Monday, April 30, 2012

It's true. Men do lose their f@#king minds when women give birth. But so does everyone else.

I'd heard the stories.  We've all seen the movie scenes.  You know, the one where the woman is giving birth, and the man fucking loses his mind?  Faints in the delivery room.  Forgets to pack the bag.  Insert stupid man thing here.

Well, as it turns out- it's totally true.  It was for us, anyway.

Oh, so much truth.


Here's the story.

We had been going to the only free standing Birthing Center in Brooklyn.  I hate hospitals, and I really wanted to birth Lucien away from one, in a place where they let you go home four hours after the baby is born (they do!).  As you know, there always has to be a back up plan for these things, in case of emergency.  We had discussed-in exhausting detail- what would happen in that case.  There was a very good hospital, with a  great maternity ward, about 3 miles away from our Birthing Center.  If anything went wrong, it would be a 10 minute car ride away.  Great.

Now, let me re-iterate that this birthing center was in Brooklyn.  All of our prenatal visits were in Brooklyn.   All of our ultrasounds were at another hospital in Brooklyn.  So, when things went awry, at the last prenatal visit, my mother and I hopped in a cab to the back up hospital, that was yes- in Brooklyn.

We had agreed that my mother wouldn't come until the baby was born.  But the baby was over a week late, and she was getting anxious.   So she flew out.  Since she was here, I decided to give my husband a break from the last prenatal appointment, and Mom came with me instead.   Of course, it's perfect that things would go awry at that appointment- because my mother handles stress so well- and could really be my rock.  Totally kidding.   She does not handle these things well at all.

Back to the story.  Things take a bad turn at the appointment, when Lucien's heart rate drops dramatically, and we have to head to the hospital.  We opt for a cab instead of an ambulance, because my midwife gives me a choice- and ambulances totally freak me out.  Cab arrives.  Our driver is almost as old as God.  He is actually old enough to possibly be God, which should be comforting to me- but it's not.  My mother starts swearing at God.  A sto dialo! (Which basically translates to 'go to hell' in Greek)  My daughter is having a baby!  Hurry up!  Shit, can you hear me?  Why are you driving so fucking slow?  This is coming out of my seventy five year old mother's mouth.  My pregnant serenity is vanishing by the second.  

We finally get to the hospital.  We walk into the emergency admitting for labor and delivery, and my mother storms into the admitting office (where other people in emergency situations are, mind you) and starts screaming Somebody help my daughter!  You'd think I was riddled with gunshots.  They shoo her out of the office, we wait our turn, and I am admitted.

I'm finally in a room and I figure this would be a good time to call my husband.  I call.  It goes straight to voicemail.   Again.  And again.  And now I am getting annoyed.  So I call  my sister and ask her to please get him on the phone and give him the directions to get to the hospital.  She does.  Tenth Avenue between 48th and 49th.  She manages to contact him and delivers the message.  I feel a little bit of relief.  My mother is in the hall now, praying her ass off.  I am alone in the admitting room, waiting for my husband.

My phone rings.  It's my husband.

Husband: Hey.  Are you okay? Where is this hospital?  I'm here.  I don't see it.  
Me: What do you mean, you don't see it?  It's a giant hospital.  Kinda hard to miss.
H: I just passed the Javits Center.  Is it by there?
M: What the fuck are you talking about?  The Javits center?  In Manhattan?  You're in Manhattan?  WHY ARE YOU IN MANHATTAN?
H: Your sister said Tenth Aven-
M: Tenth Avenue in Brooklyn.  BROOKLYN.  Where we live.  Where we have been going to the doctor for the past nine months.  Why the hell are you in the city?
H:  I thought-
M: Stop talking.  Just get here.  
H: I don't have any money.
M: WHAT?  What do you mean you don't have any money?
H: I didn't bring my wallet.  And my metro card is empty.  I'm going to start walking now.
M: You're going to start walking?  To deep Brooklyn?  From Midtown?  Are you serious?
H: I'll be there as soon as I can.

Click.

So, just to recap; My mother is freaking out.  My husband is walking to Brooklyn, from Midtown Manhattan.  And my phone starts ringing again.  It's my new asshole landlord.  He's just bought the building, and he's trying to raise our rent by NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS.   I let it go to voicemail.  For some odd reason, since I am clearly not stressed out enough, I listen to it.

Maria, it's your landlord.  You're not returning our calls.  We're sending an eviction letter.  Certified mail.  You can't ignore this one like you did the last.  Please advise.
This next point has nothing to do with my story, but whoever was the first person to string together the words please and advise, is the world's biggest douche.
Phone rings again.  It's my landlord again.  Of course I don't answer it.  It rings, again.  And again.

I call my sister, because she fixes things.  

Me:  Hi.  My husband is in Manhattan.  Mom is crying and praying.  And my landlord is calling me- a lot. Will you please call him now and tell him that I am going to stab him in the face, repeatedly, until he is dead- if he doesn't stop calling me, while I'm in the hospital, TRYING TO GIVE BIRTH TO THIS DAMN BABY?
Sister:  Yes.  Yes, I will.  

And she does.  And threatens him in other ways that my mind can't even fathom.  We should have been a mob family.   And my husband finally arrives.   That relaxes my Mom a little, and she stops praying.  And although everything gets even crazier and crazier after that... about an hour later I give birth to the most beautiful baby boy to ever be born.  He's covered in shit, but I'll save that for another blog.

Yes, men lose their minds.  But so does everyone else.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stream of consciousness Sunday... Stop changing, baby!

Stream of consciousness Sunday.  What a cool idea.  I'm in.  The writing prompt this week... change.

Change.

I was always the person that relished it.  I still do.  I get antsy when I'm in one place for too long.  I live to explore knew people, places, foods, cultures...  Never in my life did I want things to stop changing.

Until I had a child.

Nobody told me that being a mother was going to be a daily, weekly, monthly series of heartbreaks- as you watch your little person change so rapidly- and become an almost entirely new entity every couple weeks.

It is crazy.  My baby is one an a half, and I already miss the 13 or 14 incarnations of himself, that he has been since he was born.

The blob of needs infant, with the bright eyes.
The smiling five week old (well, it was probably gas- but it was amazing.)
The rolly polly three month old.
The seven month old we were convinced would never crawl.
The 13 month old who stood up- and then didn't actually take a step forward for two more months.
And now, the hilarious, giggling, little boy that he is this week.

Changes.  They break my heart.  But I'm excited to meet the person he'll be next month.

1 month

4 months

6 months

11 months


yesterday


*Thanks All Things Fadra, for allowing me to stop being such a perfectionist for five minutes, and write this post.
Every Sunday, Fadra provides a writing prompt for five minutes of stream of consciousness, unedited writing.  How cool is that? Write a post, link up to her site, and tag your twitter feed with #SOCSUNDAY, so others can read it, too.



Mixtape. Sunday.



A very cool cover of a very cool song.  Alice Smith singing Cee Lo's Fool For You. For Lovers Dreamers & Me

Thursday, April 26, 2012

HIgh maintenance Mommy


I was sitting in a restaurant the other day next to a lovely young couple.  At the end of the meal, they had this exchange:

I don't really feel like going home.  Wanna go to a movie?
Sure.  

Seems benign enough, right?  So why did it inspire a fiery blanket of envy to wrap around my entire being?  Really.  I was longing for that conversation the way a castaway longs for a ship on the horizon.

My man and I haven't been able to make an off the cuff plan for a movie since Lucien was born.  I, personally, have seen one movie in the theater since 2010.  It was Captain America.  Sorta dropped the ball on choosing wisely on that one.  If I would have known it was going to be the only movie I saw that year, I would have given it more thought.


This got me thinking about all of the little things that I took for granted, before time for myself became some sort of a myth.  Some distant memory.  Something I'm sure I had at some point, but have forgotten completely.  Movies.  Pedicures.  Hair appointments.  Listlessly lingering in coffee shops.  Everything takes on a new meaning now.  I guess- to be fair- I have to admit that I have become really high maintenance.  Well, as high maintenance as someone who has worked in the service industry for 20 years can be, anyway.

I got a pedicure before I left for my sister's wedding cruise.  This trivial ritual that I used to partake in at least twice a month, has now become an event that I have time for about every 3 months.  Naturally, it is not as trivial to me as it used to be.  All of a sudden, this pedicure I'm getting better be the best damn pedicure around.   I've noticed there is a lot more pressure for every single thing I do -that doesn't involve parenting- to be perfect.  Well, maybe not perfect.  But good.  Really good.

This particular day, my perfect pedicure was not in the cards.  There was trouble brewing at the salon.  I should have sensed it when I walked in the door.  Actually I did sense it when I walked in the door, but I was too excited about my impending foot rub to pay it any mind.  The air was thick with acetone and tension.  The receptionist seemed pissed.  So did the woman preparing my foot bath.  She was angrily filling the tub, splashing water all over the place.

Put your feet here!

Normally I don't like to be yelled at, but frankly, these days I will take any manner of abuse if there is a foot rub at the end of it.  So I grab my In Style magazine and my purse, take my shoes off- and take my place on the pedi-throne.

Holy mother of scalding hot water.  This foot bath is crazy hot.  I glance down to make sure it's not boiling, and that my skin is still in tact.  Check, check.  I take a deep breath, relax, and try to acclimate myself to the temperature of the ridiculously hot water.

The secret to getting a good pedicure is this;  at no time can you come across as a delicate flower.  It ruins everything.  They won't give you a good massage, they won't scrub the shit out of your callouses, they won't use the cuticle cutters-  they will be too afraid to hurt you.  So I put my game face on, sit back, and begin to catch up on Angelina and Brad.

My mantra.


At that moment, the pissed off receptionist that has been fiddling with the stereo since I walked in finally gets it to work. I can't believe I forgot my whistle and glow in the dark choker at home.  I've been transported to the Euro-disco.  Seriously.  Have you ever been to a disco, in any city in Europe?  Then you know what they are playing here.  This shit is loud, without rhythm, and I'm pretty sure a vuvuzela is the main instrument.

On cue, my pedicurist lets out an audible sigh, and starts scrubbing my feet with a fierce vengeance.  This music is apparently the root of the tension.  She mumbles under her breath in Spanish.  Perra estupidia.  I've worked in kitchens long enough to know what that means.  My serenity is vanishing by the minute.  My feet are hot as fuck, this woman is actually hurting me, and this music is making me want to stab myself in the face.  And now, of course, they start to argue.  But I have no idea what they are saying.  The DJ is speaking what I think is Vietnamese.  My pedicurist is speaking Spanish, so I'm getting bits and pieces here and there.  It's not good.  The music, the yelling,  and the pain are making this the pedicure from hell.  From hell.

I give up on getting an even half-decent pedicure, and speak.

Could you please stop yelling?  I'm trying to relax.  I haven't had a pedicure in 3 months!  Please, please, please- can you just be quiet?  Jesus, and this music is fucking ridiculous.  I'm on her side.  It sucks.  Don't you have anything with a flute, or running water or something?  A babbling brook?  New age Spanish guitar?  ANYTHING BUT THIS??

My pedicurist's grimace breaks into a very small, almost undetectable smile.  The DJ turns off the music.

All of a sudden, this pedicure I'm getting, becomes the best damn pedicure around.   

Thank God, because it's gonna have to last me three months.

Today.






Before I had a child, I remember going into friends' homes that had children- and being horrified that they turned their main living space into a playroom.  Ha.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A letter to my Dad that I can only write because he's dead.

In 1985, my sister graduated from high school.  As a celebratory trip, my mother took her to New York City.  My father- obviously miserable, and sensing a window of opportunity- brought his girlfriend over, packed up, and left.  I was twelve.

One glaring detail- that I would be alone in the house for five days until my mother and sister returned- somehow escaped him.

Again, I was twelve.  There was no one in the house when he left but myself.  Of course,  being twelve- and not understanding the intricacies of marriage and relationships- I thought it was my fault.  I didn't tell a soul about this until my 20's- when I finally confided in my sister.

Can anyone say, abandonment issues?  Yes, I've got them.

My sister got the brunt of my father's wrath when he was living with us.   She was a teenager.  He was strict.  I didn't get any of that.  I was too young to cause any real problems.  We were buddies.  We played video games.  We joked.  We cooked.  It was all around great.  Until he left.

Which made it so much harder for me to swallow.  My father leaving was the first, biggest, and worst betrayal of my life.  And- as much as I hate to admit it- I never got over it.  And I damn sure never forgave him for it.

I began hating my father then.  I cultivated this hate for decades.  I mastered it, actually.  When he finally died, in 2008, the story I believed about this man was so burned into my brain- I hardly shed a tear when I saw him on his deathbed.

My Dad.


History is tricky.  So is the human brain.  You make your own history- and what you believe to be true, really becomes true- whether or not there is a speck of truth to it at all.  My father wasn't the monster I had made him out to be all of those years.  He was a human being- with flaws.  I only wish I would have realized that a little earlier.

My father was a widower when he met my mother in the Sixties.  His first wife died under tragic circumstances- an annuerism or something.  He was in his thirties, with three young children to care for.  Naturally, he needed a Nanny.  That is where my mother came in.  A young, gorgeous Greek immigrant became his first Nanny. Then she became his wife.  For damn near thirty years.

My sister and I were the children that came from that union.  We were never fully accepted into his family.  My grandmother's house- riddled with pictures of all of her grandchildren- was clear of any indication that we even existed.  I always felt like an outcast.  Even on the day of my father's funeral, there wasn't a front row seat for me.  Literally.  There wasn't.  I sat behind the row of upholstered leather, high-backed chairs, in a folding one.  Pretty fitting, I guess.

But whatever.  None of that matters.  What matters is that my father made mistakes.  As people are wont to do.  And he didn't do a good job of apologizing for those mistakes.  He much preferred the Italian way, of guilting you into submission.  This tactic did not work for me.  We would butt heads until the day he died.  I'm pretty sure looking into my face reminded him of all the mistakes he made.  My brother is convinced that he loved me most of all.  Now, I can actually believe that.

The day of his funeral I saw him laying lifeless in that coffin.  I walked up to him.  Touched his face.  It felt like pottery.  He was so small, so meek, so not the intimidating character that I knew him to be.  I thought about the last time I dodged one of his phone calls.  It was a Friday night.  I was working at the bar.  There was a lull in business- I definitely could have answered it and spoken to him for a minute.  But I didn't.  I remember thinking, "Ugh.  My dad." I didn't know that he would have the catastrophic stroke that would render him unable to form a coherent word- ever again- the very next day.  I didn't know that was the last time that I would be able to hear my father's voice.

I didn't know.

That's the thing about life.  You kinda always have to do your best- because you never know when shit like that is going to happen.  I didn't do my best that day.  Unfortunately, that will follow me until the day I die.

As luck would have it- I birthed the second coming of my father.  Lucien has the same skin tone, the same hairline, and the same furrowed brow.  With his long legs, and baby belly, he even has my father's stance.  Sometimes, I see him smiling at something in the distance.  He's definitely looking at something that isn't visible to me. I picture my father, standing above me, making Lucien laugh- the way that only he could.  I picture Lucien, getting the joke, the way that I did when I was a child.

I'm realizing now that these words I'm writing don't even make any sense.  I guess the only point I'm making is- don't hold on to anger and grudges.  That old adage that says,  Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, would have done me a world of good, if I would have payed it any mind.   There are some things in life, that don't have a do-over.

On what would have been your 78th birthday, I'd like to say "I'm sorry, Dad."  I'm sorry I'm human.  I'm sorry you were, too.  I'm sorry I couldn't figure this all out while you were still alive.  And in the future, when you come to Lucien, could it be around four o'clock?  He gets grumpy then- and whatever you are doing to make him smile, works.

Happy Birthday.
read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Friday, April 20, 2012

Today.






Spring has sprung in Brooklyn... sorta.  It ended up being a little grey- but we went to the zoo anyway.  Lucien came face to face with a baboon, llama, and sea lion.  Totally not impressed.  It was pretty funny.

On another note- walked by the botanical gardens and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom- already.  If you want to see them, you better get down there!

Mad as Hell.

Best film monologue ever.

A reader brought it to my attention this week- and when I was reading the news this morning I couldn't help but think about how relevant it is, right now- for me at least.



It's from 1977, from the film, Network.  If you haven't seen it, you should put it in your Netflix cue.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

You're expecting? Congratulations. Get ready for 9 months of the worst advice ever, from everyone on the planet.

So, yeah.  Pregnancy is weird.

There will probably never, ever, be another time in your life when a perfect stranger comes up to you and feels you up.  Unapologetically.

My favorite experience with this happened when I was about 7 months pregnant.  I was at the deli, buying a Kit-Kat,  and minding my own business.  An older lady walked up to me -cupped my lower belly with both hands- stared into my eyes, and said;
This is definitely a girl.  A beautiful baby girl.  You are so blessed.

Really?  That is amazing.  I just went through a really uncomfortable ultrasound that required weird gels, emptying of the bladder and a paper robe.  No one told me that going to the 7 Eleven and finding the woman with the least boundaries in the place would be just as effective.  Thanks.  I'll remember that for number two.  

Sorry to destroy your delusions of baby predicting grandeur, lady,  but this baby is a boy.   Also, your hand is disturbingly close to my vagina.  


Then there were the droves of how-to-breed-a-child-prodigy advice that I was getting, from just about every stranger I made eye contact with.
Do you listen to Classical music?  It's been proven to raise the IQ of embryos.  And Jazz.  Jazz does it, too.
I didn't know embryos had an IQ,  but thanks.  I'll pick up some Bach on the way home.
Eat lots of fish!  Take fish oil.  Fish oil is great for hand-eye coordination!
You know, even decaf has caffeine, and that's really not good for baby's brain!
Don't use a microwave.  It causes autism.  Oh, so does hair dye.
WHAT?

This cracks me up.



As if strangers feeling you up and giving you unsolicited advice isn't bad enough, when you actually look for advice- it's disappointing as hell.  For example, everyone's pregnancy bible, What to Expect When You're Expecting.  That book sucks.  Sorry, but it does.

Seriously, thanks for nothing, most popular pregnancy book ever sold.  Consulting that book for pregnancy is like using Web MD.  You'll find a list of every symptom you can think of- but it won't make you feel any better, and you actually might think you're dying.   And don't even get me started about the cover art.   I mean really, who is that weird looking woman?  Someone get her a stylist, stat.  This book was just way too clinical and vast to help me at all.

On the opposite end of that spectrum are the books that attempt to use humor or a conversational style to get their message across.  One of the best-selling ones in this genre is called Skinny Bitch Bun in the Oven.  Really?  Go fuck yourselves, ladies. Why would you ever choose this  title  for a pregnancy book?  These women made a killing off of making women feel like shit about their dietary choices with their book, Skinny Bitch.  Why not make pregnant women feel just as bad?  They basically spend the whole book yelling at you.  I'm dead serious.  I don't like to be yelled at when I'm not pregnant.  Reading this book during pregnancy would have sent me into a fiery rage.  Thanks but no thanks, Skinny Bitches.


Ugh.  It's hard.  It really is.  I did find one site that I loved.  It's called Alpha Mom.  They have an amazing pregnancy calendar  that you can consult week by week.  It is humorous, and down to earth and I related to it more than any other piece of literature that I read.   Also, message boards can be great.  Scary Mommy has a message board I found this year, that I wish I had found during my pregnancy.  The women on these boards are really cool.

If hell freezes over, and I become pregnant again- I am totally writing a book.  If you are pregnant and have any questions you want answered by a non-doctor that can talk until she's blue in the face, you can let me know.  Always looking for ways to help my ladies-with humor.

In the meantime, good luck.  Like I said, pregnancy is weird.


*Today's post is a little short.  I am becoming acclimated to being in the real world again, after spending a week celebrating my sister's wedding- at sea.   Hopefully my brain cells will return, soon. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Today.




Vacation cuteness.  Miami is a hit-and after all that worrying- he was a saint on the plane.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Don't worry. No one knows what the hell they're doing.


Every once in a while I act as if I believe that there could actually exist a how-to manual on raising children.  There can't.  There isn't.  I'm sorry to burst your bubble if you have spent a fortune on a super-parenting library.  You may as well sell it all now.  Or save it for firewood when the zombie apocalypse happens.

In these moments of confused weakness, I usually visit some know-it-all site, like Huffpost Parents.  Or Wikipedia.  Just kidding.  Wikipedia doesn't really have a page for raising children. But they should- God, that would be awesome.  Huffpost Parents has droves of information, though.  I nearly wet myself with excitement today when I saw this headline;
How To Diffuse a Tantrum in 10 Seconds Flat

Holy shit- really?  Just in time.  I'm about to take my toddler on a plane.  He's not prone to tantrums, but I figure anyone can use a 10 second tantrum diffuser in their parenting arsenal, right?  Only problem is, this is the worst advice, ever.  Not kidding.  I'm confused.  I hope this woman is just trying to be funny.  Please, God, let that be the case.  

The following is a step by step guide to diffusing a tantrum, as per a Huffpost Parents Blogger.  Most of these tactics seem odd.  I'm almost positive that none of them will stop a tantrum in 10 seconds.  The point is, this post actually made me feel better about my parenting skills.  I mean, Huffpost is a reputable site.  So it is comforting to know that not even these parenting pros know what the hell is going on.  Here is the list, and some excerpts of the advice.  Followed, of course, by a little commentary.

1. Copy the Tantrum.  "Lie on the floor next to your thrashing child and mimic their behavior."

Okay, so I am going from the embarrassment of an uncontrollable toddler, to all out pretending like I have also lost my fucking mind.  Sorry- I still have some self respect.  No.  Just, no.  Worst advice ever.

2.  Ignore it.  "Tell your child that you can't hear him when he is being whiny. It may even help if you speak to him in a Donald Duck voice." 

So now, I am expected to relinquish 39 years of behavioral training, and act like a toddler myself?  I don't think so.

3.  Distract.  "Begin singing 'Baby Got Back,' as loud as possible while shaking your butt.  She will stop what she's doing and start laughing.  Tantrum over."

I really don't think my child would laugh at this.  I just don't.  He will look at me, confused, and if it is possible for a one and a half year old to be horrified by his mother- that will happen.  I'd rather wait until he is a teenager to horrify him- like every other mother around- thank you very much.

4.  Stay calm.  "... if you can just count to 10 before you react, you may be surprised how much those few seconds can help your child realize that you aren't going to respond to irrational behavior. Plus if you stand completely still and silent or lie on the couch with your eyes closed, she will be more concerned with your well being.  Tantrum averted."

Are you actually suggesting that I play dead, here?  I do have a sick sense of humor, but that is just fucked up.

5.  Walk away.  "If your child starts to throw a tantrum in a public place, tell them you are leaving... he needs to know that you mean business.  You have to follow through so that he knows this behavior won't go unpunished..."

You've slightly redeemed yourself with this one.  Agreed.

6.  Talk it to death.  "That's right.  Talk about every single emotion you are having, and talk about it again.  Your kid will get so bored hearing about his own tantrum, and your empathy, that he...will walk away from you."

You may be confusing your child with your spouse here.  Maybe a second day of therapy a week is in order.

7.  Shock and Awe.  "...junior decides to throw himself on the floor and scream bloody murder.  Promptly take your faucet hose sprayer and spray junior in the face."


What in the what?

Um, yeah.  I got nothing for this one.  But do you understand where I am coming from here?  Nobody knows what the hell they are doing.  We all just learn as we go, and hopefully don't do too much irreversible damage.  Be your own, personal, parenting expert.  You definitely know as much as this woman.  

And if it makes you feel any better,  I'm pretty sure you're better at it than I am, too.  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Being childless doesn't entitle you to a life of peace. Sorry. It just doesn't.


Last week I had the pleasure of spending some time around a very outspoken woman- who fucking hates kids.  With a fiery passion.  She doesn't think children should leave the house before they are old enough to  understand consequences and totally behave.  And she was very outspoken about it.  

She regaled us with a seemingly endless trove of stories which included her berating parents for a variety of different actions that she perceived as parenting pitfalls- most of which just involved leaving the house  with their children.  There was the time that she presented the parent of what she deemed to be an ill-behaved child, the check for the meal that she just consumed.  She couldn't totally enjoy her meal because of the little shit, so naturally the father should pay, right?  

Then there was a barrage of stories about all of the flights that she had taken, which had been torture because of one screaming child or another.  Her storytelling ended with this declaration:

Children should not be allowed on flights.  Ever.  There is no reason why an infant or toddler should ever be on a flight.  No reason.  You have a child, you make a decision.  You change your lifestyle.  No flights.  

I'm sorry- Wha? I don't care how many children have made a flight unpleasant for you-  that makes no motherf-ing sense.  Whatsoever.  I'm paraphrasing her words a little, because I wasn't exactly taking notes- although I should have been, to hear her tell it.  She apparently has it all figured out.  All the injustices in the world would probably cease, if only all of the brats would stay at home.

Something I never noticed before I had a baby;  how us and them the world really is.

By us, I mean people with children.  By them, I mean people without.  Or vice-versa.

There seems to be a constant barrage of never-ending complaints, and new places where babies just shouldn't be allowed.  Babies in restaurants- No!  Babies on planes- No!  Babies in the library- No!  Babies at Barnes and Noble, Starbucks, Macy's, Pathmark, Target, and any other random place you can think of- no, no, no, no, no, no.

Now, I'm not saying that there aren't a lot of really loud children out there, with parents who don't seem to notice.  I've even written some posts on the subject.*  What I am saying is, children are not the only annoyance in our over crowded world.  They just aren't.  I'm sick of people acting like they are.  And I am really sick of people without children thinking that they are entitled to some super peaceful existence because they decided not to procreate.

This doesn't really fit here.  I just like it.


Guess what?  You're not in Sandal's all inclusive resort for adults.  You're in New York City.  Nobody gets peace.  Nobody.  And newsflash- air travel sucks for everyone who isn't rich enough to fly first class.  It does, and it always will.  Period.  

The last flight I took before I got pregnant, was to Florida to visit my family.  I sat next to a man who, I'm guessing- by the sheer amount of body that was overflowing onto my seat- weighed about 350 pounds.  At the beginning of the flight he rested his giant arm on our shared armrest, and fell asleep.  I was stuck watching a Scooby Doo marathon, all the way to Florida, because I couldn't slide my finger under his arm to change the channel.  Believe me I tried.  The feeling of sticking my finger up under the rolls of fat, and not finding the damn channel button, was really gross.  I almost felt like I was violating him in some way.  I gave up. I spent the rest of the flight watching Scooby Doo, crammed into the 2/3 of the seat that wasn't inhabited by my snoring seatmate.  I would've traded a screaming infant for that scenario in a heartbeat.

Then there was the time I apparently sat behind a man with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  He farted the entire flight.  The silent kind, that actually makes the air around you warmer.  I would rather have someone change a diaper full of shit on my tray table than be shrouded by a cloud of man-fart for 5 hours.  I promise you I would.

Then there was the god-forsaken flight to Vegas where I sat next to a bunch of ex-frat-boy-turned-day trader-assholes.  They spent the whole flight drinking, high-fiving, calling each other Brohiem, and talking about all the women they slayed- at an unbelievably high volume.  I wanted to stab myself in the face with my spork.  Repeatedly.  Until I died of self-inflicted spork wounds- 30,000 feet above Lodi.  That's how bad that flight was.  And there wasn't a single child on it.

So to all the people who hate seeing children on flights- I get it.  It's annoying.  But I'll give you a tip for getting through it.  Since, unlike myself,  you don't have a child that you have to attempt to keep quiet and subdued for the duration of your flight-  have a cocktail.  Or four.  Put your headphones on.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. 

It could always be worse.  Trust me.


*The posts I referenced earlier are here and here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

You're not in Kansas anymore. And your ass is too fat.





This is the most recent photo of models without photoshop that's been making the rounds all over the Internet lately.  It seems that no matter how many times we see actual women- it just doesn't sink in that the images we idolize- that all make us feel shitty about ourselves- are not real.

The woman on the left is Victoria's Secret model, Alessandra Ambrosio.  You know when you browse the VS catalog, and you find a cute bra?  And then you see how it looks on their model, and they use words like full coverage and second skin satin.  And then you look at the bra on the model and you think, She looks fully covered-  and pretty happy about it!  And then you order the bra, try it on, and cry?
Well, she's the reason that none of your bras look right on you.  She's the woman these items are fashioned for- and she has no boobs.


The woman in the middle is plus-sized model, Crystal Renn.  She's a size 12.  And by the looks of this un-retouched photo, sexy as hell.  But, we'll just call her plus-sized, and make all of the women in this country that look like her  feel fat.  And a lot of women in this country look like her.  The average size that women in America wear is 14.

The girl on the right is Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl, Brooklyn Decker.  Notice how her, and the plus-sized model are very similar in size?  (Well, except that she's way taller.)  It turns out that Sports Illustrated likes their cover models to have boobs.  It also turns out that if you have boobs like that, and they are real- you will also have some hips and thighs.  God is fair like that- she really is.  Here is her SI cover photo:


Hmm.  That doesn't even look like the same person.  She lost about 4 inches in her waist, and her hip bones are protruding.  Sexy!


What is up with this bizarro narrative that we are letting the fashion industry and popular culture sell?  I feel like we've all been duped- like in the Wizard of Oz.  Somewhere, there is a disgruntled man sitting behind a curtain.  He is bitter.  He is unloved.  He looks something like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons.  And he has an evil, emaciated sidekick.  She looks like Fraulein, Dr. Evil's right hand woman.  They sit behind the curtain all day, eating sunflower seeds and flipping through fashion magazines- calling everybody fat.
I am OZ, great and powerful.  WHO ARE YOU?


As you can see, I am making jokes.  Only to keep myself from crying.  How did we let this happen?  It seems the more women advance in this world, the skinnier the world tells us we need to be.  It makes sense, if you think about it.  How can we really fight for equality, when we're hungry, tired, and riddled with self confidence issues?

The Tinman and Scarecrow said it best;
Help! Help!  It's no use screaming at a time like this.  Nobody will hear you.

Help! Help!








In news completely unrelated to this post- apparently I have been hiding my Facebook page from all of you.  Clearly, I need to brush up on my social media skills, so I don't turn into the old lady that won't use the ATM.  It turns out the only way I can let you know about new posts, is if you become a Facebook fan.  Become a fan and get new post updates.  Just click the link on the top right of this page. Thanks.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I've been nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award!




Okay, so two people have nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award,  so I think it's time for me to get my shit together and participate.  I think it is a nice idea to spread the love around.

The first blogger to nominate me was Mommy Rotten, who I don't know personally, but who I will forever think rocks hard, since she included me on a list of some amazing bloggers, who have been doing this waaaaaay longer than I have.  Talk about a huge confidence booster.  Thanks for that, Mommy Rotten.

The second is Jay Fingers. He is a dear friend of mine.  He is also someone who used to get drunk at my bar on a regular basis, when I was still the reigning queen of the Fort Greene, Brooklyn bar scene.  He was one of the first people to link to my blog, and he actually wrote a whole article about it here.  Oh, by the way, he just wrote a whole book.  Amazing.

So, the  way this thing works is-  you tell the person who nominated you seven things about yourself, that you don't think they know.  You link to their blog.  Then you choose some other bloggers to nominate for the award- which will not be easy since Jay chose some of my picks.

So, first things first.  Seven things about Maria Guido.

1.  I was the female perspective of a regionally syndicated advice column for a major newspaper.  It was called Four Cents (get it?  His two cents plus my two cents equals...)  Said job brought me droves of hate mail after I made fun of an association of men trying to reverse the trauma of circumcision by growing their foreskins back.  Not kidding.

2.  My photography made it into the Cuban Biennial In 2000,  only to be thwarted when Bush was elected, and artists Visas for travelling to Cuba became next to impossible to get.  Boo, hiss.

3.  I was the Editorial and Creative Director for the Brooklyn-based magazine, FLY- which was, indeed, fly.  This amazing piece of creative work was born on my sofa, in Brooklyn, New York.  I built several issues of a magazine, with no budget, and convinced the likes of Kool Moe Dee, Prince Paul, Rock Steady Crew, Doze Green, and Pete Rock to contribute- for free.  Woot-woot.



4.  I'm pretty sure I had a conversation with a ghost at Ocean Beach, San Francisco.  It was circa 1994, and I was in the vintage arcade underneath the Cliff House.  I was stone-cold sober.  I'm not kidding.

5.  I've had some pretty cool experiences waiting on people.  Joan Baez kissed my hand after I bought her a drink.  Selma Hayek left me a $200 tip on a $120 tab, and yes her boobs look amazing in person. David Bowie sang "itsy bitsy spider" to his daughter, in my presence, when I waited on them on Thanksgiving one year.  And I had this interaction with Gay Talese, father of New Journalism;
What do you do?
This.
No, really, what do you do?
I'm a photographer.  And I write a little bi....
Yup.  Knew it.  Something special about you.


6.  I used to commute over the Golden Gate Bridge for work, five times a week.  Once a week, I would pay some one's toll- for good karma.  It remains to be seen whether that worked.  But I guess it's proof that the SF peace-love-hippy vibe really rubs off on you.

7.  I read Tarot cards, have lucid dreams, and tell futures.  I'm pretty sure I was burned at the stake in a past life- which explains a lot, actually.

OK, enough about me.  Now for my nominees.

Katie at Red headed step child.  Because she is a woman that I looked at years ago, and thought, Wow! She's got her shit together!  Because it turns out, that like the rest of us, she didn't.  Because she survived an abusive relationship, and  has gone through a bunch of shit.  Because she is honest about all of it.

Erynn at Ugly Food Tastes Better, because I want to eat everything she makes.  Also because she is one of the coolest chicks on the planet.

Morgan at Kitchen in Season.  Food snob extraordinaire.  Person with great taste.  If you feel like your personal style needs a little brush-up, you can just visit this blog and learn about whatever it is he is profiling that week- be it food, design, art... you get the picture.  The guy's got taste.

Brian at Bodysuit to Fit, because he makes me never second guess my decision to not get a tattoo.  Seriously, I knew that shit was painful.  He describes every minute of the huge back piece he's currently getting in painful detail- with a dry dark wit, and humor to match.  Anyone who is interested in the art of Tattoo should check this out.  Great blog about committing to something wholeheartedly.


Sarah at Smaller Sarah, because I think blogging about weight loss is brave as hell.  Also, because what she is doing is working!  She is doing it in a healthy way, and it is a great inspiration.  One that I will follow after I finish eating my way to Cozumel, Mexico and back- on my sister's wedding cruise.

Amy at Amy C. Wilson blogspot, because she makes the cutest, most original toys I've ever seen, and she has a really sick sense of humor.  Those two things combined kinda make her my personal hero.

Karen at   A Child Grows in Brooklyn, because there is so much information on this blog.  Seriously.  It's incredible.  Also, I love that she includes information for things like public pre-K.  She understands that not everyone who has a child in Brooklyn can afford a $1200/mo preschool.   I like that.  She makes me feel included.

Phil at Asshole Baby.  Yup, you read it right.   The guy not only shares my affinity for the word asshole, he has no problem calling his baby one.  Since I have a sense of humor, I appreciate that.  Also, his parenting stories are authentic and he comes across like a real person, not a parent-bot.  Good job, Phil.

Okay.  So if I've included you on this list and you
A.  Feel like it's akin to a chain letter, and want to erase all evidence or mention of it- feel free.
B.  Have already won this, or have been around so long that you feel above it all- no biggie.
C.  Don't really feel like participating because you think it's lame- no problem.

You still rock.

Sunday, April 1, 2012