False Alarm.

Today, I was supposed to post a brilliant piece I wrote called “How I Friend-Zone’d My Husband.”  It was going to be great.  However, today had other plans.  I thought it might be more interesting to share some of the hilarious hijinks from this day’s adventures.  And I’m making it a “tight-lipped Tuesday” because I cannot be asked to write full sentences right now.  THIS DAY, guys.  Enjoy!

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I began the day helping my great-aunt Carole, the former model, pack up her house, as it is now in escrow for the third time. She told me not to be nervous about my modeling debut tomorrow because “it sure beats getting up at 4 am to go examine shit.” And she’s right. It will be more fun than going on Coroner searches or digging excavation trenches in the pouring rain.

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This is the book she is currently reading. Cheery.

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“Just in case you have to identify me someday.”

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And THEN, Fertile Myrtle started having contractions every two minutes for an hour and I left Carole to meet FM, her mother and the Fiece at the hospital.

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I was supposed to be responsible for keeping the Fiece out of trouble and for eventually taking her home as the labor progressed, but mostly, I just encouraged her to play in the hospital room’s privacy curtain.  (She beckoned me over to her curtain-y hiding spot and asked me to squeeze in with her, telling me, “Shhhhh! You’ll fit!” with a finger to her lips to shut me up. Obviously I couldn’t say no.)  It ended up being false labor, so after two hours of waiting in the room and listening to heartbeat monitors and walking the halls, we all ended up going home.  Oh, it was such a cruel tease.  I don’t know how Myrtle is handling it.  I am too impatient for labor and delivery.  Perhaps it is for the best that I am not the one who is pregnant.

Oh, and also, a Whiny Baby Facebook page exists.  Here’s the link, so like it maybe?

Short Story.

This weekend, I wrote a short story about an adult woman who cannot keep her foot out of her mouth.  I thought I’d share it with you all so you could give me some feedback.  Please be kind – this is a first draft.

Prologue

On April 29, 2011, my mother threw a Royal Wedding party at my parents’ house, full of my mom’s friends, family and tea sandwiches.  Oh, and also these:

These are tea bags, with William and Kate with arms outstretched stapled onto them.

These are tea bags, with William and Kate with arms outstretched stapled onto them.

We ate a ton, drank a bunch of Earl Grey and watched the wedding several hours after it actually happened, as our party was in California and was not set at 4 am in the morning.  A good time was had by all.

Chapter One

On February 9, 2013, my mother and my aunt hosted a Valentine’s Tea to benefit a LA-based book donation non-profit.  My aunt’s house was full of my aunt’s friends, my mom’s friends, our family and tea sandwiches.

My mom made these tiny edible teapots.  I can barely tie my shoes.

My mom made these tiny edible teapots. I can barely tie my shoes.

We ate a ton and drank a bunch of Earl Grey (and wine).  I had really good time soaking in a bunch of compliments about how thin I was, when in truth I was just wearing a dress for once and people could see how disproportionally small my calves are in relation to the rest of my body.

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After eating several mini cupcakes, I rounded a corner into the kitchen to pour myself another (double) glass of wine when I ran into a group of my mother’s friends, all of whom I’d met several times before and all of whom had names I could not remember.  (I am excellent with faces, and terrible with names.  Does that mean that I’m never really listening?)

The leader of the group said, “And this is Sarah, D’s daughter!  Have you all met?”

Everyone with her said in unison, “Yes, at the wedding!” and looked at me expectantly.

I was immediately terrified because I couldn’t remember which of my mother’s friends had attended my wedding nearly three years before (I am terrible with names and actual events), so I put on my game face and said, “Of course!  It’s so nice to see you all again.”

Beaming from ear to ear, one of the ladies said, “And now we’ll be there for the baby!”  And then everyone laughed.

Having been married for three years, I’ve grown used to having to playfully deflect questions and comments about the state of my uterus.  I launched into my usual defense, which amounts mostly to my just throwing my mother under the bus.  My mom has been nothing if not totally respectful about my having a baby eventually, but when questioned about it by strangers, it’s easier for me to tow the line and resort to cliches about how everyone around me is desperate for grandchildren than it is for me to be honest and say that I’m not exactly sure if I’m fertile or if having a baby soon is a good idea (nor do I think I should have to be, when all I really want is some more wine and likely, many more cookies).  I was just winding up my breathless recitations of all the ways people around me have hinted at babies when one of the woman said,

“Well, actually, we were talking about the Royal Baby.”

This is a record scratching.  That, or an MRI of what my brain looked like when I put two and two together.

This is a record scratching. That, or an MRI of what my brain looked like when I put two and two together.

It was at this point that I realized I hadn’t met any of them at my wedding.  No one cared about my wedding at all.  We’d all talked last over tea and scones and finger foods at the viewing of the Royal Wedding.  Shockingly, not everything is all about me.

In my abject horror at having just had a completely unprovoked conversation at these women about my family planning, I could not stop talking.  In an effort to play off my enormous humiliation, I may have volunteered my mom to host a Royal Baby Shower.  Dear Mom, I hope you’re not busy the first week of July, because you might have plans.

Epilogue

Upon escaping the kitchen, I melted into a puddle of shame and disgrace and proceeded to eat my feelings, which tasted like lemon scone and Mexican wedding cookie.  At least they were delicious.

Baby Bust.

Today at work, I stumbled across (as in: I actually tripped over) a copy of this weekend’s Wall Street Journal.  I won’t even pretend that this is a news source I read regularly.  I opened up the newspaper solely because a cover feature caught my eye – an essay called “America’s Baby Bust,” about how the birth rate in the United States has steadily fallen below the replacement rate since the 1970s, and the political and economic implications of this phenomenon (namely: doom and gloom – prepare yourselves, Americans.  Apparently we’re in for a rough ride).

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We’re having fewer babies these days because we’re all getting creamed by a recession and high costs of living and student loan debt and women working (the horror!) and we’re all very environmentally conscious and are terrified of overpopulation.  We think that choosing to have fewer children is akin to being responsible.  However, according to author Jonathan Last, what we don’t realize is that with our record low birth rate, we’ll be expected to carry the rising costs of a huge aging population on the relatively small shoulders of a shrinking young working population.  I’m not an economist (I know – you’re shocked), but this appears to be a “chicken or egg” situation: are we having fewer children because the economy is tanking or is the economy tanking because we are having fewer children (and have been since 1800)?  Is it both?  Should we blame birth control?  Women’s lib?  Taxes?  Are we truly headed over the apparently disastrous “demographic cliff,” on the our way to becoming the next Japan?  (This essay really steamrolls Japan, which I think was a little uncalled for.)

The essay was fascinating, and adapted from a book called What To Expect When No One’s Expecting, by Jonathan V. Last, which I’ve already ordered because it is exactly the kind of alarmist non-fiction I love to read.  I’d highly recommend at least reading the article, linked above.  It’s great (and horrifying).

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.

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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Old News.

This just in: Germany is looking for an adventurous female human surrogate for some 30,000 year old Neanderthal DNA.  I hate to disappoint all of you fertile human women who were interested, but I’ve already applied for the position.  I have been dreaming of this moment for years – the time when my intellectual fascination with anthropology would meet my obsession with babies at a perfect crossroads.  A time when I could yell at everyone who balked at my earning both Anthropology Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees while dreaming of eventually having the money and time to have a child, “Guess what, guys?  I am pregnant.  And not just with any stupid human baby.  It’s a (50% human) girl (cooked up in a lab with the help of some DNA from a Homo sapiens sub species from the Ice Age)!”  I might have to work on the wording of that for the announcement.

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Baby Thaly, generated with the help of Internet goldmine morphthing.com from the photo of me below and a photo of a Neanderthal facial reconstruction. Isn’t she…something?

Speaking of old things and babies with crows feet, until this past week, I had really only considered my newest self-centered concern in the fleeting moments I’d read about it in Glamour magazine, on the page nestled right between the anti-wrinkle advertisements and the airbrushed photos of the latest celebrity cover girl.  However, I can now safely say that I am a woman with both acne and wrinkles.  There was a glorious time in my early 20s when, with the help of Accutane and hormonal birth control, I managed to have good, healthy-looking skin for about four years and now it is all downhill from here.  Wonderful.  In addition, a friend at work pointed out (and then forcibly removed from my head) my very first gray hair this week.  Oh, youth – it was fun while it lasted.

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Me, face makeup-free, and so very pimply and shiny. Thanks, Universe!

 

Name Game.

The other day, Fertile Myrtle and I were discussing via text all the potential names for her second daughter, the “fiece” (or “fake niece” – I figured it was about time there was a better code word) with whom Fertile Myrtle is currently still pregnant.  At one point, FM said something like, “Whoever is in there really likes to kick!”

To which I responded, “Maybe you should name her Kara Te.”

And then I laughed and laughed at my own stupid joke and showed it to my husband, who was not amused.  I, however, am still so impressed with myself that it is a full three days later and I felt the need to publish it into the universe.

You’re welcome.

Inconceivable.

I paid off a credit card today.  Paid.  It.  Off.  Look at me, getting things done.  I am such a badass these days.

In addition, I went to work hugely overdressed for the weather, because there have been “record low” temperatures in Los Angeles this week (it was 36* at 4 am in downtown yesterday.  Mind = blown) and I suffered the wrath of a cold, biting wind yesterday when I chose to wear only a hoodie.  Unfortunately, because I can do nothing right generally and never have the upper hand in dealings with weather.com more specifically, it was super pleasant and warm today and my giant coat/knit hat combo was a touch too dramatic.  It was too much for one child in my class, who looked at me in my oversized polyester wrap sweater when we were standing in the bright, beautiful sunshine in the play yard and asked, “Sarah, why are you wearing your snow clothes?”  Touche.

Snow clothes:

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By the by, I applied no filter to this photo. The flash was not on. My face is actually this white when in contact with the sun.

Lastly, I came home to find the copy of Inconceivable (Part Un – more on that later) I’d ordered as a baby crazed Sunday morning impulse buy waiting for me on my doorstep.  I was excited to read it when I read a review of it online.  I was more excited to read it when I saw that it has 101 reviews on Amazon and still retains four and a half stars.  And I am bursting with excitement about it now that I’ve seen the cover in person.  Here it is:


inconceivable-womans-triumph-over-despair-statistics-julia-indichova-paperback-cover-art

This picture is terrible.  Let’s zoom in a little:

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“This book will make any reader feel stronger no matter what their medical politics.” -Library Journal

I have never in my life seen a more vague, mildly threatening, totally unsettling cover quote.  What does that even mean?  It seems like a tag line you’d paste in a placeholder, after hearing it spoken by the least articulate person in the world.  Either that, or a fake endorsement for Stephen Colbert’s newest book, No New Taxes – I’m Too Rich.  Even the source, the real live Library Journal, sounds like something someone just thought up while brainstorming the most banal, quasi-literary publications they could imagine, along with Book Magazine and Publisher’s Website.

I am legitimately more intrigued by that quote now than I am by the book.  Never fear, though, I’ll still read the whole thing and report back.

And now this, because obviously:

the-princess-bride-inconceivable

I love this BECAUSE the word is spelled wrong, not in spite of it.

 

 

Public Relations.

I’ve been wrestling with a tough decision for the last few weeks: to announce the existence of this blog to my legions of fans (read: people from college dorms and ex-jobs) on Facebook or not to announce the existence of this blog.  I kept it secret when I thought I’d only be writing about conception attempts, but now that I find myself with far more to say, I want to open up the readership a smidge.  In struggling with this monumental decision, I have discovered that I am, in fact, way more comfortable with the idea of discussing the contents (or lack thereof) of my uterus with the entire world than I am with the reality of boys I had crushes on in high school having access to what, despite all my attempts at levity, amounts to a carefully crafted period journal.  (Sometimes it is hard for even me to believe I am an adult married woman.)

Also, I told my mom off-hand the other day that I kept a blog and she asked to read it.  I want to let her so she’ll tell me it’s fabulous and I should write a novel.

In the words of The Cat In The Hat, what would you do if your mother asked you?

 

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Hey ex-boyfriends! Wanna know all about it?