Friday, September 30, 2011

Due

Today is my original estimated due date. With Westley, my water broke on my due date; it's possible that, if things had gone differently, I would be in labor now.

Somewhere in the middle of summer, my body and my mind both started feeling reasonably recovered from the whole miscarriage ordeal. And then it hit me that I didn't remember my due date. When was I due? (Which is really, How pregnant am I supposed to be right now?) It was suddenly dreadfully important that I know.

So I would never forget again.

I remembered the date of my last period easily: Christmas Eve, 2010. (I probably conceived on my birthday.) The online due date calculator spat out Friday, September 30, 2011. I promptly marked the date on the calendar.

And now it's here.

Last night I wrote a thank-you note to someone who helped me on my way—though of course I wrote it more for myself than for her. Afterwards, I told Rob, "I honestly don't care any more. I don't care if I ever get pregnant again."

He was a bit shocked. But it's the truth. (Until I change my mind.)

I had some ideas about how I would feel today, but I tried not to have any expectations. I decided to wear the same shirt, camisole, and shoes I was wearing that Sunday in the Emergency Room when the teenager they just made an OB sent me home to miscarry. I would have worn the skirt also, but jeans seemed better for my work day at Westley's preschool. Besides, doing head-to-toe "miscarriage chic" on your due date feels somehow backward. But I suppose I dressed to feel sad.

I definitely feel sad. It's not the slow, paralyzing sadness that I'm used to with depression. It's sharper, more likely to cause impatience and look like anger. I guess because anger feels empowered. Depression is more feeble.

.....................................

Fall Fashion - Friday

Fall Fashion - Friday

I may have gotten a ticket today. Can you get a ticket for having a tail light out? I think you can. Anyway, a police truck was driving behind me for a ways, and then it pulled over, and I got all paranoid. Are they talking about me? Is my car in their database for being associated with criminals?

But I get very edgy around cops. I'm a wreck going through airport security because I'm certain they're going to find the suspicious materials that have magically appeared in my bag without my knowledge.

At least I was already wearing my jailbird stripes, just in case. (Oh, and I should really get that tail light fixed.)

Fall Fashion - Friday
Striped shirt, Thrifted
Gray camisole, Target
Jeans, Thrifted
Flats, Thrifted

* * *
More Fall Fashion here!

I've been so impressed with the turnout this time around—both number and quality. There are some seriously stylin' mamas out there! It makes me want not to throw in the fashion towel with T-shirts and boyfriend jeans just yet.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Preschool Miserable

Comfort Letter

Westley's first week at preschool was awesome. He loves his teacher, he talked non-stop about another little boy in his class (potential friend alert!), and Friday's snack featured three of his favorites: nectarine, blueberries, and avocado. I have more pieces of kid art than I know what to do with. Week One was a total success.

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Week Two started on Tuesday, and the switch flipped. Westley was hysterical. So hysterical that the preschool called me. I came back early to be with him until the end of the day. Today he announced, "I don't want to go to preschool anymore." When I announced that it was almost my time to leave, he dissolved into tears. When Circle Time began and I got up to leave for real now, he cried with so much force that I felt my own chest tighten up. I came very close to scolding him. For crying. For dialing it up, milking the misery for all it was worth.

I said, "Westley, I'm starting to lose my patience." And immediately felt sorry.

This is not about me. This is so not about me. Except that I'm the Mommy he doesn't want to leave him.

* * *

At home, I waited for the phone to ring. It didn't. I assembled Westley's emergency "comfort kit" for the school: a gallon-sized Ziploc bag with contact information, a change of clothes, flashlight, soft toy... I printed two pictures: one of Westley with Rob, and one of Westley with me. I left the "comfort letter" for last.

Comfort Letter

As I wrote, I tried to imagine Westley and his little classmates in the kind of situation where they might really need their comfort kits. I pictured the aftermath of a massive, disaster-movie-quality earthquake (I grew up on a fault-line). What would I say to reassure him?

I wrote, "emergencies don't usually last very long."

* * *

Westley was playing outside when I arrived at the school. He was glad to see me, and wanted to show off his art project. "I missed you when you were gone," he said, very matter-of-fact.

At home, after a little bit of lunch and a lot of dessert—"I've had two bites of apple. Ice cream now?"—he took a bubble bath. He sang (perfectly!) a song about a fish and a jellyfish and a shark and a whale. I was impressed.

"Where'd that song come from?"

"From my preschool!"

"Wow! Awesome!"

He beamed. And then, after giving it some thought, he announced, "I like school again!"

.....................................

Fall Fashion - Thursday

I had a completely different outfit in mind for today, but ran out of time to execute it. By which I mean there are piles of unfolded laundry sprawling all over my living room and I couldn't find anything to wear.

I dropped Westley off at preschool looking like this:
Fall Fashion - Thursday
(It was another painful, sobbing drop-off. At one point I even said, "Westley, I'm starting to lose my patience." Because, you know, this is all about me. But that's another story.)

This dress is another gets-compliments-from-men piece. I can't explain it. It's the simplest little belted shirt dress with itty-bitty gray polka dots that you probably can't see in the picture, but dudes love it. Go figure. (Ooh! Zing!)

The leggings, on the other hand... Not so much. Online, they looked like such a rich, lovely camel. In person? They look like, Uh, is she naked and using some weird self-tanner or...? I was looking for my asphalt gray leggings (to match the bitty polka dots) but they're frolicking with the unfolded masses and I couldn't find them.

Fall Fashion - Thursday
Sweater coat blanket thing, Target
Man-catching dress, Mexx, thrifted
Leggings, American Apparel
Boots, Nine West

I'm not sure about this outfit. I may change later—the weather seems to be warming up a bit—and if I do, you'll hear about it here. Or maybe not. Yesterday was a little tiring.

* * *
More Fall Fashion here!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall Fashion - Wednesday - LIVE!

At the end of the day yesterday, I looked at myself and realized my outfit had slowly morphed away from what you saw. So today, to change things up a little, I'll be live-blogging everything I wear!

I realize this won't be Fall Fashion so much as Fall Reality, but my hope is that it will be entertaining.

7:25 AM, post-workout —
Fall Fashion - Wednesday
Fall Fashion - Wednesday
Shoes, old and gross
Socks, Target
Sports Bra, Champion
Unitard (that I also slept in last night), American Apparel
Bra hanging on mirror, So classy!

9:00 AM, post-shower — (I could've taken a picture of myself in my towel, but I decided to spare you.)
Fall Fashion - Wednesday
Dress, American Apparel
OMG, my foot is inside a sheep, Ugg

Also, when I'm out and about with my hair pulled back, I often get asked about the accessory situation happening in my right ear.
Fall Fashion - Wednesday
14g 14K White Gold Captive Bead Rings, Had them for years, don't remember (Body Circle designs, maybe?)
8g Silicone Eyelets, Kaos Softwear
6g Stainless Steel Threaded Tunnels, Halftone Bodyworks

The answers:
1. There are 10 of them.
2. Yes, they hurt.
3. No, they weren't done all at once.
4. There are just two holes in the other ear.
5. Originally, I just thought asymmetry was cool. Now I like the idea that one side of my body is strange and the other side is vaguely "normal." (Except that my tattoos are on that side. Whoops.)

11:10 AM —
Fall Fashion - Wednesday
Fall Fashion - Wednesday
Fall Fashion - Wednesday
Fall Fashion - Wednesday
Sweater, Thrifted
Necklace, Vintage, gifted
Skirt, Thrifted
Tights, A million years old (probably Target)
Boots, Nine West
Nail Polish, American Apparel "Poppy"

3:57 PM, time for some light cleaning —
Fall Fashion - Wednesday
"Uniform," Thrifted
Petticoat, Thrifted
Gloves, QFC
Fishnets, College
Shoes, JS by Jessica, thrifted
Cleaning solution, Trader Joe's

4:39 PM —
Fall Fashion - Wednesday
Tank, J. Crew, thrifted
Skirt, Same as above

Incidentally, whenever I wear bright lipstick, I always, without fail, think of Chelsea (who, sadly, isn't playing along this time, but has donned some of my favorite Summer/Fall/Anytime Fashion looks in the past).

6:40 PM, making dinner, getting ready for evening story time at the library —
Fall Fashion - Wednesday
Fall Fashion - Wednesday
Fall Fashion - Wednesday
Sweater, Leo & Nicole, thrifted
Jeans, Gap (fresh out of the dryer!)
Multi-neutral Flats, Thrifted
Kid, House of √úterus

10:57 PM —
Fall Fashion - Wednesday
T-shirt, Goodie Two Sleeves, thrifted
Star Wars Boxers, Rob's (worn at his request)

More to come... Good-night, Internet. It's been awkward.

* * *
More (actual) Fall Fashion here!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"I See a Couple"

When the guys came home from their evening tricycle adventure a few nights ago, Rob had a great Cute Westley Story to share:

As Rob and Westley were walking/pedaling towards the park, they passed two women walking towards them. The women were holding hands. They were (apparently) too focused on their conversation to hear Westley say, "I see a couple!"

My mouth fell open when Rob said this, because earlier that same day, I'd had a similar experience with Westley.

Carl's Afternoon in the Park

We were reading Carl's Afternoon in the Park, which, like all of Alexandra Day's Carl books, contains very little text. I was telling the story, pointing to things on the page.

"...and these two women are having a picnic."

"Couple," Westley corrected me.

Mostly surprised that he knew the word couple, I asked, "Are they a couple?"

"Yes!"

Couple

When I told Rob this, he looked at me like I was way behind the times. Then he said something completely awesome: "Yeah, I've been telling him that."

"You have?"

"Yeah, because they're so clearly a couple."

I shouldn't really be surprised, and I'm not...exactly. But I might be a bit overwhelmed by my partner's unflinching awesomeness.

.....................................

Fall Fashion - Tuesday

Westley sobbed bitterly when I dropped him off at preschool: "I want to go home!" I felt like the most evil, vile betrayer of a woman walking away. I'd planned to hit up a coffee shop for a green tea latte and then spend the rest of my "time off" at the library, studying radical feminist housewifery. But I couldn't face the world after leaving behind a teary little guy.

Fall Fashion - Tuesday

I secretly kind of hate this dress. It's 100% stretchy acrylic material, and has the most unflattering T-shirt sleeves. But it's a true wrap dress—hello, adjustable!—which means it always fits. And it's pretty comfortable. And I love the colors. So maybe I just think I hate it?

Fall Fashion - Tuesday
(My Favorite) Cardigan, Thrifted
Lavender (is my favorite color) Wrap Dress, Thrifted
Leggings, American Apparel
Boots, Frye
Necklace, My mom made it!
Reading/writing/studying Glasses, Vogue
Acne, Stress
(Hair Stick in my hand, because I undid my bun seconds before taking these pictures, Goody)

* * *
More Fall Fashion Week here! (Do you have any clothes you can't decide whether you like or not? Am I the only one who continues to wear things she ostensibly doesn't like?)

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Fashion - Monday

We're having a gray, rainy day in the Seattle area which means: Turtlenecks! Long sleeves! Boots!
Fall Fashion - Monday

It also means lots of playing inside and Westley asking, "What are you doing, Mommy?" and wanting to be in pictures.

I wear this shirt all the time, and every time I wear it, I get compliments from men. Men love this turtleneck. I get told that the color is really beautiful (it is—if you're a blonde with blue eyes, get your wardrobe some dark, purple-y blue), but the shirt is also really soft. Like Come over here so I can hug you, because aaahhhhh.

(Not that I hug a lot of men who aren't my husband or my father. Anyway!)

Fall Fashion - Monday
Turtleneck, Thrifted
Jeans, Gap
Boots, Frye
Owl necklace, Vintage, gifted (better photo here)
Hair, Half-dry, not styled

And because Westley wanted his photo taken, specifically with the comic book in front of his face:
Fall Fashion - Monday
Shirt, Thrifted
Jeans, Thrifted
Shoes, Tsukihoshi
Comic Book, Gift from Daddy

* * *
More Fall Fashion Week here! (Is it finally looking like fall where you live?)

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall Fashion - Sunday

Sunday

Taking pictures of yourself is kind of awkward. Then again, I'd feel even more awkward trying to pose while my charming partner wielded the camera. So another week of mirror shots it is.

I told you I'd try to get a little more dressed up, and I did. (For a less-schlumpy family trip to the aquarium!) But I cheated a little. I wore basically this same outfit on vacation earlier this year, with sandals instead of ballet flats.

Sunday
Cardigan, Urban Outfitters, gifted
Maxi dress, Juicy Couture, thrifted
Shoes, Blowfish
Mouse Pelvis Necklace, Erica Weiner Jewelry, gifted

Edited to add — a necklace close-up! (Hi, Autumn!)
Mouse Pelvis Necklace
(And you can see a bunch of my moles really well. Incidentally, I just had them checked, and none of them are cancer. Yay!)

* * *
More Fall Fashion Week here! (And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one recycling summer outfits by changing up the shoes for fall.)

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fall Fashion - Saturday

You know what totally sneaked up on me? Fall Fashion Week!


Well, okay. It didn't exactly sneak up on me, because I read Emery Jo's blog regularly (and you should, too. She totally rocks, and her boys are the cutest). But the idea to participate sneaked up on me, because, well, I haven't been feeling especially fashion-y lately.

In fact, I've been feeling very much like giving up on "fashion" all together and just always wearing some version of the uniform below:

Fall Fashion - Saturday
Hello, Saturday. Let's shlump out together.

Fall Fashion - Saturday
Cardigan, Target
College T-shirt, College
(the only) Jeans (in my closet that fit me right now), Gap
Shoes, Toms
Wedding Ring, Missing (not significant, just didn't put it on this morning)

* * *
I'm going to attempt to get out of my schlump-funk and maybe actually dress up a little for you guys this week. In the meantime, head over to Moms Are for Everyone for some more fashion-y Fall Fashion!

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Film Festival: 'Babies'


Westley: I'd like to have a little brother or sister.

Mommy: I'd like that, too.

Westley: Can we do that sometime?

Mommy: I'll work on it.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cinematic Euphemisms

The sequel is never as good as the original.

Frank Capra
"I want your Meet John Doe in my It Happened One Night."

Steven Spielberg
"I want my E.T. in your A.I."

Rob Reiner
"I want your Spinal Tap in my Princess Bride."

"Niiice. And much better than 'I want your Back to the Future in my Back to the Future II.'"

"Oh, Robert Zemeckis? What about your Back to the Future in my Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"

M. Night Shyamalan
"I want my Sixth Sense in your Lady in the Water? No, wait! I want my Unbreakable in your Lady in the Water!"

"Lady in the Water is good, but I like Sixth Sense better."

"Really?"

"But Unbreakable is a better movie."

Alfred Hitchcock
"I want your...what in my Rear Window?"

"Psycho? No, that doesn't sound right. And Vertigo has the same problem. What're some other Hitchcock films?"

"North by Northwest, The Birds, Notorious..."

"Notorious is good!"

James Cameron
"I want your Titanic in my Avatar."

"Not Alien?"

"Alien is Ridley Scott, isn't it?"

"That's right. Aliens is James Cameron."

"I want your Aliens in my Avatar?"

"Stick with Titanic."

"Uh-huh..."

Ridley Scott
"I want your Aliens in my Thelma & Louise."

"Or, 'I want your Gladiator—'"

"Nope, Aliens."

* * *

This was a tough exercise, as filmographies tend to be much smaller than discographies. (That's what she said.) And I'm ashamed that we didn't hit any female directors. Because I like full equality in my raunchy sex jokes.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Westley's First Day

Car-ride Comics

Westley has had mixed feelings about preschool ever since the subject first came up, back in January. I can't say I blame him. I've had mixed feelings, too.

I was so glad to find a little co-op preschool, just 12 minutes from home. Here, there were giant blocks, easels for painting, dress-up things, and a big wooden pirate ship to climb on. Rob, Westley, and I had looked at a couple of other places, but they seemed so rigid (not to mention expensive!). Here, the parents and teachers were relaxed and smiling. Everyone raved about how wonderful it was.

I floated in the same cloud of wonderful until last week, and then shit suddenly got REAL. There was set-up do to and meetings to attend and jobs to sign up for and lots of e-mails about vegan, allergen-friendly snack ideas. Westley has a little backpack that he uses to haul around books and toys, but I bought him a larger, sturdier one to accommodate a change of clothes and, once a week, a show-and-tell item. We read books about preschool. He still had mixed feelings. I volunteered to keep the preschool fridge stocked with vegan cheese, tried to be super-friendly via e-mail with all these mothers who seemed much more relaxed than I, and wondered what I'd gotten myself into.

This morning, Westley was eager to go out the door. He headed for the car with two backpacks in tow: the small one filled with miniature toys for the drive there, the other packed with a change of clothes. (That's when I realized that he didn't really need a new backpack. The little one, which he loves, would easily have held a change of clothes and a toy. I guess I bought it because I wanted him to have something new for school.)

Our route to school was a little slower than usual, with lots of construction still going on. Westley commented on the "long" drive, read his comic book, munched on grapes, and made requests for music ('Wet's hear "Judas"!').

When we got inside, he immediately clapped his hands over his ears.

"Is it a little loud in here, Westley?" his teacher asked.

I held my breath. Nineteen other children is a huge number for a kid with little peer-group experience.

He didn't answer, but peered into the art room where most of the children were gathered before the official start of the day. I helped him wash his hands at the big sink. "There's play-dough over there!" he noticed, delighted. Then he dove for the paints. He was already waving a green-paint-covered brush as I slipped a smock on him.

Painting

Painting

Painting

Painting

Painting

I stayed with him through the first 20 minutes of school, as I'd planned to do. After circle time, he took off to play with dress-up clothes and a large, dollhouse-sized castle. "How does this work?" he asked.

"I don't know, but you'll find out." I'd planned to stay with Westley for his first day, but he didn't seem to need me. "Westley," I said, pulling his attention away from a toy dragon, "it's my time to leave. I'm going home now, and I'll be back to pick you up in a couple hours."

He gave me a hug and a sloppy wet kiss—"Okay!"—and went back to playing. I smiled nervously at his teacher as I left. She smiled and gave me a look like, You're worrying over nothing.

I drove home. I called Rob: "I just dropped our son off at preschool." I folded a mountain of laundry, checking the clock every five minutes like a crazy person. It was way too quiet in the house. I vacuumed.

In an ironing-in-the-kitchen moment, I decided to bring Westley a bag of popcorn for after-school snack. (My mother always brought my brother a bag of popcorn to eat in the car after preschool.) I popped a third of a cup of popcorn kernels on the stove, sprinkled the popcorn with homemade vegan parmesan, and put it in a bag. Then I cleaned up the kitchen and drove back to the school.

From the parking lot, I could see Westley running around on the playground. He looked a little overdressed for the suddenly sunny weather, but he was smiling, dragging two big diggers around.

His teacher spotted me. "It was a good day," she said on her way to round up children and toys.

When I caught his eye, Westley beamed at me. He wanted to play inside some more. When we went inside to pick up his backpack and I explained that school was over for today, he burst into tears. I explained that we would come back on Thursday. The promise of cheezy popcorn and a milk sippy waiting for him in the car helped, too.

Later, as we were finishing up with books and getting ready to take a nap together, Westley concluded, "This was a good day."

And after a moment he added, "I like preschool!"

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Friday, September 16, 2011

In Defense of Vlogging

Presented (mostly to Amber and Allisonhello, ladies—but also to all of you fine Internetters) without comment.

Okay, one comment: This is what the kid and I did instead of taking a nap.

Also, I have not edited anything in SIX WHOLE YEARS.

(Sorry, that was two comments. I'm a vlogger and a liar.)

Next time (?) I promise to mic myself.
Because I actually own a lav mic. Like. A Total. DORK.

Oh, hey, in case you're curious and/or want to repeat this performance doomed experiment vlog project, the instructions are to say the following words:

Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught.

And answer the following questions:
  • What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
  • What do you call the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
  • What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
  • What do you call gym shoes?
  • What do you say to address a group of people?
  • What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
  • What do you call your grandparents?
  • What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
  • What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
  • What is the thing you change the TV channel with?
* * *

I never did get to this (or maybe I did?): I'm originally from Southern California; I lived there for 18 years before attending college in Western Massachusetts; and I've lived in the Seattle area for the past six years.

(Like you're all going to read that and go, "Oh, that explains everything!")

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Quite Possibly My Favorite Picture Ever

PAX

So much awesome.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Post-Kid Kitchen: Preschool Snack Ideas

Bus Stop

The first day of preschool is right around the corner. We still have a boatload of different things to consider, but all anyone seemed to want to talk about at the Parent Meeting was food.

The preschool, like many schools, is nut-free. Westley is the only vegan child, but one of his classmates is sensitive to dairy, along with wheat and all nuts and seeds. Westley's teacher spun this as an opportunity to make especially healthful snacks for our little ones, focusing on fruits and vegetables. But of course—of course—the question of protein came up.

"But what if he really needs protein during the day?" one mom asked, referring to her own son. "Can I send him with a cheese stick?"

Preschool only lasts 2 1/2 hours. A protein-rich breakfast before school and a protein-rich lunch afterwards should take care of even the most body-building of kids—but I didn't say this. I have to work with these people. It would be nice if some of them liked me. (And God knows I have my own borderline-ridiculous concerns when it comes to my son!)

So I started brainstorming ideas for vegan-friendly, wheat-/nut-/seed-free snack ideas:

Fruits
Apples
Asian pears
Pears
Satsuma/clementine oranges
Grapes
Berries: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries
Melons: watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe
Mangoes

Veggies
Carrots
Celery
Cucumber
Bell pepper: red, orange, yellow
Tomatoes
Green beans
Cauliflower (roasted is especially yummy!)
Broccoli (roasted or lightly steamed)
Avocado slices or mild guacamole

Protein (fortunately none of our children has soy allergies or sensitivities!)
Edamame — in pods or shelled
Chickpeas — boiled with seasoning, straight from the can, or roasted until crunchy!
Tofu — Trader Joe's sells an organic High-Protein Super-Firm tofu that has a texture much like dairy cheese. It's "drier" than the water-packed tofus, making it easy to cut into cubes, sticks, and so on. Many tofu-skeptics in my life love super-firm tofu!
SoyNut Butter
Black Bean and corn salad
Quinoa elbow macaroni
Hummus (I think Westley is the only vegan child who doesn't like dipping things in hummus, but lots of kids adore it!)

Carbohydrates/Starch
Popcorn (air- or stove-popped)
Oven fries
Gluten-free rice pasta in finger-friendly shapes: penne, fusilli, spirals
Rice cakes
Rice crackers
Tortilla chips

Other stuff
Enjoy Life Foods makes lots of allergen-free packaged foods. I haven't tried these products, except for the allergen-free chocolate chips which I use in baking projects, but it seemed worth mentioning.


SNAX


I didn't include gluten-/nut-/seed-free vegan muffins, cookies, and other baked goods on the list. Because I'm a pessimist. I have trouble imagining an omni-and-non-allergic family leaping into the world of allergen-free baking. But you can bet your muffin pans that the first time someone has a birthday at school, I'll send Westley with the two most beautiful gluten-free vegan cupcakes you've ever seen: one for him, and one for his wheat-/dairy-/nut-/seed-free buddy.

Which means I have the world's best excuse to learn how to pipe vegan buttercream!

* * *

It's so odd for me to be making this list. At home, Westley snacks mostly on straight-up fruit. Some days, I can't get him to eat much else! But he's almost always happy to devour a whole pound of grapes.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Actual Unretouched Headache

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Yes, I've actually been going around for the past two days with my hands pressed into my face. Because if I don't physically hold my skull together the pain will cause it to explode. I don't get headaches, so this whole process is new to me.

It feels like my brain is trying to have a baby—and I never did drink that whiskey.

(Also, I've already diagnosed myself with a brain tumor. God bless the Internet!)
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Film Festival: 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch'

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is something I crave in the way a person might crave a particular food. And while I want to be really clever and scholarly about this film, I can't seem to get past how much I just love it. In fact, Hedwig is one of the few cerebral films that I have just given up on in terms of real analysis.

While I would like to sit here and break the movie down for you—perhaps do a shot-by-shot analysis of a short scene—every time I try to watch it with an analytical eye, I just get swept up all over again in the story, the cinematography, the production design...

There's a lot going on here. Like, a lot a lot. I can't imagine a musical about a East German semi-transgender rock singer (and philosopher) not having a lot going on in it. I'm always seeing new things in Hedwig, falling in love with the "old" things all over again.

Every piece of the film seems to serve its project, down to the casting. Hedwig is played by John Cameron Mitchell who is (as far as I know) a cis-man. Hedwig's current lover, Yitzhak, a supposed former phenomenal drag queen, is played by a (as far as I know) cis-woman, Miriam Shor. In fact, even talking about Hedwig as "transgendered" or Yitzhak as "a drag queen" seems incorrect because of the associations we have with those words. In fact, to even talk about the genders (and sexes) of the characters requires a long narrative full of ifs and thens. This holds up a big, flashing neon sign that says, "Gender is performative!"

Gender in the world of Hedwig is also completely unstable. No one has an "actual" gender. Everyone can—and will—be transformed.

This time, I was especially struck by Yitzhak's transformation—which happens by magic. Hedwig, who has ripped off her drag, hands the blonde wig to Yitzhak, who wears a white suit and bedazzled white bandanna: very drag-king bridal. Yitzhak places the wig on his head and leaps off the stage. The complete physical transformation takes place as he lands in the arms of the crowd.

Feathers and a butterfly!

The wig is magical, but its magic affects everyone differently. Hedwig is never as free with the wig on her head as Yitzhak is.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Home/work Help

Boy
[Photo(booth) by Westley]

So the lesson we learned recently (in my my last post) is Do The Thing Now. That sounds so easy, doesn't it? Take a deep breath, stand up straight. Now, do it.

Right now.

What's the problem?

Well, I for one am staring down the double barrel of the overwhelm-and-resentment shotgun. My intellect reminds me that I do enjoy the housewifery thing when I stop resenting it and face it. But there's so much to face! And that leaves me feeling overwhelmed. And overwhelm plus resentment is a great recipe for Fuck this. I'm not doing it.

This is where rules come in. I like rules (except on the days that I hate them). Rules keep the devil away. Rules help me organize my mind-rants when the boulder comes rolling toward me for the fifth time in 20 minutes.

Here are my rules for home/work. Some of them apply better to the metaphorical Mount Thing than others do, but they're all great approaches to achieving some housewife harmony.

While we're hanging on that little alliteration, I'm going to tell you that I am a housewife, baby. I'm down with being a bitch and a slut—and now I'm going to lady-up and own the H-word, too. (I might prefer "haus wife," though.) Perhaps I'll start answering, "Do you work [outside the home]?" with a vehement "God no!"

Enough semantics. Let's do rules! Starting with...

0. Get really mad.

Ghost
[Photo(booth) by Westley — "Angry Ghost"]

"Get really mad" is "rule zero" and therefore not really a rule because it's optional. In fact, it's preferable that you don't get really mad. I don't recommend it. But the truth is that I often need to get thoroughly pissed before I have the energy to do The Thing.

1. Handle it once.

This is actually my mother's rule. I apply it mostly to things like junk mail (which goes directly from the mailbox to the recycling bin), shoes (take them off and put them away—all one step), and bags (take handbag off shoulder, place on hook in closet). This one also keeps dirty plates off the kitchen counter and dirty clothes off the floor. I'm still working on not leaving my bra on the towel rack, though.

2. If it takes five minutes or fewer, do it right now.

The dishwasher taught me this lesson. My relationship to doing dishes was similar to my relationship to folding laundry. I would put it off and put it off and put it off (because I thought I hated it), and then when I eventually (got really mad and) did it, it took NO TIME! I can unload and reload the dishwasher in five minutes!

Identify your five-minute chores and do them. Start with them. It'll put you in the Do The Thing Now state of mind.

3. If you want something done, do it yourself.

This one isn't rocket surgery. We all know this one. But how much time have I wasted wishing Rob—or someone—magical elves, maybe?—would wipe up those drips of tomato sauce? Hold on, let me get my graphing calculator...

If you want something done, because it's bothering you, do it yourself—for yourself.

4. Your (grand)mother doesn't live here.

Anyone who's ever worked in an office with a kitchenette has seen this one, usually printed in some awful, non-confrontational font like Comic Sans, and taped to the shared fridge. The idea is to remind you that no one is going to clean up after you. And I use this phrase to mean "clean up after yourself" too. But, more importantly, I use it as a reminder that no one is here judging me for not being a better housekeeper. Furthermore, I don't have to default to ironing in the kitchen, as it were.

5. Remember Future You!

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[Photo(booth) by Westley]

It's incredible how much work you save yourself tomorrow by not putting things off today. Think of it as a gift for your future self!

Doing The Thing Now means being present practically all the time. Which is tough. It's tough on a good day. But when you're always tackling The Thing, there is no need to take a deep breath and center and "Here we go again."

You're already there, baby!

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