Sunday, February 26, 2012

Almost-wordless weekend

On Friday night I made strawberry bread. It was just okay...nothing to write home about.

WTF, February? Not that I'm complaining.

Nico rarely plays with his train set at home, but he played with the Thomas setup at Barnes & Noble for about 45 minutes.
Perhaps they're more fun because they cost twenty bucks a pop?

The kid woke up Sunday morning with a completely unexplained black eye.

It was forecast to get up to 60 degrees outside and we had a pair of free zoo passes, so we went. For $2 Nico was given a huge bundle of green leaf lettuce to feed to the giraffes. He was pretty nervous, but it was still fun.

looking at a squirrel monkey

squirrel monkey looking back

toddler in a jaguar trap

apparently this is how he smiles for photos now

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rut, rabble-rousing

Part one

I always wish I could come back with some really awesome story of what I've been up to when I don't get around to posting for almost a week. Alas, I've just been watching episodes of Sons of Anarchy one after another and feeling varying levels of unexplained blogging ennui.

I'm in a book and music rut, too. I know it's bad because the other day when I started the car and the Led Zeppelin CD I've had playing for the last three weeks kicked in, Nico piped up from the back seat and said "Singing this song again!" If my two-year-old has noticed that we've heard "Custard Pie" 64 times already, it's probably time for something new. And last night I realized that for the first time in I don't know how long, I don't really have a current book I'm reading, or at least not one that has seized my interest. I've got The Omnivore's Dilemma by the bed, but I tend to forget about it when I'm feeling bored and reader-y in the evenings. The last two non-tattoo books I read this year hooked me so good that I stayed up until ungodly hours finishing them so it feels a bit strange to not have something that I'm looking forward to picking up each night. All of this is to say that if you have a new (or old beloved) CD or band or book to recommend, please hit me up in the comments. Do you feel drunk with power? You should!

Part two

I try to stay out of politics in the hopes they'll stay away from me, but it's hard sometimes. A few weeks ago I posted on facebook and Twitter in support of Planned Parenthood and was pleasantly surprised by how many people shared or commented in similar support. With Lent upon us, the local Catholic diocese is once again staging a "40 Days for Life" march in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic. I do support peaceful free speech and I try to be open-minded about other people's beliefs that are different from mine, but I have to admit this really has always bothered me. It really aggravates my deeply ingrained live and let live tendencies. I'm not going to start a "40 Days for Women's Rights" or a "40 Days for Affordable Reproductive Care" march in front of the church, you know? I hate the idea that any woman would be intimidated out of seeking health care (or contraception) by the marchers, because even though they seem to be peaceful and non-threatening, I would've never had the courage to walk by them even a few years ago. I also feel awful for the staff who are already in a high-stress job and seeing their specific choice of career being vilified all over the news. If someone was protesting outside my workplace because they wanted the world to believe that what I do (and love) for a living is rotten and awful, that would make me feel pretty shitty.

At the tail end of the last 40 Days session, I pushed down my conflict-avoidant pansy-ness and stopped by the clinic with a gift card for a dozen donuts. I told the woman at the front desk that I wanted the staff to know that there are people in the community who appreciate and support them and the services they provide. I'm not telling you this because I want a pat on the back. I'm saying it because if everyone who posted a supportive facebook status or tweet would take a minute to send a thank-you note or stop by with some muffins or make a donation to Planned Parenthood, imagine how much that would mean in this difficult time. I won't say I challenge you to do it (Bossiness-averse! Avoid conflict!) but I definitely suggest it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012


An old friend invited me to join an online writing group and I accepted. The hope is that if I have a place where people can see whether I'm writing or not, I'll actually write more fiction. Another major hope is that people will leave comments and / or critiques on the posts, though I won't hold my breath on that one. After some pondering, I decided I was really only comfortable doing this as a protected blog. I know my fiction's not all that, but it is mine and I'm not really keen on the idea of throwing it out on the internet in general. That said, if you've been around here for a while or I talk to you on Twitter, I'm probably okay with you reading it. If you're interested or just curious, drop me a line and I'll set you up with reading permissions.

And now, because I'm feeling a little sheepish about the whole thing, let's divert attention onto someone else…here's Nico naming all the dinosaurs in Stomp, Dinosaur, Stomp! at bedtime tonight:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A perfect line

I finally started watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix after Jennie tweeted about it and good Lord, you guys. New obsession ahoy! I have the most embarrassing crush on Jax Teller. The dimples! The sly little wink! The small moment of freaking out when he shoots a guy! What's not to love about a biker who can destroy a dude's radiator and almost cries when the girl he loves tells him she's leaving town? And there was the Armani campaign, though I supposed that's unrelated. Anyway, the show is really well-cast, well-acted, and well-written and I'm happy to nerd-chat about it anytime if anyone else watches it. Does this mean I have to watch Friday Night Lights next, since people on Twitter also rave about that one?

Nico has a new thing to watch, too. MB found a folksy little song on YouTube all about front loaders. I suppose that doesn't sound very nice, but it's actually not bad. I figure there are probably lots of kids' shows out there more annoying, and it's SO cute how much Nico likes it. We've been working on teaching him to say "May I have" when he wants something and the downside is that now I find him nearly impossible to resist. "May I HAVE front yoader vee-yo?" Here is mama's iPhone, kid, knock yourself out! "May I HAVE another a-mal cracker?" Yes! Crackers galore! "May I HAVE a inge, preh-peese?" Yes, baby, have ALL THE ORANGES THAT HAVE EVER BEEN GROWN!" Be careful with the politeness, is all I'm saying. It can be dangerous.

"If the 'pretty please' doesn't work, I can throw in painfully sweet pajamas and unruly curls. I will wear you down, one way or another."

So very late

So very late

I was wandering around in my archives tonight and it seems that I never posted any of Nico's Halloween photos from last year. How is that possible? Maybe I did and I just missed them? But just in case, here's one. It's both my favorite from Halloween 2011 and one of my favorite Nico photos of all time.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Are you serious?

A while back Temerity Jane posted about how much rude people suck, especially people who are rude because they know the rest of us are too politeness-conditioned to do anything about it. I've been reminded of this post a lot lately thanks to the rude-ass people who seem to be all around me. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. But there's a major intersection that I almost always go through when I'm running errands that's under construction. When you're heading toward it, it's pretty obvious by the huge single-file line of cars driven by people with a little common courtesy that the road is narrowing to one lane. Every time, a half-dozen assholes zip past everyone who is patiently waiting and expect to be let in at the front of the line. Even worse, I have seen multiple drivers actually pull out of line, drive around everyone else, and cut in front. And here's what kills me…every time, people let them in! Why? Why do we do this? Can we not pledge as a rule-following society that from now on we're going to squish our cars really tightly together and make the line-jumpers wait their goddamn turns? I know I should rise above it and not let it bother me and rely on karma to get them later, but I always find myself getting more and more pissed off until I'm practically hopping up and down in my car, shouting "Don't let them in! Why are you letting them in? STOP LETTING THEM IN!"

Similar but possibly even more blatantly rude: I was at the fabric store tonight buying supplies for baby gifts. There was a wait, so I was standing there with my armful of flannel, checking Twitter on my phone. A guy came up behind me and said, "Excuse me," and I moved over to let him pass, figuring he just wanted to get to the exit, which can only be accessed through the checkout area. But NO. This brash motherfucker actually walked right up to the next checker like he didn't just completely cut in front of me and put a handful of stuff on the counter. I didn't realize this was an option! Why have I been waiting in lines my whole life? I kept trying to come up with something suitably snarky to say, but never came up with anything. I finally decided that he may have got to go first, but when tomorrow comes I'll have my fabric and he'll still be an asswipe.

Reading:  The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Playing:  a Led Zeppelin mix

Friday, February 10, 2012

Photo Friday

He brought me the 1 and the x from his magnet board, held them up, and said "It's xteen!"

View the entire Photo Friday collection on Flickr.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Tattoos I would've regretted

Shauna opined that I should share the tattoos I once thought I wanted, and upon reflection I realized this would probably be good for a laugh. And so, I present The Things I'm Really Glad I Never Indelibly Inked on My Body.

a lizard

When I was a sophomore in high school and my family got our first computer (SHUT UP. I KNOW. AM OLD.) the Windows package came with a disc of greeting card software. This was pre-internet, so the CD had all kinds of clip art included. One of my favorites was this purple lizard with an orange stripe. I adopted it as my logo of sorts and put it on the back of all the greeting cards I made, along with the name I made up for the totally awesome graphic design company I was going to have someday, Psycho-delic Productions. And so, there is a chance I might've ended up with something like this permanently affixed to my ass cheek. Have mercy.

a butterfly

There's nothing wrong with a butterfly tattoo, if you just like butterflies. Or if a butterfly holds a deep personal significance for you, awesome. I, however, wanted a butterfly tattoo because (I swear to God) I thought it would be alternative and (HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA) unique.

the number 13

I was born on Friday the 13th and 13 has always been my favorite number. When I went through my long not-regretted alterna-gothlite-skatepunk phase in high school and early college, I would've loved a badass 13 tattoo. Like every other alterna-gothlite-skatepunk who has ever worn spiked jewelry or JNCO pants.

the Chinese character for "earth"

During my junior (or first senior?) year in college, I went along for moral support with a friend who wanted to get her nipples pierced. Caught up in the daring moment, I spent some time eyeballing the endless charts of Chinese characters and sort of wishing the guy would pressure me to get a tattoo. I'm fairly certain that as a geology major I would've picked earth. Looking at it now, I wonder if I would've decided it was too plain and gone with water instead. Because I'm a Pisces! (a Pisces who doesn't give two shits for astrology) The tattoo / piercing guy never pressured me, though I did end up getting my navel pierced. MB hated it and I always felt a little bad for doing it, and while an earth symbol wouldn't be awful, I do think Chinese characters tattooed on clueless white people by other white people in white middle American small towns are usually just about the most clich├ęd tattoos of all time.

a badger track

The badger in my secret online identity comes from MB's high school nickname, The Badger. When we met, the summer before my sophomore year in college, he'd often draw a small stylized badger track as a signature of sorts (kind of like this but better). One of my favorite memories from that heady summer is the night we spent painting our mutual friend Joe's car. MB painted something I don't recall and then signed with his badger track. Somewhere I have a pre-digital photo of that track, and once we started dating seriously I always loved the idea of getting it as a tattoo, something secret and special and less obvious than his initials. By that point I had mostly outgrown my Bad Idea Jeans, and so I always imagined I'd get a very small badger track and have it put on my hipbone or the top of my foot.

It never got to the serious consideration phase, however, because MB has one tattoo which he does not like and regrets getting. He was never very big on the idea of me getting a tattoo inspired by him (Or probably any tattoo at all, though I imagine if it was really important to me he'd compromise. Maybe.) so I let the idea drop. He doesn't draw that track anymore, so I suppose it's a good thing I never got it inked. We do still often refer to ourselves as the Badgers or the Badger Clan, though. Of all my tattoo fantasies, I think this is the only one I wouldn't regret if I had actually gone through with it. I still kind of love the idea of a little badger track on the top of my foot. Maybe I should get one and convince MB to get a velociraptor track on his? (JUST KIDDING, HONEY. MAYBE. PROBABLY.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Three and three

three movies

MB put a random movie called Tucker & Dale vs Evil on our Netflix queue and we watched it last week.

Then we watched it again because it was ridiculously funny and so much better than we'd hoped. The trailer makes it look like it's probably mostly stupid with some funny bits, maybe something in the vein of all those dumb Scary Movie spoof spinoffs, but I promise…it's actually quite good. Also, Alan Tudyk is a seriously underrated comedic actor.

MB took me on a date to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie last Saturday and while it had moments of utter ridiculousness, it was fabulously entertaining. I don't have any deep loyalty to the books and enjoy seeing Holmes and Watson turned badass. I've never been a huge Jude Law fan, but he's made Watson my favorite character in those films. And then, on Sunday, my friend Danger took me to see Beauty and the Beast. The 3D is just for showoffs, but the movie has always been a favorite. I probably hadn't watched it ten years and it was great to see it on the big screen. As princesses go, Belle is pretty awesome.

three books

Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed by Carl Zimmer (blog) and The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide by Eva Talmadge & Justin Taylor (blog) are both themed collections of tattoos, and the titles pretty much say it all. Both made me wish I had something I found awesome enough to inspire a tattoo. I used to think I'd get a tattoo someday, but BOY OH BOY am I glad I never got one. None of the stuff I used to think was super cool tattoo material would've been anything I'd really want to live with for the rest of my life. I dodged a few bullets, for sure. I loved both of these books, for the great tattoos and most of all for the stories behind them. I expected to like the science tattoos and I did, but it was the literary ink that really made me wistful for my own super awesome never-regretted tattoo. Perhaps in a parallel life. After all, I already named my blog after my favorite poem, so that ship has sailed. (And better no tattoo ever than a full-sleeve Twilight tattoo, which I swear to God someone in the book actually has…I just can't help but think, really? That's going to be your favorite book forever?)

The third book which I read and really enjoyed was Growgirl by Heather Donahue. This article is what got me interested and I couldn't put it down. Educational and entertaining. So there you go…six recommendations for good stuff!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The Jung and the Restless

Lately I've been wishing I could tell you about work, but since that's just dumb I thought instead I'd tell you about a dream I had about work last night. A couple of weeks ago, Shauna over at Pickles & Dimes wrote a post about stress dreams. I'm not sure this one counts as a stress dream, but without revealing too much I can guarantee this one was inspired by work responsibilities. You'll just have to trust me on that one, I guess. Is it stupid to blog about dreams? Is that one of those things that you're not supposed to do? Fuck it, I can't remember, so here you go:

In my dream, I was at work (even though it wasn't the same setting as my actual work) and someone had put me in charge of taking care of a bald eagle. I took it outside to exercise or something (I don't even know) and it got away from me. I guess it was sick or injured, because it was running around on the ground, not flying. As soon as I let it down to do its thing, two other eagles showed up to run around with the first one. So naturally at that point I'm doubly freaking out because first, the eagle I'm in charge of is getting away and second, they all look the same and I'm not 100% sure anymore which eagle I'm supposed to be catching.

I chased the eagles around the edge of the building and as I did, I noticed a dead deer lying up against the wall…as if it had been left there to feed something. Then I saw another one, alive but with an injured leg, and the (metaphorical) warning bells started going off. Sure enough, the next thing I saw was a goddamn mountain lion, which had previously been trying to take down the deer but now was looking at me like I might be tasty. In real life I probably would've just froze on the spot or wet my pants or something, but in my dreams I'm apparently fast, sensible, and blessed with convenient architecture. I turned to the building, which I suddenly realized was the church I attended as a kid, and climbed the exterior stairs, which were kind of like a fancy fire escape and definitely something my subconscious added only for ass-saving purposes. My thought was that it would take the mountain lion a moment to figure out how to follow me, hopefully enough of a moment that I could get inside. I was right, I did make it inside, and I saw my cousin MacGyver standing in line for Communion. I sidled up and hissed, "There is a freaking MOUNTAIN LION out there!"

If you know my cousin MacGyver in real life this next part will make total sense to you. Instead of staying inside and out of the mountain lion's reach, MacGyver decided he needed to advance the dream plot by going outside to investigate. As soon as he stepped out of the doors onto the top of the staircase, the mountain lion came up the steps. Clear as anything, I saw a woman about my age walking on the sidewalk below us with a toddler in a stroller. She spotted the mountain lion and froze, MacGyver was clearly planning to take one for the team, and I was telling him, "Dude, get inside! The doors open outward, it won't be able to pull them open. GET INSIDE!" The mountain lion, with true cinematic flair, grabbed MacGyver and slowly pulled him down but didn't run off.

And then, in another totally cinematic and ridiculous dream moment, I looked down and saw Nico's doll lying on the landing. I picked it up and chucked it past the mountain lion, who leapt to chase the bait. As the lion leapt away, the mother came racing up the stairs with her kid. I hauled MacGyver to his feet and inside, got the lady and her kid inside, and then pulled the door shut just as the mountain lion arrived. I don't know what happened next, because by this point I think I was conscious of the fact that I was dreaming and that it was not restful. So I woke up and -- having no one awake in my house to tell of this absurd experience -- posted to facebook: "OMFG. Just woke myself up dreaming that my cousin and I were being chased by a goddamn mountain lion. NO MORE COOKIE DOUGH BEFORE BED."

My favorite part of the whole thing might be the first comment my facebook post received, from another of my cousins who said: "Whoa whoa whoa…which cousin?!" Don't worry, it wasn't you!