Friday, April 30, 2010

It's Nice to Feel Needed

I arrived at work this morning with this email waiting in my Inbox from my friend, Sally:

Subject: Question for your Expertise

"My mom...was asking me last night if I knew of any great waterproof mascara that doesn't clump. I said that I wasn't sure, but if anyone would know, it would be Fricke! :) I immediately thought back to our weekend at Talladega...the forecast called for rain, so Fricke purchased waterproof mascara! I have to say, I will always be impressed when I think of the way you shaved your legs out the door of your car....and made it acceptable and cool...even at Talladega. It takes a real pro to pull something like that off!! And you did it flawlessly."

This is the second email in as many weeks I have received from friends reminiscing about our legendary trip to Talladega in 2004 where, most notably, I shaved my legs using nothing but a Venus razor and a bottle of Dasani water I had packed expressly for this purpose. I had forgotten all about that, but I guess my friends found it memorable. I realize we were camping at Talladega Superspeedway, but this is America, and leg stubble is unacceptable. What was I to do? I wish I had a scanner so I could upload a picture of me in my white trash get-up I chose for the occasion: denim cutoffs, cut-up wife beater, orange padded push-up bra (unintentional and overexposed, but I worked it out), obnoxiously large hoop earrings, Chanel sunglasses, koozie featuring a surfing duck I purchased at a gas station on the way to 'dega. We had a ball! Just to clarify, I was not sitting out in the middle of the campsite shaving in front of all of 'dega and drawing attention to myself like some kind of unsophisticated street urchin. I was raised better than that. I was in the driver's seat of the Tahoe with the driver and rear doors open to create a "privacy booth" where I might discretely shave and re-apply self tanner and waterproof mascara. Glad I could clear that up.

In case you were hoping I would impart some knowledge on you today, here was my response to Sally's query:

"As I type this, I am reaching into my purse to retrieve my (almost dried out) tube of Lancome L'Extreme Waterproof Black Mascara ($24). It has been my everyday mascara for about a year now, because it is really dark, it holds the curl beautifully, lengthens, and doesn't clump or make my lashes stick together. I learned a trick from a makeup artist regarding waterproof mascara: unlike regular mascara, where you are advised to apply a few thin coats and allow time to try in between applications, with waterproof mascara it is important to apply all of the coats at once, before it has a chance to dry. I thought it seemed counterintuitive and a recipe for disaster, but it turns out the makeup artist knows her stuff! I used Cover Girl at Talladega and it performed pretty well, and I've also used Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof. I thought the Maybelline made my lashes look short and choppy, but maybe that's because I had not yet learned my waterproof mascara application trick!"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Top Six Pregnancy Movies

Aww, you guys...
Let me just say, today has been an epic fail. Four hours of sleep, work felt like drudgery, obstetritian appointment was tedious, and I'm overheating as I type this. Oh, and my Us Weekly is late for the second week in a row. Heads will roll! The best part about the last 24 hours is that, while lying in bed last night, Laney climbed up next to me, rested her head on my bump in the exact spot where Robinson was kicking, and she laid there for about 20 minutes with her ear pressed to my stomach while the baby played Guitar Hero in my belly. It was soooo sweet! All that being said, today's post is a little more haphazard, but what can I say--they can't all be winners. I have a feeling this post will be riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, but let's throw caution to the wind and talk about pregnancy movies!

It may seem obvious, but movies about pregnancy are a bit of a favorite for me these days. For funsies, I've compiled a list of my favorite pregnancy movies. Some of them are indie flicks and maybe you haven't checked them out yet. I own almost all of them on DVD because I just love them. This may not seem like a very well-rounded list because all of these films were made within the last five years, but I can't help it that the quality of the film sub-genre has improved so dramatically during this time. This is my list of favorite pregnancy movies, and I happen to have 6. That's why it's not a "Top 5" or "Top 10" and it isn't ranked or comprehensive. The heart wants what it wants, yes?

Knocked Up

"Are you the lady who doesn't realize she's pregnant until she's sitting on the toilet and the kid pops out?"

Hmm...what can I say about this movie that hasn't already been said? It's hilarious, well-written, well-acted. Do I need to give reasons why I enjoy this movie? I like it in spite of Katherine Heigl. Yeah, I'm going on the record: Not A Fan of the Heigl. She can go sell "arrogant" and "ungrateful" someplace else. I haven't got time for the pain. Ugh, I need to be put down for a nap, I'm so cranky.


Baby Mama

"You know what? I wish I was at an Arby's 'cause there's better food and cooler people there! "

I said I'm not ranking these films, but this one is my favorite. The first time I saw it, I considered it just "pretty good", but for some reason it gets better each time I watch it. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are terrific together, but I also made a realization during my fourth or fifth viewing of the film. Amy Poehler's character, Angie, is like the human embodiment of Libby. It hit me during the scene where Angie, wearing a sports bra and yoga pants, is loudly and enthusiastically singing karaoke in the living room, surrounded by snack wrappers while dyeing her roots. Tina Fey's character, Kate, realizes that pregnant Angie is bleaching her hair (big no-no) and puts her in the shower to rinse, where we see Angie crying, "I'm clean! I'm clean!" and feebily trying to fight back. That's so Libby. I could probably write an entire post about the parallels between Libby and Angie, but I'll spare you. 

Away We Go

Verona: "I can't believe you told your mother about my tilted uterus!"
Burt: "I didn't know your tilted uterus was a secret."
Verona: Yes, my tilted uterus is a secret!

Ok, in the interest of full disclosure (this is a truthful blog) I feel the need to say that I love this movie more than anyone else I know who has seen it. Jarred classified it as "rentable", and sort of gave me the side-eye when he found out that I own it. That being said, I love this movie. Directed by Sam Mendes (American Pie Beauty --typo, but keeping it--also, Kate Winslet's soon-to-be-ex-husband) the film stars Maya Rudolph (love her) and John Krasinski (love, love him) as an expecting couple looking for a place to raise their family. It includes a great cast of supporting characters, and has a great message about love, family, and defining both on your own terms.
 
Junebug

"I don't want your water breaking. We just had the upholstery cleaned."

Amy Adams is one of my favorite redheads (definitely top 3), and her Oscar-nominated turn as a pregnant young woman living in the south was so endearing and lovely, I just want to scoop her up and take her home with me. It's got a definite "indie flick" feel and it's a drama, not a comedy, but I think it's worth seeing. I think Steve kinda liked it. I think Steve would kinda like watching Amy Adams read the phone book.
Juno

"Yeah, if I could just have the thing and give it to you now, I totally would. But I'm guessing it looks probably like a sea monkey right now and we should let it get a little cuter."

This is a film for everyone who was ever a plucky, precocious, pregnant teen. What? You've never known anyone who fits that description? Diablo Cody's Oscar-winning screenplay (starring an Oscar-nominated Ellen Page) is touching and filled with the witty repartee. Every time Steve sees it, he shakes his head and says, "Nobody is that clever. This girl does not exist. Funny movie, though." The soundtrack is not half bad. Cat Power's cover of "Sea of Love" playing after the baby's birth has me doing the ugly cry every time. Every. Single. Time.

Waitress
Old Joe: "Are you with child?"
Jenna: "Shush!"
Old Joe: "I saw that look on a woman's face before. Her name was Annette. I made sweet sweet love to her all through the summer of 1948, and she had that look on her face all through the fall."

I'm gonna curl up in bed with one of my mutts and watch this movie right now. I saw Waitress in the theater with Steve. It is surprisingly funny with a quiet sweetness and is not just one of my favorite pregnancy movies, it's one of my favorite movies of all time. I only wish I had written it. It's brilliant. This is Keri Russell's greatest performance as a small-town waitress in an unhappy marriage who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. It features Jeremy Sisto, Cheryl Hines and Andy Griffith ,who are all perfection. Enjoy it with a slice of pie.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

101 Things

My friend Marcie has a terrific blog, and her most intriguing post features a list of 101 things she hopes to accomplish in 1001 days. The point is not so much to adhere to the deadline as it is to thoughtfully articulate goals both big and small, and commit to achieving those goals. What's more, Marcie encourages others to follow suit (don't mind if I do!)

Some of her goals are philanthropic (go on a mission trip); thoughtful (host a baby shower for someone); practical (pay off her car); adventurous (Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and do an African Safari); and lighthearted (go to a drive-in movie). Now, the only thing I plan to climb over the next 1001 days is a flight of stairs, but I think this list is a stroke of genius because it combines two of my interests: compulsive list-making and blogging. While my to-do lists aren't enumerated and published for all to see (until now), I do have a small legal pad, a spiral bound notebook, and a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet outlining various goals and action items. So yeah, I'm down with list-making. 

I'm going to view this as a less ambitious version of a bucket list. First of all, bucket lists are morbid and tend to be elaborate and involve a lot of world travel. With a baby on the way, it's highly doubtful I will be visiting the Eiffel Tower anytime soon. On the other hand, a new baby can easily make me an overwhelmed, one-track-mind mama in need of broadening her horizons. This could prove to be a very healthy exercise for me at this stage in life. In this post, I will list 101 goals and activities that I hope to complete within 1001 days. As I cross items off the list, I'll also blog about it. January 23, 2013 is 1001 days from today. Giddyup!
6. Take a class: Spanish, photography, pole-dancing...
8. Paint my front door
9. Go to the opera
10. Regain my figure after having the baby
11. Babysit for somebody
12. Take a second honeymoon.
13. Sew something.
14. Watch an entire television series I've never seen before
15. Go back to New Orleans
16. Rip the carpet out of my house
17. Make sushi
18. Go to the rollerderby
19. Make a scrapbook
20. Learn a new recipe
21. Ride a bicycle
22. Float the river
23. Revisit Napa
24. Plant flowers in my front yard
25. Participate in a fitness bootcamp
26. Host a party
27. Attend an event out-of-state that's in someone else's honor
28. Go to a concert
29. Go to New York with Steve
30. Teach somebody something.
31. See a musical
32. See a stand-up comedian
33. Create a canvas painting
34. Participate in a charity walk
35. Play a practical joke
36. Visit a haunted house
37. Sky dive
38. Read a book a month for a year
39. Renew my wedding vows in Vegas (with Elvis, of course)
40. Sleep under the stars
41. Celebrate my 30th birthday
42. Mail a fan letter
43. Have cosmetic surgery
44. Vote
45. Go to Mardi Gras
46. Thoroughly rid my home of clutter, junk, and anything we don't use
47. Attend the Kentucky Derby
48. Celebrate the 10th anniversary of our 1st date
49. Eliminate the word "awesome" from my lexicon
50. Attend a wedding
51. Learn how to read a map (per Steve's request)
52. Ride a horse
53. See Citizen Kane in its entirety.
54. Don't ask Steve to take me to see any crappy romantic comedies.
55. Read A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
56. Send flowers
57. Celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary
58. Go to a Dallas Cowboys game
59. Go to a Dallas Mavericks game
60. Send gifts to the babies in our family
61. Help George lose weight
62. Learn how to grill
63. Attempt to donate blood
64. Watch the final season of The Hills
65. Spend the day at Six Flags Over Texas
66. Enroll Laney in Therapy Dogs
67. Sell something on eBay
68. Try a new cuisine
69. See an IMAX movie
70. Go to a Dallas Stars game
71. Go to the Texas State Fair
72. Play matchmaker
73. See all of the films that have won the Best Picture Oscar
74. Attend Steve's 20th high school reunion
75. Sing karaoke
76. Go to the horse races at Lonestar Park
77. Read a memoir
78. Visit the Dallas Farmer's Market
79. Go rollerskating
80. Go to a drag show
81. Tour a Texas vineyard
82. Go to the flea market
83. Tour the Sixth Floor Museum
84. Go to the Fort Worth Zoo
85. View the Dallas skyline from Reunion Tower
86. Be present at a birth
87. Go to a drive-in movie
88. Attend a parade
89. Tie a necktie
90. Learn how to throw a football
91. Learn how to play poker
92. Make wine
93. Get a massage
94. Re-paint my bathroom
95. Watch the local news, in its entirety, every day for a week
96. Take a surfing lesson
97. Dance with Steve
98. Go to a Texas Rangers game
99. Build a snowman
100. Read another Chuck Klosterman book
101. Celebrate Robinson's 1st birthday

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Zigazig Ha!

While I've been busy gestating a fetus in north Texas, my friend-for-life Amanda was mingling with one of my redhead icons, Ginger Spice, aka Geri Halliwell at the Newbury Races in England. The moment was captured on film by a British tabloid. This is even cooler than the time Steve walked a few holes at The Masters with Lil Kim (excuse the name-dropping.)
photo courtesy of zimbio.com
Ladies, can we just take a moment to admire Amanda's suit? Where in Animal-Print-Heaven did this exquisite garment come from? As someone who has required an elastic waistband for the past several months, I especially appreciate the glamour. I adore animal print, namely zebra, but I find this leopard-with-red to be jaw-dropping hotness. If it is still available in stores, I would like to purchase one in size Carnie Wilson.

"Slam your body down and zigazig ha!"

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Pregnancy Survival Kit

My third trimester has been marked by my ever-growing shape, and sciatica (predictable and boring). I am also greeted nightly by those crazy pregnancy dreams I was warned about. I know better than to tell you about them, because like Dennis from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia said, "I hate listening to people's dreams. It is like flipping through a stack of photographs. If I'm not in any of them and nobody is having sex, I just don't care." However, since Steve made the observation that my blog is 10% baby-related and 90% my random thoughts, I feel the need to toss a little pregnancy content into this crock pot.

Pregnancy is something no woman should have to go through alone. A little support (ok, a LOT of support) is much appreciated. Also, preganant women love hearing that they look "great", even if they know you're completely lying. It still makes us feel better. File that nugget of wisdom away for future use.

My Show: Chelsea Lately
 
She may not be a fan of redheads, but I ain't mad at her. I think she's hilarious. I've read all three of her books, and while plagued with pregnancy-related insomnia, the fact that her show airs three times between the hours of 10pm and 2am is very comforting. She makes not sleeping easier.
My Dog: George
Food cravings, mood swings, and weight gain. I'm not referring to my pregnancy symptoms, I'm talking about the changes I've observed in George. He's gone from Slim Jim to Danny DeVito, gaining a higher percentage of body weight than I have. He knocks his sisters out of the way and eats their food. I don't even eat off Steve's plate. He wears a bigger harness than Laney, and has fat rolls spilling over it. I told him that at the end of all this, I'm the only one poppin' out a 9-pound baby*, and that he needs pull himself together. That being said, I'm glad I'm not the one waddling around. I am also flattered that George appreciates my new shape. He finds my roundness cozy and sprawls across me like I'm his own personal chaise lounge. Or beanbag chair.
*pure speculation
My Anthem: "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" by Mika
Diet Coke and a pizza, please
Diet Coke, I'm on my knees, screaming
Big girl, you are beautiful!

If I have to be perpetually plump, at least I have song I can dance to that celebrates my curves.


My Mascot: Kool Aid Man
We have a lot in common these days, Kool Aid Man and me. We're both round, both red, and both retaining fluid. Only Kool Aid Man is more photogenic than I am.
My Secret Weapon: Maternity Spanx

Dear Spanx,

Thank you for supporting my bump and keeping the wobbly bits in place. I don't know how I ever lived without you.

Cordially,

Samantha
My Triumph: Passing my Glucose Tolerance Test

Only 2-7% of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes, but I just knew I was going to be one of them. You may be thinking, but I ask you: why wouldn't it happen to me? Think about it: only 7-10% of the world is left-handed, and only 1-2% of the world is redheaded, so by my estimation that means that left-handed redheads comprise only about .2% of the world population, tops. I am a left-handed redhead. Why is it so outside the realm of possibility that I would also have gestational diabetes? This message is brought to you by The Samantha School of Logical Thinking.
My Restaurant: Water's Edge Cafe

The crown jewel of Little Elm, Texas (says me) is part cajun cafe, part southern cooking, and is exactly like popping in for dinner at the home of your favorite aunt and uncle. Steve and I stroll in and ask "Whatch y'all cookin' tonight?" I basically don't care what they serve me, because it's all delicious, all made with love, and the fact that I didn't have to cook it or clean it up is an added bonus. Did I mention they make the best breakfast ever? Steve took me there Sunday and it was de-lish.
My Sidekick: Amy

In one of my favorite comedies, Knocked Up, Paul Rudd's character describes marriage as being "like that show Everybody Loves Raymond, but it’s not funny. All the problems are the same, but you know, instead of all the funny, pithy dialogue, everybody is just really pissed off and tense. Marriage is like an unfunny version of Everybody Loves Raymond, but it doesn't just last 22 minutes...it lasts forever." Well, pregnancy is like an unfunny version of Knocked Up, but without the glamorous broadcasting job, hilarious home pregnancy test sequence, or psychadelic mushrooms. And it doesn't just last 128 minutes...it lasts forty weeks. That's why I am super grateful for a friend like Amy. We chat about all-things pregnancy and baby; from major decisions, to mundane experiences, to calming neuroses and unfounded fears...infused with laughter. She helps make this little journey more fun.
My Advisor: Angie

Part tour guide, part life raft, part voice of reason, I firmly believe that Angie should either come in a pocket-size version or be available as a downloadable phone app, because she is enormously bright and helpful. She's always generous with her time and happy to share her wisdom. Plus she's a helluva lotta fun.
My Rock: Steve
This fella has taken care of me while recovering from surgery, helped prepare our home for baby, and he has even [gasp] read skimmed over the baby books! Without my even asking him to! The journey to becoming a father doesn't really come with a map, and Steve has totally risen to the occassion. He rubs my tired, swollen feet, tells me I'm pretty when I feel like a walrus, and pitches in with the mutts. This baby of ours sure is lucky. Ok, I have to stop before these pregnancy hormones reduce me to a puddle of tears. I can't have Steve come home (again) to find me sobbing,"I...just...love...you...so...much!"

So? You're Jennifer Freakin' Lopez!

I just need a minute, y'all:

It's no secret that I love my Us Weekly. The only day I check the mail is Thursday, so I can retrieve the newest issue as early as possible. Much to my chagrin, I was kept waiting an extra day this week (unacceptable!), so I was super excited to check the mail on Friday (don't judge me.) My excitement quickly turned to annoyance when Jennifer Lopez and her barely dressed, perma-glow body grinned at me from the cover. You're so smug, Jennifer.

Please, describe for me how you lost the baby weight with the help of personal chefs, home delivery meal services, a personal trainer, and a staff of nannies to watch your children while you exercise and primp. I'd also like to hear how you keep the sizzle in your marriage to that stud Marc Anthony. He is muy caliente! The way you continue to bring the sexy with the help of your glam squad--stylists, makeup artists, hairdressers, airbrush tanner, nail technician--I find you both accessible and inspirational. You always look so Photoshopped flawless in all your pictures.

I realize I totally sound like a Bitter Betty, and maybe it's just the third trimester talking, but allow me to clarify before I go: I [heart] pre-Bennifer Jennifer Lopez. I have no qualms about the fact that she's prettier and has more money than me, and has built an empire on what can best be described as marginal talent. But I roll my eyes when magazines like Us Weekly award her a meaningless title like "Style Icon of the Decade" and then ask her to share the secret of her success. I realize this is Us Weekly and that if substance is what I'm searching for I would be more satisfied reading a different periodical, but please stick to covering baby pictures, celebrity break-ups, and plastic surgery before-and-after stories. Don't parade a woman who has all the resources money can buy at her fingertips and try to tell me that she's extraordinary. Lucky, yes. But I expect her to look every bit this good. She's freakin' Jennifer Lopez!

Ok, I'm done.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Laney Goes to College

Friends who know Laney today know her as a dainty princess. Friends who went to college with Laney and me remember her...differently. She was more like a cheerleader back then: peppy, outgoing, and operating under the assumption that everybody likes her. As a former cheerleader myself, I am also peppy, outgoing, and operating under the assumption that everybody likes me. Together we made quite a splash.

During the summer of 2003, I was taking classes at Auburn, and Laney and I had the apartment to ourselves. With no roommates and disconnected cable we were a bit restless, but I had a job to do: make an "A" in COMM 3500. That professor was a total blood-sucker, and he had gotten the best of me once before. I was not going to let it happen again. My days were spent in class, my nights were spent studying, and on the weekends, between studying flashcards, I would watch episodes of Sex and the City that I had rented on VHS as a reward for my hard work. I hesitate to confess that I was beginning to go a bit mad in my isolation. Steve had recently moved to Texas, and I would call him up to say things like, "Oh my gosh, Charlotte just said the funniest thing!" Steve would ask, "Who is Charlotte?" and I would reply, "Steve! It's Charlotte! You know, Charlotte. From Sex and the City." He would be like, "Samantha. For the last time, those aren't real people. Please stop referring to them like they're your friends. It's past the point of weird."

Being alone not only makes me hallucinate that television characters are my friends, it also makes me lose track of time. Good thing I trained Laney to tell me when she needs to "go potty like a big girl". Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I hope to sneak outside undetected. Even though it's a study night for me, it's Saturday night in Auburn, which means everyone else is dressed to the nines and out on the town. I, in contrast, am wearing a pair of men's size XL plaid pajama pants--a gift from me to Steve I had repossessed--with an oversized sorority t-shirt that I had no business wearing in light of the fact that my hair was disheveled and piled on top of my head in what I like to refer to as a "nub", and the only makeup I'm wearing is mascara I applied two days prior. Basically I look like present-day Britney Spears. The girl next door is dating a cute boy from my high school, and I am determined not to let him catch me looking like absolute roadkill for the third time. It's mortifying. 

As Laney is finishing her business, and I heave a sigh of relief that nobody is outside to see what an elegant flower I truly am, Laney is captivated by the sounds of a party in the distance.  Before I can grab her, she shoots off like a cannon, leaving me no choice but to take off in hot pursuit--barefoot--sprinting after her with my arms pinned up by my chest because I'm also not wearing a bra.  She's way ahead of me, but I can see her disappear inside the only open, brightly-lit apartment in the back of the apartment complex. Great, I think.

A minute or two later, I burst into the open apartment, out of breath and red-faced, to find members of the Auburn football team, their friends, girlfriends, and associates. Like a stranger in a strange land, they all notice me immediately, and nobody speaks to me. It would be easy if Laney was just sitting in the living room, but I had to walk through the crowd of partiers all the way to the back of the apartment to find Laney in the kitchen. Surrounded by a trio of black hotties and the football player attempting to serve them beer, they are all looking on with a mixture of horror and disgust as Laney stands on her hind legs and eats ice cubes off the top of their keg. I am intimidated by women who can out-sass me and whose fingernails are longer than mine, and these girls have both in spades. I quickly sweep in to retrieve Laney and sheepishly apologize by attempting a joke, "Pardon my puppy. She's a real party animal." The hotties all give me the angry side-eye as if to ask, "Is this bitch for real?" One of the hotties indicates that they are afraid of Laney and would like her to disappear as quickly as possible and I am more than happy to oblige.

Removing Laney from the apartment is a spectacle all its own. She prefers for me to carry her on my hip, the same way a mother carries her toddler. I've always carried her this way, but now Laney is in that awkward puppy stage where she's all legs, and when I put her on my hip, her front paws rest gently on my shoulders and her hind legs stretch down to my knees. We look like complete jackasses. Laney is more delighted than a newly crowned Miss America, while I am beyond embarrassed as I do the walk of shame through the apartment, trying my best to avoid the stares. Oh, the things we do for our babies.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Bushiest Beavers

Remember that episode of The Office* where Manager Michael Scott hosts his annual Dundie Awards to recognize employees for their distinctions? Pam won for "Whitest Sneakers", Ryan won for "Hottest in the Office" and Phyllis won for "Busiest Beaver"...
"It says 'Bushiest Beaver'"
Well, Steve and I have been very bushy busy beavers lately. The house has been undergoing a metamorphosis, slowly transitioning from the house I decorated for fun as an early twentysomething newlywed to a more sophisticated family home. 
What was once our dining room...
...is now a workspace
It's so...sparse. I'm looking forward to throwing a treadmill and TV in this room. This will soon be the place where I work on my fitness, and where Robinson watches Taxicab Confessions Dora the Explorer...or whatever the little niblets are watching. I'd like to get a screen to conceal said treadmill when not in use. Those things aren't cheap though. Any suggestions?

The most exciting mini-facelift in our home can't be captured in photos, because a 2-dimensional image can't adequately show a 3-dimensional disaster. The house settled, causing about 15 ceramic tiles in our kitchen to lift, creating a hill. Over time, the grout broke down from the daily stampede of my dog army, and that presented a whole new set of problems. Laney is most bothered by this. I guess the hollowness she feels under her paws makes her uneasy, so she takes a ridiculous detour through the kitchen to avoid it. Bless her heart.

Another welcome improvement is replacing the windowsills that were chewed up by a young George.
Then there was the day the kitchen light mysteriously dropped to the ground and shattered, narrowly missing Steve's pumpkin. Instead of viewing this as a bad omen, we looked at it as the house ridding itself of the ugly. Like an exorcism.
Finish the acid trip through the Crayola Factory that was my home...before I had to grow up and make everything beige, like your mom's house...
 
the entryway
the kitchen

the entryway today

the kitchen today
...but the living room stays as-is, I don't care what anybody says
*Season 2, Episode 1: "The Dundies"

Monday, April 19, 2010

Celeb Sightings are Fun for Me

This ties in with another recent post about what others consider to be distinctly "Samantha". I was on my way to have my acrylic fingernails maintained (as you do), when I received a call from my pal, Jill. She works in catering and special events at a very prestigious hotel (translation: she's kind of a big deal) and Sunday brunch at this particular hotel is also kind of a big deal, so you can imagine my surprise receiving a call from her at that time. No way I was letting it go to voicemail! Jill means fun:
Jill says, "I know it's Sunday, and I know it's early [blogger's note: it was 12:33pm] but something just happened, and you're the only person I know who will find this interesting." I held my breath in anticipation, because I know this has gotta be good! "Eva Longoria is here because the Spurs are playing the Mavs, and she and Tony Parker are eating in the restaurant and I got to talk to her." I said, "Did you ask her if Marc Cherry ever slapped her around?" Jill laughs, "No! There was music playing and she wanted to know what it was, so I had to find out and write down the artist and title and take it to her. Then we were talking about the music." Of course I had to ask what kind of music piques the interest of our little tamale, and Jill said, "Rilo Kiley." Jill didn't seem too familiar, and you may not be familiar either, but if you were a little girl in the 1980's, chances are you know who their lead singer is--


Yep, it's Jenny Lewis, Shelley Long's long-suffering daughter in Troop Beverly Hills. She's all grown up and a rock star now. You go, Jenny!

Of course I had to ask if Eva was tiny, and Jill said she was. With Eva, it all depends on which day you catch her. Poor thing can't eat a chimichanga without the press announcing her pregnancy. That must be rough. Jill did remark that Eva had put forth slightly less effort in her personal appearance than I do when I walk my dogs. It's like if there's not a film crew or a red carpet these celebs can't be bothered to fix up. For us regular folks, the whole world is a stage, and Sunday brunch at this hotel would have been cause for a little mascara and lipgloss. I might even put a Bumpit in my hair.  


I forgot to ask what she was eating. Southwest Omelet I suspect.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Slice of Home

While Steve was at work the other day, an old favorite played on XM Radio. To our friends living outside of Alabama--yes, "Sweet Home Alabama" is our anthem. To our friends back in Alabama--we almost never hear this song beyond my iPod, so it's always a treat.

Regardless of whether you hail from the Heart of Dixie, it's just a damn good song, and everyone loves to sing along:

Bean: Bump bum ba-da, bump bum ba-da, bump bum ba-da--TOMATOES!
Steve: [looks up from computer] What--What. Did. You just say?
Bean: Tomatoes! I'm singing the song, Cuz.
Steve: Turn it up.
Bean: What?
Steve: It's "Turn it up", Bean. You mean to tell me you've been singing "Tomatoes" all this time?
Bean: Is that not how it goes?



(Blogger's note: For those wondering, our pal Bean is "a gentleman of a certain age", meaning he's been saying "tomatoes" since "Sweet Home Alabama"'s release, some 35 years ago.) 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Libra Liasons

I have a friend named Amy. We live in the same neighborhood, in houses with nearly identical floorplans. We each got married in 2006 and have three dogs a piece. We are both long-time subscribers to Us Weekly, have a weakness for reality television, love Tex Mex, and have a penchant for acrylic nails. Suffice to say, Amy and I share common interests and personality traits. All that aside, it's quite possible that the glue that holds our friendship together is that we are both Libras.
What is a Libra, you ask? Well, besides being the astrological sign for all those born between September 24 and October 23, symbolized by scales, we share a set of personality traits that distinguish us from those born under different signs:
 Libra traits include:
Diplomatic and urbane
Romantic and charming
Easygoing and sociable
Idealistic and peaceable
Indecisive and changeable
Gullible and easily influenced
Flirtatious and self-indulgent

That's so totally me, right? So, here's what happens when two Libras dine out. Propelled by Amy's craving for fried okra, we visited The Cotton Patch Cafe, and this is the exchange that occured between the two of us in response to our waiter's question: "Would you like more rolls or cornbread?"

Me: Do you want more bread?
Amy: Do you?
Me: I could go for more bread. You know, if you'd like more bread...
Amy: More bread sounds good.
Me: Would you like regular rolls or cornbread?
Amy: I don't know, what do you think?
Me: The rolls were good, but I also like cornbread.
Amy: I like cornbread.
Me: Cornbread is delicious.
Amy: The rolls were good, too.
Me: Yeah they were.
Amy: Hmm...would you rather-
Waiter: How's about I bring a little bit of both?
Amy and Me: Great!

See how that played out? Because we're diplomatic, we're each trying to let the other one choose and so we go round and round. And since we're both indecisive we can't choose. If our husbands (both Geminis) had been there, this conversation never would have taken place. Before we could utter the first word, one of the men would have said "Yes" and that would have been the end of it. Yes, they think we're ridiculous.

This story is really not worth mentioning, but I think it helps to frame what Steve told me later that same evening about his day at work:

"This guy [comes into the golf shop] buys a black hat. Five minutes later, he returns. I help him exchange the black hat for a white hat, and he leaves. Five minutes later, he comes back again. He  exchanges the white hat back to the black hat. He completely left the store, drove off, and then returned twice because he couldn't decide what color hat he wanted."

Steve: Are you a Libra?
Indecisive Hat Buyer: I don't know.
Steve: When is your birthday?
Indecisive Hat Buyer: October.
Steve: Early or late October?
Indecisive Hat Buyer: October 10th.
Steve: Yep, you're a Libra. My wife is a Libra, so I have some experience in these matters.
Indecisive Hat Buyer: What does that mean?
Steve: Maybe you should consider buying both hats?

What a Girl Wants

As some of you know, I'm kind of a beauty product junkie. I just love to try new things, especially if a friend, a magazine, or a cosmetics counter makeup artist tells me it's fabulous. The cosmetics counter chicks love to see me coming. I'm like a moth to a flame, powerless to resist their sales pitches. I once spent $60 on a Yves Saint Laurent Limited Edition err...something or other. Honestly, I don't think it does anything. Angelique said it was the hottest beauty item at New York's Fashion Week and that all the runway models can't live without it. It makes their pores invisible. I exclaimed, "I want invisible pores!" There's a sucker born every minute, yes?

That said, I embrace drugstore bargains and I recognize the value of high-priced department store items. Yes, I am a complex creature. I also exhibit a willingness to shell out untold dollars on items I would consider "necessary" that most reasonable women would consider "frivolous". Nowadays, I am attempting to streamline my beauty regimen and sift through what's fluff and what's fantastic, opting for long-lasting, multi-purpose, affordable alternatives when possible. This is partly because I know that motherhood will require that I simplify my life in all areas, and partly because I am reaching an age where 1) I do not have the energy or enthusiasm for the drawn-out daily primping of my college years, 2) Looking like a drag queen is rarely acceptable given my current lifestyle. 3) My previous cosmetics habits will soon be cost-prohibitive.

It first occured to me to catalogue my beauty favorites blog-style during a particularly long commute to work where I attempted to mentally list my beauty needs. I was delighted when, later the next day, I read my pal Natalie's blog post on her beauty must-haves. Check it out for some terrific tips and insight. Now, on to my own list. I chose not to make this list comprehensive because I'm only attesting to those products for which I have the most loyalty. One such item to not make the list is an eyelash curler. I own both the Maybelline ($5) and the acclaimed Shu Uemura ($19) and guess what? They both curl eyelashes nicely. Some of these products are quite pricey, so I think it's worth noting that, with the exception of mascara, no product has lasted me less than six months. I definitely get my money's worth with these bad boys. 

SKINCARE

CLEANSER: Visual Changes Ultra Gentle Enzyme Cleanser ($30)*
SERUM: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($142)
EYE CREAM: Obagi ELASTIderm Eye Cream ($95)
MOISTURIZER + SPF: Jergens Natural Glow Healthy Complexion Daily Facial Moisturizer ($8.49)
TOOL: Clarisonic Skin Cleaning System ($149-$225)**

COSMETICS

PRIMER: ColoreScience Skin Bronzing Primer SPF 20 Wild to Mild ($45)***
CONCEALER: Laura Mercier Secret Concealer ($22)
BLUSH: Nars Orgasm Illuminator ($29)
EYE PRIMER: Laura Mercier Eye Basics ($24)
EYE SHADOW: Trish McEvoy Glaze Eye Shadow White Peach and Topaz ($16)
EYELINER: Trish McEvoy Eye Definer and Finish Line ($16 and $22)
MASCARA: Lancome L'Extreme Waterproof ($24.50)****
LIP GLOSS: Chanel Glossimer Sunset Gold ($27.50)
TOOL: Trish McEvoy brushes ($20 and up)

BODY

LOTION: Kiehl's Creme de Corps ($27)
LOTION WITH SUNLESS TANNER: Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer ($8.49)

HAIR

SHAMPOO: Bumble and bumble. Thickening Shampoo ($21)*****
CONDITIONER: Bumble and bumble. Thickening Conditioner ($22)
STYLING PRODUCT: Bumble and bumble. Styling Lotion ($23)
TOOL: Conair Instant Heat Jumbo and Super Jumbo Hot Rollers ($30)

*This is not widely available, but it gently cleanses and exfoliates so brilliantly, I'd swim a mile through Ivory Soap to get me some.
**This may seem unnecessary, but I declare that my face was never truly clean before I used this. Washing my face without it seems about as beneficial as brushing my teeth with my index finger.
***Another treasure not easy to find, it provides necessary sun protection, soothes redness, leaves skin silky smooth, and provides a hint of color to leave you with an even tone you look like you were born with. The reason I don't list a favorite foundation or powder is that thanks to this primer, I don't need it.
****This one is a trick question. My favorite mascara was a $4 tube of Maybelline that was discontinued in 2003. Since that time, I have tried over 25 different mascaras (yes, I counted) in search of a suitable replacement. This. Is. It.
*****In my never-ending quest to have the most luscious hair in the land, I have tried everything. The most important lesson I have learned is that, for the most part, all these products make my hair look the same. I am a firm believer in the value and superior quality of salon brands--and a great haircut. Beyond that, I reach a point where "more expensive" does not equal "better hair". Bumble and bumble products strike the balance I need: solid product, not the most expensive. It's a Lexus.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Paranormal Pooch

Tales of the paranormal are so hot now. Here's a re-telling of my conversation with a friend about my own brush with The Beyond:

Friend: Have you seen the previews for that movie Paranormal State? It looks so scary! Like, what if a ghost was in my house?
Me (with no inflection): I had a ghost in my house.
Friend: Really?
Me: Yeah. It was a friendly ghost. Like Casper.
Friend: How do you know it was a friendly ghost?
Me: Why would I be visited by an angry ghost? I'm lovely.
Friend: Oh. Right. So how did you know there was a ghost?
Me: George saw it. Animals and children can see spirits.
Friend: Wow. So what did George do?
Me: Well, he woke me up in the middle of the night barking his head off. I got out of bed to see what the fuss was about and he was just standing in the middle of the living room...barking at nothing. But his eyes were fixed, like he totally saw something. He looked scared. At first I thought he was just crazy, but when I looked at my clock and realized it was The Haunting Hour...that's when I knew. This happened three nights in a row.
Friend (stunned): The Haunting Hour? What's that?
Me: It's when paranormal activity reaches a fever pitch and it's the best time to communicate with those who have passed over. It's like, between 2 and 3 in the morning. So then if you have a ghost, you just confront it, acknowledge its presence, and release it.
Friend: How do you know that?
Me (expressionless): Everybody knows that.
Friend: Whoa...so what did you do after you saw him barking at the ghost?
Me: I put on a robe. I was underdressed for visitors.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

Libby is the dog I could set my watch by. And by "watch" I mean the clock on my cell phone. She always knows when it's 6:00 pm. That's when she demands dinner. She finds me wherever I am in the house and begins to howl, growl, bark, jump, dance, just be really obnoxious, until I feed her. I affectionately refer to this as "Peanut Butter Jelly Time". Since I am with-child, I have trained her not to tackle me while trying to scoop the food from their big canister in the pantry. It really ticks me off when I'm standing there, scoop of food in hand, and she pounces on me; sending kibble flying. And she never wants to clean up after herself. Typical. After I serve dinner, she takes a warning lap around the kitchen growling at the other dogs, just to let them know that she is the protector of the food and that if they so much as try to eyeball her bowl, they're dead meat. She's a badass. Then she inhales her dinner and sits in the living room watching the others, hoping they get full or distracted so she can clean their plates.

Laney takes about an hour to eat a cup of dog food. Steve estimates that she eats it one kibble at a time, pausing in between bites to wag her tail, bat her eyelashes and be a beautiful lady. And like a true lady, she does not like to be photographed while eating. Sometimes she pretends she's not hungry, so that I cheer her on to eat. "Who's my pretty girl? My little girl needs to eat her supper! Yes she does!" Yes, I say these things to her. I think she has an eating disorder. She's an attention-seeker at the very least. I don't know what else to do.

George gets distracted midway through his meal and goes to the girls' bowls (they are all positioned throughout the kitchen) to see what they're having for dinner. Maybe it's something super yummy and exciting? No. George is turning four this month, and every day of his life he has been served the same food as his sisters. But every day he has to go check out their bowls, just to see what they're having, even though he still has plenty of his own food. I become a referee in my own kitchen and the food police.



Why can't they be as adorable as this little puppy eating his food?






Ok, maybe my dogs looked cute too when they were puppies...

(note: my kitchen is no longer this color)

The past few days, Libby doesn't even bother to finish her food. She mopes around Steve and me and jockeys for attention while the others are eating. It's so not like her to pass up a meal. Yesterday, I was in my closet hanging up clothes and walked out into the bedroom to find her lying on the bed half-heartedly. One long leg was dangling off the side like she couldn't be bothered to climb all the way onto the bed and her big chocolate Milk Dud eyes were just staring off into space. Hugs and kisses from me weren't even met with a tail thump. What is wrong with my spunkiest pup? Turns out, a little alfresco dining was just what the doctor ordered. I walked her outside onto the patio with her food bowl and sat with her (not on the patio furniture, on the actual patio so she could be near me) and I read a couple chapters of Chelsea Handler's new book.

All three of my dogs love it when I sit outside with them. They prefer the outdoors, but they're very attached to me, so when I am home they choose to stay indoors with me. Before the hot Texas sun drives me indoors for the duration of summer I need to take the time to enjoy the fresh air with my pups.

A Bed for an Eggplant

Ladies and gentlemen, I am 25 weeks pregnant today! That means I'm taking my victory lap for the second trimester and preparing to embark on the final leg of this marathon journey - the third trimester. [cue dramatic music - make it the Chariots of Fire theme]  What can I tell you about Robinson today? Let's see, he is the size of an eggplant. That's a respectable piece of produce in my opinion, so I'm pleased to learn this. Also, his eyes are forming...sort of thought that happened already when they told me last month that his face was "fully formed" (is a face complete without the eyeballs? I think not), but I'm glad it's happening now. Steve was able to feel him kick for the first time this week, so that was exciting.
We purchased his crib last week. It's a real beaut'. Straight from Pottery Barn Kids, the "Kendall Crib" arrived via UPS on Thursday. I expect we'll be putting it together within the next couple days. And by "we" I really do mean "we", but we'll see how that goes.

I know, you can't exactly visualize what our darling boy's nursery will look like based on this, but let me just tell you, the search for this crib, simple as it is, was aggravating enough to make me consider using a dresser drawer instead (hey, it was good enough for my Nannie.) The thing that was most frustrating was that I was not particularly picky. It's not as if I had imagined this fantastic, perfect crib and then went off in search of it, settling for nothing short of greatness. It's a crib, people. I just wanted something safe, sturdy and affordable that would fit in with the decor of the room. This includes my mom's gliding rocker and my dresser from childhood. This proved to be a tall order. I searched high and low, and everything was either too big, too dark, too expensive, too light, too flimsy...I felt like Goldilocks. I needed a crib that was just right. And when I finally found it, Steve didn't question me for a second (he must have heard the relief in my voice that our seach was over) and so he agreed to the purchase of a $400 crib that he had never seen before.

It truly is a relief and a great accomplishment to be able to cross this item off our to-do list. I would have never imagined how stressed out I would feel over not being able to find the right crib. As I would search store after store I would think, "Great. I can't even choose a crib for the kid. How will I handle actual parenting? I'm a failure already!" Now that the crib is here, I'm back to feeling like a Supermom in the making.