The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Your Wife is Like Your iPhone

WARNING: This is one of those that’s going to fall under the umbrella of “Super Sexist and Assuming But Sometimes True,” so if you’re going to be a baby about that you should probably skip it.

You know how sometimes you’re driving down the freeway, mind wandering from topic to topic (If peacocks mated with flamingos, their spawn would be the fashion models of birds, right? Just how many calories are in a spoonful of Nutella mixed with a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter? Is Neil Patrick Harris a total waste of a spot on my list of celebs I’m allowed to sleep with or is there a chance he’s bi?) and you’re struck by a brilliant lightning bolt of inspiration that can only be explained by a muse, The Hand of God or LSD?

Well it happened to me the other day. It was a brilliant epiphany, similar to when I figured out being a parent is like smelling your own farts. Only this time it was about the secret to a blissful marriage.

So without further ado, here it is:

Dear Men, Your wife is just like your iPhone. Treat her accordingly. 

See how simple and beautiful that is?? I know. Go forth and have a perfect marriage.

Oh. You need more details? Hmm. I thought it was kind of self-explanatory.

OK, so menfolk. You have your iPhone. At this point it’s like another arm. It has your email, your texts, your Twitter, your Words With Friends, that weird Secret app you can’t decide if it’s going to get cool or not, it pays your bills, it tells you how to get places, it takes your pictures, wakes you up and records your workouts. Occasionally people call you on it. It does your shit, right? You can’t function without it.

Your iPhone can do a really lot of things, but it has limitations. Specifically: its battery life. It carries with it a finite amount of power and you are constantly aware of this. When you turn it on to do anything, your eyes automatically flit up to the bar in the top right that tells you just how much juice you have left. When it starts to dip down into the 70% range, you get a little nervous. At 50% you mentally calculate how long until you’ll have access to a charger and start to cut back on your social media usage. If it ever gets down to 20% you consider asking strangers if they have a spare charger on them.

You know if your iPhone dies, you’ll be stuck. You’ll be cut off from all the things you’ve grown to depend on it for. And beyond that, when your iPhone gets low on battery, it starts to get a little janky. The maps function gets slow. Sometimes texts don’t want to go through. You can’t tell if your comment on Facebook actually posted, so you end up posting it three times in a row, which makes you look like a fucking weirdo who doesn’t really ‘get it’.

To keep all of this at bay, you keep a charger in your car and a cord at work. When you’re home, you keep it plugged in if possible. When you’re traveling, you keep a charger on you at all times, and when you’re killing time, waiting to get on a plane, you find a seat at the bar near an outlet so you can keep your iPhone charged while you have a beer. You want that baby to run at optimal performance at all times, so you keep it happy.

Now let’s talk about your wife. If you’ve been married more than a handful of years, there’s a good chance you’ve gotten a little comfortable about things. Maybe you still make an effort to poop in the upstairs bathroom if you know your wife is hanging out downstairs, but beyond that life is stressful and complicated, and being nice takes effort. Some days you feel like you’re just doing the best you can to get through work and fight traffic to get home and pass out on the couch. Add in kids and/or working out and who has time for anything else? Occasionally you don’t even put a smile on your face and act happy to see her when you walk in the door.

So here’s the deal*, your wife has her own ‘feeling loved’ battery. (OK, you do, too.) Obviously, you depend on her for lots of things (companionship, shared household duties, childcare, comfort, sex, entertainment, etc) and if she gets completely empty, and stays that way for long enough, things get super fucked up. You’re definitely not getting laid, and you’re probably looking at a divorce or an affair-type situation that’s messy and awkward for everyone involved.

But it’s also possible you keep her consistently at about 20%. You’re just nice enough, or you make a grand gesture every once in awhile to keep her from getting completely empty, but she’s generally not functioning at optimal levels regarding you. She’s isn’t super motivated to make your favorite dinner. She’s cranky and distant. She buys that toilet paper she knows you hate just because it’s cheaper.

Plus, keeping her low runs the risk of something outside of your control depleting her final stash and her shutting completely down on you. As with technology, of course this always happens at the most inopportune moment. You get stuck in a meeting at work and are late meeting her to a dinner with friends. She’s pissed because she feels like you did it on purpose because you don’t really care about her, so you have an awkward, We’re not fighting, but really we are, conversation in front of everyone before going home to a blowout and ultimately, porn on your iPad (which is probably charged) and the couch.

Imagine, instead, you’d kept her at 100%. She would have only been mildly irritated, instead of taking it personally (dropping her down to 80%) and possibly even sympathetic to your long day at work. She might have ordered you your favorite cocktail so it was waiting when you got there and watched porn with you when you got home. At which point, you’d have a full enough ‘love battery’ because of how kind and understanding she’d been, to reciprocate and she’d bump right back up to 100%.

See, that’s the thing. If you’ve kept her on the low side, it probably will take some effort to get your wife fully charged (and it might even take some research on what sort of actions recharge her), but not only will keeping her charged be in your own best interest, but it will likely be much easier than you expected. Being nice sort of feeds on itself.

So, the point is, figure out what keeps your wife’s battery charged. Is it sitting next to her on the couch at night? Texting her during the day to say hi? Washing the bottles at night before going to bed so when she gets up in the morning they’re clean? Taking her car to get washed once a week? Planning a date once a month? Grabbing her ass in her yoga pants and telling her she looks hot? We’re all different, but it shouldn’t be that tough to figure out.

And then, keep her plugged in, and reap the rewards of a wife at optimal performance.

(OK, OK, this totally could have been gender neutral and women are just as culpable of not keeping their spouse plugged in. But I thought men would appreciate the technology angle! Or maybe it’s just my husband who’s OCD about plugging in his iPhone. And I’m super sexist. Sorry.)

*Full disclosure: Like the only relationship book I’ve ever read was that Love Languages one and I kind of totally buy into that shit. Part of this mentality comes from that. You should read it. It was good.

The Solution to Emoji Confusion

We can all agree that emojis are terrible, right? I mean, except, of course, for my sister and sister-in-law, who are ridiculous human beings:

emoji 0

Emojis beyond the standard happy face, sad face and winky face are twee and pointless (is that a ski gondola above?), but even the basic ones are cryptic to interpret. Was the smiley face supposed to mean she thought my joke was funny or she’s laughing at the fact that I’m kind of a mess? I’m always asking myself. Was that wink like a friendly thing because he’s kind of a winker or is he totally being a creeper? 

That said, it seems they’ve entered the cultural lexicon and are here to stay. I’ve found myself unable to function in polite society without them, despite my general distaste. So here’s what I propose: In order to clarify the situation and make things a whole lot less awkward for over-thinkers like me, everyone should have their own set of specifically defined emojis for use, and a key that can be easily referenced for clarification.

I put together my own personal set for example and to kick off what I’m sure will be a world-wide phenomenon.

Elizabeth’s Emojis

1.

emoji 2

Definition: I’m not sure I know you well enough to make that joke without any kind of an indication I’m not serious (interchangeable with: I worry you don’t have a sense of humor).

2.

emoji 3

 

Definition: I feel like what I just wrote sounded unnaturally formal or harsh so I’m hoping this happy face will convey that I’m not trying to be a dick here.

3.

emoji 1

 

Definition: Sorry I had too many cocktails last night and thought it would be funny to grab your boobs.

4.

emoji 6

 

Definition: Oh, are we still having a message conversation? I totally thought it was over.

5.

emoji 8

Definition: I can’t tell if you’re being creepy or just nice.

6.

emoji 10

 

Definition: I just actually snorted at my computer.

7.

emoji 4

 

Definition: I’m not really LOLing, but I can tell you’re trying to be funny and I don’t want to hurt your feelings.

8.

emoji 13

 

Definition: Your story is a bummer.

9.

emoji 11

 

Definition: Your story is a super bummer.

10.

emoji 12

 

Definition: No, really, you have to stop telling me this story because it’s super terrible and I’m feeling completely awful for you.

11.

emoji 7

 

Definition: Hubahuba.

12.

emoji 9

 

Definition: You just complimented me and I’m usually super sarcastic, but I want to sincerely thank you and that’s weird for me, so I’m using this happy face nonironically. I feel incredibly uncomfortable about this entire exchange. Can we stop having it?

13.

emoji 5

 

Definition: In case it’s unclear, I totally meant that the dirty way.

14.

emoji 14

 

Definition: You’re one of those people who uses a lot of emojis, so I reciprocate because it seems polite and now I’m locked in a habit where it feels like if I don’t use one I come off angry or super serious and I don’t want you to think that’s what’s happening here.

15.

emoji 15

 

Definition: You sent me an emoji and I’ve just spent the last 17 minutes trying to determine exactly what you mean by it, but now I’ve given up. Your thumbs-up guy with the heart eyes who is wearing a fez and petting a cat will forever remain a mystery.

16.

emoji 16

 

Definition: Oh you’re the worst. STFU.

***

See? It totally solves the emoji problem. You’re welcome. Go forth and create your own.

(It’s like really hard to draw on your own fingernail.)

 

 

 

A Mysterious Illness Everyone Is Tired Of Hearing About

I’ve been waiting to write about my mysterious illness until I had a definitive conclusion to the story, but the stupid lab results are taking FORFUCKINGEVER. So here’s Part II:

Friday night the rash got all super leprosy-ish

leprosy rash

and the joint pain and swelling got worse. I became convinced I was totally being murdered by red dots and hurty joints. Saturday I woke up and my elbow hurt too much to put my own hair in a ponytail. I had to have Jason do it and when he was finished I declared, That’s enough! One person should not have to cope with this much misery! Disgusting legs AND super terrible husband ponytail hair? It’s just too much burden for a single human to bear!

Luckily, I was able to get an appointment with my mother’s doctor and the lab results from the blood they took at Urgent Care Thursday came back in time to bring them along. That doctor took a look at my rash and was all, Yeesh. You’re gross. But then he told me all of my blood work came back normal! I didn’t have wacky white blood cells, or an elevated SED rate. My liver function was normal (who would have guessed that?! It’s clearly because I exercise it a really lot. I have a super strong liver). I wasn’t showing a positive result for Rheumatoid Arthritis or anything like that.

After 834 questions about the rash and pain, the doctor decided I have… (insert half-hearted drumroll)… Parvo! That’s right, obviously the problem is I’ve been a Pomeranian this whole time and I just never realized it. He said it’s a virus people totally don’t get from making out with dogs (I mean…not that I was worried that’s how I got it) and in adults it can have rash and joint pain as symptoms. There aren’t anti-virals for it, it just runs its course.

He put me on a round of steroids to get rid of the rash and the joint pain and took more blood to test for the Parvo and a few other things just to make sure. He said I’d be feeling much better soon and I could go back to my normal workouts whenever I was.

By 24 hours into the steroids my knees were pain-free and I could totally do my own hair again (WHEW). The rash was no longer doubling in size daily and parts were definitely fading. On Monday I felt good enough to attempt circus class, which went well. I felt strong and capable and nothing hurt that shouldn’t. It was clear if I could just keep taking the steroids forever I could totally join Cirque in no time! And then I punched something for no reason and the poignant background music of a Very Special Episode from 1985 started playing.

Of course, when I got home and got ready for bed, the soundtrack played The Price Is Right’s Whomp, whaaaa…, because I had a brand new hideous deformity around the back of my thigh:

Yes, I had to crop it like this so it doesn't look super porny. This is an important scientific, medical post!

Yes, I had to crop it like this so it wasn’t just a picture of my ass. This is an important scientific, medical post!

So back to the doctor I went on Tuesday. This time I saw a different lady who also kind of thought I was a gnarly looking freak, but she thought my circus class workout sounded super awesome, so I totally gave her the details. She said she thought maybe the bondagey looking mark on the back of my thigh was a result of the silks (we had learned this trick, Monday night) and my skin reacting to a combination of whatever virus I had (she seemed less convinced it was Parvo) and the steroid. She wasn’t super sure, though and kind of made that, ‘I’m real sorry you’re a freak’ face.

Now it’s Thursday and they still don’t have the stupid blood work back. It’s apparently a long test. My rash looks way better and the ligature mark (I’ve been binge-watching True Detective) on my leg is starting to fade. I do, however, have a handful of new red dots. Although it’s really hard to tell what it old, what is new, what is a freckle and what is red wine I just accidentally dripped on myself.

I’ve been vacillating wildly back and forth between I’m all better, Mom! Stop bossing me about how I work out too much and I’m tiring my body out! and The rash is clearly coming back and pretty soon will start eating my face so I should just eat a Magnum bar for lunch and feel sorry for myself. I’m pretty sure the solution is to use a Sharpie to circle all of my current red dots so I know for sure if I get any new ones.

OR, the effing doctor could just call me back and tell me it’s Parvo for sure and I could stop worrying that I have a mystery illness that’s really an alien life form inhabiting my body so it can learn the secrets of our culture and eventually use my brain as nourishment.

 

A Mysterious Illness and a Neurotic Walk Into a Bar…

Monday night Jason was working on some stupid work project and didn’t have time to pay attention to me, so I fell asleep on the couch watching TV by myself. When I woke up to go to bed, my knees were broken. They didn’t hurt when I fell asleep, but somehow, an hour later (15+ hours after I’d done any kind of physical activity), they felt like someone had taken a mallet to my kneecaps. I hobbled to bed and hoped it was a weirdly realistic bad dream.

In the morning they still hurt. Because I hadn’t fallen or injured them during any kind of activity I could think of, I could only assume I had bursitis from loneliness and the fact that Jason didn’t want my help with his project. It seemed like this should pass fairly quickly if I pretended it didn’t exist. I proceeded to bend my knees as often as possible throughout the day and tell myself, That doesn’t hurt, you dopey girl. Those are your pretty muscles just telling you your knees are looking super great today.

Later, I went to a workout class that’s designed to make every part of your body cry tears made of bacon grease and wine (or at least that’s what my body’s tears are made of). My knees hurt during the class, but um, hello, working out is inherently painful. I just assumed that meant I was doing it really well. By the time I got home, my knees had stiffened and swelled and I could barely get up the stairs to go to bed. That night I had trouble sleeping because bending them at all woke me up.

The next morning, in addition to the swollen, miserable knees, I had what looked like red sharpie dots on my legs and around my eyes.

rash post 1

First I tried washing them off in case Jonas had gotten more creative with his graffiti. Then I decided we had bedbugs, which would require burning down the house, of course. After 10 minutes of standing next to our bed staring intently at the sheets and then Googling, Are bed bugs visible to the naked eye? (the answer is yes), I put away the lighter fluid and the novelty bass* lighter we keep handy for such situations.

You thought I was being hyperbolic, didn't you? Obviously you should take me more seriously.

You thought I was being hyperbolic, didn’t you? Obviously you should take me more seriously.

At this point, it seemed the only logical conclusion for the soreness and rash was that I’m approaching 36 but still acting like a 16 year old, so my body is decaying at an increased rate. Obviously I would, at any moment, fall into a decrepit pile of inflamed cartilage and leprosy on the bathroom tile.

When I broke this unfortunate news to Jason, he was understandably distraught, but assured me in the event of my impending putrefaction, he would go on living and find someone new and young to keep him happy in my absence, as he knew I would want him to. Then he told me I should probably make an appointment to see a doctor because rashes are weird.

I considered this approach, but eventually decided it would either get better on its own and I wouldn’t need to go or get like a whole bunch worse, and it’s really a lot more satisfying to walk into a doctor’s office with a super horrifyingly visible malady that makes the doctor flinch than one you have to point to and say, No, right here… do you see it? And there’s another one right here- oh wait, that was lint. So I decided to give it another day.

Wednesday night Jason went to his workout class (designed to make his body cry tears of steak sauce and gin) and I made chicken enchiladas for the kids and me. When I sat down to eat, I tapped my left ankle on my chair and winced in pain. I looked down to find it had joined the club of Elizabeth’s Joints Who Think It’s Funny To Freak Her Shit Out.

I think it's not supposed to look like that.

I think it’s not supposed to look like that.

Of course I immediately texted Jason pictures of my swollen ankle, because if there’s anything you can do while working out 25 miles from home, it’s make your wife’s swollen ankle better. When he got home we conferred and concluded a doctor visit was in order, despite the fact that the rash hadn’t really reached the shock factor I was holding out for. After that I spent the requisite 2 hours Googling rash images to see just how strong my stomach really was (turns out, not very) and rash + swollen joints so I could spend the rest of the night lying awake in bed, wondering how I had managed to pick up a rare form of Malaria only found in Yugoslavia, back when it was called Yugoslavia.

And that’s how I ended up at Urgent Care yesterday morning, being seen by a very nice nurse practitioner who took blood and advised me to make an appointment with a ‘normal doctor’ to review the results, but refused to speculate on what could possibly be causing this.

Nice NP: It could be a lot of things.

Me: OK… but like for instance what?

Nice NP: Well there’s just a really long list of possibilities. We need to do some tests.

Me: So, but what are just one or two of the possibilities? You don’t have to tell me all of them.

Nice NP: There are just so many. I wouldn’t want to guess.

Me: Not even like one tiny guess? Like any random guess at all? What if I guess and you blink twice when you think I’m getting warm. Are we talking infected hangnail or terminal Sarcoidosis? This is about all the wine and Diet Coke I drink, isn’t it? I mean my blood must be at least 70% composed of wine and Diet Coke at this point and you’re totally going to see that when you do your test, so I might as well admit it right now-

Nice NP: We’ll call you with the results. Probably Saturday. This is weird. I’m not saying it’s not weird.

Me: If you’re making an attempt to impress some kind of gravity of the situation on me here, you’re going to need to use different language. I hear that about my life choices every day.

Nice NP: I have to see some other patients now.

Me: OK.

He did, however, recommend I use heat on my sore joints. Obviously his intent was to write me a prescription for this:

rash post 4

I always follow doctor’s orders.

*I’ve been informed it’s actually a novelty trout lighter.

How To Have The Perfect Body

Yesterday I drove with a friend to circus class and we discussed eating healthy, working out and how the scale generally fucks with our heads. Like most people on this planet, I’ve spent an excessive amount of time wondering how to achieve The Perfect Body. I’ve tried diets, embraced various forms of exercise, considered plastic surgery. So far I have been unsuccessful (and too chicken to go under the knife). But, I did some serious thinking about all of this and I’m pretty sure I’ve got the whole thing figured out. I mean, really, it’s not that complicated to have The Perfect Body once you boil it down.

8 Steps to The Perfect Body –

  1. Hire someone to follow you around and hand you organic apple slices or cucumbers with lime juice and sea salt whenever you have a twinge of hunger. If this is prohibitively expensive, cancel your health insurance to pay for it. Having The Perfect Body is obviously an assurance of health. Same diff.
  2. Never clean your house. That shit takes time that could be spent perfecting your abs. You need to ask yourself if you’d rather look amazing in a swimsuit the 3 or 4 times a year you wear one, or walk down your hallway in the middle of the night without stepping on a Lego or in a damp spot of unknown origin. If the answer isn’t obvious, you’re not committed enough to the goal of The Perfect Body.
  3. Don’t engage with media depicting the human form. Don’t read fashion magazines, watch TV or visit The Chive. Having The Perfect Body is impossible to achieve or maintain, when you have access to pictures of other, Perfecter Bodies. Comparison is the enemy of the The Perfect Body. Live in a vacuum.
  4. Have your taste buds lasered off.  Don’t worry, it’s not weirder or more invasive than having silicone injected into your lips, and it won’t make you look like a duck. Late night ice cream is far easier to resist when it stops tasting like heaven, comfort and the feeling of being loved and starts tasting like snow.
  5. Only be friends and surround yourself with people who could accurately be described as ‘fluffy’. If any of them are smart and/or funny, you’re not going to have The Perfect Personality, but that’s not what we’re going for here.
  6. Be a vampire. Not having a reflection or appearing in photographs makes it nearly impossible to be aware of any impediments to The Perfect Body.
  7. Don’t have any kind of subjective pre-existing notions of beauty or physical perfection. How can you possibly have The Perfect Body if you grow up thinking it’s perfect to have flawlessly spherical kneecaps, when in fact yours are actually more oval? Duh, you can’t. You have to start with a clean slate. Ideally, be raised by wolves.
  8. Never (NEVER) look down when you’re at the beach in a bikini and you hunch over to eat a bite of an amazing beach chilidog with cheese. Just keep your eyes closed while enjoying your lunch. It’s literally impossible for your midsection to maintain perfection in a situation like this.

Or, failing all of that:

Eat real food. Veggies and lean meats, shit like that. Do your best to shop at the ends of the grocery store (where they keep the actual food) and stay mostly out of the middle. Sometimes (but only when it’s really worth it) eat delicious things that are horrible for you, like tater tots, hollandaise sauce and bacon blue cheese burgers.

Find a few things that involve movement and make your soul joyful. Hockey, rock climbing, long nature walks, strip teases – whatever they are, do them regularly. Train your body to do them better because it makes you feel awesome and strong.

Look in the mirror and be proud of your muscles, bones, blood and skin and what they can do. Be amazed they can lift you up and perform beautiful actions. Continue to feed your body things that will make it strong, happy and able to support you. Realize you do have The Perfect Body.

 

Ragnar 2014

I survived my third Ragnar! A week ago right now, I was trying not to drop my phone into the depths of a porta-potty while hovering for a final pee before my first run.

As of now, my aches and pains have mostly healed, although I do still have a fist-sized bruise on my right ass-cheek from when we were driving somewhere in North Phoenix in the middle of the night and went over a giant, unexpected dip in the road. My head hit the roof of the SUV and I came down on the seatbelt. That counts as a running injury, right? I’ll refrain from posting a picture here, but you can send me a message if you want to be added to my distribution list of people who I regularly text such things. You probably want to consider the commitment carefully, though. Just ask my sister, husband and girlfriends. There are things you can’t unsee.

Ragnar 2014 went as it tends to for me: I’m a little nervous the first run, by the second I’ve settled firmly into ‘Why the fuck am I doing this again?’, and by the third I hate everyone and every thing right until about halfway through when I LOVE EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING. It’s always an abrupt and euphoric shift. This year my final run was right at sunrise, which (I cannot stress this enough) is the motherfucking best. I ran East, downhill and got to watch the sun peek up from behind Four Peaks:

Yes, I stopped to take this picture. I'm totally that girl.

Yes, I stopped to take this picture while I was running. I’m totally that girl.

I’m not sure life gets better than that. Like I think it goes:

3. Bottomless mimosas

2. Ryan Gosling in that scene from Crazy, Stupid, Love where he recreates the Dirty Dancing lift

1. This run

It was really nice to end on a positive note, because my second run was really brutal. Let’s recount the unpleasantness, shall we?

#1: It was at 10:30 p.m. and I fell asleep in the van for 20 minutes right before I had to run. So when my teammates woke me up to get out and head to the transition area, I wasn’t even sure where I was or who they were. They handed me a head lamp and I put it on backwards.

#2: I was so out of it, I didn’t realize I had to pee until we got to the transition area, within about 45 seconds of the runner before me coming in. I asked where the porta-potties were set up and the volunteer just pointed the exact opposite direction about a quarter mile down the road.

#3: Instead of sucking my pee back up into my body and using it as hydration like my sister suggested, I bailed into the porta-potty like a minute and a half into my run. My team probably would have won if I hadn’t done that.

#4: About a mile into the run I got passed. Normally I don’t care that much when people pass me because, whatever, I’m slower than some and faster than some and it is what it is. But the team I was on this year ended up being FAST. So… on our team I wasn’t slower than some and faster than some, I was just slower than all. And they kept talking about ‘kills’, which is apparently what you call it when you pass someone (I’m so slow no one even ever explained to me this was a thing before). So by that point all I could think about when I got passed was how much murdered I was being. And then there was the fact that this guy had one leg and was running with a blade. I got killed, by a guy with one leg.

#5: As I was finishing mile four, the course turned on to a desert trail. There was a big light and an old dude wearing a reflective vest who looked angry and exhausted. He just pointed up.

This is a daytime shot of the hill the old guy was pointing to.

This is a daytime shot of the hill the old guy was pointing to.

#6: By halfway up this hill I had caught back up to the guy with one leg and when we crested the top and started to run down, I was ready to pass him. But I had to have this internal debate with myself first:

Me: Ew, is it super dickish to pass a guy who is clearly having more trouble with the rocky, downhill terrain than I am because he’s wearing a blade and has one leg?

Also Me: It’s probably more dickish and condescending to not pass him because you feel bad for the fact that he has one leg.

Me: Ugh, that’s true. And I’m breathing down his neck right now.

Also Me: And there was that guy in the Olympics who had two blades! He’s way faster than you!

Me: And then he killed his girlfriend.

Also Me: I wonder if this guy feels like that guy gives amputee runners a bad name.

Me: Maybe I should ask him.

Also Me: Or just pass him already and get on with his miserable run. He’s probably going to pass you later again anyway. You can ask him then.

#7: After about a mile of running through the darkness on a rocky path in the middle of the desert, I passed a girl wearing a schoolgirl skirt and crying. She said, “We have less than two miles left! How will we get back to the road?” to me despondently as I passed.

#8: When the end of the run (and the lighted street) was finally in sight and I started to think I maybe wouldn’t die out in the desert alone and eaten by coyotes, the one-legged guy passed me again. I was too tired and depressed to ask him about his feelings on Oscar Pistorius.

I did make it to the end, though and I got to have that glorious final run. It was a fun Ragnar and a really fantastic team. Go Team Hair of the Jog:

I posted this picture on Facebook and one of my friends emailed me, "Did you really win Ragnar??" and I was like, "No... noo, no. That was an ironic 'we're #1!' we were doing there... get it?" and then I got really worried people actually thought we won Ragnar but I didn't want to comment, 'GUYS. WE TOTALLY DIDN'T WIN.' because that seemed kind of rude to my teammates.

I posted this picture on Facebook and one of my friends emailed me, “Did you really win Ragnar??” and I was like, “No… noo, no. That was an ironic We’re #1! we were doing there… get it?” and then I got really worried people actually thought we won Ragnar but I didn’t want to comment, ‘GUYS. WE TOTALLY DIDN’T WIN.’ because that seemed kind of rude to my teammates. We did get 19th in our division, though.

I’ll prolly do it again next year.

 

Bee Plan A and Spider Plan A

Jonas: Gray, can I have a piece of paper?

Gray: I guess. It’s up on my desk.

Jonas: Mom, can I use one of your pens?

Me: Sure, here you go.

jos plan 1

Me: What are you doing, Jo?

Jonas: Oh, I’m making a plan.

Me: What sort of plan?

Jonas: About the bees.

Me: Huh?

Jonas: Well, see, the red bug people-

Me: You mean Brian and Sarah next door?

Jonas: Yes. They had that bee hive in the crack under their patio.

jos plan 3

Me: Yes…

Jonas: Well I figured out that the bees were there because of the tree in our yard. It has a lot of pollen on it, see?

jos plan 2

Me: Maybe…

Jonas: Bees like pollen, so I’m sure of it.

Me: OK.

Jonas: So my plan is to cut the stuff with pollen down so the bees don’t go over there any more.

jos plan 5

Me: You’re going to cut down the tree?

Jonas: No, just the pieces with pollen. I’m going to use the scissors from the kitchen.

Me: You’re going to climb the tree and cut off the branches with pollen?

Jonas: No, I’m going to stand on the firepit. I can reach some of it from there.

Me: I’m not saying your logic is completely off, but I can’t let you take the kitchen scissors and cut off parts of the tree. First of all, the pest control people came and took care of the bee hive-

Jonas: There are still bees there! I can see them!

Me: I know, but they got rid of the hive. And secondly, bees are good. They pollenate the plants and flowers and we like that.

Jonas: Well, I was going to leave the pollen branches on the ground so the bees could still have them.

Me: You can’t take the scissors outside.

Jonas: Fine. Can I have another piece of paper?

Me: Sure.

jos plan 6

Jonas: Mom. I have a new plan. This is Plan A.

Me: You mean Plan B, because the other one was Plan A.

Jonas: No, this is the Spider Plan A. That was the Bee Plan A.

Me: Got it. What is your new plan?

Jonas: Well, see right here, there are a lot of spider webs. I drew them by the house.

Me: It’s kind of hard to see anything because you used a black marker on a black piece of paper.

Jonas: That’s because it’s night in this plan.

Me: Makes sense.

Jonas: See, I have this sharp, pointy stick.

jos plan 7

Jonas: I’m going to use it to take off all the spiderwebs in the backyard.

Me: I think that’s an excellent plan.

Jonas: Great! I’m on it! And then I’m going to make Plan B!

 

Everything and Nothing.

I’m pretty sure ain’t nobody got time for cohesive narratives this week (meaning: me. I don’t). So let’s commence with the nonsensical rambling, shall we?

One of my best-friend‘s dad died this week. He’s been in kind of roller-coastery health the last few years, so it wasn’t completely unexpected, but it was fast and kind of shocking. I spent a good chunk of yesterday at her house going through her father’s boxes of photos, getting rid of stuff and helping find pictures for the slideshow she’s putting together for his funeral.

I know she feels like I was being a ‘good friend’ by taking time out of my schedule to come and support her during this, but honestly, it was a lovely day I was lucky I got to experience with her. To begin with, she cooked this amazing breakfast of sausage, spinach and potatoes in a skillet topped with eggs and grape tomatoes and finished in the oven. Those are all of my favorite things that no one in my family will eat! Plus, I didn’t even work or check my email the entire time I was there because hello: Um someone died. It would be rude. 

Beyond those luxuries, we spent a few hours just flipping through the hundreds of photos her dad had taken and collected over his 71 years. Amanda’s dad wasn’t a perfect man (not that any of us are), but it was really interesting and beautiful to see him throughout his life. And, of course, I got to see tons of adorable and hilarious pictures of Amanda and her brother I hadn’t seen before. It felt cathartic and important to sort of relive his life yesterday. The good, the beautiful and the weird.

Speaking of The Weird, among his things, Amanda found a box of really old family photos and memorabilia. There were ancient photos printed on tin and portraits on thick paper that had begun to deteriorate. In a stack of this sort, she found these two small, original black and white prints:

I added the censor bars to allow me to post them to Facebook and Instagram yesterday. I thought about posting them unedited here, because hey, most office servers already flag me as a porn site, but then I remembered I'm a Real Estate Business Website. Sometimes I forget.

I added the censor bars to allow me to post them to Facebook and Instagram yesterday. I thought about posting them unedited here, because hey, most office servers already flag me as a porn site anyway, but then I remembered I’m a Real Estate Business Website. Sometimes I forget.

She has no idea who the woman is, but judging from some of the other photos it was with, we think it must be from the 1940s.

Can we just talk, for a second about all the noteworthy things?

1. I love how modestly tawdry she is. Like, she’s clearly naked and it’s meant to be provocative, but she’s posing in house slippers. Because being outside in bare feet is uncivilized!

2. OK, so what, really, is the thing she’s holding over her lady-parts in the first picture? Amanda thinks it’s a large replica of a cherry (like made out of wood or something?). And I can definitely see that. A couple of people have suggested that it looks like a real eggplant. I think it’s awfully round for an eggplant, but the size makes more sense and the leafy part on top is sort of reminiscent of the top of an eggplant. Also, it’s way more hilarious if it’s an eggplant. Ooo! You caught me gardening in the nude! I’ll just cover my vagina with a vegetable! 

3. Why is she blindfolded? I am not following this narrative at all.

4. The second picture is possibly the weirder one, even though it doesn’t have any unidentifiable produce. Is that a makeshift dishtowel diaper? And a chamberpot she’s holding? Is this some kind of super kinky bathroom sexy thing? Huh. People were super pervy even back then.

5. I wonder if this is the original ‘lampshade as hat’ photo. Like the very first time that joke was used. Maybe she was making history and she didn’t even know it.

I could go on, but they’re great, right? I sort of want to recreate them. Maybe when I write a book I will and use them as my cover art.

Moving on, because I haven’t rambled quite long enough… I’m running Ragnar Del Sol again this weekend. I have my outfits all picked out and packed and I ran 8 miles less than two weeks ago, which is a mile+ more than my longest run, but I’ve had a chest cold and my training has been pretty lackadaisical since. I feel nervous that I’m going to be slow and it will be painful.

Plus, I have a hideous burn on my back from the silks in circus class last Sunday:

silks burn

We learned this trick called ‘The Hammock’ where you lean against one of the silks and feed slack until you’re laying parallel to the ground.

This is my instructor, Rachel, doing it.

This is my instructor, Rachel.

Clearly my slack-feeding needs work.

The burn is in a weird place where it’s not healing fast and every time I bend my head forward I crack it open. And it rubs on my shirts and I’m afraid it’s just going to be a disgusting open wound by the time I’m done running 18 miles this weekend. BLEH.

Speaking of circus class, I figured out last week, after nearly six months of class, that I have been climbing the silks in an incredibly inefficient way this entire time. I feel like an idiot who will never be allowed to join the circus. I have been climbing like an inch-worm, straight up the silks:

I couldn’t understand why, after all this time, and all this muscle I’ve built up, it was still so exhausting and difficult for me to climb the silks, even though it seems easy and beautiful when other people do it. I had an epiphany on Sunday that they are actually straightening their legs at an angle more parallel to the ground than perpendicular and then using the leverage to stand up:

Go watch this video of a woman climbing correctly really quick on YouTube. It wasn’t embed-able.

I mentioned this to one of the other women who’s been taking aerial for a few years and she was like, Oh yeah, it uses way less energy to do it the other way. That’s why we do it like that. At which point I was like, WHY IN THE FUCKITY FUCK DIDN’T ANYONE EVER POINT THIS OUT TO ME?! I COULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN IN CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, YOU ASSHOLES. 

I just felt like that needed to be documented in case anyone out there in Internet Land is Googling, ‘Why do I suck at climbing the silks?’ This website is about educating.

I guess that’s about it. Have a great weekend, my dears. If you’re running Ragnar Del Sol, have a great race and be sure to wave when you see me! I’ll be the one with the blue hair in the cute outfits who’s gasping and has blood running down her back.

Love, Unedited.

valentines day 2014

I really wanted to prove with this picture I don’t have to have girls to have super cute Valentines outfits and family photos, but I’m pretty sure all I proved was that no one enjoys having his picture taken before 7am. Also that I really don’t know how to use Photoshop. Like I don’t even understand the tool that’s called ‘Red Eye Tool’, which seems like it should be pretty self-explanatory and user-friendly. And I sincerely don’t know how to fix greasy bangs or a red nose from excessive nose-blowing.

So… Happy Valentines Day from The Newlins.

(Additionally, in an unrelated manner:

Dear Dude Who Keeps Contacting Me About My BFF’s Mom,

I feel really bad that I can’t help you, but she is not the lady you’re looking for. She is from Illinois, but she’s about 10 years older than the person you’re looking for. Additionally, the name of your long lost love is her married name, not her maiden name, like the chick you were dating back then. Also, like I mentioned above, she’s not my mom, she’s my friend’s mom, so any resemblance you see in me of this person is inaccurate.

I can’t decide if it’s sweet or kind of creepy that you’re still harboring feelings for this woman after so many years, but you seem to just genuinely regret ditching her to sow your wild oats when you were 16, so we’ll go with sweet (unless you don’t take this hint and quit emailing). Don’t beat yourself up. None of us was really who we are at 16. Your lady-friend could potentially be the adorable and wonderful 60 year old version of the girl you remember, but she’s just as likely to be a 300 pound bingo addict who hoards precious moments figurines and beanie babies and works at the DMV.

Several years ago we were stuck in Illinois overnight due to a missed flight connection snafu and I decided to take the opportunity to drive past the horse farm my family lived on when I was between the ages 3 and 5. My earliest memories are of this house. I learned to ride a bike on the gravel road (and obliterated my knees when I fell). We picked raspberries on a neighboring property. On Halloween we only trick or treated to the one house on the other side of the woods because there was no one else even close who had kids or would have purchased candy. My Papa let us ride in the bucket of the tractor they used to shovel horse manure (I’m not sure why this was a treat). 

The point is, when I tracked down this house, in a tiny (TINY) suburb (Wikipedia is actually calling it a ‘village’) called Big Rock and dragged my husband and children to the house, *SPOILER ALERT*, it wasn’t how I remembered. Everything was smaller and closer together. Some neighboring dude had an epic collection of hubcaps out front of his house. The lady who lived there thought I was a fucking weirdo when I rang the doorbell and asked if I could go look at the horse barn. It was a bummer.

The worst part is that now when I remember those years living in that house in Big Rock, the actual version seen by my adult eyes is there too, marring my memories. I’m pretty sorry I went.

I’m just saying, maybe it’s better your Jackie Disbrow lives in your head, lovely, flawless, 16 forever.

That said, if I haven’t convinced you, have you tried Facebook? Seems like that would be the way to go.

Sincerely,

Your unromantic blogger friend with greasy bangs and a cold)

 

 

 

Modern Feminism. Or something… It’s confusing.

Me: So, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things…

You: Oh yeah, like what?

feminist lego 3

Me: Well, like the objectification of women and gender roles in our society.

You: Have you, now?

Me: Yes. And I’m just really confused and a little upset.

You: OK…

Me: This girl I went to high school with posted a story on Facebook early this morning about an incident she had at work. She’s apparently a waitress in a bar in Hollywood where the uniform is short-shorts and fishnets.

You: Hot.

Me: Right, and she’s totally a hottie. So I guess she was waiting on this table of guys who were hitting on her all night…

feminist lego 1

Me: …and when the bar was closing and they turned on the overhead florescent lighting, the guys made some loud, obnoxious remarks about how she didn’t look as good with the lights on.

feminist lego 2

You: Ooo, what dicks.

feminist lego 4

Me: Totally. She was kind of horrified and embarrassed, but tried to just keep her cool and let it roll off her back.

You: As I suppose you would, as a mature human being in the presence of drunk imbeciles.

Me: Agreed. But then she was in the car on the way home and got to thinking that she should have stood up for herself to those guys and let them know she was strong and beautiful, inside and out. To sort of let them know it’s not ok to do that to any woman.

You: Or any person, for that matter.

Me: Yes. So this story led me down two roads -

1. Holy shit. She’s super hot! And like exactly my age. Plus she hasn’t even had kids or anything. So if she’s getting heckled for being old under the bright lights of reality, why should I even bother attempting to look presentable? I’m clearly so far past my prime I should just give up and let myself dry out and blow away into the wind like dust. I’m going to go put on sweatpants and eat the rest of the mint chocolate chip ice cream.

You: Of course you went there. I should have known this wasn’t a Gloria Steinem think-piece.

Me: And 2. Those douche-canoes treated her like a thing. At first she was a ‘pretty thing’, a thing they wanted to have, and then, when they couldn’t have her, they discussed her ‘flaws’ in front of her and discarded her, like a thing. She was just an object to them. I think I finally understand this whole ‘objectification’ concept.

You: …welcome to the latter half of the twentieth century?

Me: No, but really, I think I always just thought it was a kind of meaningless feminist term thrown around to make men feel like assholes for checking out T&A. I sort of felt like, So what if they (we) look at pretty things and enjoy them for being pretty? Women wear hot outfits to look hot. Men do the same thing. Objectify me, please, if it just means you think I’m cute!

You:

feminist lego 5

Me: I see now, that it becomes problematic because the objectifier only sees the object for its beauty. You stop being a human being who means anything besides how tight your top is. This makes you expendable. You can just be discarded when a shinier (newer) model comes out. You’re just a thing.

You: Mmhmm…

Me: I don’t want to be a thing! I want to be loved for who I am, whether I look fantastic, or like roadkill. And I bet my Facebook high school friend does too!

You: I’m sure.

Me: So then I got to wondering, maybe these establishments that have their waitresses wear shit like that are really contributing to the objectification of women everywhere. It seems like they’re kind of saying to men-

You: People…

Me: People, it’s ok to look at women-

You: People…

Me: People like nothing but sexy pieces of sculpture that will bring you drinks and potentially satisfy you sexually, but if they don’t look how you want them to or perform correctly, you can just get rid of them.

You: Well, I mean, yes, that’s the theory behind the entire 1970s wave of feminist logic, but-

Me: And maybe all those articles I thought were ridiculous that I’ve read lately about how grooming your pubic hair means you’re not a feminist are actually right! Although I still don’t see how it’s radically different from shaving my legs, so maybe I should stop doing that, too…

You: OK, now, wait, we’ve made quite a leap in logic here-

Me: And I watched this French short film the other day that portrayed a world of gender role reversal where this poor guy is sexually harassed and assaulted and his wife is totally a dick, and it made me wonder if that’s really what life is like for a lot of women. Which is such bullshit and it makes me want to burn a goddamn bra right now. Additionally, it made me wonder if women would actually want to go running topless, because I think, in general, it would be uncomfortable.

You: No, seriously, that’s fairly unrealistic. Don’t burn your running bra.

Me: I also read another article about a study attempting to show gender equality in a marriage means a less satisfying (or at least less frequent) sex life. And while that neither seems true, nor makes any sense to me, I’m not sure I would trade inequality for sad, infrequent sex. Does that make me a bad feminist, too? This is all so confusing.

You: Oh… my god. First of all, the dickheads at your friend’s bar were just dickheads. It doesn’t matter what she’s wearing, where she’s working, or even what gender she or they are, people who treat other people with that lack of consideration and respect for his or her feelings are piles of shit. That’s really all there is to it. Objectification isn’t a condition unique to women. Humans need to work harder at treating each other like humans.

It sounds, however, like she has a fairly decent handle on her own self-worth and who she is as a person, so she’ll live to tend bar another day, hopefully without a thought to them.

Secondly, do whatever you want with your pubic hair and please stop discussing it on the internet. No one cares and it means nothing about any of your beliefs. Unless, I guess, you wax it into the shape of an O to show your support for Obama. Even then, the people you show it to are going to mistake it for your support of the other Big O.

Lastly, you really, really, need to stop getting all of your news from Jezebel. You’re getting a little brainwashed and obsessed.

Me: Ok, I can see that. It’s probably a valid point.

feminist lego 6