Thursday, January 31, 2008

i must confess.

this is a tough topic for me. so much so, that i actually called super jas to see if he had any ideas on what i excessively purchase. i said, "mso buys shoes that are on sale a lot, and wicked m buys tons of cookies. g love buys vegetables like they're going out of style. what do i buy a lot of?" (long pause...) "um. nothing really, i guess. most everything we spend is on groceries and stuff for the girls." i thought for a second and realized that he was absolutely right. unfortunately, we have no discretionary income. none. nada. zip.

occasionally, i'll buy a few fun items that we may not need if they are on sale, of course. as i mentioned in my comment on mso rin's entry, i purchased tons of shorts for little mama that were on sale after christmas. kohl's was practically giving away the shorts and i just couldn't help myself. i purchased a new pair of shoes for myself a few months ago. i splurged and bought aj dora sheets because i knew she would love me forever...and because they were on sale. i do love a good sale, but i wonder why i always fess up to paying less than full price for an item?

for example, the new shoes i bought. they were most definitely on sale as i think i only paid like $6 for them. i wore them the following day and a coworker complimented me on them. rather than simply accepting the compliment and moving on i announced, "thanks! guess how much i paid for them. $6! can you believe that? $6!" i'm not sure why i feel compelled to tell someone about my bargain. i should keep my mouth shut and let them think i'm a millionaire and that i paid far more than what i actually did. but, i can't. and i don't.

i guess i'm proud of my find and want others to know what an awesome bargain shopper i can be - even if the item came from my local goodwill *blush*.

I Wonder Why I Have No Restraint . . .

I am not a health nut – I’m a moderately healthy eater and moderately healthy exerciser and I don’t go to extremes with either – very often. Pregnancy does not count. That said, there is something about a stack of fresh fruits and vegetables that makes my little recipe lovin’ heart kathunk with all the possibilities.

Normally, we shop at Food Lion, which is the cheap and crappy grocery in our neighborhood, but also the least expensive and the closest. Food Lion has awful produce – green onions are more brown than green and chewy as dental floss, oranges are mealy and unsweet, bananas are hard and tiny, squash is softly rotting, and avocados – don’t even try it. On my normal shops, I stick to the basics – apples, a potato, maybe an onion, some carrots. These things even Food Lion can’t totally destroy. Most of my roughage comes canned or frozen (side note – a new fave dessert is frozen cherries, strawberries, and peaches with Cool Whip on top – ladle it out into a bowl before you begin your dinner, and by the time you’re ready for it, it’s just melty and gooey enough that it doesn’t break your teeth).

Sometimes, though, if I need something a little more exotic for a recipe I’ll head to the infinitely fancier Harris Teeter (at Food Lion you can get pickled pig’s feet or pork rinds in abundance, but there are no leeks, veggie burgers, or crab-stuffed tuna steaks in sight.)

Harris Teeter is my dealer, and fresh produce is my drug. They’ve got me pegged, you see. You walk into any Harris Teeter and the first place you’re steered is the produce aisle. I hear the Hallelujah chorus every time I step inside. Jewel bright raspberries and inky dark blueberries are piled provocatively in my line of sight. Peeking up from the aisle behind is the top of the tower o’ citrus – globes of firm, fleshy, vitamin-C packed oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, tangelos, still glowing from the Florida or California sun. I round the corner and stumble onto the avocados – oh dear God, avocadoes that are perfectly ripe – firm, but still squishable, skins green and leathery and perfect as the day they were picked.

I turn my gaze to the wall of cool green veg, which is usually being gently rinsed with a fresh spray of chilled spring water. The mind boggles. Kale. Bok choi. Mustard greens. Swiss chard. Jolly little buckets of Brussels sprouts. Sophisticated stalks of asparagus, caught into a bunch and tied just so with string. Carrots, still with their green tops and rooty pointed ends, piled high in a rustic basket. Buckets of mushrooms – just fill up your paper bag with your favorite type. Shitake? Button? Portabella? Sliced, or whole? There are whole reams of different spicy peppers, four different types of green onion, squash in innumerable permutations of color, size, and shape. All of it fresh, green, bright, just begging for you to take a crunchy bite.

I buy pounds of vegetables every time I go. I can’t just buy one orange, it has to be four. Why settle for a couple of apples when you can have a whole bag? Brussels sprouts are good, yes, but Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and butternut squash is better. It's almost impossible to eat everything I purchase before it will spoil. I know this, I do, but I just can't help myself.

When Darlin' is in town, he makes a valiant effort to plow through whatever I’ve foolishly bought that is closest to spoiling. Now that he’s gone for a while – it’s all me and Jack Jack. What do you say, baby? Steamed asparagus for dinner tonight, with a side of sauteed squash, and some roasted mushroom caps for dessert? Sounds good.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why Did I Buy Those Cookies?

I received a dreaded e-mail last week from a friend of mine. Her niece is a Girl Scout and it is cookie selling time! Would I like to buy any? I would be lying if I told you that it took me more than five seconds to respond. Of course I want Girl Scout Cookies!

As far as I am concerned, Girl Scout Cookie Time is like Christmas Part II. When those little boxes of Heaven arrive, I am joyful. I tear into those boxes as if they contain diamonds or winning lottery tickets. The minute the cookie goodness hits my lips, I am a happy, happy girl.

I think it must also be that Girl Scout Cookies remind me of being a kid. My Aunt M would freeze Thin Mints and she rationed them so that they lasted all year long. My mother believed that the cookies should be enjoyed anytime, so our boxes never lasted very long. Having a father that works with elementary school kids was an added bonus during cookie time because we would inevitably receive some boxes as gifts. Score! Tagalongs and Thin Mints were the cookies of choice in our household and sharing a few after dinner were a family tradition.

So, why did I buy those cookies last week? That is easy. They taste good. I wanted them. They make me blissfully, nostalgically happy. And? They taste good.

*I am not even telling you how many boxes I ordered. I love these cookies, but I am not even going to open myself up for the public embarrassment that would follow if I told you the number. I will tell you this. It was more than five!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Why did I buy those shoes?

It’s my mom’s fault, if I get to lay blame somewhere. She turned me in to a sale-shopper when I was still in elementary school. Although she’s an Aquarius, she has that Capricorn-ish tendency toward frugality that I really admire … most of the time.

Except that when her penny-pinching ways were passed down to me, they mutated into a compulsion. I am powerless before it, and even the fact that I recognize my weakness doesn’t do anything to mitigate it.

I will buy something I don’t need JUST BECAUSE IT’S ON SALE.

It’s ridiculous. When I’m clothes shopping, it doesn’t matter if it’s just for fun or for a very specific item: I am literally incapable of even looking through the full-priced racks. I know exactly where the sale sections are in almost every store I visit; I walk straight there and start going through every single item. A black tank top (I already own three, mind you) that’s now only $3.49? How many other colors are there in my size?! A pair of jeans marked down to $9.99? Who cares that I already own a pair that look almost exactly like them (and when I get them home, I discover that they are the ones I already have)? A sweater I will probably wear only one time? Doesn’t matter—it was originally $48 and I got it for $12!

But the endcaps at Target are the worst. I have shower gel, picture frames, and chocolate that I was suckered into buying because of that little red Sale Price tag (and don’t even get me started on things that have a stack of red tags three or four deep—then I don’t even look at what I’m buying).

I now own, for example, a pair of $5.38 brown heels with toes that are way-too-pointy-to-be-comfortable. Also, they don’t fit in the arch—if you stand next to me and look down at my feet, you can see the insoles on the insides of each shoe. It’s like seeing a Barbie wearing shoes that were made for Jem.

But I haven’t yet convinced myself that I can return them. I mean, they were originally $24.99! And I got them for fewer than SIX dollars! Amazing! Even though if I took them back today, I’d be able to exchange them for toilet paper and a travel-size lotion … things I actually need … I just can’t seem to let go. Maybe I should wear them around the house for a few hours until my feet start screaming at me, “Hey, idiot, time to let go! Don’t even think about taking these shoes with us to Vegas. We’ll walk right off and leave you in the airport alone and toeless. That home pedicure will be worthless! Now let us out!”

What’s your shopping fetish? Are you, like me, a slave to a bargain? Or, also like me, when you find something you like, do you snatch up as many as you can reasonable justify in different colors? Or do you have more black dresses (or shoes, or books) than you’d ever admit? What do you wonder why you buy?

Friday, January 25, 2008

i wonder what my obituary will say?

super jane, 86, died yesterday in her sleep. it appears that even at age 86, she had still not caught up on the loss of sleep she experienced after birthing her children. super jane was married to super jas, world champion bass fisherman, for 64 years. she also leaves behind two daughters - little mama of 'dancing with the stars' fame (mondays at 9pm on abc) and aj, olympic gold medal gymnast (you can catch her posing with mary lou and nadia on the latest box of wheaties featuring 'the classics').

in 2000, super jane graduated from a quaint college in southern indiana. she met super jas during her time there and married him just months after graduation. both supers adored the little college and held it near and dear to their hearts. both created lasting memories on the sprawling campus, but one accomplishment of super jane's will live on forever. in the fall of 1999, super jane and her sorority sisters streaked across the football field. super jane's streaking speed and skill were noted that night and it appears that she still holds the college record for the fastest streak. to recognize this achievement, the college board renamed the football field "super jane's field" in her honor. super jane ('00), super jas ('99), little mama ('24), aj ('26), and grandchildren ('49, '47, '46) were all in attendance at the renaming ceremony.

super jane began her career in higher education. while she found the career to be a tad boring, the benefits of tuition exchange for her dependents kept her going. it was not until little mama and aj graduated from college themselves that super jane began to pursue other opportunities. in 2027 super jane and super jas auditioned for 'the amazing race.' the casting directors at cbs immediately fell in love with the couple and chose them to race during their 2028 season. the supers kicked some serious booty on the show and were "team #1" in every leg, paving the way to an incredible victory in the race around the world. the team visited numerous countries during their race, including egypt, croatia, nigeria, the netherlands, yemen, and vietnam. impressed with their skill and knowledge, the producers offered them employment at 'the amazing race.' they began working from home; super jane designing the race routes while super jas created the detour and road block tasks. they worked for cbs until retirement in 2038.

following retirement, super jane followed along as super jas pursued his dream of becoming a bass fisherman. he won the bassmaster classic in his first year on the circuit which led to the filming of his very own fishing show. super jane, retired, fat, and happy, enjoyed traveling to various fishing spots around the world and soaking up the sun and culture while super jas shot the footage for his popular show. it was while on shoot in florida that super jane passed peacefully in her sleep.

the funeral will be held on sunday night at 6pm. g love and ben folds will be performing an arrangement written especially for super jane while a dramatic reading illustrating super jane's life will be given by mso rin. in addition, the portraits of the supers' journey on 'the amazing race' taken by wicked m will by on display following the service. the family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the quaint college. please note "super jane life size statue fund" in the memo line.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Love Lives On

Today, my mother died. She was 99 years old.

Last week, she went hiking along the California coastline, with the aid of hoverboots and my twenty-year-old grandson's strong arm. The week before, she was in Amsterdam giving a talk to the Literary Fellows of the university there. Two days ago, she made my wife and I a stunning pot of spaghetti. I love my wife, but no one in this world could make spaghetti sauce like my Mama.

She often told me that when she was pregnant with me, it's all she craved.

G Love, my mother, was born in Southern California, and though she and my father ended up living all over the world, she always had an aura of sun and sand and health about her. She came from a large family, and "to my great relief," as she said with a smile in her last hour, each of her four siblings outlived her, as did all three of her children, and all eight of her grandchildren, and, yes, all twelve of her great grandchildren. Her only dear loss in this life (besides her parents) was her husband of over seventy years, who predeceased her by only a few short months. We all knew when we lost him that she wouldn't be far behind. It gives me comfort to know they're together now.

I'm her oldest child, born to her at the age of 29, before she and my father had begun their life's work, before they had found their calling. A couple of years later my brother was born, and two years after that they brought home my sister from a South American orphanage when she was only four months old. It was the adoption of my baby sister that gave my parents a real sense of direction and purpose, and this is when the beginnings of the G Love Foundation were formed.

In addition to their well known efforts on behalf of the poverty stricken and destitute of the world, my parents also made time for many other things in their lives. Dad wrote a stirring work of nonfiction that won him accolades the world 'round. Mom was shortlisted for the Booker prize for her third novel, and of course wrote the world famous biography of MSO Rin, with whom she was close from her college years on (incidentally, the biography included a forward by Super Jane and several dozen photographs by Wicked M - it is hard to imagine all four of these famously talented women attending the same small college at the same time, but it happened, and led to some stirring collaborations in later life.) Dad was a public servant for a large part of his career, and Mom was actually a backup singer in a band that had a few hits in the early teens, though not many people remember her for that. Dad and Mom also traveled extensively, and though at the end of their lives they had settled homes in Rome; Taos, New Mexico; and Beaufort, South Carolina; they were also able to spend extended periods of time in the Middle East, South America (especially Brazil), and Africa - always doing work for the Foundation.

Mom always said that some of her favorite memories dated from the time when my siblings and I were small, and she was managing and artistic director of a theatre in a tiny North Carolina town. Using what she learned from this experience, she was able to integrate what she called "theatre therapy" into much of the work she and Dad performed for the downtrodden, following in the footsteps of one of Mom's heroes, the Brazilian theatrical experimentalist Augusto Boal. Mom and Dad complemented one another in this work perfectly - Dad had political savvy, connections, and a cool head, and Mom had compassion, instinct, and drive. Together they personally brought comfort in the form of food, clean water, medical supplies, and also an artistic outlet to thousands, or perhaps hundreds of thousands. Workers and partners with their foundation have helped over ten million to date.

If you asked her, though, my Mom would always say she was most proud of her family. She'd nod acknowledgement of how corny that sounds, but would never waver from this answer - read transcripts of every one of her numerous interviews all through her life, and the answer would never change. In 2038, when Mom was sixty years old, she gave a taped interview on some long-cancelled talk show. I watched it again today, already missing her. I'll close this remembrance with my mother's own words from 39 years ago.

"I've been so fortunate in this life to do all the things I wanted to do, and also some things I didn't. I'm sixty years old and I still forget that sometimes, when you don't get your own way, you are getting a much better deal than if you had. I get so angry when I'm trying to get assistance for a struggling, starving family, and the country's government seems to be dead set against their success. Even worse is when the family itself is working against me, working against their own interests. I've sunk to my knees in despair, oh more times than I can count. I've lost hope. But here's the thing - whenever this happens, whenever stuff isn't going my way and I'm not having an easy time doing what I want and it seems like forces are conspiring to ruin my plans, I remember how, with my family, I got my own way. I got exactly what I wanted in the person I married and the three people I was lucky enough to call my children. I'm proud of them all. I LIKE them all. And none of them ever went hungry, or lacked for decent medical care, or slept on the street. And then I remember to be thankful for that, and I quit my complaining, roll up my sleeves, and try to see my childrens' faces in the faces of the poor I'm helping. It motivates me. It always has. The four of them, my kids and my husband, are my success story, regardless of how many people we can say our Foundation has served. No matter what, I know I gave them the best life I could offer. Everything else I get to do is just a bonus."

- G Love will be buried in Rome next to her husband, Darlin'. This remembrance is excerpted from a forward that appears in front of her final book, completed three months before her death. It was written by Jack-Jack, her oldest son and the winner of the 2052 Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the G Love Foundation.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I Wonder What They'll Say About Me When I'm Gone...

Wicked M, 99, died happily of extreme candy and Cheetos consumption at her beach home on Tuesday. Her husband, Superman, 102, was found holding her hand and lying next to her. It appears that Superman died from excessive knowledge of absolutely everything. It has been told that Superman always knew he would pass away at the age of 102 and that Wicked M vowed to never live a day without him.

Wicked M lived life to its fullest. Her enthusiasm for life was storied and unmatched. She was married to Superman for seventy years and they spent those years traveling the world in search of a Mexican restaurant that could beat On The Border's extensive menu and hot salsa. After a battle with infertility in the first decade of their marriage, Wicked M and Superman eventually welcomed four children. Those children are now best known as a world-famous photographer, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, an NFL quarterback, and an elementary school teacher. Wicked M often said that her children were her greatest accomplishment.

In her late thirties, Wicked M began a successful photography studio and is best known for her famed permanent collection at the Annie Leibovitz Gallery in New York City. Wicked M enjoyed photographing people, places and things and loved to capture the little moments in life. She was well aware that, after all, we are all only here for a brief time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I wonder what my obituary will say?

**No, this is NOT a morbid wonder! It is fantastical.**

MSO Rin, 106, died of laugher at her home on Saturday, surrounded by friends, her beloved sports-star/doctor nephew Kaveman, her younger sister Kat and older brother-in-law Owl (of
Airstream-American-artist-historian fame), and her beagle puppy, Hamish.

MSO Rin lived a full and joyful life, spending much of it in her favorite places: Tennessee, Montana, New York City, Great Britain, and
Chili’s. After growing up and studying English, theatre, and flirting in various Midwestern/Midsouthern states (the battle to claim her as a native daughter rages on between North Dakota, Tennessee, and Indiana), MSO Rin met The Boy, the love of her life, at age 23 and was married to him for 77 years. Together they worked, traveled, camped, and saw lots and lots of plays. It was The Boy, MSO Rin, and two of their closest friends (Wicked M & Superman) who took Las Vegas by storm in early 2008, winning a record single-weekend payday which still stands. Many of MSO Rin’s other legendary adventures can be found in her biography by the multihyphenate artist G Love—another sorority sister who shared MSO Rin’s rare air. Her accomplishments are too many to list here, as are her acolytes. Just buy the book. It’s written like delicate poetry but yields emotions as powerful as a Rocky Mountain snowstorm.

After a long and storied life with The Boy, and an appropriate period of mourning after his death in a freak snowboarding accident at the Senior Winter Olympics in 2078, MSO Rin found comfort in the smile and songs of one of her idols, indie-rock musician
Ben Folds. It was very Katie Holmes of her, actually, as she had crushed on Ben since she was in college. The pair was married by MSO Rin’s personal spiritual uplifter, super jane, who today is still an ordained minister, college president, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and lover of a good late-‘90s hip-hop tune.

This phase of MSO Rin’s life saw the realization of one of her lifelong dreams: to become famous without having to actually do any work. To relive the funniest and most poignant periods of MSO Rin’s twighlight years, visit
Wicked M’s permanent photography collection at the Annie Leibovitz Gallery (formerly the historic office building housing Rolling Stone offices) in NYC.

The most lasting legacy MSO Rin gave was not her life as a muse, as one might think (Ben’s last song, “My Reason, My Rin,” remains his most popular). It was, in fact, her weekly postings as one of the world-famous
Wonder Women—MSO Rin, along with the above-mentioned phenomenal women, created a blog in 2007 that was hailed as groundbreaking. The Wonder Women provided both a connection point for the four Pis and a definitive collection of their soulful and sophisticated wisdom. It is a touchstone creation that serves to guide their generation to this day. You can buy “I ♥ WW” stamps online, where a portion of all proceeds will go to scholarships through their sorority. Go ahead and get enough for all your Christmas cards now!

With MSO Rin’s death, the process for granting The Wonder Women sainthood can begin. It will be the first time a saint is represented by four people at once.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

i wonder if they call me that.

it is truly amazing how society works. we like to classify, don't we? we like to brand something (or someone) with a name so that we know where they fit into the scheme of things. in college, we threw labels on ourselves based mostly on what campus organization or sorority we were involved in. as we get older though the way we classify changes a bit. no longer are we classified as a result of our inner circle, but by who we are as individuals: where we work, what our occupation is, where we live, etc. the classifications are endless.

i'm pretty sure how people describe me and i think most descriptions are fairly accurate. i've been with the same boy for 11 years (married for 7 of those 11). i have 2 girls and a decent, respectable job. i have a mortgage and a car payment and very recently turned 30 (as in, i turned 30 yesterday. is that recent enough?). consequently, society labels me as a 'working mom' which is right on the money. those involved in my professional life have one set of labels for me while my friends from college have another. combine them all together and you have me.
i could say to hell with labels and what people think of me, but i would be lying. we all worry about what others think and some of us (i'll raise my hand here) have the need to be liked and labeled nicely by all people at all times. when i start to worry how society sees me though, i remember what my grandpa used to say: those i care about know how i am. and i don't give a damn what everyone else thinks.

those are definitely wise words and ones i hope i am able to take to heart.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I Wonder If They Call Me . . .

Let me tell you how I see myself.

I am a free spirit. I wrote out a list of why I think of myself this way, but it turned into an ILOVEME session, and it was boring, so I erased it. What it all boiled down to was – I am young, I am unfettered, I am a little bit wild. Kind of a hippy. Somewhat transient. Blowing in the wind. Open.

So you can imagine my distress when my husband and I looked proudly over our 2007 Christmas newsletter and we suddenly realized – holy Schmitt, we’re sending a Christmas newsletter. We’re MARRIED. We have a cat. We have a dog. We have a freaking WHITE PICKET FENCE. And we’re about to have a baby.

When, oh when, did we become so domestic?

I have a friend, just a few years younger than me, who’s a nursing student here. She doesn’t eat meat. She has a nose ring. She is traveling to Guatemala this summer for a class. And I look at her, and her fiancĂ©, and I wonder – what must they think of us? They didn’t know me when I was traveling Australia with only what I could carry in a pack on my back. They didn’t know Darlin’ when he was in Americorps and slept on a different basement floor every night. They didn’t know us when we stayed up late, and spent what little money we had going to the bars, and when my work uniform was a sarong and tank top and Darlin’s hair was down to his shoulders. These friends of ours, and all the friends we have here in North Carolina, met us as a settled couple. I’ve had an office job since I got here, and the early hours I have to work for that job keep me from having the energy to stay up late. In order to meet our domestic obligations (the mortgage, the cars, feeding the cat), we have to be much more sensible with money, so we don’t go out to the bars anymore. The travels we make now (honeymoon and Patrick’s research trip aside) are all to visit family, and all short (that damn job again). Our hairstyles are conservative. Our house has furniture that we care about in it. I would be hard pressed to carry everything I care about in one backpack now. The wedding album alone would take up half the space. Diapers would take up the other half.

I garden. I crochet blankets. I have a Kitchenaid. I’m decorating a baby’s room. I am the very definition of DOMESTIC:
** ORIGIN Latin domesticus, from domus ‘house’adjective 1 relating to a home or family affairs or relations. 2 of or for use in the home. 3 fond of family life and running a home. 4 Blogger G Love, one of the Wonder Women. (per

Sometimes, it gets me down. Sometimes, I think I liked me better when I was less in love with my house and the stuff in it, more able to pitch a sleeping bag on any old floor. I was more myself when I only had about ten articles of clothing. Two pairs of shoes – one for winter, one for summer. A disposable camera. When I actually drove the pickup (gas costing what it does and my commute being what it is, I now drive the more fuel efficient Matrix. Because, you know, it’s the more responsible choice.)

But sometimes, I like it. It soothes me to know that Patrick met me when I was still loose and a little wild, so that’s the me he fell in love with. And this new, domestic us is just who we’re inevitably evolving into. Children have always been in my picture, and unless you are bazillionaires like the famous Brad and Angie, it’s a lot easier to raise children if you have an established and comfortable home, a single stopping place, a depository for all the trappings that are required to feed and clothe and comfort them.

There is no shame in domesticity. It’s foreign and new for me personally, but it’s an evolution that I can get behind. As the wee imp in my belly (getting less wee by the day) pummels me with his fearsome infant strength, and I think on how prepared we are to welcome him, I realize how appropriate it is for me right now to be called domestic. Domestic and free-spirited are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

In fact, just to prove it, I think I’ll drive the truck to work tomorrow. So there.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Wonder if They Call Me That...

*I am not sure I can focus on just one thing for this wonder. I am sleep deprived and unfocused, so bear with me as I muddle through my "I wonder how others judge me" entry.*

We all wonder what others say about us when we are not around. We wonder if they talk about our outfit or the way we have our hair styled. I often wonder if people call me selfish, stubborn or stuck-up. Do they call me attractive, athletic or witty? Do they call me competitive, sarcastic or intelligent? Do they call me all of the above? Welcome to my World of Worrying About What Others Think of Me. Most of the time, I never even think about what others believe about me. I did plenty of that in high school and I was lucky enough to go to a college that was very welcoming and accepting of everyone. I could just be myself. Since having moved to a new city almost two years ago, I have been faced with having a new set of people judge me based only on what they see and hear in a short time. They have zero frame of reference for me as a person and this town is a much more difficult crowd than my college was.

I suppose that more than anything I wonder if people call me friendly or warm. Outgoing? Funny? Fun to be around? Wondering if people are calling me nice things is much easier than wondering if they are calling me not nice things like snob, cold, or rude. The ultimate wonder is whether or not people call me a bitch. I am not even going there though. I shudder just thinking about it.

I would like to think that I move through the world in a gentle way, ruffling as few feathers as possible, and somehow still making a difference. I am more quiet and introspective than people expect me to be (Unless you know me really well -- then you are stuck dealing with my loud laugh, sarcastic comments and extroversion to an extreme) and I am trying to be a more positive person.

I suppose it was super jane's comment on MSO Rin's post yesterday that really got me thinking. I may wonder what people call me, but why do I care? Why do we have to judge each other? I may wonder what others call me, but I know who I am. And that is more is than good enough for me.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I Wonder if They Call Me That?

I have just had an epiphany. Not the change-your-life kind or the I’m-such-a-genius-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that-before kind, but the stunned, holy-gracious-me-it-just-sunk-in kind.

The Boy and I are a childless couple.

Some stats: he’s 35.5, I’m days away from 31, we’ve been married for 6.42 years (Really? Are you sure? Oh, yep, there it is on the calendar. OK. Right.), we own our home, we have BIG debt, we have a nephew, he has a snowboard, I have a gym membership.

And we’re the ones who don’t have or intend to have kids. Some of our other married friends are in the don’t-have boat also, but I don’t recall knowing that anyone else is also rowing toward planning-not-to-have. Wow. One half of this blog is currently not in the family way or already maternal, but I’m the only quarter not anticipating that ever changing.

I was reading a play—Shining City, by Conor McPherson—and one of the characters says this:
… We’d been slightly left behind, a little bit, you know? All our … all our friends, they, you know, they had families. And, that … that … bound them together, you know?
… Look, that’s what people talk about. Of course they do. It’s perfectly normal to want to talk about the things that are happening in your life. But, you know, that was what we were always sort of on the edge of. You know, those conversations. You know, you’d be trying to, waiting for the subject to change and then of course, some stupid f%$@er would turn around and go, “Do you have any kids, yourself, John?” And I’d be, and I know that happened to Mari too, I’d be like, “Eh, no, no actually, I don’t.” Which’d be then … “Oh! Right! Okay!” You know?

But it didn’t really hit me that in fifteen years, that could be me or The Boy talking. It was, instead, this sweet and honest message on G Love’s other blog:
Childless friends, of which I have many: even though we’re heading down different roads, you will still be a huge priority in our lives. There’s plenty of room for love, of the parental kind and also the friend kind. My babies will be very precious, but they’ll never know what the ‘80s were like. I need you people in my life.

And I realized that she was talking to me. To me and my husband. Holy crap.

So now I walk around wondering if that’s how we’re described as a couple: “childless.” And if we’re pitied by people. Or envied. I wonder if women I see in stores or at restaurants look at me and can tell that I’m not a mommy. I wonder if they wonder if something’s wrong with me—or if they automatically think there is. Because I’m on the back side of five years of marriage and don’t have a kid and another on the way.

At dinner last night, The Boy and I were noticing how much pregnancy/childbearing/parenting was pervading our sphere right now, both personally and entertainment-world-wise. We saw Juno last week (a FANTASTIC film, by the way. Stop reading and go buy a ticket!) and since my epiphany is fresh, I felt like the movie was speaking just to me, directly and conspiratorially. It said, “See? You’re fine. You can watch someone else be ambivalent, even distressed, about being in the family way and you can watch another someone else yearn for motherhood—and you’re still at peace with your choice. You aren’t going to wake up in a cold sweat because your body changed your mind. You are a valuable human being without reproducing. You see the blessings and pitfalls on both sides of the fence from right here on the ‘not’ side where your grass is the perfect shade of green.”

I don’t want you to think this wonder is bitter or defensive or trying to hint that one choice (“-less” as opposed to “with”) is better than another. It’s just … you know … I was wondering.

Friday, January 11, 2008

We're Almost Back!

The Wonder Women are proud to announce that they will begin posting again this coming Monday! We are thrilled to be coming back in full force after our extended (and unintended) holiday vacation from blogging.