Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rehab for Interior Decorator

Lucky day for you, I'm the Blogger Queen du jour. I know you probably have a lot of friends and you're a big deal and everything (most of us are like that). But here is an important life lesson for you to ponder today.

You see, I'm a celebrity blogger now that I've been asked to contribute to Petunia Face. This has completely gone to my head and I'm making unreasonable demands upon my personal assistants today. Not really, I don't have any, but I'm thinking about calling desperately unemployed people and telling them that I'm interviewing for a new intern and see if they'll bite.

I'm sick of these unemployed people all around me. They're really bringing me down. When people ask me what I "do" and simply say "I'm a blogger" and then I watch them swirl it around in their mouth as if I've just told them "Oh, you liked my rat casserole?" [sweetly smiling]

Then they ask the question always thinly threaded with disapproval "Can you make money at that?" for which my answer is "Yes, but mostly I just do it for the free sex."

Let me tell you about my last career that I NEVER EVER talk about ... Interior Decorator. I owned my own little company for seven years. I learned a lot about people and money. My favorite clients were "normal" families who did their best to get by. I'd come in with some salvaged paint from Kelly Moore and some fabric and by the end of the day their lives had changed. It was just like those makeover shows on T.V. They were so happy and grateful and proud. They couldn't wait to have the neighbors and family come over and see the transformation. It was like being a midwife.

Then there were the ridiculously wealthy people. I would spend months and months doing presentations, sampling, resourcing, computer layouts, and placating. I kissed so much ass that my lips looked like Angelina Jolie in anaphylactic shock. Right and left I'd have to give them a credit, return this pillow, discount a service and I'd get nickled and dimed to death. At the very end, when I'd given them everything they wanted, and sometimes against my suggestions, they never had the enthusiasm and happiness of the "normal" people. They never said "I can't wait to have my family over for Christmas!"

I've been rich and miserable. I've been poor and happy and let me tell you something important my friend: Rich really is much better.

guest post, bitches

Greetings Delightful Bitches of Petunia Face,

My name is Leslie. I write a blog called Squid Pro Quo. It’s a mystery to me how Susannah and I connected. It’s one of the magical accidents of fate orchestrated by the interwebs. We are in very different places in our lives. I’m 25, single, no kids. Assuming the readership of this blog is primarily women in Susannah’s age group, I imagine you may be jealous remembering the time in your life before you decided to incubate the mini-monsters. Well let me drop a little taste of my world on you. I’m about to blast you in the face with a bright white light of truth. Don’t look directly at it lest it scorch the retinas right out of your eyeballs. Use your peripherals as if you were to encounter burning magnesium.

This past week I was “released” from my job in a medical research laboratory at a world-renowned academic medicine institution in the Bay Area. Now I don’t want to name names so I’ll just tell you that it rhymes with “juicy yes jeff” I’m very relieved I never have to go back to that job. I mean I only worked there for five days but it was definitely not for me. I think all the anesthetic gas I was inhaling was going to make me even crazier.

This most recent F-up of mine comes at a bad time. We’re in the middle of a recesh. My parents are threatening me with all sorts of horrifying “enhanced interrogation techniques” including making me move back to my hometown Nashville, TN or going to work for my older sister (shudder). I’m afraid there will be no more corporate bailouts in my future from my parental congress.

I know what you’re thinking, “quit being a brat and get a job at starbucks”. I’ve tried! I have no retail or service experience and I’m up against a few thousand starving artist San Franciscans who have nothing but waiter experience. I have no real world skills. I can help you extract DNA from a hedgehog cheek swab sample, but I sure as shit don’t know how to make espresso.

Now, my fellow Americans, I am without health insurance so if I want the pills that I need for my brain so I don’t flip over cars in the street and set them on fire are almost $300 a month. We’ll see how the tax payers feel about universal health care when I snap and chain myself to the Golden Gate Bridge in a 1950’s prom dress because I can’t get Effexor. That will REALLY clog up traffic, y’all.

This has been complain, complain, complain. I’m sorry. Let me warm the cockles of your hearts by getting reflective all over your asses. In an effort to be more positive here are some things that I DO have:

1) The impossible optimism of youth. When you have so much time ahead of you have no choice other than to be optimistic. The potential of time is a blessing you only have for so long. Yes I’ve had a series of set backs but every day I’m still breathing is another chance to get my shit together.
2) Parents who love me unconditionally. There is a heart-crushing burden to being someone’s daughter. Knowing there are two people out there who would give you every last drop of their blood is overwhelming and confusing. It’s the burden that makes us become parents ourselves I suppose.
3) A strong survival instinct. I have some small business ideas in the works. Distilling moonshine in my bathtub and ponzi scheme are two examples.
4) An iPhone. God dammit those things are smart.
5) Fiercely sharp friends and the wonderful city of San Francisco. Because those are really the ultimate reasons I need to make it work out here.

Well, that’s all I have in me. Thanks for reading, if you even made it this far. I welcome any and all advice you may have for me.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Turn this mother out.

Hi PFG readers. Bee here. Recently I announced to the blogging world that I am with child and so, in the spirit of our sweet Susannah, I thought I'd take this opportunity to be brutally honest about what (very little) I know, what scares me senseless, and a little something called colostrum. Here goes...

Myth: "I never felt better than when I was pregnant!"
Bee's reality: Pregnancy is like the worst hangover of your life, minus the alcohol. I was sick for the first 14 weeks. The smell of garlic made me hurl. My allergies were in overdrive, my uterus was pulling and twisting and pushing my organs and muscles and bones into knots, and I had constant nosebleeds. Thankfully, now that I'm at the halfway mark, many of these side effects have passed. Others are just now settling in. Like...
  • Back Fat. Often accompanied by Fourboobiosis, Back Fat occurs when your bra has been stretched to capacity and can no longer accommodate your elephantiasis-afflicted melons.
  • Farts. Yours will smell like hard boiled eggs mixed with gasoline mixed with bacon bits. Cobb salad, anyone?
  • Colostrum. It hasn't happened to me (yet), and I pray that this joy passes me by altogether. Still, if you need a primer on leaky teats, look no further. Sus's got you covered.
  • Chub Rub. Heard of it? When you're pregnant, your thighs join together in a show of unity and become one. A distant cousin to Swamp Ass, Chub Rub will render your once taut thighs a red, rashy, friction-filled mess. My solution: stock up on capri pants and maternity jeans. Which leads me to this:
See this image of a pregnant woman in WHITE Slim Leg Maternity Jeans? She is a fallacy. She does not exist. The name of this particular style jean is in and of itself an oxymoron. Now, if anyone hears of a maternity jean called Dark-as-Night Wide Load Heifer Denim, please let me know. I'm still searching for that perfect fit.

But, fa(r)t jokes aside, there's also a really wonderful part about being pregnant. The part that Susannah captures so beautifully. The part I can only imagine and have yet to discover.

When I close my eyes and picture the baby, I picture giggles and smiles and (s)he looks like, wait, wait, that's your smile! I picture belly laughs and impromptu hip-hop dance parties in our living room, family walks with the dogs and a mini Weeble-Wobble, all diapered-up and off-balance and smelling fresh and soft and new. I catch future glimpses of my husband and the little bean cuddled on the couch, napping together all peaceful and perfect and one. I think of our daughter the artist, our son the gentleman, our family the loving and happy unit.

And I think of the scary stuff. Like, just how large and Weeble-Wobble-ish I'll become, that my body might not bounce back to its pre-pregnancy state, that I'll be a horrible mother, that something will be wrong, that I won't be able to fix it, or her, or him, and that I'll be 1,000% in over my head. I think of soft heads and unstable necks and the cutting of those itty bitty fingernails and screams that won't stop. I'm scared of not knowing what to do.

Then I think, if Octopussy can handle 14 children, surely I can manage one child, right? Right? Here's hoping. And here's to you for letting me sit in while the mother of all mothers, our sweet Susannah, is living la pura vida. Thanks, Mrs. Petunia Face, for keepin' it real and for showing me what kind of mom I want to be.

Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I (Don't) Want My MTV

Hi! My name is BWP and I blog right over here, where I showcase my enthusiasm for four lettered words and write about things like hating my desk job with the fire of a thousand suns, my failed attempts at "health" and "well-being", and libation-influenced decisions that I wouldn't want my mother knowing about.

When Susannah e-mailed me about guest-blogging while she was gallivanting around with monkeys under palm trees made of dreams (at least I think that's what goes down in Costa Rica), my first thought was "this is spam" and my second thought was "okay, this is very witty and well-thought out spam". It was just hard for me to believe that a blogger as talented as Susannah would trust me, a girl who recently wrote an entry about vomiting all over herself, with her lovely blog.

I'm not the first to say it and I won't be the last, but keeping this blog warm and cozy in her absence is pretty intimidating. For this reason, I am channeling Mitch Hedberg and writing this entire post with sunglasses on and eyes closed. It helps with the stage fright. Well, that and the booze.

Okay, so there are more reasons for donning shades aside from my fear of, how you say, "fucking shit up". I had surgery on my eye this past Friday and it has left me looking more like Sloth from Goonies than a raw and sexual Christina Ricci in Black Snake Moan like I had originally hoped. For this reason, I chose to spend my Memorial Day weekend in hiding - drinking heavily in bed while watching bad TV, only looking up from my wine glass to occasionally instruct my boyfriend on the best technique for fanning me with banana leaves.

I'm a fan of TV (and never really believe those lost souls who claim to "not watch it") but for the love of Tivo I have never spent so much consecutive time in front of a TV before. I've really been missing out on some important life knowledge. I'd like to share with you some of what I've gained. Well, other than the five pounds of pizza I inhaled for dinner.

I always look this happy when I'm watching TV.

- If you read on a 6th grade level and have an STD, or look like you will contract one in the near future, you will get a show and it will be about you finding "love". And by "love" I mean someone to share your syphilis with.

- Women love yogurt.

- If someone has nice hair and/or nice shoes, I will be more inclined to care about their lives no matter how vacuous and downright pointless they are. It never fucking fails!

- Lifetime isn't just for lonely and menopausal women anymore. I know this because I am too young for menopause and only lonely 70 percent of the time, yet found myself going back to that channel over and over. I watched almost every episode of both Reba and Still Standing ever to have been on air.

That Reba! She's so sassy!

- As a woman, I'm apparently supposed to be extremely involved in housework despite the fact that it isn't 1932 anymore. I had no idea! All this time I had the four life stages of a fly accumulating in my kitchen while I was busy doing other things like update my Twitter and play air guitar to Jimi Hendrix.

Mops! They fight for my love!

- MTV has nothing to do with music anymore and everything to do with hot tubs, drunken fights over telephone usage, and footage to guarantee you reach your life goal of never having a real job.

- And last but certainly not least, instead of chasing Xanax with a bottle of Pinot Noir, I could have just been taking more Midol. The bitches on Midol commercials are having the BEST. TIME. EVER.

It's so awesome that my vagina is making me crazy!

Well, there you have it, my little cacaweewahs. If anything, my intimate weekend with TV just showed me that I really need to make some life changes if I ever want to be hip and cool and a functioning member of society. It's time I get to swifferin' and sexin', pop a Midol and eat some Yoplait yogurt. Sigh. I've wasted so much time doing stuff like "reading".

Now, who wants to meet me in the hot tub?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Land of the Free and the Home of the Snuggie

My name is Vanessa and I am scared. Actually, it seems all the guest bloggers are mildly petrified of filling Susannah's shoes. I mean, this is one of my favorite blogs and people come here to be entertained or moved or sometimes just plain old weirded out by stuff like this:
As a former English major, I've always found the advice "write what you know"  to be the way to go. And to be honest, I don't know anything about sticking live frogs down vinyl pantyhose... yet. So what do I know? I started The Voyage of V in December, simply as a way to keep my friends up to date on my adventures. You see, for the past three years I'd been living in Sweden. Yes, the land of many a meatball, reasonably priced flat-packed furniture and the bane of Sean Hannity's existence. Then I had something of a quarter life crisis, took a six month leave of absence, gave the goldfish to a coworker and fled home to Philadelphia. So now it's six months later and it's time to go back. There's no end to the laundry list of things I'll miss when I'm gone. But I thought I'd share just a few with you. May you never take them for granted again.

The bacon, egg & cheese McGriddle

Yes, I am actually being serious. Whatever, I can feel you judging me, but just hear me out. This isn't the first time I've blogged about the greatest of American inventions. Did you know the McGriddle is only 420 calories?!? I bet you thought it was more. And it's got 1110 mgs of sodium. Wait, that kinda sounds like a lot of salt... Anyway, this little breakfast wonder is the definition of American ingenuity. Who else would think of putting the syrup inside the pancake? Genius.

The Snuggie

When I came back to the U.S. in December, I saw the Snuggie infomercial at least 75 times a day, vying for my Christmas bucks. I was amazed. First I scoffed. Then I giggled. Then I considered. Then denied. And now... Now, I regret. Because if there's any place I'll need a Snuggie, it's in Sweden come November. And damn, that Snuggie  looks so, so snuggly. Blankets slip and slide! They're so lame... 

Yuppy Markets

There was a time in my life when I wanted to torch every Whole Foods in the Tri-State area and do a happy dance around the bonfire of burning tofu and vegan cookies. That's when I worked there and was forced to make protein smoothies and lattes for entitled housewives who'd drop by after their baby yoga classes. But you know what? The joke's on you HoFo. Cause now I roll up in there freshly meditated and stretched out, ready to buy kefir and organic rhubarb. That is, unless I'd rather do my  food shopping in Margaritaville. Then I go one block in the opposite direction to Trader Joe's. 

Political Banter
If there's one thing you'll never run out of in this country, it's a never-ending supply of debate opponents. A week ago a few of us got into a debate about why Dick Cheney is/isn't the guy you want to call "a hero," all via a string of comments on Facebook. I'm not kidding when I say this debate went on for 52 posts (no, not all mine). When I'm feeling pissed off  all I have to do is turn on Fox News and unleash the fury within. This is a country of polar opposites, and no matter what you believe in, there's no denying we love to rip each other to shreds over it. What am I supposed to debate in Sweden? I love Obama more than you do!  Fuck you and your universal healthcare! Your high quality of living absolutely sickens me... Snooze.

Comfort TV

Ok, so Seinfeld runs on tv in Sweden. So does Sex and the City. But not at all hours of the day. Which, clearly, is absolutely necessary. At any given moment I can turn on my extended cable and watch something I've seen at least 10 times before. Thus, continuing to turn my brain to a mushier mush. Luckily I'll be going back to work soon, so mid-day idiot box-ing won't even be an option.

So folks, there you have it. Just a few of the things that I'll be missing very soon. But then again there will be a whole other list of Swedish things I'll be glad to have back in my life. Meatballs not included. But that's for a different post. Susannah, although I resent you deeply for being in a tropical paradise, I also thank you for letting me guest blog for you today!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Exactly the Same, Only Different.

Hello. My name is Jules. I author the blog Pancakes and French Fries and run the daily giveaway blog, The Bright Side Project, with Tristan. I’ll start off with some honesty. At first I didn’t know why Susannah asked me to guest blog while she was away. All I could think of was how different my blogs are from hers, and whether I could deliver something you all would want to read. She's a tough act to follow!

Susannah is open and passionate. Her words charge out on the page like fearless soldiers, bringing most of us to tears when she writes about Zoey. I am dry and sometimes funny. It’s easier for me to make people laugh because that’s the sort of thing we emotionally-unavailable people do.

People frequently nominate Susannah for awards. My mom thinks my blog is pretty cool.

Susannah once devoted an entire post to a vagina on a bicycle. I’ve got nothing.

I don’t have a single story about tandem genitals, a puffy on a Huffy, or the power of flowers on wheels. Except, wait. Maybe I do.

My oldest son, Mikey, is four years old. He loves dinosaurs, Star Wars, and riding bikes with my husband. Recently he asked us for a bike basket. He likes to collect “fossils” on bike rides and any paleontologist worth his snuff has a basket on his bike to facilitate transport back to the lab. We did a preliminary search at the usual stores and came up empty. Bike baskets, it appears, are more for girls than boys these days. We decided to let it go. I would shop for one later online.

At least I thought we decided to let it go.

I was in the office writing when I heard Mikey and my husband talking excitedly in the garage. I heard “basket,” “bike,” and “best ever.” My interested piqued, I came out to investigate.

The sight before me nearly melted my eyes. I heard my son in the background, excitedly telling me that my husband was going to make him a special basket for his bike. My focus, however, was on his father who was standing their proudly holding a length of electrical wire and a round, 6-inch, espresso-colored basket that once housed lotion and a gift certificate from Bath and Body Works.

“You have got to be kidding me. Absolutely not.” I got right to the point.

“What?” My husband had the nerve to look innocent. “I’m teaching him how to recycle. I’m trying to save the environment.”

Environment my ass. He was trying to save $10 plus shipping and handling.

I argued that it was clearly a woman’s basket and not his best idea (in so many words). He said he would spray paint it. I asked him how he planned to attach it. He held up the length of electrical wire and some rose clippers. I died a thousand deaths right there.

“Let me get this straight. You are going hack a gift basket, spray paint it, and then attach it to our four year old’s bike with electrical wire.”

“Trust me, it’s going to look cherry coke.”

“I hope cherry coke comes with headgear and a propeller beanie, because that’s all I see missing from this game plan of yours.” I imagined our first-born son riding a bike with a woman’s beauty basket—a social pariah before the age of five. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a neighbor walk down the street and winced. She may have been the one who gave me the basket.

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” my husband countered. “Mikey just stuck dandelions all over his bike to give it flower power.”

Flower Power I

Flower Power II

Touché. My husband started to laugh. I started to laugh. We were both laughing and clearly, he did not intend to go through with his little bicycle basket hack. I considered it a victory. The neighbor I saw earlier walked past our driveway and called out a friendly neighbor greeting.

Mikey looked up from organizing his flowers and said, “HI MRS. MCNORMAN! I wanted a basket for my bike and Target didn’t have one so my dad said he was going to make one and then my mom came out and said it was the most ghetto thing she ever saw in her life and that she had seen him do some cheap things before but this was ridiculous and now she is going to check on Amazon for my basket so I can collect fossils. Also, I put flowers on my bike to give it flower power. Have a nice day!”

If I thought for one second it could support my weight, I would have hefted my own "flower" on Mikey’s bike and rode off into the distance.

Hurry back soon, Susannah. We miss you!


making her mark

when susannah asked me to guest blog, my immediate reaction was 'hell YES!' quickly followed by the much more rational 'oh, hell.'
what can i possibly write that will do any sort of justice to the humor, love, honesty and just plain awesomeness she throws out? feck.
i started to worry, to become self-aware in a way i'm not on my own blog, to judge myself before i even began.

then, one afternoon, i watched my daughter draw.

she alternately squats and sits smack dab in the middle of a large pad of art paper. every time she shifts her weight from one leg to the other, a tiny sumo wrestler with fat little feet with toenails that need trimming, the paper crunches and squeals and she looks at her father with eyes wide, surprised, awed. he asks her to pick a color. she keeps going for brown.

it started when she was about three months old. mother's day, last year. i put a marker in her chubby little hand, my fingers snug over hers, holding her arm in place. with my left hand, i moved the paper around and she drew her very first picture for her grandma. she didn't know what the hell she was doing. she just looked at me and i was beaming and smiling and squeaking about beauty as her saucer eyes followed mine and i kissed her neck folds.

this is art, sweet baby.

her father is an artist.
i like to make things. i like to sew. i like crafts. i like acting, although i stopped pursuing it as a way to make a living. i like to write.
but, her father?
her father is an artist.

try blue, he says.
oh! so pretty!
and she giggles.
she busies herself with taking the cap off and on the marker and shakes it at him when she can't do it by herself. she doesn't like asking for help.
here, he points, the paper popping and alive.

she moves the tip of the marker across, over and over, with meaning. her first circle, her first polka dot, her first sunshine in a field of strawberries and kittens.
her world is colored by images i haven't yet deciphered and i watch, outside the lines. she has the remnants of her imagination smudged all over her skin and she touches the spots of color, a bit irritated that she didn't quite intend for that to get there, marveling that it is there all the same.

we frame her picture and hang it on the wall. every time i look at it i am reminded.

this is art, sweet baby.

my name is krista.
and i blog here.
enjoy your tropical sunshine, susannah.
but we miss you all the same.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bitter: Party of One

So Susannah skips the country to go get a tan, relax on the beach and get drunk off magnificently over the top cocktails in coconut shells. And here I am. Blogsitting. No vacay in sight. No vacay in hindsight, either. So yeah, I’m bitter.

But then again I am nearly 6 months pregnant and squeezing these cheeks into a bathing suit would probably put me in violation of standard beach conduct on several continents so – till then my cup of tea is my mojito, my desk chair is my chaise lounge, my maternity get up is my itsy bitsy bikini and my sun is the fluorescents beating down overhead.

Hola readers of dear Petunia Face! We’ve probably met before as I have guest blogged for Susannah on her last jaunt out of Marin. I’m Paige and my blog, I Heart You, can be found here. Things I love, in no particular order, are:

Gossip Girl
Cute Shoes
Strawberry Milkshakes
John Krasinski
Seinfeld Reruns
80’s Power Ballads

So now that we are acquainted – let’s get to business. First things first – what is this woman smoking?

Kate Gosselin of some reality show I’ve never seen or heard about till now thinks that everyone wants her hairdo.

What I have to say about this: BWWWWWWAAAAAHHHHHHAAAAHHHAAA!! (My apologies if you think this cut rocks, have this cut or have ripped pages out of last week’s People to take to you hairdresser to get this cut.) I just don’t get it. It’s like a reverse mullet. A really bad, extreme Posh. The hair equivalent of the El Camino - normalish in the front, fucktardary in the back. The 'Camino became defunct in 1987 as this haircut should have. Do you agree? Weigh in readers.

Other things of random note – I think I may need to buy these to get me through the next 3.5 months.

Yes, they are Crocs. No need to remind me how hideous and tragic they are. I am aware. Crocs are something that I believe should only be worn in the privacy of your own home (if you must) and are only acceptable in public on children under the age of 10. But you see, my feet kill. I wear a size 5.5 shoe – sometimes an even 5 – and these days I feel like Miss Piggy – teetering all this pregnancy weight around on tiny, little hooves. My feet are the clear losers in this scenario – hence the Croc contemplation. Any suggestions for comfy footwear that isn’t totally wretch would be awesome. (My apologies to any earthy, crunchy, granola sister out there who thinks Crocs are the bomb. To each their own.)

So thanks for tuning in everyone! Sorry for my randomness today. I have pregnancy brain. I can’t think about anything other than I wonder if my pb&j sandwich would taste better if I actually put the Cheetos in there directly. I’m thinking yes. Did I mention this is breakfast? It is. Have a wonderful day and may you find yourself smiling from cheek to cheek!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

one big sweaty fan and a few good garden parties

When Susannah asked me last week, to be a guest blogger I immediately got all perky and responded, "of course! yes! wow, absolutely! I'm so honored!!" and while I am, quite honored, I think my knee jerk delusion was that somehow through osmosis, like a sweaty sycophantic, concert goer in the audience of a kick-ass show, singing to a favorite set, for a moment, I would become a petunia faced blogger.

You know, just by proximity, I would gain the lyrical quality to jam with the audience, and speak their very deepest thoughts, through poignantly executed prose. But here I sit, slack. bent over. cheek to key board, arms slack at my sides. having a bit of performance anxiety.
You see my blog is a bit more designery-visual. More image heavy than written heavy content.
Honestly, there's nothing really touching about velvet sofas {figuratively of course}. Few, wipe bleary, tear filled eyes as they comment on, the over use of coral as a design element or whether the subway tile has run its course.
I think the best advice I can give myself today is, don't try to do another's work, do what you know. And so, if you've come here, to laugh, to cry, to group hug. I can't really give you that.
But at the very least I can invite you to join me on a little visual garden-party tour to get you ready for summer......
designer heather taylor

home tour LA , courtesy martha stewart
paul joseph hopper design

thank you Susannah, for trusting me to take care of your blog for the day.
being a rock star is no easy task.

rock on,

beach bungalow 8

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hasta la Bye-Bye

Dearest Fine Peoples of the www,

As you read this I am in a faraway town named after the Spanish word for vulture. That would be right next to the town named after the Spanish word for mosquito. As you read this I am undoubtedly bathed in DEET and SPF 45. Given the time of day, I can only assume I am on my third mango y banano con leche. That's right motherfuckers! Cara de Petunia has gone Costa Rican!

Crazy eyes, sweaty head and unshaved pits. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

In what must be the best decision made by two people since Eve took a nibble of the apple and Adam just sort of stared on all self-righteous and missing a rib, Bryan and I decided that since this month is a sort of homeless limbo, we should take a few weeks and go on vacation. So here we are! Vagabonds con passports, Bryan, Zoey and me.** Pura Vida! (Of course I am writing this on Friday, from the in-law's. For all I know our plane has crashed and it is Monday and we are not in Costa Rica but in a limbo of an eternal sort, dancing on the edge of Hell not yet knowing which was is up. How weird would that be? I mean, for you. It would be weird for you. I'd be dead.*)

But don't worry--I won't be subjecting you to my bastardized Spanglishfrancofuckwhat while traveling. I have lined up a bevy of bodacious guest bloggers for the next two weeks. I am sure these ladies will keep you more than entertained. Plus, I will be turning off all blog moderations so people can leave comments in my absence. Which means that while the cat's away, Anonymous can play! (Please remember, however, that you may be speaking ill of the dead. And if you do, I will not hesitate to haunt you from the Great Beyond. Keep your hands out of your pants Anonymous! Play nice! I see you!)
This will, in fact, be a curious vacation. I have not had an internet access-less vacation since, well, since the last time I went on a tropical vacation before both Zoey and Petunia Face were born. In fact, last time I went to Costa Rica I was trying to get pregnant with Zoey, resting my feet up high on the walls of our tiny cabina. But that was then, this is now. This is it; this is new. I am scared. Hold me.

In the meantime, check out this awesome website created by a doctor and a mid-wife. Titled The Belly Project, it features un-Photoshopped images of the bellies of women at various stages of their lives. Each photo is accompanied by information about the woman's reproductive history. Each photo tells a story in skin.

40 Years Old, 3 pregnancies (3 babies)

Of course I chose an image of a perfect belly, mainly because I like how the sunlight is beaming down, the composition. But there are tons of bellies shown on the site, crepey, taut, jiggly, cheesy, tan, beautiful and oh dear. So as you peruse the stories, just know that wherever I am right now, on a perfect black sand beach at the edge of the jungle listening to the sawing of insects and the lull of the surf, I am desperately sucking in my gut and missing all of you.


Susannah, named after the Spanish word for Susannah.

*Please note: I can only joke about dying in a plane crash because the very act of joking about it somehow lessens the probability. I mean, if I posted that and it happened? No effing way. And even this, this p.s.--this makes my flight and trip safer. This is my logic and I'm sticking to it.
**Yes, we are coming back. May 30th. I think.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Wanna' stretch the muscles of your democracy? Please go here and vote for me. 'Cause I'm awsome (if by awsome you mean inherently flawed and disgustingly human, which I'm pretty sure you do if you're reading this.) Anyhoo, I have no clue what I would win except a self-satisfied smile, but Diddy and I like smug. And smut.
Happy Friday!

A Positive (of Nothing)

Maybe it is impossible to do anything right in a situation that is every which way wrong. I mean, we all know that two wrongs don't make a right, but if a right fell in a forest of wrong, would it make a sound?
Fuck. I am fairly certain the sound it would make would be a quiet, simple fuck.
I am afraid of sickness. Not that most people greet illness with a welcome wagon wide smile of chicken soup of the so what if we're all gonna die soul, but I am more afraid than most. It is my greatest weakness, this fear, one that cripples me at times; other times it lies waiting there white knuckle deep in my marrow. A positive. I inherited my blood type from my mother, and I like the way it looks in medical documents. A+, as if I have aced something. But I also inherited something more, something less, something that makes me not quite right but not quite wrong. Something that makes me know there is a middle to everything, and this knowledge paralyzes me. Last week I took Zoey with me to visit Allen in the ICU. Are you sure you want to do that? people asked me, and I assumed they were afraid of the swine flu. Oh, she'll be fine, I said, a bravado I adopt while climbing tall ladders. I'm not afraid! And I wasn't, and we went, one foot in front of the other, our minds on bacon and its many delicious endearments. Climbing ladders is easy when you're not afraid of heights.
Zoey brought Allen a picture she drew of a tree with small crêpe paper cherry blossoms glued onto the branches. We taped it in front of his bed where the doctors hold up x-rays to the light, and Allen began to cry. These are happy tears, he said. I put my hand on top of my mother's which was holding Allen's hand. Zoey stared at the IV bag, at the machines red and beeping, at the tubes going into Allen's nose, at the bag of urine draped over the side of the bed, at the way his body was small, his skin grey, inside out and all sorts of wrong. She pressed her lips together the way she does when I let her put on my Chapstick. Where'd your lips go? I always tease her. Without her lips, her eyes grow even bigger.
Yesterday I picked up Zoey from pre-school, gathered her sweatshirt from her cubby. Inside was a construction paper drawing of two ducks, titled Big Duck and Little Duck. Big Duck had blue feathers glued to his body, Little Duck had yellow feathers. Is this for me? I asked, I love it! And I did. I'm her mother and as such I have stacks of construction paper with noodles, construction paper with fingerpaint, construction paper with ribbons, construction paper with yet more construction paper. Zoey is three, and as such she likes to construct things: artwork, messes, the world around her. I like to think she constructs sense into a world that must seem completely random at times. Red means stop and green means go. But why? Why not? She is a future Jeopardy! champion who knows that the money is in forming the question itself, never the answer. Still, later, when Zoey asked me Are you sick? and I said no, I was surprised when she insisted that I was, like Allen. She thought that because she gave me her artwork, I would, could or should be in a hospital bed with my urine draining into a bag not at all inconspicuous. And the truth is it made more sense than anything else I've been told: that Allen has MS just because, that I don't just because.
Just because is a reason made of tissue paper, thin. As a reason, it is see-through, and I demand construction paper thick with pulp and devoid of sunlight. I want meat, I want real, I want to know why. Just because is only correct if the Final Jeopardy! question is WTF?
What I don't want is for Zoey to be afraid like I am. A+ positive in her blood that something will go wrong (because why shouldn't it?). I wonder if I should have taken her to see Allen in the ICU. Lips pressed thin and silent. What is better? To stare death in the face and hand it a box of dark chocolate almonds, or to stay home and watch The Backyardigans? Am I wrong in assuming she is constantly trying to make sense of a world that at times must seem random? Or is she inherently at ease in the chaos, in the question, in the possibility of never knowing?
Big Fuck, Little Fuck, quiet and simple. What is the right answer here? Or is the answer something nonsensical like feathers, what is yellow and blue?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Meanwhile, Over At Casa (Sin Hogar) Petunia Face

Meet Noma:
I took that photo of Noma while lying down in the grass looking up at her. Here she is standing in front of a blank wall. I wish she'd stop making that face every time I take out the camera.
And here she is inexplicably feeding a baby deer with Willie Nelson and what I think is a girl with awesome feathered hair. Noma is the one on the far left, behind the fawn:

Noma is the newest addition to our little family. She is Zoey's imaginary friend. From what I gather, Noma is a butterfly person, larger than any of us. She has pink wings, black hair and pink eyes. In related news, my brother is a fucker because he told me he had an imaginary friend named Oma when he was little, and that Oma was also a butterfly. Then he emailed me all sorts of links to the Mothman Prophecies which freaked me the fuck out. Apparently the Mothman is a 6 or 7 foot creature with red eyes, a harbinger of disaster. Later I got a spam email from some store I had never even heard of called Mothology, and that's when I bubble-wrapped Zoey and made her sleep under the bed.
This story would be so much better if my brother hadn't eventually fessed up that he was just kidding about his imaginary butterfly friend named Oma, i.e. if my brother wasn't a fucker. (Side note: Once, a long long time ago, when I was maybe 10 and my brother 12, I told him that they used electric prods on Flipper and Mr. Ed to get them to flip and talk and act. He cried. I was totally lying, of course, although honestly, I could have been right. Still, when my brother found out I made it up, he was furious. And forever after he tells me lies and then cites the Great Flipper/Mr. Ed scandal of 1982 as legitimate retribution. Little does he know they actually pulled a nylon thread through Mr. Ed's upper lip and manipulated him like some fleshy equine marionette.)

So Zoey may or may not be friends with the Mothman, or Mothwoman seeing as how she seems to be pink. And I may or may not want these telescoping brass frame stands from the creepily timed spam email Mothology place. Make that a may.

But what is certain is that there is a film of nothing standing next to my daughter, a something to which she speaks. And while this nothing could be something: an angel with wings, an insect of the Lepidoptera order, a figure she invented to keep her company at play, I am trying very hard not to notice the name that Zoey gave her: Noma. No. Ma.