Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Don't You Just Hate That....

I have a book called "Don't You Just Hate That? 738 Annoying Things" by Scott Cohen. Firstly, this book is hilarious and oh, so true. Secondly, just a disclaimer in case I've somehow unconsciously co-opted one of his aphorisms for my list, titled:

"Don't You Just Hate That? 14 Annoying Things About Being Fat."

1. When you're walking down the street in that new dress and the wind blows against you, thereby revealing your huge stomach and the outline of your knee-panties (worn to protect your thighs from chafing)?

2. When for some reason you aren't wearing your knee-panties, and your slender, fit coworkers decide that it would be great to walk to lunch, even though it's 90 degrees outside, so you have to go along with it because otherwise you're the high-maintenance fat person, but your thighs then burn for days because of the chafing.

3. When, during the above-mentioned walk, you try to continue talking with the group in order to be "normal," but it's difficult because you are struggling to catch your breath and yet trying not to breathe heavily because you don't want to be the panting fat person.

4. When you are standing with a group of unfat people waiting for the elevator, and you step on it but they don't, because they are going down and you are going up. Then you spend the rest of the elevator ride wondering if they are saying things like, "She really should be using the stairs...ha ha ha!"

5. The constant vigilance required to minimize the appearance of your stomach, i.e., sucking in, strategically placed bags or folders, untucking your shirt or dress from between your fat rolls, etc.

6. When someone asks "When are you due?" and you're not. Especially when you're struggling with infertility. And you are standing in the receiving line at your father-in-law's funeral. Yep, it really happened.

7. When you are laying on the couch and your toddler wants to do something like go outside, and you just really don't want to do it, and then you get this mental image of yourself as the "fat mom" that you are, and then the guilt forces you up off the couch, but you still don't have much fun because you're so damn tired from hauling your fat ass around all day.

8. Hoisting yourself out of the car, up off of a low couch, or out of any other awkward seat, or having to do a modified rolling maneuver to get up from a seated position on the floor.

9. The panic/dread as you reach for the airplane seatbelt and wonder if this will be the time you'll have to ask for seatbelt extenders.

10. That feeling you have whenever something creaks as you sit down on it.

11. That feeling you get right before the "fat talk" at the doctor's office.

12. When a thin person says to you, "I love your dress! Where'd you get it?" and you have to say "Lane Bryant."

13. Turnstyles.

14. Pulling a muscle when trying reach around your girth to wipe your ass.

I'd love to hear more annoying things about being fat, if you have something to add. If you have annoying things about being thin....well, sorry, I just don't want to hear it!!!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Oprah Conundrum

Update: Bubba's feeling better and is back at daycare. Hallelujah! And lucky for me, he never broke out into the seeping pustules I saw on the web, so I didn't have to live with that stigma. Whew!

This has been a crazy week, dealing with Bubba, trying to get my niece's scrapbook finished in time for her high school graduation party this weekend, buying her present(pink luggage, check it out, it rocks!)which took two tries via Internet and finally a trip to Dillards, and trying to fit work in there somewhere and pick up my meds and go a meet-and-greet with the new owner of Bubba's daycare tonight and watching the two-hour season finale of Lost and....well, you know the story.

But today, I'm here not to discuss the mundanity of my life.

The truth is, I need to talk about Oprah.

What, oh what, has happened to Oprah? And why, oh why, do I continue to care?

Oprah hit the big time when I was about 15. Everybody loved Oprah! She was so real, so caring, so approachable and compassionate, a "real sized" woman with bad hair days and a self-deprecating, humble style that sent her to the top. Many college afternoons were spent with Oprah, her presence comforting, almost like having a best friend there for you reliably at 3 p.m. every day. (Ironically, given the contentious relationship between the two, my other "friend in the TV" during those days was good old David Letterman, whom I still admire even though he's lost some of his edge. He is almost 60, after all).

During those years, Oprah's approachability, empathy and downright friendliness propelled her skyward, and now she's at the top. For many, many people the love affair has continued unabated to this day. I, on the other hand, have been left in a confused, messy state of befuddled annoyance and in-spite-of-myself interest.

While I graduated from college and embarked on Life, Oprah has undergone a steady transformation from "real woman" to "new age goddess/guru/champion." I believe the pinnacle of this transformation, the apex of this morph, was achieved on Monday night, May 22, with the airing of "Oprah Winfrey's Legends Ball" on ABC.

I was aware of the ball, as ABC had been promoting it mercilessly for weeks, and we even got another week's notice as it was postponed due to Bush's televised talk on the war or immigrants or something (does anyone listen to a word he says?) Monday also happened to be Coxsackie virus day at our house, but luckily, LilCherie called me to let me know the show was on. I immediately tuned in and watched it through to the end, even thought J. was dealing with a crying Bubba in the back room and I had to turn on the closed captioning just to follow along. I'm sure that J. felt he got the better end of the deal.

The "Legends Ball," according to the ABC web site, was composed of Oprah's "personal archival footage" from this "historic celebration" that happened a year ago. Ostensibly, the purpose of the ball was to honor the contributions of "25 legendary women in the fields of art, entertainment and civil rights." Oprah's site is more clear about the fact that the ball was to honor African-American women.

The one-hour special was an Oprah gush-fest. Oprah's personal entertainment guru Colin Cowie told her "Oprah, you must wear match the roses," she imparted to us. Oprah bought each of the women extravagant diamond earrings, but "still felt like it wasn't enough." The older women were "the Legends." The younger ones were referred to as "the Young'uns." Yep, it was a down-home, southern-style celebration, complete with minted pea soup, diamond earrings and the "sprawling lawns" of Oprah's Santa Barbara home, named, I kid you not, Promised Land.

The show gave Oprah the opportunity to read a poem (or "po-eeem" as she says), cry tears of gratitude, surprise the "audience" (since they were legends, they didn't have to look under their seats for the earrings), make her obligatory "the white folks didn't know WHAT was goin' on!" joke, drool in the presence of Maya Angelou, wear a big, gaudy, flowery hat at the gospel service held at Promised Land, and basically, celebrate not the Legends, but herself. The Thing That Is Now Oprah.

By holding this ball -- organizing it, promoting it and being the focus of it -- Oprah obviously believes SHE is a legend as well. And she probably is. But this is a far cry from the humble talk-show host we knew way back when.

Oprah's site says she sees each lives of "Black folk" before her as a bridge to her own life now. To get the point across, she specifically built a bridge in her backyard for the ball -- not some little garden bridge, but a BRIDGE. Yes, I'm sure all those who endured slavery, segregation and discrimination would feel it was all worth it if they could just see Oprah now!!

As I watched the ball, I was, as always, nauseated yet transfixed. Maybe it's just the desire to make fun of her. Maybe it's to keep an eye on her as she slowly turns into the ruler of the world. Or maybe, god forbid, it's because a part of me actually admires it, wants to be it, wants to be her!!! Oh god.

I could go on, and probably will at a later date, because I've been struggling with the Oprah Conundrum for years at this point. It's a fun pastime. But I think you get my point here and I don't want to go on too long because, hey, we all have lives right? Don't you need to get to your minted pea soup? Don't you need to go make sure the contractors are working on that bridge in the backyard? Sheesh.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Coxsackied when you least expect it

A sign will be going up at my son's daycare today. Most likely it will read something like this: "One of our children has been diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease. This is a common but contagious virus characterized by fever, sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters. This child will not be in daycare until he has been cleared by a physician, but in an effort to reduce or eliminate an outbreak, please be aware of these symptoms in your child." Or something to that effect.

Guess whose child is necessitating such a sign? Yep, our very own drooly Bubba. All hell broke loose yesterday afternoon around 1 p.m., when my mom called me from home with the news that Bubba had been inconsolable, not eating, not sleeping, not even sucking on the binky (that right there was a huge red flag. Binky can usually solve ANY problem). A call to the doctor, a frantic mid-day shuffling of cars and parents and child, and we were in the doctor's office, getting the news.

It all made sense once we got the diagnosis, although the rash on Bubba's hands and feet was so subtle I would never have suspected it or even noticed. The doctor was able to see two tiny blisters on his lips and showed them to me, but again, I would never have noticed this. Later, in about the second straight hour of him crying in pain, I noticed another blister inside his cheek. And the drool--my god, the drool. This is way beyond teething drool. He soaked a fresh t-shirt all the way down the waist in less than an hour yesterday.

As with all viruses, there's really nothing to do but wait it out using whatever comfort measures you can come up with. The doctor recommended giving Bubba Maalox or Mylanta to coat his mouth, and to even rub it on the rash on his hands and feet. It seemed to help--for about five minutes. Tylenol and Motrin, of course. Cool liquids, popsicles and cool, creamy food. Six straight hours of SpongeBob Squarepants. A lorazepam, and then an hour later a clonazepam, for stressed-out-mommy.

While this is a minor illness, and one that thankfully has a low rate of any complications, our poor Bubba is miserable. I think out of the illnesses we've dealt with so far, which include a couple episodes of nebulizer-required bronchiolitis, ear infections and tube surgery, 9 days of diarrhea, a "puky flu" as my friend LilCherie calls it, and your normal colds and sore throats, this one might be the worst in terms of just how miserable Bubba is (and therefore, everyone else in the house). It's incredibly frustrating to know he is in pain and be able to do nothing substantive about it. Knowing he is exhausted and needs to sleep but being powerless to do anything to ease the pain long enough for him to be able to turn the corner into peaceful slumber.

And the crying. My old arch-nemesis, the crying. I've never been able to "handle" the crying very well. It induces a flight impulse in me that's barely controllable. After the wonderful first little whimper he made in the delivery room that let me know he was alive and breathing, it's all been downhill. I look forward to the age when Bubba can simply moan, whine, or complain, rather than the cry/scream combo that accompanies everything from a minor frustration to full-out illness. But for now, it's ice cream and tears for Bubba AND Mommy...while J. soldiers on in patient, infuriating stoicism.

This is one of those illnesses that, before my son got it, I had relegated to a somewhat limited spectrum of diseases that, for lack of a better word, only "trashy" people get. I know that's horrible, I feel terrible even thinking it, but I strive for brutal honesty in my life so there it is. Other diseases/illnesses/conditions that live in the trashy realm include, but are not limited to, ringworm (and pretty much all other funguses), lice, and impetigo. I know the ridiculousness of this thought pattern. I mean, it's not like the little coxsackie virus is going around choosing whom to invade based on his or her intelligence level, socioeconomic status or predjudices of his or her parents. But still, there's a stigma in my mind with these diseases.

So I guess it's a good lesson, in a way, for my son, my precious, beautiful, intelligent, non-trailer-living son to have caught it. Even though he probably caught it from one of those trashy people.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Look what just popped up!

So what's kept me from blogging for more than a month? Nothing interesting enough to talk about, in fact, just plain old apathy and laziness for the most part.

What's got me fired up again? Well, first, an entry by LilCherie that made me feel that if she can do it, I can do it, and secondly, my Mother's Day gift.

As any regular reader of this blog should be able to tell, my husband and I have quite the up and down relationship. Since Tuesday it's been in the honeymoon phase following the fallout of a disastrous Mother's Day. Bickering, arguing, tears, and a depression nap preceded an attempt by the both of us to salvage the day with the opening of my Mother's Day gift.

However, it was not to be, and our day dissolved into more of the same before I got a chance to open it. J. said he'd take it back, I said fine, and it sat in the garage for a few days until last night. Our relationship safely back in the hopeful "We can make it work, can't we? We can give it another try, right? Maybe a new marriage counselor will help..." phase, J. presented me with my gift, lovingly taped up in a paper grocery sack. He presented it humbly, with the following disclaimers: "It isn't much. Don't get too excited. I just thought it would be fun for girls' night."

Okay. My interest suitably nudged into a healthy state of curiousity, I opened the bag to find...... air popper. Yes, to make popcorn. In fact, it is the Presto PopLite Hot Air Corn Popper. With the butter-melting cup on top that doubles as a "handy measuring cup." According to the description on, "this popular corn popper pops with hot air, not oil, for a healthy, low-calorie treat.It offers a faster, healthier, and more economical choice than microwave bag popcorn."

I'm going to allow you a moment to absorb this information.

Now, I am going to let out my innermost thoughts, ones that I hope J. never stumbles upon, ones that I can't get out of my head, that are making me feel like an incredible jerk but I can't help feeling this way and I have to get them out, etc.

This is possibly one of the worst gifts I've ever received, probably second only to a gift I received last year, also from J. but disguised as a gift "from Bubba," I think for Christmas, but it could have been birthday or maybe even Mother's Day. That time, it was a nicely wrapped slim box, making me think there was something halfway good in there...and it turned out it was a box of chocolates. A cheap, drugstore box of chocolates. Of which, by the way, J. ended up eating the majority.

At first, I tried to talk myself down from my initial reaction to the popper. I thought, well, he's trying, he was thinking of girls' night, he didn't have to get me anything at all...but that's as far as I got before the following thoughts sprung to mind:
•I have voluntarily eaten popcorn at home approximately 5 times in the last year.
•None of those times has ever been at girls' night.
•Is J. saying, by way of air popper, that I am too fat to eat the buttery Movie Theatre Flavor PopSecret microwave stuff?
•Is he saying I am not worth the more expensive, less economical Movie Theatre Flavor PopSecret microwave stuff?
•What the hell am I going to do with this thing?
•This would be great for my garage sale...
•I wish he would have really taken it back.
•Exactly how many nanoseconds did J. think about this gift before hauling it up to the register?
•What the fuck??

I can't help but feel that it makes a statement about our relationship that my husband feels compelled to give me grandma gifts. What's next? Some Chantilly powder (no offense, Mom), a commemorative plate, a small figurine of a cardinal? A wrapped box of Archway Cookies? Maybe some slippers (not the cute fuzzy ones but the flippy teal Isotoner ones) or a 'housecoat'?

Is this a sign that he really doesn't know me at all, or just that he's a crappy gift-giver? Is it that he just doesn't give a damn whether I like something or not or does he honestly think these are good gifts?

I can, off the top of my head, think of about 8 million things that would have pleased me more than a hot air corn popper (including, I think, receiving nothing at all except perhaps an apology that J. hadn't had time to find something suitable). I mean jesus, even just a framed scribble from Bubba, or a pair of inexpensive but nice earrings, or a book, or a gift certificate. Or he could have made me dinner, or cleaned up the house all by himself with no nagging, or pampered me in some indulgent way like breakfast in bed (which I've NEVER had) or an unsolicited and longer-than-two-minutes backrub? How about a gift certificate for a massage for my aching gristle-bit in my back that I complain about constantly? What about just some flowers, for chrissake?

Furthermore, the card that accompanied the popper was redeemed only by Bubba's lovely orange scribble (all he has to do is put marker to paper and it instantly becomes priceless). It had bears or bunnies on it or something and the message was along the lines of "Hope your Mother's Day is as special as you are."

To my credit, I have to say I accepted it all with grace. I told him I couldn't wait to try it out. "I'll have to get some popcorn for this!" I said enthusiastically. I kissed him, I said thank you. And there it sits, at the end of the couch where I opened it. I still don't know what the hell to do with it. I suppose I'll have to make the obligatory batch of low-calorie, economical popcorn--preferably at a girls' night for extra punch--and then let it fade into the recesses of the cupboards for another couple years before I can safely garage-sale it.

I feel so much better. Thanks for listening. Messages of sympathy will be gratefully accepted.