Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Open Letter to Jenna Bush Hager

Jenna Bush Hager. Sweet, smiling, bright-eyed Jenna Bush Hager. I don't know what to do with you! Being a contributing correspondent for the Today show can't be easy. Being the daughter of a librarian and a teacher yourself, it must be so difficult to speak on camera and not sound like you're reading a children's book aloud to a group of first graders. That said, please try to remember that when you're on television, you're speaking to adults, and a more relaxed, natural tone and demeanor is acceptable. Preferred, in fact. With no distinguishable journalism or on-air experience, and a father who was not regarded as a gifted public speaker, it may seem that you are an unlikely choice for this job. I am sure you weren't chosen for this highly coveted job a million young women would kill for just because of who your family is, but I think you need a little practice. And I would advise you against practicing in front of your librarian mom. She's no help in this matter. Consult your cousin, Billy Bush.

Things I'll Miss About Being Pregnant

I know, I haven't always spoken favorably of pregnancy. I haven't particularly enjoyed it, but that's ok. I would do it all again to bring this little man into the world. I certainly have a list of things I won't miss about pregnancy, but I thought I would take a break from being a Negative Nancy and publish a post about the things I will miss about pregnancy.

1. Never a bad hair day. Thanks to prenatal vitamins and pregnancy hormones, I have like, three head's worth of hair right now. It's shiny, bouncy, happy hair. Apparently hormonal changes after the baby's birth will cause me to lose a lot of it, so for now I am enjoying it. While we're on the subject of physical appearance, I'd like to give a shout out to my belly button. It's the one body part that hasn't disappointed me during this whole experience. It didn't get all big or turn into an outie. It's still a cute little innie, and it's the only thing about me that is cute and little. So I'm thankful for that.

2. Excuse to just sit. My "give-a-damn" is busted, so lucky for me people's expectations of me are at an all-time low and it's perfectly acceptable for me to remain seated, prop my feet up, and relax.

3. (Mostly) guilt-free eating. Pizza? Cake? French Fries? Might as well.

4. License to stay home. I RSVP'd "no" very seldom during this pregnancy, but other than those events like birthday parties and weddings, we did stay home a lot more than we normally would. I must say, I have rather enjoyed myself and I think Steve would agree.

5. Preggo camaraderie. There's nothing quite like it. I've made new friends and reconnected with old friends through the bonds expectant mothers share. It's been lovely. Learning that a friend is expecting, and later hearing "It's a girl!" and finding out the name they've chosen is more exciting for me than an American Idol elimination show.

6. The pitter patter of little feet (in my ribcage). I think the ability to bear children is a privilege and an honor, and the experience of feeling those kicks, flutters, and rolls from a little baby is indescribable and something that men (and women on I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant) will never know. And that is as mushy and philosophical as I will get regarding this matter.

7. Getting the last lettuce wrap while eating with friends at P.F. Changs. It'll never happen again.

8. Time to take care of business.  Nothing incites a sense of urgency like the impending arrival of a new baby. We had a running list of home improvements that just continued to build like an avalanche, and since we've been preparing for the baby's arrival, all of those items became top priority and were completed in quick succession. Now we are bringing Robinson into a lovely family home and I have such a sense of accomplishment.

"They sang to me this song of hope, and this is what they said..."

So what do we think of Abby Sunderland, the surly teen sailor rescued from the Indian Ocean recently? As an indoorsy girl (spell check says "indoorsy" isn't a word) who is regarded as a poor driver, I have trouble wrapping my brain around the idea of a sixteen-year-old sailing around the world alone.

Leaving behind my family, friends, and extracurricular activities would never have occurred to me at that age. If I were to tackle such an endeavour, I would do so with cute sailor outfits, lots of waterproof eye makeup, and an iPod playlist filled with sailing music like Christopher Cross and Styx. Clearly, Abby and I have nothing in common. And I would quickly perish at sea. Watching her in interviews, she kind of reminds me of MTV's Daria. She's very sullen and expressionless...and unapologetically unglamorous. I can tell that if Abby met me, she wouldn't like me one bit. I can't get over how nonchalant she is about the whole thing. I wrecked my mom's car once at her age, and was apologizing all over the place. Abby's Indian Ocean rescue cost a million dollars, and she just shrugs like, "Ehh". She's mostly just pissed that she's back home. I'm thinking she's a little snot. Then, I met her family on the Today show, and I developed a new found sympathy for the teen. In addition to her older brother, Zac (who also opted for life on the ocean), there are six other small children in that family. Her mom actually just gave birth to their eighth kid. Thinking of life as a sixteen-year-old girl in a house of ten people, half of whom can't use a toilet unassisted, her choice to live a solitary life on the open sea makes a bit more sense. There's worse things she could have done.

If you were a pissed off sixteen-year-old girl trapped in a house with parents intent on breeding a child army, how would you plot your escape? I think I would procure a fake ID and run away to Vegas to be a showgirl or a cocktail waitress. It sounds like something sixteen-year-old Samantha would have thought was a good idea.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quote of the Day

Teresa: We bought my stepson a car for his birthday, we joked he would dance on the hood like that music video. Do you even get that reference?
Jarred: Yeah, talkin about Tawny Kitaen dancing on the hood of a Jaguar cause she was dating David Coverdale at the time.
Teresa: No, the Whitesnake video.
Jarred: Nevermind.

...just another day at the office for my brother.

Pop Culture Playback

Since I haven't been at work or in front of a computer, I have watched a considerable amount of TV despite the fact there isn't a lot of new programming on right now. Here are some of the things I might have blogged about, had I blogged last week:

1. I heart Bethenny Frankel. I never really got into The Real Housewives of New York City because I can't watch every show on television, and these women failed to capture my attention in the first season. I thought they were a bunch of a-holes, and a less attractive, pasty version of The Real Housewives of Orange County. In magazine interviews, Bethenny never came across as very likable to me, but Mom convinced me to watch one episode of Bethenny Getting Married?, and I am officially a fan. This is good news, because...

2. I'm so sad Dina Manzo left The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Just like Jeana Keough left The Real Housewives of Orange County, my favorite Jersey housewife has exited stage left and taken Grandma Wrinkles with her. Danielle Staub just has to ruin everything...that prostitution whore!

3. TV commercials: I have decided that there are few things grosser than watching other people eat Oreo cookies. Same goes for ice cream. Also, I'm finished with the Activia commercials...I don't like being forced to witness a dialogue between middle aged women about their "digestive health." (Translation: their ability to successfully drop a deuce.) Yuck. My favorite commercial by far is for the Shake Weight. It is the most unintentionally (?) homoerotic commercial on television and it really brings the LOLs. I never envisioned the free weight as a phallic symbol until now. I'm gonna leave it at that. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just watch the commercial for yourself. I'm not here to get graphic.

4. Jillian Michaels never saw a fatty whose personal space she didn't want to invade. When she gets within centimeters of them, almost to the point of Eskimo kissing, in danger of spitting in their faces, makes uninterrupted eye contact without blinking, and aggressively whispers words of wisdom to the scared, sweaty, frustrated participants of her new show, Losing It with Jillian, I become very uncomfortable. She suddenly knows them on an intimate level and dispenses "tough love" in the form of psychoanalysis...with a camera in their faces, no less. I cover my eyes with my hands because I want to make it go away. So. Awkward.

5. Bad news for me: lots of World Cup soccer and some tennis tournament on TV right now. Good news: Steve doesn't care about either of these sports, so I am spared having to watch any of it. Whoop whoop!

6. Days of Our Lives: Gram died, so everybody is back in Salem for the funeral. I don't know if it's the camera lenses, or the lighting, or the cosmetic surgery, but these people do not age! What is their secret? I swear, their plastic surgery is better than everybody else's plastic surgery (I'm looking at you, Heidi Montag). Here is Kate Roberts, age 57, and her skin is smoother than mine. Don't tell me it's Photoshop!

7. Dreamweaver? My pregnancy dreams are less vivid, but I distinctly remember a dream last night where I kept eating way too much pizza, was criticized for eating way too much pizza, and finished every sentence with the phrase, "It's just like that movie, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire." I haven't even seen that movie!

8. While you're at work, the E! network is All Kardashian, All The Time. When you get home from work, the E! network is still All Kardashian, All The Time. It's like some cruel joke. I get to stay home, but my favorite channel is filled with programming I don't care to watch. I don't mean to seem overdramatic, but it's a freakin' tragedy.

9. Speaking of Khloe, it seems that Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa is being a world class b-word to the Laker wife and not letting poor Khloe join in any reindeer games. Vanessa is talking some serious smack, saying that Khloe is a "fake wife". Umm...I hate to break it to Vanessa, but it takes more than accepting a tacky-ass "I'm sorry I cheated on you and got accused of rape" diamond ring to be a "real wife". Vanessa needs to recognize that had she not been the child bride of Kobe Bryant, she'd be working at a tanning bed in the Valley right now. She'd be wise to button her lip. Nobody puts Khloe in a corner!

10. Jake and Vienna broke up. If two reality television famewhores can't stay together, what hope is there for the rest of us? The cover of my Us Weekly quotes Jake as saying Vienna "showed her true colors". Umm, Jakey-poo...she showed her true colors for the entire season of The Bachelor, and you defied all advice and good decision making when you asked her to be your bride. Since Vienna is not what you would call a "classic beauty", I assumed he chose her based on her skills in the boudoir, but in her grand tradition of over sharing, Vienna informed us that she and her lady bits hightailed to greener pastures because Jake wasn't giving it to her on the regular. So for those keeping score at home (like me): Jake is a three-time reality television loser who wears mock turtlenecks and a cell phone holster, doesn't know how to please his lady, and openly cries on national television...repeatedly. And I don't mean that his eyes tear up or that on one occasion he gently wept. I mean that he bawls the way I do when watching Sally Field's cemetery monologue in Steel Magnolias:
"I'm FINE! I can run to Texas and back,'t! She never could!"
With all that information out in the open, I expect Jake to get as much action as he did in high school (my sources tell me that is zero.) This is going to reflect very poorly on his profile.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Final Fruit

Hooray! It's my last trip through the produce department. Baby is the size of a watermelon, and I believe it. Steve says I'm not that big. I really don't know what he expected. There's only one kid in there. I asked if he'd seen bigger baby bumps and he said, "Oh, yeah." Mmm kay. Look who's an authority now. I've taken to referring to my bump as "the medicine ball" because it feels like I'm carrying a big ol' medicine ball with a tiny person tap dancing inside. It's especially heavy when I lie on my back, and rolling from side to side and getting out of bed is a well-thought-out and sometimes painful maneuver. I'm also plagued with nighttime leg cramps that make me think my legs are trying to quit my torso. Other than that, I'm good.

I had an ultrasound a week and a half ago. I've heard how inaccurate they can be at measuring. I've known babies who measured 8-8.5 pounds in an ultrasound, only to be 7 pounds at birth, and I've known babies who measured around 8 pounds and were 9.5 pounds at birth. For what it's worth (clearly, not much), it said that Robinson weighed 6 pounds 9 ounces and his stomach and thigh bone measurements were both in the 50-ish percentile for a 36 week fetus. So he's growing as scheduled. The head measurement was a whole other story. The ultrasound said his head measured in the 97% percentile for a 40 week fetus. This measurement, however inaccurate it may be, has me totally rethinking my baby's exit strategy.

There has been much conversation in our home as to whose head this baby would have. I have a giant pumpkin head, I can't even wear hats. Steve has a peanut head. Steve's not going to be pleased when he finds out I told you that. He's the first one to say he has a peanut head, but for some reason it's only ok if he says it. I've always said we're like Bert and Ernie. Steve isn't amused by this characterization, but dammit it's accurate.
left: me; right: Steve

I haven't seen my doctor in a couple weeks, which isn't typical for this stage of pregnancy, but she went out of town. I hope this means she will be all refreshed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when I see her on Wednesday. Her appointment scheduler said my appointment would be crammed into the mid-afternoon following a surgery, two c-sections, and several other appointments. Her advice: "pack a lunch." Not like I have anything better to do, but the waiting room chairs make my butt hurt. Oh well. I'm just waiting to hear the magic words: "Let's schedule a c-section!" Thanks to all the melanoma and pre-cancerous business I had removed earlier in the year, I already look like I did the tango with Edward Scissorhands. What's one more scar? Especially if my baby's head is bigger than a blue ribbon pumpkin.

I Live in a Dog House

Last week, I had six dogs in my house. Six dogs. I didn't realize how insane that was until half of them left and I'm back to my original three mutts. Mom has two corgis, and I was babysitting my neighbor's beagle while they went on a little vacation. Everybody gets along well and loves to play together, but it gets a little dicey at meal times. Between six dogs, I had three different types of dog food, two dogs who require private dining, two who like to rotate from bowl to bowl and eat everybody's food and exhibit general bad-assness, one who is borderline anorexic and requires supervision to ensure she eats enough, and one unsuspecting beagle who belongs in protective custody. Feeding time requires a lot of involvement on my part, and I feel like a referee.

At one point, George and Gus (Gus is George's brother and Mom's dog) got into a scuffle over George's food, and I got caught in the crossfire. As I rolled up my pant leg to see blood dripping down my leg, Mom got this horrified look on her face and gasped, "Oh no! Gus bit you?" and I said what is quite possibly the dumbest thing I've said in years:

"No, no. Gus didn't bite me. It's not his fault. My leg got in the way of his teeth, that's all."

Let me clarify: Gus bit the shit out of me. It took one more such dumb remark on my part before I realized that I lack a little perspective when it comes to these dogs. It was a couple nights later, and Steve and I were feeding the dogs by ourselves.

Steve: Is there a certain way we need to do this?
Me: Yeah, you gotta put down their food in a certain order in certain places, that way people don't eat other people's food.
Steve: [sets down bowl, looks at me] That way people don't eat other people's food?
Me: [long pause] That way dogs don't eat other dogs' food.
Steve: That's better.

I have got to start establishing boundaries with the dogs. They're my fur babies, and I love them so much. Apparently I love all dogs, and that's lovely, but I'm too willing to step aside and let them run my household. Unacceptable, especially with a little one on the way. Starting now-ish, there's a new sheriff in town!

Too Much Information?

I think most first-time expectant moms would agree with me that it is so comforting and helpful to have my own mom around as I prepare for my baby's arrival. Since my mom lives in Alabama and I live in Texas, I typically only see her about ten days out of the year. With a baby on the way, I've gotten more quality time with Mom than I am used to, but I had to go on blogging hiatus because, well...Mom doesn't know I blog!

Mom is a social networking hold-out. She finds it baffling that people want to share so much detail about their personal lives on the internet. In a lot of ways, I understand where she's coming from. We as a society do share a lot of information - from the intimate to the mundane - with friends, acquaintances, and even strangers via social networking tools like Facebook and Blogger. For the uninitiated, I can see how this practice could be viewed as bizarre. I have not helped matters in how I introduced the concept of social networking to her.

She once asked me to explain Facebook, so I described the profile page, the pictures, the ability to add "friends" and post status updates. I lost her at "status update":

Me: I can share with my friends whatever I am thinking or feeling at the moment: "Samantha is excited about the Sex and the City Movie", "Samantha is shoe shopping", "Samantha is craving a chimichanga". Then, one of my friends might respond, "OMG, I could totally go for a chimi right now!"
Mom: Are you serious? That sounds really narcissistic and self-indulgent.
Me: Hi, I'm Samantha. Have we met? Whatever, it's a great way to keep in touch with old friends. Remember Xxxx Xxxxxxx from middle school?
Mom: Sure. I haven't seen her in 15 years. How is she?
Me: Fine, I guess. I haven't spoken to her in years. But I know she had a ham sandwich for lunch today. And remember Xxxxxxxxx Xxxxxx from high school?
Mom: Oh yeah, that cute girl?
Me: Yeah. That cute girl. Well, I saw pictures of her newborn baby all covered in blood and afterbirth. It's like I was right there in the delivery room!
Mom: That seems so wrong.

As time went on, I continued to say things to her that reinforced her belief that Facebook is for weirdos bent on over sharing:

Me: Hey, guess what? So-and-so is engaged!
Mom: That's wonderful! When did that happen?
Me: About two hours ago.
Mom: You read that on Facebook?
Me: Yep.

Mom: How is so-and-so doing?
Me: She's one centimeter dilated.
Mom: She told you that?
Me: Yeah, she told me...and her 749 other Facebook friends.
Mom: She discusses her cervix on the internet with 750 other people?
Me: Uh huh.

So today, I'm talking to her about the other mommies-to-be who I know, and I am a surprising wealth of information. This leads her to ask me quizzically, "You don't blog, do you?"

Me: Oh no. I don't do that.
Mom: Oh, good. I think that is so weird.
Me: Totally weird.
Mom: I just cannot understand how people are so self-involved and attention-seeking, they feel the need to write down their innermost thoughts and feelings and post it on the internet. And then there are people who actually read it!
Me: Downright disturbing is what it is!

I realize that I'm 28-years-old and that lying to my mom about the existence of a blog is the dictionary definition of "loser". Given what she had said about blogs though, I didn't really feel like divulging that I freely publish every thought, idea, and opinion that crosses my mind, up to and including thoughts, ideas, and opinions related to my reproductive parts. She would find my complete lack of inhibitions surprising. I'm sure she'll discover my blog eventually, but for now I'll just continue being a closeted blogger.

Blogger's note: to my blogging buddies whose blogs are intended to share family photos, daily adventures, and your travels with far-flung family and friends, my mom does not think your blog is weird. Like you care.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"You're Some Kid"

There was lots of cheering and celebrating at our house Sunday night as we watched our friend, Graeme McDowell, make history as the first man from Northern Ireland to win the US Open. Graeme's dad's first words as he congratulated his son, "You're some kid!" pretty well sum up Graeme, who Steve and I refer to as "Grammer". It seems like just yesterday he was playing golf for UAB and driving a 1983 Toyota Tercel. I got to spend a weekend with him in 2002 when he joined Steve for a golf tournament in Steve's hometown of Geneva, Alabama. Graeme had just been awarded the Haskins Trophy, which is college golf's highest honor (think Heisman for golf), and it was a great honor to have someone of his caliber playing in this small-town 3-man scramble tournament. Graeme really is one of the nicest guys we've ever known, and we had such a great time! Taking an Irish man to the deep south was classic fish-out-of-water comedy.

First, there were our friends, Katie and Lauren, who joined the weekend of fun. Upon learning that Graeme is the #1 college golfer, they dedicate Nelly's "Number One" to him, and for the entire weekend would shout the chorus in unison every time Graeme walked into the room, which happened no less than 50 times:

"I. Am. Number One! Two is not a winner, and three, nobody remembers!"

Graeme really didn't know what to do with these girls. Or with all of this attention.

Steve's nickname for people who act like goobers and knuckleheads is "mullet". In case it isn't obvious, it's because people with mullets are morons. Graeme had heard Steve use the term "mullet" many times, often directed at him, but he didn't really know what it meant until we took him to The Office, a nightlife hotspot in neighboring Enterprise, Alabama. We almost didn't make it to The Office at all, because Graeme tried to go out wearing a pink button down shirt and a necklace.

Steve (trying unsuccessfully to hold back the laughter): Oh, no, Grammer. I can't let you go out wearing that.
Graeme (defensive): What's wrong with this? It's a nice shirt.
Me: It's a very nice shirt, Graeme. Very...European. Just trust us, you do not want to wear that shirt out here. And I'm gonna need you to lose the necklace.
Steve: It is a nice shirt...a nice shirt to get your ass kicked in. I wasn't planning on beating up rednecks tonight, and if you wear that shirt, I'm gonna have to.
Me (waving my hands): And I'm trying to get in with a fake I.D. Blending in is of the utmost importance!

[2 hours later in The Office, blinded by cigarette smoke and surrounded by good ol' mullet-headed country boys]

Steve: Aren't you glad we didn't let you wear your necklace and pink shirt?
Graeme: Yes. I see what you mean...and don't ever call me a "mullet" again.

Congratulations, mate!

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Classic Disney Nightmare

You may have noticed a steep drop in blogging activity recently. It's because the forces of evil conspired against me and my computer. Happily, all of that is behind me now, and I have emerged victorious! Let me back up a bit--for the past several months, I worked for a salon and spa that had no manager--but a Director of Operations. Think of her as my Fairy Godmother...but younger and prettier and blonder.
Fairy Godmother and I get along splendidly. She trusts me, I help her, and she's very understanding of my need for special accommodations (i.e., taking off early on Thursdays for obstetrician appointments, taking off a week to have cancer removed, my need to elevate my cankles.) I really can't say enough good things about my Fairy Godmother. Then she filled the vacant manager position with someone who is...not so nice. Think of her as the Ursula to my Ariel.
Ursula has a very bad aura. The staff scurries at the sound of her stomping through the salon. She's hostile and combative, harsh and abrasive, and she alternates between sucking up to me ("What are we going to do without you?! and "You MUST bring the baby for a visit!") and throwing daggers at me. She is very aggressive, she insults me and blames me for things that aren't my responsibility, and then...she...blocked my internet access! [gasp]. Making matters worse, when I told her to fork over the password to let me back on the internet, she lied to me and said that installing a password block on the internet was all Fairy Godmother's idea. Fairy Godmother would never. Fairy Godmother even told Ursula to give me the password, and Ursula refused...but continued to tell me it was all Fairy Godmother's doing. So now she's a liar and a coward because she doesn't have the guts to look me in the eye and tell me she doesn't want me using the computer. What a pansy. This may be one of my least favorite character flaw combinations: liar and coward.

What I can't understand is, why is Ursula intent on targeting me? She is the new manager of a 6,000 square foot salon and spa located in a prestigious Dallas department store. She faces enormous pressure and expectations and is responsible for the 30+ gypsies on staff. It's a tall order for anybody, so why is she focusing on the pregnant lady with two weeks left until early retirement? It's not as if my time spent on the computer takes away from doing my job. I'm not wasting taxpayer dollars or causing delays in solving the oil crisis in the Gulf. Lighten up, lady. Fairy Godmother doesn't mind, so why should she?

A little background on Ursula: she is a huge Amazon. She looks like a post-op transvestite whose gender reassignment surgeon shaved off just enough of her Adam's apple for her to pass as a woman. This image is punctuated by a stringy and particularly unfortunate head of hair that sits atop the world's largest head. She is scary. Miss Trunchbull from Matilda scary.
She recently returned to Texas after living with her boyfriend in Europe for several years. I know, I'm shocked she had a boyfriend too. So, to recap: we have a single, childless woman on the wrong side of 40, who's got the worst mop of hair I've ever seen. Riddle me this, Batman: why does she hate the twentysomething, married, expectant mother with the bangin' head of hair?
Meow. What a snarky thing to say! Maybe Ursula's dislike for me is less about my marital and motherhood status and more because I'm a salty bitch. Nah, it's probably the whole husband-baby-hair thing.

I really wanted to work a couple more weeks. Because I like dollar bills. Obviously, Ursula wants me gone and is doing everything to eliminate me. Normally, I would dig my heels in and take on my adversary. This baby is a game changer. It's unhealthy and irresponsible to put myself in a high-stress and high-anxiety situation, and while I can joke that sitting in a silent office all day without internet should be classified as cruel and unusual punishment, the truth is I cannot fully do my job without internet access. I not only strongly resent the insult of being lied to and treated like a child (did I mention that she gave Persian Dwight Schrute the password?), I also cannot tolerate being around a harsh, imposing figure such as Ursula. With all of her negative energy, and my growing contempt for her, I felt like my blood pressure was surging the entire day. This is a happy time in my life and I will not spend the final weeks leading up to my son's birth engaging in this sort of interaction. Time to move on to my next adventure with my Prince Charming and our three mutts and a baby.

And we all lived happily ever after.
The End

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm on a Non-Plan Plan

It's already started: the mere sight of me walking is met with giggles and "Oh my gosh, are you gonna have that baby right now?!" I try to be good-natured about it. Half the time I'm not even listening, because I'm too busy chanting in my head, "Stand up straight. Don't waddle. Don't be that girl." over and over. Being graceful and (almost) nine months pregnant is harder than it looks.
I guess the time has come to mull over my "birth plan". I originally mocked the concept, then I decided it was worth considering, and now after reading's "Birth Plan" pregnancy tool, I'm back to mocking it. What a "tool" indeed.

"What is a birth plan?" you ask? Here's what The Bump says:

"A "birth plan" is just that -- a game-plan for baby's arrival. You can never be totally in charge of your labor and delivery (childbirth is generally a pretty out of control thing), but a birth plan ensures that you and your mate are at least on the same page as your doctors and nurses."

Fair enough. So I hand my nurse and doctor a piece of paper that says "yes" to an epidural and "no" to letting my dad watch me push a watermelon out of my bajengo. Seems like a good idea. Then I read the six-page birth plan form, which includes such gems as:

I’d like to spend the first stage of labor:

[ ] Standing up
[ ] Lying down
[ ] Walking around
[ ] In the shower
[ ] In the bathtub

I’d like labor augmentation:

[ ] Performed only if baby is in distress
[ ] First attempted by natural methods such as nipple stimulation
[ ] Performed by membrane stripping
[ ] Performed with prostaglandin gel
[ ] Performed with Pitocin
[ ] Performed by rupture of the membrane
[ ] Performed by stripping of the membrane
[ ] Never to include an artificial rupture of the membrane

As the baby is delivered, I would like to:

[ ] Push spontaneously
[ ] Push as directed
[ ] Push without time limits, as long as the baby and I are not at risk
[ ] Use a mirror to see the baby crown
[ ] Touch the head as it crowns
[ ] Let the epidural wear off while pushing
[ ] Have a full dose of epidural
[ ] Avoid forceps usage
[ ] Avoid vacuum extraction
[ ] Use whatever methods my doctor deems necessary
[ ] Help catch the baby
[ ] Let my partner catch the baby
[ ] Let my partner suction the baby
image via Everett Collection
I read six pages of this, folks. Six pages. I am not equipped with the knowledge or experience to comprehend or make a decision on about 85% of this birth plan. Here's a birth plan: how about I choose a board certified obstetrician, pay my insurance deductible and let my doctor guide me down the path she deems best? Is that too apathetic? My ideal birth plan involves a stork. Everything else is just whatever for me.

I'm often asked whether I plan on having an epidural. In a word: yes. I am a girl who enjoys the luxuries and comforts of modern life. I speak to my husband daily on a telephone. I style my hair each morning with the aid of an electric hair dryer. I drive to work in a sport utility vehicle. I have plastic fingernails and my sun tan comes in an aerosol can. I had my first Botox injection at age 26. So what, now I'm gonna reject the pain relief offered by western medicine, bite down on a leather strap and push this baby out like the pioneers did? No, thank you. Childbirth is not the place I would choose to be "natural". I guess if you're someone who likes to take the Physical Challenge, natural childbirth may appeal to you.
I don't run marathons. I don't climb mountains. The closest I've come to wilderness survival is playing Oregon Trail in 8th grade computer lab, and do you know what happened then? I got typhoid and I died. I'm what you call an "indoor cat."
Oh, and spoiler alert: there's no medal ceremony after the baby is delivered. The Labor and Delivery nurses don't score the day's moms and award the ones who display the most bravery and physical strength and endurance. So, even if I did set my aside lack of rugged survival skills and adventurous spirit, there's no glory in doing so. No Wheaties box or nothin'. I figure I'll spend the rest of my life willingly making sacrifices for this little baby. I don't see the benefit in sacrificing my comfort and mental health to deliver him. [soapbox dismount]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Let's Talk About Sex (Tapes)

There's some old adage about how we'll have more regrets about the things we didn't do in life than we will about the things we did do. In short, it means "Seize the day". As an American woman, I pretty much used that statement to justify having fun without regard for consequences, like going out partying the night before a final, getting a tattoo, and other impulsive, self-indulgent choices. You get the idea. I think whoever coined that phrase wasn't thinking about Kendra Wilkinson, her sex tape, or her chola eyebrows from high school.
image via

I kinda like Kendra. She's a sweet girl, but it's sometimes hard to be happy for her success or feel sorry for her struggles, when she has achieved fame and wealth while basically being a shining example of "what not to do". I haven't watched her E! True Hollywood Story, or read her Wikipedia page, but from what I've heard her discuss in interviews (oh so many interviews), she barely got out of high school, she ran away from home as a teen, and she used lots and lots of drugs. With her background and experience, one would have predicted that she'd be working the cash register at Golden Corral right now. Instead, she was part of an 80-year-old man's harem, starred in two reality TV shows, has travelled the world, etc, etc...girlfriend's made more money and received more in cash and prizes by age 25 than I'll make in a lifetime. I think. Now she has a sex tape that's being released. She also has a tell-all book coming out. It insults my intelligence that she's trying to sell us a book she "wrote", when everyone who knows her knows she can barely string together the words to make a Tweet. I was bitching about this very thing while eating barbeque with my mom and brother a few weeks ago.

Me: Kendra basically did everything you raised me not to do, and she has mansions and paid for her mom's plastic surgery. I read she's getting paid over half a million dollars for that sex tape. It doesn't seem fair. And, oh my god, I just saw pics online...girlfriend had straight-up chola eyebrows when she was in high school!
Jarred: Ha, really?
Mom: Samantha [leaning forward to whisper] don't say that.
Me: Mom. It's ok to say "chola". It's not an insult or racial slur. It merely refers to Latina gangsters living in the barrio, easily distinguished by their gelled hair, dark lipstick, and their gloriously drawn Sharpie eyebrows. They're typically found in east LA. Also, there are no cholas in this barbeque restaurant, insuring that I've offended no one.
Jarred: Hey look, [pointing to a family with 6 Asian children under the age of 8] it's like the Asian Duggars over there!
Me: That would be "the Gosselins"
[Jarred and I erupt into a fit of giggles. Well, I was giggling. Jarred was laughing more manly laughter]
Mom: You two need to stop right now! You're embarrassing me!

Anychola, back to Kendra. I am glad she has risen above her shaky beginnings and carved out a good life for herself. I do feel kinda bad for her, with this sex tape and whatnot. I would hate to have to answer for some of the choices I made as an 18-year-old. We're not known for using the best judgment at that age. Then again, my big "embarrassing choices" dealt more with fashion...and the hot pink leopard print fuzzy dice that hung from the rear view mirror of my Chevy Blazer. Right above my dashboard hula doll. Fortunately, I don't have sexually explicit videos of Brandy's brother urinating on me during sex (you didn't think I'd blog about sex tapes and not give a shout out to my girl Kim Kardashian, did you?)

The thing is, these sex tapes seem to emerge for celebrities who deserve fame and fortune the least. So when it happens, we have a tendency to point and laugh like Nelson Muntz:
"Ha Ha!"

It's human nature to build people up so we can tear them down, but I'm sure Kendra realizes that she'll get past all this and still be rich and famous. Look at Kim and Paris and Pam. You can't keep a good ho down.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Quote of the Day

Isn't this exactly the conversation you want to have with a co-worker who you've known for two months?

Sarah: Will you do me a favor, and let me know if childbirth feels the way they said?
Me: The way who said?
Sarah: You know...I was told that childbirth feels like somebody reached inside your crotch and ripped out all your insides. I've always wondered if that's what childbirth actually feels like.
Me: [expressionless] I will be sure to let you know.
Sarah: Good. Because I really want to know.

Are you laughing? You better not be laughing. I'm not. I'm grinding the enamel off the back of my teeth.

Are Beanie Babies Still Collectible?

One of my co-workers, Sarah, was kind enough to bring me a basket of goodies for Robinson today. Included in the basket was a big stuffed monkey, which she was quick to point out cost eleven dollars and is actually a dog toy, but her stepson had one as a baby and loved it. Actually, she told me the price of every item in the basket, or she left the price tag on the item, or she simply stated that it was "expensive". I'm glad she shared this information with me. As I'm holding the monkey, she's also helpful enough to tell me that it's a monkey, and that she loves monkeys. I wholeheartedly believe that an infant can never have enough stuffed animals (right?) but as soon as she said "dog toy" I knew this monkey would be a big hit with one Miss Laney Jane Fricke. Yeah, Steve won't "give" her his last name. He thinks she's a diva and a priss and for that, she deserves a lifetime of my maiden name. He actually calls her her "Laney Fricke" every time he speaks to her. Whatevs.

Also in the basket? A Beanie Baby 2.0 named "Quackly", which she repeatedly tells me is collectible, and she points at the tag on his wing that signifies he is in fact a Ty Beanie Baby.
She's telling me this $2.50 duck is "collectible" (I know the price because the sticker was still attached, denoting it was on sale.) Is she telling me this because she wants me to keep the tags on it and display or store it in a cool, dry place? Because I fully intend to clip the tags and let my kid slobber all over it. Is that considered poor form? Are we still collecting Beanie Babies?

My Nannie has tubs full of Beanie Babies in her condo. At least she did in the mid-90s. She was convinced they would be worth a lot of money some day. One of my friends on the cheerleading squad had every square inch of her bedroom covered in these little stuffed savings bonds. I remember staring at them, amazed by the sheer multitude, and whispering to one of my friends, "You know, the meanest thing you could ever do to her would be to sneak in here and clip all the tags off these Beanie Babies. She'd be absolutely devastated." I would never do such a thing. That's hateful, and I adored her. I'm just saying, it's kind of bizarre that the way you could most hurt a person would be to remove the tags from their stuffed animals. Our high school World History teacher/Varsity wrestling coach also collected them. He was this old-ish Italian man with a thick New York accent, and having him review his test material with the class via Beanie Baby puppet show was as stunning as being invited to a tea party with Joe Pesci. He would do voices and everything. I remember when he got the Limited Edition Princess Diana Bear. That was a special day for Coach.

I assumed that by the year 2010, we would have abandoned all efforts to make these Beanie Babies anything more than just cute little stuffed animals. Actually, I thought they would have gone the way of the Cabbage Patch Doll. Am I wrong? Are we still hoarding them and holding out hope that they will one day provide us with the down payment on a boat, or pay our children's college tuition?

Friday, June 11, 2010

I Was Told There'd Be Cake!

I begrudgingly contributed $2.00 to a birthday cake fund for Persian Dwight Schrute. I only did it so I could have a big ol' corner slice of white-on-white cake. I even made a white cake white frosting stipulation when I donated. My manager returned an hour later with a cake the size of your nana's kitchen telephone (not enough to feed the 30-some-odd people who work here), a bouquet of flowers, and a Hallmark card that says "Happy Birthday, You Selfish Bitch".

Her birthday was 2 days ago. Only when she was heard whining and moping that she didn't feel loved did anybody think to take up a collection.

I feel misled. I want my $2.00 back. Dammit. I guess I'll just have to send Donnie out for a spicy Chick-fil-A sandwich. om nom nom nom nom.

Pregnancy is So Dreadfully Dull...

...that my new favorite thing to do is to tell myself that I could go into labor at any moment. I'm on the edge of my seat and filled with suspense. I realize that's unlikely to happen, because just about everybody I know who had a kid this year made it all the way to their due date, past their due date, exhausted every old wives' tale to trigger labor, and went straight to a scheduled induction or c-section. Which brings me to this question: if certain activities, like specific massage techniques, are to be avoided during pregnancy because they can cause premature labor, why aren't those activities employed as reliable at-home labor inducers? Pitocin, schmitocin, massage the heel of my foot! That'll get this party started! Anyway, the chances that my little niblet will make his grand entrance fashionably early is unlikely. I was born a week late and have been running behind schedule ever since.

My other favorite way to pass the time is by charting all the pregnant women I know. I have a Microsoft Excel Workbook for all things pregnancy: a tab for baby shopping list, a tab for baby shower guest addresses, a tab for my to-do list, and a tab for my Mama Tracker. Yeah, Facebook friends: when you announced you were due to deliver a baby in 2010, you got added to the Tracker. When you announced the baby's gender and name, I added that, too. As these friends gave birth, I entered the date of birth. Obsessive and stalkerish? I prefer to look at it like an advent calendar for pregnancy. Plus, it helps when having conversations with friends or family members and they ask, "So who else is having a baby?" or "What did so-and-so name her baby?" I can't be expected to remember all that information. I have pregnancy brain. That's why my blog is riddled with careless spelling errors and I can't remember how to get to my local Red Lobster. I currently know 48 women due to give birth in the year 2010, and there are only four more due to give birth before it's my turn! It's like waiting in line to ride the rollercoaster at Six Flags. I'm at the same time excited and nervous...and increasingly impatient.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

If I've Heard it Once...

...I've heard it a hundred times:

"Ugh, I just hate going to funerals." flash, Trixie:  everybody hates going to funerals. A coworker made this comment to me today, and since I'm in a bad mood, that was the reply I shot back. Then I vented to my brother via Google Chat. He offered that a person could be psyched to go to a funeral if they love to wear black and snack on finger foods and enjoy organ music. True...but that isn't why we attend funerals. A funeral is one of the few occasions that it isn't all about me, it's about paying respects to someone who passed on. I'm not supposed to be comfortable, or happy, or entertained. I'm just supposed to honor and respect. And dress and behave appropriately.

I was so distraught after the last funeral I attended, I bought a bottle of wine...after spending $1000 in Saks Fifth Avenue in less than an hour. This is why I can't have credit cards. After showing my purchases to my mom, she was like, "You're taking all this back, right? Right?" Of course I was taking it back after I calmed down and came to my senses...except for the big, dramatic Jackie O sunglasses, which I was already wearing. Indoors. And the eyeshadow I had bought for Mom. She didn't object to keeping that purchase. But I went to the funeral.

Anyway, that's my public service announcement. Stop declaring that you don't "like" funerals. Nobody does, and that's the point. Go or don't go. Don't expect to enjoy yourself. Class dismissed.

Fun With Google

It's that time again. Some people find my blog using wacky, often disturbing Google search phrases, which I receive in a weekly report and then share with you. My reaction is in purple. "Plum" if you want to get specific.

- compression stockings This search came up 9 times. All from European Googlers. Olivia, my resident German blog reader says that it's just what the old ladies like to wear. Why they need to Google it remains a mystery.
- Scholl sandals See "compression stockings"
- Joran Van der Sloot expecting baby That would require him to spend alone time with a lady and not kill her.
- free lustful young girls movies. So you want kiddie porn but you're too cheap to pay for it? Ick. Nast. 
- What was Joran Van der Sloot doing in Peru Playing poker and committing murder.
- Where are the Kalpoe bros? I know where they're not, and that's "rotting in prison".
- Maks and Erin dating Or at the very least, mattress dancing.
- Paula Simon love Did this Googler wake up from a coma? This question is so 2003.
- nutso in the buttso The phrase is sweeping the nation!
- the pink ninja from biggest loser is a hot tamale!
- Forced baby into my vagina Honey, you should probably just skip the prom this year.
- Brittny Gastineau I suspect this Google search was conducted by one Brittny Gastineau. Just sayin'

Friendly Advice

Steve: I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but you blog about your brother a lot. It's very "Donnie and Marie".

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Went to Avenue Q

I haven't seen a musical in ages, so I made a point to include it on my list of 101 Things in 1001 Days. Last week, Steve and I saw Avenue Q with our friends, Ashley and David. Ashley described it as "Sesame Street for adults" and that's a great description. It was very funny and entertaining, and a great musical to take the heterosexual man in your life to see. Avenue Q features great songs, with titles like:

"What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?"
"It Sucks to Be Me"
"If You Were Gay"
"Everyone's a Little Bit Racist"
"The Internet is for Porn"
"I'm Not Wearing Underwear Today"
"You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Makin' Love)"
"There Is Life Outside Your Apartment"
"I Wish I Could Go Back to College"

I did learn something new: I've officially crossed a threshold where theatre seats are uncomfortable. I will be seeing no more plays or movies for the forseeable future.

Misty Watercolor Memories...

Remember Jarred's co-worker Misty? She's not done talking:

Jarred: Misty is applying to start a new charity license plate (like childhood cancer). She knows she wants to do licence plates, but has no idea what cause to put on it. Rather backwards. She said something religious. I reminded her of separation of church and state. This further confused her.
Me: So Misty wants to start a charity. So that she has something to put on a license plate. They don't have specialty license tags in Texas, so I had to show my friend online. There are a bunch of new ones. I explained, if you want to save the environment, you can get an environmental license plate. but, if you more specifically want to save the Cahaba River, you can get a "Save the Cahaba" license plate.
Jarred: She likes the idea of helping the homeless. Me: There is a theme here with Misty and the homeless. Why is she obsessed with them?
Jarred: Saw a "Cure Childhood Cancer." Lady was smokin in the car with two kids in the back.

I thought it was completely absurd that Misty wanted to start a charity so that she can create a specialty license plate. Jarred's right, it is rather backwards. Recently, I had a conversation with a girl who told me that she was founding a nonprofit organization. She had done some research and had begun the process of registering her nonprofit with the state, purchase a domain name for her charity's website and setting up a Paypal account for would-be supporters to make donations to this charity. The one stumbling block in her whole plan: she still hasn't selected a charitable cause. The obvious question here is, "Then why are you doing this?" I have to say, I admire her candor: She was inspired to start a charity by her desire to rollerskate around White Rock Lake in Dallas wearing a bikini. She figures, if she starts a charity, she would have an excuse to coordinate a bikini rollerskating event. And, to that end, she has also amped up her workout routine so that she has washboard abs in time for this event. The jokes write themselves, people.

Umm, That's What She Said...

Actually, that is what I, a week ago. When I wrote about Joran Van der Sloot and his arrest for the murder of Stephany Flores, I suggested that BP use Joran to plug the oil well and explained that this would kill two birds with one stone.

Today, my Facebook news feed told me that two of my friends "Like" the page "Let's plug the BP oil leak with Joran Van Der Sloot". The description of the page: "KILL TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE!" 31,500 people "Like" this. And counting.

I Google Chatted Jarred and was all like, "Hey, that's what I said!" and he responded: "31,000 people like your joke. Indirectly. I once made a joke that I don't like cocaine, I just like the way it smells. Turns out it's a Richard Pryor joke from the 80's. Repeats do happen*." Whatever, I know that I wrote the words before Facebook made a fan page out of it. I guess I should just be pleased that there are over 31,000 others who validate my feelings. One person wrote on the wall: "Absolutely brilliant." One could reason that they are actually saying, "Samantha, you are brilliant." And to that I say "Thank you. You are too kind."

Blogger's note: I have no idea what the kid was doing making a joke about cocaine. He couldn't tell an 8-ball of coke from a baggie of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder, and everybody knows it.

Guest Post: BP Rant

This message comes to you, courtesy of my brother, Jarred:

I am starting to notice commercials for BP and Marathon gas trying to rebuild their image. In them, they have lots of kids playing soccer and American flags being waved by happy old people. BP is like the kid who pee'd his pants on the 1st day of school. Their best bet is to move and change the kid's name, because we will always remember that little spaz peeing his pants. Overall, I think it's a waste of time and money because no ad campaign will ever get the oil off of my pelican!

Thanks, Jarred. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Can You Take The Heat?" Umm, Yes. Barely.

I just finished my first Spicy Chicken Sandwich, the newest addition to the Chick-fil-A menu. It was everything I thought it could be. And more. It may prove a foolish lunch choice. I sort of forgot for a few minutes that I'm pregnant, and this will probably give me a wicked case of heartburn. It's a risk I'm willing to take though.

Laney is a Helicopter Dog

...meaning she is hovering. I go to the kitchen, Laney goes to the kitchen. I go to Robinson's room, Laney goes to Robinson's room, I get in the bed, Laney curls up right on top of me. I get up to use the bathroom, I come back to find her on my pillow. I ask her to scoot over, and she offers me half of my pillow. She keeps the other half. She won't leave my side. Steve decided to take the day off yesterday with me to help get Robinson's room ready and work on things around the house.

"How do you deal with these dogs underfoot all day long?"

"Sometimes I step on them."

Steve gets annoyed that Laney wants to sleep between us like a little child. He fusses at her and makes her leave. As soon as he nods off, she comes back. I do worry that we're gonna roll over onto one of her long, spindly legs and injure her one of these days. The dogs have always been really clingy with me, but now more than ever. I don't know what's worse: that I'm constantly tripping over three dogs who stick to me like Velcro, or that I don't actually mind.

How's That for a Birth Plan?

Jessica Taylor was being rushed to the hospital by baby daddy Jeremy Smith, when Denton County, Texas Deputy Jason Quigley pulled over their 2006 Nissan Armada for going 97 in a 55.

So Jeremy's all, "I was like, 'We got to go! She's pregnant, having the baby, let's go,' and he was like, 'No, hold on.'"

Typical men. During this time, Jessica takes matters into her own err...hands:

"They're still talking, so I just rip my pants down, he looks over, (and) the head's coming out, and he's screaming," Jessica said.

So right there, on the side of the road, Jeremy and Deputy Quigley birth this baby, 6 pound, 13 ounce Jayden Leigh Smith.

"He runs to his car and comes back with a police rain jacket. It's one of those black-and-yellow (ones), and now it's got baby all over it," Smith said with a smile.

That quote doesn't do this story justice. Read it again, this time with a southern drawl, the way I heard it on the news this morning:

"He ruuuuns ta his carrr and comes back wit a po-lice rayne jack-et. It's one a dose black n' yeller (ones), and now it's got baybee allllll oh-ver it," Smith said with a smile.

Gross. If the rain jacket is covered in "baby" I wonder how the upholstery of the Nissan Armada's looking right about now. It's condition will only improve in the Texas heat. That's going to look great on a Carfax report later.

The news anchors took great delight in bringing us this story today. They thought it was so funny. I know, because they said "This is funny." Maybe for you, homes. For me, this is the stuff of nightmares.

Source: NBC DFW

Van der Sloot Confesses

"I did not want to do it. The girl intruded into my private life... she didn't have any right."

Joran confessed to murdering Stephany Flores after she used his laptop and discovered his involvement in Natalee Holloway's disappearance. The article doesn't state whether Joran is a Mac or a PC.

This is like the plot of a horror movie. You just know her mom warned her about going off with strangers, and here she is in a hotel alone with this strange Dutchman. She must have gotten pretty nervous and suspicious in order for her to Google him* using his laptop while in his room. By the time she discovers the truth, it's too late. It's chilling to imagine.

Joran is also facing extortion charges in the U.S. for trying to extort $250,000 from Holloway's family in exchange for describing how she died and disclosing the location of her body.

Is there a more disgusting human being walking this earth?

*She may have Googled him, she may have Binged him. I dunno.

Source: MSNBC, New York Daily News

Monday, June 7, 2010

Who Wants to Tell Her?

I was flipping through the latest issue of Us Weekly and saw a picture of Whitney Port, with a caption quoting her as saying that manicures and pedicures are her "guilty pleasures". Somebody needs to tell her that that isn't what a guilty pleasure is. If it is, then so is having your oil changed and going to the dentist.

No, a mani-pedi can be viewed as an indulgence.  If you have crappy nail beds and an inability to polish your nails without getting it all over yourself, it can also be part of your routine maintenance. It is not a guilty pleasure. A guilty pleasure is something you hesitate to admit enjoying because you risk embarrassment and ridicule. It is often something you do when by yourself in the privacy of your home or car. Or, if you're Jessica Simpson, it's something you do publicly and discuss in a nationally televised interview.

Examples? I'll go first:

1. I have an unhealthy devotion to ABBA. I like to sing their songs in my car. Loudly. Also, I went through a phase where I watched Muriel's Wedding thrice weekly, and I cannot stop myself from watching Mamma Mia despite knowing it's horrible.
2. If Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead comes on HBO, I have to watch.
3. I enjoy watching marathons of Snapped on the Oxygen channel. Steve: "I'm so pleased you enjoy watching a TV show about women who kill their men."
4. If I'm flipping through the channels and find a stand-up comedian, I'm watching. Until Steve finds me and makes me change the channel because "this isn't funny."
5. For every dozen cookies I bake, I eat at least one cookie's worth of dough.
6. I love old game shows from the 80s, especially Press Your Luck.

No whammies!

Ok, your turn. It's ok, you're among friends in the Trust Tree. We don't have secrets and we don't judge in the Trust Tree.