Wait a Second.

Myrtle, did I do an okay job obscuring her identity?  I drew and re-drew that mustache, like, a lot of times.  Then I gave up.

Myrtle, did I do an okay job obscuring her identity? I drew and re-drew that mustache, like, a lot of times. Then I gave up.

Saturday was the Fiece’s second birthday party, which was, as expected, the cutest.  The Fiece was in top form, guilting me into giving her fistfuls of M&Ms, promptly counting all of them and naming their colors, and then running around the house with her most favorite gift, a doctor’s bag full of tools, saying in a satisfied voice, “I have a diagnosis!”  (For real.  That happened.)

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Things the Fiece has trouble saying:

1) Chips.  She says, “SHips.”

2) Chocolate.  “SHocolate.”

3) Sarah.  “Sawah.”

4) Green.  “Geen.”

Things the Fiece has no trouble saying:

1) “I have a diagnosis!”

Just so we’re clear.

Anyway.  Fertile Myrtle used some Pinterest ideas to spice up the party.  She entertained the toddlers with a fun project

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and put cupcakes in glasses filled with chocolate, which is pretty much the way to my heart:

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I was impressed with her use of Pinterest “pins” in real life, as when I was really into Pinterest, I spent all my time pinning shit and very little (read: zero) time actually doing any of the things.  (If you are interested in checking out some more things I haven’t done with my life, you may follow me here.)  She inspired me to log back in after weeks and weeks and start poking around in the internet bulletin board again.  I was about two minutes into culling through pins when I stumbled across this.  THIS, the most amazing “craft” I have ever seen in my entire life.  (I know I’m prone to exaggeration, but I mean it this time.  It is the best.)  The fact that someone had this idea and implemented it and posted it online, and then someone else liked it enough to share it with everyone she knows, is just too much.  I immediately left Pinterest and came here to tell all of you about it.

Thank you, Pinterest, for showing me that there are people more terrible at home improvement projects than I am.  Even I know that a stencil and spray paint do not a stone walkway make.

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If you haven’t already, you should check out Pintester.  I am jealous every day of my life that I did not create that blog first.

Easter Funday.

When you’re a mutt, like I am, and have ancestral ties all over the world, you sometimes have Easter brunch with your Jewish grandparents.

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And if you have grandparents like I do, after brunch, while having a conversation with your grandfather about how photos of deep space make you feel insignificant, you’ll overhear your grandmother talking about sex scenes on HBO and how she “doesn’t mind when the people are attractive, but when they’re ugly – no way.”

This will make you want to write about your day on your blog, for those tens of people who read it.  Now, since you’re at your parents’ house, you’ll decide you want some pictures to illustrate the inspiration for the blog’s title.  So, you’ll demand access to old photo albums, where you’ll find this,

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My aunt is dressed up like a gypsy to tell fortunes at my carnival-themed third birthday party, where my mother’s cousins were jugglers and my mom did the face painting, and I don’t appreciate it AT ALL.  

which is excellent proof that you were once a very whiny baby;

and this (in your baby book),

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Which proves you were kind of an asshole most of the time.

Happy Easter!

Top Ten Things I Learned As A Forensic Anthropology Grad Student.

Being the trendspotter that I am, I’ve noticed that two things are fairly popular these days: Top Ten lists and forensics. Luckily for all of you, I can both count to ten and relay some interesting forensic facts. Behold!

The Top Ten Things I Learned As A Forensic Anthropology Grad Student:

10) The only forensic anthropologist dressing like Emily Deschanel on Bones is Emily Deschanel on Bones.

9) Commotio Cordis is a fatal disruption of the heart beat that occurs when the chest is hit by a high-velocity flying object like a baseball. Have fun enjoying baseball!

8) If you are in the habit of taking off your pants when you get home and hanging out in your underwear, you will probably die in your bathroom. No one dies at home fully clothed.

7) The worst place in the universe for there to be a problem with the air conditioning is the basement of a Coroner Department. Trust.

6) Acromegaly. Age of onset: ANYTIME.

5) If you die at home alone, your cats will start to eat you pretty much as soon as they realize you’re not asleep. Your dogs wait a few days. Out of respect, probably.

4) Blood splatter analysis began when an interested party bludgeoned rabbits with axes on white sheets. Dexter is not the first murderer at that rodeo.

3) If you have breast implants, you will never be unidentified.

2) You cannot contract AIDS from skeletal material, even if it scratches you. Crisis averted.

1) If you want to cheat death, don’t ever: drive your car; swim in pools; walk on the street; go to bars; attend hockey games; go splunking; be outside; eat food; drink water; play baseball.

The Comic Book Collection.

I am not a collector of things.  In fact, I really don’t understand collections, as being responsible for the maintenance of stuff overwhelms me.  I am like a nomad – I have approximately zero things.  I prefer to have experiences.  I’d choose a half hour in the acrylic paints aisle of a crafts store with a complete stranger with a story to tell over a mint-condition record any day.  However, I’m married to a Collector.  Capital C.  My husband collects: first-edition hardcover books, all in library bindings; DVDs of old movies and TV shows; music; art; camping equipment; Fiesta table settings; and comic books.  And because I can be a bit of a buzzkill about it (we are two people who have outgrown a two-bedroom house), he likes to share his love of collecting with other people.

Yesterday, my little brother, The Baby, drove down to visit us and we took him to a local comic book store, where The Baby and The Husband spent over an hour scouring cardboard boxes for comics to complete specific series.

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Planning the attack.  (And yes, that is a fleece blanket covering a street-facing window!  It’s so good of you to notice.)

I, on the other hand, spent the hour 1) being drawn to George Harrison records before realizing that we don’t have a record player, and 2) feeling like I had stepped back in time and was digging through our brother The Middle Child’s bedroom in 1996.

The following is a photo retrospective of all the comic book store items The Middle Child owned when we were growing up:

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I was always very troubled by Spawn. As a child who grew up to study dead people, I think this says more about Spawn and less about my tolerance for nastiness.

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Luke Skywalker, Maggie Simpson, Lost Boy, Skeletor!

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Contains a pen-and-ink drawing of a carrot that looked like a boot!

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Dilophosaurus from Jurassic Park, complete with collar.

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Is it weird that this decomposing Cursed Princess reminds me of the time when Brendan Fraser was super good looking?

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Oh my God, the hours I spent listening to the difference between the green lightsaber packaging and the red.

On a related note, The Baby and I will be opening our own comic book store.  We’re calling it “Garage.”  Because it will be run entirely out of our parents’ garage.

Quarterlife Crisis.

I think it’s safe to say that thus far, I’ve spent my twenties in total abject panic about my life.  As an overachieving teenager, I made “graduating from UCLA” my number one goal, and so myopic was my focus that I didn’t ever contemplate what would come after college.  Ever.  Like, not even once.  What kind of job did I want?  One that required a blazer!  What company did I want to work for?  One that appreciated that I graduated with two BAs from UCLA, obviously!  Where did I see myself in ten years?  Married with kids and a job, I guess?

I achieved my life goal at 21, and as I strode confidently across the graduation stage on Kerckhoff Patio, I was blissfully unaware that the world was not going to figure out my path for me – I was going to have to do that myself.  And, as scary and upsetting and, at times, humiliating as it has been, I am now nearly five years out of college and, on good days, fairly impressed with where this exploration has taken me.  I have been an editorial assistant, sorting through, reading, and ultimately rejecting, manuscripts at a literary agency; I have worked as an osteologist and archaeologist on a cemetery excavation in downtown Los Angeles, becoming part of LA history (for better or worse) and making my father proud; I have taught countless adorable children to love learning and they have taught me to love teaching; I have met and married the love of my life; I’ve interned at places I used to dream about someday only visiting; and all I have between me and my (first) Master’s degree is a thesis of my own (genius) design and a month-long trip to Ireland this summer.

That’s not so terrible, in terms of life experience (it helps to list it out like that).  On the good days, when I’m proud of myself, I feel like this:

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Which is to say: cool, calm, and full of sass.

However, on bad days, like today, when I’ve had entirely too much time to think about what a huge failure I am (thanks, spring chest cold – you bastard), all I see is a resume that’s all over the place and my status as young, flighty ingenue slipping into the wind.  It’s cute not to know what you want to commit yourself to when you’re 21 – having the same reservations at 26 makes you look like a tool.

On days like today, even though I may just be going to work or napping on the couch or Instagramming photos of cats or otherwise acting like a normal human, what I really feel like is this:

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Which is to say: not good.

Spring Broken.

I just received the following text from Fertile Myrtle:

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No, no, dear readers, I did not die.  I’ve just been sickly and introspective, and, in a bizarre turn of events, I was no longer convinced that I’m so super hilarious that the internet needs to hear from me every day.  However, it’s obvious post-frantic-text that my public needs me, so here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

On Monday morning, I woke up with a sore throat and a low-grade fever, and have continued to feel achy and swollen and miserable until right now, when I am finally feeling less disgusting.  So instead of going to hang out with the Fiece or going to lunch with a friend or heading to Newport Beach today, I have been taking long baths, reading a bunch of shitty magazines, wearing my favorite velour robe, and eating a ton of total crap while laying around on the couch.  Essentially, my Spring Break is shaping up to be just like this.  Except with more partying.  (And probably less James Franco.)

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I shared some leftover potato kugel with some animals, as you do.

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I burned off my wart!

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Peeps are disgusting. I ate them all.

In other news, nothing is going on here and no one cares.

Mawwaige.

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear an argument concerning the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage that passed in my beloved California in 2008 (with enormous help from organized churches, which still hold their tax-exempt statuses, despite using their influence to become major political donors).

There are innumerable arguments to be made in the struggle for equal rights: the separation of church and state; the constitutionality of legalizing homophobia; my very simple, and very sincere, confusion about why anyone would give two shits about allowing two consenting adults to get married.

However, of all the things that could rile me up, what really gets me is this insistence that what opponents of marriage equality really take issue with is the term “gay marriage,” because “marriage” belongs to the religious and to give “marriage” to the gays would be to violate the church’s right to separation from state interference.

Okay.  Let’s ignore for the moment the outrageousness of framing a human rights issue as a semantic argument and  explore this a little, shall we?

To make a statement such as, “marriage equality would destroy the institution of marriage because marriage is inherently religious,” is to make several assumptions:

1) There are no homosexual religious people, because

2) All gays are raging sinners (which is a blatantly homophobic and fear-mongering thing to assume, whether you admit it or not).

3) Currently, only practicing members of religions can get legally married in this country and

4) Atheists and agnostics must apply for “civil union” licenses at court houses and have “civil union” commitment ceremonies instead of weddings.

All of these assumptions are, of course, complete bullshit.

I am agnostic woman who got legally married to an agnostic man at a wedding ceremony officiated by a Jewish gay man who is one of the best people I know.  The only thing “traditional” about my wedding was that I married the love of my life.  And marrying for love was hardly tradition at the inception of the institution, when women were literally “given away” by their fathers to their husbands.

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One of my favorite images from my sham wedding.

And yet, simply because I am a woman who fell in love with a man, I was able to secure for myself and my husband: life-long memories of a fabulous wedding; tax benefits; legal recourse in case of accident or death; and the gift of knowing that my government and my neighbors see me as a competent, loving, and equal member of the society in which I live.

Marriage does not belong to anyone.  No one group can lay claim to its one true form.  Marriage, like most cultural constructs, has never been traditional – even as it is practiced, it is changed.  Marriage (and the wedding) as we know it didn’t even become “traditional” until the early 1900s, when women first started giving their husbands rings and wearing white at weddings – not to symbolize purity, mind you, but to emulate Queen Victoria, who chose a white wedding gown to make a fashion statement.

We don’t combat the progress of cell phone technology because it impedes the tradition of rotary phones.  We don’t fight the development of modern medicine because it calls into question the efficacy of plague masks.  The answer to why we stand in the way of social progress lies more in our own fears of change and less in how things ever actually were.

I hope the Supreme Court can cull through all the nonsense and make a sound and logical judgment on Proposition 8 tomorrow.  It’s been embarrassing Californians with common sense for four years too long.

North Dakota’s New DUMASS.

Hey, female humans of the world! Wanna know something cool? On Friday, North Dakota’s House of Representatives agreed with its Senate and decided that for all legal purposes concerning their own bodies, women aren’t really human beings anymore. At best, once we hit sexual maturity, we’re incubators for other, more important human beings who deserve more legal rights than we do, despite the fact that we’ve been conscious living creatures with lives and thoughts and feelings for way longer than they’ve been balls of cells or embryos.

According to Keith Mason, who is the president of a group anti-abortion Mensa members (JK!) called Personhood USA, this is a huge boon for all non-female people, because

The North Dakota legislature has taken historic strides to protect every human being in the state, paving the way for human rights nationwide.

“Every human being” in North Dakota, except for the 50% of the population with vaginas. Yeah. Everyone except for them.

At first glance, this is an outrageous attack on women’s rights in general, and on victim’s rights more specifically, as this proposed constitutional amendment banning abortion allows no exception in cases of rape or incest. Wow, that sounds pretty appalling!

Luckily for you, women of North Dakota, it also means that you are one step closer to no longer being legally recognized as people or as functional, responsible members of a progressive society.

And I can think of one incredibly impactful way you can take advantage of your new non-human status:

You can stop having sex with your Senators and Representatives! What kind of disgusting monster would want to have sex with you anyway? You’re barely human and cannot be trusted to make your own medical choices in life-threatening situations – what kind of depraved weirdo would still want to sleep with you? (Here’s looking at you, Margaret Sitte. What’s your deal?)

This could also help save the state of North Dakota the millions of dollars it’ll cost to put this proposed amendment on the ballot in 2014. If no one in the state is having sex, no one in the state will have to choose between surviving their pregnancy or going to prison!

Win win, I say! I hereby announce the establishment of the Dakotan Uteri Movement Against Sex Society, or DUMASS.

Let’s show those caucus how we really feel.