At Least I Am Not 2-D

I like to greet beautiful spring days with my middle finger and sleep lines on my face (or “slinkles,” as my sister brilliantly calls them), so as usual, I was a little grouchy when I woke up this morning. I wandered downstairs and was fumbling around to make coffee when this happened:
J: “Mom, if L is her stuffed animal’s mom, then what am I?”
Me: “Um, if she’s the mom, and you’re her brother, I guess that would make you the uncle.”
J: [Running out of the kitchen] “Hey, I’ll be the monkey’s uncle!”
L: “OK, you are the monkey’s uncle!”

Good-bye, grouchy.

But as with most things in my life, even normal, funny moments have an undercurrent of panic. In about two seconds I go from, “Monkey’s uncle, ha ha,” to “Wow, my kids love their stuffed animals,” to “You know, they have a lot of stuffed animals,” to “OH DEAR GOD, my son is going to be one of those Japanese dudes who marries a pillow.”
Man marries cushion

And although I like to think of myself as open minded, I would not be OK with a pillow daughter-in-law, even if she has a really high thread count and is filled with luxurious down. Mother- and daughter-in-law relationships are complicated enough without one of the parties being an inanimate object.

Which reminds me of a time I got some attitude from my mother-in-law.

So my husband is Chinese and I’m not. When we were planning our wedding, our main goals were (1) keep things super low key, and (2) don’t piss off any family members. As part of goal #2, we talked with my husband’s family and decided to have our rehearsal dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Easy, I thought; I’ll just look cute and show up to eat some good food (which, by the way, pretty much set the tone for my marriage). My white girl self found a new outfit at Anthropologie that included a sweater and (oh no) pants. I got dressed at the hotel where we were staying for the night, took the elevator down to the lobby, and was greeted by my mother-in-law – who was wearing a beautiful, traditional Chinese dress. And she took one look at my sweater and pants, and said this to me in front of all the family who was waiting: “Are you going to go back upstairs and change?”

I did a quick inventory of the available clothes in my room: trashy lingerie pajamas and my wedding gown.

I mumbled, “Uh, no, this is what I’m wearing.”

“But you are wearing pants,” she said.

“Yes,” I confirmed.

She looked like she wanted to kick me right in my pants. But she didn’t. And there was booze at the rehearsal dinner, so my embarrassment didn’t last for long. Ten years later, my mother-in-law snarking at me so openly is one of my favorite wedding memories. Because, really, what did she have to complain about? My outfit was awesome, her son was happy, and I was not a life-sized anime character pillow.

Happy Mama’s Day

Get ready for your new earwig. My husband has nearly redeemed his musical tastes with this video. One of his FB friends posted it (thanks, dude) and he showed it to me, and it almost made me forget that he occasionally listens to Ke$sha on full blast.

Is that amazing or WHAT? These are two Icelandic musicians from Of Monsters and Men, and the singer’s name is Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir. Nanna’s voice is haunting and childlike and makes that already solid MGMT song even better. Also, Icelandic is super complicated sounding. From my rudimentary understanding of the language, her name means she is the daughter of Hilmar, who is a blonde banana farmer. Which is weird because I did not know Iceland had many banana farms, but global warming? Probably.

Nanna’s sassy Amish bowler hat reminded me of a former musical obsession.

In junior high English class we had to write an essay about someone we admired and then present it to the class. I didn’t even have to think about it; OBVIOUSLY, I would write about Debbie Gibson. Because did you know she wrote her own songs, and performed live at all of her shows? This is particularly impressive, given the complexity of her lyrics (such as “Shake your love, I just can’t shake your love, shake your love, shake it!”), and the fact that she was a pretty crappy singer.

We kept our topics a secret from each other before our presentations, as if we were giving out highly competitive awards. So imagine how ridiculous I felt when I discovered that I was almost the only kid who did not write about my mom. Probably 90% of my classmates wrote about how great their moms were, a couple boys wrote about professional athletes, and I wrote about a teenage pop singer who wore neon jelly bracelets and oversized menswear while singing lame girly songs in mall food courts.

It wasn’t that I just didn’t write about admiring my mom that made me feel so awful – it was that the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. I just knew that my classmates would go home and share their essays with their moms, who would weep with joy and lead more fulfilled lives knowing how much their children loved and admired them. And my mom would take one look at my essay and realize she was raising a borderline-obsessive nutjob. So I did not share my essay with her. I think the wall of Debbie Gibson posters and the Electric Youth perfume I bathed in daily gave her a pretty good idea of the depth of my feelings.

So now I think about Debbie Gibson when my kids don’t even seem to notice that I’m in the room, or when they don’t have any clue about the nine million things I do for them every day. Another mom told me once that you want your kids to take you for granted, to know that your love is there all the time, and to know you’re dependable and will be there when they need you, because otherwise they’ll be insecure and constantly jockey for your attention.

I get that now, and I think I learned that lesson from my mom. She had done such a good job of always being there that it freed me up to devote my admiration to superstars like Debbie Gibson. My mom’s love and support was something I wasn’t even consciously aware of — it was just constant and always there, and I could (and did) totally take it for granted. In fact, I bet if I had shown her my essay she would have been proud of me, or at least said she was. That’s what I tell myself to not feel like a complete ass, anyways.

So happy (early) Mother’s Day to my mom, who I admire for many reasons, but especially for letting me be my slightly weird self all the time and loving me in spite of it. Maybe even because of it.

Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?

I haven’t posted for a few days because I’ve been very busy preparing myself for the Costume Institute Gala at the Met. In case you have been following actual news instead of celebrity “newz,” here are the details in a nutshell: every year a bunch of famous, beautiful people get dressed up in couture gowns and prance around on a red carpet at the Met in NYC so that people can take pictures of them. I have no idea what the point of it is. There is usually a theme, something like “Celebrating Self Absorption and Conspicuous Consumption.” This year’s theme was “PUNK: From Chaos to Couture.” Other than nose rings and mohawks, I don’t really know what that means, and apparently neither did Zooey Deschanel, because look:

That is her from the gala. She looks adorable, but I don’t think there’s much punk going on there. Instead of screaming, “I’m a bad ass who lives to defy society’s rules!” her seersucker dress politely announces, “I’m off for tea and scones with Barbara Bush. The older one.” But she probably didn’t have time to put much thought into her outfit, what with being the Boston bomber and all.

Also, I don’t know if her Tory Burch evening gown could possibly qualify as punk, but I’m sure that Ginnifer “With a G” Goodwin’s eyebrows are totally punk:

Which means that Sam the Eagle is the most punk Muppet.

Speaking of birds, a very small chicken pooped on me recently. I was chaperoning my daughter’s preschool trip to a farm, and one thing led to another, you know how it goes. I only mention this to say that, months ago, when I was dreaming about being at home with my kids, at no point did I imagine any scenario that involved having poop on me. When I told my husband this story, do you know what he said? Not “Oh no, that’s gross,” or, “Well, that’s wonderful that you were able to help on the field trip.” He said, “Do you think you have bird flu?” What am I supposed to say to that? The only right answer I could give is I don’t know, since I am not officially a doctor. So then a few days later, when the kids and I came down with totally normal colds, all I could think of was that fluffy little asshole chick pooping on me and cursing my children and me with the avian flu.

Luckily, we are all fine. I mean, except for the hypochondria.

I Wonder if Enrique Likes It?

After a few blogs about women’s issues and controversial new sort-of manifestos, my brain was tired. So I headed south to Florida with the fam, where we hung on the beach with some great friends for a super fun, grown-up style spring break. That means instead of doing body shots with strangers and drinking tequila out of test tubes, we sat in the shade and compared body aches and pains. And played a lot of Bananagrams.

Here are some things that happened within the first few minutes of arriving in Florida:
1. I heard an Enrique Iglesias song. I have not heard an Enrique Iglesias song since, um, the last time I was in Florida.
2. All of my exposed pasty white skin immediately burned and is now flaking off in large sheets around the house.
3. My son looked at the stylish, scantily clad, model-types in the airport, and asked me if we were in a foreign country. I said, yes, basically.

Other than the sunburn part (although who doesn’t love a good molting), that is why we travel – to experience tired, terrible music and to feel physically inferior. I hope we can start to take even bigger trips now that we’re through with naps and diapers. Well, at least the kids are through with that phase, who knows with my husband.

Sadly, vacation is over now. And do you know how I am SURE that vacation is over? Well, one day, I was looking at this:

And 48 hours later, I was looking at this:
There is nothing like 4 hours of pushing a flatbed cart around Costco to snap you back to reality. On the upside, I am now the proud owner of 178 reasonably-priced rolls of toilet paper.

While I was zoning out on the beach I started to think about ways to get more people to read my blog. Obviously, porn is always a solution but I think it could embarrass my mom. Except she did send me this article out of the blue the other day with the message: “Well THIS is an interesting concept.” So maybe she wouldn’t mind.

But what are my options BESIDES porn? Most big-time bloggers have something very compelling and dramatic going on in their lives, like divorce, or mental illness, or recovery, or addiction, or cats with eyebrows. Do you know what I have going on in my life? Fascinating things such as trying not to give my family e. coli when I cook chicken; laundry stain removal; and exercising without aggravating my sciatica. I nodded off while I was writing that.

Another option to get more readers: create fake controversy. Some big-time bloggers write things with shocking headlines to hook people, like, “Why My Son is an Asshole,” or “I Only Feed My Kids Dry Kool-Aid Mix,” or “I Just Punched My Husband in the Balls Because He Deserved It,” and then surprise! The article is actually about how perfect the author is and how much they love their family, and the headline was a mean, mean trick.

Well, I can promise you, readers, that I will not play mean, mean tricks with my headlines, unless it sounds funnier or gets me more readers, in which case, I will. That leaves me with one final option: start a ridiculous hobby or vice and write about every sordid detail. Which is why this afternoon, I am pulling my clogging shoes out of the back of my closet, dusting them off, and strapping them on again for an epic comeback performance. It has been years since I’ve clogged, but I know for sure now that the soulful combination of marching and tap dancing while leaving my upper body completely still was really always my calling in life. Please stay tuned for video.

Obvs, this will be the soundtrack to my performance.

I Have Eyebrows, Too

I had just started to feel a little big in my britches about having 40 subscribers, and then I read that a cat with eyebrows has over 31 thousand followers on Instagram. And then I started following that cat with eyebrows, because he is really something. What will he do next?! Something adorable, I bet.

In other news, many people have asked how my Insanity workout is going. OK, maybe they asked, “Are you INSANE?” when I was telling them about something and I just assumed it was about my workout routine. You know, because crazy people never admit they are crazy. So I have finished four weeks of the workout and it is really hard but effective. I now look like something like this but with more veins popping out of my forehead:


In addition to looking like a finely tuned machine, I also feel stronger, I have been introduced to my “hip flexors” (did you know they are a real thing?), and I just found a long lost ab muscle. On my body! And the videos are entertaining. I love hearing the trainer dude talk about himself in the third person (“Shaun T is getting tired! Shaun T has huge quads! Shaun T could crush you with his finely sculpted calves!”), and I like when he yells at me while he jumps around all sweaty and shirtless. Sometimes I sit down in our recliner and eat cookies while he just goes on and on about pushing yourself, blah blah blah. But yesterday my husband and I started the more intense “max” phase of the workouts, where I immediately learned that the previous workouts – the ones that I had barely survived – are, in fact, for total pussies. If I make it to the end and still have the use of my arms and fingers, I will let you know how it went.

This update on my workouts reminded me to update everyone on the progress of my New Year’s resolutions, too. Um, I have done absolutely none of them. In fact, I had to look back at the list to even remember what the hell they were.

Well, that was easy.