Real Deal.

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When I started this blog last summer, I had several selfish motivations: 1) I wanted to keep a record of my experience after hormonal birth control; 2) I wanted to find a community of people who were experiencing similar things; and 3) I hoped I could start writing for fun again after abandoning this particular pastime for years and years while in various college degree programs.  And, obviously, I wanted validation in the form of comments and likes, because status updates just weren’t cutting it for me anymore.

However, I was also inspired to start writing openly about all the gross things that happen to me physically and emotionally.  At a time when literally billions of people post the daily happenings of their lives on social networking sites and we have all the data in the world available to us via Google in our back pockets, it stands to reason that this totally voyeuristic, borderline intrusive, 24-hour personal news cycle yields unavoidably honest information.  In my experience, however, I think internet profiles and cell phone photo filters allow people an unprecedentedly enormous platform upon which to polish and improve their personal lives to the point of perfection.  You used to have to wait ten years until your high school reunion to feel terrible about your accomplishments – now, all you have to do is log on to Facebook.

As a voyeur and a hypochondriac, with an insatiable curiosity about the normality of my experiences, all of these carefully manicured public profiles upset me.  I feel like social networking is the (constantly streaming) digital version of a chipper, noncommittal, totally fake “Good!” in response the question, “How are you???”  Guess what, everyone.  I know you are not that good.

Also, at the most basic level, I am a gross person, and I’m tired of seeing other people only pretend to honest.  Obviously, this does not just happen on social media.  It happens everywhere.  Exhibit A:

People Magazine published this in one of their "Stars Without Makeup" features, as if this picture really cuts through all the celebrity gloss and shows us that Claire Danes is just another girl, waking up in pink lip stain and being photographed in perfect lighting.  Message: this is what "stripped down" should look like.  You, with the matted hair and undereye bags and uneven skin tone, are a hideous beast.

People Magazine published this in one of their “Stars Without Makeup” features, as if this picture really cuts through all the celebrity gloss and shows us that Claire Danes is just another girl, waking up in pink lip stain and being photographed in perfect lighting. Message: this is what “stripped down” should look like. You, with the matted hair and undereye bags and uneven skin tone, are a hideous beast. Who is obviously not super fastidious about plucking, Unibrow.  (Although, I do appreciate her use of the word “hormones.”)

My commitment to being as shameless as possible here makes me uncomfortable with sharing this blog with very many people I know, which in turn makes me feel like a hypocrite.  Slowly, I’m starting to lift the veil.  More people who know me in real life can now peruse the months I wrote exclusively about peeing on sticks and picking at my skin and washing my hair with bar soap.  And ultimately, I like to think I’ll share it with everyone.  Surprisingly, I’m motivated to do this not only because I want more followers.  I’m at a point in my life where I could not care less what unflattering things people think or say about me (I still care about the positive stuff, though, so keep that coming, okay?).  As a girl who lived a full decade of my life in all-consuming fear of what those around me thought of how I looked, I figure there’s no better way to really prove that I’ve turned a corner than to publish to the universe close-up photos of my breakouts.

Spam.

I love spam.  I don’t mean the canned meat sludge that my fellow Americans living in 2013 still inexplicably consume.  The spam I love is of the blog comment variety.  I love it so much that I purposely un-spammed four comments on my first Whiny Baby post.  (Full disclosure: I mostly did it because I wanted to have four comments.  It was a low point.)  Today, I got nine spam comments and they are all totally incomprehensible, with the same fantastically weird syntax that makes them appear to be written in English by humans; however, upon review, they were most definitely created in the bowels of a hard drive somewhere by some artificially intelligent human thought approximator robot.  I find it legitimately amazing that every company selling knock-off Gucci bags thinks blasting my blog with comments like, “Your wording is much the best in all the internet searches.  Did you write the ebook for this appealing circumstance?” is totally going to win me over and make me click on their super sneaky website “fakeguccibagforyou.com” for “more talks about your good intelligence.”  Thank you very much for the compliments, but I like my Forever 21 painted-plastic shoulder bag just fine.

This is who I image sends me spam.  A girl can dream.

This is who I image sends me spam. A girl can dream.

My favorites today:

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That last one there was in actual English, but ran afoul by hailing from “topcoldcalling.weebly.com” and alluding to Myspace (which I assume only still exists so that I can occasionally steal photos I like from my own public profile, considering I forgot the password five years ago).

For all its faults, spam makes me feel popular, so feel free to view over my web page when time is allowing for some nice new images, you good, good robots.

Ka-kaw.

There are many reasons why I love my husband, but at the moment, the reason I love him the most is that he puts up with me.  And sometimes, I’m a lot.  Case in point:

I’ve recently started yelling, “Ka-kaw!” at people when I throw things in their general area, which, believe it or not, is actually an action I do quite a lot.  I throw things at people at work, at my parents’ house, at my house.  So, there have been many opportunities of late for me to scream, “Ka-kaw!” at unsuspecting strangers/family members/coworkers the same way one might call out, “Incoming!” or “Catch!” – except my new catchphrase came from thin air and makes no sense to anyone but me.  I, however, find it hilarious and am secure enough in my personal insanity that I don’t care that I’m the only one laughing at the obnoxious thing I just did.  (I came to terms a long time ago with my bizarre sense of humor, when I tried in vain to explain to people why I find funny gloves so hysterical.  The Grinch’s fingers get me every time.)

How are you not in hysterics right now?

How are you not in hysterics right now?

Just now, I decided (a little late) to do my good deed for the day, hoping to offset whatever negativity might have sent that truck my way this morning.  I ventured out into the frosty living room and grabbed a blanket my husband really wanted.  And, because none of (the recipients of) my good deeds go unpunished, I threw the blanket at him as he lay in bed and yelled, “Ka-kaw!” at him like a nutcase.

He said, very politely, “Thank you,” despite the fact that I’d just woken him up by lobbing a folded blanket brick at his face.

To which I responded, “Oh, don’t thank me.  Thank the eagle spirit who just gave that to you.”

And he did.  He said, “Thank you, eagle spirit.”

And I will love him for the rest of my life.

Wreck.

Have you ever heard that ubiquitous, hugely alarmist saying, “Most car accidents happen close to home?”  I have always thought it was an unnecessarily creepy old wives’ tale.  Until this morning, when I experienced it first-hand, falling victim to yet another terrible cliche (cliche #1: being a rudderless, crazy 20-something, albeit without the funds and well-connected friends of Girls creator Lena Dunham): I was in a car accident exactly one mile from my house this morning.  I know this because I Google-Mapped it when I got home.

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See?

I had made it precisely 5,280 feet into my morning commute when a guy in a low truck with a huge steel grate bumper merged into my lane without noticing I was in it first.  I have only been in one major accident before and that accident was my fault (I rear-ended someone in traffic on an L.A. freeway – cliche #3).  I felt really guilty and stupid about that accident, but the pain was lessened because the only car that suffered damage was my own.

I always thought that not being at fault in a crash would be the better end of the deal.  However, I learned today that that might only be true if the person who hits you is also the only person whose car is wrecked.  As it was, I was minding my own business and someone else destroyed the front bumper of my car while incurring no damage to his own vehicle.  That’s annoying and upsetting and lots of other mild descriptors, but it’s also scary.

Physically, I am totally fine.  The front of my car is a bit of a mess (as there were two points of impact: the bed of the guy’s truck on my left front bumper and the curb the force of the collision pushed the right side of my car into), but my body is okay, because the accident happened on a side street at relatively slow speeds.  Unfortunately, emotionally, I’m being a drama queen.  Driving in a city like Los Angeles means that I’ve had a lot of close calls – people pulling out in front of me illegally at intersections, people cutting me off at a million miles an hour without realizing that person in front of me is only going 65, people turning on red lights, etc.  They’ve only just been close calls.  Now that one of these interactions didn’t just end with a horn blast and an aggravating story to tell my husband, I don’t want to go anywhere.

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Los Angeles, you are crazy and I want no part of it.

I’ll leave you with a text exchange I had with Fertile Myrtle this afternoon:

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Can you guess who is who?

Revenge of the Head Cold.

I’m currently experiencing The Revenge of the Head Cold – after “recovering” last Tuesday and feeling like normal person for a few days, my symptoms returned on Friday night and I spent all of yesterday rolling around on our couches, wearing only pajama pants and a polyester fleece blanket cape, watching episodes from the first season of Game of Thrones when I wasn’t sweating in my sleep.  It was glorious.  Again, my husband is a saint.

I’m feeling much better today, but have decided to stay inside and deny myself any fun times (I cancelled plans with the fiece.  I must really mean business), lest the Head Cold get envious again and strike me down a third time.  I was forced to use a Neti Pot for the first time yesterday to deal with my nasal congestion and that was one of the (if not the) most disgusting things I’ve ever experienced and/or witnessed in my entire life.  I will not be doing it again.

Between last weekend and this one, when I was granted a brief reprieve from congestion and low-grade fevers, I took some photos:

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I admitted that my new shoes were not as amazing as Fiece’s new shoes.

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I fed Baby Gollum an organic apple, which was precccccioooussssss.

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I was commanded by Lord Fiece to sit with her for twenty minutes as she played on the potty, and I got her back by taking this photo of her on the toilet, which her mother has promised to show to all her future boyfriends.

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We Vogued. She is the best.

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Blue is the new black.

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I was given a giant pink envelope by a boy who isn’t in my regular class. Inside was a carefully drawn picture of a rainbow.  Love.

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We went outside on a wet day, which resulted in tons of damp shoes, a problem we solved by taking off the offending shoes and socks and throwing them in a dryer. I did not stage this photo. The kids are adorable and should all work as photo shoot stylists when they grow up.

I have some ridiculously fabulous children in my life.  Head Cold, you’re just jealous.

Valentine’s Wreath!

The other night, I ventured out to my local Michael’s craft store and bought some supplies for my first Valentine’s Day decor project.  After doing some recon at the store, I realized I could only scrounge up enough cute material for one of my ideas – the yarn-wrapped wreath (I drew inspiration from wreaths like this).  My lack of options was initially disappointing, but eventually I concluded it was for the best, as it means I can go craft store hopping over the weekend.  That’s very exciting.

When I cooked up my Valentine’s Day dreams, I decided in advance that I wanted the pieces to be subtle (read: not strictly red, white, pink and purple and covered in hearts), so I chose colors that, in retrospect, make this thing look like it could hang up in our house all year long (which, if I’m honest, is actually pretty spectacular, because it means I don’t have to make too many more of these.  This is great news because while I am crafty, I am also lazy).

It ended up being 8:30 pm by the time I was able to squeeze this in and for the sake of expediency, I used my cell phone’s camera, so I’m sorry both the lighting and the quality of most of these photos are so terrible.  They definitely aren’t up to Pinterest standards (but I am totally pinning this anyway.  I am a shameless self-promoter).

Let’s begin:

 1: Gather together a skein of yarn, a styrofoam wreath ring, a few sheets of felt (I ended up using three), a glue gun, fabric scissors and some (optional) assorted do-dads, like those pink fabric flowers I was forced to buy in desperation when I couldn’t find an appropriate pink felt.

Plug in your glue gun.  This is important.  For eventual gluing.

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 2: I began by making a large felt flower that I envisioned sitting between the two pink ones I bought.  After looking up some felt flower tutorials online and reading them through Valentine’s-rose-colored glasses, I chose to make a flower with heart-shaped petals.  If you are feeling brave or particularly artistic, you can cut the felt into hearts freehand.  However, if you are feeling like me, you can use a pen to draw subtle heart shapes on a piece of paper for five minutes before landing on one that looks (literally) halfway decent, only to then have to fold it in half to cut its other side into the same shape as the side you liked.  Then, use your paper heart as a guide to cut out several heart-petals.  I cut out nine and ended up only using eight.  You may use your discretion.

The ends of the petals can be blunt, as the next step is to cut up the middle of the petals about 1/4 inch, so that they look like little molars with stubby roots.  (Does anyone else see that?  Or am I just super gross?)

While you’re still busy cutting felt, cut out a square of indeterminate size.  I know.  That’s really helpful.  I didn’t measure mine – I just ended up trimming almost all of it away when I finished the flower.  The purpose of this square is to act as a base for the gluing of your petals, so a good measure is to place a ring of five petals (or however many you plan on using for the outermost, largest ring) onto your spare felt and then cut out a square large enough to accommodate them all.

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 3: Next, take up one of your little petals and cross the right side of the bottom cut over the left side.  Use your glue gun to glue the right side on top of the left side, so that your felt petal curls up like a flower petal, like so:

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 4: Now, you can start gluing the petals to the felt square base.  I started at a far corner of the base and glued down only the pointed tips of the petals, making sure to place the tips close enough at the base to create a slight overlap in the petals as they fanned out.  I used five petals for the first ring and then placed three more petals in a second ring inside the first:

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 5: I ended up with a ton of extra felt at the base, which I then very unceremoniously hacked away at with my scissors until it couldn’t be seen peeking out from under the flower.  I rolled a small piece of extra felt into a stamen (sexy!) and glued it into the center of the flower to fill in the empty space.  I’ve seen other, more thoughtful people use gorgeous buttons to combat this empty-hole problem.  I, however, did not have the forethought to buy one and I am not a woman of patience.  Thus, I improvised with a tiny cinnamon-roll of white felt.  I’m a fan.

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6: Next, I tore open the yarn packaging, used the glue gun to secure the free end of the yarn to the styrofoam wreath and then spent the next 75 minutes wrapping the yarn around the styrofoam form.  At first, I wrapped pretty meticulously, making sure that each successive length of yarn lined up precisely with the wrap before, but by the end, I was a wrapping maniac, really only making sure the wraps never overlapped, before I would then push all the wraps down the wreath to line up together in a beautiful, thick yarn coating.  (I’ve just typed “yarn” so many times, I don’t know if what I’m saying makes sense.  Please provide feedback.)

When all the green styrofoam was covered, I cut off the yarn, glued down the free end (on the same side of the wreath as I’d glued the first end, for consistency) and then placed and glued my large felt flower and the two pink fabric ones.

7: Almost immediately after “completing” the project, I decided it was too boring, so I cut out (freehand!) two wavy cloud shapes:

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 8: Then, I pinched them together at the ends and glued them, thus leaving me with two vaguely leaf-shaped pieces of felt:

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9: I slapped those underneath the pink flowers and voila!

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Super cute, no?!?  It took forever, but was worth it.  Unfortunately, because I can never be satisfied, I still thought it needed more pizzazz.  10: I found a font I liked on Microsoft Word, blew up the first initial of our last name to font size 500 and literally traced it from the laptop screen onto a piece of paper, which I then cut out and pinned to some leftover felt before cutting that out and gluing it to the wreath:

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10. Done!

I think it’s more balanced now and I adore it.  This may be a crafting win and no one is more shocked by that than I am.

 

Edna.

I’m about to be a bit of a downer, so I’ll apologize in advance.  I had a post planned for today and I’ll get to that later, but right now, I must get this out.

Just now, I innocently checked Facebook and was immediately punched in the guts by this video, posted by my brother:

This is a video of my great-grandmother Edna, recorded by my mom’s cousins in 2000.  Edna was my mother’s grandma, and absolutely one of the most hilarious, kind and fascinating people I have ever known.  She died at age 96 on December 1, 2009 – meaning, I had my incredible great-grandmother in my life until I was 23.  Spending two decades with Edna was an amazing blessing (and I do not throw that word around) and she is, to this day, someone I miss desperately.

And this afternoon, just hearing her voice and listening to her crack jokes and watching her live stirred up in me an actual, visceral grief.  It’s been twenty minutes and I’m still in tears.

Edna is the reason I have such an outrageously fabulous family.  She was the matriarch of our loud, hysterical, impossibly close band of misfits, and she taught us everything we know.  I am so grateful to her and so lucky to have known her.

And I miss her so much it actually hurts.

Sick Days.

My husband is an absolute saint for putting up with me over this weekend.  This cold has been a slow burn – I started feeling gross on Friday, felt even more exhausted on Saturday and just completely melted into a puddle of mucus and drippy eyed tears on Sunday.  I am a miserable sick person and I am forever grateful that he puts up with me in my times of need, all while knowing that he a) will probably contract whatever illness I’m oozing and sneezing all over the house, b) can do no right while attempting to help me, as I am committed to being in a horrible mood, and c) has to sleep next to, hold, and pretend to be attracted to someone who has a leaky eye, a runny nose and a face full of angry red pimples.  He really is wonderful.  I so wish I wasn’t currently infecting him with this.

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THE CLAW, forcing Abe to cuddle with me.

I usually have a fairly decent immune system – I get sick maybe once or twice a year.  (Maybe that isn’t decent?  I don’t know.)  However, I’ve started working with enough new groups of children now that I’m all too aware that near-constant illness is part of teaching, at least for the first year you are working in a new place.  You get slammed with all the lingering viruses that everyone else is immune to already and then the fancy new infections take advantage of your weakened state and go after you as well.  It’s a nightmare.  I had the flu on December 14.  It is January 21 and I’m in the throes of a head cold.  And if I remember correctly, I’ve had one or two other bugs since I started teaching again in July (too lazy to go through the very real and very easily accessible archive of this blog to get some actual facts).  Ugh.  What a lovely three-day weekend this has been thus far.

On Saturday night, when I was still refusing to believe I was sick (and therefore went out amongst the well and probably spread disease in my wake), we went to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which, once we got settled into our seats, became a screening of The 6:30 pm Showing of a 3 Hour Movie: An Unexpected Place To Bring a Toddler.  Look, I love kids.  (Obviously.)  I love them when they are babies.  I love them when they are toddlers.  I love them when they grow old enough to tell me jokes like, “Why did the hero flush the toilet?  Because it was his duty!”  I love them with a box, I love them with a fox, I love them here and there, I love them pretty much everywhere except in a dark room for three hours when they have access to loud foods and scary movie imagery.  Apparently, my love has a limit.  That being said, the movie was pretty great – if you’re into films inspiring such thought-provoking questions as, “Is that beautiful vista real or CGI?  Can I go to there?” and “How the hell is Martin Freeman sprinting in those giant hobbit feet?”

I’ve spent the vast majority of the last few days laying around, staring at the walls of our house, and I’ve concluded that they are too sad and boring now sans holiday decorations.  I’ve decided I am, for the first time in my life, going to decorate for Valentine’s Day.  As soon as possible.  With decor I’ve made myself.  And I’m probably going to post about what huge terrible failures all the projects are.  I hope you’re all excited!

Sunshine.

 

Despite the fact that my husband and I have been thinking about possible babies for about a year and I have been constantly surrounded by my friends’ adorable children and their equally adorable accoutrements for closer to two years, I have, for the most part, held off on hoarding baby things.  I blame this on my superstitious Jewish maternal heritage. For instance, it is against Jewish tradition to name a baby after someone who is still alive, as doing so is akin to setting a death wish upon the living person you’ve just honored with a namesake.  There are effectively no “juniors” in my family (although, curiously, my grandfather has a cousin with his exact same name – maybe the curse only works vertically down generations, and not across them?).  So anyway, I blame Judaism for my lack of baby hope chest.  To hoard baby things is to hope, and to hope is to invite all of Murphy’s Law to rain down on me.

Cut to: I was perusing my local Ross, armed with store credit from Christmas/Hanukkah gift returns, when I stumbled upon something I just absolutely needed for a future child’s room.  I needed it.  It was $20 and it was in my cart just as quickly as it took my nervous system to process that need and jump into action.  It is a fairly sizable plywood wall hanging with the lyrics to “You Are My Sunshine” shellacked onto it and it is going to be the first thing put up in whatever nursery we have whenever we have one because it reminds me of all the times my mom sang that song to me when I was hurt or scared or sleepy as a child.

It was our song and I love it.  I must, because it inspired me to throw caution to the wind and begin my baby hoard.

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Morphed.

After rediscovering online morphing software yesterday in order to cross my face with that of a hominid, I spent an embarrassingly long time uploading, preparing and morphing photos of myself and my husband until I got a pixelated imaginary baby of appropriate cuteness.  Because that’s all that babies are good for.  Being cute.

The first one:

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No.

This was followed by one (or several) other attempts that had upsetting kidney-bean-shaped heads and distressingly furrowed brows.

I finally settled on the following, which has led me to believe that our children will look like world weary old men until approximately age three, when they blossom into beautiful little cherubs wearing Elizabethan collars:

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I was happy to see that she finally outgrew her underbite and nostril rash.

And then, just for kicks, I morphed myself with Jude Law, you know, as you do.  And ended up with…a photo of Jude Law.

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I’m obviously getting a lot of important business done this weekend.  Is it worth explaining that I am sick again?  (Answer: probably not, because it’s not likely that I can pin this madness on the raging hallucinations of a mild head cold.)