This week’s Time cover and headline (and, to a much lesser extent, the content of the magazine) is a flashpoint of discussion about motherhood. I’m not going to say anything about it. There’s already too much judgment and unsolicited advice out there for moms. I’m not going to add to it.
I am devastated to hear of Adam Yauch’s death. The Beastie Boys have always been one of my all-time favorite bands. They were my gateway to hip hop, Licensed to Ill was the soundtrack of 6th grade, and the rest of their albums have been the soundtrack of my life ever since. I had tickets to see them with my high school BFF in 2000, but that was the summer they canceled because Mike D broke his shoulder, so I never got to see them then. And now I will never get to see them, at least all of them and fulfill that lifelong dream.
It’s been forever since I was here.
26 days to be exact.
In part because I have been alternating between sick and swamped at work, leaving me neither the time nor the energy to sit down in front of a computer at home. But mostly because in the moments I did find the time to write, I found I didn’t have anything to say. I was spent. You can’t force inspiration. It just doesn’t work that way. You can’t sit down, put on your inspiration cap, and tell yourself “Time to write….now what are we going to say today?” Nothing worth writing or reading comes of that.
But it’s also a balancing act, because there’s the pitfall of falling into thinking that because what I have to say isn’t brilliant or perfect, I have nothing worth saying at all.
There’s all kinds of advice out there about how to break through writer’s block, but, for me, there is no surefire cure, other than carving out some time and space away from the computer, but only while giving myself the permission to take a break, so that I’m coming back to something I enjoy, and not trying to escape something that’s become a burden.
I LOVE me some April Fools’ pranks. Even when I’m the victim, I really appreciate the April Fools efforts. When My Better Half asked me first thing this morning, “Hey, can you get me the soap out from under the kitchen sink?” I was instantly suspicious. I expected some spring-loaded something to leap out of the cabinet. That, or a badger. (Hopefully of the honey variety). I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he’d simply finished installing all the cabinet locks to keep Baby out of the base cabinets.
But, in honor of April Fools, and especially since I just don’t have time or energy to carry these out, here are 3 of my favorite pranks (in no particular order):
- Remove all music from your loved one’s iPod and replace entirely with tracks they despise. They’ll just pick up their iPod to go in the morning, leave with it, and only discover the prank on the move, when they can do nothing more than throw up their hands and curse you.
- Change their ringtone to something ridiculous. Then, when their phone rings at work, they’ll think “who the HELL has Nelly’s ‘It’s Getting Hot in Herre’ as their ringtone?!” followed quickly by “JESUS would they answer their phone?!” and finally, “oh shit. That’s MY phone.”
- I can’t take any credit for this one, but remove the frosting from inside Oreos and replace with toothpaste. Serve.
I started my new job almost a year ago, when I was six months pregnant. And within a couple weeks, my new boss connected me with a woman who works here who had just come back from maternity leave. I went up to talk with her one afternoon because she’d just enrolled her daughter in the same daycare we were considering. We compared notes on the daycare, and, naturally, touched base on a lot of other baby-related issues: hospitals and birth, pumping at work, and, of course, sleep. She told me the following anecdote:
“We had our first overnight away from the baby when she was about 3 months old. My in-laws kept her while my husband and I just went down the block and checked into a hotel. Right after check-in, we ordered room service, took a tylenol PM, and slept for, like, 12 hours.” I thought she was kidding. Thing is: she wasn’t kidding. One of my friends says to me, frequently, and with pity, “I always tell [our other friend] how bad I feel for you guys because you don’t have any family here, so you’ve never really had time away from Baby! I’m SO sorry! It must be really difficult.” Is it hard? You betcha. Is it worth every sleep deprived moment? Absolutely. Would we give anything for a night of uninterrupted sleep, since it’s been nine months without so much as a night off?
Sorry, had to get another cup of coffee.
But let’s keep this in context. Do you really think that moms around the world feel sorry for themselves because they can’t get a night off? Do you think that moms across the US have the luxury to entertain the thought of getting a full night’s sleep, nevermind in a ritzy resort where they get room service and a pedicure and facial the next day? We certainly don’t. Clearly a first world problem. Especially in this sh*tty-ass economy.
Our world has been turned upside down, but in all the right ways. We are blessed with a healthy, adorable, loving, curious, funny, happy Baby. We couldn’t be luckier. So we’ll have to put up with being sleep deprived and caffeine-dependant until she sleeps through the night since we don’t have someone who can take her. If that’s the biggest problem we have, we’re doing pretty damn well. We’ll just keep brewing more coffee so we can keep up with her.
Today is the 6th birthday of my little blog. I can’t believe it’s actually been six years. Sure, it came off the tracks a lot during those six years. When Funky-Ass Monkey wasn’t online, it was because I was grappling with being overworked, an all-time low of energy thanks to Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, and all manner of other things. Things like blog identity crisis. All I blogged about early on was how much life in PHX sucked. Well, that, and how museum work is was awful. Things that are still part of my life experience, but not what I wanted my blog to be centered around. So when I brought it back in 2012, I carefully curated and removed posts – not because I’m ashamed of them, but because I’ve learned a lot about what I want my blog to be and where my boundaries lie in terms of what I’m willing to share.
But the most challenging obstacle that prompted me to stop blogging and simultaneously regret that I’d stopped blogging was crushing, debilitating doubt in my writing abilities, an ever-present hypercritical voice inside my head that said that I should quit. Because I didn’t have anything good to say. Because I wasn’t funny enough, distinctive enough. Because I wasn’t good enough. And then beating myself up because 1) I wasn’t good enough to “be” a blogger and 2) quitting my blog made me a quitter, because I was abandoning my dream of being a writer.
What I didn’t know then that I know now is that the best therapy for me was that I should write. Because it’s how I unravel my thoughts. It’s how I get what’s in my head out of my own way so I can move on. And it’s how I can move past being hypercritical and way too hard on myself. In fact, blogging in particular helps me to see that my writing doesn’t have to be perfect before I hit “publish.” That I can be okay with letting my writing go and not constantly tweaking and reworking, revisiting my drafts over and over again, only to find new things that need to be “fixed” each and every time. It’s one thing to constantly strive to improve. It’s another to never move forward because you are your own worst critic. I finally decided enough is enough. I could either keep revising and revising in pursuit of elusive perfection…or I could just start to accept my writing for what it is and let good enough go. What I found is that publishing my posts, even or perhaps especially those that weren’t perfect, is the very act that let me carve out the space to find new inspiration. Staring at a draft over and over with a hypercritical eye didn’t help me get any better. Actually writing and hitting publish is what will help me hone my craft and improve. But another important reason I’ve returned to blogging is: It’s what I like to do. It took a long time for me to realize that simply enjoying blogging is reason enough to do it. So I made it my New Year’s resolution this year to blog every day so that I wouldn’t forget to make time for myself and something so small that brings me a lot of pleasure. And while I haven’t quite achieved a post a day, I am proud of all the days that I have managed to post. And I feel my creative mojo trickling back little by little.
I’ve been grappling with pink since Baby was born. Pink blankets, pink onesies, pink bath towels, pink toys, pink socks, pink bibs. We didn’t find out if we were having a boy or a girl, so I was lucky to have a bunch of yellow, green, and white stuff on hand or I would have gone apeshit. I don’t love pink. It’s a fine color, but everything in moderation would be better. It’s particularly puzzling because:
- Babies love bold graphic patterns and high contrast colors, so what’s with all the pastel? and
- Why is it that boys get a range of colors – bold reds, bright happy yellows, rich royal blues, vibrant oranges – but girls get only pink? (I’m not the only one wondering, btw. Even a FOUR YEAR OLD demands to know).
It’s not absolutely impossible to find non-pink clothes, but it is difficult. The big box stores and chain baby retailers carry a few things here and there, but it’s mostly a Pepto world out there. Higher end baby clothing lines do carry more variety for girls, but they’re out of reach for me – too expensive. And the consignment stores? Don’t get me started. Their #1 selling item is a pink baby headband – they can’t keep it in stock. My baby girl is beautiful without any stupid ass headband designed to ensure that others know she’s a girl. Like you couldn’t tell from the pink onesie, the pink sweater, the pink pants, and the pink socks. I want my baby’s wardrobe to be as expressive and funky as I am, but I’m also not rich, so evidently, she’ll be destined to a pink world, at least for now. I thought in a city of this size, with this many f-ing tattoos and facial piercings (mine included), there’s GOT to be some cool, hip, affordable Funky-Ass baby store here. I turned to my local alternative weekly paper, as they’re more apt to point me away from chain big box retailers and towards some cool little tucked-away gem I didn’t know about that caters to moms who aren’t cookie cutter, plastic surgery trophy wives with daddy issues. But I did a search in their “Best of” section for “baby”… and the top result was a strip club. I give up.
This video brightened my day. Thought I would share. Enjoy!
Last night was the annual Westminster Dog Show, and while I love dogs, I don’t love the event. The whole idea of a “purebred” just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. My three dogs are all rescue dogs, and that’s all I would ever have, so the idea that people would pursue some idealized neurotic purebred rather than rescue a well-deserving, loving, smart, athletic fuzzermuffin from their local shelter is beyond comprehension.
But there is something I do love about watching the event: the handlers’ complete lack of fashion. When they show the dogs, you see the calves and shoes of the handler walking or trotting alongside the dog, and THAT provides pure, unadulterated entertainment. It is a parade of the worst shoes ever and the most unflattering skirts anyone could ever find. I don’t have any idea where these people find those ugly-ass shoes, the skirts that hit mid-calf (cause that’s a flattering length on anyone!), or the ghastly spectrum of taupe stockings. Sure, this is a high society event, so I guess the handlers are conforming to some conservative unstated dress code in an (unsuccessful) attempt blend into the background. But just because you gotta dress conservative and be prepared for running doesn’t mean you have to look terrible. It’s like they try hard to be as frumpy as possible. I feel like I dress pretty conservatively – I’m not into showing a lot of skin, but even I know that a skirt that hits mid-calf doesn’t look good on anybody, especially when paired with a no-nonsense vinyl orthotic sneaker disguised as a flat. It’s not like you don’t have time to prepare. Learn how to jog in a short heel, or at least visit Zappos to find some attractive flats. Order 20 pairs and send back the ones that fit poorly or turn out to be ugly as sin – that’s what it’s there for! Then get on a treadmill with your selected pair and practice, practice, practice. Not only will that help you get used to moving in real shoes, it’ll also give your calves some shape. And then you can show off your athletic calves in a pencil or A-line skirt, rather than that fuddy-duddy sh*t you call a skirt.
I just read this NPR article about how the LA Board of Supervisors has outlawed fun footballs and frisbees during the summer. As their excerpt notes, “The basic idea is to protect the general public from flying objects during the peak summer months, when beaches are at their most crowded.” I guess, but then why are beach balls and volleyballs still okay? Cuz no one’s ever been bonked in the head by one of those…
What’s next, LA Board of Supervisors? Outlawing dogs happily racing along on the beach? Eh, those probably are already forbidden. Cute babies racing away from the little waves? Sandcastles?