Wednesday, January 28

Those Cheeks! That Nose! That Smile!

Guess what I'm thinking right now!

Waaa Waaa Waaa

It seems every day I get another e-mail about another friend who's had a baby. This week there were two of them, most notably a friend from home, Rachel, who had a beautiful son, Max. I've decided that in deference to the thirty zillion people we know having babies (I can quickly think of nine babies born since November and I'm sure if I thought about it I could come up with even more) that, even though I'll always be thinking it, I shall no longer refer (outside of family, I mean) to the Doodlebug as the cutest baby ever. It's a small sacrifice to make to keep all those new hormonal moms happy.


I'm worried about Adam's future. Adam had laying out some Xeroxed chapters from his Analytic Reasoning class. The one right on top was... "Counting." I kid you not. When I pointed out that I could teach Adam that myself (and I have every intention of teaching the Doodlebug--he'll learn to count before he gets his MBA, thank you very much, not that my son would have any desire for an MBA), he told me that he had started reading the chapter, but had found it too hard and switched to his bankruptcy reading. I laughed until I realized he was serious.

Angels in America

I Replayed (which is like Tivoed, only we like it better in our house) HBO's Angels in America a while ago and I finally got around to watching it. It was a compelling film that didn't get my full attention because it's hard to give anything full attention when you're trying to bounce a Doodlebug on your knee to keep him happy. I know the film had its critics, but as I never saw the play (it opened when I was still in New York, and I remember wanting to go, but never going. I can't remember if it was a financial issue or a laziness issue), I thought it was moving. Part of it is that I remember those days so well. When I was just out of college, I volunteered as a "buddy" with GMHC. I worked as a buddy for about three years before I burnt out and then I did easier work for another year. AIDS, while as serious as ever today (I am in no way trying to trivialize today's AIDS epidemic), was different back then. For starters, in 1989, it was a fairly immediate death sentence. No one lived with AIDS. This was when people knew how HIV was transmitted but much of the public was still frightened that they could get it from toilet seats or from sharing a water glass. This was when "Silence=Death" began appearing all over the City. In college, just a couple of year earlier, my friends and I had all trooped in for HIV tests from the city, because "you never know." All of us sweat out that two week period between taking the test and getting the result, even though I don't think a single one of us truly had anything to worry about (I take that back--one friend was a former junkie, but the rest of us were just pseudo-cool East Village-wannabes who had never done anything to seriously warrant the test). To show you how much things have changed, in those days, the nurse administering the test tried to talk me out of taking it. "You should have safe sex no matter what," I was told. "And if you find out you have it, there's nothing you can do about it. So why ruin your life by finding out?"

My first "client" was a sweet guy who fired me from the case. Yes, you can be fired from volunteer work. In my naivete, I asked my team leader (we worked in teams so we'd have support), very concerned, what happened, and he told me (in his sweet Georgian accent), "Honey, you aren't blonde enough and you don't have a dick." My next client, Glenn, wasn't so picky and we were together not quite a year and a half. I don't want to delve into the relationship here--I've written about it enough elsewhere--but in the film, one of the men is a Mormom and his mother (played by Meryl Streep) keeps talking about "ho-mo-sex-uals," in that way the emphasizes every syllable. The character in some ways is so out there that my first thought was "too fake, too cliche." But she struck a chord with me and I realized she was incredibly like Glenn's mother and that she was the truest character in the film. Glenn came from Texarkana. He wasn't very close with his family--femme gay ballet dancers apparently aren't the most welcome in some parts of this country--yet toward the end, his parents came up to visit. I think they appreciated my presence not necessarily because I was helping their son, but because I was a straight haven for them to retreat to. At the end, when Glenn was having hallucinations about Korean men at the foot of his bed, his mother would wail to me, "Oh, why did the Lord make my son a ho-mo-sex-ual?" I swear, somehow she managed to add a few extra syllables to the word. The difference between her and the Meryl Streep character is that the Streep character redeemed herself. Glenn's mother never did. In the end I felt bad because the mother wrote me a nice letter and I never responded. I didn't know what to say to her. Glenn and I had such a difficult go of things (many times my GMHC team leaders tried to pull me from the case) that I didn't know what to tell her. So I just let it go. Sometimes that's all you can do.

Wednesday, January 21

Thinning Blood

I actually walked outside without a jacket to warm up the car and said, "Wow, it's really warming up!" According to the car thermometer, it was 22 degrees out. I think I'm officially turning into a New Englander.

Because Mom Can Be a Good Sport

I'm really a Dolphins fan
Go Pats.

I Still Won't Be Catching Up on the News

After much guilt and angsting on my part, I've decided to send the Doodlebug to day care twice a week (although my father says, "Don't think of it as twice a week! Think of it as sixteen hours a week." And really, by the time we get there and as I pick him up a wee bit early, it's really only about fifteen hours a week). Last March, in my second trimester, Adam and I put our name on the waiting list for a local center. We looked at a couple of places, and this one really impressed both of us. On January 1, we got a call that they had a part-time spot (if we had wanted a full-time spot, we'd still be on the waiting list). Adam left the decision up to me, and after a lot of stressing, obsessing, and generally being miserable, I decided to go for it. The Doodlebug seems to love it. He's fascinated by the other babies, he's excited about all the new toys, and he gets lots of cuddling time from the teachers. One disappointment: they couldn't get him to go to sleep in a crib either. The Doodlebug sleeps in the bouncy chair there. Just a few more weeks till Ferberization.... But I digress. He's only been one day so far (but we've been a bunch of times. The director encouraged me to bring in him a bunch before we started so we could hang out there together and get to know the teachers, the other kids, and the surroundings), but what a day it was for me. If anything is going to propel me to get my own work done (both freelance and personal), it's the guilt of knowing the Doodlebug is in day care. I had such a focused work day because there was no way I was just going to Web surf and sit on my butt. I'm torn between how much freelance I'll be doing and how much of my own writing I'll do, but I'm sure I'll find the right balance.

My Chunky Monkey

Every time Adam calls the Doodlebug fat, I protest. My family isn't, shall we say, weight-tolerant. It's a sensitive topic in the house and I don't want my son to have the poor body image that's plagued me all my life. Yet, we're reaching a point where it's difficult for even me to deny. My son is, um, Rubenesque. Zaftig, you might say. A bit round. I had to 'fess up to myself when the Doodlebug's khakis, which are still too long for him, didn't button around his waist. Although to say "waist" is a real stretch, as there is only pooch. Admitting defeat, the Doodlebug and I went out shopping today for clothes. Of course, since it's January, places had primarily their summer clothes out, and considering the heat wave we've been having (hey, it hit 22 today!), I stocked up. Actually a few places had winter clothes buried in the back, so I was able to pick up a few outfits for him. Yet, I can tell you, he's going to look a little silly in them. Because an informal weighing shows that our son is 17 pounds. Not a bad weight for someone who's about to turn five months. But he's about 24 inches long. I picked up two 6 to 12 month outfits at Old Navy. The weight range is perfect: 17-22 lbs. But apparently, at that weight, babies are expected to be 27-29 inches long.

On Saturday we visited friends with a brand-spanking new baby. Another couple, with their ten-month-old daughter, T., was there. Of course, being fraternity guys, the question came up of which baby would win in a fight. It was generally agreed upon that T. has the advantage of mobility and reach, but the Doodlebug could just keep her moving until he tired her out and then he would win by simply falling on her. That's my boy.

Guest Blogging

Since Adam is so erratic in updating his blog, I suggested that he let me guest blog for him when he's too busy to write. That idea didn't go over real well. So, my next thought was I'd blog here as Adam, to let everyone know what he's thinking and what he's up to. Except, well, he spends much of his evenings downstairs doing school work in his office, so I'm not sure what he's thinking and I assume he's doing problem sets and reading case studies, but since I'm trapped on the living room chair beneath a sleeping Doodlebug, I can't be sure.

Maybe I should write about the Red Sox, I thought. Only, of course, I don't really know anything about the Red Sox. So I figured I do what Adam does: visit the Sons of Sam Horn board and find some original thought about the Sox that I could pass off as my own (ethical? no. But possibly entertaining). (Okay, I realize that was a poorly constructed sentence that implies that Adam passes off others' baseball ideas as his own. He does not do that. What he does is he visits the board frequently. However, he is an MBA and occasionally has poorly constructed sentences in his blog, so I'm going to let it stand.) Okay, I peruse SoSH. And I study the topics. Looking for something semi-intelligent to say. Something... baseball related. But what do I find? Threads on "The Official American Idol Season III Thread" and "Trading Places ending..." and "Best 'Hair Band' song." Hello? Where's the baseball? Is the board run by a bunch of tween girls?

I can mention what little I know of his semester. He's taking one class that's really hard, and it has hours of problem sets each night. He has another class that meets at 8:30 a.m. Oh, and he's working on a negotiation. Which means he has a BATNA. Which is no relation to BAFTA.

Other things that have been going on his life: he occasionally leaves the house with streaks of spit-up on his back. Before the semester started, instead of reading cases, he read Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions, which he loved. He's sworn off TV, except for his secret, guilty favorite, The O.C.. And he can still be suckered into making the hot fudge sundaes.

I think I'm starting to understand why he didn't want me blogging for him.

Wednesday, January 14


Yes, yes, it's boring and trite to write about the weather. But I had a number of errands to run today with the Doodlebug and when we were getting ready, I checked Yahoo Weather. High today: 8. Low today: 0. Current temp: -5 (and why doesn't that automatically trigger the low temp to change?). Feels like: -22. How do you dress a Doodlebug for that? And today's not even the supposed to be the coldest day of the week!

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

Sometimes when Adam and I are talking, he'll say something that makes me say, "I want to blog about that!" Occasionally I'll make a note in Blogger and leave it as a draft to flesh out later. A few days ago this happened. I made Adam repeat what he said and I wrote it down here. He said, "Maybe I was making it up. Maybe it's a game that we play where everybody's making it up." And now? Now neither one of us has the foggiest notion to what he was referring. So make up your own story that has this as the punch line. It'll probably be funnier than whatever it was that we originally said, anyway.

The Doodlebug Takes the Capital

The three of us headed to D.C. last weekend for my best friend's baby shower, which I co-hosted. When planning the trip, I said to J., "I guess we'll come in by train. It's too much of a hassle to drive so far with the Doodlebug" She said, "That's fine. But you know, it's not that much more to fly." Fly? Fly from Boston to D.C.? Um, why did that never cross my mind? Other than the fact that I'm not crazy about those tiny commuter jets, it was a pleasant journey that took less than an hour and a half.

This is my fourth trip to D.C., and I still haven't seen much of the city. I saw the city on my first trip, when I was about ten or so (can't remember) and I went with my cousins and my grandparents. But since then, I've been for a single-day trip for a pro-choice rally (from New York), for J.'s wedding, and now for her baby shower. During the wedding trip, Adam and I visited the Holocaust Museum and we walked around a bit. The city was deserted because we were there in September of 2001. But I haven't been to the Smithsonian in the past few decades nor visited any historic or political sites. However, we certainly weren't up for it this weekend. Besides the cold weather, it's just difficult to get around with the Doodlebug. The next time we go, he'll be old enough to at least have an interest in looking at things, which will make it worthwhile. Besides, I was spending a lot of time indulging my Martha fantasies as J.'s sister and I prepared for the party.

J. and her husband are very politically aware and definitely liberal-leaning. Adam, as you are aware, is, well, not liberal-leaning. The three got into a friendly debate about the upcoming elections that I remained silent in. After we went up to our room, I smacked Adam and accused him of not doing his share with the Doodlebug. "What do you mean?" he asked. I replied, "If you have enough time to read the newspaper, then you can obviously be doing more!" Oh, sure, I've read the newspaper. If you count trying to peer at the headlines over the Doodlebug's head while he's feeding as reading. I've yet to make it to "continued on xx."

The weekend was great and the Doodlebug was on relatively good behavior, although I thought I glimpsed moments of concern on J. and her husband's faces (they've less than two months to go). I will say that visiting people who don't have kids (even those without kids who have kid on the way) is challenging. We rely greatly on the Pack N Play, the Exersaucer, the Boppy for places to just set the Doodlebug down so we can have free hands for a few moments. Of course, having extra hands to hold him is great, but I didn't want to scare J. off with the spit-up, the crying, and the squirminess. After all, it's way too late for her to back out now.

I Don't Think I've Mentioned This In a While

So I'll mention it again: the Doodlebug is the cutest baby ever. That's all!

A DSL-Kind of Friendship

During the weekend trip to D.C., I got a chance to hang out with Mike. Mike (or Michael, as he apparently now calls himself) and I met in 1987 in Sight and Sound: Video at NYU. [Completely random side note: I hate it when I'm convinced that I've blogged something before but then can't find it. I wonder, "Should I blog it and risk repeating myself? Or err on the side of just leaving some things unsaid." For now, we're going with unsaid.] Sight and Sound was one of the basic requirements for every upper-level course, and we all took the film semester with enthusiasm. If I recall correctly, video was less interesting. Most of us didn't have any desire to work in video (and really, I just wanted to sit behind a typewriter writing scripts--yes, a typewriter which was much cooler, more retro, more Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley than the Brother Word Processor I owned at the time), but a requirement is a requirement. What I find frightening is I remember about five people from the class, which includes our teacher who, if I recall, mispronounced Wim Wenders name (she said it with a "w" sound, not a "v" sound, which just goes to prove that everyone does remember every stupid little thing you do). Yet Mike just sent me a list of our classmates, and it turns out, there were a lot of them! I'm amazed that he can remember all those people. Sure, once I read the list, I thought, "Oh, yeah! I remember him! Oh, yeah, he made that awful video." But there were some names on the list where all I can say is "huh?" I'm drawing a complete blank on these folks.

The last time I had seen Mike was in 1989. I had just graduated college, and on a whim I went to France. I was walking down the street in Paris when I ran into Mike. He was on vacation with his family. So, how much has changed in fifteen years? Interestingly, not that much. We've entered a new age of friendships. Even though it's been fifteen years since I'd seen Mike, we've been in contact for the past couple of years over e-mail and of course through our blogs. Getting together with him was oddly familiar. I didn't need to catch up with him in the usual sense of, "So, what have you been doing the past fifteen years?" I already knew where he was working, who he was dating, what he did for fun. It was kind of like having a Sunday brunch with someone you see all the time. Only we don't.

It's amazing to me how the Internet has changed the dynamics of friendship so much. In my freshman psychology class I learned that the number one determiner of friendship was proximity. The Internet, to a certain degree, removes that. I have friends I never see, but that doesn't mean they aren't friends. In fact, with some friends (and I won't name names here, but if I were to name names, the name Eugene would be the first to come to mind), I know more about them because of the Web than I ever did in person. Eugene is such a closed person in real life; you never know how he feels (not even when you push and push and needle and plead--not, of course, that I would ever do that--to find out even the basics such as "Are you dating?" and "So what's up with that job of yours?"). Yet, I learn so much about him from his blog. Eugene's former roommate (hi, Sang!) once said to me, "If it weren't for Eugene's blog, I'd never know what he was up to!" So all of you friends who don't have blogs, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, January 7

Flashback 1973

I had plenty to blog about--during the week, I'll usually say to Adam, "Remind me to blog about that," and if I'm really on top of things, I write it up as a draft--but for some reason it's all escaping me this week. I can't remember a single thing I wanted to say. Plus, I'm blogging at a precarious angle because there's a Doodlebug asleep on my side as I sit on the sofa (I know that's hard to picture but take it from me, this isn't a position conducive to blogging). So instead of thinking of something new to write, I'll tell you about 1973. Why 1973? Because when I asked Adam to pick a year, he picked 1974. Only I have no distinct memories of 1974, but I do have distinct memories of 1973, because that was the only year we lived in Miami Lakes, so 1973 it is. (By the way, totally random aside, for all of you who have given up on checking, Adam has finally updated his blog.)

Remember 1973? Picture it. Tony Orlando and Dawn. Billy Jean King was battling Bobby Riggs. All in the Family was the number one show. The Sting was still playing at drive-ins. Roe v. Wade was decided. Watergate investigations were happening. The Miami Dolphins beat Washington in the Super Bowl to cap off the perfect season. Secretariat won the Triple Crown. Pet Rocks. Okay now forget all of this because with the exception of Tony Orlando and Dawn (hum along now to "Tie a Yellow Ribbon"), I wasn't aware of any of these things. Hey, I was four years old! We lived on a street (Sea Grape Terrace) that had lots of boys on it. I used to play with Patrick who lived across the street from me. Patrick had a lot of siblings, and we used to like to play Cowboys and Indians (I know, it's not PC, but give me a break, it was 1973). They always made me be an Indian because I didn't have a gun. I wanted to be a cowboy soooo badly but they wouldn't let me. I begged and begged my mother for a gun, but my hippie mother was against the idea. This I remember well. I also remember (well, okay, the picture helps) me in my little blue dress, my tiny pigtails, and blue bows in my hair opening up a Hanukkah package that was as tall as I was. It was not just a gun, it was a machine gun that shot sparks! It was waaay bigger than the guns of those boys. I can't recall if they actually let me be a cowboy after that, but boy did I love that gun. I recently learned why I got the gun: My mom really didn't want me playing with violent toys. It was a matter of principle. But supposedly I approached her one day and said, "I know why I can't have a gun. It's because I'm a girl." I guess feminism trumps pacifism.

Other memories: I had a smiley face sweatshirt that I loved (sort of like this one, but more '70s looking). I wore it tons. I used to hang out with Travis next door, and his mother Gail always wanted me to take the sweatshirt off when I was inside. "But you'll be cold when you go outside if you don't take it off inside," she'd say (although how cold could it be? It was Miami Lakes). Yet, I'd stubbornly refuse. This is the same woman who ran a stop light and when I called her on it, said it was allowed once you stopped if no one was coming. I told my mother this and she laughed and that's when I learned that grown-ups don't always tell the truth. One day I went to have a playdate with a girl from preschool. I can't remember her name, but she had short blond hair and I really liked her, but she was always a little lukewarm to me. I'm not sure how we ended up playing together except, of course, that our mothers must have arranged it. Anyway, they had a large dog (at least from my perspective the dog seemed large). I was scared of the dog so the mom put the dog out by the pool, but I was so freaked out by the whole thing that I decided that I didn't care so much about being her friend and that I wanted to go home early. The girl got really upset and started crying, asking me to stay but the more she wanted me to stay and the more her mom tried to convince me, the more I wanted to go home, so my mom had to come get me. What else? There were tadpoles in the lake in our backyard (yes, Miami Lakes had lakes! And I just learned, for the very first time, from the map above that the lake we lived on was Lake Hilda), which were neato, and then there were frogs in our porch, which wasn't. My dad had to go into the sewer one day to fix something or another, and I remember his head poking up through the manhole and the kids around watching him (can that be right? Or am I making that one up?) I remember walking on Patrick's driveway when it had just been asphalted and the bottom of my feet getting black. The babysitter tried to frantically scrub it off of me and she kept telling me how angry my mother would be. I was terrified, but my mom didn't care and she just used some turpentine to clean me off (and it amuses me to think that really the babysitter must have been worried that my mother would be angry with her; after all, I was just four). I shared a room with the Tweedle Twirp who had to sleep with a brace on her feet (she was born club footed). At night, she'd toss and turn and eventually get her brace stuck in the bars of her crib (she was just one at the time) and I'd have to wake up my mother to get her unstuck.

Hmmm. It looks like my version of 1973 isn't that interesting after all. Let's hope something fun happens in 2004 that I can write about next week.