Monday, January 23, 2012

How Stuff Is And Things

It's always hard for me to write something "real" (not that illustrations of gnomes isn't hardcore blogging) after a long break because I feel like you have no idea what's going on in my life and why would you want to hear about our experience observing a PRESCHOOL when the last time I wrote my kid was barely walking?

So here are some completely random udpates. It makes me feel like I'm clearing the decks to write more stuff later.

I will also number these updates for no reason.


  1. Townsend is a delightful baby. He is happy ALL OF THE TIME.



    Unless he's cutting teeth AND sick at the same time, which of course is happening right now. The amount of snot that can crust over a baby's nose in the middle of the night is astounding. And if you're not a parent, NOW YOU KNOW THAT. Still, I'm pleased that he will soon have 3 visible teeth. Eve spent 4 months of her life with only one tooth poking out from below.
  2. Oh, hey! Boys and girls are different! Based on my extensive knowledge of having had exactly one (1) girl and one (1) boy, I am now an expert. Eve was hesitant to crawl, hesitant to climb, thoughtful about her physicality. Towns wants to run despite that he can't yet stand on his own. He tries to climb and mount everything in his path. He crawled up a flight of stairs yesterday. Also, banging. He bangs. LET'S BANG THINGS INTO OTHER THINGS. So, boys.


  3. I am still 100% hellbent on losing weight and will resume posting videos AS SOON AS I get back to the weight I was pre-holidays. I took November and December "off" because I felt like it. I gained a little weight back.

    Now I'm trying to settle into the mentality that the best approach is one that isn't 100% all-or-nothing. Medifast works REALLY REALLY well when you're on-plan completely. But here's the reality: it still works well even if you're not on-plan at all times every day forever and ever.

    BTW, watch this "Shit Dieters Say" video immediately:



    I say this because one of the worst things I do, and have always done, is think if I go "off" the diet/plan at one point during the day, then the whole day -- or, let's be honest, weekend -- is shot. I'm trying really hard to stop that dangerous thinking and be more trade-off oriented. I know WW is well suited for this, but I think Medifast can be, too. I just need to be smart and realistic about myself.

  4. I read The Hunger Games because everyone told me I had to. I don't really know what to make of them.

    By way of comparison, I haaaaaaaaated Twilight mostly because I didn't especially enjoy being a conflicted, forlorn, overly ridiculous teenaged girl when I WAS one, and adding sparkly vampires to the mix doesn't make it more bearable. (I prefer my conflicted, ridiculous girls to be adults on reality television shows.) So Hunger Games is way better in that regard.

    But while THG is thoroughly engrossing and page-turny, it's also horrifyingly bloody and gory and gray and awful. And humorless. And post-apocalyptic. So really not my thing. And plus there's like no sex at all, not even with vampires. So somehow murderous teenagers are compelling, but sexually active teenagers is totally over the line.
  5. The holidays have come and gone and this year was a doozy, in the good way. Both of my sisters came to visit, which has never happened before in the whole ten+ years I've lived in California, and we had a wonderful time being silly, drinking wine, and carrying on.

    We* took lots of pictures. (*My sister, Sam.)

Eve @ Ravenswood Winery
Us @ Ravenswood Winery

My kids, niece & nephew, and Grandma & Grandpa

Healy @ William Hill Winery
Mike (my Brother-in-law) @ William Hill

Charlie, Evie & Towns @ our backyard

Samantha @ our backyard




Also, yesterday was a bit unfortunate, sports-wise. 

But what she doesn't know won't hurt her.







Tuesday, January 17, 2012

For Football Fans Everywhere - YOU MADE ME WEAR SPARKLES!

I was going to get into a long preamble. One about how my father was a nationally recognized athlete and sports fanatic who married a woman who couldn't stand televised competitions of any sort (sports, Olympics, even The Price Is Right) and who raised three daughters who were largely more concerned with halftime shows than anything else happening on the field.

My preamble was also going to mention something about how my sister, Healy was living in Boston when the Sox finally won the World Series and how it changed her baseball ambivalence forever. And about how my sister, Samantha, has slowly become a rabid Pats fan who knows enough about football that she and Ish talked for HOURS about the game over the holidays.

And then, yes. Something also about how my husband has an encyclopedic knowledge of everything sports-related and a true, thorough loving for sports that reminds me of my father's in very sentimental ways. Ways that want me to encourage BOTH my children to watch games with their dad and make local fandom a family thing. Go Giants! And holy hell! GO NINERS!!!

But um. I'll skip all that. Instead, I give you this. When true fandom goes horribly, horribly wrong.


It's not hard to imagine me being this girl. Not hard at all.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Where Have All The Burp Cloths Gone Gnome?

When Eve was a baby big enough to "crawl" (and "crawl" meant, for several months, dragging her tiny body along the floors by her right arm like a wounded soldier), she went through a charming period where she spit up ALL THE TIME. For about three months, Eve would start army-crawling herself across the floor, puke up half her bottle, then slide herself through it. (All of her baby clothes from this period in her life have gray stains down the center.)

Now, those of you without children who ever did this sort of thing might be wondering: Um, once she spit up, why didn't you just clean it up BEFORE she could crawl through it? 

Ha. 

There are two answers.

Sometimes? It just happened too quickly. One second she'd be happy and clean and dry, the next second she'd be two feet to the left and have milkpuke on her chin and a trail of milkpuke behind her.

But mostly? Because the burp cloths were gone. Vanished. Nowhere to be found. We owned eleventeenmillion burp cloths and we had them stacked and ready to go in handy places and then they were carried away by puke gnomes. 

This post is about puke gnomes. Spit-up goblins. Burp cloth monsters. Whatever you want to call them. They exist. 

And now that I have ANOTHER crawler...

Well. I hoped he'd be different. 

What a happy baby boy!
He eats differently than Eve and boy, does he ever move differently than Eve! 
Wow! Look at him go!

He is fast and on all fours (and climbing walls and trying to mount the cat). 

Yet despite their differences, he has reached the age where he, too, has become a Master Of Spit-Up.

Of course THIS time? THIS time we have MORE burp cloths. We have all the ones left over from Eve's days spent mopping the floor with her goo PLUS tons more we added to the collection to ensure we'd never be without burp cloths.

So that now whenever we're like, "Hey, where's the baby?"

And he's all: 
BLEEERGH!

And we're all: 
HE IS SPITTING UP AGAIN! QUICK! GET A BURP CLOTH!


We just have to turn to our burp-cloth supply! On our burp-cloth table!



EXCEPT NO!!!!!!!

WHAT IS THIS???


BLEERRGGGGGGGGHPUUUUUKKKKEEEEE!

It's the Puke Gnome! The Spit-Up Goblin! THE BURP CLOTH MONSTER! He has come to our home when our backs were turned and has made off with the entire stack of burp cloths!!! AGAIN!!!!!

Bleeeerrggggg! I'm absconding with the burp cloths and returning to my home land! We need the burp cloths more than this family! 

There are no burp cloths. Anywhere. So in like, 3 seconds we have to go from seeing the baby spitting up to our empty table to weighing our options. 

Do we rape the environment just a little harder by using a paper towel? 
Pretty sure Dr. Sears doesn't recommend dry paper towels for wiping goo off the baby. Or anyone who cares about being green. This is not a good idea. Works, though. 

Do we use our disgusting, germ-infested, crusty (but cute!) decorative dish towel?


No. 

You know darn well what we use. 

A sleeve.
At least, we use the sleeve of our shirts to wipe the mess off the kid. Then something else to get the mess off the floor. 

And then go searching for that damned gnome.


In case you're wondering how I've been? I've been fine. But probably
you can guess from this post that the baby isn't yet sleeping through the night. 





Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The "Let's Ask A Two-Year-Old A Question" Game!

My two-year-old daughter, Eve, is delightful.
Most of the time.

But some of the time she likes to play the game we call, "I'M TWO & YOU SUCK AT PARENTING!"

It begins by one of us, let's say me, asking the happy, bubbly girl a question.
"Eve? Would you like to wear your pink shoes?"

You do this, this question-asking, because you THINK it is a good thing for her development. You THINK it requires her to process and weigh information and then communicate a thought in response.

You are so stupid.

What you are ACTUALLY doing when you ask a two-year-old a question is, on occasion, offending EVERY MOLECULE IN HER BODY YOU HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE MOTHER. For the amount of pain and suffering you will experience for asking your question, you may as well have just set the kid's hair on fire* -- honestly, there would have been less screaming and putting out a fire is comparatively easy to do.

*Pro Tip: do not set your child's hair on fire.

But you don't know if this moment, this second of this day is going to be the moment when asking your child a question will result in fiery tantrums. Like a rat in a trap who sometimes gets a pellet and sometimes doesn't, the unpredictability keeps you coming back for more. (Yes, you are a rat in this analogy.)

But something changes in your child's eyes. Perhaps she senses weakness. Perhaps she is hungry or tired or annoyed by that invisible thing she hates, but you have messed with the wrong question-askee. The fangs come out, along with the word, "No."

You messed up.



You immediately try to switch tactics. Instead of asking if she wants to put her pink shoes on, you ask if she would rather put on her PINK or her BLUE shoes. You think "no" is no longer on the table.




You are wrong.

And now you're in bargaining mode. You can't leave the house until she puts on her shoes, and you have somewhere to be and she doesn't care. And why would she? SHE IS TWO!
"Evie, let's put on your shoes. Let's try the new sparkly shoes! We can go for a ride! In the car! But with your shoes! Can you please put your shoes on? Look, Mama's wearing shoes! Everyone outside is wearing shoes! You have to wear shoes!" Note: Smile in this image is completely faked. Toddler is well aware of that fact.
Which is when suddenly you start saying really crazy things in the hopes that something, anything, will stop the NO train.

"What about rocket shoes! Pony rides! Music! Ice Cream! Cookies! Disco! Sprinkles! Unicorns!" Note: Now looking manic.

Ah. There it is. The terrifying question glint has gone from her eyes. Something you said worked!

AHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You are now giddy with power! You have tamed the beast and it is possible you will actually get out of the house! With your child! Who will be wearing shoes! For the mere cost of a cookie!!!! (Well, and most of your dignity. But that is neither here nor there.)


The game is over! You are both winners! Hooray!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Pinterest Dilemma


Pinterest is like the best and worst of all worlds. Because one second you're reading inspirational quotes...

Sidebar!
I hate inspirational quotes.  I'm horrible and jaded, sure, but also I tend towards practicality. I absolutely believe you can do almost anything if you put your mind to it, but I prefer prescriptive motivation instead of things that are like, "Dream magical dreams and magically they will come true because of all your magical wish dust!"  



Whereas I saw this posted yesterday and I want to print it out and tape it to my wall. It just says: 


DO THE WORK


Though I dislike contrived motivational things, I still find that Pinterest gets my "it takes a lot of work to succeed" motor running. 

Which is key. Because as I was saying: One second you're reading inspirational quotes about how awesome everything can be...


...and the next second you're staring straight into a photo of some amazing foodie concoction that involves everything delicious in the whole world. 

I totally made up "Individual quad-cheese lasagnas" but I want one right now. That's why I'm drooling in the picture, obviously.



And always the comments are like, "this is sooooo good!" and "this is so easy to make!" and you're like, "I could totally be a domestic goddess and make this and have my entire family worship me! I LOVE PINTEREST!"

(Mama has made something delicious (albeit invisible in this particular rendition) and the family lauds her! Dada is applauding, in case you were wondering what was going on with his arms. The baby is in a high chair, not walking on stilts. The toddler isn't sitting in her chair because she is never sitting. I don't know why the table doesn't have legs. The important thing is, Mama is wearing a crown.)


But then, just as you're wondering if you're going to make the 17-layer choco-cream-sugar-dip or the guaca-roni pizza bread sufflĂ© casserole, you are bombarded with all the cute girl clothes and images and styles and fashion ideas. 




The cutest outfit ever! Except not when you try to wear it on your current body.

(Horizontal strips aren't even slimming on slim people. Cute little jackets don't fit over giant melon boobs and even if I do find a jacket in my size, it ends up being wider than it is long. Which is defying laws of physics AND fashion. Also, boot socks are less attractive when you're short. The pair I recently ordered can be pulled up to my crotch and I'm not even kidding.)

The idea is good. The execution...not so much.

So. Yeah. 

I took a couple months off from my recent dieting gung-ho-ness because for lots of reasons (time and motivational management during the holidays, mostly). I'm not proud of it, but I only consider it a hiatus. I'm back on plan as of yesterday.

Which means I need strength. I love me some Pinterest, but I will really need help to focus more on the health and fashion posts and less on the CHEESE! ones. Totally doable, as long as I remember my own new mantra.

DO THE WORK.

Although Ghandi probably thinks I'm super great just as I am.





Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Job Interviews In The Age Of Social Media, When You Tweet About The Bachelor And Swear On Your Blog

I was selected to participate in something called "Present The Best You" Online contest, hosted by Monster.com about job interviewing. (Scroll down to win stuff.)


Yes. "Present The Best You." FROM A WOMAN WITH A BLOG ENTRY CALLED "MASHED POTATO BOOBS." I give Monster a whole lot of credit.


But hey: if you want to find me on BeKnown, a new Facebook app that lets you professionally connect with others on FB, just click here! BECAUSE YOU TOTALLY DO.
*************************************************


Now, yes. Mashed potato incidents aside, I AM gainfully employed and have actually held very real, very professional jobs.

And also I did write a post once a job interview I went on, several years ago, where I casually and obviously without forethought mentioned that I had a blog which was kind of a disaster almost.

You can read the whole post here but the point was, well. I was an idiot. I had no business bringing up my personal blog during a professional interview because I did NOT want the interviewer (a VP no less) to read my blog because of all the writing about bruises and dates and plus swear words. And back then, waaaaaaay in the blog dark ages of 2005, I was blogging anonymously, so it's not like Googling my name would have landed the VP on a post where, say, I have brilliantly sketched myself drinking directly from a red wine bottle. 

But you know? Times have changed. We're not blogging anonymously and many of us aren't Facebooking or Tweeting or checking-in anonymously, either. Now every job interview begins with a thorough Googling and perusal of your social media life.

And you know that. And maybe (hopefully) if you're in the land of job-seeking, you have thought about your online reputation. You know what happens when you Google yourself, you know what images appear on Flickr, you know you haven't hidden all your FB albums. Which is great. Frankly, I'm not here to tell you otherwise. As someone who shares pretty much everything with the online world, I'm not about to tell you that you need to password-protect your life in order to be hired. But guess what I do have?

Three tips on how to approach interviewing when so much of your life is online and findable (from one social media junkie to another):

1. "Be Prepared" takes on new meaning. Research them, of course. But research you, too.
With so many fun tools at our fingertips, being prepared for your interview doesn't just mean looking at the hiring company's website. It means finding what others are saying about the company. It means looking up who's currently working at the company AND who used to work there. I also always go searching for information about the people who will be meeting with me -- it's not always fair when they have your resume and you don't have theirs, so BeKnown and LinkedIn can really help even the playing field.

Ah, but it's also a smart idea to take a deep breath and Google yourself. Maybe you've done it a million times already, but do it again. What story are you telling? If there's anything you stumble upon that you'd be embarrassed for an employer to see, take it down. If it's in the public domain, it's perfectly acceptable for an interviewer to bring up.


2. Don't Be Yourself. Be Better. 
As I well know (OMG HOW WELL I KNOW), we are all flawed. We all spill and trip and bruise and say embarrassing things. We all have unkempt days (WEEKS) and untidy lives, inside and out. Maybe your social media outlets do nothing but illustrate this. Hi.

But your potential employer's primary objective is NOT to know what "the real you at home" is like. Your potential employer needs to know what you at your best is. What is your professional you? What are you capable of doing every day in your best version of you? What will you show clients and coworkers? What are you like when you're "on"?

Your interview is your one opportunity to supplement the online version of yourself with your other dazzling assets. Dress up. Speak well. Shine your shiniest self. And whatever you do, don't let the informality of social media lead you to believe that you are friends with your interviewer; just because she left a comment on your blog post or is now following you on Twitter doesn't mean you're now BFFs.


3. Practice, Practice, Practice.
Um, so, it's established that you're online a lot. Your interviewer knows it, you know it. By virtue of you reading this post, I know it. That means that every conceivable tool for "acing" the interview is at your disposal -- assuming you're a good fit for the job you're seeking. Your interviewer shouldn't be able to ask a single question that catches you off-guard. Nope. Not one. So tell me, do you know where you'll be in five years? Do you know your greatest weaknesses? Do you know how to not only answer questions, but give examples and quantifications with your answers? Do you know why manhole covers are round?
Here's a fantastic list of questions you should arm yourself with answers to before heading into any interview, including (my favorite): Who do you follow on Twitter, and why?


Thank you so much to Monster.com for this opportunity, and specifically to BeKnown, a fantastic new Facebook app that "allows you to set up a professional profile directly on Facebook...separate from your personal Facebook page." Handy, no? I mean, networking right on Facebook makes a lot of sense. Keeping your photo albums separate does, too. :)

Click here to get the Facebook app.
Click here to download the iPhone app.

Oh, hey. Monster.com furnished me with a makeup kit and business card holder for participating in this contest and you can win a kit and holder, too! Please leave a comment (ideally you will also join BeKnown) and you're as good as entered! Contest ends January 9 (EOD) so GET GOING!


About BeKnown:
Monster.com recently launched BeKnown, a professional networking app for Facebook. BeKnown allows you to set up a professional profile directly on Facebook that is completely separate from your personal Facebook page. One of the apps newest features, College Pages, even provides a way for alumni to network professionally on Facebook and view job postings from their fellow graduates!

With BeKnown College Pages:
  • Any jobs posted by alumni on BeKnown are added to the College/University profile page and Alumni with job opportunities can post jobs to students and recent alums for free
  • Students can follow their school and build relationships/connections with alumni working at top companies & discover alumni  jobs

In addition to College Pages, BeKnown also lets you conduct a job search of Monster's database of jobs without ever leaving BeKnown or Facebook. By tapping into the networks of their Facebook friends, young professionals can easily connect, send messages, and see who among their existing contacts is connected to a company or job opportunity they are interested in.

“As soon-to-be college graduates start to think about their entry into the workforce, their first step should be building out their professional networks using the invaluable connections they have right in front of them,” said Tom Chevalier, Global Product Manager for Monster Worldwide. “Alumni networks are a key source for career opportunities for college graduates, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for them to connect and engage right from BeKnown.”