Monday, February 28, 2011

Hairy Tales

I've mentioned that my son recently turned seven months old. In related news, a riddle: What has two thumbs, a huge ass and is still saddled with unwanted baby poundage? This girl. I just realized that joke doesn't work if you can't see me point to myself with both thumbs. Pretend you saw that.
Anyway, as a motivator on my weight loss journey, I have devised a reward system with designated prizes as I achieve certain weight loss milestones. I am proud and relieved that as of this morning, I have earned...wait for it...a haircut.

Yes, I have taken things that we consider to be basic American rights, like haircuts and pedicures, and I am holding them hostage in hopes of motivating myself to succeed. So I haven't had a professional haircut since June. It's beyond scraggly at this point, which just adds insult to injury. The injury, of course, having a donkey butt.

Haircuts have been big news in recent weeks. Tween Idol Justin Bieber got a funky-fresh new look for spring:
At a glance, I thought this looked exactly like his old haircut, with perhaps a different styling product or technique, but entertainment journalists insist that these are two totally different hairstyles. I choose to believe the entertainment journalists, as they are paid to know these things. Sidenote: I love his delicate features. I wish I could carry him around with me in a knapsack, and take him out whenever I'm feeling sad.
Tired of Bieber's fancy hair stealing the spotlight from her legendary mane, Jennifer Aniston changed her hair as well. This is newsworthy for two reasons: 1. Jen hasn't changed her hair in ten years; 2. Everything Jen does makes news.
"Jen hasn't changed her hair in ten years," said the pot to the kettle. I could say the same thing about myself, but like Jen, my hair is one of the best things I have going for me, so it would be foolish to hack it off. I am looking for something that is manageable without being matronly, makes a cute ponytail, and looks good as it grows out--in case I happen to go another eight months without a haircut. What I would like is to cut as much off as possible and still have "long" hair. Err...I want to have the shortest possible hair that can still be considered "long". Am I making any sense? I better learn how to articulate this vision before visiting my hairstylist. Maybe I'll just show him this picture:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Robinson is 7 Months Old!

It is common practice among new mothers to photograph their child each month, seated in a chair with a stuffed animal as a frame of reference to show how their little angel has grown and changed. Not to be outdone, I photograph Robinson in a chair with a real animal. Laney and Robinson really hit it out of the park with their six month photo, so I had high hopes for yesterday's photo shoot. It should be noted that I took over 40 pictures of them before selecting this winner, which happened to be the third snap. I have to say--this was not the look I was going for--but Rob and Laney give good face, don't they? The way they are casually draped over the furniture, seemingly oblivious to one another, and looking totally indifferent, it reminds one of a Vanity Fair cover, or a Kardsashian Kristmas Kard:

Ba-da-ba-ba-ba, I'm lovin' it.

So, Robinson is seven months old. This is an interesting time in a baby's life, because a number of major milestones are on the horizon. Robinson could very well hit any of these milestones today. Or in three months. It would appear that Robinson has filed for an extension on achieving these milestones. Hey, if you can get an extension on filing your tax return, why can't Rob get an extension on crawling? It's like he knows that as soon as he can move freely through the house, Mama's gonna put a Dirt Devil in his chubby little hands and ask him to pitch in with the housework. I kid. Here's a rundown:

Robinson demonstrates that he is fully capable of sitting upright without assistance, but nobody ever told him. Last week, it occurred to me that maybe I should tell him that he can sit up. It's literally the very least I could do. So, I propped him up in a seated position and handed him his plastic car keys. He was so delighted and distracted by this shiny colorful object (he takes after his mama), that he actually held this upright seated position for several seconds. I was cheering for him and offering positive reinforcement (isn't that what you mothers do?) That's when he realized he was sitting up by himself and he began to panic. I asked him, "Rob, you're sitting up. Has this idea ever crossed your mind?" It's a valid question. Hell, for all I know, he's drifting off to sleep every night in his little baby bed, where he dreams little baby dreams of sitting up by himself...if only he could figure out how. That's where I come in. Robinson's eyes are screaming. He tips over, and cries. Shake it off, buddy. We'll try again in a week or two.

This is Robinson sitting for a brief, though glorious moment
I'm often asked whether or not Robinson is crawling yet. It seems a little early for that. The short answer is "No". But there is no such thing as a short answer when talking about your baby, haven't you figured that out yet? We always have to describe things, qualify our statements, defend and explain. I'm always asked the follow-up question: "But he's scooting, right?" I have no idea what "scooting" is, but I sort of figured that I'd know it when I see it. Robinson rolls. He shimmies. He slithers. He rotates. He travels.

This is Robinson not crawling.
The poor little guy is miserable. And he has no use for teething rings, despite my encouragement. Libby finds them delightful, though. Tylenol and Baby Orajel help ease his suffering, and I know we'll all feel some relief when those little teeth cut through.

Mallory the Monkey
Family Guy's Stewie has Rupert, and Robinson has Mallory the Monkey.
She's more exotic than the traditional teddy bear--she's a red monkey dressed as a hula dancer. What could be more fun? She's more than a basic stuffed animal. She jiggles when you yank her cord (giggity) and she holds in her hands a pineapple that rattles and a fish that jingles. Robinson is especially fond of the pineapple. Every time I look at him in his car seat or stroller when he's by himself with the Monkey, he's always clutching the pineapple. Always the pineapple. Here are some outtakes from the Seven Month photo shoot, where I gave up on getting a smile and tossed the Monkey onto the chair beside him.

"Would you care for a pineapple?"

"You wouldn't? What a shame. Whatever shall I do with the pineapple?"

Om nom nom nom nom

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I've Got a Headache, and it's not a Toomer

"This has everything to do with a deranged person stealing joy from people who are guilty of nothing but loving their school." -Andy Staples, Sports Illustrated.
Full Article here.
I'm profoundly saddened by the poisoning of the Toomer's Corner oak trees. My brother and I each had our pictures taken under these trees when we graduated from Auburn.
 I looked forward to bringing my son here one day. Driving through the intersection of College and Magnolia evokes a feeling of peacefulness and of being home in a way that few other places have for me. Even if you are not an Auburn fan, and even if you think the tradition of rolling the trees that's been passed down through generations is silly, perhaps you have an appreciation of tradition, or a sense of whimsy, or maybe respect for nature. These 130-year-old oak trees meant a lot of things to a lot of people.
I don't understand how anybody can be so hateful. Football rivalries aside, anybody who makes jokes or snide remarks about this is cruel, and I've read some such remarks in my own Facebook News Feed, prompting me to delete two friends already. Seriously, if you can't even set the rivalry aside long enough to acknowledge that this is a horrible event (or just say nothing at all), I think you're awful. 
Here is another photo of Toomer's Corner in better days. Everyone in Auburn loves rolling Toomer's Corner, and that's what it's best known for, but my favorite memories are just of walking through campus on a pretty day. The Auburn Family has been robbed of something that it can't get back. The person suspected of committing this atrocity has been arrested, but I'm not sure there can be justice. These iconic trees are irreplaceable.

The historic marker, offering a little history lesson: 
Toomer's Corner in the 1890's, via The Langham Project 

Monday, February 14, 2011

An Un-Valentine's Day Post

I was watching the movie Valentine's Day last weekend, which left me with more questions than answers:

1. Why do people keep hiring Ashton Kutcher to make movies?
2. Natalie Portman co-stars in Ashton Kutcher's latest film. What? Why? Are we sure she went to Harvard? I went to a state school and am not an actress, but if somebody offered me a role alongside Ashton Kutcher, I'd say "No thanks."
3. Jessica Biel and Jessica Alba in the same movie?! Was Jessica Simpson not available? I'm saying they're all terrible.

Anyway, if you haven't seen Valentine's Day--don't. Also, if you haven't seen Valentine's Day, you don't know that Ashton Kutcher plays a florist (I know, I know). It reminded me of a time that I worked in a flower shop and helped a clumsy man's attempt at romance. I don't want to spoil the ending, but it was a big, fat FAIL.

So, a jittery, nervous, dazed man wanders into the flower shop as if he's accidentally stumbled into Narnia. He wants flowers delivered to his wife at work as soon as possible, and chooses an arrangement from the cooler.

As I'm collecting delivery information and ask what he wants the card to say, he asks if he can handwrite the message. I offer him a blank card, and after several minutes of serious deliberation, he scrawls a message onto the card, folds it so the message is facing out, and hands it to me. It reads:

I can't believe you when you say you don't love me anymore.
Before you file for divorce, can we see a therapist
and try to work through our problems?

I flinched, and my eye twitched, the way it does when information is thrust upon me that is absolutely none of my business. I feel really uncomfortable. I look up, and locking eyes with the fidgety man, I ask, "Would you like to seal this in an envelope?"

"No," he says with a sudden surge of certainty and assertiveness. "I want her to see the message immediately."

"Oh, hell," I think to myself. No good can come from this. It's a good thing he has me. "Oh," I say, trying to carefully choose my words. "Don't you think she would prefer such a private message be...less visible to others?"  Hint, hint jackass! 

"No, no," he replies, becoming slightly squirmy. "It's important that she see this right away."

"I see. Umm, isn't this being delivered to a place of business?"


"And are there other people at this place of business, or is she the only person there?"

"No, it's a big office."

"Ok, so these flowers are going to be intercepted by a receptionist or a secretary, right?"

"Uh, yeah, probably."

"Alright, well here's what's going to happen. When flowers are delivered to an office, the women converge on the flowers like ants at a picnic. They love it. And in doing so, they're all going to read your deeply personal message to your wife. Then all the ladies in the office are going to know your wife's personal business. She's going to be mortified, and your grand gesture is going to backfire in a big way. I need you to trust me on this." Also, I think you need bigger flowers. I keep that thought to myself.

I slide an envelope across the table. He still refuses to sign it. Now I want to divorce him, too.

As soon as he leaves, I write his wife's name on the front of an envelope, and seal the card inside. He may be a complete moron whose marriage is about to implode, but I'm not going to help him embarrass his wife at work.

Us bitches gotta stick together.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Seem to Have Lost My Voice

People blog because they have something to say. From the looks of my blogging activity as of late, I either have nothing to say, or I've lost my voice. I used to blog daily, and I found that the more I blogged, the more I had to say. For the past few months, my blogging has consisted of: type type type type type, backspace backspace backspace. I have partially finished drafts and drafts that go unpublished because they seem too dull to be read. Calling it "writer's block" would be an oversimplification, as I've noticed that this inability to articulate my feelings isn't limited to blogging. It applies to my real life as well. Allow me to elaborate on this matter. If I can muster the enthusiasm.

You should know going into this that I am regarded as an overly chatty, friendly person. The phrase, "She can talk to a tree stump" gets thrown around left and right when people describe me. That's pretty much all the background information you need.

Exhibit A: I attended a baby shower when Robinson was a newborn, and I was so exhausted, distracted, and overwhelmed, carrying on a conversation felt nearly impossible. I was trying to talk to an acquaintance who I very much like, and rarely see. She's a really sweet person, and although I see her only twice a year or so, we always carry on the easiest, most pleasant conversations. At this party, I found myself struggling to string a sentence together. I wasn't up to the task of bantering back and forth. Carrying on a conversation is like two people trying to keep a ball in the air, and every time she passed to me, I dropped it. I chalked it up to a bad day. I've never been off my game like this before.

Exhibit B: A couple months later, I attend an all-ladies get together. There were about twenty ladies in attendance, and the only person I knew was the hostess. I've attended many of these sorts of events before. I always go alone and am a social butterfly and leave having made at least one new friend. This time was different. I brought a "safety net" with me. Since I only knew the hostess, and I recently found myself socially stunted, I brought a friend with me so that I could talk to her and wouldn't have to awkwardly attempt conversation with a stranger. I spoke to nobody at this party except the hostess and the safety net.

Exhibit C: A couple months later, I attended another all-ladies get together. Another baby shower. I did not speak to anyone there who I didn't already know. I sat in a corner with my baby and tried to keep him entertained so he wouldn't cry and ruin the party. I was so relieved for the handful of friends who were also in attendance so I wasn't force to socialize with anybody else.

This is so the opposite of me. How have I gotten so out of touch? In addition to the social awkwardness I'm experiencing blogger paralysis. I can attribute this to several factors:

1. Opportunity. Part of what made my blogging so frequent and dependable was that I always had a computer at my fingertips. I had the opportunity to type and publish a post as soon as the thoughts entered my mind.

2. Timeliness. Once my lifestyle went from spending 40+ hours a week in front of a computer to being a mom who's completely occupied with taking care of my home, my baby, and myself, I wasn't able to type a blog post the moment I became inspired. Evidently, time is of the essence for me. If I have a spark of inspiration, but the moment passes and I don't type my thoughts, the enthusiasm completely leaves me. And, even if I felt totally inspired and enthusiastic in the moment, if my baby happens to be crying or needs me, the opportunity to blog is lost. 

3. Inspiration. My blog posts are like little essays. I will see a photo or read an article or hear a soundbyte or have a conversation with somebody, and from there I will construct an organized post. Lately, I don't care about anything enough to write an entire post about it. Lots of moms blog about their children and their lives, but I don't get out much--I stay home all day taking care of a baby, and that baby can't do much yet that's blog-worthy--so there's nothing in my personal life that's interesting enough to post about. I've always been interested in pop culture, but lately I just don't give a rat's ass. I could type a sentence or two sharing my observations and opinions, but nothing that comes close to the multi-paragraph posts of the past.

I'd love to post a coherent thought on this blog. Hopefully I'll regain the ability to write, but at the moment I seem completely incapable. I'm not sure what this says about me. I'm hoping that the act of posting this blog will grease the wheels, so to speak. Am I using that metaphor correctly? Also, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that this post on my inability to post is awfully long. And boring. That is all.
"I am not amused"

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

14 Facebook Status Updates: Which type are you posting, and do your Friends appreciate them?

Thanks to Facebook, with the help of high-speed Internet and mobile phones that are like pocket-sized computers, we are immediately and constantly connected in ways we've never been before. We are able to stay in constant contact with friends and family, acquaintances, the guy who sat in the cubicle next to you in that job you quit three years ago...

As our methods of communication become increasingly impersonal, our desire to share more and more details about our lives becomes insatiable, so we have come to embrace Facebook, and the Facebook Status Update. After years of reading these updates, I have broken down Facebook Status Updates into 14 distinct categories. Some Status Updates are more well-received than others, and some Facebook Users are more self-aware than others and need a clue to understanding how their Status Updates are perceived.

1. The Who, What, When, Where, Why
This is the most common type of Status Update, and the type of Status Update I believe Facebook intended when this feature debuted a few years ago. Remember when Status Updates always began with "(Your Name) is--" and you just finished that sentence? These are the posts that announce big news or your daily comings and goings. Post these Updates early and often--but not too often.
  • Samantha is at the Lady Gaga concert!
  • Kelly just had the best lunch with Sally! nom nom nom
  • Kristen is going to be an aunt!
  • Amy is excited to start her new job!
  • Jill's phone was stolen. Message me if you need me!
2. The Interesting Tidbit
Remember those ordinary days when something unexpected happened and you had nobody to share it with? Easily the most entertaining of Status Updates, they often open up a dialogue with friends.
  • Sitting next to James Van Der Beek on the plane. How much will you pay me to softly hum the Dawson's Creek theme song?
  • I entered the address of a baby crib store into my navigation system, and it took me directly to The Casket Store. GPS FAIL.
  • I don't know which is worse: the Santa talk or the Sex talk. Both equally horrifying.
3. The Philosophical Friend
A personal prayer between you and Jesus, a quote from scripture, text from a devotional or self-help book, an old proverb, or wise saying you read on a coffee mug can be a lovely Facebook Status Update. Even when it comes out of nowhere. Just know that if you previously never posted such philosophical, religious, or wistful chestnuts and now you are, your Facebook Friends will wonder if you are in crisis or having an existential meltdown. Perhaps prefacing these updates with a simple, "I'm just tapping into my spiritual side, y'all!" will put your Friends at ease.
  • True worship comes not from the measure of emotional response but from true reflection of the soul.
  • ‎"The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity." AndrĂ© Gide
  • Dear God, You knew me before the stars were put in place or the oceans formed. You held me in the heart of Your plan. Thank You for putting Your eternal fingerprints all over me and keeping me forever on Your mind. In Jesus' name, amen.
4. The Sympathy Seeker
"Sympathy Seeker" might sound like a negative, but it isn't. What is the point of a social networking site like Facebook if you can't utilize it when you need to vent, or discuss you and your family's medical problems, and sometimes, (unfortunately) make a sad announcement. These posts tend to attract a lot of comments offering a shoulder to lean on, sage advice, prayers, well-wishes, and cyber *hugs*. It brings a little extra humanity to Facebook, and if I have to read about your eating habits and your movie reviews day-in and day-out, the least you can do is fill me in when something important happens. Obviously I care about you. Or I'm nosy.
  • Laney is so sad that Uncle Phil has passed away.
  • Lucy is taking Ella to the Dr. If he doesn't agree to put tubes in her ears, I'm gonna raise hell!
  • Aunt Brenda had an abnormal pap smear. Please pray everything is ok!
  • Ugh, my boss is such a pig! I hate my job!
5. The Cryptic Message
This is perhaps the most puzzling of all Status Updates. This can be a wordy paragraph that feels oddly specific and directed at a particular individual (who isn't you). This can also be a vague or puzzling song lyric, leading your Facebook Friends to decipher the hidden meaning of the lyrics and how they may pertain to your life. This could be a misguided Sympathy Seeker or a cry for help, but the message has been lost in its ambiguity. Helpful tip: unless you're going to name names and make this interesting for everybody, air your grievances in a message, email or blog. And unless you and your boyfriend just broke up and you've changed your Facebook "Relationship Status", do not post a lyric from a Dave Matthews Band song. It only confuses your Friends and causes them to worry. If you feel that you are a danger to yourself or others and are attempting a cry for help, quoting "Jeremy" by Pearl Jam is not the way to go. We can't place you on a psychiatric hold based on that alone. But we will all question your mental stability.
  •  "Hearts and thoughts they fade, fade away..."
  • It was over before it even began
  • I am so tired of being disappoimted by people who I trust w/ my heart. I have always been there 4u and ur nothing but a backstabber. No room in my life 4 selfish immature people.
6. The Poll-Taker
Need a babysitting referral? Looking to make a big purchase, choose a restaurant for dinner, or plan your next big vacation? Who needs Consumer Reports, Trip Advisor and the like, when you can quickly and casually consult your 500 closest friends? I for one have made a lot of important decisions based on informal Facebook "Poll" Status Updates. What can I say, my friends are decisive, informative, and (generally) impartial. I trust their judgment!
  • Did that new Ashton Kutcher movie suck? I'm in the mood for a rom com!
  • I'm babysitting my three-year-old nephew for the day. Where should I take him?
  • Headed to Chi-Town on business tomorrow. Where can I get a good steak, friends?
  • Time for a new computer. Am I a Mac or a PC?
7. The Self-Promoter
What is Facebook if not a networking tool? It can quickly become a network for tools if one is not careful. When used wisely, Facebook users with charitable causes, political aspirations, rock star dreams and entrepreneurial endeavors have successfully raised awareness of their cause or grown their business using Facebook to promote themselves. Worried your self-promoting may border on excessive? The amount of comments and feedback is a good indicator if you are turning people on or off with your self-promotion. Got a self-promoter clogging up your News Feed? If you hover your mouse on the upper-right corner of their Status Update in your News Feed, an "X" will appear, giving you the option to hide this person's Status Updates forever. You're welcome.
  • Call Brad's Lawn Service for all your landscaping needs!
  • Our band is playing at Smoky Joe's tonight! Hope to see you there!
  • Hey guys, help me raise money for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure!
8. The Town Crier
Want the latest in news, weather, and entertainment? The Facebook News Feed is a great way to stay informed and keep your fingers on the pulse of what your friends care about right this second.
  • Really wishing I remembered my umbrella today.
  • RIP Michael Jackson.
  • DADT repeal passes Senate! [link]
9. The Sports Reporter
A quick view of my Facebook News Feed tells me everything I need to know in the world of sports: who's playing in the big game today, who's injured, controversies, bloopers, conditions of the playing field, critiques of the sideline reporters, observations of the uniforms. In the past, I have been able to fake knowing about sports by directly quoting the Status Updates of my Facebook Friends.
  • Steelers are going to the Super Bowl!
  • Oregon is looking a little overmatched. Can't run the ball.
  • Game 2 has got to go better than Game 1
10. The Pay-It-Forward Friend
This could overlap with The Town Crier or The Interesting Tidbit, but this type of Status Update has a more benevolent agenda. It is posted for no reason other than because the Facebook User wants to share useful information, a provocative article, or a hilarious viral video they've recently stumbled upon.
  • The Tollway is a parking lot today. Stay away!
  • A whole website devoted to cats that look like Hitler! Now I've seen everything! [link]
  • Gas prices will go up this spring [link]
11. The Jet-Setter and the Social Butterfly
While you're nursing your little girl back to health as she recovers from her tonsillectomy (as I read in your Sympathy Seeker Status Update), your old college roommate's Status Update reveals that she's just been skydiving ("How exhilarating!") and tonight she's meeting Kings of Leon in a backstage meet-and-greet. And tomorrow she's headed to Vegas. And the day after that, you'll try not to de-friend her so you can stop reading about how much more adventurous her life is than yours. Are they being intentionally boastful to make themselves feel important or make you feel jealous? One can only speculate, but I can say this: A little goes a long way.
  • Flying 1st class to London on my company's dime! Does life get any better?
  • Headed to Antigua, again. The water is just so blue!
  • Just got upgraded to "VIP" at Ghostbar. Probably because I'm so sexy.
12. The "Dear Diary" Friend
This Friend's posts are harmless. Their Status Updates are kind of like flipping through a stack of somebody else's vacation photographs. After the seventh or eighth snapshot of The Great Barrier Reef, it becomes increasingly difficult for me to feign enthusiasm. I wasn't actually there with you. I can't appreciate the magic. You should probably refrain from these posts. Write about it in your diary, or devote a page in your scrapbook. At their worst, these updates share "too much information". Also, these Friends are so cheerful, they typically refer to their significant other or children as "the best", and if they've got "the best", then that automatically means that those of us reading the Status Update do not have the best. To all the married ladies out there: raise your hand if you just love reading about how great somebody else's husband is on a day when your husband is being a rascal. Or the day you found out your husband is leaving you for the stripper he impregnated.
  • OMG, y'all--I was craving a brownie earlier, and my sweet husband totally got me a brownie! My life is so blessed!
  • Madison went poopy in the potty. I gave her two m&m's. Such a special day in our house.
  • I thought I didn't have enough milk for my morning bowl of cereal, which made me sad. Then I realized I do have enough milk for my cereal! What a great day!
  • I'm spending all day in bed with my sweetie! xoxo
13. The Instigator
This breed of Facebook User thinks they were sent to piss the world off. They may be right. This Status Update will hold your News Feed hostage with it's intentionally controversial, polarizing and inflammatory remarks, designed to trigger a heated debate. These Facebook Users do it for kicks, and getting down and dirty with them only encourages them. Helpful advice to the Instigators: If you choose to be this type of Status Update poster, don't change gears and try to become a Sympathy Seeker or a Self-Promoter. After reading your offensive remarks, nobody wants to help you.
  • Obama is contemplating cutting the pay increase for the military and the Islamic center 2 blocks from Ground Zero is asking for $5 million to finish their building. I'm going out on a limb here, but go fuck yourself since it is your bullshit "religion of peace" that dropped those buildings and has tied us up in war for the last 9 years.
  • Terrorists getting acquitted, gays about to serve openly. This is the change I can believe in. Thanks Obama
  • The people who cheer for the team I don't like are a bunch of ignorant rednecks who sleep with their sisters.
14. The Twitter Feed
This Facebook User has completely confused Facebook with Twitter. Twitter asks the question "What are you doing?" and wants you to answer it in 140 characters or less, as many times throughout the day as you like. The Facebook Users who treat their Status Updates like a Twitter Feed update multiple times throughout the day, and share the most banal details of their existence that nobody cares about. The best is when The Twitter Feed friend's sixth Update of the day is "I'm so busy!" and I'm reading it and thinking, "Really? You're not too busy to tell me everything you ate today." Seriously, step away from the computer.
  • Misty just finished four loads of laundry!
  • Misty wants a nap.
  • Misty had the best nap!
  • Misty just did another load of laundry. It never ends, LOL!
  • Misty baked a cake.
  • Misty ate a cake.
  • Misty has a tummy ache.