Monthly Archives: September 2010

Teen Mom Episode 10: Gary’s Not Gon Cry

Catelynn & Tyler:

Poor C&T.  I wish there could be a surprise ending and they could get their baby back. Somehow. Sorry, Brendan and Teresa. C&T > B&T.

Catelynn and Tyler, stop doing stuff and saying words. Nobody cares what your grades are while Amber is beating Gary, who’s calling CPS.

Tyler was going to join the Air Force but then they demanded puberty as a pre-requisite. And Catelynn’s big ambition at the age of 18 is to be an ultrasound tech? No disrespect to ultrasound techs, but shouldn’t that be a 4th round diminished expectation choice, sort of hitting you while you see a commercial for it during a Judge Judy rerun, unemployed and 25 years old? Not an out of the gate lifetime ambition?

She has to go to high school an extra half year to graduate? That’s like a recurring nightmare I have: I have to go back to high school at 29, and then I’m all like, where’s my homeroom? Does this mean my college and graduate school doesn’t count? I hate that dream.

Seriously, though, go C&T, first generation high school graduation style (almost).

Maci:

“What even is an Ethiopian?”

Well, Maci. Let me get my flashcards out from under Amber’s unmade bed. It appears that an Ethiopian is a mythical being who is purported to love Kahhl’s two old pizza slices, upon which they may be bodily and psychically sustained for days. Too bad there’s no Blackberry app for that yet.

Also, Maci? They make a cookbook for you. It’s called “How to Boil Water.” Unfortunately I suspect the title is in jest. I’ve heard “Ethiopians” can do it, though. Maybe we can introduce you to some, whatever the hell they are. Now we know why she’s so skinny. She’s never cooked a carbohydrate.

Let’s never forget that Maci is the “smart one.” Just like Vinnie on Jersey Shore. Or the smallest fat person in a fat family is the “skinny one.”

I definitely get the feeling that Bentley is very gender-identified by his parents and grandparents. I don’t think this is the kid who is given dolls to encourage his feminine side. I hope he grows up and prefers bicycles to SUVs and four-wheelers for the environmental benefit and Maci and Ryan are all, wha? What’s an Ethiopian/environment anyways?

Also, Maci?

When you buy glasses, get the anti-reflective glare coating and decent lenses so your eyes don’t look like huge cartoon eyes. I bet you don’t know that because you wear glasses as a fashion statement and not for vision correcting! You look silly.

Farrah:

“I’m meeting with my lawyer to see if there’s any way the entire legal system of the universe can be rearranged so I can avoid awkward phone calls and get what I want without trying.”

“This is John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmitt calling. My name is also Jacoby and Meyers. Have you been injured in a personal Debra accident? Thought so.”

Farrah reads my blog! I told her to get a job as a waitress to make more money! She’s been using my flashcards! Soon Sophia will be allowed on the carpet to play!

I didn’t tell her to wear boy shorts underwear to work, though. That was all her (and possibly John Jacob Jingleheimer, Esq., that perv). Wait, what’s with the new car? When/how did that happen?

I don’t blame Debra for not liking Sophia’s father’s family. The spelling of Kassy’s name does make 75% of my limbs necrotize and die.

I think it’s just funny that these girls try to study while watching their toddlers. How did Farrah afford to furnish her apartment? Is she a Buddhist? Does that explain her zen attitude monotone speaking voice?

Producers of Teen Mom, please give us more backstory on Farrah and her baby daddy and his family. The tension between Farrah and Kassy is so strong yet still somewhat mysterious. What the hell went down?

Looks like Kassy was a Teen Mom, too. Farrah and the people around her really need to start talking about their grief a bit more. The only thing they can say is “I’m sad” and then the lack of emotion is so weird to me.

Amber:

Landyn and Krystal used to be named Landon and Crystal. But then their showbiz careers took off. Why can’t Gary stay with his mom? What crapola families.

I love this image of the forlorn, abandoned children.

Krav Maga stole my mommy! But if the Palestinians in Ohio get out of line, I’m all set!

Amber’s upset Gary made her look like a “bad mom” for not having sheets on Leah’s crib. Then Amber made Amber look like a “bad mom” or at least a “lazy mom” when she attempted to parent a toddler from a seated position for the 16th time that day. See how easy it is, Amber?

So when Leah has already napped and is getting into stuff, Amber puts her into the crib to cry? Not at nap time? And attempts to placate her with juice? And goes to lay down and ignore her? Now I’m just sad for Leah. Poor Leah. Oh my god. I’m glad Gary is around to save her. Get help, Amber. Get off your stupid phone and up off the bed. I almost feel like Gary is the better parent at this point.

Gary FTCustodyW!

I had a “Go, Gary!” moment when he said that “forever” to Amber as he left with Leah. Let’s see how long it lasts. Again, Teen Mom has forced me to side with fathers over mothers much more than I would in real life. Really, neither Amber and Gary are capable of parenting Leah alone ; they actually need to be together, to balance the other’s shortcomings, and so between the both of them Leah gets a halfway decent upbringing.

Interesting how Gary said “Oh, it’s naptime” sarcastically, as if leaving Leah to cry in her crib alone is a typical Amber parenting strategy. Gross!

“Now that Gary took Leah, I invited my friends over to snort weight loss pills and do Krav Maga commiserate over my situation.”

I still want to meet (through the show, not in real life, dear God) Amber’s parents. I think that would explain a lot. Notice that when she makes her crazy talk, she assumes the tone of a parent verbally abusing a child: Gary was mouthing off to her, Gary needs to shut up and listen, etc.

And then, of course, the punch heard round the…something:

Not the flat screen, Amber! Too bad Gary doesn’t have any evidence of this, to use in court, like if only a television show was filming, oh wait.

Can you believe an anonymous emailer tipped off the local police to investigate?

Poor baby Leah! I love her! Can I adopt her? I’ll send Amber pics every 6 months.

Okay, now the end montage is rolling and I’m crying for little Leah. She’s just a sweet little girl playing in her grandma’s kitchen and I want better for her.

I can’t wait to see the next episode. Also, the After Show is hilarious because Amber can’t even give us 3 contrite minutes without berating Gary.

Until then, kids, lay off the Krav Maga.

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Teen Mom Episode 9: I Have a Crush on Every Boy

I am truly sad that this season is coming to a close. I am way too enmeshed in these 4 story lines to give a crap about the next round of fertile 16-year-olds. As a side note, I’d like to see a Teen Mom who did use protection but got pregnant anyway. As in: broken condom (oh, it does happen, folks) or weird antibiotic thwarts birth control tale (look at how strongly our bodies want to biologically procreate. It’s amazing, really). I’d also like to see  an abortion story, just because that’s statistically speaking a very likely outcome of a teen pregnancy. Morgan Freeman, are you out there? You’re excluding a full third of the narrative. But that’ll never happen.

In the meantime, Teen Mom Squad marches on.

Cheerleader:

So, when you are a busy Teen Mom, juggling a full-time job, school, and a baby, the best money-saving idea is making your own clothes from scratch? Did the producers put her up to that? Is her common sense really that bad? I know we’ve seen it again and again but it’s mind-numbing. She’s like the absent-minded professor type but without any smarts either.

So she just now thought of collecting SSI for Sophia? And I’m very worried about Farrah’s affect and whining as a default way of speaking. I mean, how is that going to go over in a workplace setting? It’s so, um, whiny and sounds like learned helplessness. Hmm, wonder how that happened? Speaking of the she-beast-whose-name-we-must-not-utter-lest-her-frosted-layered-mane-appear-in-our-mirror-and-haunt-us, where is she this week?

Oh no. Not this guy again.

I don’t trust anyone named John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmitt.

Farrah’s letter wasn’t bad! Okay, I feel bad for Farrah, having to go through all this, but she kind of brought this on herself, when she let her mom convince her to cut all ties with the family and not enter a name on the birth certificate. Sophia’s relatives on her father’s side haven’t been able to meet her, and Farrah’s ex-boyfriend wasn’t even told about  the existence of his offspring. I can’t believe Teen Mom is making me come out with all these weird father’s rights’ stances but there it is.

Farrah cooking. I love how the ineptitude was peppered with weird received phrases like “suffocate the fire” and strange word choices like the french fries need to melt and especially “I’m going to make a little sauce!” aka pour Ragu into a Teflon pot. I always hated cooking on those crappy cheap-o electrical ranges you find in the paper-thin walled apartment complex kitchens. Depressing! We also learn that Farrah’s landlord doesn’t install working fire alarms.

Farrah’s own brand of logic is fascinating. It’s the combination of a low IQ and a lifetime of bratty entitlement, resulting in her thinking the state courts should litigate whatever happens to suit Farrah’s fancy at any time. Bizarre. “I mean, I don’t think it’s right that I’m on my own and nobody really helps me” wasn’t meant as a complaint to the universe; I think Farrah actually thinks legally her skin should be clear every morning and she should get to go shopping at the mall for free.

So-and-so:

None of Maci’s friends have normal names. All of their names sound like whiskey bootlegger code names, as in:

“Keelie” and “Boo” were apprehended by Federal Prohibition Agents yesterday in “Yeller Moped Holler.” Their real names are as yet still unknown.*

*The New York Times archive.**

**No, not really.

Maci, don’t ignore your internal voice. It’s drawling to you and you best mind it. Something is weird about this get up and move story. I bet her parents gave her some cash to set her up. Security deposit, baby-sitting, food, utilities, school…it doesn’t seem likely Maci can afford all of this on her part-time waitressing.

What’s-her-braces-face:

Okay, so it’s sad to say but when Catelynn was done cleaning the house, I couldn’t really tell if that was a before or after shot. Kind of like the ending of every Hoarders episode. It’s clean but it’s not nice. Or fixed up in any way. So it’s such an anticlimactic reveal.

“Mom, how was your meth binge Vegas trip? I cleaned our Detroit hovel. Kid Rock and Eminem came over. But it wasn’t a house party. We watched Michael Moore’s ‘Roger & Me’. I’m not like other kids.”

Again with Catelynn’s inability to correctly phrase mentions of the adoption: “We’re happy where she was, withBrendanandTeresaandstuff.” Wow. Counseling! And I don’t mean from the newborn wholesaler lady.

PC (Poor Catelynn)! Tyler seems abler to expect nothing from his dad and thus be happier, and Catelynn keeps expecting something better and always gets disappointed again. I am the same way. I feel for her on that.

Butch is so sweet when he only has one phone call.

I also love when he gets all technical speak. He knows the rehab-jail-parole lingo so well. I wonder if he was prohibited from calling April perhaps because she is his drug buddy.

Oh, Catelynn. There you go again. Thinking every public and social services employee in the state of Michigan is your licensed therapist. PC! This guy doesn’t care. He’s made nervous by the mere presence of you and your mom. He thinks he has bedbugs already.

That pink tie is dry-clean only!

The Ugly (on the Inside) One:

I guess Gary is too lazy to enunciate his words these days. Laziness has been taken to a whole new level with these two. He needs subtitles 75% of the time now. Gary’s mom obviously wants the house to herself with her boy toy husband boyfriend situation. Remember that dude? Ha!

I LOVE LEAH. My daughter hasn’t yet reached the put on high heel shoes and stomp around life stage. I can’t wait.

Gary needs a 3 bedroom house? Is the extra bedroom for his belly?

“Hey, guy that’s not supposed to be here. Bring me my meds. And a bon-bon. And my Atkins lunch. And some ice-cream. And a Highball. But don’t call me baby.” Amber needs to be an R&B dance song diva with that amount of attitude. I’d remix it.

Martial arts. Amber does need a positive outlet for her anger and fighting ways. Let’s hope she doesn’t hit the juice. Now that’s a rage-aholism the world is not ready for.

Gary’s friend was having a serious one-man intervention. Do we all believe Gary is a battered husband? What did Gary even do that he’s groveling like that? I think he’s a glutton for punishment. He pushes Amber’s buttons (well, that doesn’t seem so hard, now does it?) because he enjoys it. He’s also a regular old glutton.

Anyone else notice that when Amber gets in her preachy, self-justified no matter the circumstances, attitude voice, she seriously changes regional background and possibly even ethnicity? She’s nuts.

I love the ending of the show, when we see those final moments. So full of melancholy, longing, mixed emotions, and…

angry chewing.

Is there going to be a Season 3? Google doesn’t know but I think yes. Yes, please. I’m not done tutoring Farrah and Amber. (And from the next episode’s previews, Catelynn).

In case you didn’t know the above image is from homestarrunner.com. That’s where Teen Girl Squad lives.

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Thrift Store Thursdays: Happy First Day of Fall Sweater Edition with Thrifting Tips

Today is the first day of autumn! Fall is my favorite season, and one thing I don’t need in my closet is another sweater. So that’s exactly what I bought at the thrift store yesterday! Sweet.

A lot of new stuff came into my local Salvation Army: winter coats and sweaters, and actually some decent furniture. Usually the furniture selection there is really, really bad. Anna was getting pretty restless so I couldn’t do a full store investigation so I stuck to the perimeters, and checked out the big ticket/easier to browse items: shoes, bags, coats, the “brand name” rack, dresses, kids section, and the front cases where they keep what they think is valuable. It almost never is though.

That’s actually my first tip:

  1. If you are overwhelmed by digging through all the crap and the endless aisles of mishmash, start with the perimeter. Always check shoes, because they are easier to see and you can find lots of cool vintage heels from all the little old ladies who had cool designer shoes and then had their entire estate donated to the SA. It helps if you have tiny feet. I’m a 6.5 but if I were a 5 I could have scored a half dozen Italian-made funky-pretty 60′s and 70′s heels in just one trip.
  2. Always check the purses. At Salvation Army they are generally crap. I almost never find a nice bag. I think the people who sort through the donations have a checklist of brand names to pull out. This applies to all the clothes – they pull out things they know are valuable and send it off somewhere. BUT sometimes they don’t know about more obscure design names. That’s how you can find some brand names.
  3. Check the cases near the registers. They put items there that are brand new with tags or otherwise valued.
  4. If you find something good, look at everything near it. They often place similar items that came from the same donor in one spot.
  5. If you have time, check every item in a given section. Push the hangers to one side so you have room, and start furiously sliding them along to see each one. Go by your gut first. Don’t check every tag. If you like something, THEN check the tag. Then check the condition. Sniff it. Hold it up to the light. Check for stains. A lot of things are stained. Especially if the item seems really good (why hasn’t anyone bought this awesome cashmere sweater?) then double check. Which bring us to…
  6. Never buy anything with stains. It won’t come out.
  7. Never buy anything you have to hem, sew, alter unless it’s a once in a lifetime find and/or you like to tailor crap in your spare time. It’s usually not worth it.
  8. Don’t go by sizes. Try it on.
  9. If you see a friendly gal near the dressing room (you will inevitably have to come out to see a mirror) ask her what she thinks.

Most of the tips particularly apply to the Salvation Army. In my part of the world, Goodwills are not as good thrifting because they price everything way too high and are more adept at sorting the junk from the non-junk. SA has 99% junk, so if you find something good, it won’t be marked up. It’s harder to find but a better deal if you do. Goodwill will have better stuff but you will pay at least twice as much. Your area may well differ. Check out a different thrift store each time, and you’ll learn your favorites.

These tips apply to thrifting for clothing and accessories. I will do a housewares/furniture/other stuff edition soon!

Now on to what I bought yesterday…

This is not really my style but I thought it was such an awesome find I had to at least add it to my Etsy shop. I’m so mad because this sweater had an identical twin, and the twin sweater had a tag but was in a worse condition than the one I bought. I made a mental note of the brand name, and promptly forgot it.

I’m so mad! I want to say it was Anne Klein, or something similar…it’s definitely a middle market regular old brand that’s still around but I can’t remember! I tried googling my life away but I couldn’t find it.

This looked kind of lackluster on the hanger but I’m a sucker for all brown, grey, charcoal, white and cream colored sweaters. So I tried it on and I liked it. It’s maybe kind of faded but who cares?

This cost $1.50!

This sweater is basically the last thing I ever needed. I have a gazillion white sweaters. I can’t help it. I love white sweaters. This had a nifty cowl neck thing and I thought it was pretty cute. It’ll be good over dresses and jeans.

$2.50. I swear I’m wearing shorts under this.

See?

Two cute things for Anna had to be had just because of cuteness, and good deal-y-ness.

The sweater was $1.50 and the white coat was $2.00 It was spotless and it’s good to have a 24 month coat waiting in the wings for that day I need it.

It was half-price day.

Weird side note: I just had to reset my camera’s date and time and holy shit, my camera’s year option goes up to 2037. Wow. Will my camera last that long? It’s so weird to see that number as a year. I’ll be 57. Maybe I can use my Canon PowerShot built in 2008 as the medium to shoot my 1 year old’s future wedding.

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Toddler Without a Cause

Do you know those times where you find yourself wondering whether you are truly insane or actually the only sane one amongst mass delusion? Like a Kafka high school 1984 moment? Well, I experience this every Wednesday morning from 10 am to 11 am, at my town’s local Mommy and Me program.

Now this class sounds great in theory: ages 6 months to 2 years, one hour Mommy and Me class, babies play for 20 minutes to start, then circle time with singing and hand games, then craft, then snacktime and a story. We’ve done plenty of classes from the library storytimes to the corporate funfest that is Gymboree. Anna loves them, I enjoy the structure of having somewhere we go every week and see the same parents and children. We’re old pros, in fact.

But something in that last paragraph really should have stopped you in your tracks. It was the word “craft” used in relation to the phrase “ages 6 months to 2 years.” What the frig, Snookies and Situations?

We are supposed to sit on little chairs at little tables with squirming, crying, tantruming, mouthing 1 year olds, and then glue little pieces of cut out paper to form cutesy shapes, then glitter crap and add eyes and write our names and draw embellishments. Then take it home and put it on the fridge because of course everyone wants to display something Mom made, that she didn’t even come up with on her own because the whole thing was already created for us. With predetermined pieces of paper to form a predetermined scene. Of a pumpkin with googly eyes.

My daughter had nothing to do with this. In fact, she raged mightily against the making of this construction paper art. She tried to throw the crayons against the wall, she tried to eat the glue, she tried to dive bomb off of my lap head first if need be to escape the enforced lap sitting. So I’m going to take this home and frame it? She didn’t even draw squiggles on it. What the friggggggggggggggggggggg?

So the “Unabomber I should live alone in a cabin because the world is fucked” feeling really descends on me when I see the other mothers seem to enjoy this! Their kids sit like stupid lumps on their lap. They’re not doing the craft either but at least they sit there. Lately I haven’t even been attempting this craft time. I dutifully wrangle Anna during circle time because this child does have a mind of her own. She has enough mind for a small African nation. She has mind. But the poorly planned mind control craft I just cannot abide. I make a few half-hearted stabs at gluing before Anna goes ape and tries to throw everything off the table before I just go in a corner and feed her some Goldfish she’s desperate for and wait for snacktime to roll around.

The lady who runs the class gets upset when we let the kids wander from the activity at hand. So needless to say there is a ton of crying and throwing of small bodies on the floor at any given time. Except for about half the kids, whose temperaments are such that they don’t mind just sitting there.

One mom I talked to totally didn’t get what the hell my problem was. She was all “Oh, it’s so good to get them ready for preschool. They have to learn how to do what they’re supposed to.”

Do they really? They are 6 months to 18 months old. Her son was 15 months, mine is 12 months. Do they really need to sit quietly and do some crap that makes no sense? My daughter was engaged with the singing and dancing and playing and exploring, which makes sense. I don’t really feel the need to force her to sit and watch me glue crap because we are supposed to. Am I raising some kind of nonconformist toddler? Will she never learn how to act once preschool, kindergarten rolls around?

I think she has time. And so far my parenting style seems okay to me. My daughter is lovely, affectionate, advanced for her age. She just doesn’t sit quietly.

Maybe I don’t want her to sit quietly. She isn’t joining the Industrial Revolution any time soon.  She doesn’t need to learn how to sublimate all independent thought so she can be more easily wrangled into punching a time card just yet. She’s 1. There is so much more time for soul killing.

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Teen Mom, Episode 8: Dancing with the Garys of the World

First things first. Let me get this straight:

This kid:

is Catelynn and Tyler’s half-brother, which makes him Carly’s uncle on both sides and if Catelynn and Tyler ever get married, then his brother-in-law and sister-in-law will also be his half-brother and half-sister, respectively. Let’s just keep this kid away from any of Carly’s adoptive siblings before my brain sprains something.

So sad, C&T needing Dawn the adoption counselor to talk to. Dawn doesn’t care about you. She only cares about your gonads and their ability to accidentally make white babies.  Did you catch how she wanted to make sure they are happy when they call Carly’s adoptive parents? They probably complained about all that heartbreak and anguish they had to hear about from 500 miles away. It was putting a damper on their white baby joy.

“My mom’s in Vegas… My dad’s in rehab.” Don’t any of these nice Christian families want a couple of nice 17 year-olds too?

Has Catelynn gotten an allergy panel yet?

So much evidence that C&T are still post-traumatic on this shizz: they can’t even say “the day we gave Carly up for adoption”…it’s elided into “the day we gavehertoBrandonandTeresaandstufflikethatlikeyeah.” Yeah.

Let’s switch narrators for a second and see what goes on inside Brandon and Teresa’s head.

Ring, ring. “Hello?”

“HI BRANDON! HI TERESA! It’s Catelynn and Tyler!!!!!!!”

Ugh. Oh, crap. Them again. I thought they’d overdose on meth by the age of 18. Why are they still around?

Okay, all done. Back to me. Ugh. Catelynn and Tyler. Why are they still around? Kidding.

In a creepy way, Carly resembles B&T more than C&T. Maybe they performed some Christian plastic surgery/healing on her.

Amber. Oh my god, I would kill Gary. I would kill my husband if he woke my baby up from a deep sleep too early for no reason.

If one more person somewhere posts or says that Leah is cranky because she doesn’t get enough attention I will kidnap them and make them spend a day with my daughter who gets plenty of attention and still has days like the one we saw on this episode. It’s a temperament/age/tiredness thing.

I like the white wedding dress with the pink ribbons on Amber. Did I mention how much of a sucker I am for Amber? I always find one little nice thing to say about her and for Amber, that’s the equivalent of a normal person being showered with praise. Think about it.

Amber and Gary’s dance lesson was pure comedy gold cubic zirconia. Do these kids know what they have here? Between their everyman and everywoman relatability (read: white trashiness) their perfect timing and pitch and the physical comedy that is Gary… I hope they can capitalize on it somehow. Is there a “Dancing with the Dregs of America” coming up?

“I just want a real guy to marry.” Ouch! Gary’s all guy! He’s real. He’s 424 lbs. of realer than real.

When the Gary and Ambers of the world find out the house is on fire, they do indeed grab the huge TV first.  AMBER STOP TELLING LEAH THAT HER DADDY IS LEAVING HER IT’S SO DETRIMENTAL I HATE IT STOP.

Don’t worry. I’m sure Amber put a child guard on that window.

Gary’s mom answers the eternal question of how many types of Nesquick one household should carry at a given time with a definitive 2.  Strawberry and chocolate. Sometimes I wonder who still buys the crap I remember from the 80′s, before anyone ate healthily, like Wonder Bread and Little Debbie cakes. Does anyone actually buy that stuff, and not, like, in a binge eating shame moment, but on the regular, and then display it out on the kitchen counter like it’s a staple of home life, like flour or bananas? I guess so.

Farrah. I’m sick of Farrah’s Fake Friend.

Farrah’s put-upon act because her stepdad’s car broke down? Wow, what a whiny brat. An “OH, my GOD I hate butterflies” face? No one can truly understand Farrah’s issues with her mom because instead of focusing on, oh, I don’t know, the creepy enmeshment, controlling behavior and abusive yelling and hitting, she complains that her mom talked. And showed Sophia animals. And breathed air. Which wasn’t a/c’ed enough. Shut up, Farrah. Shut up FFF (Farrah’s Fake Friend).

Farrah’s life motto: “I don’t need to be aggravated, especially on my birthday.” Even Sophia is too old for a worldview like that. “I don’t need to tell you what I want. You should already know” is like the antithesis of all modern therapy and counseling. Let’s see how that little nugget goes over during her next session.

Maci. Has anyone noticed Ryan is always yawning? I mean always. Is he perpetually nervous, kind of like the way my dog yawns? Or is he a narcoleptic, and that’s why everyone’s always calling him lazy? Or does he just stay up all night working on four-wheelers? This calls for a poll.

When Maci visited the apartment that she thought was “straight projects” I expected the “Climbing in Yo’ Windows” guy to pop around the corner and start singing to us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADiB-v_8sZw&feature=related

Watch out Kyle! They rapin errbody out here!

$825 for a nice two story two bedroom townhouse looking thing? Teen motherhood is just too easy in the South! A huge Victorian rental house owned by your mom? Make it harder, MTV! The girls are forgetting to demand condoms as we speak.

Maci’s dad appears to be 21 and a fraternity student. Maybe it’s just the adolescent grooming but I’m wondering if maybe he was a Teen Dad himself.

I’m legitimately surprised that the anvil of BAD IDEA didn’t fall from the sky and concuss both Maci and Kahhl as they tried to convince themselves they should still do this move. Or maybe the bird of “I love every boy” from Teen Girl Squad could have swooped in and plucked at Maci’s eyes.

Oh, and Tennessee? I think I love it. I haven’t visited yet, but first of all my dog comes from Tennessee and he’s off the charts amazing, and second of all, people are named…

Happy Halloween, y’all!

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Crafty

So I’ve never considered myself particularly crafty. Artistic, yes. Creative, definitely. But craftiness implies a level of…patience and detail wrangling I just don’t have.

When my daughter was less than a month old, in some kind of hormonal haze, I bought a Martha Stewart scrapbook kit. The idea was that this would be her baby book. It was part of a shopping spree only explainable by being freed from my breastfeeding house arrest.

It turns out this is kind of fun. Now don’t get any ideas that I’m some scrapbook maven. I’m sure it’s cheating to use one of the kits, and I know people do amazing work with little bits of paper, doilies, and glue. Did I mention I hate using glue sticks? I mean, I graduated nursery school for a reason. I also got my only Below Average mark on a report card in all of elementary school for cutting. “Cutting” was an evaluated task and I wasn’t good enough. Patience! Details! Little bits o’ things! Not my forte.

When I got into drawing and painting as a teenager, these limitations did come back to haunt me. Patience and a sort of neatness are virtues in painting and I would always hastily declare something DONE! ART! It’s done because it’s art and I say so! before I should have due to a severe lack of patience.

Anyway, lifetime failings aside, here’s my daughter’s baby book in progress. I want to mostly finish it so I can leave it out at her 1st birthday party and awe people. With my awe-inspiring awesomeness at life. And paper bits.

In progress. It’s a messy business. Note the quesadilla maker box is used as a platform for coloring for my daughter. It’s not part of her baby book. Yet.

Oh, yeah. I guess I didn’t do the cover yet. I forgot I had to do the cover, too. This is time-consuming.

Labor page. The midwives said I was awesome because I pushed (from fully dilated to birth) for 7 hours with no epidural or pain medication.

Hmm, this page looks a bit crowded. I will amend!

First Halloween and Christmas. All my photos are digital so if I happen to have anything printed, I’m adding it to the book. If I don’t have any physical prints this very moment of an event, like oh, say, my first child’s first Thanksgiving, it’s going to get skipped. Wow, I’m a great scrapbooker.

Love needs a mention.

Gotta brag record for future generations when your baby does everything early, right?

This page isn’t done. I couldn’t handle any more assemblage of minute ephemera by this point.

I’m up to Easter! I could conceivably finish by the time Anna gets married!

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Filed under Life & Style, Parenting

Teen Mom Episode 7: Muckracking Edition, Or, Leah Being Fed Swill Milk

Catelynn and Tyler are on the cover of something-or-other, saying they miss their baby. I’m so shocked I can’t even manage to look up the citation.

Ever wonder how the other half lives? What folkways, traditions, and typical foodways they practice? Let’s follow in the footsteps of such brave muckrackers as Jacob Riis and enter that dark hallway, toward the cacophonous stench of Amber and Gary‘s tenement apartment.

We discover that the woeful inhabitants celebrate their “birthday” with pancakes made with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and “dancing their ass off.”

Leah? Think Mommy will like a pink baby blanket from a flower store for her birthday, apropos of nothing much (let’s hope it’s not a new baby on the way)?

Um, Leah will let you know what to get after she tastes everything in the store. She’ll pick the candle that goes down easiest without full-fledged choking. That’ll be her pick.

Wow, $10 worth of flowers looks pretty pathetic. Should’ve saved for a splurge at Cracker Barrel, Gary.

Looks like the shit-stirring friends are at it again in Teen Momverse. Gary’s friend suggested the old stand-by “Pick a fight with your partner and then use that fight as an excuse to do something previously unacceptable you wanted to do anyway.” Gary executed it quite well; I wonder if he’s had practice.

I love how even Amber’s girlfriends think she’s the problem in her relationship. I think we can safely blame Amber for everything, ever, always, amen.

Farrah. I still can’t believe she carts her 15 month around in an infant carrier. That’s just nuts.

Farrah doesn’t know what irony is. I guess I should break out the flashcards, and while I’m at it, I should teach Amber what the word for pancake is. It’s pancake. Don’t worry, Farrah and Amber. No charge. It’s my community service, if you will.

Poor Sophia. She thinks the snarky County Prosecutor is her dada. It makes sense, though, as the last grown male she saw was only present for 3 minutes, at her mother’s last speed dating appointment.

Farrah’s fake friend who probably works at Television Without Pity is back, and Farrah must have been reading some of these here blogs, because she actually makes reference to the fact that she is always placing her baby on unprotected elevated surfaces. So meta.

Her friend’s hair is so aggressively asymmetrical, that I’m surprised Farrah trusts her with the details of her sordid single parenting life. Also, look at the fake friend’s fake listening face:

She is filing this away under “blah blah abusive Mom fishcakes” for sure.

Sophia’s grandma was praying for her to be safe. You and the rest of us, lady. Further evidence that Debra’s sanity and brain stopped functioning circa 1986: nothing comes between her and her Jordaches. Not even community service as mandated by state law. The therapist? Her advice to the mother-daughter pair separated by restraining order? Just hang out. Oh, okay, thanks. Maybe they can go prom dress shopping at the store near the Fashion Bug. Outside of Detroit. I’m sure it will go well.

Debra is such a little under-handed snidester. Sophia needs help getting “caught up” does she? How nasty and also, ridiculous. Is she behind on her flashcard studies?

Maci. Oh, Ryan’s parents. Do you really think your son deserves “feefty-feefty” custody of Bentley? I know, I know, “Grandparent’s Rights” and all that. But aren’t you ashamed of Ryan like the rest of us? Did Ryan trade in his girlfriend of the week or did she just trade in her hair color? I’m confused.

I’m not exactly pro-Ryan, but it does seem a little bit unfair that Maci would make the decision to move their young toddler to another city without consulting said toddler’s father, who shares custody and financial responsibility with. She should talk to him about it in a joint decision making process, not tell him that it’s already decided.

It’s funny in a sad way that Ryan thinks $80,000 of child support from age 1 to 18 is a lot. How much would it be if Maci wasn’t living rent-free in her parents’ McMansion? $80,000 in 18-years-from-now dollars is like nothing, it’s like bare bones keep a kid from starving level of subsistence. Think of how many cars you could soup up with that much money!

Why is Ryan’s girlfriend a little shit-stirring sycophant?

If we ever need reminding that Maci is almost as dimly bulbed as the rest of the Teen Moms, let’s just remember she chose Ryan to date, and he chose her.

This whole entering into a custody battle so you can live near some guy you’ve dated for 4.5 hours? So annoying.

Catelynn and Tyler. Oooh, prom dress shopping with April! It will be so positive, so filled with self-esteem mother-daughter moments, so “Shut the hell, up Catelynn, you bitch. You look fat in that.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

Also, no, the fact that Catelynn went up a few sizes after Carly’s birth is actually not due to the fact that she had a baby. It’s that Catelynn having a baby coincided with Catelynn going through puberty. When I was 12 I was 75 pounds, too.

Also, April is adorable. IF YOU LIKE UGLY. Which I guess ol’ Butch does. Does Catelynn have a driver’s license yet? No? Get one! And a car.  And then a job. And finally, an apartment. Not with your mom. Those are your new priorities, in chronologically order and order of import. Go forth. But don’t procreate. I’m not buying the story that April was all peaches and cream before Catelynn got pregnant. Does anyone believe that?

Good to know Tyler’s tux will come with everything he needs, “except underwear.” I’m going to go ahead and assume that means it comes with a pack of condoms.

I’m not shocked Tyler wants to talk clothes and shopping. In other words, he is a girl-man. Not in terms of sexual orientation I’m sure, just in terms of estrogen levels.

Prom King and Queen, of the Sympathy Vote. Why are C&T still in high school while the other kids are in college now? Were they always a year younger? Sometimes they seem 10 years younger.

Oh, and Amber? THAT was the awesome night out you needed to break up and make up over?

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The Soundtrack

So two recent run-ins with lackluster Spin instructors left me thinking about how vital the right music is to my workouts. Yesterday I was stopped dead in my tracks (pedals) by “Drops of Jupiter” in the midst of a panting, heart-defying uphill climb. I hate that song. What a downer. Another instructor had way too many easy listening ’70s happy beach songs. Fun for driving home with a sunburn, bad for challenging yourself and making an hour in a dark room fly by.

I am very picky when it comes to my running playlists. There is definitely an art to it. You need to mix hard-driving R&B and rock with more ethereal club music that will underscore any endorphin rush you’ve managed to create for yourself. The balance is crucial though. Also, you can’t be a music snob. Good cardio music is not pretty, and if you’re not embarrassed to admit what’s on your iPod, you’re doing it wrong.

Here is my current lineup:

Silence (Airscape’s Edit) – Delerium

Why – DJ Sammy

Appreciate Me – Amuka

Check on It – Beyonce & Slim Thug

I’m Feeling This – Blink 182

Everytime We Touch (Radio Mix) – Cascada [Are you starting to get what I mean about embarrassing but gets the job done?]

California Dreamin’ – DJ Sammy

The Boys of Summer – DJ Sammy

Heaven – DJ Sammy & Yanou

Think Twice – Eve 6

Young’n – Fabolous

Chasing Cars (Koishi & Hush Radio Edit) – Francesca Kimberley

Hemorrhage (In my Hands) – Fuel [This is a great running song, somewhat surprisingly]

Gutless – Hole [This is one of those go-to songs, if I'm trying to steel myself to go faster or not to quit even though I'm dying]

Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys [Getting sick of this one...]

My Love – Justin Timberlake [Not normally a JT fan, but this is a decent running song]

Turn Me On – Kevin Little & Madness

Mr. Brightside – The Killers

Get Low – Lil Jon and The Eastside Boyz feat. Ying Yang Twins [This has such a dirtiness and beat that you can't help but enjoy it but some of the lyrics are a bit, um, distracting. Give it a listen, you'll see what I mean]

Numb – Linkin Park

Paper Planes – M.I.A.

Jump (Axwell Remix) – Madonna

Welcome Back – Mase [I have no idea why I love this song like I do]

Forca – Nelly Furtado [Endorphins!]

B.O.B. (Bombs over Baghdad) – Outkast [Another old stand-by for forced motivation]

Get Busy – Sean Paul

Hips Don’t Lie (Bamboo World Cup Remix) – Shakira

Seven – Sunny Day Real Estate [Unexpectedly awesome for running]

He Wasn’t Man Enough (Peter Rauhof NYC Club Mix) – Toni Braxton

Call Me – Tweet [This is just a great, underrated song in general]

Born Slippy – Underworld

Don’t Let Go – Weezer

In the Ayer – Flo Rida & will.i.am

How’s It Gonna Be? – Third Eye Blind

The Impression That I Get – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones [I actually dislike this song "in real life" but in "exercise music parallel universe" it's good]

Lust for Life – Iggy Pop

And that’s it. Until I find some new terrible good terrible song and change it up again. My workout music taste is pretty different from my typical music tastes.

What are your no-fail motivational songs these days?

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Filed under Running and Racing

Belly

One year post-partum, I’ve gotten my body into pretty decent shape, having arrived at a weight a couple of pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight, needing to throw my everyday jeans into the dryer to shrink them a bit, and having been really into lifting weights and running. I’ve worked out 5 days a week maybe missing one or two days for the last two months. I am running 5 miles again comfortably and have gotten stronger muscles overall.

There’s a but, of course, a caveat. And the but is not my butt. That’s okay. It’s my belly!

I never had a problem with my stomach. It was always flat. Always. Until I had a baby of course. Now it’s not that I have a fat stomach, or stretch marks, or loose skin. It just sticks out. It looks pregnant. It’s hard, bloated, round, and I can’t figure out why, let alone fix it.

It’s kind of a bummer, considering it makes me look fat when I’m not. Or pregnant. When I’m emphatically not.

I researched googled this, of course, and found some possible explanations. The first is that I have a diastasis recti, which means separation of the ab muscles from pregnancy. It makes all the rest of your body from your brains to stomach spill out between the opening, and gives you that round look. Not a good look. I asked my midwife about it at a recent appointment and she did the finger test and said I had a slight separation but not a big one.

I’ve also considered dietary issues, and when I avoid milk (except for lactose free) it’s a bit better. I also have a tipped (retroverted) uterus, and I’ve heard that after pregnancy your pelvic shape can sort of become rounded and protrude from this.

So who the hell knows. I don’t know if I should avoid all regular crunches and only do these special exercises that seem extremely vague.

When I wear a workout top, I swear I look pregnant. My belly is rounded from the top of the breastbone down. Stomach fat doesn’t do that, right?

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Filed under Pregnancy and Post Partum Fitness

Breakdown

So did I mention that by day we are a happy family, visiting friends, reveling in our daughter’s recent BG (Big Girl) accomplishments of almost completing one year on Earth, eating from a spoon relatively successfully, and gesturing 75% of the Itsy-Bitsy Spider song, and frolicking in the late summer/early autumn sunshine, and one big loony breakdown-frantic-recurring-meltdown by night?

I have an urge to take the above sentence and plug it into one of those “what famous writer do you write like” gizmos and see if I “write” like David Foster Wallace meets John Milton as I suspect.

Let’s try:

Oh, okay. Note to I Write Like developers: add more writers to your database. I’m onto you.

So the reason for the double life is the same old reason everything that has gone very wrong has gone very wrong for the past year. Our daughter just doesn’t effing sleep like any human baby you’ve ever heard of. She spends half the night alternating between laughing like a baby monkey on Jolt Cola and crying because she wants you to come laugh with her like a mama monkey on Red Bull and vodka. She isn’t even tired half the time. I guess one day she will be able to hang out and read books in her crib or enact make-believe sagas with her stuffed animals to pass the time at 2 am when mere mortals are sleeping (is she a vampire baby per Stephanie Meyer?) but for now, when she doesn’t sleep, well, we don’t sleep. Sometimes when she sleeps, we don’t sleep either because intermittent crying is part of Anna’s sleep regimen.

She’s pretty astonishingly beautiful, though, so maybe it’s a beauty sleep trick. Laugh, cry, create porcelain cheeks and sparkling green brown eyes.


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Filed under Parenting