Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Technology is turning us all into a bunch of f*@#ing jerks.

     Last night, I spilled water all over all over a customer's iPhone.  It was parked where people always park their phone- right next to their water glass. When I was filling the glass up, a fair amount leaped from it and covered his beloved device.
   He was horrified.  You'd think he was trying to resuscitate his soul mate.  He kept looking at me with these accusatory eyes.  What he wanted me to do-  I'm not sure.  But I'll tell you what I did do.
     Absolutely nothing.
     If only Siri could move on her own.  Personally, I find her bitchy and annoying, but she's nothing if not smart.  I'm sure her sense of self preservation would object to this scenario.  Ask her, right now, Siri, is it safe to place you right next to a water source?  What does she say?

     The placement of the phone on the table is really annoying, but it is just a symptom of some larger issues that I would like to address.
     First, when did we all become so important that we need to be reachable at all times?
     Second, when did it become socially acceptable to act like every public place that happens to have tables and chairs is our personal office space?  And,
     Lastly, why is the pervasive use of cell phones making us abandon all of our social grace?

     Basically, why is technology turning us all into a bunch of f@#king jerks?

    First things first.  When did we all become so important that we needed to be reachable at all times?  The answer is, we didn't.  We're not.  We probably never will be.  I mean, I'm sure there are some of us out there who are surgeons- but the majority of us are not.  Having a phone in eye/ear shot at all times is a totally ridiculous behavior.  And one that I am guilty of, too.
     Ever since I had Lucien, I find myself having the same, unnecessary attachment to my phone.  Of course, I blame it on having a child.  To be fair, I blame everything on having a child- it's a luxury that comes with parenting.  But, whatever, that is a whole other topic.  Back to the phone, that I obviously need to have on me, because I am a parent now, right?  What if something happens?  I need to be reachable, don't I? Um, no, not really.  Somehow our generation survived without having a Batline to our parents.  And somehow I think my child would survive, too.  I mean, I'm great and all, but in a real emergency- I'm pretty sure I'd rather you call 911.  Actually, definitely.  I am definitely sure I'd rather you call 911.
     My point is, whatever excuse we think we have for having our phones accessible at all times- is false.  It is debunked by the mere fact that our species is here, and it survived and thrived before  phones existed and definitely before they became small enough to take with us wherever we went.

    Second, when did it become socially acceptable to act like every public place that happens to have tables and chairs is our personal office space?
    I've seen people get visibly annoyed when there is not an outlet next to their table at a coffee shop.  Um, it's a coffee shop- not a recharging station.  This is another form of entitled behavior that is born of advanced technology.  I have never seen a writer that was using a notebook and a pen get mad at a waitress because he ran out of paper.  And he definitely wouldn't expect a restaurant/coffee shop/whatever to stock extra notebooks just in case -in a writing frenzy- he came to his last page.
     It's no one's responsibility to make sure that your laptop is charged, Okay?  It's great that compact computer technology has taken many of us out of the confines of a cubicle,  but we all must remember that Starbucks isn't, actually, our office.

    Lastly, the most disturbing question of all.  Why is the pervasive use of cell phones making us abandon all of our social grace?

It's rude to answer your phone during lunch.
It's rude to ignore a waiter when he comes to your table-or worse, attempt to mime your order- because you are on your phone.
It's rude to have an eye on your phone, when you are in the middle of a dinner date.
It's rude to keep your ringer on, when you are not at home.
It's rude to complete a transaction -while on your phone- at the grocery store, the pizza shop, the hot dog stand, etc. 
It is rude not to give someone your undivided attention when you are interacting with them- no matter how unimportant you think they may be.

Can we all agree about these points, or am I totally off base?  I think we all need to work on being less rude, when it comes to the use of our hand-held gadgets.  I'm calling them gadgets now, because I really, really, really believe that they aren't totally necessary.  I believe that we believe they are necessary- but come on, they just aren't.   I could find my way to the Best Buy on 34th Street without google maps.  I could.  Yes, it would be harder, but I could do it.  I could successfully meet my friends for dinner, without checking in- in 10 minute increments- every step of the way.  And so could you.

Back to the guy whose phone I drowned, who got me thinking about this whole issue.  I'm sorry, Okay?  But just put her away for a few minutes, and you'll never have to worry about me endangering your soul mate again- I promise.  And I think Siri agrees.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hate Mail- I Have Arrived.

I got my first few pieces of hate mail this week.  I have arrived.

I've always been restricted to pissing people off in person.  Now I have the global reach of the Internet- woohoo!   Turns out, technology doesn't suck after all.

Here's my favorite from this week:
You should change the name of this blog to "Uptight Mom" or "Overreacting about other people's kids Mom" or "I am too opinionated and overbearing for my friends and family, so I started a blog Mom."

This was in response to one of the first entries I wrote, about not bringing children to bars.  Thanks Jesse, for making me realize I need to re post this for my new readers.  And since you took time out of your busy day to come visit my blog and comment,  I think it's only decent that I take the time to respond. 

Sorry Jesse- didn't mean to ruin your night out.
Uptightmom.blogspot would be good- but I think I might go with f-offJesse.blogspot.com, instead. Thanks for reading!

Here is the original, ire provoking post in all of its glory.  I initially titled it, I'm Not on Your Side, but I'm changing it to No, Your Baby Cannot Come Into the Bar- Not Now, Not Ever. 

NO, Your Baby Cannot Come Into the Bar- Not Now, Not Ever. 

     I gave birth to the most perfect specimen that ever lived, is living, or will live.

     It is hard for me to put into the words the indescribable joy I feel in the morning, when he wakes up smiling.  Or while he is eating when he uses his perfect little fingers and with surgeon-like precision places each pea, individually, into his mouth.
     I could spend every minute, of every day, just staring at his little perfect face.

     Until the moment, when I can't stare at his perfect little face anymore.

     He is amazing and beautiful, and all the reasons why the world is perfect when it manages to be.  But I am a human being, still, and I need some ME time, damn it.  And I don't think that makes me a bad Mom.
     When I need this me time, sometimes I like to go somewhere where there is no "Goodnight Moon" to be read, where I won't trip over a Batmobile replica, where Yo Gabba Gabba isn't playing in the distance.  Somewhere so absolutely adult, that it is unlawful for children to be there.  Yes, I'm talking about a bar. 

     Remember when bars where child-free zones?

     Living in Brooklyn, it is amazing what a stir a bar that won't allow children  causes.  Yes, you are hearing me correctly.  A Bar.  The last safe haven for adults.  May I also add, as someone who has worked in the bar business for a long time, not the safest place for a toddler.  Look at any Brooklyn blog that touches on parenting, and this issue will definitely have been raised.  One bar in Park Slope, a family friendly section of Brooklyn, stopped allowing strollers.  Man, oh man did that piss the mommies off.  "How will I be able to appropriately handle my martini if Brynne isn't securely fastened to her seat?"  Holy shit.  Is it me- or is this ridiculous?
     The really funny thing is, if these people recognize me from the park and realize I am a fellow parent, when their child acts up they give me that little knowing eye, like,  Hey you!  Hi!  You're a parent, too.  You know how it is when you're trying to get your drink on and everyone is looking at you and your child, all judgey and annoyed?  What is up with them?  I'm so glad you're here, fellow breeder, to support me in my plight!

     Um, no.

     If I need to get away from the sounds of my own child,  whom I carried for nine months and had sliced from my womb,  whom I love more than anything on this planet- do you really think i want to hear yours?  The answer is no.  Take your child to the park.  Come back later without her and we can talk about something other than our children for a few minutes, in this safe haven-  this child-free zone.

     And until you realize this don't look to me for the understanding eye contact.  It ain't happening.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I was the perfect parent- before I became one.

We live on top of a restaurant, and across the street from like, the loudest bar in Brooklyn.  The baby is just going to have to get used to napping around noise.  I mean, you have to live your life- there are things that have to get done.  I can't just tip toe around the house all day while he's asleep.  He'll get used to it.  Babies don't need to be in a sound proof-vacuum.  That's just ridiculous.

Fast forward about six months.  Lucien is 2 months old.  He's eating every hour and a half for forty five minutes at a time- from my boob.  He's sleeping for maybe a half an hour every 4 hours or so.  I just get him down to sleep, and think cool- I can make myself a sandwich.  Or paint my toenails.  Or do something that doesn't involve entertaining this baby, for like twenty minutes.  Phew...
Just at that moment, his father comes through the front door, on his phone.
Lucien's father, obliviously on phone- but not speaking loudly, at all:  Yeah, so, I'll talk to you later I just got ho-
Me, executing the best whisper-scream, ever: SHUT THE FUCK UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP!  ARE YOU CRAZY?  ARE YOU STUPID? SHUUUUT UUUUPP!!!!!
End scene.

You may have some ideas about the parent you are going to be- but you are wrong.

This is terrifying.

My child will not watch TV.  They have done a million studies that say TV before the age of two is really bad.  Really bad.  That is just so lazy- the TV is not a babysitter.  What is wrong with those parents that do that?  God- lazy.  If you don't have the time, or energy, or whatever, to entertain your child- don't have one.  Seems obvious to me.

You know that stuff you do, first thing in the morning-  drinking your coffee in silence, checking your email, and reading the news?  It turns out that, after you become a parent- you still want to do it.  Can you imagine?  How selfish, huh?  Do you know what ensures that I will have approximately 23 minutes to do this stuff, without having to worry about my child?  Yo Gabba Gabba.  You don't know what that is yet, but you will.  Oh, you will.

You may have some ideas about the things you will allow- but you are wrong.

I'm just going to go the farmer's market, once a week, and stock up on organic fruits and veggies. That way I can make all of Lucien's food from scratch.  I'll just batch it out, freeze it- and thaw it out for every meal.  I'm pretty sure it will be cheaper that way.  Yup- I'm registering for the baby food processor right now.   I mean, I don't want to give him that pre-made stuff.  I'm pretty sure there's BPA in those lids- that's what I read.  I love to cook- there's no reason why I won't be able to do this.

Yeah, unless your baby refuses to eat it.  Like mine did.

When it was time for solids- I was ready.  I got the special food processor, I bought the veggies.  I finished the first batch- sweet peas.  They were delicious, a gorgeous color- all in all, a culinary masterpiece.  Lucien loved them.  Success!  Then I tried to freeze them, and serve the thawed result to him.  Turns out my child is a foodie. 
He absolutely refused to eat any of the purees that had previously been frozen.  OK, something must be wrong with my freezer, I thought.  I stocked it up with baking soda.  Nope.  No luck.  This child would not let any previously made food touch his expert palate.  Which meant that I had to make the purees fresh, every other day.
That lasted about two weeks.
Guess what passed the taste test immediately?
He still loves that crap in a jar.

You may have some ideas about what you will feed your child, but... you get the picture.

The moral of the story is, you should make the most of this time, before you have children.  You will never again, be as perfect a parent, as you are right now.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pro-Breastfeeding. Pro-Woman. Pro-Boob.

Breastfeeding Photos on Facebook Removed from "Respect the Breast" Page.

There are so many things that bother me about this headline.

I'll start with the obvious- Respect the Breast is a totally stupid name.    Well, it is.  Sorry.  But then there is the larger issue, of Facebook feeling the need to censor a harmless mommy group.  That is beyond stupid.

These buttons not only exist- they can be bought in a pack of 100.  Wha?

I am a feminist.  I am a mother.  I breastfed my child.  I think it is ridiculous that we stigmatize breastfeeding in this country.  Jesus, there are plenty of women flaunting half naked pictures of themselves on Facebook.  Why Facebook decided to take up the anti-breastfeeding charge- I am not sure.  It all seems really stupid to me.  I totally understand why these women are pissed. Breastfeeding is good for the baby, it's good for the mother- and we all generally agree that it's the best way for a child to get its nourishment for the first year of its life and beyond.

It's just too bad that milk has got to come out of a nipple.  Boy, do we hate nipples.

Go grab a Victoria's secret catalog.  I know you have one- they send me like, five a month, and I haven't bought anything from them in years.  Okay, now start flipping through the pages.  Notice the beautiful demi-cut bra with the transparent lace overlay?  How about the super thin modal cotton sleep shirt?  Notice something missing?  Yes, that would be her nipples.  That fabric is totally see-through, but not a nipple in sight.  No nipples allowed in this country.  Unfortunately, breastfeeding a child usually involves flashing your nipple for a millisecond- so, yeah-  nobody wants to see that.

Now go to your cable box and search for an episode of The Walking Dead.  Hit the guide button, then hit the "b" and type in your search.  That's how you do it- in case you have children who suck up all of your leisure TV time,  and have forgotten how to use your cable remote.

Depending on the episode you find, you may get the pleasure of seeing a 10 year old boy shot through the chest with a rifle bullet.  Oooh-  or you may see someone saw off their own hand.  You'll definitely see a zombie sucking out someones brain at some point.  But you won't see a nipple.  Nipples are disgusting.  Just to recap:  the undead feasting on the flesh of the living- fine.  Woman pulling out her tit to breastfeed- disgusting!  Vulgar!  Stop her!

It's crazy that we make women feel so uncomfortable about this necessary, biological process.  First, we shove the necessity of it down her throat throughout her pregnancy.  Than, when she actually agrees that it is best for her and her child, and attempts to do it- we make it shameful.  What the hell?

I was very discreet when I breast fed Lucien, almost to the point of discomfort.   Don't get me wrong, I didn't let it stop me from feeding him in public, but I was armed with wraps and cover-ups, basically creating a sweat lodge for the poor baby.  God forbid I let a nipple slip.  And I'm not even a bashful person.  The social stigma involved in pulling out your breast to feed your child obviously got to me.  That is why I am so impressed by these women, who are seemingly oblivious to the world around them when they do it.

I know such a woman.  She struts into the restaurant where I work on the weekend, orders her food, gets comfortable- and than proceeds to pull out her boob and rest it on the table until her son is ready to eat.  I am not shitting you.  Her boob just sits on the table like it belongs there.  I'm not quite sure why she does this.  I have boobs, and really don't find them that exciting.  But I can't seem pull my eyes away from hers.  Really, I can't.  And neither can anyone else.  The whole room is transfixed on her.   I'm absolutely sure that this is just an indication of how repressed our society is.  We ban harmless nudity from advertising.  We somehow collectively decided that it was OK to see someone stabbed to death, but not OK to see them naked.  I'm a product of our ridiculously repressed yet violent culture, too- as much as I hate to admit it.  I can't stop staring at her nipples either.

But back to this lady.  She's pretty fantastic.

She comes in every weekend, and every weekend I am impressed by her ability to seemingly not notice that the whole room is staring at her.  On the one hand- I think women like this make the cause more difficult, because people get so freaked out by their blatant disregard for social norm that they recoil at the sight of  anyone breastfeeding.  On the other hand, she is my hero.

I've actually found myself thinking, What is she doing?  Why be so blatant?  But you know what, why not?  We ladies have to stick together- and if that means standing behind this woman and her right to pull out her boobs and set them on the table until she's good and ready to feed her son- damn it, I'm doing it.

Basically what I'm saying is, our culture is totally f-ed up.   We need to show more titties, and less violence.  We need to stop harassing women for breastfeeding.  And if it makes you really uncomfortable- you need to reach into your psyche, and think Why? 

We have a hell of a lot of problems in this country- and nipples didn't cause any of them.
I'm pro-boob, and you should be, too.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Your giant stroller is ruining my life.

     Last week, I stopped at a coffee shop on the way home from the park.  I've got Lucien in a stroller, a cup of coffee in one hand and a bag of groceries in the other.  A little challenging- but no big woop, I'm used to it.  As I'm approaching the front door to leave the shop, I see a man exiting and think, phew,  I won't have to do the whole turn around and exit backwards so my butt can open the door thing that I have to do when I've got my hands full with coffee, baby, and groceries.
     We make eye contact.  I smile, and assume an unspoken agreement has been made.  I am wrong.  He lets himself out- and lets the door slam on myself, my stroller, my baby and my groceries.  As he's jaunting out, both hands free- not a care in the world-  he gives me a little smirk, as if to say F you, F your groceries,  F your stroller and F your baby.
    This guy is a jerk, and I kinda want to punch him in the face.  But I understand where he's coming from, oddly enough. I have a hypothesis about this guy, that I'll explain later.  For the sake of storytelling- we'll call him Jeff.
     We live in the same neighborhood, Jeff and I, and we share space with a new breed of parents that are sweeping the land.  I like to call them the I Don't Give a Shit, Move squad.  I also like to call them the I Leave My House With Everything I Would Possibly Need to Care For This Baby For Three Weeks in Case Armageddon Happens on the Way Home From the Park group.  To make it a little easier for you to follow along, in this post I will refer to them as Jerks.  
    Just to recap: oblivious Brooklyn parents=  Jerks.  Not very nice dude that slammed the door in my face at the coffee shop= Jeff.

     I have this $20 crap umbrella stroller that I use when I know that I am bringing Lucien somewhere crowded.  It handles like shit, and I'm pretty sure he's uncomfortable in it.  But I can actually maneuver it around a store or restaurant without everyone in the place having to clear a path for me.  It also folds up to the size of an umbrella, hence the name.  That is important, as I do not like to be an inconsiderate freak on a regular basis.  These Jerks don't care about who they inconvenience with their little baby Hummers.  They breeze into a restaurant on a Saturday brunch, already overflowing with hungry Brooklynites,  and expect that there will be a table for them to roll right up to.  That's right- they have no intention of breaking this behemoth down, because their child is snoozing comfortably in it.  Heck, a grown man could snooze comfortably in one of these things.

Why so big?  Why?

   So they roll in, probably over the toes of a few unsuspecting brunchers, knocking bags off the backs of seats,  and elbowing Jeff in the head.  They are too busy making sure no one gets butter on their $1000 stroller to notice that they have elbowed Jeff in the head.   Then they park their stroller next to Jeff, and the handle is so long, it's basically up his nose through his whole meal.  This makes Jeff irate.    This makes Jeff think, Jesus parents are so self absorbed.  And what is with that giant stroller?  Ugh, I hate them.
   As if it wasn't enough to have the handle of one of those huge things in his face during his entire dining experience- he exits the restaurant,  onto a narrow sidewalk, and get stuck behind another one.  Have you ever been to Midtown, during rush hour in a rainstorm?  Have you ever encountered the one, short businessman who carries a golf umbrella in midtown, during rush hour, in a rainstorm- basically rendering the sidewalk uninhabitable?  A giant stroller in Brooklyn is the equivalent of a golf umbrella in Midtown- it gets the job done, but it's unnecessarily huge- and everyone thinks you're an asshole for using it.  Especially Jeff, who has been inconvenienced twice already- and it's not even noon yet.
     Jeff finally manages to get around the Jerks, and decides he'll stop at his favorite coffee shop on the way home, since he wasn't comfortable enough to enjoy a cup of coffee after breakfast.  Enter unsuspecting, broke mom, considerately maneuvering her tiny, cheap stroller around the patrons-  otherwise known as, me.  Jeff sees me, and doesn't see a tiny stroller, or a smiling, considerate mother.  He sees a behemoth stroller (even though its not) and an inconsiderate parent (even though I'm not).  And Jeff waits and extra minute, just so he can get the satisfaction of slamming the door in my face- thus vindicating his shitty morning.
     Yes, thanks to the Jerks- I'm being profiled-  by Jeff and every other person in town.  You have a baby- you're a jerk.  That's all there is to it.  So no one holds the door open for me, no one steps aside in the street, no one offers any of the niceties you might offer a burnt out mom with her hands full.  And I'm fed up with it.
     Listen Jerks, be mindful of your giant stroller.  Yes, you had a baby- and that is great, and a big deal to you.  But no one else really cares- and definitely doesn't feel like rolling out the red carpet for you everywhere you go.  Stop acting like you are entitled to more space- it's Brooklyn, there is no space.   And another thing- I know you live right around the corner, so you really don't need to bring a carry on-sized diaper bag with you wherever you go.  You don't need to be armed with 20 diapers, snacks, place mats, baby silverware, and every other god damned thing you can think of to entertain your baby for the hour you will be away from your house.  That is just ridiculous.
   It may seem hypocritical that I am asking these parents to act better, so the general public will start doing more for me.  But I'm not asking for anything more than common courtesy.  I hold the door open for people with their hands full- whether they are filled with baby or boxes.  And Jeff would have held the door open for me that morning, had the Jerks not already pissed all over his personal space.
     It's not rocket science.  Let's be more considerate, Jerks.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

What the f*@# is going on?

From Planned Parenthood: These are the witnesses testifying on the birth control benefit right now on Capitol Hill.  What is wrong with this picture?

From my brilliant, journalist sister: Want to know what's wrong with this picture?  BETWEEN them, these dudes have no ovaries.  Yet they are the witnesses testifying on the birth control benefit before Congress.  Witness IRONY.

God, we're not even trying to pretend that women have a say in what goes on with their bodies anymore.  Pathetic.

I recreated a bumper sticker that used to live on my 1985 Toyota Corolla.  Here it is.  I've added a little flair.


Rainy days are kind of, awesome.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Boy are we pissed, but not at Chris Brown.

Boy are we pissed.  But not at Chris Brown.

I mean, why would we be mad at him- he didn't do anything did he?  Oh yeah, he beat his girlfriend to a bloody pulp.  But she forgave him.  Oh actually, I think she hit him first.  Anyway, he did his time- it's old news.  How long does he have to pay for this anyway?  Can we get over it?

The real news are these crazy, stupid young women.  I mean, what is up with them?  Why are they perpetuating the acceptance of domestic violence?  Seriously, someone should do something about this. 

I'm pretty disgusted today, but not at these young women.  Don't ask the question, why are these young girls lining up to be beat up by Chris Brown?  Ask yourself, "why wouldn't they?"  I mean, we've been brainwashing them for years.  And now we can see that it's working- hooray!

Nothing says "jeans" like a floating female corpse.  Nice ass!

You won't even need a tie to look suave in this power suit, so feel free to choke your girlfriend to death with it.
Um, don't even know what to say about this one.

 Our young women have been brainwashed by all of this crap- do you understand that?  You're an object, you are powerless, you are disposable.  Oh, and you look great dead.  Why don't you try getting that message, every damn day, for all of your formative years and see how you would be doing.

We don't give a shit about women.  Don't fool yourself.  And we are inundated with these images, so much so, that they don't even affect us anymore.  You're probably thinking, right now, God- I can't believe she is bringing this tired, feminist argument up again.  What the hell does this have to do with Chris Brown?

Michael Vick, convicted dog fighter, took more slack than Chris Brown.  Yes, I love animals too.  No, it wasn't right.  But, really- do we value our young women, less than we value some dogs?  I think so.

Here are some quotes from Simon Cowell, famous for being an American Idol judge.  A very outspoken one.  This dude has no filter.  This dude speaks the truth.  Where does he weigh in?
Regarding Michael Vick:  "Vick should never ever, be publicly supported again- ever."
Regarding Chris Brown:   "It's very difficult when you don't hear exactly what happened, but I think most people are forgiving, if you are sincere about it."

I'm not calling Simon Cowell out, he just happened to illustrate my point perfectly.  There are some things we are totally disgusted about, as a society.  Harming a dog is one of them.  Harming a woman is not.

For the love of Christ- we just decriminalized domestic violence in a major American city.  If that doesn't scream, we don't give a shit about you, women- I don't know what does.

So, back to these girls, that everyone is so disgusted by today.  I'll tell what is wrong with these girls.  We have failed them, as a society, as role models- we are failing.  And Music Industry, you failed big time this weekend, when you showed the world, and all of these young women- that no one really cares.  Here's your award young man!  Congratulations on being a great performer!  Don't worry about that little Rihanna thing.  Nobody cares anymore.  Go Team Breezy!

Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.  Everyday in the US, more than 3 women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.  This is a plague on our country- and a hell that women can not escape.  We should be ashamed, very ashamed.  And we should be asking a lot of questions- but not to these young women.  They are not the problem.  They are the future generation, that doesn't give a shit about themselves because we have all been condoning all of these messages that say loud and clear,
You don't matter.
You are not safe.
Give up and give in.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The man shortage, and other urban legends.

Overheard at the bar.
If you went on match.com you would get a TON of hits.  You're an attractive man in the city.  Do you know how hard that is to come by?  My male friend on Match says his inbox is overflowing!  He can't even get back to these women fast enough.  It would be impossible for him to even respond to them all!   There are waaaaay more women here than men.  Waaaaay.  Men can just take their pick.  It's so unfair.

     FACT:Female percentage of the population in NYC in 2010 as per census data- 51.6  One point six percentage points does not a landslide make.  Not even close.  I am 38 years old.  I have been hearing this same story  for the past twenty years in every city that I have ever lived.  You know the one.  The tale of the infamous man shortage.  What is up with that?  Who invented it?

This guy.

     Just kidding.  Not this guy.  I just couldn't resist using this ridiculous picture.  I'm not sure who invented it, but a lot of "reliable" sources certainly are perpetuating it.  Case in point- The New York Times.

     The New York Times.  It is where myself, and all of my Eastern elitist liberal friends go for news.  I consider it a trustworthy source.  So I had to l believe it when I saw the headline, "On college campuses, a shortage of men."   Holy shit, a man shortage?  Thank God I got mine, before they ran out!
                         North Carolina, with a student body that is
                         nearly 60 percent female, is just one of many 
                         large universities that at times feel eerily like 
                         women’s colleges. 

     Nearly 60 percent.  Hmm.  Actually, it's 57 percent.   Okay, that is a fair amount more women than men.  But can we assume that some of these women are married, lesbians, or otherwise committed?  I think so.  So that probably brings the numbers of single, available men and women a little closer, right?  Yes, I can see how this may be fallacious reasoning, but you get my drift.  Do you think a presumably less than let's say, 12 percent difference in the male to female ratio on that campus warrants such a headline?  I'll answer that question for you.  No, it doesn't.   Also, to the writer of this particular article,  I question your use of adverbs.  Eerily?  Really.  Is there something eerie about women's colleges?  What the hell are you trying to say here?

                       Thanks to simple laws of supply and demand, 
                       it is often the women who must assert themselves 
                      romantically or be left alone on Valentine's Day, 
                      staring down a George Clooney movie over a half-empty
                      pizza box.

     Oh, I see.  You're trying to say nothing.  You're writing in stupid cliche's.   All single women have lives that resemble the lonely woman in the first half of a romantic comedy- before she finds a mate, becomes less pathetic, and eats less pizza.  Is that what your saying?  Fear- mongerer.

                    “I was talking to a friend at a bar, and this girl just 
                     came up out of nowhere, grabbed him by the wrist, 
                     spun him around and took him out to the dance floor 
                    and started grinding,” said Kelly Lynch, a junior at North 
                    Carolina, recalling a recent experience. 

     Jesus Christ- hide your sons!  The eerie women are getting desperate and crazy.  They are grinding on everything they can get their hands on.  This man shortage is no joke!  Help!  That's it.  Last straw.  Quote choice- horrific.  You are not a journalist.
     But, whatever.   I didn't write this blog to attack the New York Times.  I wrote it, to point out that this legend, this myth, this story that makes women shudder- is total bullshit.  Yet still,  it's everywhere;  even real news outlets. 
BBC News- Latvian Man Shortage Leaves Women Lost For Love
Huffpost- Shortage of Russian Men Inspires Women to Become Better Lovers
     See?  It's sweeping the globe.  What's a girl to think?

     Listen, I know single  women in their thirties.  The stories they believe are not pretty.  Take my friend- we'll call her Suzy, for anonymity's sake.  Suzy is in her mid thirties.   Suzy is an actress.  Suzy has legs as long as my torso.  Suzy is gorgeous.  But more than that, Suzy is the kind of woman that you can't help but love.  Suzy looks you in the eyes when she speaks, and Suzy knows about all of your problems and genuinely cares about them.  Suzy is a catch.
     This is what Suzy said to me last week.
     Maria, I have been laying awake at night freaking out.  I can't believe I am still alone.  I can't believe I am going to end up the old lady with cats.  I hate cats.

     What?  Oh Jesus!  I guarantee you there are no men out there thinking like this.  Why should they?  It's raining ladies- hallelujah, it's raining ladies, Amen!
     But you know what-  It's not raining ladies, okay?  There are not way more women than men out there.  If I can do anything for women, it can be to help destroy the myth that they have to panic, because there just isn't a lot out there.  Bullshit.   The only reason your friend's match.com inbox is overflowing is because women are so freaked out by all of these "man shortage" myths, that when they see one that seems like a catch- they bite. Quickly, and maybe- repeatedly.  Who can blame them?

     Frankly, I just think it is a lot harder for women and  men to meet someone they like these days because our social culture is changing- drastically.  But men don't have to contend with the ever present, biological clock- so they don't scare as easily.  Is there a male equivalent to a spinster?
     I don't date.  I don't do anything but work, clean up poop, and sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  But I'm going to give you my advice anyway.  The next time you go to a bar or anywhere else to attempt to meet someone, leave your phone at home.
     Yup, I said it.  Leave your precious, f-ing phone at home.  Then, when you are out, you can actually attempt to make eye contact with someone and strike up an actual, live conversation.
     Seriously, I don't know how anyone gets laid anymore.  We're so busy checking our email, and seeing who liked our facebook post, and playing mother f-ing Internet scrabble- to actually connect with another human being.  It's a vicious cycle.  We take to the Internet because we are lonely- yet we are all lonely because we are online instead of being amongst the living.  And even when we are amongst the living, the living only get, like 40% of our attention- because we are all constantly checking our phones.
     Remember the story about the idiot in Japan that married a computer avatar last year?

     I don't even know what this post is about anymore.
     In summary; there is no man shortage.  Lose your phone.  Get laid.

     You're welcome.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Your child is acting like an a-hole, and it's your fault. No offense.

Recent brunch experience.

Me:  Table for three?
Smartly dressed parents:  Well, we need a minute.  Sweetie, what do you want for brunch?  Do you want eggs?  Do you want to stay here?
Toddler:  DAK!
Oh, okay honey.  Sorry, he wants pancakes.  You don't have those do you?  We'll have to come back.

Of course, I start laughing, because they have to be joking, right?  They're not.  They look at me, visibly confused and a little angry.
Sorry, he really wants pancakes.  We have to go.  But we'll be back!

     Two things.
     First, I thought DAK! was pancakes.  That's what he said initially.  What the hell is BAA?  Oh, maybe it's eggs Florentine.  We have that, so you should stay.  Or maybe he's 14 months old and isn't saying anything.  That could be a possibility, right?
     Second, please don't come back.  You're failing  miserably at parenting, and may be a bad influence on the rest of the new mothers and fathers that like to hang around these parts.

     When did our toddlers start deciding what we have for brunch?  Actually I shouldn't say that.  Lucien always decides what I have for brunch.  It's usually an English muffin with cream cheese because those things are stocked with some regularity in my fridge.
     We don't go out to brunch.

             These bananas were delicious yesterday.  Today, they are invoking the terror of a thousand nightmares.

     Lucien is 15 months old.  He wants to toddle around, yell, and throw things.  He mostly loves being the loudest voice in the room and tossing things over his shoulder, like he couldn't possibly have any use for them.  These things are totally awesome (to me) and totally normal for a kid his age.  Which is why I don't attempt to strap him to a high chair for an hour, in public, before I've had my first cup of coffee.
     That is just the obvious choice, for me.

     But I digress.  Back to these particular parents, and their foodie toddler.
     Their toddler is literally deciding what they are having for breakfast.  This is not okay.  This is why most children you meet these days are little a-holes.  This is why the future of civilization as we know it is basically doomed.
     Somewhere in the last decade or so, the kids got all the power.
     Parents of the world- we've got to get it back.

     As I write this, my beautiful, perfect child is licking the floor.  Oooh, now he's seeing if he can fit his whole foot in his mouth.  Do you think it is appropriate for this unrefined being to decide where we'll be brunching today?  No.  It's not.
     Herein lies my first guess about our collective loss of parenting power.
     We have become so obsessed with "milestones" and if our children are reaching them, that we are constantly pushing them to be more advanced than they are, and actually believing our own BS.
     For example, your 13 month old isn't perusing the menu- she's guesstimating how much of it she can fit into her mouth.  That is normal.  That is fine.  What is not normal, is assuming that she is doing anything other than the obvious.  You see, when you are operating on the assumption that this little being you created has as much intelligence as you do, it starts to seem normal to defer decision making to said being.

     You never hear parents bragging about how much their child likes to try shoving their rolled up dirty diaper in their mouth, or how they have an amazing affinity for sucking on slippers.  I mean, why brag about that stuff- it's base, and sort of barbaric, and not very impressive.  Better to talk about how they've mastered sign language to communicate all of their needs, can pick out their favorite bedtime story, and know how to say "clap hands" in Spanish.  Right?
    Wrong.  Vicious cycle begins.  We become so paranoid about keeping up with other parents and their super accomplished children that we never really honestly speak about our parenting pitfalls- about how unimpressive our child's development might really be.  We just constantly want to keep up,  I mean, I'm not a good parent if my child isn't keeping up, right?  So rather than seeing our children for what they are,  we push them to be what they're not.
     And they end up deciding where we are having brunch.
     That is how it happens.

     The point of this whole post is- your child isn't saying pancakes.  And that's okay.  And you are the parent and get to decide what you are having for breakfast- and that's okay, too.  Stop seeing your child as the next Steve Jobs- and start seeing him as a little animal that needs training and guidance.

     The future of our civilization is depending on it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I used to be an artist. Now, I do this.

If Oprah can't be fat and happy, is there hope for the rest of us?

    I've been plagued with self image issues pretty much all of my life.  Much like every woman I have ever met.  Since about the age of 12, I don't think there was ever a time when I didn't consider myself fat.
    Presently, I actually am fat.  Well, that's what all the weight charts tell me anyway.  But this is probably the first time in my life where that was, in fact, the case.  I remember being a sophomore in high school, weighing 114 pounds.  Fat!  Then in my early 20's, being somewhere around 125 pounds.  Fat!  Never, ever, in  my life have a looked in the mirror and not seen a fat person staring back at me.  I'm not delusional.  I'm not blind.  It's just that somewhere in  my early adolescence I drank the same Kool Aid that every other woman in this country was served.  And like the urban myth of the bad PCP trip... I've never been able to recover.
     I think this revelation may actually surprise a lot of people that know me.  I'm not sheepish.  I'm not self-depricating.  In other words, I do a damn good job of covering up how crippling it is to never be satisfied with the way you look.  There is only one word I can use to sum it up.

    Oprah pulled herself out of a life of misery and poverty to become the most powerful woman IN THE WORLD.  Her opinions determine the outcome of huge events.  She crippled the meat industry by merely implying on one of her shows that it wasn't healthy to eat too much of it.  She takes unknown authors from obscurity to fame overnight.  She buys people cars.  Houses.  Takes a whole brood to f-ing Australia.  She's bff's with John Travolta.  This woman has, literally, everything.
     But, like the rest of us, she clearly hates herself.

     How many times have we seen Oprah, apologetically declaring that she gained her weight back?  When I was pregnant, I was watching that show she did, where Kirstie Alley comes back on, about a year after she pranced around her staged in a bathing suit as the poster girl for Jenny Craig.  Kirstie Alley was fat again.  Kirstie and Oprah commiserated over how hard it was to be struggling with their weight in the public eye... blah, blah, blah.  Thier conversation was frankly boring the hell out of me- because I was just so sick of hearing about Oprah and Kirstie's weight struggles.  The feminist in me was pissed as hell.  Jesus, ladies.  Don't we have anything else to talk about?  Why perpetuate the myth of the ideal body?  Where is your sense of pride?  Pathetic!  But just as I was about to change the channel, I saw something in Oprah's eyes.  They were completely glassed over and blank.  She was on the verge of tears, but beyond that, she looked so defeated.  She was really hurting.  Maybe the hormones had something to do with it, but I burst into tears and sobbed uncontrollably for damn near an hour.
     It hit me like a ton of bricks.  You can attain every earthly thing you have ever dreamed of Maria, but you will still hate your body.  Holy shit.  That is depressing.

    You see,  I appreciate my curves, the way an adult woman just appreciates things- because she knows better.  But I'll never get back the years that I spent, thin, yet plagued with eating disorders and self-image issues because I drank the damn Kool Aid that popular media served us, and is continuing to serve our daughters. Yes, I'm disgusted by it- but I'm too far gone to really change my own psyche.  We are all too far gone- and we don't even realize it because we have been taught, for so long that we will never be good enough.  Now we just accept it.  H&M uses manequins as models because no woman could ever be perfect enough to model their clothes.  Photographers photoshop the most beautiful women in the world because they are just not beautiful enough.

     Oprah has everything yet still feels the need to publicly batter herself because she just can't make weight.  I don't mean to put this on your shoulders, Oprah, but if you can't be happy with yourself- the most powerful woman in the world- then where is the hope for the rest of us?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gratuitous cuteness.

What kind of baby blog would this be if I weren't gushing over the perfect specimen I created, every once in a while?

Monday, February 6, 2012

This is what a feminist looks like.

If a video could look like a feminist, that is- this one would.  I can't wait to see the full documentary.

Wearing your baby - the best way to show the world that you've got the mothering thing, down!

I had a very clear mental image of the new mother I would be.

Gallivanting around town, with my child expertly wrapped around my torso.  Do they make that baby wrap in cashmere? Great,  I'd like it in tan, please.   Big sunglasses and Venti Starbucks in hand to signify that yes, this motherhood thing is doing a number on my beauty sleep! Stylish diaper bag draped over my shoulder.  Escalade keys in hand.  Heels. 

Wait.  I don't own heels, or a car.  Who is this woman in my head?
I think it's Jessica Alba, maybe?  Doesn't matter.  Insert name of beautiful celebrity here- sashaying around town, wearing her baby.  Shopping.  Laughing.  Using both hands.  If she could do it - so could I!  People magazine duped me into believing that the "baby wearing" thing was easy.

People magazine was wrong.

                                     She's got baby, coffee and laundry.  No prob.              

The baby wrap.   How else would I go about my life, seamlessly fitting my new infant into it?  Look world, even though I'm now wearing an infant everywhere I go, nothing about my life has changed! Have you ever seen a specimen so suited for motherhood?  That was what the baby wrap always said to me.  I would definitely be using one.

After weeks and weeks of reading reviews and doing research, I decided on- and registered for- the Moby.  It was one of the first baby gifts to arrive- and man, oh man, was I excited!  Until I realized that you basically needed an engineering degree to extricate this thing from its packaging.   It sort of resembled a - hmm, how to best describe this?  Imagine the Keebler Elves having a pajama party,  getting really stoned, and having a contest about who could roll and bind the tightest sleeping bag.  That is what the Moby wrap looked like- an elfin sleeping bag. And those little stoned elves are really good at rolling things up.

I was 8 months pregnant.  Trying to wrestle that thing out of its packaging, without destroying the packaging, was almost impossible.  But I was smart enough at that point to realize the wrap might not be for me, and I should keep it in a returnable state.  After 10 minutes of this, I was sweating and crying.   Finally - I made some headway, and began to roll the wrap out of its casing.  I started at my bedroom.  At the time,  we lived in the traditional, shoebox shaped, floor-through apartment.  This thing rolled from my bedroom, which was in the back of the house, all the way through the kitchen, and to the living room - which was in the front of the house.  I would say that was about 20 feet, at least.  What the hell is going on?  Why is this thing 20 feet long?  How am I supposed to fashion this thing into the neatly bound picture they show on the label?  Is this some kind of sick joke?

Of course I turned to Google in my time of need.  Google fixes all of my problems- it would fix this one too.  It diverted me to a youtube video of a man, calmly wrapping 20 feet of modal cotton over his shoulders, around his waist, and securely fancying it around his infant child.   He wasn't sweating.  He didn't seem to be terrified.  You tube was mocking me.  This dude, with no maternal instinct whatsoever, could do it.  Damn it, so could I!

The frenzied wrapping began.  This way? Too loose!  That way? Too long!  Maybe this way? I look like a fat hippy!  I CAN'T DO THIS!  AND THERE'S NOT EVEN A BABY IN IT YET!  SHIIIITTTT!

My baby wasn't even born, and I was failing already.  I'll spare you the details of what it was like getting that baby accessory from hell back into it's rolled state.   It wasn't pretty.

Needless to say, I returned it.  I decided on an one of those carriers that looks like an ugly backpack. It wasn't stylish.  I didn't look cute on me - at all.  It was functional, and comfortable - and Lucien felt really secure in it.

Moral of the story - thanks for the inferiority complex, baby wrap.

Oh, and also, never look to People magazine for functional advice about anything. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Yes, we need a maid.

I like to call this one, "My OCD hell" or "Hurricane Baby."

Sorry crazy billionaire- you're gonna die, too.

I can't make this stuff up.

I was stealing a rare moment of peace and quiet last week, when my best friend/boss/gay husband called.  I work for him in his restaurant, and he has a habit of calling me during the day to discuss the night service. 
"Um, there's an interesting situation happening tonight."
"Okay, what?"
"There's a man coming in.  He's pretty well known, and... eccentric.  I don't really know where to start."
"He's an 87 year old billionaire- like, Forbes list and everything."
"Yeah, so?"
"He's got a quirky little thing about him.  His third wife died of cancer, and ever since, he's kinda been the poster child for healthy eating.  He wants to live to be 125 years old.  He hates excess fat- and that applies to people, too.  He's been known to push butter off the table in restaurants yelling, "Get this death away from me!"  He's also been known to accost strangers about their weight."

"What are you getting at here?  That I'm too fat to wait on this guy and he's going to insult me?  I'll tell you right now you had better not have me wait on him.  You had better not.  There is no way in hell I'm letting some rich old bastard insult me.  It ain't happening.  Do you hear what I am saying to you? There is no way that I can guarantee that I won't respond with,  Listen old man, I'm fifty years younger than you.  Five- zero.  I could eat chicken Mcnuggets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner- for the rest of my life- and I'd still dance on your grave. Okay?  I can't guarantee that."

"Um, I was going to ask you to be prepared to wait on him, but- never mind."

What is it with rich people?  There was an email involved, meticulously outlining what needed to be available for this man to eat, among other things.   ...he has very picky tastes and wanted to make sure the service would be "quick and to the point."  He's a vegetarian and also specified needing "cold water fish."  I was hoping you might be there tonight to be their "point person" to handle any issues that might arise.  Or is there someone else there I can let them know will be on hand?  Yes, there will be a "point person" there.  We like to refer to him as "your waiter."  Are you f-ing serious?

It's our fault that people get this way, you realize that, don't you?  If there weren't droves of "commoners" circling around these fools- responding to their every whim- they would not be able to act this way.   For some reason, people tend to think that they need to kiss the asses of the rich.  Like they are going to pay your rent, or something.  Or hand you and envelope with $40,000 in it because they like your style.  Let me squelch your dreams and save you some frustration- they're not.  Crazy people, like this man, are not going to do anything for you but treat you like a servant and demand they are given more for the exact same services everyone else gets- and for the same price.

So screw you old man.  You may have all the money in the world, but I have the only thing that you can't get back- youth and years. Oh,  and also a zest and love for life that includes eating things besides kale and "cold water fish."

I'm fifty years younger than you.  Five- zero.  I could eat chicken Mcnuggets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner- for the rest of my life- and I'd still dance on your grave.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The King lives.

Who doesn't love a baby Elvis?

It has happened. I've turned into my mother.

My mom loves to tell the story of how she bowled the best game of her life- the night before she gave birth to me.  Clearly a safe choice, (as was the whiskey sour a day that she confessed to having throughout her pregnancy- but I'll leave that for another day).  I still have the "Most Improved Bowler" trophy that she won.  It's pretty awesome.  An impressive 4 inch high marble base, with a silver statuette of a very elegant lady in a skirt- bowling.

As luck would have it, they also invented the microwave that week.  And my mom won it.  The very first microwave in existence.  It was enormous- I would say that it was probably about 3 feet long by 2 feet wide.  And loud.  And so powerful that it dimmed the lights when you used it.  That enormous piece of imperfect counter top radiation came into our house when I was a newborn, and didn't make its exit until my sister bought my mom a new one, somewhere around the year 2000.  I was 27.

Appliances are not meant to last that long.  That alone makes its presence in our home during all of the formative years of my life f-ing terrifying.  I would love to blame all my bad decision making on the fact that I used to love to rest my forehead on it and watch my food cook.  But I'm pretty sure my sister did that too- and she's a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist- so, yeah, no luck.

Of course, we tried to buy her one sooner- but you don't know my mother.  Not only did she not want a new one, she absolutely refused to allow the replacement of the damn thing.   My sister had to sneak it out of the house- literally. I'm pretty sure my mom started to cry when she saw its shiny, digital replacement.  And they weren't tears of joy.  Imagine taking the old family dog away from a 9 year old, killing it in the night, and trying to replace it with a bunny.  Now imagine that look on the face of a 60 year old woman.

The microwave wasn't the only archaic appliance we had in that house.  Yes, it's the only one I blame for my inability to conceive for many years, but now I have Lucien- so that's neither here nor there.  Our TV was fodder for legend.

Remember when electronics were also furniture?  That was brilliant.  Why make a necessary piece of household equipment small and efficient when it could be enormous, and also a piece of non-functional furniture?  Our TV sat about five inches from the floor, on a swivel base.  The TV itself was about a 40 inch.  The size of the shiny wood siding that housed it was about a 3 and half foot cube.  It was enormous.  We got it in 1978 when we moved to California.  My mom didn't get rid of that one until we refused to pack it for her move to Florida in 2003.  Only one button worked on the remote- the channel up button.  Do you know how incredibly frustrating it is to have to cycle through 52 channels to get to the one you want? Very.  I mean, never enough to make us get off our asses and walk to the TV- but very.

My mother still brings that TV up.  When we finally convinced her not to pack her300 pound soul mate up for the move, she gave it to a tenant she was renting a room to.  Boy is she pissed that it's still working, and not in her possession.  I saw Mike when I went back to San Jose.  Do you know that he still has that TV?  He loves it.  He says its the best TV he's ever had.  It really did have a nice picture.  And it was so different- the way you could watch it in the living room, and swivel it around an also watch it in the dining room.  
They don't make things like that anymore. 

I am typing at this very moment on a Mac power book I bought in 2004.  A 27 year old microwave, and a an 8 year old Mac are basically the same thing.  I haven't turned this computer off in 3 years, for fear that it won't turn back on.  Seriously.   And I haven't done any software updates either, because You know they put viruses in those.  Apple does.  They don't want their products to last that long.  In case you didn't catch on, that would be the inner dialogue of my brain.  Also, if you unplug it,  you have to fiddle with the power cord for about 5 minutes to get it to work again.  Why haven't I bought a new one?  Genetics, clearly.  I'm hard-wired to exhaust the shit out of anything that can be plugged into a wall.

My TV was bought for me by my mother in 1998.  It is a Sony 32 inch traditional boxed TV.  It's old. And huge.  And my friends have been know to tease me, relentlessly, for still having it.  My husband bought a flat screen a few years ago, and set it up in the living room as a surprise for me when I got home from work.  Oh.  Wow.  Yeah- great.  The picture is nice, but it's a little too clear- isn't it?  I mean, everyone looks kinda haggard.  And the sound, it's tinny isn't it?  But great.  It's great.  Thanks! 

Lying in bed that night, visions of my old workhorse just sitting sadly in the corner of the living room were too much for me to bear.  I mean, I was really bothered by this.  I just kept thinking I like my TV better.  It's old, but so what?  And who cares if it juts out 2 feet into the only path through our front room- not me!  Suddenly I realized I was laying awake thinking about my TV.  Ridiculous!

But, with the clarity that only comes when you are lying awake in the middle of the night- I learned something about my mother- and myself.   Of course a new flat screen would be better, in every way. But it's not the thing itself- it is its quiet, unwavering presence in your life.  In other words, welcome to aging.  Welcome to your youth slipping away.  Welcome to memories attached to things that were around, when you were younger and better in every way.  And who want to give those up?

Needless to say, my husband's flat screen now lives in his office, and my beloved television still takes up residence in the most important room in the house. .

They just don't make things like that anymore.