and then she covers her mistake by turning the babies into an afternoon snack. Rats and mice do this too. It's completely freaky.

I know they don't have the capacity to think "oh how cute look at my little schmoopy baby," but what's the deal with the dining habits!? My cousin gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy just this afternoon and I'm pretty sure she didn't find herself thinking "mmm he looks like one tasty piece of meat."

If anyone has an explanation for A. The promiscuous behavior of fish (and rats and mice) and B. Why they turn their children into chow, I'd love to know.

Congratulations, Kim and Trav, on the birth of Liam Frank! He's a delish little morsel of baby perfection.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Super Cuteness Award

...and today's award goes to....

Mr. Wonderful for getting me a copy of the 2-disc DVD of Into the Wild.


Risky Business

In the last week or so, I've received two emails from Victoria's Secret, promoting this offer. Both times, the headline made me laugh.

I know they're promoting free shipping and returns, but it seems like they're encouraging you to try some newfangled infommercial product. Or protect yourself from accidentally buying comparable pants that cause thigh dermatitis or an uncontrollable desire to throw your cloth-clad legs under the tires of moving vehicles.

Act now and we'll throw in the anti-herpes thong and the nipple-hair-be-gone bra!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


A good friend called me last night to announce that her boyfriend proposed over the weekend. (Sigh...) Obviously, she's completely thrilled to be engaged. But I think part of what makes her situation so very exciting is just how far she has come over the past few years.

It wasn't so long ago that she felt stuck.

She had been working the same job for a long time and wasn't getting much fulfillment from it. She was living at home, and seemed hopeless about making enough money to move out. Her love landscape was looking a bit like a deserted island (or at least one with unappealing natives). She always seemed overshadowed by sadness when I saw her.

And then she decided to make a change. She quit her job. Which led her to a new position, where, hip hip hooray!, she met her fiancé. Within a year, she had moved in with him and was working yet another job that she completely loved. Choosing to alter one aspect of her situation made all sorts of other wonderful things fall into place.

I don't think this is just coincidence. When life starts to feel stale, we have to take risks, make jumps, shift things around if we want to catapult ourselves forward. It may seem scary in the moment, but if we know we need to make a change, it will work out in the long run. And maybe it'll work out better than we could've ever imagined.

Monday, March 3, 2008

There Comes a Time

“I put them in a Pop-tart box and left them on your desk,” she told me over the phone.

I was twenty-one, in my first serious relationship, and relying on my big sister to sneak birth control pills to me. She’s a nurse and was working at an OB/GYN office at the time—where the shelves were always stocked with free samples of Ortho Tri-Cyclen.

Although I had been responsible enough to visit my school’s Health Center for a check-up and b.c. prescription, I was not at all grown up enough to let my mother find out I was finally engaging in youthful debauchery. I was convinced my virginity’s passing would send her into cardiac arrest or some sort of prolonged period of mourning. Therefore, pill delivery had to remain a covert operation.

The pop-tart drop was cutting it close. We were playing with fire. The desk my sister had left the box on was at my parents’ house. In my old bedroom. I had to face my mother to pick it up.

I tried to be nonchalant when I dropped by and gathered my mail and—ohwhatanicesurprise—free pastries from my sis.

She and I were able to continue our secret exchanges for several more months. Then motherly intuition, or perhaps just plain nosiness, kicked in and my mom began to ask questions. Not to me, of course, but to my supplier.

Coming from the same DNA, my sister is just as unskilled at lying as I am. We have a terrible propensity to just blurt out the truth anytime anyone asks us anything.

So when the mothership directed her information-gathering tractor beam at my sis, she immediately crumbled. Not a detail was spared. Thankfully, a second-hand report was enough to satisfy mom. She never confronted me on the subject.

Christmas morning, that same year, we all sat around sipping coffee and orange juice, passing tissue-filled bags and bow-laden boxes in my parents’ living room. “Here, open this one,” my mother said, handing me a package across my grandmother’s lap.

I tore into the paper and at once saw an all too familiar logo. I looked at my mom and she gave a wicked little chuckle.

“What’s that?” grandma asked, picking up my mom’s devilish grin.

“Nothing,” I said, “Mom just knows how much I love Pop-tarts.”