Category Archives: Wait, what?

Lip balm used to be the highlight of my day but now it’s just part of it.

Back when I was pregnant with Penelope, I was on bed rest for twelve weeks. A lot of people have jokingly admitted to me that the Butt Rust era was probably just about the best time ever for this blog, and they’re probably right. I was posting almost every day, definitely every weekday, a lot of times even twice. I had a lot of time to sit – lay – around and think about ridiculous stuff, when I wasn’t being shuttled to two or three appointments a week, or being checked in and out of labor and delivery on the regular. I also did a lot of puzzle books, and I colored, and I watched all of Battlestar Galactica and all of Wings. It was definitely an interesting time, in both the most extreme sense of interesting and the totally opposite of interesting kind of way.

When you have to stay in bed all day, there’s just no real delineation between daytime laying in bed and nighttime laying in bed. It’s all just laying in bed. So I got in this habit of putting on my lemon EOS lip balm at night. I really liked it. But I would only do it right before I settled down to sleep at night, which was different, of course, from my mid-morning nap and my afternoon nap and my predinner eyeshutting and any other sleeping-because-what-else-am-I-going-to-do. It didn’t take long before it was the highlight of my whole day. That’s kind of a pretty shitty situation to be in, one where putting on lip balm to signify the dividing line between “okay, I’m laying here because I’m medically required to lay here so as not to accidentally have a stroke on my way to the kitchen” and “now I’m laying here because it’s regular person sleeping hours.” It was a really good time for my blog, for sure, but that was a distracting shell over the whole wretchedness of the entire situation. It’s long past now, so I don’t see the need to re-explain all the medical details I don’t think I ever really explained in the first place, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that anyone reading knows that a pregnant woman confined to her bed for months on end isn’t there for fun and games and that things aren’t good. Aren’t good. At. All.

If Phil and I stick to our current plan – there aren’t guarantees of anything, but it is the plan in place at the moment of this writing, which is today but not tomorrow or any other day you might read this, so this sentence doesn’t actually bind me or Phil or anyone to anything nor can it be referenced in any kind of future “GOTCHA!” way should plans change – to have just one kid, I don’t think I’ll ever really come to grips with my feelings of unfairness with regard to Garlic Bread, and the guilt attached to having feelings of unfairness related to a living, healthy child. I think the advent of the jokey “first world problems” meme has summed up the feeling in a tongue in cheek kind of way, the feeling of being unable to acknowledge something annoying (or legitimately shitty) without at the same time recognizing that some – many – people have it much worse. First world problem: no fortune cookies with my takeout. Real problem: SOME PEOPLE HAVE NO COOKIES AT ALL EVER. Effect:  I’m kind of a bad person for even giving a crap about my fortune cookie, considering all the cookieless people. Yet, I still have no cookie and I did want a cookie. I’m going down an analogy path I don’t want to take, let’s regroup below.

Right now, as the plan stands, we’ve got Penelope and that’s it. Sometimes I wish – well, wish is the wrong word, and so is wonder, which I also tried, so I’m just going to stick with wish – that things would have been different with her pregnancy. Of course I do, it was wretched. I want a do-over, I want another one. Another pregnancy, that went the way pregnancy is supposed to go. All the way to 40 weeks – or, by the way the whole Garlic Bread thing shaped up in the end, maybe more than that. All the way to the end ON TWO FEET. To have a whole maternity wardrobe, instead of not bothering – men’s  gym shorts and t-shirts are fine when you never need to be out of pajamas. All that superficial kind of stuff, minus, you know, the medical misery and discomfort and danger and all of that. I’d like the whole kid experience without the giant ball of negative attached to the front end of it all. I’ve only got the one kid and only plan to have the one. I’d like another pregnancy with the same result, the same kid. A different, better pregnancy. It’s been over two years and I still think the whole thing was unfair. But then, I’m an adult. I can’t even think the word “unfair” without feeling like an enormous brat. I can’t think about something in my life being unfair without thinking about how good I do have it compared to others. To people whose pregnancies similar to mine had much worse outcomes. To people whose children aren’t healthy. Or to people who just want to be pregnant at all. At least I was pregnant and had Penelope, and she’s here and we get to keep her. So, then, guilt. Because sure, getting her was unpleasant, but she’s here now, and not everyone gets to have a perfect everything, and the whole saga of me getting pregnant, and the labor, and the delivery, and the NICU, and the next hospitalization, and the postpartum anxiety, and the VUR, and the year of monitoring and specialists, and the subsequent surgery, and the more monitoring – anyway, that’s getting past pregnancy, a bit – all of that is done and finished and we’re here now with our healthy kid.

Anyway, I was reading Swistle’s blog the other day because SHE ALSO GOT A TURBIE TWIST FOR CHRISTMAS (actually she gave some, but she’s also enjoying one, so close enough for bonding). That’s not why I was reading it, I always read Swistle’s blog. I have a category in my feed reader that serves up my “first to read” blogs whenever I open it, and hers is in there, among the ones I read first. I would have read it whether or not she got a Turbie Twist. But I mention the Turbie Twist because I was driven by our new connection to comment, so I was on her actual blog rather than reading through my reader, which caused me to be reminded of her tagline – one of the best ones in blogging, I think, because it neatly shuts down a lot of the common complaints about bloggers/blogging, and also helps me (because, ME) feel okay about a lot of the things I have to say here, and, okay, have to say in general.

“I acknowledge my luckiness, without giving up my claim to the suckiness.”

And while I washing dishes last night and thinking about this post, I kept coming back to that line, because I guess I do. I acknowledge that we have Penelope, and we are very lucky for it, especially in light of the incredibly large range of child-related struggles of friends and acquaintances.  But at the same time, I don’t give up my (our, but honestly, Phil needs to just write his own blog) claim to how sucky certain parts of it all have been. To be clear, no one I know has ever shamed me for dwelling or struggling with my experience with Garlic Bread – sometimes the opposite, in fact. I tend to separate Garlic Bread off from Penelope and deal with them separately, or one not really at all, except for brief flashes of unfairness/regret, which is of course followed quickly by that guilt. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to really get past that Garlic Bread/Penelope separation, though, and the regrets and frustrations and stress attached to the whole thing, if every time I think back to that time, any negative thoughts are slapped down by guilt and self-shaming about how good I actually had/have it. The fact is, there was a long stretch of time where the highlight of my day was putting on lip balm, because it marked the end point of another day that I made it through without a medical emergency, without having to check into the hospital for the duration, and without having to delivery a severely premature baby.

vaselinerosylips

Vaseline Lip Therapy in Rosy Lips

EOS lip balm in the weird ball shape is probably still my favorite and most useful lip balm, but I wanted to tell you about this Best/Worst most Useful/Useless lip balm in the world. I talked a while ago about how my face was getting really bad at facing, remember? You don’t need to, this is the Internet, it’s still available for you to refer to forever, even if I start to regret saying it some day. It’s right here. My lips were not excluded from that issue. This isn’t usually a huge problem, because I tend to lean toward darker lipsticks which cover a multitude of sadnesses and crimes and tear-filled journal entries about raindrops and, I don’t know, I don’t have much beyond surface feelings, I’m trying to draw on a teenage experience I didn’t have. But I do love mattes these days, and also, I have a few lighter shades that are essential for my newer attempts at a no-makeup makeup look, in my efforts to be a little more appropriate for various occasions, see question 31 of the 2013 year end wrap up. If your lips are all dried up, matte lipsticks and light shades are going to look like a pile of hot garbage.

One of the things that you absolutely need to do if you’re going to wear lighter lipstick shades or ESPECIALLY with mattes like the Revlon Matte Balms (I really like this formula and haven’t yet picked up a color I don’t like) or NYX Matte lipsticks (I like Alabama and I think I’ve only tried one other in the line, so unless you’re looking for a deep, deep red, I can’t offer a lot on that variety, but the reviews are fantastic) (also, I was going to put Amazon affiliate links here, because someone insinuated that the fact that I haven’t used them at all in a million years of blogging was unintelligent of me, but as I suspected, I found it hasslely, so let’s cut out the middle man, and some of you get really offended that I dared, and I get offended that you got offended, and we all talk behind each other’s backs, and then move on like it never even happened), do you remember what we were talking about? I was about to tell you that aside from lip balm – I really want to type lip BLAM! – you also need to exfoliate your lips. There are a couple of ways to do this. Soft tooth brush, homemade sugar scrub, purchased lip scrub, any kind of scrub.

Personally, for exfoliation, I’ve been using the e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator. It’s from the Studio Line of e.l.f. products, and it’s $3. It’s basically a sugar scrub, formed into a lipstick. Big grains of sugar in some kind of binding material. At first, the top layer of the moisturizing, binding stuff made it feel not especially effective, but after a few uses, that wears away and the sugar does get quite abrasive. I don’t think that this is anything special, though, compared to other lip scrubs you could buy or make, so it depends on the type of person you are. If you like making this kind of stuff, do that. If you want to buy a different brand, do that. The things this one has going for it – it’s $3, it’s in a convenient form. I don’t like sticking my fingers into my makeup/products very much. It’s a holdover from when I had really, really terrible skin in middle school and just reflexively try to keep my hands off my face and keep my hands off of things that are going to go on my face. e.l.f. products are sold at most Targets, but I haven’t seen this particular one at mine, which is a pain. The site does run constant sales, though, if you sign up for the mailing list, which is of the creepy variety that emails you immediately after you visit the site to tell you it missed you. I like to wait for a sale that offers a combination of free shipping and a percentage off the Studio line to grab a few things. The brand is very hit and miss, but there are a few things I like. In general, products in black packaging (the Studio line, $3 or $6) are better than those in white (usually $1-$2). There are a couple of Studio brushes I like, along with the HD setting powder, and I’m going on and on here, but if you’re interested in the lip exfoliator and can’t find it in store, there are a few things on the site that, when on sale, make a stock-up purchase worthwhile.

When I was Christmas shopping, I spotted this Vaseline Lip Therapy in Rosy Lips among the stocking stuffers at Target. I don’t know if it was supposed to be there, because it was the only one, but since my lips were about to set out across the desert to find themselves and possibly their real family among the cacti on some kind of vision quest, I grabbed it on a whim. It has been the best/worst and most useful/useless lip balm ever.

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With an elephant, for scale.

First, I am pretty sure I grabbed this because it is adorable. It is a tub of Vaseline, except it is miniature. It is 0.25 oz. It’s Vaseline for ants. Vaseline for terrifying ants. Terrifying ants with chapped lips. It’s tiny size lends to the idea that you just pop it in your purse for on the go lip balm application. Just reach in your purse, and BLAM! Tiny Vaseline, for your lips. Except, no. You can’t use this that way at all. By you, I mean me, and probably also you. I’m really making an effort to think about this reasonably and not just in the “my way is obviously the only way” kind of way, but I’m having a hard time, because my way is obviously the only way.

Backing up. I got this in the “shade” Rosy Lips, because it was the only one there at the time, but I probably would have anyway. This are a bitch and a half (hi, sorry, the language, let’s talk about it tomorrow) to find online, so I’m not linking to them anywhere, because you should look for them in stores. Since I got mine before Christmas, I’ve seen them in Target with the Vaseline, not with other lip balms and lip products. They’re $1.77 at my Target, and there were other kinds – original Vaseline, cocoa butter, and maybe something else? I could look it up. I put “shade” in quotation marks up there, because while it’s clearly pink in the tub, it doesn’t make my lips especially rosy. Since my liptone is a fairly neutral pink, I swatched it on the back of my hand to check, and there was no rosiness there, either. So you wouldn’t be missing out on any flattering color if you decided to go with cocoa butter or some medicated version that might or might not exist, I don’t know, because I didn’t look it up.

I’ve been putting this on at night, after using the e.l.f. lip treatment, along with a whole pile of other stuff I’ve started using on my face in the battle against the side effects of my medication and also the fact that, FINE, I GUESS I’M ALSO SEVERAL YEARS OLDER THAN I WAS SEVERAL YEARS AGO. I don’t have anything to say about any of that yet, because lips show things much faster than faces. I may or may not report later. I’m unreliable. (HEY, POTENTIAL FUTURE BOSSES, WHAT’S UP.) And it’s good! It’s thick. It’s… Vaseline. (Tangerines.) It’s thicker than I’d use in the daytime, I think, but I also use a thicker lotion at night, so it works in that way. I’m really pleased with it as part of my nighttime routine and how it’s helping combat not only the dehydrating side effects of my medications, but also the winter air and my nighttime mouth breathing. That’s a pretty tall order, and it’s hanging in.

BUT YOU CAN’T GO ANYWHERE WITH THIS. This little tub – it’s a TUB. There’s no application method with this. You must stick your finger directly in it. And it’s Vaseline. (Magazines.) When, throughout your day, is an appropriate time for your index finger to be coated in Vaseline? That’s setting aside the long term ramifications of sticking your finger repeatedly into something goopy you apply to your mouth, back and forth, over and over again. It’s not good. You can’t apply this on the go. Maybe at the very beginning of the tub, when the surface of the goop is at the very top, you can swipe a light layer onto the pad of your index finger and then onto your lips, and that’s fine. As use continues, though, the product gets lower down in there, and the size of the tub makes the angle of… finger-sticker-innery… such that there has to be a slight scooping motion, meaning that one, there’s always going to be just a little too much goop, and two, if you have fingernails of any length, some is going to get under. So you have to clean your finger after you put this on. World-ending? No. But I think that means this is not an out of the house lip balm.

Even if you don’t mind a good finger-gooping now and then, we were all becolded over Christmas, and you know when Vaseline shines? When every part of you is rattley and wheezey and dried out and husked up. I use a Q-tip to get my Vaseline lip therapy out of the tub each time and I only dip it once, because if not, then the tub would ALSO BE BECOLDED. AND RUINED. And do you KNOW how many times I would go to Target before I remembered to pick up a new tub? Probably a THOUSAND. Which means that I would say a lot of bad things when trying to apply an appropriate shade of lipstick for church (which no one determines but me, but still), because my lips would look like HOT GARBAGE, and that’s what happens when you have a lip balm that is SUPER USEFUL in healing crappy lips, with the most USELESS format ever.

Except, you can just use a Q-tip and also not take it anywhere and just use it at home, at bedtime, and I also recommend using it in tandem with your lip exfoliating method of choice. You’ll probably want to stick with your regular purse/pocket balm for daytime needs, but I think this is a pretty solid addition to whatever nighttime routine you’ve got going on. It’s just a regular part of my day, not a significant one. You can probably find Vaseline Lip Therapy at Target, or any number of other drugstores.

 

You know who is great? This guy.

P&PPG

I know that tomorrow is Veteran’s Day and if I’m going to be talking about how great Phil is, I should probably frame it somehow in terms of his military service, and it’s not that I’m not appreciative of his service and the service of the people he works with and all the men and women before him, but he just really doesn’t bring it home all that much. Well, except for some things that are up in the air right now, but that’s a whole different thing for a whole different day I’m probably not going to get around to because I don’t feel like trying to get Phil to explain it to me, because Phil is SO GOOD at SO MANY THINGS, but the guy is absolute crap at explaining things. I mean, just garbage at it. He starts talking like we’ve been in the middle of a conversation for half an hour, only my half has been going on in his head, so I’m just actually dropped in the middle with no clue what I’m supposed to have picked up in the previous half hour. Or like I’ve been working right along side him in the Air Force, with all the attendant knowledge, for the last sixteen or so years. Not only have I never been in the Air Force, but 16 years ago, I was 15. So, no, Phillip. No.

I only hope he doesn’t explain things to his coworkers as if they’ve been married for three years.

BUT WAIT, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT PHIL’S GREATNESS.

I’m not saying I don’t appreciate him on Veteran’s Day, I do. It’s just that before I knew Phil, it was easier to appreciate veterans because they were abstract kind of people who had served in the military, and that was their defining feature to me, and that was a pretty fine defining feature, if you’re going to have one, right? But I know Phil, and he has served in the military, and continues to do so, but we’ve also been together for five years now, and we drove all the way across the country together without killing each other, and we live together, and we’re married, and we have a kid. So he’s a guy in the military, but he’s also my husband, and he’s Penelope’s father, and the guy who does the dishes, and the guy who, even if I do the dishes which hardly ever happens, will start up the dishwasher for me because I don’t like to touch the dishwasher soap chunk thingies because they feel gross. He does a lot of things.

I’m not campaigning for a better appreciate a Veteran’s Day, or saying that we need to all TAKE A MINUTE and recognize that these men and women have done MORE and ARE MORE than just people who have served in the military. Of course they are. Duh. Everyone knows that. It’s just that this is a holiday set aside to recognize a particularly large thing that they have done. Incomprehensibly large, in some cases. WHAT I’M SAYING IS, that when I sat down to put up a picture of my husband with a caption that said, “Woo! Veteran’s Day! Woo!,” for me, about THIS PARTICULAR ONE SINGLE GUY that I am writing about in this post, I felt like I also wanted to put in SOME MORE STUFF.

(“Oh, you were writing a post and found that you wanted to include more stuff? How shoooocking,” you say.)

I’ve had about enough of you.

Let me start over.

Hey, did you know that tomorrow, possibly today if you are not reading this in the middle of the night, is Veteran’s Day? Did you know that my husband is currently in the Air Force? Did you also know that in addition to his military service, he is awesome in several other ways? Did you also know that this is my blog, and that after failing to justify combining Veteran’s Day with My Husband is Also An All Right Guy in Many Other Ways Day, I’m just going to do it anyway?

I’m in a bad mood now. I just don’t want to talk about heavy stuff, but I still want to, you know, acknowledge. I don’t want to offend anyone by not doing it correctly or taking it lightly, and it’s not that I think of the holiday lightly. I don’t at all. I just want to point out that I know it’s happening, and I know what my husband does, and I know that what he does is a thing, and he knows what he does is a thing, and actually, I know it more than he knows it, sometimes, I think. He’s been in the military long enough that he’s completely out of touch with how civilians view the military.

Well, that’s not true. I think he’s aware of some of the weird fringe that absolutely hate anyone in the military. But he’s genuinely boggled whenever anyone thanks him, which happens when he’s out in public in uniform. He feels awkward and doesn’t know how to respond, and I really think he doesn’t understand why people come up to him out of the blue to SAY SOMETHING to him. And I think I gave up a couple of years ago – I don’t know how many more ways I can say to him that that’s how people FEEL. People – real people – civilian people, of which he apparently is no longer one. Obviously. But he’s been in the military since he was 21. It’s just who and what he is, and it’s not that he doesn’t get the concept that people are appreciative, but he can’t seem to internalize it. Today we were at church, and it’s a big church, even with five services every weekend it’s still packed, so lots and lots of people, and the veterans were asked to stand and be recognized, and there was applause and appreciation and I didn’t even have to turn my head to know he hadn’t stood up.

And don’t even for one second suggest that he’s ashamed or embarrassed of what he does, because he’s not. It’s just that, I guess, to him, he’s a guy who does his job. He’s been doing it for so long, and surrounded by other guys who have been doing it for so long, and day to day, it is just a job – he works in an office and he comes home every evening right now, though of course there’s no guarantee it stays that way for any set length of time. And they don’t sit around in their offices congratulating each other on what a job they’ve taken on, and I truly think he’s fallen out of touch with how much other people truly don’t want to do it. How much other people don’t want to have to do it. Or how much other people don’t want their children to have to do it. How in other countries, everyone does it, and people know that. People know that a country has got to form a military, and if it’s not by volunteers, it’s by voluntolds, and it’s only as long as there are people volunteering to take on that job that other people’s children aren’t being told they have to do it.

I don’t think any of that goes through his head when someone comes up to say thank you, or when someone at the front of a room or auditorium or stadium or what have you asks all the veterans to stand up and be recognized for what they did or what they do. I gave up on explaining the civilian view of the military to him a long time ago, I think. I don’t really remember when. Maybe when I started appreciating him way more for all of the other awesome stuff he is.

Also, I got sick of going around with him about insurance after a few times explaining why I couldn’t go to the doctor before we met.

“Why didn’t you just make an appointment and go?”
“Because I had no time to take off work.”
“YOU HAD TO TAKE VACATION TIME TO SEE A DOCTOR?”

“Why didn’t just make the follow up appointment and go?”
“I couldn’t afford it.”
“But you had insurance.”
“Yeah, but it wasn’t covered.”
“But you had INSURANCE.”
“WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT HOW REAL PEOPLE INSURANCE WORKS.”

I’d ask Liz to back me up, but I’ll just have a stroke and she’d probably go right into labor. Oh yeah, big thumbs up to her husband, too. Non-insurance-grasping vets. Nab one for yourself!

Anyway. My husband. He’s great. In several ways. You will probably just be able to appreciate him as a veteran, and also because most of these pictures of him also feature Penelope.

P&PSB

Okay, several also feature food.

philstare

I get this a lot.
It means he loves me.

toddlerscience

TRYING SCIENCE.

airport2

Totally outstanding at moving airport reunions.
I was moved. I was totally moved.
I was moving away very quickly because six weeeeeeks.

P&PINO

Takes the responsibility of teaching Penelope about her West Coast heritage VERY seriously.

HOWCANYOUEVENSTANDIT

I give him credit for at least 35% of how adorable this family is.

Speaking of all the soap, here’s three dozen of another thing.

You know what’s just appalling? The state of our environment due to the overproduction and slow landfill decay of single use products and on top of that, holy shit, have you seen how much decent paper towels cost? I am not even kidding you, I will not purchase them. I won’t. I won’t buy them, but I have no alternate solution. I just don’t buy them, and I wipe my hands on my pants or on my shirt or I conveniently drag my boobs across a spill on the counter because that’s how tall I am and I don’t even like that shirt anyway. And then Phil buys some.

Yes, I lay out dishcloths, we have some, and we use them to dry dishes until they’re TOO WET to dry any more dishes, and then they have to sit and dry, or go in the wash. Or there’s one nearby when there is a spill, and we went on this long streak – this INCREDIBLY LONG STREAK, most of it happening while Phil was away for six weeks – where every towel in the house was called into action at the same moment. Like, beef juice ocean, and dish soap in the carpet, and why is water coming out of that pipe, and NO, TOILET, NO. Things that it’s good that you have towels for. Things that you don’t use PAPER towels for. Well, maybe you try to use a paper towel. Like, one time I dropped an entire gallon of milk, it just fell right out of my hands, and I looked all around the kitchen, going, “shit! shit! shit!” I actually say that for real, a lot. It’s unfortunate, but true, but (another but), I’m a person who encounters a lot of shit-appropriate situations.

Anyway, I dropped the milk, and I had my hands THROWN UP IN THE AIR. Like, my body actually reacted in the second least helpful way possible, the first least helpful probably being collapsing into a heap in the spreading pile of milk, and you know what, actually reverse THAT to second least helpful, because at least my clothes would have soaked some up. And I had my hands THROWN in the air, and I’m going, “shit! shit! shit!,” and I grabbed the roll of paper towels! EXCEPT IT WAS JUST ONE PAPER TOWEL! So I FLUNG IT! I FLUNG IT DOWN! And it floated slowly and landed on the puddle of milk, and soaked up, like, one one thousandth of all the milk in the world that was spread thinly over all of the kitchen. That’s why you have DISH towels handy in your kitchen, you know? And that’s why maybe I shouldn’t have been such an ass candle about picking up paper towels once in a while, but I swear on my husband’s poor taste in snack food, have you seen what the hell those things COST?

You can tell me about different brands of paper towels that are cheaper, but I will tell you two things: they’re all too expensive, and I know this, because I have looked at them in the stores with my eyes, so I know that they are all two expensive. Second thing? SHMAZORS. I have made the mistake of trying out a less expensive product when I know that I prefer the more expensive brand, and it is a mistake. You’ve never had a shmazors experience? What about Hunt’s ketchup? NO ONE LIKES THAT. The whole reason that those cute yellow and red picnic style condiment bottles exist is so that unsuspecting people will have Hunt’s or some other LESSER BRAND OF KETCHUP foisted upon their unwilling and innocent food. Or toilet paper. We like the kind in the purple package with the puppy. We have tried other things, and sales may be alluring, but it’s purple puppy all the way, because you don’t want to compromise on price only to find yourself SHMAZORED in your time of GREAT NEED. No, I don’t like how expensive paper towels are, it makes me SHAKE WITH GREAT RAGE, or at least kind of roll my eyes at Phil every time he refreshes the supply I refuse to consider whenever I do the rest of the grocery shopping, but can you imagine just HOW MANY WORDS I would have to say if not only did he bring an objectionably expensive product into my house, but it was also terrible and couldn’t even do its ONE JOB PROPERLY?

Probably at least 2500. Maybe even 3500. It would be a lot.

So I don’t want paper towels in my house. Well, I’m fine with them being in my house, because that part about the environment up there – I’m aware of it, for sure, but… (Let’s just pretend I trailed off and then kind of did like a little thing with my mouth, then maybe looked over your shoulder a bit to see who else was here, maybe some other people had arrived by now, rocked on my heels a bit, noticed my drink was empty, and then kind of just ambled away.)

I don’t want to buy paper towels. I no longer want to participate in acquiring paper towels, because they get used one time and thrown away (“WHICH IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT!,” you bellow from across the room, but I’m already involved in conversation with these other people and I wave you off with, frankly, a kind of rude hand flap sort of thing and when I reflect on it later, I probably would realize I can’t really hold it against you if you hold it against me) which only necessitates buying MORE, which is the part I just HATE. The buying. I just HATE it. I need to put a stop to the buying. I want to do no more buying. It is too much money on something I don’t get to use for my own personal happiness. Before you go thinking, “WELL, that’s exactly the kind of person I imagine you to be after the way you treated me at that thing that time,” I get some kind of peripheral happiness from the happiness of others, which counts, sort of, but no one gets happiness from the purchase of paper towels for my house, except for maybe Phillip, and that doesn’t count, because if you asked him if buying paper towels made him happy, he’d say yes, but only because the well has already been poisoned, and he knows that saying that would get under my skin, and we’re due a conversation about the fact that we’re on the SAME TEAM, PHILLIP.

Thus, a solution for paper towels is needed. I asked on Twitter who could link me to an Etsy store or the like for Unpaper Towels – it’s a thing – and a couple people mentioned that they just use dishcloths, or bar mops, or various other types of towels, and I get that those solutions work for a lot of people. And that towels for the kitchen already exist, thus me asking for something that sounds weird and invented for no reason might sound a little crazy. But I’ve tried dishtowels, and I’ve tried cloth napkins, and I’ve tried thick towels and thin towels and wash cloths and old prefold diapers, and while we do our best, they just don’t work for us as a replacement for paper towels. A dish cloth can be used a lot of times, but then it is manky and damp and no one wants to use it and it gets thrown in the wash and maybe it is replaced or maybe it isn’t. Or ALL the dishcloths get thrown into BEEF JUICE OCEAN one day. Also? If you couldn’t tell from yesterday’s post about ALL THE SOAP?

excitedswanson

We really like to wash our hands. A lot of times. Many times. Many, many, many times a day. My hands don’t feel especially clean after I wash them and then dry them on a damp dishcloth that’s been sitting by/in/around the sink in the kitchen all day. I can’t pat chicken dry with a dishcloth. Or dry potatoes I just scrubbed off. Well, I can. I can do all those things with a dishcloth. But in the course of cooking one meal, we’re talking about a mountain of dishcloths piling up. Not to mention the fact that we usually use paper towels as napkins with dinner.

Okay, I know in reading that it just sounds like a bunch of excuses a habits that need to be changed in order to do things your way (the general, dishcloth-using you), but we tried using dishcloths A LOT OF TIMES, and it just never took. For whatever reason, dishcloths did not fill the many roles that paper towels filled in our house. We made several attempts at it, and I’d know when it failed because Phil would buy some paper towels. So back to the fact that I decided to try something else, and asked for recommendations for unpaper towel vendors.

In general, unpaper towels are exactly what they sound like – cloth paper towels. Which… okay, I see now why they’re called unpaper towels. Because cloth paper sounds ridiculous. I looked at a lot of different vendors and saw several different options. Some offered flannel in colors or patterns. A popular option seems to be a kind that has a pattern on one side and the towels snap together on the ends so that they can actually be rolled around a holder, like standard paper towels. The most common option, though, seems to be birds eye cotton, somewhere between 10×10 inches and 11×12 inches (preshrunk or not depending on the store), serged around the edges in solid or varigated thread.

I looked at a lot of different shops and eventually went with the shop LoveForEarth, one of several recommended to me on Twitter. I liked the positive rec, plus the fact that it’s a popular shop with a lot of sales and a ton of good feedback. There are a lot of other eco friendly products offered in the shop. I ordered three separate dozens of the reusable napkins/unpaper towels (they seem to be called something different in every listing) in grape, papaya, and rainbow. The shipping took a while, but the lead time was listed in the shop note, so it wasn’t a big deal. Not really. Well. It was within the window, that’s what I’ll say. As far as quality, the serging is nice with no loopiness and all the towels were bright white (not that they stayed that way), and were really nicely packaged. Each dozen was actually thirteen, which was a pleasant surprise. There was some huge variations in sizing, which was strange, considering they’re described as washed and pre-shrunk before sewing even begins, but I got over it, mostly because I talked myself into feeling petty about it.

As for use! We haven’t bought any paper towels! By we I mean Phil. Because I wasn’t going to anyway. I can’t believe how successful they’ve been, but it turns out that the key is that they are actually as close to paper towels as possible. They do this because they are single use, just like a paper towel. We keep them in a basket near the sink, and once used, they go in a laundry bag on the other side of the sink. We need a better solution for that right now, but I’m afraid of the dogs running off with the bag. They don’t sit around all damp, waiting to be used again, though they CAN be rinsed out and laid over the faucet to dry – it doesn’t take long. We use them to dry hands, to wipe spills, to WIPE PENNY FACES!!, as dinner napkins, as cooking towels, as potato dryers, as everything. They are everything.

For washing, when the bag is full, they go in the wash with whatever’s being washed. They came with some washing instructions, but I can’t be bothered to be precious with them. I do remove the dryer bar from the dryer when I dry them, because fabric softener lessens absorbency like with any other towels, but other than that, they just get washed. Obviously they’re stained, we don’t care. And I know that by not following the washing instructions (which weren’t CRAZY or anything, I just knew from the start they were being laundered with clothes, end of), if they fall apart sooner than I feel they should, I’ll technically be to blame, but that won’t stop me from being annoyed. In seriousness, they’re pretty hardy little cloths. I don’t expect them to fall apart. I don’t expect them to do anything but keep wiping stuff.

In fact, we actually need more. I bought three dozen initially, but I don’t know if you heard, we really like to wash our hands. We often have an empty basket and a wet dishcloth on the counter, and now I hate dishcloths, too. I’m going to order a few dozen more – for the three of us, multiplied by freakish handwashing, I think I’d probably like to have six dozen or so. Maybe another set dedicated to cleaning, but I DO actually use old prefolds for that. When I order more, I’m considering Athena Creates, Gnome Clothes, and Man In the Moon Herbs for my next sets, so if anyone has any first hand experience there, I’d love to hear it.

ALSO, in case I described the snap together type poorly, here’s a store where that kind is offered.

ALSO, CHURCH WAS SO GREAT TODAY. I’ll save that for another day!

I remembered one of my complaints.

I remembered one of my complaints.

I like Louis CK. I like him a lot. I think he’s a funny guy, and his humor hits me just right. I loved the series he had on HBO, with the little kid, and the ballet routine she did to the hilariously inappropriate song about the vagina and the buttcrack, but not before asking fifteen times, “Are you READY for the SHOW?” I like what he’s doing with his new specials, offering them for download on his site at a low price and just asking people not to pirate them, because, hey, here they are for you. I think he’s a smart guy in basically all the ways he needs to be smart as a guy and as an entertainer and as someone I want to entertain me, specifically.

Anyway, he’s a smart, funny guy, which is what I like in a guy. I mean, it’s most of what I like in a guy. I also like an essential Phil-ness in men. Luckily, I found one that was pretty stuffed up on that quality. I don’t know what I feel the need to quickly clarify that I like smart, funny guys that are also my husband. I can just like smart, funny guys and still remain married to my husband. Smart, funny guys can exist independent of the smart, funny (let’s not get into types of funny because you just can’t drill down to specifically into your list of wants or you’ll be alone forever and sometimes you have to settle for the guy who thinks puns are just THE BEST and decide that okay, you’re going to go ahead and CALL that funny because at least, while he does think puns are hilarious, he also recognizes that YOU’RE funny, and that counts for something – a lot of something) guy that I married. OKAY. I LIKE LOUIS CK. GUY’S GOT SOME SMART, FUNNY THINGS TO SAY. AGREE? AGREE.

So recently, I guess on a talk show, Louis CK talked a bit about why he thought cellphones and spending time with faces buried in a screen is bad for kids. It’s an opinion he’s got, the host asked him about it, he talked about it a bit. That’s what these shows are for. You ask celebrities to talk about stuff. Louis CK is a guy who can speak eloquently (or entertainingly, depending on what you consider eloquent, I guess) on a pretty wide array of topics. He’s got kids, he’s talked about them before. He’s also talked about technology before. So for a couple minutes, he talked about both. Okay, fine.

BUT THEN. The next day. All those parenting sites, you know, the stupid ones we never read because they’re totally without editorial supervision (okay, not totally without, but this one time, a column was nearly completely plagiarized and when called on it, the person supposedly in charge said that they have a lot of writers and she can’t possibly be expected to watch over them all, I am not kidding, that is a thing that happened in real life) and full of slideshows about shit no one actually cares 15 clicks worth about? And some other sites. Tons of headlines like (and I’m saying “like” because I don’t recall exactly what and I don’t care to go look because temerity-jane.com just has tons of authors and I can’t be expected to keep track of all of them and hold them to any kind of standards like accuracy and non-assholioacy) “LOUIS CK THINKS OUR CHILDREN SHOULDN’T USE CELL PHONES!” and “FIND OUT WHY LOUIS CK THINKS SMART PHONES ARE BAD FOR KIDS!”

As I said above in a big chunk of about a hundred to a hundred and fifty words like I say everything else, I like the guy, and I think he’s smart and he’s funny. But unless what Louis CK has to say about kids and cell phones or screen time or whatever the hell we’re calling it when we put the little “be quiet for a while” machine in front of our kids is punctuated with the word “fuck” or “fucking” or “motherfucker” or some variation on “shit” or “shitty” or basically any kind of profanity because I think it’s funny when he’s profane, it’s like a cow’s opinion to me, in that I don’t give a fat fistful of gross chewed up and regurgitated wet grass about it.

And it’s not even that I begrudge the guy for having an opinion about kids and cell phones, it’s an issue. He has kids. And I don’t begrudge him for talking about it. He talks about things. That’s what he does. It’s his job. He’s ragged on cell phone addiction before, and it was funny, and I know I’m not the only person in the world to have obnoxiously told someone else to “give it a MINUTE.” So yeah, it’s something he’d talk about. No, no, what’s kind of ridiculous to me is the reprinting and rehashing of it on sites like the aforementioned content pile, on Slate, on Mashable, on the Wall Street Journal’s site! As if I am to sit and ponder the SERIOUS IMPLICATIONS OF LOUIS CK’S OPINION ON CHILDREN AND SMART PHONES and how I might best apply that to my own parenting.

There is already enough pressure and implied shame about limiting screen time from actual sources. We don’t need a literal MADE UP SOURCE brought into it as well. AND I’M NOT SAYING the guy isn’t entitled to his opinions. HE IS. And I am INTERESTED in hearing them. On the television. And then going to bed. And then not discussing them over coffee and a notepad because holy shit. We can silently self-shame just fine without bringing Louis CK into it.

I really, really don’t want to discuss with anyone, now or ever, if your kid has a cell phone or if they’re allowed to use yours, or use an iPad, or for how long each day, or how much television they’re allowed to watch. I don’t want to have that conversation today, where someone says they agree with me that the self-shaming is enough, “and, actually, my kid watches a lot of screen stuff,” and then lists what she thinks is a lot, but someone else feels bad because that doesn’t seem like a lot to her, and someone else thinks that’s WAY too much and lists HER schedule of much, much less, and someone else actually just built a yurt in the woods with her kids, so fuck all the rest of us anyway.

THE POINT OF IT ALL IS, it’s really hard not to raise a shitty kid. It’s especially hard not to raise a shitty kid when other parents are letting their kid be shitty right to your kid’s face. Or, worse, when the ADULT is being shitty right in front of your kid, doing the very things you’re trying to teach your kid not to do in an effort not to raise a shitty kid. On top of it, everyone you know and everything you read carries an opinion on what it is to be shitty or not shitty – both for your kid, and for your efforts and methods in creating your not shitty kid. You spend your whole life picking and sorting through your own ideas, goals, hopes, and gut feelings to cobble together a parenting method that you hope is going to result in the happiest, least shitty, HAPPIEST kid possible. At night, when I settle down after maybe crying in the shower or maybe staring blankly in the steam for half an hour or maybe just rhythmically thudding my head off the wall for a while, and I settle down to be entertained for a bit, I’m not going to sift through all that stuff, too. Because it’s moo.

******

I have seen just enough 30 Rock to think it’s hilarious to say, “You’re not a paht of this, Lemon,” to a dog encroaching on my fish stick and Stovetop preparation space.

*******

Remember how I said registration for PJs at TJ’s was opening on 10/10, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, so for the best and most up to date information, you should join the Facebook group? I hope you took me at my word if you wanted to go and weren’t waiting for more updates here, because it sold out in 30 minutes, which was surprising and awesome. That was a thing that happened that I did not think was going to happen.

******

Something, something, here’s Penelope.

Penelope waiting for ham.

Traditional Sunday Waiting for the Ham.

I should explain that caption. See, on Sundays, after church, we go out for lunch, and Penny orders a ham sandwich. Then I take a picture of her, waiting for her ham. I did not need to explain that caption.

******

Here is a thing I am suggesting to you.

wnwcapp

It’s Wet n Wild. I’m real n serious.

So, apparently, while I wasn’t looking, Wet n Wild has been stepping up the quality a lot over the last few years. Tons of beauty bloggers who are actual beauty bloggers have covered that, so I’m not going to, but definitely look up some reviews and swatches of a bunch of the eye shadow trios they have out, for example. They’re still priced very low and they put out a lot of seasonal and limited lines in fun colors, so they can be an inexpensive way to add some out there shades to your collection without spending $10 or $12 on singles from the high end brands.

Now, some stuff is still hit or miss, like you’d expect with a cosmetics line at this price point. When I picked up this powder, I also got a Color Icon Shadow Trio in Spoiled Brat that was just a mess when I tried it. The lid shade had fallout all over my face, the crease shade wouldn’t blend, and the browbone shade… actually, I don’t think that one was so bad, but I just tossed the case aside. More talented makeup people could probably make it work with no issues, but I am not an expert. I’m like Louis CK when he talks about kids. He has some. I have some makeup. Doesn’t mean you should look at me like I know what I’m doing, sitting on top of my hoard and chortling like Scrooge McDuckface. Whatever, it was $2.50 at Wal-Mart and I’ll pass it to someone else at PJs.

THE POWDER, THOUGH. If you’re very fair and have a hard time finding a powder foundation to match your skin, Wet n Wild Coverall pressed powder in 821B just might be your match, and I picked it up at Wal-Mart the other night for $2.43. You can use it with a big, fluffy brush to set all of your makeup in place. You can use it as a powder foundation if that’s the style you prefer. For me, I’ve been using a BB cream instead of foundation lately. I use this powder to set my under eye concealer and brighten that area up just a little bit, and then, since BB cream doesn’t offer full coverage, I use a sponge and press this powder with a kind of rolling motion over my chin and next to my nose where I have some redness. I haven’t been able to use a powder like this before, because until now, I’ve been using (and loving) Rimmel’s Stay Matte powder in translucent. Translucent powder is awesome for the super fair/pale, but a powder that actually matches skin tone has way more utility.

Give it a try. You may have to hunt around a little for the shade, but try Wal-Mart or Walgreens. You can always order online, but that takes a little away from how great the price is.

******

Last thing! Just a reminder that I will keep reminding you about just a little bit because Phil and I are a team: he’s participating in the Extra Life marathon for Children’s Miracle Network and it’s coming up. His fundraising page is here, and we’d appreciate anything you can do to help. There are social media buttons on the left hand side of the page, so if you’d share the page to your friends and family and guilt them with our adorable child, that would be swell. This is my part of the team effort, because I’m having no part of the whole “24 hours” thing. Nope.

What it all comes down to is that I had to make my own jello.

No time for pleasantries.

– Remember when Penny was in the hospital in August and I was all cryptic about what was wrong with her? That was because I didn’t want your reassurances. I know, that makes me sound like an asshole. But the thing is, I had (and have) genuine concerns, and sometimes a person just needs to worry them through without being told “oh, my aunt had that and she’s fine so obviously your kid will be fine!” Anyway, we worried through it all, and now I’ll tell you – Penny has vesicoureteral reflux – or VUR – or kidney reflux. And we’ve gone ahead and scheduled her for surgery for July 5th. It was just one of several possible options, but it was the best option for us. I think. I’m pretty sure. I mean, logically, I’m sure.

BUT SHE’S SO TEENY AND SHE’LL BE HAVING SURGERY OH MY LANDS YOU GUYS.

This is how I intend to distract you from the impending lack of content.

– Okay, remember when I was in the hospital and you were a total jerk about it? Well, I went (or more like, had Phil take me to) the ER because I was dealing with insane vertigo. More than dizziness. I mean the whole world was just whipping around me. It was so miserable. Nonetheless, I was still surprised when I was admitted to the hospital. They made me use a walker and wouldn’t let me pee by myself. Honestly, if I had blogged it in a timely fashion, it would have been some hilarious stuff. In a sad-for-me kind of way, but that’s usually my best stuff. I want you to know that it bothers me that I just ended two sentences in a row with the same word, but I just sat my kid in the middle of the floor with a whole cheeseburger and some french fries so while normally anal about such things, it’s a bit low on my give a damn chart at the moment. Just want you to know that I know.

Moving on, I had a CT scan and an MRI and both were perfectly clear, which is why I didn’t feel the need to alert any of my east coast family that I was in the hospital – I mean, come on. So they could worry over nothing? So I would have to call them multiple times a day to update them on my nothing? I told Phil that if it had turned out to be a brain tumor, he could call them. It didn’t, so he didn’t. Long story short, my mom threatened the shit out of him when we were in Pennsylvania for Penny’s birthday.

Internet, I need your honest opinion on this. Is it my job, as a 30 year old lady, to inform my family, on the other side of the country, of all of my medical issues? Some of them? Where’s the line? Colds? Fevers? ER trips? Broken bones? Admissions? How many days? Keep in mind that YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING from across the country and also family across the country wants CONTINUAL UPDATES from the person WHO IS SICK and DOES NOT WANT TO UPDATE. Seriously. What is an adult’s duty to family when it comes to medical issues, disclosure thereof?

So, the vertigo would have remained a mystery, had the neurologist not arrived right when a ripping headache that the floor doctor refused to treat in case it would mask symptoms was about to kill me. He quickly diagnosed vestibular migraine, which you can Google if you want, and then you’ll know exactly as much as I do, which is about nothing. When I got out of the hospital, the dizziness and vertigo took so long to fade I was resigning myself to the fact that I was going to be desperately clinging to walls for the rest of my life like all of the other sad stories I had managed to find online. Then… it was gone. Mostly. Most of the time. Lots of headaches and some mild dizziness, but no big episodes.

I don’t want to say a lot about vestibular migraines, because as of right now, I don’t have a lot of information. When I was looking for information myself, all I found was horror stories or just more people looking for information themselves. So. Nothing like that from me. I will say that my neurologist is going to be running a couple more tests and as of right now, thinks I’m an excellent candidate for migraine management with medication, so I’ve started on Topamax. I’ve taken it in the past and I know it’s a brutal medication, so we’ll have to see if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. I have high hopes of no headaches. Well, fewer headaches, since Phil has no plans of moving out.

AAAHAHAHAHA GET IT? PHIL IS MY HUSBAND!

BUH DUM CHING!

– Remember all those times you told me, “You know, you really should go to the eye doctor, and you should let the eye doctor look in your eyes, and also you should do the puff test?” Well, I don’t like to do any of those things. I like to order my glasses online and never discuss it with anyone, ever. But I unfortunately have birthed a violent hooligan who slaps my $8 Zenni Optical frames off my face on the regular and they finally gave up the ghost on Saturday night, when Phil and I were supposed to be having a real live adult date while my mother (who flew back from Pennsylvania with Penny and I under the guise of helping me since Phil had flown back a week early but UNDER THE REALITY of soaking up my adorable child) had the only kind of grandparent-grandbaby bonding time that really counts – the kind where the parents are nowhere to be seen.

I would have loved to order from Zenni again, but with the whole headache mess, I couldn’t deal with being glassesless for any length of time and thus had to deal with the OPPRESSIVE NATURE of shopping for glasses in the real world, where they refuse to just GIVE YOU SOME and instead insist on peering straight into your head.

And you know what? Go ahead and say you told me so. Just get it out of the way. Because guess what? The doctor looked in there? AND SOMETHING WAS WRONG. He referred me to a specialist for papilledema, which as I basically understand it, means my eyeballs are going to explode. But that’s not the CRAZY part.

Like any normal person, before calling any specialist, I of course went home and googled (this was yesterday). This papilledema is caused by high pressure inside your brain bag, and you know what one of the main causes of THAT is?

TUMOR.

Except? I had a CT and an MRI just a couple of weeks ago and there WAS no tumor.

Obvious conclusion?

THE FULL BODY SCANNER AT THE AIRPORT GAVE ME A TUMOR.

(Please note: no tumor has been confirmed and is, in fact, only suspected by the part of me that is convinced that everything from an earache to stubbing my toe is probably caused by a tumor, but when you think about it, what other conclusion could there be?)

There was going to be more here today, including some deeply philosophical questions about leaning your seat back on airplanes, but guys – I am not even shitting you right now – I just got back from urgent care and I have strep throat.

I have crazy migraine managed with the medication from hell, exploding eyeball most likely caused by the naked cancer box at the airport and NOT EVEN FUCKING WITH YOU STREP THROAT.

Here’s my current favorite picture of my baby.

Long-winded reasons for not doing stuff.

I have this to do list of things that I am supposed to have put here by now, so sit back and listen to me tell you why I haven’t put them here.

1. Penny’s 8 month post. I know I’m not going to keep these posts up forever, and like last month, I’m wondering if this is going to be the month that it finally stops, but I HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS. It’s just that every time I go to take the picture with the bears? Penny throws up on herself. Enough to ruin a picture, but not enough to justify changing her outfit.

“Oh my GOD. I ALWAYS change my baby’s clothes when he pukes on himself! ALWAYS!!”

WELL INVITE ME TO YOUR AWARD CEREMONY FOR MOTHER OF THE PLANET AND I PROMISE TO FEEL SUITABLY INFERIOR.

I hope this isn’t the month I finally allow my true laziness to come through, though, since this was the month that contained Penny’s first Christmas, as well as some actual milestones. Like WAVING. You guys. She waves and waves. Last night she wouldn’t sleep, so she was laying in our bed, and it was like she was COMPELLED TO WAVE. And she waved and waved, but she only waves with her left hand, and she was laying down. So it wasn’t so much waving as it was a rhythmic slapping of Phil’s face while he tried to sleep.

I’m not going to lie, Internet. It was hilarious.

Seriously, though. She wants to wave when she should be sleeping. I don’t know how to communicate to her that she’s pretty much nailed it and doesn’t need to practice anymore. Not very Tiger Mom of me, I know.

2. Our trip to Pennsylvania for Penny’s first Christmas. Penny was an amazing traveler. She got all kinds of compliments about her behavior on the planes. It was much easier than we possibly could have hoped, with the only real difficulties being ill-timed poops and how uncomfortable it is to hold a lap baby in those small seats. Even travel with cloth diapers wasn’t especially terrible.

Santa only brought Penny a couple of things, including some new pajamas and a PARACHUTE.

The pajamas are particularly awesome:

The whole of the Christmas trip would be a bit too much to cover at the moment, and to be honest, one very small thing has really soured me on the memory of it all. I’d rather write about her first Christmas when I’m a little less irritated. Irritated is a very gentle word for it.

I assure you, though, Santa came out looking like a chump with his few simple gifts. Grandparents, aunts and uncles filled in where Santa was stingy and Penny now owns, among other things, her very own iPhone case and apps, a baby doll and stroller, and an entire new wardrobe.

Santa got schooled.

3. Baby led weaning. This style of feeding the baby is really working out well for us, especially since Penny popped up a couple of fangs over the holidays. She’s sitting behind me right now, enjoying a mid-morning snack of apple scrapings.

Do you see her scrapings? She just learned how to do that yesterday. And she was DELIGHTED. Shrieks of glee. She positively gorged herself on teeny, painstakingly fanged scrapings of apple. It was hilarious, as you could tell that she was totally shocked – she’s used to just sucking and gumming on her apples. She was grinning at me around a mouth of apple mush, like she thought she was the first baby in the history of the world to spring teeth and learn how to use them.

She’s gotten very excited and kind of demanding about food. On the plane, Phil and I each had a sandwich and she was giving his the eye. So, as we usually would, he pulled off a small piece of bread and a little turkey shaving for her, and she WAS NOT HAVING IT. She dropped them and strained and reached as far as she could – NOTHING BUT THE ENTIRE SANDWICH WOULD DO.

She wants whatever you’ve got.

Anyway, it’s simple enough to say that Penny is eating anything and everything, but I’ve gotten a good number of questions about the way we choose to feed Penny – what we feed her, if we cut up her food, what about choking, etc – so it would probably be best to do a more detailed post explaining how Penny has handled being thrown into the deep end of food with no spoon feeding and no purees. I will do that. I swear.

4. Cosmo! I’ve had the newest Cosmo for the longest time, and I can’t work up the desire to do this one. Know why? Because Scarlet Johansson is on the cover. I don’t know, something about her really chaps my ass.

You know how people have lists? You know, the people you’re allowed to totally get with and your spouse can’t get mad, because, come on, the list? Phil doesn’t really have a list, but one time when I asked him, he said, “I don’t know… Scarlet Johansson, I guess?”

AND I VETOED HIM. Even though you’re not really allowed to do that with the lists.

I just don’t like her. Something’s not right. She looks like she just smelled her own butt all the time. Unless she’s playing some super cute character, but even then I can’t get into it, because I remember all these pictures of her where she looks like she just smelled her own butt. I feel like if I ever talked to her, I’d be wondering if I smelled like a butt the whole time. She has this air about her that makes me think that SHE thinks that everyone in the world but her smells like butt, but you know what? It’s probably her own butt, because I think she’s up it.

Anyway. Next month!

I’m a jerk, tiny tyrants, and sleep paralysis.

One thing about which I am absolutely, unabashedly, and totally unashamed-ly judgmental: people who talk about working on their tan, and are not talking about a spray tan or a tan from a can or what have you, in the fakey way. No, the ones who talk about deliberately sitting in the sun for an extended period of time with the intent of darkening their skin tone, or who pay to go and lay under UV lights for the same purpose.

I mean, it’s not like I hear it and immediately damn the person to hell or anything. I just raise my eyebrow and think, “Really? Really?”

Because, come on. Really? It’s 2011. Really?

I guess it’s the same way non-smokers look at smokers. But I don’t think tanners get the same lectures.

Anyway, I think it’s stupid. And normally, when someone popped up in the comments and said, “Well, I deliberately tan, but it’s because of X, Y, Z,” I’d say, “Oh, of course I don’t mean YOU. It’s fine if YOU do it.” But not today. Because even if I like you and have told you on multiple occasions that you’re one of the most awesome people I know, I’m still judging the whole tanning thing.

2011!

*****

I did the whole “put Penny down for a nap” thing again yesterday, only I didn’t put her in her bin because I napped with her on the bed. So, for her second nap, of course she wouldn’t go in the bin. Why would she go in the bin, where there’s a whole gigantic bed available to her?

She wasn’t amused.

Both yesterday and the day before, her second nap of the day was basically nothing. Today, I tried once again to stick her to her new schedule, where she goes down to sleep 2 hours after she wakes up in the morning, but she decided to fall asleep less than an hour after she woke up this morning. You guys, I hear this 2-3-4 schedule (or something along those hourly lines, kid-dependent) is fantastic, but my baby is not on board. I don’t know how I’m supposed to tell her that I don’t care if she’s tired, she’s not allowed to sleep. She gets so mad, you guys. So, so mad.

Yeah, so, she’s sleeping in her swing right now, setting her own terribly inconvenient schedule. I totally plan to be the boss of my own kid someday, but she’s seriously a little tyrant right now. I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I can’t really complain because night time sleep is pretty okay and we’re generally well-rested around here these days, but daytime sleep is crap. And she gets so tired and so whiney about being so tired, yet refuses to be molded into a sensible sleeping schedule. I can’t get through to her that she is ONLY SCREWING HERSELF by not letting ME dictate appropriate sleep hours.

And I guess I could let it slide, for a while, at least, because so what if she doesn’t sleep much in the day (seriously – one kind of long nap, then 10 minutes here and there), if she’s doing well at night? It would be fine if she didn’t require constant eyeball-to-eyeball when she was awake. She KNOWS if she doesn’t have 100% of your attention. She attempts to kick my Kindle out of my hand on the regular. SHE KNOWS.

*****

Let me tell you about a thing that happens to me: Sleep paralysis.

Has this ever happened to you? If it has, you probably googled it a hundred years ago and right now, you’re all, “YES. SHIT. YES.”

If it hasn’t happened to you before, let me tell you what it’s like: you’re laying there, sleeping along, doing your sleep thing, and then you wake up. Like, wide awake.

Except, you’re not totally awake. Well, you’re awake, but you’re not. Your brain is up, your body is asleep. Totally asleep. You can’t make it do anything, but you’re totally aware of everything around you.

I remember the first time it happened to me. I was in high school, I think, or home from college for the summer, and I was laying on my parents’ couch, napping, with the phone on my stomach. My sister was sitting on another couch, watching television.

When I woke up, I could hear the TV, I could hear her moving around, I could feel the phone on my chest. I couldn’t move, though. At all. I couldn’t speak, either. I tried so hard to get my sister’s attention to tell her I was obviously… dying? frozen? under a witch’s spell? But, obviously, couldn’t make a sound. I tried to move my hands to knock the phone off my stomach to get her to look over and see something was wrong, but I couldn’t. I guess, from her perspective, I just looked like I was still asleep.

I don’t really remember how that episode ended. I assume I went back to sleep and when I woke up, I was normal again.

That’s scary enough, right? Well, those of you who have experienced sleep paralysis a few times know that it can get a lot worse.

I lived in this apartment for my last couple years of college, on the ground floor of a building, and one winter, a mouse chewed his way in. He came into my bedroom where the baseboards met in a corner of my room, and we had such a stand off, he and I. I would stand on furniture and see his nose peeking out from under something, and he could stay like that for AGES, only to make his mad dash across the floor when I least expected it.

I’m not going to tell you what happened to the mouse, except that I killed it with a trap. Well, that’s pretty much what happened to the mouse. I was afraid there would be more, but after that one died, there wasn’t another siting for the next two years I lived here. Maybe they were hiding out, or maybe I got a rep as an amazing mouse killer, what with my laying of traps and tiptoeing around corners in the morning to peep through my fingers and see if there was anything dead in the traps, and when there was, calling my friend Jeff to come from 10 minutes away in the middle of the night to dispose of the whole deal.

Anyway, the mouse that I killed was gone when I had this sleep paralysis experience. It started like it always does – I realize that I’m awake before I open my eyes. You know how waking up and opening your eyes are usually happening at the same time, or at least it seems like they happen at the same time? Well, when this happens, I become aware that I’m awake while my eyes are still closed and am tipped off that NOOOOOOO THIS AGAAAAAAAIIIIIN is happening when I try to open my eyes and it doesn’t happen.

By that point in my life, it had happened enough that while it was still really scary, I was aware that it wasn’t permanent and everything was going to be fine eventually. I just needed to wait it out.

Except this time was different. I was laying there, waiting it out, unable to move at all, when I felt something moving in my mattress. I don’t know how exactly to describe it, but I KNEW there was a mouse in my mattress, and he was CHEWING. OUT. Up towards me. And I couldn’t move. I felt the chomping and I felt him bust through the mattress, right near my face, and he ran onto my pillow and into my hair, and crawled/wriggled himself under my neck, between me and the pillow, and I COULDN’T MOVE AT ALL.

I had to just LAY THERE while a mouse chewed through my bed and got into my hair and under me and ran all around me.

Oh, man. I CAN STILL FEEL IT. Exactly how it felt when the mouse went under my neck and wiggled around under there.

Just like always, I had to wait it out, nothing I could do, until I fell back asleep and woke up normally.

I woke up to find no hole in my mattress, no mouse to be seen, not even any ruffling of my hair. So, that never happened. But I am not skilled enough with words to describe to you how ABSOLUTELY REAL it felt. I am not kidding when I tell you I can STILL feel it. I remember everything about it, from the mattress chewing to the mouse-on-neck contact. SO real. So horrifying.

There can be hallucinations, you guys. Sleep paralysis alone is not terrifying enough. There can also be incredibly real hallucinations.

This isn’t something that happens all the time, or even a lot. It’s probably happened 5 times total that I can think of. Doesn’t matter how rare it is, though – if I ever feel myself awake when my eyes are closed, no matter how close I am to drifting back to sleep, I have to make sure they open. HAVE TO.

So, the question is, does sleep paralysis actually happen, or is it some kind of terrible, extremely vivid, absolutely realistic, recurring dream? I don’t know. I do know, though, that once I became an internetty person, I found several other people online who had experienced the same kind of thing, and when I wrote about it on my last blog, “sleep paralysis” remained one of the top search hits for the entire life of the site.

So I’m writing about it now for two reasons:

1. Has sleep paralysis ever happened to you? Do you know what I’m talking about, or do I sound like a lunatic right now? If sleep paralysis has never happened to you, have you ever experienced some kind of physical phenomenon that will make ME be all, “what the HELL?” If you can’t sympathize on the sleep paralysis, at least share your freakitude with me.

2. I figure writing about sleep paralysis will finally knock “KY Yours & Mine review” out of the top spot for search results.