Thursday, July 31, 2008


So I kind of accidentally volunteered to go to Vegas for the day. For work. And I don't mean on a private jet wearing spandex, sitting across from Janice Dickinson and getting paid by the hour. I mean flying commercial wearing sensible shoes, up at 5 am, home by 9pm, walking a trade show all day long with my new boss.

We have already established that I don't do well with small talk. And so it seems that spending 12+ hours with my new boss is asking for some sort of awkward. I cannot help but imagine us walking down an aisle of goods at around 4pm when my sugar levels start to plummet. I will be nervously filling in the silence with nonsense, trying to impress. You know, ROI this, margin that, market trend vagina analysis comps cock and balls quotes for tooling and development timeline, should we get this produced in China or just go do some blow in the bathroom stall? Wait a minute, did I just say vagina? Cock and balls? Supercalifragalisticexpialidocious. And I have never even done coke but that is what I am afraid Vegas will do to me, all that time to meander and fill up space with someone I hardly even know yet. I am afraid I will blurt out the inappropriate, wear the wrong shoes, that the air-conditioned convention center will give me a chill.

Luck be a lady today because I am really dreading this.

Bonus points for anyone who can name that pencil-neck in the blue.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

You Want Some of This? Yeah, I Didn't Think So.

I have PMS today. Right there. I bet you anything that right there is why bloggers aren't being taken seriously, women bloggers in particular. I mean, why the fuck should anyone care that I have PMS, right?

Well stop right there because YOU SHOULD CARE. And if you don't I will stab you with this shiv I have fashioned out of a tampon and make you listen to the Mamma Mia soundtrack on repeat until you scream bloody mercy, holy mother of god and all that is musical. Stop! You will beg, Fine! I will rub your feet and feed you Honey Smacks and sit on the floor so you can have the whole couch to yourself! And did I mention how fetching you look in that stained chenille bathrobe? When belted it does wonders for your waist.

Yup, I'm pretty damn sure that's what the blogisphere will say when they hear that I have PMS. Because they care. Because you care. Because this is my blog and if I thought for one second that nobody cared that I am on the verge of shedding my uterine lining then I would weep big racking sobs of despair, or worse, silent snively pathetic whimpers of solitude. Or snap at someone à la Jeff Gillooly in love. And then I would eat some string cheese because, you know, I have PMS.

And then? After I had eaten the contents of the fridge, picked at my pores in a magnifying mirror, tweezed my eyebrows and read Us Weekly? Then I would check out this website-- Detouching 10: Removing the Retouching from Airbrushed Celebs. The perfect cure for the common PMS.
If ever this blog was in doubt of being chickcentric, this post settled the question.
Off to eat the heads off of some chocolate-covered crickets. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Out Watering Another Blog!

In my early twenties I lived in the basement apartment of a Welsh woman named Ann. I am pretty sure Ann only rented the apartment to me because my last name was Jenkins, also Welsh, and I told her I was a vegetarian. She said she just couldn't take the stench of meat and in theory I agreed. I say in theory because the week before I moved in the idealism of my twenty year old heart was quickly broken by a whiff of bacon one hungover morning at a greasy spoon in the city. After that I cooked bacon all the time in my rented basement apartment, the smell of fatty pork wafting up over the English rose garden and into Ann's house.
For some reason Ann still liked me. One summer she asked me to housesit for a few weeks while she went back to Wales to visit family. It was a natural, of course, me already living in her basement. I was told to collect the mail and water her garden. Nothing a twenty-one year old renter can't handle, right? Except that by the end of the first week her roses were already turning brown at the edges, singed by the sun. Plants once thick and glossy were curling and shrinking. And so it was that in week two that I panicked and left the sprinkler on for two days straight, thinking surely it was because I hadn't watered enough. Suffice it to say that when Ann returned from Wales all the glued together consonants in the Welsh language could not adequately express how deeply disappointed she was in me. The Welsh language is known for being a phonological roller coaster, but I distinctly heard Ann call me something that sounded like cymraegnadyddyllgowys, which I'm pretty sure translated to "you bacon-eating American twit, you killed my garden and now I'm raising your rent."
And so I am a bit surprised today that I have been asked to water yet another garden, this one of the horticultural variety bloggus-succulentamaternas. I will be posting over at In the Trenches of Mommyhood today while Sarah is on vacation. I am bringing some Miracle Gro and a pair of pruners and hoping against hope that I don't kill her blog. Because something tells me that if I do Sarah doesn't swear in Welsh and I will understand every single name she calls me. Come visit me, if you don't mind, we can raid her liquor cabinet and maybe you can tell me how to turn that damn sprinkler on.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Operation Big Girl Panties

In hindsight perhaps I was a wee bit optimistic, buying Zoey her Dora the Explorer potty way on or around her first birthday. Because here we are closing in on two years and four months and still Dora has not seen any real action. Just a few poots and that one time some pee miraculously appeared in the bowl when we had it sitting outside on the deck although I'm still not completely sure Nacho wasn't responsible for that.

So this weekend with nothing to do but shop Zoey and I hit the mall on Operation Big Girl Panties in the hope that a pair of pretty patterned underwear would be incentive to potty train. And this is what we found, the only pair that did not feature some sort of Back-to-School motif with dancing apples or autumn leaves:

To say that Zoey was overcome with Operation Big Girl Panties would be an understatement. Here she is admiring them (and herself) in the mirror. And yes, I DO clean my mirror on occasion, but the smudge marks and smears are because she had just finished making out with her own reflection, so taken was she with the image of herself in Big Girl Panties.

Sadly, as it too often does, the ecstasy of victory soon gave way to the agony of defeat. Here she is looking into that self-same mirror moments after peeing in her new Big Girl Panties and all over the floor.


Dude! she seems to be saying. You almost had it! And then you go and piss it all away!

Later, as I was tucking her into bed after reading her close to two dozen books, she pulled my head down next to hers and said to me in earnest, oh Mama, I'm so proud of you. Why? I asked, my heart expanding with her tiny voice and breath sweet with milk. You wear big girl panties, she said, and then turned over, pulling Elmo into the crook of her neck.
And what I did not tell her in that moment but wish I had is that I am proud of her, as well, big girl panties or none at all. She is everything I ever wanted in a daughter and more, diaper heavy with pee and sagging with poop, booger nose, dried yogurt streaked through her hair, a smudge of banana in one ear. She is my inspiration, a puddle at her feet and a life so Big before her.

Friday, July 25, 2008

She Who Shall Not Be Named

When I was born my name was Amanda. But my brother was already Andy and my parents didn’t want people to call us Andy and Mandy so the birth certificate was changed and I was no longer Amanda.
I wonder what my life would have been like had my parents kept the name. I think my eyes would have been bigger, softer. I would have looked good in blue.
Later on I told people my name was Heidi. I wore my hair in braids and pretended the very slight hill leading up to our house on Scenic Avenue was an alp in Germany. My cat Dumb Darrell Chicken Liver Whip Whap Sick Sack was a goat. After that I was Penny from The Rescuers, then Jo from The Facts of Life which was about the time I tried speaking with a Brooklyn accent even though I had never even been. Later it was Samantha, again from Brooklyn, this time from Who’s the Boss. She had sharp eyeteeth and bitchin’ big bangs. Meanwhile I had a space in between my front teeth and frizz.
I no longer go by different names. I am Susannah and I don’t look good in blue. But at times I am a mommy, other times a mother. I am an employee, a friend, a daughter, a wife, a sister, the anonymous person in line behind you at the supermarket. I am the bitch who cut you off on the freeway. I am one name but a thousand different people when earlier, when I was young, I was many different names but one single me. Even when I spoke in an accent that was not my own. I was me no matter the name.

Zoey has gotten to the age of pretend. I listen to her play by herself, feeding her teddy bear cups of tea and talking to the bird wall decals above her bed at night. You want some? She says, and then inexplicably, it’s very dangerous! Be careful! Keep trying! I have no idea what’s going on inside her head, if she's a bird or a lady dripping with diamonds, feathered mules on her feet. But she knows who she is, regardless of name, no matter the shoes. She is who she is and she doesn’t know anything else.
I distinctly remember when I first learned I had a last name. My brother and I were sitting in the little red Datsun outside of our house on Scenic and my mom was in the driver’s seat, quizzing us on our phone number. 4534277453427745342774534277, she made us repeat it over and over and then she told us our last name. Remember it, she said, that is who you are. And it suddenly occurred to me that I had an identity. I was Susannah Jenkins, 4534277. Should I ever get lost that’s what I was supposed to say. But in realizing that others saw me as something, a name, a phone number, a house, hair, part of a family, a smile, shoes, as the daughter of someone who drove a little red Datsun—I suddenly already felt lost. I was no longer just the me that existed in the space of my own breath.
My brother is no longer Andy. He goes by his full given name, which is Andrews, one man in plural, a family name passed down from generation to generation. So I could have remained Amanda after all, my eyes soft and large like a velvet painting. Andrews and Amanda, no rhyme there. I could have worn blue, although Amanda certainly does not speak with a Brooklyn accent. Amanda doesn't blog about baginas.
But I couldn’t have kept that veil of me. The lack of knowledge that others see me as a girl, as silly, as a nuisance, as beautiful and ugly, as awkward, as a phone number and a name, a place, as someone who stands with her toes turned inward. Because there comes a point in growing up when we gain the knowledge of our place in the world and lose the single solid sense of who we are without the noise of opinion.
I watch Zoey as she studies an earring I have dropped on the bathroom floor, the way her chubby little fingers turn it this way and that, the way she softly pushes it deep inside her ear canal until I scream at her to stop. It’s dangerous! I say. Be careful! And she turns to me and smiles, the serenity of someone who knows who she is no matter what anyone thinks. And because I am her mother, Susannah, a girl who looks good in purple, a woman who has a husband that calls her an 'an emotional fish,' I look at my daughter's smile, at the gold glittering in ear wax, and I mourn the loss of her sense of herself. I mourn her knowing her name.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Read Me (Hey, It's Better Than The Original Title of This Post Which Was "Eat Me")

This just about sums it up.

A total cop out post, I know. I seem to be full of 'em lately. But last night was Bryan's birthday. We were out boozing it up, eating steak and butterscotch pudding. And then the dog ate my homework, I had no time to write, the sun rose and today I am at work nursing a Jabba the Hut-like bloat and, you know, working. So I turn the tables on you, dear readers. I have never been able to categorize this blog. Am I a Mommyblogger? A Personal Blogger? A Blah Blogger? What do you like to see me write about? What are your favorite posts? Your notso faves? The ca-ca you hate. Is there anything you want to know? Anything you'd like me to write about? Inspiration, people, I need me some.
And this goes to all you lurkers out there, too. I rully rully wanna' know what you think. Because today I have no thoughts of my own.
Speaking of which: this image? I have no idea from whence it came. But I love it and I fall on the sword of the Gods of Blog Karma as I do not want to steal. But there you go, there it is, here I am and there you are. Your karma ran over my dogma and now 'tis but a glob on me blog.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Reason #4317 Why I Love the Internet

This. I'm not sure if it says more about my vanity or my immaturity; either way it can't be good. Welcome to PhotoFunia, the perfect way to celebrate Hump Day Wednesday!

Simply download a photo of yourself (or your dog, your kid, your boss if you're so inclined) into one of the dozens of house templates. Always wanted to see yourself on the ol' boob tube? I did and, why! There I am! Hocking a spoonful of mangosteen to all you viewers out there!

Or perhaps your see yourself larger than life? I did during one fateful trip to Vegas. Here I am plastered across a billboard draped over a slot machine in an attempt to seduce the clang into cherry! cherry! cherry!

Or perhaps your feeling a bit more contemplative today. Quiet. Grey. Whisper serious, bespectacled and emo. If so, sshhh and make your mug into a hallowed work of art that critics will ponder for years to come.
What can I say. It's Wednesday and you know something? These work weeks are longer than I remembered. What better way to get over the hump than to futz around with images of yourself in an alternate universe, visions of versions of you not sitting at that desk.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Midsummer Night's Dream

The other night I released hundreds of ladybugs at the base of our rose bushes. For those of you that might not know, ladybugs are an excellent form of green pest control, feasting on aphids and scale insects, not to mention the luck they supposedly bring to one's household.
What surprised me most, however, is that the next morning I awoke to find this in my garden:

One knock-kneed littlebug waiting patiently for Halloween. Ma petite coccinelle avec le sourire d'un chat de cheshire.
What I did not know about ladybugs is that they are wildly attracted to household pets. They chase them around the yard emitting a high-pitched squeal while trying to stick one little ladybug finger in the cat's behind.

I noticed that this confused the ladybug, the fact that the cat did not like plump ladybug fingers or even felt feelers in its butt.

But the ladybug quickly regained her composure once she remembered she could fly.

And fly she did.

Ladybug! Ladybug! Fly away home! We won't get into the part about the house being on fire and the children being gone. This is a Midsummer Night's Dream, after all, not a nightmare.
And just because it's Tuesday and Tuesday is not known for much aside from the occassional two-for-one deal at Taco Bell, here are some ladybug factoids to get you through the day, courtesy of one Miss Zoey Dimon Lady Beetle, Princess of Wings and Purses, Lip Balm and Lillypops, a girl for whom every day deserves costume.
Ladybug Fact #1. In Europe, during the Middle Ages, insects were destroying the crops, so the Catholic farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary for help. Soon the Ladybugs came, ate the plant-destroying pests and saved the crops. The farmers began calling the ladybugs "The Beetles of Our Lady," and they eventually became known as "Lady Beetles." The red wings represented the Virgin's cloak and the black spots represented her joys and sorrows.
Ladybug Fact #2. In Sweden, folks believe that if a ladybug lands on a young maiden's hand, she will soon be getting married. The number of spots indicate the number of children she will have.
Ladybug Fact #3. If you find a ladybug in your house, count the number of spots and that is how many dollars you will soon receive.
Ladybug Fact #4. In England, finding a ladybug means that you will have a good harvest.
Ladybug Fact #5. In France, if you are sick and a ladybug lands on you, when it flies away, it will take the sickness with it.
Ladybug Fact #6. If a ladybug has more than seven spots, then there will be a famine. If it has less than seven, then there will be a good harvest.
Ladybug Fact #7, also known as Disgusting Ladybug Fact #1. At one time, doctors would mash up ladybugs and put them in a cavity to cure a toothache.
Now go put on some feelers. Or at the very least, a pair of wings.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Easy Like Sunday Morning

Dude, I did it. I went to BlogHer. Okay, okay. I went for 4 hours on the last day. Still. I heard the undertone to your comments on Friday: I was pussing out. I knew it, you knew it. So I did it. I went, I saw, I attended.

And what I learned most in those four hours is that I am just not a joiner. I want to be. I try. I pay and I show up and there I am, my name on the list, my car parked safely in the garage, a plastic badge of honor pinned to my lapel. And yet. There is that voice in my head that constantly critiques. That mean little voice that asks me what the hell I think I'm doing at The St. Francis Hotel on a Sunday morning at 9am all by my lonesome and without knowing a soul. What the fuck are you wearing? the voice wants to know. That pink scarf? Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. And your glasses? it says, Your glasses are on crooked and wait, is that your bladder? Do you have to go to the bathroom? Now? Like right now? And just what do you think you're going to do with that plate of cantaloupe? Bring it into the stall with you? It just won't let up, the voice. You have to go poo now, don't you? You filthy girl. Why nobody else here poops! Ever! It's true! You're the only one! You're sick! And you're standing all alone in case you haven't noticed. Quick! Look busy! And don't poop! I'm telling you, that voice is a real meshuganah.
To be fair if I were part of a group that had somehow solved global warming and attended a conference on "The International Committee For Good Job Everyone! The World Is Saved And Now Go Enjoy That 95% Off Sale At Anthropologie Exclusively For Members Of The International Good Job Everyone Committee!" the voice would critique that, as well. What? Don't you like Indian Summers? It would say. Don't you want your house to someday be zoned coastal? Do you honestly think the world actually needs polar bears? Do you really think you can pull off that block-print skirt even if it IS only $9??? It's mean, that voice, the way it seems to breathe just a little harder onto the zit on the side of my nose so there is no way I could possibly forget it is there, both the zit and the voice.
But I went. I sat through two round-robin sessions where what I would like to be my peers (but who are we fooling?) spouted off terms like analytics and algorithms. It wasn't until just now that I googled the word "algorithm" to find out what it means that I realized it is not, in fact, spelled "algorhythm" and has little to do with rhyme and meter and everything to do with data and mathematics and arbitrary finiteness, words that mean nothing to me except that they feel pretty inside my mouth. The arbitrary finite. See? Such a poetic concept in the abstract, but in reality? In reality there are integers and equations and variables, all words that chip at my teeth. Oh my!
So I went. I ate what ultimately amounted to a $348 croissant and learned that I should maybe join Kirtsy. BlogHer Ad Networks. NaBloPoMo, Google Reader, Stumble Upon, Blogburst and Twitter. And I learned that people following my tweets is not as pornographic as it seems but really quite wholesome.
And then I got in my horse and buggy and clip-clopped back home where I have been ever since, churning butter and crafting Zoey some shoes out of banana leaves and deer meat.
Next year? Next year I either go big or stay home. Next year I'm going to drown out the voice with some cocktails and see if I can't interest anyone in an algorhythm, a poem that says, fine, "I'll go."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Members Only

Do you ever get the feeling that somewhere there is a huge party going on without you? As if somehow, somewhere people are perusing an open bar, laughing with heads tossed back, one hand holding a bacon-wrapped canapé, the other touching the elbow of a stranger that is now a very best friend in the whole world wide web? The very kit and caboodle of mingling merriment? Do you ever get the feeling that it’s not just a feeling?
Well, unfortunately there is no feminine hygiene spray for this not-so-fresh feeling.

This is totally the look I was planning on rocking at Blogher. Members Only, baby!

I registered for Blogher months ago, just after I was laid off and ahead of me stretched a seemingly endless mirage of long un-showered days spent watching Oprah and blogging. I craved connection and purpose. The promise of a good time. So I plunked down a chunk of change, splurging on the weekend package, cocktail parties and all. How could I not? This year the conference takes place in San Francisco, my backyard. It’s not as if I had to pay for airfare or accommodations.

The problem with Blogher being in San Francisco is that I am not on vacation from my life. I cannot drink a few martinis and stumble up to my hotel room, tipsy and just a wee bit gassy from bacon-wrapped canapés. I have to work. I am exhausted after the first week at the new job. Last night Zoey’s diaper leaked and I have to wash all of her bedding before tonight. Tomorrow we have a birthday party to attend. This weekend we are re-landscaping our front yard. Oh blah di, oh blah da, life goes o-on! La la la la life goes on.

Truth be told I don’t like martinis. Even when blitzed I suck at mingling. Most likely I would just stand there awkwardly in that conference room sidled up close to a ficus tree for camouflage, strategically planning out trips to the bathroom just so I have somewhere to go.

I did not attend the cocktail party last night. I can’t go to the conference today. Or tomorrow. And I certainly can’t just show up all fresh and unknown at the cocktail party on Saturday night, right? Not when everyone is in the midst of bonding, blood sisters of blog.

I have spent more on less. An Ab-Cruncher complete with instructional video. Membership to Lucinda Bassett’s Center for Attitudinal Healing. A leather motorcycle jacket that I never wore way back in 1992 just because I thought Shannen Doherty looked badass in hers. At least this waste of money is supporting something I really believe in: the blogging community. Because really? I have never believed in washboard abs.

So this weekend somewhere across the Bay there truly is a party going on without me. It's not just a feeling; I can hear the laughter tinkling across the water as inmates once did imprisoned on Alcatraz. Meanwhile over here at Casa Petunia Face, bridge and tunnel, baby, my swag bag will be filled with diapers and dirt.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Well, Hello Dolly!

The calendar may say July but you know next month some greedy retailers are going to start mailing out catalogs hawking pumpkin objets and dinnerware featuring turkeys hiding from the carving knife in a big ol’ pile of autumn leaves. Before you know it the windows of your local Walgreens are twinkling with colored lights and suddenly it’s Labor Day and you’d best put yer’ hands up ‘cause they’ve got you surrounded by carrot-nosed snowmen and one fat jolly bearded Swede. Or his he German? Whatever. In anticipation of this slow march toward the holidays I have found the perfect gift for just about anyone in your life.
Got a finicky sister with no poker face? Each year she unwraps your present with a guarded look of disdain? Perhaps you just can’t bring yourself to get your boss yet another candle? Or your mother another bathrobe? Then why not make them a doll in their likeness? Or better yet, a doll in YOUR likeness?
Simply send in a photo and artist Cindy Safestrom of Be A Doll will hand mold your doll in just 3 short weeks! Order now for the low low introductory price of just $160 for the month of July!

"Nic." You think this Pete Wentz doppelganger looks creepy now? Check him out as a doll:

Quite frankly, I love how each doll has a name in quotes. Here’s “Cindy,” looking a little like maybe she used to be “Carl."


After sexual reassignment surgery.

The possibilities for this product are endless, really. For instance, if I were SGM's husband, I would totally have one made of John Mayer or Jill from The Real Housewives of NYC. If I were a sig fig (significant figure, pretty much the only thing I remember from high school geometry) in Paige's life, I would have tiny little replicas made of the new Brangelina twins. Or perhaps I will have a beaten up Pammy Anderson made for one blogger extraordinaire Decorno. I dunno.' I'm just sayin'... Be a Doll, wouldya? And give the gift of vanity.

We Are Family

Sometimes I really hate my husband. Take yesterday, for instance. To make a long story short (and to make me out as the hero) a few months ago we received a notice from our mortgage lender that we were late on a payment. I know, snore, blah, E.F. Hutton, that's exactly what I said. I called and squared it away only to receive yet another notice. And then another. A few trips down to the bank and more blah blah Charlie Brown adult voices and I thought it was resolved only to receive a final notice that we had been reported to a credit agency. Blah blah but wait! There's more! Soon I will huck my cell phone across the room in this story and it shatters in two! Not the story but my phone! So yesterday morning my husband is throwing a manly man conniption fit that we will never be able to refinance our house, buy a new car, a sailboat, a motorcycle for Zoey, that our credit will be ruined. Ruined! Ruined, he tells me! And then he obtusely infers that it is my fault by point blank saying this is all your fault and here is the point in the story when I throw my cell phone and yell at him for not unloading the dishwasher the night before because obviously the dishwasher is IN the house and thus part of the fight, for stacking his papers on the kitchen table, for never making dinner, for only changing one poopy diaper for every 417 that I have ever changed and for beer farts, his and those of all mankind.
And then he goes and does something like this:

And the man's shit? So long as he is wearing a head full of flower barrettes and letting Zoey hack away at his head with a plastic hairbrush, that other shit? It. Does. Not. Stink.
p.s. While on the phone with the bank (who is TOTALLY in the wrong, BTW) I maybe might have lied a little bit and said my brother is a segment producer with KCBS and looking for human interest stories regarding the mortgage crisis. Then I paused with the phone to my ear and thought touché motherfuckers, tooshay! But the bank totally called my bluff and said go right ahead and air it, bitch, we've got you by the short and curlies except maybe she left out the bit about the pubic hair because financial institutions almost always deny existence of the nether region. And of course my brother is not a segment producer for the local news but a commercial director so please, if anyone out there just so happens to be a producer for KCBS (or other! KTVU? Anyone? Anyone? Fox? I'd even do Fox!) and would like to pretend I'm your sister then email me and together we will take them down. Silkwood of the Menses, people! Keepin' it real!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities and One Day, That Being the First

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was my first day. So as not to be quite as wordy as old man Dickens, here is my summary of Day One (and counting):
Things I Like About The New Job:

  1. Throughout the day the company provides healthy snacks gratis: granola bars and organic fruit in a big bowl just like in your momma's kitchen.
  2. There is a free gym that I will never ever use in this lifetime of chai with donuts and tunics worn long and breezy. But it is there and free and that makes me feel as if I am getting a deal and if there is one thing I like better than a donut it is a deal. Or a deal on donuts! Baker's dozen!
  3. The commute is easy-peasy. Even though I have to drive to across a bridge and to another county, I actually get to pick up my daughter earlier than I ever did at The Old Job that just so happened to be two exits from my house.
  4. The girls with whom I work don't seem to be the type who would mind that I might call them "the girls with whom I work." They seem as if they respect the proper placement of a preposition plus they knew who I was talking about (about whom I was talking!) when I referenced Jocelyn Wildenstein at lunch.
  5. The girls with whom I work seemed not to be too alarmed with my non sequitur regarding one Jocelyn Wildenstein.
  6. If I wish to donate to charity the company will match my donation up to $500 per year!
  7. Next Friday there is a company Luau at lunch and everyone is urged to wear Hawaiian attire.

It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness...

Things I Don't Like About The New Job:
  1. Next Friday there is a company Luau at lunch and everyone is urged to wear Hawaiian attire.
  2. If I wish to donate to charity they will match my donation for up to $500 per year, which makes me feel like a total shit if I don't donate to charity.
  3. They do not provide free tampons in the restrooms. Come to think of it, neither did my old job or the one before that. But still. I think they should, I don't know why. Perhaps I will start a petition tomorrow, my second day? Or perhaps set up a charity to provide free feminine hygiene in the workplace, and then the company must match it with $500 worth of Have a Happy Period? I will be the Silkwood of Menses.
  4. Above my desk was a signed Josie and the Pussycats movie poster. I say 'was' because I immediately threw that shit away and while it is now long gone I fear that my area will forever be tainted with the ghost of Tara Reid's pre-op abs.
  5. If I were Wild Bill Hickok I would be veeerrry unhappy with my seat, one corner of a design bull-pen. And let's face it: I am Wild Blog Hickok and need me some privacy. I'm thinking of getting a fish eye mirror to glue to my monitor like they have in the corner of the 7-11. That way I can see if anyone is stealing Slurpees behind me. Although...
  6. After yesterday's comments about getting fired for blogging at work I am completely paranoid about the whole thing. I am thinking of having the letters 'b,' 'l,' 'o' and the letter 'g' removed from my keyboard at work. Failing that I am thinking of changing the name of my blog from to because surely that would not raise any IT flags, right? And then you could read it all day long at your places of employment, as well, safe in the knowledge that if anything, reading this here blog might bode well for your next review? Let me noodle on this one...

We had everything before us, we had nothing before us... But we'll always have this:

Off to Day Two! Happy Tuesday to you!

Slouching Towards Employment

Monday. First day at the new job. I've got my back to school outfit on: Ton Sur Ton jumpsuit featuring a rakish design of New Wave people, peach squiggles and a turquoise triangle or two thrown in for effect. Oh, wait, no--that was my first day of school outfit for the 9th grade and yes, I still remember it. How could I not? I even had matching socks and believe you me, it wasn't easy matching socks to Ton Sur Ton what with the way my Reebok's shown in the bright September sun. I kid, I kid. I NEVER wore Reebok's because that would have been ugly.

I could not find a photo of a jumpsuit as fetching as my Ton Sur Ton number. This will have to do.
So here I am. As nervous as the first day of high school. I don't know where my locker is nor do I know the combination. I have not seen my schedule. I have no idea if I'm taking Spanish or French, if I will eat lunch at my desk or at the end of the fourth corridor along with all of the slow kids and that short boy who is rumored to only have one withered testicle. The only thing I know how to do right this very second is to show up. I can do that. I'm doing that. Just as soon as I finish this post.
For the past week I have been a bit dramatic about my impending job. I have done ALL of the laundry in the house. Stocked the fridge with groceries. Had my hair cut, a facial, bought new bras and underwear, as if maybe leaving on a Monday morning for a 9 to 5 office job is a deployment rather than an employment. As if maybe I will be gone for months when really, truly, honestly? This new job is letting me leave every day at 4ish to pick up my daughter. I get 3 weeks paid vacation with an additional 10 paid company holidays. I get paid medical and dental for my family and paid membership to the gym on the ground floor of the building. Which I will never use but still. A gym membership. And did you clock how many times I said paid?

The house I did not want to lose. The house I will not lose now that I have a job. Our house.
Yeats was right in "The Second Coming." Things most certainly do fall apart. But the Center? Well, he was wrong about that. The center can hold.

And so here I am on a Monday morning Slouching Towards Employment, a full recap to come. Which reminds me: for those of you that blog and have an "office job," when do you write? At home, at night? At work, one finger poised to switch to a spreadsheet should your boss appear at your back? How do you balance your blog and work, not to mention family? How do you blog and still have a life to blog about? I need answers, people. Please leave your suggestions in the comments section.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Summer Lovin' Happened So Fast

What I will miss most about being unemployed:
Bryan and Zoey on the beach. Bolinas. A random Tuesday afternoon.
Off to make more such memories before Monday. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

Click on image to read the fine print. It's worth it.

Found at What Would Jane Austen Do? A mighty nice blog, that one.

I Heart SGM

She had me at US Weekly. (Yes, I know it is really Us (little 's') Weekly but when I capitalize both the U and the S it makes me feel like I am reading U.S. Weekly which sounds vaguely newsy and highbrow. Say it with me, a little nasal twinge in your voice, perhaps a British BBC accent, US Weekly: Celebrity News from Around the Globe).
Recently I participated in I Suwannee's Summer Swap Extravaganza (again, I'm taking artistic license with the name) and I happened to luck the eff out by getting paired with Emily of Scented Glossy Magazine. Because if ever there were a blogger out there that I want to be, or failing actually taking over her body, her sense of humor and her voice, that I want to simply befriend, it is SGM. She is the Ebony to my Ivory, the Elizabeth to my Jessica.

SGM, take note: I am totally fine with being the Ebony if you prefer Ivory, with being the Elizabeth should you fancy yourself the Jessica. All's I'm trying to say here is that I am honored to have been paired with you. I would totally dump Todd Wilkins for you, blow off Bruce Patman and let you drive the little red Fiat whenever you wanted, just so long as we both wore identical gold lavalier necklaces.
So the other day I finally got my package from my soul sister of the blogging world and it felt as if I were away at Camp Bloggapoopoo and receiving a care package from my mom. Although I never really went away to summer camp like that. Instead my parents sent me to the Point Reyes Environmental Camp where we learned to pull apart dried owl scat to see what the owl had eaten the night before. Yeah. Anyhoo. So I got the package and there it was:

Magazines. A book. Chocolate (for realism's sake I must admit this is NOT the actual bag of SGM M&M's. I ate them immediately and had to replace them for the photo). A yummy smelling candle. Cute post-its for my new job. A darling bird card. A glittery ring for Zoey. Again, for realism's sake I must admit that the ring is not featured in the above photo. Zoey immediately grabbed the ring and disappeared into her own little world where she is a princessballerinakittycatringwearingsoftpuffofsingsongsweet. Now I cannot find the ring. I fear she may have eaten it, so in love with it was she. With each diaper change I fully expect to see a bright orange plastic bauble shining up at me.
Thank you, SGM, for that. For everything. For the awesome swap package, for the even awesomer blog post you did for me yesterday. Thank you for making me laugh every day with your awesomeness. I will totally be your lesbian lover, sight unseen, should we both ever decide to go lesbionic. In the meantime, you will remain my most favoritest blogger, my soul mate of the internets, my Wakefield twin in this sweet, Sweet Valley of the www.

Monday, July 7, 2008

How Many of Us Have Them?

I have never made friends easily. Wait, let me amend that: I have not made friends easily since bonding over booger walls in grade school. What? Don't tell me you didn't have a booger wall as a kid?! Yeah, me neither. Because that would have been gross. The point is that many of my friends have been kicking around my life since I was wee. They knew me before I could read, or before my first kiss. Maybe they got drunk with me for the very first time on cooking sherry or let me cry viscous tendrils of snot on the puffed shoulder of an Esprit sweatshirt because a boy didn't like me. They knew me when I wore a constellation of zit cream to bed at night which is not saying much as that would only date them back to last week before I got a facial and was told I now have combination skin and not the oily slick of "dew" I used to have in my youth circa two weeks ago. Yes, I'm afraid the depletion of the world's oil reserves has impacted my pores. That's when you know it's gotten serious.
This might say something about me, the fact that most of my friends are from high school or even elementary school. It might say that I am a complete social retard incapable of wooing a prospective friend in a grown up world where the walls are all painted Navajo White, nary a booger to be seen. But I prefer to think it says that I am loyal.

Zoey and her big 5 year old friend, the lovely Miss Ruby. You know, Ruby from Daisy Chain?

It's hard to make friends past puberty. To see a strange woman across a crowded Starbucks and admire her jeans, to think to yourself, yeah, she looks cool, I like her style, we could have lunch together, she'd order the Cobb Salad and I'd get the BLT, we'd split each dish while dissecting last night's episode of The Real World and talking much too openly about our men, our kids, our kegels, sure, yeah, BFF's! Because how do you make that happen? Introduce yourself? Ask her if she's a Virgo? Slip her a folded note with your phone number? Would you like to be my friend? Check this box for yes, this box for no. Check this box for grow the fuck up and stop watching reality shows about drunk horny people half your age?
I mean, sure, I've made a few friends post-prom. But it's not easy.
Remember when it was all as simple simon as trading stickers? Giggling at belly buttons? Shrinky Dinks and lemonade stands, braiding each other's hair, your shoelaces heavy with friendship pins?

Zoey and her itty bitty girl friend, the divine Miss Sadie from Ramblin' Rose.

It's just not that easy anymore, either making good girlfriends or keeping them. Now there are jobs and boyfriends, husbands, families. Bills and dirty dishes, a cat that needs an updated rabies vaccination, dry cleaning, doctor's appointments, milk stains on the couch, bathtubs in desperate need of fresh caulk. Don't look now but there is a head of lettuce liquefying in your crisper. There are missed calls and messages never returned, emails with emoticons that don't even begin to convey tone or intent. There are miscommunications and years, decades even, between now and the last time you braided a girlfriend's hair. There is that gap, that second when you sit down to lunch and don't even know where to begin, your life no longer a story to be rehashed over a chinese chicken salad but a list of things to get at the grocery store.

And yet, despite the years, despite the fact that your shoes no longer even have any shoelaces to house a friendship pin or two or twelve, sometimes all it takes is a glass of wine and a plate of grown-up mac and cheese to close that gap. To find the story in your grocery list, to laugh at the silliest of things. To remember that girlfriends, true ones at least, span time and space and age and even squabbles over glittery stars.
This is for my friends. New ones and old, real and blog. I hope that one day Zoey has girlfriends as dear to her as you are all to me.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Monday Pop Quiz! Now With Answer Key, Teacher's Edition!


Who is this former child star?
The years have not been kind to him. Bonus points if you correctly guess his age.

Golf claps for all who guessed Hobie Buchanan, Mitch's son from Baywatch (real name: Jeremy Jackson).
Extra credit if you knew he is only 27 years old. Woosh. Stay away from the meth, kids, stay away from the meth. And the sun. And shag cuts combed forward. And you should probably stay away from nude pink lip balm while we're at it.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Fairy Tale Known as Freedom

Once Upon A Time 15 years ago there lived a Princess named Susannah. She lived in a faraway land called San Diego where she knew no one but her boyfriend, a long-haired Prince named Bryan. It was the 4th of July weekend and Bryan decided to break up with the Princess because he was a horny 20 year old, and everyone knows how stupid 20 year old Princes can be.

Not My Prince, but a Prince nonetheless. Nor is that me but it is my boobs. That is totally what my boobs look like. Get out. This is my fairy tale.
Of course this tale did not take place in the Black (and White) Forest but in San Diego where the skies can be a bit grey in July. There were no witches or villians or frogs, just a stupid Prince and an admittedly stupid Princess who wore tee shirts under babydoll dresses and followed the Prince around wimpering, but I love you! Which, of course, only made the 20 year old Prince gallop away in his '68 Dodge Dart that much faster.
So on the 4th of July the Princess was alone with her cat named Kitty. (And no that is not a euphimism for masturbation because this is a fairy tale and not a porn.) The Princess went down to the beach alone where it seemed as if the entire kingdom was laughing, calling to eachother and tossing frisbees as if they were filming a Sunkist commercial and she were an extra, or worse, working at the craft services table. The Princess felt as if at any minute a cranky short man with a clapboard would wander onto the set and kick her off the beach because she simply didn't belong. So she kicked herself off and went home and listened to the fireworks from her teeny basement studio apartment with the wall to wall carpet that was infested with sand fleas.
And every year since then the sound and smell of fireworks takes me back to that place, to that time when I felt as if Independence Day was a funeral and Yankee Doodle Dandy a Dick. If you're in that place this weekend, a kingdom of your own Grimm's Fairy Tale, here are some of my recommendations to get you through it:
1. Chocolate covered pretzels: the perfect combo of salty and sweet (just like young love).
2. Postcards From Yo Momma: In case your own mom isn't around to make you feel better, check out this website that features funny correspondence from other mothers. Here's a sampler:
I am guessing that you are wondering how come I’m doing this — it’s just because I am locked into my computer room and cannot get out. I was trying to put a door knob on the door and got started, but the thing went completely closed as I was trying to see if it was going to fit — and now here I am having to stoop so low as to write an email to you to see if you could call someone to come get me out. My phones, of course, are all in the other room. I thought that perhaps you could call Beverly and have her and Howie come over and get me out. If you happen to have Tami’s number then call her.
Anyhow, can you get me out of here. I guess I’ll just play games on the computer until someone lets me out of here. Send me an email to let me know you are doing this for me.
3. Rent the first season of Californication. I realize I'm a little late to this party, but I have spent the last 48 hours watching these DVDs and oh. my. god. I have never really liked David Duchovny before, but now? Oh. The characters are just so good. The 12 year old daughter Becca is like a modern day Phoebe Caufield if Phoebe dressed like Emily the Strange and sang punk rock thick as syrup sweet. She is my new muse. Is it weird that a 12 year old fictional character is my muse?

4. And lastly, find out just how truly fucked you are by visiting I Am Neurotic. This website allows you to post your particular neurosis and lets people comment on your instability. My fave: Everyday i ask my family questions only they would know to make sure they’re actually my mother, father, etc. like, what if they were robots or aliens. i just want to make sure. Wait--that's neurotic???

Okay, there you go. A fairly random list of my long weekend recommendations in case you've got the 4th of July Blues. Me? Luckily the Evil Spell of the Two 20 Year Old Idiots Who Were Only Royal In That They Were Pains In The Asses broke long ago so my Prince became my King and I, the Queen. We are taking our little Princess Zoey to the beach. To film a Sunkist commercial.

Be Safe!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Dr. Laura Schlessinger Show: A Love Story

Hi, this is Susannah from California and I am my kid's mother. I am also my husband's wife. My cat's bitch. I am a writer but not an author (the difference there being moolah and a silly little thing called publishing), a product developer, a lover of fine chai and pedicures. I can be selfish sometimes, moody, but for the most part I do these things well, I go about my life with sincerity and with love. This is who I am.

No, not THIS, God no. This isn't me. This is Dr. Laura, Mother Laura to some. A vision in lemon chiffon.

The problem lies, I think, in doing it all. Ah yes, the age-old dilemma of the modern mother, the precarious tippy-toe tightrope walk balancing family and work, self and financial worth. I haven't written in depth about this issue before because it would be like writing about the proverbial iceberg: I could wax poetic about the tip but never really be able to reveal the whole frozen mess underneath the surface. I would risk hypothermia if I tried.

And yet here I am, wearing a parka an
d sliding across the ice wearing flip flops. I start my new job on July 14th (Bastille Day for you francophiles, July 14th for you regular folk) and I wonder if I haven't completely fucked up yet again. Because while I am a liberal and believe in everything good and fair and happy, I admit to listening to The Dr. Laura Schlessinger Show from time to time. That ass-crack lady who abhors living in sin (oops), who disdains daycare (ahem), who tears working mothers a new one on a daily basis. I loathe her but love listening. If I were to call in? Oh but would she hate on me.

1-800-D-R-L-A-U-R-A. Of course it's nothing I haven't told myself. A two year old is better off with her mother. We could probably sell our house and move somewhere far away from our families, far from Zoey’s grandparents, somewhere more affordable so Bryan could be the sole breadwinner and I could be a Stay At Home Mom. We could sel
l our cars, stop shopping. We could be the family Dr. Laura wants us to be. And I struggle with this woulda coulda shoulda, it gnaws at me at night. I close my eyes and I see her:

And she wants to kick my ass.

But if I have learned one thing these past few months being unemployed (and I have learned a lot) it's that I don't have to fear spending time with my daughter. It can be boring, but you know? So is work. Zoey means more to me than life itself, than Anthropologie and reality tv, she means more to me than paychecks and pedicures and whiskers on kittens. Zoey is my breath.

What I have learned is that I get to be the one to dictate what my family will be. Well, Bryan and I. Together we determine the dynamics of our life. What I have learned is that it's never easy, tightrope walking, that sliding on ice wearing flip flops leads to frostbite and you need your big toes for balance. What I have learned is to close my eyes and see her for the answer:

I don't want to be a working stiff forever and so I'm thinking of writing a book about being a working mother. Most of what I have read out there is either highly political or focused on strategies to make it work. And I have read those books, every last one of them. They've helped, to an extent. Some made me angry, others made me feel empowered, some just made me feel even more trapped even if it was trapped in a HavaHart cage. But none of them felt like I was talking to a good friend when that’s what I really need. A shoulder to cry on because I have to leave my daughter, the one person who really makes me laugh from inside out. My story, my truth about the myth of the working mother. My humor in a situation that often makes me cry. My own shaky tippy-toe balance on the tightrope walk of work and motherhood, fifty stories up and without a safety net. How I had a baby, kept my job, lost my mind, lost my job, loved my baby and found myself.

Whaddya' think? Would you read it?