Thursday, November 11, 2010

Going to Hell Really Isn't a Question for Me Anymore

For the record, I never claimed I was a good Catholic. I haven’t been to mass since my grandfather used his magic and effective Catholic guilt powers while visiting one weekend a few years ago. And I deemed the entire experience a miserable waste of time as the homily was all about how the church needed more money for their sacristy. Not exactly an enticing sermon to charm a lost member of the flock back to the herd. Big fail on Padre’s part.

But, the hubs is all about saving our son from the clutches of hell and wants to get our kiddo baptized. Being the good mom/wife I am, (and with no real reason other than, “I don’t feel like it,”) I figured we should splash some holy water on the kid and call him saved.

So we recently took a baptism class at our cathedral. A few hours in the house of our Lord to learn all about the sacrament, baptism ceremony, paperwork, and (ahem) donation. As you can tell, it was a hella fun evening.

Here’s one interesting fact about our cathedral: they do “full immersion” baptisms. Yup. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Padre will immerse my 10-week-old child completely into the water. Not sure if this is for grand effect or if us Los Angelinos are just really, really sinful.

Anyway, we still have some paperwork to fill out before the ceremony date can be set. A birth certificate—natch. And a little piece of paper signed and sealed by our local parish that basically says we are Catholic and live within their parish boundaries. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Just walk right into to the church you never attend and ask them to initial here and there.

Oh so, so wrong.

It reminds me of one of those timeshare sales pitch deals. They pay for your trip and all you have to do is listen to a lecture about timeshare opportunities. Easy? Wrong again. Because once you get into those sales pitches you start to think, “Hey, this isn’t a bad deal at all. Maybe I should…” and you’re right where they wanted you. And now you have a timeshare in ski town for the middle of the summer.

Fork. You. Done.

Remember this: the Church has been in sales for centuries, people. They know all the tricks. They’ve tried force (Crusades), bribery (Kingdom of Heaven), and the infamous guilt I keep bringing up. This timeshare-esque pitch is just another tool in the arsenal.

Here’s how I envision it going down:

“Sure! I’ll sign your paper, but will we be seeing you and the lovely family this coming Sunday?”

Crap. You’re cornered. You have to agree or else they might not sign the paper you need. They have all the power here. So you promise and now you have to show up on Sunday because you promised in church. And you can't lie in church as I'm fairly certain that's a non-stop, all expense paid ticket to hell. And then you show up on Sunday and every Sunday thereafter because the priest strategically places himself by the door as you exit and asks if he’ll see you next Sunday, leading to a viscous never-ending cycle.

Then the day comes where they need volunteers for the bake sale fundraiser. You have to oblige them or else they'll start with the guilt. "Jesus wants you to bake something for our fundraiser. He died for your sins, you know. We're taking dead as a doornail here, bub. Do you think a few dozen cupcakes are too much for you to give to your Lord and savior? We didn't think so."

Then you're at this bake sale and now they need someone to help teach Sunday School. Or look over their books. Or help usher the next mass.

Now, you have to spend your Sundays as an indentured servant (mortal soul hanging in the balance and all) while you listen to some man's interpretation of what Jesus was saying, though you're pretty sure any four-year-old can pick up the whole love-thy-neighbor thing better than most adults in the room, as you nurse a burn you got making Jesus some sugary baked goods.

Then you realize that this was all for a silly piece of paper so your kid could land in a dunk tank of holy water.

As you may have surmised, I’m sending the hubs in for that signed and sealed paper. I’ll cover him from the couch. We're all safer that way.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I’m So Excited, But Not in the Jessie-Spano-Drugged-Out Sort of Way

(Ten points if you get the title reference.)

I always thought being pregnant would be the most empowering thing a woman could experience. Images of Rosie the Riveter and Superwoman come to mind. I envisioned myself stomping around the house, (even larger) chest puffed out, letting everyone know I had a superpower. I can make and carry life—bow to me mere mortals!

Lucky for the hubs, there has been no such occurrence at the homestead.

Once I realized there would be no superpowers, capes, or grateful citizens, I started to think of pregnancy like a secret club. Once you got in, members tell you all classified information you need to know and show you the secret handshake.

I was sort of right. Pregnancy, and eventually motherhood, is a bit like a club—you have a common experience to bond over complete with jargon, war stories, and scars. But, the club isn’t so secret; the info not so classified.

And a secret handshake? Please, I totally wish.

But there is one little mystery surrounding the Preggo Posse…a comment I’ve gotten over and over again from close friends who are card-carrying members of the Baby Brigade: I’m so excited for you.

Okay, so it’s not a Bermuda Triangle level of a mystery, but it’s got me intrigued. Of course, my Maternity Mob friends are there to offer advice, wisdom, and sympathy, but every once in a while they will look me straight on and say, “I’m so excited for you.”

It’s not the words, per se, that have struck me. I mean, it’s nice that they are excited for me—this is all exciting stuff. No. It’s they way they say it. The glimmer in their eye, the way they smile knowingly and warmly let me know there is something more behind the sentiment.

It kind of reminds me of when the hubs and I were researching our honeymoon in Africa. In quest for knowledge about a place we had no idea about, we came across some folks who had been on safari. We picked their brains for advice on all the normal stuff—the people, weather, bugs—but when we asked them what Africa was like, all they could say was, “Amazing.” If pressed for other words to describe the trip, they would smile and tell us we’d have to see for ourselves.

“You’ll love it, though,” they all assured us.

Once we landed in Africa and made it to our camp in the Mara, I became speechless.

Yes. Me. Speechless.

I could no longer find words to express the beauty, thrill, and sheer awe of it all. Now, when people ask me about the honeymoon, I sound exactly like those who we sought advice from. I provide simple adjectives and a genuine smile.

It feels like my friends with the knowing and warm smiles have that same feeling about motherhood. They’ve been somewhere I’ve never been and there are no words to describe what it’s like. All they can say is, “I’m so excited for you,” and know what’s waiting for me on the other side.

Good. I’m excited for me too.

I’m ready to be speechless again. (And so is the world, I’m sure.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Work & Pictures Have Been Plotting My Demise (OR Surprise Baby Shower Video)

So, Catholic guilt did win (read: I thought about posting all last week). However, work decided to enter the ring and play dirty. There was hair pulling, some below-the-belt hits, and thus the blog sat without an update.

Stupid work.

Anyway, we've had two baby showers in the last few weeks. Pics from the first one (thrown by mom, the pops and my mother-in-law) will be up soon. The Mac and I just have to learn to work together. This should only take until Oliver is growing facial hair...

In the meantime, enjoy a video of the surprise shower at the hubs' work. (Surprise to him, not me. I was
so in cahoots.) The hubs' amazingly prompt, detail-orientated, and incredibly sweet assistant is behind the shower, video and pics. She needs no Catholic guilt—this is just how she rolls.

Surprise shower video.

Please excuse how humongous I look. I'm 32 weeks along and have cravings for ice cream. I'm told double chins go with the territory.

I also was fooled into thinking I looked small. All the ladies in the office said so. They are either incredibly nice, blind folks or terrible liars. Either way, I think I'm hanging at their office more often. I'm okay with blind folks or liars—as long as they tell me I look thin. And don't take anymore pictures. Photographic evidence is a preggo lady's frienemy. It seems all fun and harmless as you pose, but then you look at the pic and see it's been talking some major trash behind your back.

Stupid pictures. You and work should hang out some time. Maybe knock over some old ladies on your way to make fun of babies and kick puppies.


But go ahead and enjoy the show. I've got an ice cream cake in the freezer with my name on it, literally and figuratively.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How Catholic Guilt Will Save This Blog

Seriously? It's August September? Before you know it, Oliver will be graduating from college and I’ll only be up to 20 blog entries. Maybe.

Really, I blame the pregnancy for my writing laziness. To know me is to know I'm a multi-tasking, overachieving, to-do-list-creating kind of chick. I don't get overwhelmed; I simply kick things into high gear. If I don't do a task (weekend of no dishes, anyone?), it's because slacking off was actually on the agenda.

What? I said I have issues. I believe that one falls around number 243 on the list.

Enter pregnancy. Pregnancy doesn't give a damn about you. It has its own agenda and doesn't care what it does to your emotions, plans, or shoe size. Frankly, it's a disrespectful little turd.

And let’s not forget that pregnancy is a public condition. As you grapple with understanding the tricky beast, you are completely on display. You walk in a room and everyone stares at you. Actually, they stare at your growing belly. The phrase, "Hey, I'm up here," has taken on an entirely new meaning.

As they would say in Fight Club, “I am Oliver’s womb.”

I have become a glorified incubator for a parasite. The smartest, cutest darn parasite there could possibly be, but a parasite nonetheless. Pregnancy takes my energy and eats away at my creative thoughts. I can now only think of doctor’s appointments, child birthing classes, and ice cream. And naps. And foot rubs, glorious foot rubs.

New plan of attack: from now on I’m going to let my Catholic guilt gnaw at me to update this site more often. It should be an even match for the pregnancy—a real Goliath versus Goliath battle. The heavens will tremble; lighting bolts will be thrown.

Just to be extra prepared, I’ll pray and eat ice cream.

Also, I’ll don my mouth guard.

And possibly a helmet.

Stay tuned next week for the results. This is going to be epic, people.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sometimes Work Can Be Fun

This post features an almost word-for-word email exchange with my coworker. Some details have been altered/removed because they were work speak and no one needs to be exposed to that. Plus, I felt like it.

And since some of my readers (I believe we’re up to seven, kiddos!) aren’t familiar with my job, the big ol’ conglomerate or the monotonous nature of being chained to Microsoft Outlook all day, I’ve offered my translation on the exchange. What can I say? I’m a giver.


Coworker: See email below. Seems they changed the amount of shipping dates. I don’t think it is a big deal…but we might have to adjust the December number on the divisional calendar if a new one goes out.

Translation for non-big conglomerate peeps: Communication Gal over here and emailing coworker are in charge of the calendar and someone has gone and done messed up our dates. Now, we either let the calendar be flat-out wrong or we update it, print it (again) and send to our foot soldiers.

Decisions. (Sigh)

Now I know how Obama feels.

Communications Gal:
At the moment, no other calendar updates have been provided. I think this one might have to wait until a bigger update comes along (if it does).

Translation: I think this falls under the category of “you’re shit outta luck, bub."

Coworker: Wait. I looked at the calendar and we actually have the # of days correct. Not sure how that happened but it did!!!

Translation: 0_0 We. Are. AWESOME. Who cares how or why! Carpe diem, my friend!

Communications Gal: Must be those superpowers we've been secretly talking about…

Guess this means I can finally order us those capes.

Translation: We should be rewarded, handsomely, for our blind foresight. Also, it’s the end of the day, my blood sugar is low and I think you think I’m amusing.

Coworker (seconds later):
And crowns…Wonder Woman style.

Translation: You have amused me and I will share in your disillusions. Plus, I like Wonder Woman. And her outfit.



Don’t worry. No cubicles, florescent lights, or Microsoft Office products were harmed during our thinly-veiled attempt at self amusement.

This time.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cupcakes Never Lie

We’re having a boy!

Yessiree. We found out yesterday we are having a boy. And all the people rejoiced. Mostly because there won’t be a mini-me running around—the world just isn’t ready yet. Neither is the hubs. Poor dear.

We’ve notified the family, friends and the rest of the folks that happen to be voyeurs on our Facebook pages. For those who were in town to share the good news, we even provided snacks—the lovely blue cupcakes shown above (photo courtesy of our friend Justin who always takes pictures of his food).

Many thanks to Violet’s Cakes in Pasadena for whipping up the yummy-nummy treats in record time after our call from the doctor’s office while other cupcake shops refused to help a preggo gal out.

Oh Violet’s, you have won your way into my heart. And my tummy. My taste buds thank you. My waistline cries out.

Look at what you started.

I suppose the road to hell is, in fact, paved with good intentions delicious cupcakes. Frankly, I’m more than okay with that.

Bring on the blue! Bring on the trucks and trains and He-Man action figures! Now to brace the world for our boy: Oliver George. (Oliver for his maternal great grandfather; George for his paternal grandfather.)

Look out world: I promise a doozy of an amazingly awesome human being.

Friday, June 18, 2010

And, we’re back…

Sorry for the blog vaca. Apparently my fingers only type memos or bang out PowerPoints these days when laid upon a keyboard…

As my return-from-the-abyss post, I thought we’d explore the top questions I receive when I announce I’m with child. I know; that’s exactly what you hoped this post would be all about. What can I say, I’m here to please.

For the singletons out there—rest assured; this isn’t really a blog update on the pregnancy. It’s more of one knocked up chick’s commentary on human nature. Or so I tell myself when I’m explaining the ins and outs of my pregnancy
to a perfect stranger.

Enough chitchat. Let’s get to the hard news.

Top Questions (& Answers) to a Preggo Gal

1. Is it a boy or a girl?

Answer: Dunno. We’ll find out June 30.

Preggo gal’s take: I still can’t believe this is the number one question I get. Seems people are eager to label the kiddo “he” or a “she” as soon as possible. Since everyone, including the hubs and I, have an aversion to using “it” as a pronoun for our child, we have come up with an alternative, non-descript name: Critter.

That should work until we can stick our offspring with a gender-appropriate title.

2. Are you going to find out the gender?

Answer: You bet.

Preggo gal’s take: Actually, the question I get is if we are going to find out the “sex.” I do believe the proper term is gender. But even if it’s not, I don’t want to think about my kid and the word “sex”. I’m just not ready for that talk yet.

3. How are you feeling?

Answer: Well, thanks.

Yes, I had morning sickness. A lot.

No, it was not limited to the morning.

Yes, I was so beyond exhausted that I swear it rivaled my bout of mono.

Yes, that was the same case of mono in which I can’t remember three weeks of my life.

Yes, during those three weeks I performed in a play…for an audience…twice. It’s okay; I played Ophelia. That chick was so out of it, the mono was like a study in method acting.

Now—I feel fine.

Preggo gal’s take: Second trimester and I are best buds.

4. Are you excited?

Answer: Yes. Very.

Preggo gal’s take: I’m still shocked I’m asked this question for a two reasons:

a. The hubs and I were trying for lil’ Critter. If you know me, you know I’m a planner and a perfectionist. Ipso facto, you understand that I squeal with delight every time one of my plans comes together. Really. It usually causes a scene.

Fact: preggos over share. All. The. Time. If you don’t know me, just assume I’m excited. You just never know what a preggo is going to blurt out in response to your innocent questions. I'll provide a safe response (at least for this question), but I can't guarantee the same for the rest of the knocked up sisterhood.

5. How far along / when is the baby due?

Answer: Currently at 18 weeks which puts me at 5 months. (Don’t try to divide the weeks by four here. Preggo math is all sorts of whack.)

Critter is due to enter the world on November 18. That would make him/her a Scorpio. May the stars save the child’s Capricorn mother.

Preggo gal’s take: Odd that this question is near the bottom of the list. I still can’t believe people want to know the gender or the innermost workings of my gut and psyche over when the kid will actually show up.

Side note: I’m super impressed with some people’s math skills. As soon as I tell them how many weeks I am, they do the math and announce the correct due date time frame. I’m in awe as my only math skill is being able to figure out the tip in less than 10 seconds. These people actually apply math to an imaginary calendar. That’s some Rain Man stuff right there, folks.

There you have it. Now you know what’s on people’s minds when one is presented with the news of an impending birth. You are also armed with the answers to those burning questions.

Now, all other blog readers are envying you. Bask in the glow, my friends. I might not always be able to come up with juicy posts like this one.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ninakupenda, Kenya

I am crazy-out-of-my-mind jealous that the Pops (aka, Dad/Randy) is in Nairobi right now. He’s on a three to six month assignment for the big conglomerate. (Yes—the Pops and I work for the same mega company.)

Not only does it sound like a cool adventure, but…I’ve actually been to Nairobi. Believe it or not, that’s where the Hubs and I honeymooned. We safaried in Kenya, stayed on the beach in Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania, and throughout the trip, Nairobi was our home base.

I. Love. Africa. I can barley see because of my envy.

Though I am jealous squared, I’m also immensely proud of both of my Pops and Mom from going through with this crazy assignment.

What? I’m raging with hormones. I can, will, and do swing from one side of the emotional spectrum to the other. Sue me.

Anyway, I know this can’t be easy for them:
  • The Pops is halfway around the globe in a glorious third world country; Mom is in Ohio which isn’t exactly where she’d like to be.
  • Internet connections don’t always work in Africa. Same goes for television, electricity, hot water and all recognizable traffic laws.
  • They will have no physical contact with their spouse for a long while. (And that, dear (two) readers, is as far as I can go with that without getting a mental picture.)
But, whether they see it at the moment or not, they are having this adventure together, on two different continents. Sufficed to say, I am proud of them as individuals and as a couple.

I know I can’t make the days easier or the hours go by faster, but I can share this quote from a woman who deeply and truly loved Kenya that may help a twinge:

    “When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.”

    —Baroness Karen Blixen, Danish writer known for Out of Africa. Karen’s home is preserved and now a museum in the foothills of the Ngong (Knuckle) Hills in Nairobi. The Hubs and I visited there on our honeymoon. The house, and this quote, kick ass.
Well said, Baroness. Asante sana.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Misadventures with the Green Fairy

Ah, the Green Fairy. Poets and artists of Parisian bohemian society thought freely and creatively while doused in the warm embrace of the mystical (and imaginary) Green Fairy. The mascot of the drink known as Absinthe, she has inspired works of art while driving her courtiers to madness. In other words: she is one tricky b*tch (and my kind of gal).

While we were in New Orleans a few weeks ago, the hubs tried to dance with the lovely Green Fairy (after all, the Old Absinthe House is famed bar in the city) but, for lack of a better term, she schooled the hell of out him. Apparently, she gets offended when one seeks her after being in the company of beer, Hurricanes and Hand Grenades. She is, after all, no one’s second—or fourth—choice.

As the hubs was having his, er, violent disagreement with his other woman for the evening, I longed for a different Green Fairy all together.

Now, from reading this site, you know I’m knocked up and thus did not seek the delicious but very, very alcoholic Absinth. Nope. I was stuck with a head cold that just wouldn’t quit. Yup, I was in New Orleans and couldn’t drink a drop or smell a scent. A city made practically made of food and drink was nearly lost on me in the haze of a head cold.

I’m not sure, dear (two) readers, if you’ve ever tried sleeping with a cold without the aid of some lovely medicine. Without mincing words, it sucks. And, due to this sorry, snotty episode, it made me think of another emerald pixie: Nyquil.

Think about it, Nyquil really is the modern-day Green Fairy. The color is right, the taste is full of bitter booze and it warmly lulls you into its bosom to help you sleep. Man, did I long for it like an artist for his missing muse…or his missing booze. Something like that.

But, now we’re back from “The City That Care Forgot,” my head cold has decided not to bother with the likes of me any more and the hubs as recovered from disaster date with his liquid (one-time) mistress. Life is back to normal…except I still have dreams about Kylie Minogue in Nyquil commercials. Ah, if only.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cold Cuts

Being a newly-knocked up gal, (I'm almost 7 weeks) I'm still getting the hang of this whole there's-a-new-life-form-growing-in-your-abdomen thingy.

Seriously, the poor hubs. I don't adapt to change very well.

While preparing to (ahem) conceive, I become aware of the obvious things I'd have to give up. Top of the list: drinking. I do wonder what all the local bartenders will do with themselves when the hubs and I don't come in for Friday date night. I picture the top-shelf vodka for my dirty martinis gathering dust and gradually being covered in cobwebs. I see white wine producers scratching their heads at the falling sales in the Pasadena area and wondering what they did to offend.

Even though the local economy may slip even more due to my dry spell, I still do feel hungover everyday, with the occasional vomiting, sans the drinks. And that, dear (one) reader hardly seems fair. (Sorry for the graphic nature of the puking comment but, I have to tell it like it is.)

Moving on, other favorite items also get put away. Caffeine is not allowed (even green tea which only contains about 3mg of the delectable stimulus). My beloved Sushi (with sake, natch) is a complete no-go. And though I wasn't a regular visitor to hot tubs, I certainly can't become one now.

But, after 3 weeks of being on the pregnancy plan, the thing I miss the most: cold cuts.

That's right, no deli meat for the preggo girl. Unless you warm the meat up until it's steaming...but, that kind of ruins the whole point of cold cuts, doesn't it?

I never thought of myself as a sandwich junkie. Actually, never really though about sandwiches that much at all -- I mean, why would you when there's sake and martinis on the brain. But now that I can't have the stuff, I realize what a staple in my life's it's been. When there's nothing really to eat, make a sandwich. Hungry but don't want to consume a whole meal, grab some turkey and you're good to go.

I do realize what I'm saying is that I could possibly miss cold cuts more than drinking. Don't worry, I'll make sure I explore that thought in therapy.

I'm seriously thinking that after this kid is born, I'm gonna chase my dirty martini with a club sandwich. And yes, I did just gross myself out. But I don't think that's going to stop me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

And so it begins…

Here it is. The first blog post.

(Tap, tap)

This thing on?

Welcome! Come in, relax, grab a glass of wine and don’t forget to tip the servers.

I’ve been toying with an idea about a blog for some time…does seem to be the hip thing now a’days. Lots of my friends have blogs and I enjoy reading them. But, just because my friends do it is no reason for me to start—unless we are talking about underage drinking or jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, of course.

Sorry Mom, peer pressure is a beast.

Anywho, back to the blog: I just felt like I had something to say. What I needed to say exactly, well, that was what made me pause. I write all day long as a Communications Manager for a mega conglomerate. It’s interesting but it’s certainly not what I'd put in the fun column. And, amongst all the memos and comm plan grids, it just felt like
my writing voice was getting weaker by the day.

So, I took the plunge and got a page. And, then it sat blank…for a while. I just couldn’t come up with my niche in the bloggie world. Do I write about food, cooking, wine, marriage, my obsession with Ferbies? Just kidding on the last one. Wanted to make sure you were still with me.

Then it came to me over some beers with my husband (aka “the hubs”). Life’s pretty random; I’m certainly random. Ipso facto—the site will be collection of all the randomness that comes flying at us any given day. It’ll be a sort of stream of consciousness with stories and observations that make this life worth livin’.

I know, hard to contain your excitement, dear (one) reader, but do please try.

Just so we all get where this is going, here are some ground rules I pinky swear not to break:

1.Although we are starting a family, it won’t all be about ultrasounds and kid stuff. I’m sure all that hubbub will make an appearance (it is what is happening in my life), but it won’t dominate the site. For all the singletons out there—you’re welcome.

2. No political diatribes…unless, of course, it’s for equal rights. If you aren’t for equal rights for everyone, do me a favor and skedaddle off this site. Not trying to be rude…I just don’t think you and I have much to say to each other. Love, happiness and rainbow puppies to you.

3. Remember: I’m a department of one. Story suggestions and kind comments are always welcome.

Let’s roll.