Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Cappella (And Nordic Dance-Offs) Revisited: UPDATED

:::This post has been updated! See below:::

I know this is a bit of a cop-out, but I've been more sleep-deprived lately than ever before. (Although Eve slept for 10 hours STRAIGHT last night for the first time ever, glory glory.)

My sleep-deprivation has been creeping into my daily life in sneaky ways. Not just the overt, "gosh, I'm really tired" ways. But in ways that tell me my brain is NOT firing on all cylinders.

The other night at rehearsal, for example, I was numbering measures. And I'm not exaggerating even slightly when I say I numbered them as thus: 54, 55, 56, 3.

!!!

But anyway. I have been doing a lot of work with/on my a cappella group lately, and realized I haven't blogged much about us since my Johan The Wonder Swede post, and thought, You know? That post made ME laugh out loud, even if it didn't translate that well.

So I'm going to post it again for your (read: my) enjoyment.

Johan The Wonder Swede!

* * * * * * * * * *

Update:

Sandra and Johan went out on a date and, sadly, there was not enough chemistry. Apparently being from the same country is not enough to force a love connection.


FAIL!

Razzmatazz was never mentioned again except in passing, and yet I have no idea why this is. Susan updated her FB page just yesterday and I saw that Razz had commented, and that's when I was reminded of this whole rehearsal, blog post, and ALLEGED dance-off (which, sadly, did not come to fruition). (And if I'm being totally honest, I'd have loved to see it because I tend to be attracted to Angry "SEXY BEEFY" types, Danish or not.) (What? Shutup.)

Haha, also? Rasmus was probably a bit confused when I commented "RAZZMATAZZ!" just below his comment with zero explanation.

But there is silver lining yet.

Sandra has been dating a very lovely Irishman, so things turned out well for her and her international-men proclivities, even if her Swedish is getting stale.

AND, Johan The Wonder Swede DID show up to Lisa's birthday, WILLING to enter a dance-off should the need arise. That makes us love Johan all the more. (We're sure there's a lovely geek-loving Swede out there who IS right for you, JtWS!)



Lisa is shocked and awed that Johan has come to her party after all.
I just look drunk and long-nosed. Whatever.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

DON'T YOU DIE ON ME, MISTER BANANA HAMMOCK

I'm sure this isn't something the spin class ladies have to worry about.

So a couple weeks ago, I meant to update you on the state of Old Mr. Banana Hammock.

Let me remind you that I currently take a water aerobics ("hydro fit") class three days a week. The class is great and it works me pretty hard (as long as I'm willing to push myself), I just have to deal with being the youngest in the pool, aka "old people soup," by a good 25-30 years.

By the way, Doris was singing her heart out the other day -- head back, EYES CLOSED, belting out "Celebrate." Ceeeeelebrate goood times come on!

Anyway. I had forgotten to mention to you that the old man who swims laps while class is going on NOT ONLY wears a tiny see-through Speedo, but when he manages to lift himself out of the pool (a painstaking process, to be sure), he grabs his cane and his bag of I-don't-know-what before he scuttles his way back to the men's locker room. He is also always wearing a swim cap and goggles.

Please think about this image. Elderly man, stooped over, shuffling along the poolside with a cane, wearing a swim cap and goggles, carrying a nylon "swim bag"(?), in a tiny, thinning flesh-colored bathing suit. And I don't want to be too graphic here, but that bathing suit makes you see things you don't want to see in both directions.

So but. Last week, I showed up to class and there was whispering and murmurs coming from my fellow swimmers, and I hear that someone has DIED. "You know, the old guy who comes to the pool every day and swims laps? He had a hard time walking?"

I assumed I knew exactly who they were talking about, but I couldn't exactly clarify. I mean, is it not the height of impropriety to ask about a dead man's junk?

I stated earlier that I thought Mr. Banana Hammock was about 88. And then I saw that there was an "In Loving Memory" poster up at the other end of the pool, for the man who swam 19 laps EVERY DAY into his 92nd year...

And then I felt very strange. I mean, it's not exactly a horrific tragedy when a 92-year-old man (who was clearly beloved even at his GYM) dies. But it's not really okay to laugh about him, either. And yet there his see-though bathing suit sits, on my blog, for pure comedic effect.

Should I take my posts mentioning a now-dead man's old, accidentally visible butt? WHERE IS EMILY POST WHEN YOU NEED HER?

Let's just say I was rather distracted throughout class. I don't know how one handles blogging the death of a stranger. I certainly have no poignant thoughts to add.

Ex: "I'll really miss trying desperately to avert my gaze from your jiggly, low-hanging fruit as you made your way from the pool to the locker room, sir. May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead."

You're probably thinking I'm heartless now, huh? Well, I'm not. Because the astonishing truth is that Old Mr. Banana Hammock is NOT dead. Apparently the dead man was some OTHER guy who swam into his 92nd year, and our see-through Speedo guy is someone else. Someone very much alive and kicking (literally) AND?

And wearing a new bathing suit! Oh, it's still a tiny little number, but this new one's a nice dark plum tone and totally not see-through. Oh, the joy!

I had to do my best to mask my elation as I discovered in quick succession that this man was neither dead NOR exposing his family jewels to my class anymore!

How could I ever take a spin class when the pool affords such drama?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Am The Eye Of My Own Storm

"...You have a much higher threshold for loose order."

So, perhaps I may have mentioned before: I am kind of a mess.

I am also, however, capable of extreme organization and obsession over details.

I have enjoyed event planning because (I believe) to be truly successful, you need both of these abilities. You need to be able to work amid near-constant chaos, to make sense of chaos, to make chaos work. While not forgetting anything.

I'm sure there are some event people who are SO completely anti-chaos that they wrangle every last ounce of chaos into their well-oiled machine. But those kinds of event people are insane and masochistic and scary, and generally their events aren't any fun at all.

The reason I bring this up is because Ish and I just had a discussion about how "organized" I am compared to one of our best friends, and he described it so well I wanted to share. Because I know there are MANY of you out there who can relate. And I like the visual.

So. Our darling friend is organized. She is also neat and clean. She runs a tight ship. She is a project manager and she gets things done. When there is a list with items that need to be checked off, she will kindly, gently, cordially HUNT YOU DOWN until you do your part to get that item checked off her GODDAMNED list. Thank you so much.

All of her a cappella music is in a binder with alphabetized tabs. All of my a cappella music is in three different stacks, thrown into a bag in a very generalized sort of "order." For instance. And I know that technically, this makes her more "organized" than I am. But I just don't feel disorganized.

Still, as I sat staring at my sad, uneven "stacks" of music with their furled, discolored corners it occurred to me that somehow I manage to walk a fine line between "organized" and "hot, hot mess."

And you know? You'd think that line would be big and fat and bold.

So I asked Ish about this. "Lisa's binder is so nice and neat and organized," I said. "And mine, well, you know my bag of music."

"Yeah. You don't work that way." Ish replied.

"I don't work what way?"

"Well, neat isn't really your thing."

Of course it isn't. I know it isn't. And yet I didn't like hearing that. So I pressed him.

"Okay then. Please tell me what my thing is. Because I really don't feel like I'm disorganized."

"It's not that you're disorganized exactly. It's..." he looked into the air like he was trying to figure out a humorous math equation. And after telling me about my tolerance for loose order (quoted above), he added, "it's like you're the eye of your own hurricane."

"What do you mean?"

"It's like you have a sort of hurricane-- no, tornado of stuff all around you, all the time. But whenever you need something, you know exactly where to reach into that tornado to grab it." As he explained this, he made twirling gestures with both his hands around his head.

I looked at him silently.

He continued with the gestures. "Oh, there's Eve," he reached into the phantom tornado. "She needs to eat now, I'll just put her on the boob." Swish swish swish. "Oh? Your sunglasses? Here they are," he reached into the phantom tornado again. Then he made more twirling, swishing gestures.

And you know? He's totally, totally right. Isn't that a great visual? Almost like something out of Harry Potter. And I wanted to share that with you. For all of you out there walking around in the eye of your own organized tornadoes.

Friday, October 16, 2009

AND THEY NEVER HAD SEX AGAIN

"It would have been better if you'd made at least one more point about how I'm a gentle lover with a beautiful penis."
-Ish


It's kind of a long story, but it kind of isn't. When Ish and Eve and I went to the BlogHer Food conference, I spent a lot of time with BlogHer's amazing designer, Joy, who had a gorgeous baby boy three months before I had Eve. We somehow got on the conversation of post-baby sex, and then Denise (BlogHer's community manager) heard us and next thing you know, we're having a semi-graphic discussion about bizzaro-revirginization and oral sex and oy.

Then Denise asked me to write an honest post about "What Sex Is Like After You Have A Baby."

So I did.

I was a tad graphic (at least, by my "I never write about sex EVER" standards) and REALLY honest and well...

HERE IS MY POST ABOUT SEX AFTER BABY.

So there you have it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's a $200 Best Buy Gift Card Giveaway...But You Gotta Work For It!

This is NOT a compensated review from BlogHer and Samsung Home Appliances. It was going to be, but then I got all long-winded and tangential and next thing you know it's 80 million words later and I haven't mentioned a single thing about my new dishwasher. So I'm breaking this review into two parts.

(So yeah. Part Two is where you can win the gift card. But please read Part One to humor me.)


Part One: A Preamble Sort of About Dishwashers But Kind of More About Love and Stuff and Not Actually a Review

For the record, just because I'm given a product to review doesn't mean that I have to say nice things. I mean, any time I'm given an opportunity to do a review, I double- and triple-check with the people who are letting me because, I mean, mostly I don't use the f-word but hey. Sometimes it slips out. And it's been a long time since I've posted a picture of my naked ass, but if anyone could end up with a naked butt picture relating to a major appliance installation, I can. Also, I talk about my boobs a lot.

"But Jenny, can I talk about my boobs?"

"What would your boobs have to do with a dishwasher?"

"YOU NEVER KNOW."

So, how 'bout that! I got a new dishwasher! And so far nothing has happened with it involving my boobs! But as I was writing NOT about my boobs and thinking about how to write about my dishwasher, I realized -- and I'm being serious, here -- it's amazing how much love and life can be reflected in one's dishwasher status.

Hear me out.

When I was married the first time (sidenote: HAHAHAHAHA), we didn't have a dishwasher in our apartment, but that was okay because we never used the kitchen. Well, there was that one time I used the stove in the dead of winter, but it made our tiny apartment so unbearably hot (because our heat was controlled by management and permanently set to "roast") that we'd had to open our windows. And then we maybe sort of forgot about the open windows and went to sleep and then it snowed and no one takes you seriously when you ask if snow will stain a sofa.
Domestic Goddesses are made, not born.

But see? We were starting out and didn't have a dishwasher and next thing you know, it's snowing in our livingroom.

So when we got a little more settled, a little more established in our relationship and shared life, we got married, moved to a house, and got a dishwasher. Know what happened?

I started to cook, and do things like "sweep" and "run the dishwasher" BUT these chores were mostly unremarkable...and so was our marriage. (Well, and the cooking, but that's neither here nor there.) The point is, our dishwasher was plain looking and boring and barely adequate. AND WE GOT DIVORCED.

[Uh, but not before that one time when I ran out of dishwasher detergent and thought I could use normal dish soap and learned that there is a very good reason they are entirely different products. I "learned" this by walking into my kitchen and discovering my floor had become a bubbly moat -- spewing from my dishwasher.]

Anyway. I hope you see what I'm saying, because this is a giant realization. Earth-shattering, really.
* No dishwasher = precarious relationship

* Plain dishwasher = plain marriage

* Plain dishwasher + bubbly moat = divorce! (Also, Domestic Goddess status withheld indefinitely.)

So okay. Maybe that just seems like coincidence. I hear you. But when I started reviewing the next several years of my life in terms of my dishwasher-status, the evidence mounted.

Behold:

2001: A bad year for the country, generally speaking. Not so great for me, either, as I get divorced and move to San Francisco. Love SF, love my cute little apartment but overall, life in upheaval. Do not have dishwasher.

2002: Move in with my SF boyfriend to a new apartment. Things are looking up, life-coming-together-wise, but still fairly unsettled. Do not have dishwasher.

2003: Move to better place with SF boyfriend because things are going so well. Have cool dishwasher!

2004: Oops. Break up with SF boyfriend. (But good dishwasher = very, very good breakup.) Move out. Start life again again as single in the city. Everything precarious. Of course, no dishwasher.

2004 - 2007: Life is interesting, but a bit rough-and-tumble on the dating front. Meet Ish. Good boyfriend? Yes. But good boyfriend is just a little bit still married to someone else. Why? BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN LIVING WITHOUT A DISHWASHER FOR 3 YEARS.

2008: Wonderful boyfriend and I move in together! Relationship status greatly improved! Get engaged! Get pregnant! HAVE VERY GOOD DISHWASHER.

The facts do not lie. You have a sleek, roomy, pretty dishwasher, things are good and you get married and have babies. I am living proof. I should go on Oprah.

Except but also, here is when things get juuuuuust a little problematic.

Because once we had the very good dishwasher and life got awesome and everything, we moved. And now we live in Napa in a very fine house. The house is new and modern and lovely, but! BUT!

Click here to read Part Two: A Review of My New Samsung Dishwasher (and, Possibly More Importantly, Win a $200 Best Buy Gift Card)







Thursday, October 08, 2009

All About Eve: Months One, Two & Three


As I begin this entry, Eve is beside me. She was nursing on the Boppy, as she does and has since she was born. She eats and then falls asleep against me, often with my breast in her mouth. It's incredibly sweet and I will miss it when she stops breastfeeding, but also it's very hard to be productive -- say, to do the dishes -- with someone's mouth wrapped around your nipple.

In the last week, though, I've discovered that she will stay asleep if I carefully reposition the Boppy to be against my side, and sometimes if I just slide it off to the side altogether, provided she is comfortably smooshed into it.

For those of you who don't know, the Boppy is a donut-shaped pillow, specifically designed for not having your child sleep in it. But whatever. If I'm lucky, Eve will fall asleep with her head supported on one end and her body and feet wedged into the center. (And then I just have to keep a close eye on her to make sure she doesn't fold in on herself.) It doesn't matter anyway. Her daytime naps still don't last particularly long. Still, the freedom I've gained having both of my arms free for just minutes of the day is intoxicating. WAHOO!

But that's not what this post is about.

Just now, Eve, tucked into her Boppy with the open half nestled against me, woke up. I looked down at her. She opened her eyes and looked at me. I smiled at her. She kept her eyes focused intently on me, heavy-lidded though they were. Then, with her eyes still affixed on mine, her face serene and contented, she burped.

Then she half-smiled, yawned, and fell back asleep.

This post is about what these first three months have been like, and, well, that's as good a summation of what they've been like as any. Sweet, funny, unpredictable -- a little gross -- and all about Eve.

There are two things people say over and over and over again when they meet our little dumpling. The first is: OH MY GOD I LOVE HER HAIR! And seriously, I cannot blame anyone. I love it, too. Her hair continues to grow straight out in every direction, and it's the best thing ever. I adore that it's her calling card. I refuse to put her in hats because it feels like I might as well put a mask over her face. Her crazy hair is part of who she is. And I know I'm going to sound ridiculous, especially if you haven't spent any time with this baby, but somehow, Eve owns it.

The second thing people have noted is that Eve is "really alert." Certainly Eve has done her fair share of newborn sleeping, but when she is awake, she is AWAKE. She has this way of looking at things and (especially) people that makes me and her Aunt Samantha laugh out loud. She gets an expression of awe and delight, of being unsure but totally okay with whatever it is. She's perpetually wide-eyed, but it's not like she's saying, "WOW!" it's more like she's saying, "WE'LL SEE ABOUT THIS."

I'm not doing a good job of explaining it. I take videos to try to capture it.

Like this one. Here, Eve has discovered she can roll herself off of me. Or maybe she doesn't even realize she's doing it, though every time I put her back on my chest, she rolls herself off again.



(Note: To get the Flip camera steady, I balanced it in my teeth.)

I know it looks like she's just falling off me, but I swear, she's doing it with purpose.

In these first three, pivotal, life-changing months, Eve has grown and gotten bigger and more interactive...but not THAT much. It seems like she just came out this way. THAT is what I'm trying to say.

Eve entered this world with her crazy hair, her eyebrow-enhanced expressions, her preference to be awake during the day when "stuff" is happening, and to sleep during the night when things are peaceful and dull. She looks at me like she's really looking at me.

Since she learned to smile, Eve smiles in response to human interaction. (Well, and the occasional bout of gas -- but then, so does her dad). She's paying attention.

Maybe that's it: she's paying attention. Those things you think maybe newborns don't notice because they're just tiny babies and kind of sleepy little (adorable) blobs? Eve does not come across that way. She never came across that way. There wasn't this grand shift from "newborn" to "baby." From the moment she started spending most of her days awake, she also started (seeming?) to notice everything.

That's the cool, interesting, and scary thing.

The cool, interesting and awesome thing is that so far, she seems to like it all. She notices we're somewhere new, and she thinks it's cool. (She just doesn't understand how she's supposed to lay quietly in her car seat while there are new sights to see!)

She awes me, in return. I cannot believe how complete a little person she is already.

So I suppose, if I am to do a proper recap of Eve's life in these last three months, I need to provide some basic day-to-day detail. (And if not for you, at least for me.)

Like, I should say that her little body is still rather small -- just 10.5 lbs now -- but she's incredibly strong. She's been holding her head up for weeks, which just further contributes to her seeming so very alert.

She's discovered her hands and had staring contests with her feet, but she hasn't yet seemed to intentionally reach for something she wants. Her arm and hand movements are still pretty haphazard, and when I don't stay on top of trimming her nails (which I do by biting them -- a very helpful suggestion!), she is prone to scratching herself.

She's begun drooling like a fountain. We were afraid she'd begun teething at 11 weeks, but that turned out just to be a particularly drooly couple days. Uh, we hope.

And...well...I don't know. I'm not good at this "recap your child's life" thing yet. There's so much to be poetic about, but mostly the poetry is in the everyday stuff.

I love that she smiles at me when I poke my head above her bassinet (still next to our bed) in the morning. I love that she smiles when Daddy comes home from work at night. I love how she looks at the cats when they approach her while she's nursing -- like, "You're an interesting looking burp cloth. But I'm busy just now."

I love that she's in a great mood all morning, and has her worst bouts of fussiness in the late afternoon, just like her mommy. I love that her whole face lights up when I sing to her, and that if the song is particularly to her liking, she will kick and kick and kick and coo and drool and blow bubbles. And she will stop whatever she's doing to focus on someone singing on the television (she especially enjoys "Glee.")

I love that there is never anything that upsets her so much she can't be calmed by having a bottle stuck in her mouth. I particularly love that she doesn't care if the bottle is breastmilk or formula, if it's warm or cold. She's just like, "Hey, yeah, awesome. Carry on."

She was a hiccup-er in utero, and for the first couple weeks she'd get the worst bouts of "crib shakers" (as my mom and grandma used to call baby hiccups) almost every time she ate. She hardly ever gets them now.

I point that out because so few things have changed in these three months.

Every time she nurses from my right breast, she takes her right arm and puts it over her head, and grabs a tuft of her hair in her tight little fist. I wonder if she'll keep doing this, or a variation of this, as she grows. I kind of hope so.

Napa enjoyed some truly glorious autumn evenings last week, and Ish and I were inspired to sit outside at dusk for a few moments, just to take it in. To take a breath. Eve came with us, of course, all wrapped up in cozy blankets.

It was very windy. I forget how "wind" is such a foreign concept to babies. The very first time Eve went out in the backyard, my friend Emily was here. She was holding Eve and quickly turned her back to block a sudden breeze. "Babies don't really 'get' wind," she said to me. Of course they don't, what a weird thing it must be to them, right? But I'm not sure it would have occurred to me without Em's saying so.

So last week as we sat outside and I held Eve upright against my shoulder, a huge wind came up and blew all over us both. Her hair split every which way. Eve immediately winced and drew up her shoulders. But before I managed to figure out a way to shield her from the gusts, she started to open her eyes. The expression on her face changed from reflexively startled to something else. She started fighting her closed eyes, blinking, trying to get her eyes to stay open. Trying to see the wind. And then she smiled.

And then she laughed.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Sometimes These Blog Posts Write Themselves

I just have a brief update about the swim class.

Friday, Mr. Banana Hammock gave a repeat performance of "watch me get out of the pool and walk to the men's locker room." Which is when I QUITE ACCIDENTALLY discovered that not only is his Speedo flesh-toned, but the back is entirely see-through.

Yes. I was "cross-country skiing" toward the back of the pool when ole' saggy bottom decided to emerge from the pool and I could not stop in time, could not turn away, could not do anything but continue skiing toward his may-as-well-be-nekkid buttocks.

I should also add that I overheard this comment from one of the older lady swimmers today: "I think it's time we take Mom to the casino again."