Welcome to This Wonderful World

21 Oct

On Saturday morning I woke up at about 6:45, which was equal parts much too early and much too late. I walked the dog, came home and woke up Marley who surprisingly got up without the usual teenage grumble and we were out the door by 8:25 headed to my mom’s house. I was meeting my brother there, who was going to fix the ignition coil on my car and Marley and my mom were going to watch the Great Gatsby for the thousandth time because apparently you can never get enough Leonardo DiCaprio. (I don’t quite know how to break it to Marley that he’s pushing 40.)

I had planned on coercing my mom to do a Costco run with me (we were out of everything – surely she had to be out of everything too). I also had to pick up a few things at Target, maybe Bed Bath & Beyond. Then I’d head home and cheat on my hairdresser (again) with some long overdue root maintenance before meeting my girlfriends for a 6:00 dinner and then a concert at The Canyon Club.

But when I got to my mother’s my brother wasn’t there. I was slightly annoyed because I had rushed and was late (the story of my life) and had forgotten my Costco list and now wished I’d turned around to get it.

“Where’s Richard?” I asked my mom as I walked in.

“He’s at the hospital,” she answered.

And a smile spread across my face.

My little brother was about to become a grandfather.

“Did she have him?” I asked.

“Not yet,” my mom told me.

“Can we go to the hospital, Mom?” Marley asked me.

It was very considerate of my niece to have her baby on a Saturday so we could all be there. I was hoping for a speedy labor (for her comfort of course and not because I was rudely and selfishly thinking of my month-long plans with some girlfriends that I rarely get to see). She was only at four centimeters so we took our time and made eggs for breakfast; lingered a bit. I helped my mom clean up and made a new Costco list.

We headed over to the hospital a little after ten. My niece was doing great and we plopped down next to her boyfriend, my brother, his girlfriend. and my younger niece ready to meet the newest member of our family. At 11:30 Ashley was only at five centimeters and everyone was hungry so my mom and I decided to go to Costco and pick up a couple pizzas while we were there. My list was long, but we barreled through Costco knowing that the baby wouldn’t be coming for hours, but still nervous that we’d miss it if we took too long. We dropped the groceries off at my house, dumping them on the kitchen table and into the fridge (we’d worry about separating them later), gave Dave a couple slices of pizza and rushed back to the hospital. My older niece had joined the group and the pizzas (now warmish rather than hot) were devoured.

At 2:20, Ashley was moving steadily, but slowly. I took a risk and headed home to get ready for my night out, stopping for hair mascara along the way, taking my cheating on my hairdresser to a new low. At 3:40 my mom texted me 9 1/2 maybe 20 minutes. 30 minutes.

I unplugged my flat iron and flew out the door.  On my way I texted back. I made it to the hospital in 20 minutes flat.

He still wasn’t quite ready to come out yet. Wombs are warm and cozy places. The nurse came back in the room to check her at 5:00. “The baby’s coming,” she said as she went to call the doctor. Ashley’s boyfriend and her two sisters stayed with her. And even though she left our earth way too soon, I know the girls’ mother was there too. Marley sat on the floor outside the room. The rest of us headed to the waiting area down the hall.

A little while later Marley texted me The baby is out and we rushed back down the hall.

“How do you know the baby is out?” I asked as the door was still shut. “Did someone come out?”

“No, I can hear him crying,” she said and we all pressed our ears to the door.

At 5:37 PM I became a great-aunt. He was 7 pounds 7 ounces and perfect. Mama and baby were both doing fine.

newborn

Welcome to the world little man!

 

We congratulated the proud parents and took turns holding our new little treasure. We called and texted family far away. We Instagrammed. We Facebooked. We were in awe and in love with our new little family member.

About an hour later I drove my mom home and left Marley there. I’d missed dinner with my friends, but still had time to meet them at the club. As I was driving home to change I thought about Ashley and her new little family. She is so young – just one year out of high school, two weeks away from nineteen. Yeah, her life’s going to be hard. Motherhood is so damn hard.

But also so very wonderful. Quite possibly the most wonderful thing in the world. They are surrounded by love. They’ll be okay.

 

 

 

 

 

Women are Better Writers than Men (Obviously)

13 Oct

I love to read. And I love to write. (Actually I hate to write, but somehow feel compelled to torture myself by writing anyway. I’m quirky like that.) You’d think with all the reading and writing I do (which truth be told is not nearly as much as I’d like of either), my grammar would rock. But it doesn’t. It stinks.

If only there was a place that would do a grammar check for me. You know, sort of like an online English teacher at my beck and call whenever I needed her to make sure my formatting and sentence structure and punctuation were correct. Wait a minute, there is. And it’s called Grammarly. Yep, it’s as if your English teacher followed you home to remind you when to properly use lay or lie and was or were. (But this one won’t make you write a five paragraph expository essay on the theme of The Great Gatsby.)

Recently the fine people over at Grammarly took a poll of over 3,000 people to determine once and for all who are better writers – women or men. And it turns out that the ladies are the winners on this one. Hey, I like to read both male and female authors, but who am I to argue when over 3,000 people say girls are better than boys? Check out the results on the infographic below:

men-vs-women-writers-infograficmen-v-women-writers-infographic

women-vs-men-writers-infographic

women-v-men-writers-infographic

men-vs-women-writers-infographic-last

So you see – whenever people read what I write and think I take way too much time blathering on (and on and on) with my ridiculously long sentences what they need to realize is I’m writing descriptively. I’m developing my plot. And my characters. I’m being better.

Disclaimer: In exchange for writing this post Grammarly.com is donating $50 to Reading is Fundamental in my name. But please be assured that the belief that women are superior is not only held by me, but by 59% of the 3,000+ people polled above.

My Work Day Inside the Fishbowl

22 Sep

At work I sit behind big glass windows near the elevator, stairs, and restrooms on the top floor of my two-story open-air office building. Everyone coming to work, leaving work, using the restroom, and getting their mail has to pass by my office doors. I know the lazy-asses who take the elevator up from the parking garage and the even lazier-asses who take it down. (Down? Really?) Most take the stairs.

A few people look in and smile as they walk by. Everyone else looks straight ahead, ignoring me, as if by not acknowledging me with a friendly smile will somehow render them invisible and I won’t know that their morning coffee has kicked in. One older gentleman, a CPA named George, always waves. Enthusiastically. Sometimes he comes in to chat. (He takes the elevator, but I would put him in his late 60’s and he often brings his dog to work, so I do not place him in the lazy-ass category. He’s earned the elevator.)

About two or three months ago new tenants moved in a couple doors down. I didn’t think much about it until I saw him. Tall. Handsome. Dreamy. He comes to work in rolled up jeans and flip flops. Sometimes he wears a hat. Not a baseball hat. A dapper looking hat with a brim. I call him my work boyfriend. Watching him saunter by my office doors is the high point of my day. (My work day, I mean. Because going home to Dave and the kids and making them all dinner, and then having the kids roll their eyes at me as I try to be an active and involved parent by asking them about their day and then cleaning up the kitchen as everyone scatters to do homework and walk the dog is the true high point of my day. Obviously.)

Hot Boyfriend

I stole this from my friend Jessica’s Two Funny Brains Facebook Page. You should like her page. She’s M-F-ing funny!

When the new tenant’s name was posted on the office directory I googled them. (Oh, like you wouldn’t!) Entertainment law. Apparently entertainment lawyers dress a lot more casually than other types of lawyers.

He wears a wedding ring which is good, because I really can’t have him falling in love with me. I mean, I am a married woman after all. (But I think some office fantasy eye candy is allowed.)

In real life he wouldn’t be for me. He’s a total hipster. (I mean what kind of forty year old wears rolled up jeans?) And I hate hipsters. Not because I think they think they are better or cooler than me (which I’m sure they do), but because I think they are better and cooler than me. Well, maybe not better. But definitely cooler. (But then, everyone is cooler than me.)

Once, when Marley was about nine she said, “Girls who hate Katy Perry want to be Katy Perry.” (That girl is wise beyond her years.) Or maybe it was Taylor Swift. It was someone hateable/I-wish-that-were-me-able.

What? You don’t want to be Taylor Swift? Really?! A rich, famous twenty-four year old girl who dates tons of cute boys and whose job it is write platinum selling songs about how they broke her fragile little-girl heart and tour the world singing them. Yeah, I don’t want to be her either.

Taylor-Swift-Boyfriends

Yeah, who’d want to be her?

I’d much rather be me. Sitting in my fishbowl day in and day out. I don’t get to tour the world singing about the latest boy who broke my heart, but sometimes when my work boyfriend passes by my office doors he looks in and smiles at me.

Photo credits: Boyfriend someecard “borrowed” from here and Taylor Swift Boyfriend collage “borrowed” from here.

Book Review – Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy by Lacy Crawford

10 Sep

I read a lot of books.

Okay, maybe not a lot. In my fantasy life I read a lot of books. I’m always reading something, but I’m a slow reader and only seem to have time to read before bed, and reading puts me to sleep so it takes me a really long time to read a book. Like, if someone says, “It’s a really fast read, it will take you two days,” it will probably take me two weeks.

But I digress… I read (not) a lot of books and I recommend them to my friends if I like them (You HAVE to read this book!), but so far I haven’t reviewed any on my blog. I don’t think. I’m too lazy (make that blazy) to look through my archives and check. So we’ll call this my first book review.

Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy by Lacy Crawford

Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy by Lacy Crawford

 

This is the story of Anne, a 27-year-old ambivalent college essay coach, and five of the students she is coaching through the college essay process. The author used to be a college essay coach herself, so she knows what she’s talking about. (Or rather writing about.) Remember when you The Devil Wears Prada and thought to yourself, “There is no way someone could treat their assistant that terribly,” but knew that there was? Or when you read The Nanny Diaries and thought, “I can’t believe there are parents that horrible,” but knew that there were? This book is like that, but about the college application process. Total insider stuff.

If you are a parent who is hoping to send your offspring to college one day, or just sent your child recently, I think you will enjoy this book immensely. And if you are like me, who is knee deep in the gut-wrenching, anxiety-inducing, nightmarishly overwhelming task of helping your child wade through The Common Application, you will love it.

If you don’t have kids, you can still read it, but I will admit that this book probably isn’t for you. (Unless you, yourself, just went through the college application process. Then trust me, you’ll dig it.)

Ms. Crawford, like our protagonist Anne, must have been very good at her job because she is one hell of a writer – this book is extremely well-written. It will piss you off, make you laugh out loud, and break your heart. It does a great job of fictionalizing the college application process, while also giving you some very good intel and insight.

Warning: You will want to hit most of the parents in the book upside the head with a very heavy laptop. On the flip side, you’ll be smugly patting yourself on the back, because you are certainly nothing like the helicopter parents and tiger moms in the book. At least I’m not. (No matter what Chandler says!)

So, if you like to read (a little or a lot) and have visions of your son or daughter attending Harvard, Stanford, or UCLA, or perhaps a highly selective liberal arts college, or even the state university ten miles away, I highly suggest reading this book. The earlier the better.

My 2014 Snarky Emmy Remarks (Because I’m so Qualified to Give Them)

26 Aug

As Seth Meyers and his BFF Amy Poehler would say, Really, NBC? Really?!

The Emmy’s on a Monday? Sigh.

Look, I work until 6:00 and don’t get home until about 6:30 (okay, 6:20, but still). Then there’s the whole making, eating, and cleaning dinner business. I need to be able to watch my red carpet at 4:00 and my awards shows at 5:00 in order to have time to gather my snark. Plus I get up at 5AM. Last night at 10:00 by the time (spoiler alert) Breaking Bad won best drama (Yay!) I was fighting to keep my eyes open. I might have snored a little. Or drooled.

(Oh, and by the way, if you just got angry with my little spoiler alert above because you haven’t had a chance to watch the Emmy’s yet and it’s sitting in your DVR queue all ready to go, what the hell are you doing reading my Emmy comments? Really, Silly Person? Really?!)

So, due to the lateness of last night’s show and my selfish need for 6 1/2 hours of sleep, my report today will be rather short, but here goes…

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has obviously sold her soul to the devil. (Or has the best plastic surgeon in the history of the universe, but my very discerning eye says no, because it looks like she has had zero work done. Bitch!) Because, seriously, who goes from looking cute when she’s in her 30’s

Julia-Louis-Dreyfus-circa-1990s

to va-va voom stunning when she’s 53.

 

Damn, she’s gorgeous! (As Marley would say, “That’s not fair!”) Oh, and her dress was gorgeous too. Seriously though, deal with the devil. If not for any other reason, for the lack of under-arm fat. I could never wear a dress like that – my under-arm fat would be spilling over the sides! She’s 53, people! 53!!! But I LOVE her. And she is fabulous in Veep. I’m so glad she won. (And if I were Bryan Cranston I would have made out with her too!)

I really liked Allison Janney’s dress, but was that velvet? In August? She’s lucky it wasn’t 100 degrees yesterday. I will forgive the faux pas because she looked smokin’.

 

Lena Headey’s dress was gorgeous (and so was she), but I don’t know what surprised me more, her short dark hair or her multiple tattoos. (All those tats don’t seem very regal, and you know, queeny.)

I did not like Julianna Margulies’ hair at all. It was pulled way too tight and made her ears look elfy. Her dress was fine, but she is too skinny. Please Julianna, the Emmy’s are over now. Go eat a meal.

 

Some more dresses I liked…

Michelle Dockery looked regal, graceful, stunning. A true Lady, indeed.

2014-Emmys-Michelle-Dockery

Michelle Dockery – Photo Credit: Evan Agostini

 

Marley did not like Kaley Cuoco- hair, but I did. And I did not love her dress last year, but this year it was one of my favorites.

2014-Emmys-Kaley-Cuoco-Sweeting

Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting – Photo Credit: Frazer Harrisson

 

I’m not sure how I feel about Anna Gunn’s dress. I want to love it, but I don’t quite love it. (And I LOVED her dress last year.) I do love the color, so let’s say I like it. Plus she looked awesome. And I’m so glad she won again. She deserved it. She was A-MAZ-ING in her final season. Amazing.

 

 

And once again, Julie Bowen’s dress just seems to miss the mark. I appreciate that she tries to be bold and a little different, but I do not like that neck thing on her dress. (What is that?)

 

And speaking of missing the mark, this dress? Uh, no!

 

And was it just me or did Peter Dinklage look really pissed that Aaron Paul won for best supporting actor? Like, really, really pissed. Sorry Peter, you were awesome this season, Game of Thrones was awesome this season, but this was Breaking Bad’s year.

 

 

Speaking of Game of Thrones, I will end my post with a swoon-worthy photo of Kit Harington. (You are so very welcome for the eye candy ladies!)

2014-Emmys-Kit-Harington

Kit Harrington – Photo credit: Frazer Harrisson/Getty Images

 

I’d love to know, what did you love or hate about the Emmy’s or Emmy’s’ fashion this year?

Photo credit: Julia Louis-Dreyfus circa 1990s

Hello Old Friend

25 Aug

I have a good friend I’ll call Joe who lives on the East Coast. I met him and his friend, who I’ll call Jack, in Ireland in the summer of 1986 while backpacking through Europe with my friend Simmah. Since he lives almost 3,000 miles away from me we’ve never seen each other much.

Odds were against us remaining friends. Not only because of the distance, but because the following summer I ended up falling madly in love with Jack. And for a very short while he loved me back. Then he broke my heart. But that’s another story.

Joe and I don’t talk on the phone very often. I’m not the best about keeping in touch and he’s even worse. (Way worse.) But I still count him as one of my dearest friends. You know those people that you don’t talk to for a couple of years and then you visit them or call them and –BOOM!- you pick up right where you left off – no awkwardness or resentment about phone calls not made, emails not sent? That’s how it is with my friend Joe.

He’s not on Facebook, so we can’t keep in touch that way and somehow over the last three or maybe even four years we’d completely lost touch. It doesn’t seem possible that we let it go so long without talking, but sometimes the minutiae of daily life gets in the way of things that are precious.

About a month ago I found an old picture of us – Joe, Jack, my friend May and me- taken in 1989 during a weekend spent at a beach house in New Jersey. (I had gotten over my broken heart and had started a cautious friendship with Jack again.) I snapped a photo of the picture with my phone and texted it to Jack and Joe. Remember these people? I asked.

The three of us started texting a bit and Joe told me he was going out to Oregon in July. Looking at colleges? I asked. Our boys are the same age. He told me yes and that also his son was running a race. I had no idea that his son was a runner.

What does he run? Chandler’s a runner too. He does XC, 800M, 1600M.

Joe texts back: XC, 800M, 1600M.

What are the odds?

What are his PR’s? I text. (That’s Personal Record for those of you outside the running world.) Chandler’s are 1:58 for 800M & 4:32 for 1600M.

But Joe is slow with the texting. And I don’t mean slow like me where my fat, old thumbs take a minute to type a ten word text. I mean slow as in he must be doing something else because sometimes it takes 10-20 minutes for him to reply. So I lose patience and Google his son.

Oh. My. God. His son is fast!

Nevermind just Googled him. Shit he’s fast. That’s awesome! Chandler only has to speed up his 1600 by 25 seconds to beat him!

His son’s 800M time is 1:52 and his 1600M is 4:07. And he’s high school state champion for the one mile. I watched the race where his son ran a 4:07 online. I show Chandler and Dave and we are all in awe of his speed. I’m so happy for my friend Joe.

We talked on the phone for an hour the next night. We couldn’t get over the coincidence that our sons ran the same races. Middle distance races – the races most runners hate. We texted during his son’s Oregon race and spoke again the week after.

We talked about running and college, reminisced about old times, and scolded ourselves for losing touch for so long.

“Talking to you makes me realize how much I miss you,” I told him.

He has always been one of my favorite people. He can make me laugh like few others and he’s truly just a good, good person.

We tell each other “I love you” when we hang up the phone. But not in the way that would make either of our spouses jealous. The way you say I love you to a cousin. Or a sibling. Or a true long-lost friend.

I’ll kick his ass if we lose touch again.

 

 

Are Yours Real or Fake?

21 Aug

When I first started blogging I didn’t really think about it. I just jumped in and started to write. I chose my name as my blog handle instead of something clever and cute because I wanted to get my name out there (and because try as I might I’m really not that clever and too old to be cute).

And one of the things I didn’t really consider was whether or not I should use my children’s real names when I blog. Some people do, some people don’t, but the point is, it wasn’t even a consideration with me. On my very first blog I wrote about my kids’ inability to get along and just typed out their little names for everyone in cyberspace to see.

Hello, Bad Mom of the Year Award 2008.

Of course I may be a bad mom putting my kids’ names along with their private business onto people’s computer screens, but I always change or eliminate my friends’ names when I have a funny or potentially embarrassing story about a girlfriend to tell.

For example, last week when my girlfriend told me that she was mortified because her cleaning lady found her vibrator under her bed and placed it standing up and her night table, I told her that that would definitely be something I’d have to work into my blog. (See how I just did that?)

“If you use my name I’ll sue you,” she told me.

“I would never,” I said. And I won’t.

Yes, I am a bad mom, but really, really good friend.

I have another concern as well: as my kids get older and I tell the world my story, do I have the right to tell theirs? I’m not very discrete and I know that I tend to over-share, but I really don’t tell all of it. Trust me, there are so many gems I would love to write about as they would be fantastic, interesting, sweet, funny blogs, but I don’t in the name of privacy. (And let me tell you – it kills me I keep them to myself!)

I’ve thought about going through every blog I’ve ever posted and changing my kid’s names, but considering I’ve written well over 100 and can’t even get to the things on my list that would only take 5 minutes of my time (some of which are incredibly & ridiculously important), I don’t see it happening any time soon.

And I wonder too, why does it really matter? I’m just a suburban mom who writes a little blog. I don’t think anyone cares or has given it any thought. (Until, you know, now.) We all know the names of famous people’s kids. Why not un-famous people’s kids?

Am I harming them? Have I told too much? Eh, that’s what psychiatrists’ couches are for.

Six years into blogging and seventeen and a half years into motherhood and I’m still trying to figure this whole Internet and blogging and motherhood thing out.

Has anybody really figured it out?

*Edited and slightly updated this post first appeared on the now-defunct skirt.com blog on January 10, 2011.

 

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