Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Buh-bye, Sweatpants!

The other day, Sweet Dub looked at me critically and with some mild concern and said:

"Those pants make your ass look flat. [pause] I didn't think that was even possible."

His comments were directed at the evil sweatpants. I'm back in regular clothes. My ass is now swathed in denim and looking pretty good (read: not flat), if I do say so myself. I think we should burn the sweatpants in our backyard.

Except we have once again been issued a high-wind advisory. I'd hate to contribute to the wildfire epidemic.

Damn Santa Anas.

Weird And/Or Random

Okay, Janie tagged me and I'm meme-ing, if somewhat belatedly. My mission is to reveal 7 weird/random things about myself and tag 7 other bloggers.

(1) In high school, I was in an advanced art class through which I was selected to help create a float for a Disney-themed parade (why on earth?!?) through downtown Boston. My team was chosen to design the Fantasia float. I spent a ridiculous amount of time helping recreate the Dance of the Hours sequence with an oversized dancing hippo in a tutu and an alligator in a cape. Chicken wire, papier mache, tissue paper, and paint, for weeks after school, with all the usual high school bitchery. When we finally got to ride on the float, waving at the crowds, I laughed hysterically through the whole thing. The absurdity of it was just overwhelming.

(2) I have seven moles on my body (three on my neck alone). When Viva was younger, she thought they were extra nipples. This was, thankfully, once she was past the age of breastfeeding.

(3) If I could eat ice cream every day, I would.

(4) When I was in elementary school in Boston back in the day (1970s!), one year near the end of the year they had each kid self-identify racially on one of the standardized forms we were filling out. This was back in the day when you could only check one box. I think there were maybe four options, which even at the time was baffling. Because we are "mixed," I checked black, and my sister checked white. The next year, my sister was assigned to 6th grade at a middle school a mile or so from our predominantly white working-class neighborhood. I was bussed (!!) to 5th grade in a more diverse school (great mix of black, white, Asian and Hispanic, to my great relief), about 5 miles away. So few of us came from that neighborhood that we were bussed in on the short bus! To this day, with all the fuss over bussing in Boston, I do not understand why, as the "black" kid, I was bussed OUT of my white neighborhood. Wasn't the idea that the schools were suppoed to be more integrated?

(5) The following year, I was bussed even further away, to a predominantly black middle school. I got in more fights that year than I can count - none provoked by me, and all involving a group of mean girls, in my grade but not in my class, who insisted that I "thought I was cute." Since at 11 I was already wearing glasses and never knew what to do with the unruly mass of frizz on my head, nothing could have been further from the truth. It was completely bewildering.

(6) The first movie I ever saw was Benji, when I was 6. I was a complete freak about dogs and yet to this day, except for a two-week stint with a puppy that my parents later gave away (!! child abuse!!), I have never owned one.

(7) Speaking of dogs, when I was 25, I was mauled by my dad's Akita. Today, if I shaved my head, you would see the scars from four bite marks on my skull. I did not have a great relationship with my dad before this happened, and strangely, this did not improve things. Perhaps this is because he kept the dog despite its penchant for biting people smaller than it (the dog outweighed me by at least 20 pounds). Whenever I would call him, even years later, I would ask, "Is your dog dead yet?"

I think he resented that.

So those are my seven things. I rarely comment on other people's blogs - I know, this is really bad blog etiquette. So I feel a bit awkward and shy about tagging anyone to do this meme! Instead, if you would like to post seven random/weird things either here, in the comments, or on your own blog, please do. No, really, please, because I do find you fascinating. I have really enjoyed other people's lists. These are the things that make you, you.

Won't you share?

Monday, November 26, 2007


I have been online for much of today and have not bought one damn thing. So much for Cyber Monday or whatever they're calling it.

A week from today I will be back at work. Gah.

Janie tagged me for a meme (Hi Janie! I'm not being anti-social, really), and I don't think I'll get to it until tomorrow because I have errands to run before picking up Viva from school and there are still dirty dishes in the sink from this morning.

In an ideal world, the idea that I only have one "free" week left would make me focus, but evidently it's having the opposite effect. Bear with me.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Her Skin is Not the Same

Yesterday, Viva and I were out and about. She was in a great mood because we had spent pretty much the entire weekend together and I am about 85% back to normal health. This means I’m not running around in the backyard playing tag with her, but I am able to spend several hours at a time with her before needing a break. We have been cooking together, drawing together, reading, playing games, doing puzzles, and the like. Despite her being in a very contrary phase wherein if you say one thing, she will say the exact opposite for no apparent reason, I have really been enjoying our time together.

So we were in the Cost Plus World Market, chumming around together, picking out a few Christmas ornaments (which, really, is ridiculous since it’s mid-November, but don’t even let me commence) and getting some curtains, and then we went to pay for our purchases. As we were being rung up, the cashier looked at Viva and back at me and said, “She is your daughter?”

“Yeah, yeah she is,” I said, picking up one of the bags and putting it in the cart.

“She looks so different from you,” she said.

“Do you think so?” I said. “I think she looks a lot like me.”

“My daughter is sort of like that,” she said, staring at Viva. Viva started to wrap her arms around my leg and hide her face. “Her skin is not the same.”

“Hmm,” I said, because at that point I just wanted to get out of the store. I don’t think this woman (who had white skin and spoke with an unidentified accent) was trying to be rude, but if in fact she did have a child who looks different from her, she might be expected to understand that it’s not polite to point that out. I had no desire to bond with her over whatever she felt we had in common, it was clearly making Viva uncomfortable, and added to that, there was a line of people behind us – none of whom was (visibly, at least) a person of color. I realize to most people we look different because they are not looking closely. I look white, and Viva looks black. The fact that we are both a mixture of both is not readily apparent. It is not easy. It is not comfortable. It’s also not anybody’s business but ours.

Anyway, we paid for our things and we left the store, and we ate ginger cookies in the car on the way home, me and my little daughter whose skin is not the same. And by God, we were happy to be together.

All the same, it’s been nibbling away at the back of my brain. I’m irritated. And Viva, home today with a nasty cough, is evidently not napping, so this post ends here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Oh, no she di'n't!

Yesterday, during the minor miracle that was Viva's nap*, I sat down in my reading chair and rather than power up the laptop, I read a book. More specifically, I read this book, which is easily one of the top ten books I read this year. In fact, I would rank it among my top two for the year. Now, your tastes and mine may differ, but I really enjoyed this book. So much so that I finished it and realized I had let Viva oversleep, so I lurched out of the chair without a second thouhgt. And I didn't realize until this morning as I was waking up that I forgot to blog yesterday, so I am once again not fulfilling the pledge of NaBloPoMo. Oops.

Well, it's a damn good book, is all.

*Yes! She has begun taking naps again on the weekend! And there was much rejoicing!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Public Service Announcement

Have you, like me, ever come across a laundry care label with only symbols and you have no clue how you are supposed to interpret them? How, for example, did a triangle become the symbol for bleach??

You know me, I live to serve. Find your cheat sheet here. Back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Now and Then

It is Saturday morning. Sweet Dub has taken Viva out to breakfast and then they are going to see Bee Movie.* They left after repeated, stern instructions from him for me not to overdo it while they were gone.

There are so many things I want to do right now and I can't:

(1) Exercise.
(2) Clean the house.
(3) Take my car to the gas station, get gas and put air in the tires. (I can drive with a towel over my abdomen between me and the seatbelt, but the squatting to inflate the tires would still hurt and I might strain something.)
(4) Gardening/working in the yard.
(5) Pretty much anything active.

The good news is that my abdomen has shrunk enough that I can fit into my comfy jeans, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am heading back to the world of normal clothes! Oh, how I've missed you!

The weather today is perfect for a nice fall hike in Griffith Park. On one of my first real dates with Sweet Dub, he took me for a hike in Griffith Park. I didn't realize it was a test! (Ooh, sneaky Dub.) We drove up and parked across from the Greek Theatre and headed up a steep trail. It was all uphill for a good 5 minutes, then leveled out, then uphill again, etc. We walked and talked for a good hour or so, and I didn't poop out. I guess he was trying to see if I was actually in shape or whether I was thin because I didn't eat much.** Because he is a very active person, this was an important compatibility issue for him.

I am not as active as he is, but I do miss yoga and hiking and dancing. Those are my three favorite "active" activities. (Well, the three that I can tell you about. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.)

I am now going to fling open the windows and let the crisp air into the house and maybe "couch dance"*** to my (and Viva's) new favorite song by Flight of the Conchords. You know I like funny. I am slightly ever so in love with them:

"You like boom, I like boom, enough small boom, let's boom de boom!" Viva likes to dance to the abbreviated version we show her via TiVo (so she doesn't actually hear the f-word or the b-word. Give us at least a little credit.). Enjoy!

* Please note that if you click on the link for Bee Movie, you will be taken to a review by Common Sense Media. My adding this link should not be interpreted as my having read the review before sending my kid to the movie. Because I didn't. Because I am just that lazy. Thank you and good night.

** Which, in itself, is kind of ridiculous, since during the blind date at which we met, I ordered French toast, swimming in butter and syrup, and bacon. What can I say - it didn't occur to me to order an egg-white omelet. That is just not how I roll.

*** By which I mean sit on the couch and dance only with my shoulders and arms. Gently.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Let It Go

Eeps! Despite having forgotten about NaBloPoMo until a few days after it started, I am trying to participate in my own charmingly forgetful, ass-backwards way. I've been posting every day since I realized that was what we were supposed to be doing. Yeah, whatever.

At any rate, I just started reading the blog Flawed But Authentic, and one of the recent posts by Jessica was about forgiveness (sorry but I can't figure out where the permalink is, or I'd link to's the Nov. 7th, 2007 post). When I was lunching with my dear friend MG yesterday, she mentioned that an old mutual friend had called her several years ago to announce that when they were roommates, she was struggling with bulimia and anorexia and that part of her program was to contact people she had wronged somehow with behavior related to that. So she rattled off a list of ten things she wanted to apologize for. Evidently MG was quite gracious and empathetic, but, as she confided to me, "I honestly didn't remember most of the things she was apologizing for! But then I didn't want to say that, because she has clearly been carrying around all this guilt about it, which I felt guilty for, and then I thought she might feel worse if she realized she'd been so worried about it -- I mean, she must have really had to buck herself up to call me in the first place if she felt this bad about it. And really? I probably was drunk for most of these incidents anyway!"

So I guess our old friend was asking for forgiveness for these actions which she perceived as wrong. And yet, MG certainly was harboring no ill will toward her at all. It made me ponder about how many things we all internalize and carry grudges and worries over -- things which may not really be all that important in the grand scheme of things.

In my own family, recently, more drama has arisen over things that took place in the past. My sister Lola and I had a conversation this week in which she referenced the way I had behaved in the past toward my mother, which is evidently impacting my relationship with her now. Since my mother never ever directly explains what is bothering her to the person she has a problem with, I have never fully understood what I have done. However, my mother has given Lola an earful. My sister won't share with me what my mother has said because she thinks it is between my mom and me.


Yes, how I am not completely mental from these passive-aggressive twists and turns is truly beyond me. I feel we are at an impasse. It always seems to me, when dealing with my mom, that there has to be a better way, yet no matter how I try, it always devolves into something completely unproductive.

I know I can only do what I can do. I accept that I am a flawed but well-meaning human being. So for the moment, I am concentrating on being good to myself, protecting myself from the bad vibes, and hoping that understanding may ultimately flow from that. And trying not to wonder what I did that I have clearly glossed over (evidently, it is not just one thing) and fervently swearing not to continue this same pattern with my own lovely and amazing child.

Happy Friday, and if you can't make amends, make brownies or something.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

You Look FABulous!

Today was "get pretty" day for no other reason than that I had a hair appointment already scheduled. I gave myself a facial and a partial manicure (didn't have time for polish) and then tootled over to the salon. They spent two hours coloring my hair, first with the base color, then the highlights. I went directly from there to a nearly three-hour lunch with an old college friend -- we had a great time getting caught up and talking about how much beer and vodka we drank and how little sleep we survived on back then. Then we laughed about our shitty GPAs. Ah, college.

It was a wonderful, very self-indulgent day. I highly recommend!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My Only Consolation

Oh my GAH.

Recently, I received a bill for $420 from a doctor I saw back in February for a consultation on my fibroid issues. The doctor did not have a very good bedside manner and he did a really hard sell on a procedure which is still fairly new, for which not a lot of data on effectiveness is available. At the time that I made the appointment, the scheduler told me, "Yes, we accept Blue Shield [my insurance company at the time]."

Now, some ten months and change later, I get a bill from them. Apparently, they've been billing Blue Shield and Blue Shield will not pay them because they are "not a participating provider." When I spoke to a Blue Shield representative this morning, she explained to me that even though the doctor's office told me that they accept Blue Shield, all that really means is that they will try and bill Blue Shield for the office visit. Here is a transcript of our conversation:

Blue Shield Rep: They are not contracted with us. So in the future, what you need to do when contacting a doctor is find out not just if they accept Blue Shield, but if they contract with Blue Shield.

Mama Blah Blah: Wow. Okay, so but you can see why I feel a little bit like I've been scammed? I mean, they acted like all would be well and my insurance would cover it. I'm not saying that's your fault, I'm just saying --

BSR: [Nervous yet empathetic laughter] Yeah, it seems --

MBB: I mean, what recourse do I have now?

BSR: Well, you need to speak with the doctor's office and explain the situation.

MBB: I have a feeling that's going to go over well.

BSR: [Again with the laughter]

MBB: Well, this is a very expensive lesson.

BSR: I'm so sorry. Is there anything else I can help you with?

MBB: [To self: Yes, you can help me find my can opener because I am about to open up a 64-ounce can of Whup Ass on the doctor's office. To her:] Um, no thanks. Thank you for your help and have a great day.
And three phone calls later, with still no resolution of the matter, I find myself leaving a message with one of the medical billing specialists. Frustrated, I hightail it to the Internette, where I drown my sorrows by reading one of my new faves; I speak, dear friends, of Shoe Blog.

I am a big fan of shoes, in theory. I love, love, love them. In practice, my feet are extremely difficult. A shoe which looks great and fits well in the store quite often tortures my feet when truly put to the test of a full 8 to 9 hour day. This means that I tend to have to buy rather expensive (to me) shoes so I won't further ruin my feet. This also means that I don't buy a lot of shoes, much though I love them. I'm thinking however, that I may not be able to resist these:

I mean, come on. Throw these on with jeans and a bright top with a cool jacket and that is pretty dang cute. They also come in orange!

And for those days when you want a bit more sophistication:

Henceforth I think I will adopt this as my motto: New shoes beat the blues! I'm also enjoying NaBloShoeMo tremendously. It's making my heart go thumpa-thump.

Oh, shoes. I do love you so.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Six Days Late, 'Cuz That's How I Roll

Oh, right, Halloween! Didn't I threaten promise you, my faithful readership, that I would post pictures of Viva's modified costume? I know you are past all point of caring, but since it is almost but not quite a week since Halloween, I feel it is still worth a shot.

Here is an action shot:

Bat Cat takes off to save the city!

And here is a head-to-toe, so you can get the full effect:

The problem with the head-to-toe shot is that you can't really see the bad-ass hand-sewn and hand-drawn logos I came up with, across the chest and on the utility belt. From far away, she still looks like Bat Man.

Damn it. I'm going back to bed.

Edited to add: Oh, it appears that if you double-click on the pictures, a new window will open and you can see a larger version (and can thus see the logos). Ah, the wonders of technology.

Monday, November 05, 2007


I fully and finally admit to having succumbed to a bit of a funk over the past week or so. Tired of not being able to do much of anything, blah blah blah, so full of malaise that I couldn’t bring myself to write about it. It makes me tired even to type that, so moving on…

I just got caught up on my blog reading, and hey! Have you noticed that people out there are participating in NaBloPoMo? They’re blogging every day for the month of November! Hey, maybe I could do that! …Oops.

Anyway, after getting caught up on my reading and other things, I picked up the remote to watch a little TV during lunch. The remote wouldn’t work. I contemplated calling Sweet Dub at work and shrieking, “The TV’s broken!” because you know what, I don’t think he has enough to worry about. But the very idea of calling him and screaming that led me into a reverie…

When I was 6 years old and my mother was newly remarried, we moved from our low-income housing project to the home of S and R, two of my mom’s childhood friends. In hindsight, I think this was probably because once my mom and stepdad made it legal, we no longer qualified as low-income-enough to remain in the projects, although we were still pretty broke. At any rate, we moved into their large old house in the neighborhood where my mom had grown up. S and R had two little boys who were younger than my sister and I – the older one was maybe 3 or 4 and the younger one was a toddler, still in a crib. Early one Saturday morning, we were all awakened by the sound of the 4-year-old screaming, “Daddy! The TV’s broken!”

As I said, it was early. It was so early, in fact, that there was no TV on. The television was showing what we called, back in the day, “snow.” Yes, youngsters, in olden times, if you turned on the TV at, say, 4:30 AM, NOTHING WOULD BE ON. The airwaves were actually silent. And, as yet, there were no VCRs. There were no DVD players. There was no TiVo. Your TV was basically useless for a couple hours each day.

I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, “That sounds like hell on earth!”

Having been pretty much housebound now for nearly four weeks, I can tell you this: at some point, you do get fairly sick of television. Every person has a different tipping point. Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the phone talking to actual human beings rather than staring at the screen. Today, I got caught up with a very dear friend who I’ve known since we were 12. I spent a lot of time during my most awkward years hanging out amidst her very loud, very large, very loving extended family. There have been times when years have gone by and we haven’t talked person-to-person, but when we do, there is no weird small talk, no bullshit. We dive right into whatever is going on with each of us.

Too often, we make excuses for not having enough time to keep in touch with all the people who are important to us. I am grateful to have this recuperation time to reconnect with people. I want to make sure that I continue to do so after I get back on the hamster wheel of work-family balance post-recuperation. More to come…

Friday, November 02, 2007

Shortest Post Ever

It's been almost 4 weeks since my surgery, and I am thoroughly thick of sweatpants/yoga pants.

That is all.