Freshly Pressed.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that today, I became an actual famous person.  I did it – I was Freshly Pressed!  Between this and the modeling, I just may quit my job.  (Not really.  Like, not at all really.  People at my job: NOT REALLY.)

Because I have a reputation to uphold, I was going to post something snarky and self-deprecating about the post WordPress selected to put front and center.  I was going to go on and on about how it was a post I wrote quickly when I was upset and how I don’t even think it makes a lot of cohesive sense and how if I’d known it was going to be broadcast so far and so wide, I would have written it much better.  However, that is the plight of those of us writing in obscurity – you never know when you may be plucked out of it, even just for a day.

And now that I have been highlighted, ever so briefly, I figure I shouldn’t waste the opportunity being a sarcastic monster, especially because the topic I explored in the post, while relatively new to (and perhaps poorly presented on) this blog, is one that has followed me my entire life.

Simply put: I know a thing or two about overcoming self-esteem issues and am overwhelmed by the response generated by Bikini Body.  What I thought was a flippant, poorly written post about how I just wanted to eat some sugar in peace ended up being a sounding board for women (and men) who feel shame and discomfort and judgment about their bodies and their eating habits every day.

The volume of response is both amazing and upsetting.  I am so happy that we all have a community here in which to connect and share and (hopefully) be supported.  And, in a very Pollyanna way, I hope this online community is a microcosm for the vast supportive networks that exist in the real world – maybe at schools or churches or coffee shops.  Conversely, I am incensed all over again that we live in a society that values the way someone looks or the way someone eats over the way someone acts or the way someone is.

Some people have pointed out that advocating a high-sugar diet is unhealthy, and I could not agree more.  I cannot pretend to be a great nutritional example: I’ve been a vegetarian for eighteen years and there are still nights that I fill up on carbohydrates because, quite frankly, it’s easier than making real food.  There are times when I’ve eaten so poorly that I can almost feel my bones turning into dust, like when I survived quarters of graduate school on Diet Coke and Snickers bars.  However, I’m at peace with that.  I own that sometimes I eat like crap.  And that does not have any bearing on my worth as a person.

The point I was trying to make in the Pressed Post is that people should consume food – food should not consume people.  I am a firm believer that if we could remove stigma from food, we’d all be a lot healthier, mentally and physically.

And to the young women, the teenagers, who have spoken out here today, I absolutely must tell you that you will get better with age.  And I am not referring at all to your outsides.  You will get more confident, more hilarious, more self assured, and less anxious as you pass out of your teenage and high school years and start finding your own real, true place in the world.  I could not have felt less important or interesting or desirable in high school.  Now, in my old age, I feel like a genuine badass.  I am a genuine badass.  And it has nothing to do with who has chosen me.  It has everything to do with who I have chosen.

Thank you all for liking and commenting and sharing the post and sharing with me.  I am going to respond to every single comment (tomorrow morning, when my brain is functional again).  I am so grateful for all the support and am terrified by all the new followers.  I hope you came for the fleeting philosophy and choose to stick around for the permanent idiocy.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now go eat some cookies.

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Bikini Body.

Kim Cattrall recently made news by saying she’s been on a diet since 1974.  Websites, blogs and tabloids have been heralding that quote with lots of exclamation points and smiley faces, as if being obsessed with your food intake for cosmetic reasons for 39 years is a huge accomplishment.  That does not impress me – in fact, it makes me sad.  Just think of all of the food she has wanted to eat, but decided she was too fat for.  That this fat shaming happened in her life is upsetting.  That this fat shaming is lauded as some marvelous achievement is disgusting, especially considering that the daily battle with food is fought by women everywhere.

The other day, a friend at work went to lunch and brought back a huge bowl of cookies.  I was stuffing peanut butter cookie number two into my face when she saw me and said, “I bet you love me and hate me right now.”

I’m usually pretty good at reading social cues, but I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. She repeated her sentence again, and after I stared at her dumbfounded for the second time, she spelled it out for me.  “You must hate me,” she said, “because I brought the cookies.”

This, friends, is a cultural phenomenon that confounds me.  In Los Angeles specifically, and the whole of America more generally, we are confronted again and again with the universal understanding that women need to be ashamed of wanting to eat food.

It’s so terrible to eat cookies (or ice cream or hamburger buns or, God forbid, white rice) that you can’t even admit that you like them – in fact, you have to hate the person who put them in front of you, because you just can’t help yourself, you sugary, carb-y, disgusting glutton.

To this, I say: hell no.  Cookies are effing delicious.  Baguettes are the stuff of life.  If I want mashed potatoes, I’m going to eat some goddamn mashed potatoes.  You can save the pureed cauliflower mashed potato substitute for when I run out of potatoes and cookies and bread (i.e. never).

I do, on occasion, eat green leafy vegetables and vitamin-rich fruits.  It’s not always a carbohydrate free-for-all over here.  However, I despise this bizarre cultural preoccupation with restricted eating and ritual self-shaming over food.  All food, in moderation, is delicious.

The only times in my entire life I have been unhappy with the shape of my body is when I have been contemplating putting it on display for other people, like in a bathing suit in the summer or in a fancy dress for my wedding.  There has never been a time when my husband has looked at me and mentioned that maybe I should stop eating so many dinner rolls.  In fact, he thinks I’m really super attractive, because he loves me (and is contractually obligated).  (He may also be a pathological liar, though, because he thinks I look my best when I wake up with eyeliner all over my face and hair matted to the back of my head.)

I learned long ago, when my skin was out of control and I felt like an alien in my own body, that the people who love you don’t care what you look like.  The people who are going to love you don’t care what you look like.  And the people who care what you look like don’t deserve your love.  Full stop.

This is not just a genius quote I should slap on a sunset photo and pin to Pinterest.  It is a functional life philosophy.  I’ve found that keeping your personal health and wellness as the focus of your relationships helps you weed out the assholes faster.  And this world has a lot of assholes, so we need all the help we can get.

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The Post In Which You Give Me Advice.

Dear everyone,

I’ve been toying with the idea of paying actual money to WordPress in order to customize this blog.  Last summer, when I started this experiment in self-obsession, I really liked how clean and clear and under control this “theme” looks, but now it bores me and makes me feel like I’m not fully expressing myself (despite the fact that I am, quite literally, expressing myself in words all over the place).

In addition, I also want to purchase a domain name, so I can get rid of “.wordpress.com” and feel like a grown up (who blogs about cats and bad hair days).

Has anyone else customized with WordPress?  Or purchased a domain name through WordPress?  Have the upgrades been worth it?

I have a confession: when my mom worries about checking her email on vacation because she is still convinced it is linked solely to the desktop computer in her bedroom, I laugh cruelly in her face.  However, I am too stupid to know how to do much more on the internet than sign into things and hit “Publish,” so I need help.

HELP ME.

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Cute, right?

Shank You Very Much.

Yesterday, I went to visit Fertile Myrtle and the babies.  I came bearing a gift for the Fiece, to assure her that despite the recent appearance of her baby sister, she is still my favorite (seeing as she moves around and says ridiculous things and is just generally more entertaining).

The gift I brought was this Melissa & Doug Fruit Cutting set, because a) I love that company and b) I assumed it would be educational and help her with fine motor skills and vocabulary extension (…blah blah blah).  The fruit also makes a really satisfying ripping sound when “cut” because it is held together with velcro.  All positives.

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In addition, I wanted to get her something I thought might be a challenge, because the last gift I got for her was a puzzle marked 3+ years, thinking she might grow into it.  Apparently, she mastered it in like five minutes.

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This was too easy for my two-year-old fake niece.

We spent a couple minutes learning how to use the cute little knife to slice the fruit (“You need to use the sharp side, Fiece, because the other side is too big”), and soon she was a fake fruit cutting professional.  I was extremely proud of myself when she wiled away the first twenty minutes of my visit cutting up the strawberry, lemon and orange and then sticking them back together, over and over.  She took some huge bites of wooden banana.  She told Fertile Myrtle about how the knife was “vewy sharp” and learned what a kiwi is.  The present was a success!

Then, suddenly and completely unprompted, she looked me right in my eyes, brandishing the little wooden knife, and said, “I will cut you, Auntie Sarah.”  And she did.  She cut my legs with the knife, smiling from ear to ear, and then she rubbed half a wooden lemon into the wound.

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Because I am a sick person and a bad influence, I started laughing hysterically, until I was weeping tears of mirth.  Wiping my eyes, I repeated, “I will cut you,” in the same scary monotone way she’d threatened me.

I hadn’t been talking to the Fiece, or to anyone really – I had just wanted to hear it again, because it was so insanely hilarious to me.  However, as soon as the words left my mouth, Fiece covered her face with her hands in horror (still clutching the knife) and said,

“No, Auntie Sarah!  No!  Don’t cut me again!”

Don’t cut you again, Fiece?  When did I ever cut you ever?  Didn’t you just slice me?  (Lest you all think I’m some toddler-cutting sociopath: the Fiece has some trouble with the difference between words “you” and “me.”  For example, when being chased by a tickle monster, she will dive into her mother’s arms and say, “Mommy, save you!” instead of “Mommy, save me!”  I’ve deduced that she meant to say, “No, Auntie Sarah!  Don’t cut you again!”  Unless, of course, she was trying to make me look like a toddler-cutting sociopath, in which case, well-played, Fiece.  Well-played.)

I don’t have a funny ending to this story, nor does it have a moral, because we basically just let the Fiece run around pretending to stab everyone in the house for thirty minutes while we cooed over Baby Fiece laying in my lap.

What this story does carry, however, is a warning that perhaps teaching maniacal genius two-year-olds with new baby siblings how to wield knives is not a great idea.

Baby Fiece!

First things first: yesterday, at 1:12 pm, exactly twenty minutes after Fertile Myrtle sent me an update text letting me know that she “might start pushing soon,” Baby Fiece was born, weighing 6 pounds 12 ounces.  So, all of you pregnant women and new moms following her here (or here!) can now totally hate her for the rest of time.  Five hours of labor and ten minutes of pushing, apparently.  As a childless old crone, that means very little to me, but I know enough to realize Myrtle’s giving me a very skewed perspective on what childbirth is like.  My mom’s 36-hour labor with me ended in an emergency c-section, so there’s that.

I went up to the hospital immediately after work and met Baby Fiece, who, at three hours old and less than 7 pounds, was the smallest baby I’ve ever held.  Therefore, I was really nervous and careful with her and absolutely did not hold her in one arm while using the other arm to take a photo of myself:

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Nope.  Not what happened.

She is extremely adorable, and is essentially a carbon copy of her older sister, the Fiece:

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Family resemblance always boggles my mind because while my brothers and I all look like white people with faces, we don’t have very much else in common:

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For example, they are both super tall (this photo was taken in December 2009, and since then The Baby, on the right, has gotten much, much taller), and I am a pathetic, normal 5’6″.  In this picture, I believe I’m even wearing heels.

I really wanted to thank Fertile Myrtle very much and then take the baby home with me, but unfortunately, there are enough crazy people in the world who have actually attempted such a thing that Baby Fiece had to wear an ankle monitor like she was Lindsay Lohan on house arrest:

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The closest I could get the Fiece to her new little sister was this:

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She was really interested in soothing the baby when she was crying, but 100% of the rest of the time, Fiece used a stethoscope to make diagnoses and entertained herself by climbing onto hospital beds, only to then pretend to throw herself off of them, giving all the adults in the room panic attacks.

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Nutcase.

So much love.  I am so very happy for you, Myrtle.  So very, very happy.  Rum and cokes and root beer floats ASAP.  (In high school, FM and I used to write a lot of poetry and share our work, which is how I got to be so good at slant rhymes.  Cokes//floats!)

In addition, I found out today that LOS ANGELES APPROVED MY RECORDS REQUEST AND I CAN START MY THESIS RESEARCH!  (I cannot NOT scream that in all caps.  I submitted the request paperwork at the end of January and have been waiting with baited breath for three months.  This resolution is HUGE.  IT MUST BE YELLED.  THIS BLOG IS MY MOUNTAINTOP.)

Teen Mom Ethnography: Felonies.

The last 24 hours have been crazytown.  I’m working on a post about all of it.  However, I am currently eating Sour Patch Kids like fiend and catching up on TV and wanted to tide you all over with this delicious Teen Mom nugget:

Jenelle finds an eviction notice on the front door of her rental house.  She’s being evicted for not paying rent, which is totes unfair.  I mean, it was just one month.  On the heels of her terrible discovery, Jenelle’s mother, Barbara, comes to visit, and remarks that maybe having a homeless criminal for a boyfriend is dragging Jenelle down.  After having his maturity and capacity for responsibility questioned by Barbara, Jenelle’s boyfriend Kieffer, who has spent much of this season getting into physical altercations in front of courthouses and making money selling bongs, screams:

“Being a felon ain’t illegal!”

Which is really just the best.

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Grand.

Tomorrow morning, Fertile Myrtle is going to the hospital to be induced and if FM’s six-hour labor with the Fiece is any indication of the insane speed of her child birthing, Baby Fiece is expected to make her debut sometime around noon.  I’ll be at work, being terrible at my job, just waiting for the call/text/carrier pigeon announcement that another adorable little minion has been born into the world.

I cannot wait.  I am so excited.  I am also supremely emotional about it and am going to blame this post on the fact that I am a silly hormonal woman who can’t control myself.  I mean, there will be a new person on the planet tomorrow, people.  And I’ll get to teach her inappropriate catchphrases and feed her lots of sugary treats.  This is a huge deal.

Anyway, so I’m already “there” emotionally.  And then, in cleaning up some piles in our bedroom, I stumbled upon my favorite recent photo of my grandparents, taken by an Eastern European party photographer at a popular Italian chain restaurant famous for its “family style” gluttony portions.

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If I wasn’t already convinced that my grandparents are the most joyful, hilarious, adorable people in the universe, this photo totally seals the deal.  LOOK AT THEM.  My grandpa will be 80 this year, guys, and he has salt and pepper hair.  Unfortunately for me, I don’t have his glorious olive skin and will therefore not look like I’m in my 50s two decades after I’ve aged out of them.  Thanks, Grandpa, for hogging all the good genes.

When I found this photo, tucked between a speeding ticket I got in 2010 and a gift certificate for one free pound of See’s Candy, I burst into tears.

Because I am a totally normal and perfectly stable human being.

These people live twenty minutes from me and I see them on the regular and still, looking at this picture of them, I miss them desperately.  This may have something to do with the fact that when I found this print, I had just gone through all the (costume) jewelry I inherited when my great-grandmother died, and was feeling like a sadsack.  You can’t have people forever, even if they are the best people you know and you love them the most, and that is terrifying.

This is why I never clean our room.

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The grandparents, 1956.  This wedding dress is currently wrapped around a rubber skeleton in a particle-board coffin in the “Halloween decorations”portion of my parents’ garage. We’re really big on preserving and respecting family history.

(When I led with Baby Fiece, I bet you didn’t think this is where we’d end up.  I know you won’t believe this, but it’s true: I’m not usually a maudlin weirdo – I just play one on this blog.)

Just a Tad.

My mother and I look nothing alike. If my father hadn’t witnessed my c-section birth and the hospital hadn’t slapped an ID bracelet on my wrist shortly thereafter and I hadn’t ended up with the horrific acne that can be traced up my maternal line to at least my great-great-grandparents, then I may not even believe she’s my biological mother. We are that physically different.
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This is at my wedding, which was held in May three years ago. (HOLY SMOKES, we’ve been married a long time.) My mom hadn’t had a lot of summer time in the sun just yet and I had gotten a spray tan two days earlier, and that is the only reason why we have approximately the same skin tone.

Okay, so we don’t look similar.  However, we have nearly identical personalities and are both freakishly good at befriending strangers. The other day, my mom was telling me about seeing a woman soliciting donations outside of a Whole Foods. For a normal person, this story would end with, “And then I walked right by her while pretending to have a conversation on my cell phone.” For my mother, the story included this woman’s age, hometown, sexual orientation, current employment and future plans. My mom probably stood outside the grocery store for thirty minutes talking to this person.  And that is something I would do. I once gave a homeless man my phone number. (And then fielded uncomfortably sexual voicemails from him for two years.)

Another thing that my mom and I have in common is that we tend to get into ridiculous situations that require stupid adventures. For my mom, this may mean saying yes to four different meetings on the same day in two different counties, because they were all at different times and she figured she could, theoretically, attend them all.

For me recently, this meant ordering tadpoles for the school on Tuesday, expecting them to come by Friday, and having them arrive in Los Angeles a day late, on Saturday. This wouldn’t have been a huge issue if I’d had them shipped to my house. Unfortunately, I’d had them shipped to the school, which is, of course, closed and abandoned on Saturday afternoon. The USPS tracking website said the package, full of live tadpoles, was at the local post office and slated for delivery on Monday, and I was faced with an awful choice. Drive into the city to deal with a wild tad chase on my one day off (I spent today at a work-sponsored conference) or allow the tads to die at the post office over the weekend after being tied up in a small plastic bag of pond water inside a box for five days.

Can you guess what I chose to do?

It involved:

1) driving to the post office closest to the school,

2) discovering that the tads were not in fact at the station and were in fact out for delivery with a mail carrier (the tracking website is a total liar),

3) being instructed by the United States Postal Service that the only solution was to troll the surrounding neighborhoods for mail trucks in order to physically track down the package,

4) cornering the first mailwoman I found on the street as she was actively delivering mail,

5) asking her to use her personal cell phone to find the woman working the school’s route,

6) finding out the second mail carrier’s location,

7) driving to her,

8) and having my box of tads hand-delivered to me out of the back of a mail truck on a busy major LA street by a woman who thought I was a total nutcase.

Does this crap happen to anyone else? Or am I alone in this?  (My mother notwithstanding.) I was literally The Great Tadpole Detective yesterday. I drove up and down streets waiting for mail trucks, looking for clues. I interviewed witnesses and found evidence. I caught a few lucky breaks.

I saved three lives. And it was so, so annoying.

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This sticker should say, “LIVING THINGS! Do not throw around the back of a truck or toss over closed gates.”

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Hugs.

9 1/2 Weeks.

I watched 9 1/2 Weeks for the first time the other day.  Because I was curious.  (I KNOW.)

That movie is pretty intense(ly sexy).  I’d encourage you to watch it if you:

1) Are a living human attracted to other living humans.

2) Love blue eyeshadow and don’t like bras.

3) Do like 1980s decor.

4) Are curious what New York was like way back when it looked like a seething pile of trash.

5) Want to know what Mickey Rourke’s face used to look like.

6) Are not easily upset by being confronted with the harsh realities of the passage of time.

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Get It Together.

Hey, guys!  Remember when I used to write a blog?

Apparently, all it takes to vault me from “obsessive daily poster” to “woman too exhausted to even think in full sentences” is a wedding weekend, a chest cold, and a week alone at home with our dog without my husband.  I feel like I haven’t been home and conscious since my husband left last Friday.  Urgh.  Today marked the second day this week that I came home to find the dog I left out in the yard in the morning inside the house in the afternoon, chilling on the couches she’s no longer allowed to touch while we’re home.  She can officially leap from a sitting position on the ground in the yard through the cat flap in a window to get back into the house.  Today, though, she threw me a bone (!) and didn’t pee all over the place while she was trapped inside.  Thank God for small miracles.

Why.  Me.

For the most part, I’ve been so tired/introspective/crazed that I haven’t had time to get really fired up about anything.  At least not fired up enough to force all of you to read about it.  I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching lately (like, for real) and have been making a concerted effort to be grateful for and satisfied with all the very many wonderful things I have in my life.  I am trying to remove the panicked desire to immediately have more money or more education or more impressive materials.  Constantly feeling dissatisfied with what I have is, in truth, pretty disgusting, when you consider that I get to live in Los Angeles and have a job I love and a husband I adore and awesome family nearby.  It’s even more disgusting when you consider that everyone I love is healthy and happy, and that there are families all over the world dealing with utter devastation as a way of life.  I am a remarkably lucky duck and I think it’s about time that I start thanking Mother Earth every damn day for the opportunity I have to be where I am.  I’ve spent a very long time in a sort of suspended animation – too disappointed in myself and my “failure” to meet other people’s standards to be happy and too anxious about moving forward to actually move forward.  And now, to that I say: enough already.

When I pick up my husband from the airport tomorrow, I’ll be radiating so much positive energy, he won’t even recognize me.

“Happiness is an inside job.”

—The license plate frame on a stranger’s car

(Also, you creeps, I really am getting some guest posts together.  From actual people.  Please don’t ask me if they are people I know in person that I have strong-armed into doing this, because the answer will embarrass me.  If you’re interested, please let me know.  I would really enjoy not having to think of something to write about.)