Sunday, December 27, 2009

19 Weeks - So That Was Christmas

A belated Merry Merry to you all!

J and I had a lovely holiday. I have pictures! Which of course I can't upload here, because they are not on this computer. Oh, and I am a lazy sonofabitch. But only for a few more days, y'all. What up 2010?!? It's almost resolution time, lovers. What will you be resolving to do in Ten?

I was very spoiled this year (so spoiled that I think J and I are done with gifts, at least for next year)... I mean, I got the Kindle! Naturally, I am deeply in love. And I got the iPod Touch (though previously owned, long story). And I got this book, which actually has made my love for Sara surpass my love for Oprah, which is quite serious, no? Now I begin sentences, "Well, Sara Snow says..." which doesn't annoy J at all.

Most notably, I received a family heirloom. Immediately before dinner on Christmas day, my uncle Frank presented me with a ring from my great-great Aunt Mary. The ring was fashioned from her mother's mother's mother's most treasured pair of gold and pearl earrings. It's gorgeous and unique. It was also accompanied by a letter written in 1959 (the earrings are now 150 years old) by my Aunt Mary, which Uncle Frankie handed me to read aloud. Good night! I couldn't get one word out without blubbering. Am pregnant puddle. And also: very blessed.

Antique heirlooms aside, perhaps the best present I received this year? J's mustache. It's... stunning. He's been cultivating it since last Saturday, and I know it will grow even more spectacular. I swear: photos to come.

How about y'all? Any great gifts this year?

Today I'm 19 weeks prego, and Ninja is doing some fast and furious pop-and-locks in the old uterus. It's wildly exciting to feel a little person in there. We have our 20-week ultrasound next Monday, and although we are determined NOT to find out the sex, I wouldn't be crushed if the N flashed us some bits. We shall see! Are we really halfway there?

Oh! And the GMATs went well. My overall score was top-notch, but I am concerned with my quantitative score. I toyed with the idea of retesting, but honestly, I have actively forgotten all of the geometry I just crammed into mah brain. Next stop: GREs.

More updates to come. Until then, as Sara Snow says: be well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

17 Weeks. Seriously, My Back Really Hurts You Guys.

Wait a minute; what happened to 16 weeks?

16th week recap: For two consecutive blissful nights, I didn't wake up at 2 AM to pee. The end.

17 weeks? Yes, still with the peeing. And my back is killing me. But I won't bore you with my grievances. Nay, I shall tell you that I had a doc's appointment this week, and Ninja is still glorious. Heart rate is about 155, though the N was very squirmy. The doctor found the heartbeat right away, but then she'd lose it. "The baby is really moving around in there," she said. "You hear that noise?" she asked, referring to a strange, muted, underwatery, sounding motion. (Amazing description! You should be a writer!) "That's a hand or foot moving through the amniotic fluid."

Well, go Ninja, with your stealth kung fu. Bad. Ass. (Or maybe he is a dancer, J!)

(Oh, I said he. I have to stop that, but honestly, I am convinced I am cooking a boy.)

OK, so the ten of you (and my new son or daughter) don't really want to hear about all of this, do you? I mean babies are adorable and chubby and snuggly, but still, I have something BETTER. Oh my. Something, insanely delicious. Are you ready?

You must know that J and I journeyed to my mother's for some eats on Sunday. My stepfather, Bucky (not a pseudonym) mentioned he was cleaning out the basement. "I have a bunch of your stuff down there," he added. "I'm going to throw it out if you don't go through it."

(As if! They have been threatening me like this for ten years.)

But later, Buck came upstairs carrying a ginormous box filled with mother-effing TREASURES.

Where to begin? There were sketches. Sketches of my EIGHT future kids. (Judd says: Oh HAHA! "Victoria Leslie" was born in 2002. Loser.) And there names were awesome and regal. And then I also maybe sketched their rooms. And then maybe some fabulous designer fashions. And maybe I wrote a song entitled "Nice and Naughty." Oh, oh yes I did.

Verse 1
Some say I 'm nice
Some say I'm naughty
Some say I'm perfect
Some say I oughta be PUT AWAY

Verse 2
Some say they like me!
Some say they don't
Some say they'll learn to
Some say they won't

OHH! Someday I'll just be me! But for now I'll settle for nice and naughty!
(nice-nice-nice-nice and naughty! HOO!)

(I was going to stop there, but the song actually has one more verse which is just too good not to share.)

Verse 3
Some say they love me
Some say they hate me!
Some say they'll be my boyfriend!
Some say they'll date me!


You guys? I was like 17 when I wrote this.

Okay, I kid. I was 11. Back in the days when I was just content to settle for nice and naughty, man.

(David Foster: Call me!)

Oh em gee - there were also all kinds of stories! "The Grandmother's Secret" and "Snow" and "A Mysterious Disappearance."

There was a newspaper, the cover of which bears the headline: "Michael Jackson's Split Personality!" That story?

Michael Jackson, a popular musical singer, and former member of the Jackson 5, was admitted to the psychiatric ward of Newberry Hospital today after it was found by millions of Japanese fans that he does, in fact, have a split personality - a sister, Janet.

It appears that after a long period of loneliness Michael created the woman we know as Janet Jackson. She was also made a star.

"He came out on stage and scared the fans by changing his voice back and forth," says fan Ching Heng.

"We were shocked at Michael's mental instability," says Janet.

"No we weren't, says Michael.

(The Onion: Call me!)

There was a stirring poem:

Stubborn and sweet,
Messy and neat.
Funny, crazy,
Sometimes lazy.
Addicted to junk food,
Usually in a good mood.

(Judd says: Oh HAHAHA! Nothing has changed at ALL! At least you were always self-aware.)

(Present-day HomeValley says: Wow. That description is on point. Shit.)

Oh hey, Cuzzy?? Did you think you escaped my biting commentary?

Here is your poem, my love:

Tough; boy-crazy,
sometimes lazy.
Messy, messy, messy!
Always beats up on Jessie.
Usually has a smile on,
Will always be in love with John.

(Who is John, 9 year-old cuzzy?)
(Wait, I just remembered. HA!)

Oh, and amongst various entrepreneurial start-ups (read: The Babysitter's Club), I also found the time to publish a magazine. I give you: Girls, Etc.

October 1992 Cover

Time to Grow Up: Should You Make Your Own Decisions?

Preteen Problems: Junior High Blues

Peer Pressure: How to Deal

Test: Boys Before Books (Are you boy-crazy?)

Joining the Bandwagon: What's In and Out for Fall

(For the love of GOD Oprah: CALL ME!)

I think one thing we've all re-learned today, is that I am awesome. Or, that at one time, I was incredibly creative. It is a damn good thing blogging came about, lest I still be sitting in my room, listening to my Electric Youth album, composing songs about how people say they either hate me, or might possibly LEARN to LIKE me.

I take the GMATs tomorrow, kids. After that, it's on.

Friday, December 11, 2009

If I woke up this morning with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now.

My debit card. She is hacked.

Man! Screw you, online shopping. You really haven't made my life easier at all, now have you? Filing police reports is fun, and I can't wait to track down a copy of that report (for a fee), and head over to my local credit union branch, in the hopes that someday, Visa will deign to reimburse me. And canceling cards is super, right around the holidays. And also, Wal-Mart in Richmond, Texas? Maybe next time, you could strive to be less helpful. I doubt you could top yourselves, but at least try.

And you know what, you scum-sucking hacker? You go can straight to hell. Seriously, you robbed me. Shame on you. It's Christmas, you bitch.

So hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like this hacker, who ROBBED me, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there in Richmond, Texas with all the other hackers, and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit!

Where's the Tylenol?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Words That Actually Came Out Of My Mouth.

Last week J and I were in the car, listening to B101's Christmas jams, as you do.

"I don't understand why they always play the same songs, everyday," sayeth J, echoing my thoughts. "I mean, there are so many great Christmas songs - why only these?"

"I know! It's like, the NSync Christmas album was great. Why do they refuse to play it?"

Yes, words that actually came out of my mouth.

In other news, I dashed to CVS this morning to buy a few greeting cards, when it suddenly occurred to me that it is Christmas. And I haven't given one iota of thought to this year's holiday card.

But my God in HEAVEN, how do I top this gem?

Halp. Any ideas?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Norovirus? No Problem!

I had a lovely little Saturday planned to celebrate J's 33rd: New Hope, PA, for some Christmas shopping; then expensive beers, college football, and dinner at a nice sushi restaurant.
Only, the weather? She did not cooperate. And so we stayed home. I studied for those unholy GMATs, and laid around a bit. J cleaned the bathroom. By 4 PM, we were sorely in need of a new plan, and we opted to trek down to Main Street in the snow and have beers (Lord: I wish) and sushi (Man: this sucks) at the Manayunk Brew Pub.

We splurged on some greasy appetizers; then we toasted our good fortune, and J's rapidly advancing age. For our main course, I ordered some veggie rolls, and my husband had the Alaska and Boston rolls (shrimp and salmon, yummmm).

About 12 hour later, the norovirus just about killed him.

Okay, he didn't die. But it wasn't pretty. He was in pain. His stomach was wrecked. He couldn't make it downstairs, so he laid in bed all day (in between trips to the bathroom) and I attempted to keep him hydrated. His back was in spasms, and he had a low-grade fever.

"You'd tell me if you thought you needed to go to the hospital, right?" I asked.

Later, I fed him multigrain English muffins and rubbed his head. I performed a soothing verse of "Soft Kitty" until he croaked: "I love you; but please don't sing."

Later that night I diagnosed him with norovirus. I blame the shrimp. And to think, J offered me many bites of his maki, even coaxing me: "It's just shrimp; you can eat this." (Ninja says: Not on my watch.) Praise Jesus I did not indulge; I am sure norovirus has no business swimming around N's placenta.

Oh, but my man survived, thankfully. And it's a blessing, because yesterday was Nana's funeral.

It was a lovely service. J's mom spoke about Nana's quiet strength; and a recurring theme seemed to be the circle of life: as we grieve Joyce's passing, Ninja is growing stronger, and J's sister E has just gotten engaged! It's a baffling and beautiful juxtaposition of life and death. I am just glad that Joyce had 91 years to enjoy this life. I hope J and I get at least 100, though I tend to be a little greedy.

Finally, thigh highs on pregnant gams, in blustery Columbus, Ohio?

So effing sexy I can't stand it.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Most EVIL Decade in American History = My Twenties.

Have y'all seen this Time article?

So Time magazine has called the 2000s out as a chump. "Decade from hell," they cry.

I was perusing the article the other day, and I wondered if history would judge these last ten years the same. Then I pictured myself as a refreshingly young-looking octogenerian, at which time my grown grandkids would inquire: "Mom-Mom: what was it like to come of age in that hellacious period in America? Lo, how did you ever survive the plummeting home values?!?"

And I will sign wearily, sit back in my rocker, and tell them a story.

*Cue sunny bustling city scene, upbeat chipper score*

The decade began with an air of impending doom. All of the computers were going to explode, kids, as the date was moving from 9s? To zeroes. We seriously thought the world would end.

But then? It didn't. And I rang in the new year with wonderful friends at a dilapidated West Philly university house that was infested with mice, yet still was one of my favorite places to be in those days. It was magical, kiddies, with Steel Reserve bottles adorning the walls and a pool table. Snoop Dogg was often playing in the background. Just glorious.

Of course, your grandmother was also living in the most fabulous city in the world in those days. Did you know that? Still, there is no place like New York City. I was doing well in college; had a great job, and also an upcoming internship at a news station. Yes, kids, things were looking up.

But then of course, there was that day in September. You've studied it in your history classes. It shocked America to its core. Your old grandmother also had a hard time coming to terms with what she witnessed that morning. But the attacks also united Americans in a way that I'd never known before. We learned many lessons, from that day. In some ways, I think we're still learning, and perhaps always will be. Such is life.

And then, after that? Well, the economy dipped, just a bit, just in time for me to find my first job out of college. I made very little, but I still managed to rent my own apartment, and buy a charming little Hyundai named Emma. Of course, by this time, I'd moved back to Pennsylvania. I wasn't completely happy there. I had some unfinished business in a town 90 miles north of Philadelphia.

So I moved to Queens. And I can tell you, loves, it was one of the happiest times of my life. It's where your grandma's blog was started! You know, the one I still maintain today? Sure, I've still got only eight Google followers, but writing gives me great pleasure. Well, you know. You were there when I accepted that fourth Pulitzer. You heard my speech.

Oops - I digress! Where was I? Ah, Queens. Kids, have I told you about the Bohemian Beer Hall? I don't know how any decade can be described as hell when you've got Czech beers and brats in a European-style garden. But why I am telling you? You were at Grandpa's and my 50th anniversary celebration. It is a magical place, no?

It was when I was living in Queens that I feel in love with your grandfather. We'd only been dating a few weeks when he jetted off to Spain and Portugal. He was away when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. It certainly was an awful natural disaster. Thankfully, we've not experienced anything like it since.

And what else happened that decade? Why, Grandpa and I saw the world. We visited places we'd only ever dreamed of: the Acropolis in Athens; the Eiffel Tower in Paris. We rode in tuk-tuks in Chiang Mai, and we explored ancient temples in Siem Reap. We beheld the pyramids at Giza, and the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. We snorkled in the Red Sea, and paid homage at Eva Peron's tomb at the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires. We tried never to lose sight of how lucky we were in those days. We loved traveling so much, we never stopped. Why, when your mom was still very young, we took her to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. And when your father was just a boy, we climbed Kilimanjaro. People thought we were mad, but we know these trips are what helped your parents become the people they are today: Supreme Court justice and world-renowned archaeologist, respectively.

Amidst all of the traveling, your grandfather and I wed on a gorgeous beach in Punta Cana. Sure, we didn't speak Spanish, or understand the translator very well, but we laughed through the whole endeavor. And we honestly believe our marriage was legal. We've got the Spanish docs to prove it.

We spent time with wonderful friends and family in the 2000s. We were truly blessed to have so many people around who loved us, and whom we loved. Many traveled all the way to the Dominican to attend our wedding! It really was a lovely time.

Unfortunately, by the end of the decade, the economy tanked again. Health care reform was badly needed, and your granddad and I decided there was only one man for the job. The night President Barack Obama was elected was one of the happiest of my life. I had never felt so proud to be an American. Oh, to be sure, there was much work to be done, but your grandma is nothing if not optimistic. That man gave us hope: hope that we didn't need to accept the status quo; hope that we could effect change. I am proud to say, I never lost that feeling. Even the littlest acts can make a huge difference in this world. Remember that.

Oh! And then, in the twilight of my twenties, I learned I was pregnant. And that was equal parts horrendous, humbling, and awe-inspiring. But, you know how that turned out...

To sum up: suck it, Time. It's all about perspective.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Things I Covet.

Okay, so I totally want this tee-shirt. Only because at a girls' dinner eons ago, our waiter told us he owned it. And I was drunk, and thought it was HI-larious.

I also love the way they are selling these bad boys. How about this guy? He's unkempt. His tee is wrinkled. The lesson? These babies sell themselves.

(This reminds me: I hate those new Windows 7 commercials. Have you seen them? They're fairly ubiquitous, and each one features an average-looking person having an epiphany about some feature of the new operating system. But each time they have this brainstorm, they envision themselves as much thinner and better-looking. And that makes me sad. What kind of commentary are you making here, Gates?)

(By the by, Windows 7 was my idea.)

P.S. Are you following me yet, chickens? I love you so much, and yet you do not follow. It's so easy! Try it! You'll see. Perhaps if I get 30 new followers by Christmas, I will auction this tee-shirt! Imagine how awesome you would look in that bad boy. Perhaps as awesome as the model?

I love you all, so very much.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ninja Will Destroy Us All!

OK, so things are getting serious.

I was a GIGANTIC baby.

Couldn't even fit in an incubator ginormous. Comparisons to linebacker large.

For reals? My nickname was Melissa Monster. (It's cute; let's bring it back!)

And last week? I was all, wah, not showing, where is my belly?

You guys?

Be afraid. The Ninja will not be ignored, y'all.

(Aside: I bought the dress. Did you know Banana made maternity clothes? Yeah, they don't. But I am going to work it!)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

33 Reasons to Love on J!

  1. Just the other day, I was sitting on the couch, starved, and I mumbled rhetorically, "And where are the candy bars, babe? People need the candy bars." And J quickly got up, went to the kitchen, and pulled a Watchamacallit out of the cupboard. It was a chocolate bar sent straight from the heavens (or one he picked up at the grocery store and hid in case of emergency).
  2. He is going to have an MBA in just 6 months. Respect.
  3. He often says, "Hey, you want a back massage?" And he's not even kidding.
  4. He gets all of his Christmas shopping done early, and really thinks about what to buy every person on his list.
  5. He cleans the bathroom.
  6. He does the laundry.
  7. He vacuums.
  8. And he even doesn't yell when he says: "Babe, vacuuming is not a once-a-month job." (He's right.)
  9. He cooks the salmon filets for dinner when I have my face stuck in a GMAT prep book.
  10. And he doesn't even get that upset when he realizes I paid 22 bucks for the filets at Whole Foods.
  11. Oh, and FYI: his salmon is delicious.
  12. He takes me to breakfast on Sunday mornings.
  13. He will make a late-night McDonald's run. For the baby.
  14. He humors me.
  15. He can fix things. He's very handy.
  16. He's decisive.
  17. He lets me make most of the decisions.
  18. He plans the vacations.
  19. This year alone, he took me to Egpyt, Jordan, Uruguay, and Argentina.
  20. He didn't even balk when I mentioned I probably should try to get to England too.
  21. He appeases me every time I cry desperately: "Having a baby doesn't mean the travel stops, right? I mean, we are going to travel with this baby. Right?"
  22. He tells me it's just my hormones, and yes, it's okay to cry if I need to.
  23. He loves his grandfather.
  24. He tells "dad" jokes. And then cracks up at himself.
  25. He is ambitious.
  26. He finishes what he starts.
  27. Last weekend, he grew a mustache, just because. It was great fun.
  28. He takes me on dates.
  29. He didn't divorce me when I (inadvertently) ordered a $19 martini at a bar this summer.
  30. He's a great dad, already.
  31. The other day, I was singing "Purple Rain" in the car (spontaneously, as you do), and he started singing it with me, and then did this really nerdy orchestra conducter thing with his hand.
  32. I am not describing it well, but it seriously made us laugh for 20 years. I kept saying, "Do it again! Do it again!" while trying to catch my breath.
  33. He's got excellent taste in women, if I do say so myself.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HIMS! I think you're the bee's knees.

And Now, A Very Special Episode of QITNM.

Gentlemen, I am going to ask you to leave the room. I need to speak to the ladies. In private. We'll wait.


Girls, I want to talk about bikini waxes.

Or, more specifically, French/Brazilian hybrid waxes. Like the one I had today.

I have little patience for many things lately. I long to simplify my life. So I make lists. And I cross of to-do items. And I take care of my business. I also firmly believe that anything I can do, I can hire someone to do better. Like just the other night, I was talking about hiring a doula, to help me with my drug-free, natural childbirth. And J rolled his eyes and said, "Sure. Sounds good. Maybe you can just hire someone to go through the labor for you."

Oh, J. If only that were a real possibility. I am sure there is someone out there in God's green goodness that could labor way better than moi.

So, a few weeks ago, I decided I was done with shaving my lady bits. That's it, I cried to my razor. This is over! Shaving sucks. It's overrated. It's tedious. And the hair? It grows right back. And honestly, if I can't be bothered to shower regularly, how can I be expected to maintain my nether regions?

Surely, I thought, surely someone out there can do this better than me.

And so I hung up the razor for more weeks than I care to admit a few days. And I called the local salon. And yesterday I scoured the Internet for info on waxing etiquette. (I have only ever had one bikini wax ever, right before my wedding.) And I decided on the French Wax, which really is the Brazilian Light. I shan't elaborate. I am a lady.

I was up in the middle of the night, dreading the ordeal.

Dreading a wax, when just a few days ago I decided I was going to have a natural delivery.

(Am. Crazy.)

In lieu of a glass of wine, I resolved to pop a few Tylenol before the appointment. Only, I got a business call just a few minutes before I needed to leave, and I rushed out the door without my pain meds.

And so it seemed, I would have to have this wax naturally. Without drugs.

So it was my fate.

You can do this, I assured myself. You are strong. Breathe. You have taken two prenatal yoga classes; you are a zen goddess. Visualize the end result.

It was: unpleasant. To put it mildly. I did okay at managing the pain at first, but towards the end I got a little squirmy. I might have exclaimed: "Kelly Clarkson!" I dont know. I think I blacked out.

But I survived it. I was exuberant. You see? If I can do natural waxing, I can absolutely handle natural childbirth.