Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Black Star

I've had Radiohead's old song "Black Star" in my head all day now, and either because of Thom Yorke's mumbly delivery or my own inattention to detail, I always thought this was a love song.

I just looked up the lyrics and no, this is not a love song (it's not about Jesus, either).

Actually, Thom doesn't mumble that much.

Black Star, by Radiohead

I get home from work and you're still standing in your dressing gown
Well what am I to do?
I know all the things around your head and what they do to you
What are we coming to?
What are we gonna do?

Blame it on the black star
Blame it on the falling sky
Blame it on the satellite that beams me home

The troubled words of a troubled mind I try to understand what is eating you
I try to stay awake but its 58 hours since that I last slept with you
What are we coming to?
I just don't know anymore

Blame it on the black star
Blame it on the falling sky
Blame it on the satellite that beams me home

I get on the train and I just stand about now that I don't think of you
I keep falling over I keep passing out when I see a face like you
What am I coming to?
I'm gonna melt down

Blame it on the black star
Blame it on the falling sky
Blame it on the satellite that beams me home

This is killing me
This is killing me

Monday, August 13, 2012


I just read this article in the NY Times (okay, yeah, it was the "Style" section) about modern parenting and the use of the nickname "buddy," and I was surprised that the author didn't mention J.D. Salinger's character Buddy Glass. I guess Salinger's books came out in the 60s, but it seems like a lot of young parents these days would've read those books and possibly adopted that word for their own kids.

(I mean, my kitty is named after Franny Glass... it worked for me.)

I always thought that by calling him Buddy (his real name is Web), Salinger was (maybe?) making him the Jesus-y type, or, in other words, confirming that Buddy is just that: a friend to all. Buddy is the most likable Glass family character, isn't he? I found a description of him as a "spiritual guide" to the other characters on a website offering analysis on this book for students; it's been a long time since I did this kind of analysis myself  but that makes a lot of sense, considering that Buddy was supposedly a representation of Salinger himself, and that religious themes were a big deal in those books.

(Somebody told me last week that they "used to think you were smart," and I'm still trying to figure out if this was a diss, or a compliment. Am I still smart, or has it left me? It's possible I seem dumber now; I'm very tired most of the time, and I'm not that great at writing down my thoughts, though the quantity of words required to do so seems to be increasing. I know, I know, it's quality, not quantity!)   Anyway, I don't know, I'm struggling to connect J.D. Salinger's decision to name his character "Buddy" to some young dad calling his kid "Buddy" in the playground. I felt the connection when I was reading the article but I'm not making my point very well, am I (this is a rhetorical question; please see below). And, yeah, it's possible (but not a sure thing) that if I took longer to think about it more, I could figure out how to say what I feel in a better way, but come on. That's not going to happen. Not today, anyway!)

(Our nicknames for our own little child tend to be even more descriptive: "Booger Boy," "Cutest Boy in the World," etc. They change based on the situation.)

So, the other day I got an anonymous comment on a (admittedly long and rambling) silly blog post from 2007, and the writer made a polite request: "Please get off the internet" (no punctuation). I didn't publish that comment because, fuck, man, how rude!, but also because this is my blog and I can be as dumb as I want to. You're the one with the choice to read or not to read; I only choose to write or not to write. Whether or not it's any good seems to be totally beside the point. Enjoy or don't, that's up to you! Maybe you, Mr/Ms Anonymous, are the one who should get off the Internet! Makes no difference to me!

Have a nice day, everybody!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Oh, so that's the kind of day it's going to be.

The baby was still asleep when I left for work this morning. He was lying in his bed, on his back, with one arm curled up around his head. He was a little squished over to the side, and his stuffed giraffe was on the floor (we accidentally left his kitty at my mom's this weekend, and he's been looking for it. I've been trying to substiute the giraffe but he's not really buying it). The other arm was under the new quilt I just bought him off of eBay (it's a Pottery Barn quilt, and sort of matches his sheets and bumper, which we left on even though we switched him to the toddler bed last week. The sheets and bumper are also from PB, and have an airplane motif, and the quilt has cars on it, but they're all the same shade of blue, and whether or not they match exactly doesn't really matter to me as long as they're all 100% cotton, and of that Pottery Barn quality that I like. And yay for eBay, because it was cheap). He looked so sweet there, just, so totally perfect, that (and, OK, this is going to get sappy, so if you're extra sensitive to that kind of thing, best if you just go now) it made me cry.

I kissed him very lightly on his forehead and crept out of his room. I went to the kitchen, where Patrick was making himself a cup of coffee. He didn't look up when I walked in the room, but he asked me if I had had my coffee. I said yes, but I guess I sounded strange, because then he asked me what was wrong. I said, "He's so cute!" and started to cry some more. We both started laughing, and now I'm laughing and crying, putting on my shoes, which, I don't even know why they were in the kitchen. He gave me a big hug goodbye, and then I left.

So I'm still kind of weepy, right, but I know I'm silly. I got in the car and turned on KROQ, where they were talking about yesterday's Olympic soccer game between the USA and Canada. Apparently it was a close, exciting game, and Kevin was telling us about it. Normally when Kevin and Bean talk about sports I turn it right off (and Kevin's stories are almost always unlistenable), but for some reason today I left it on. So Kevin's playing all this audio from the actual game, and talking about the overtime and crap, and it gets to the point where it turns out the US ladies had won the game. And he's playing the audio of the announcer and the crowd, and it was very emotional for me, apparently, that the US women's soccer team won their semifinal match against Canada, because there I was again, on the 605 freeway, crying.

About a soccer game.

Anyway, I got over it pretty quickly: I don't really even like soccer. It's possible that I am pre-menstrual. It's possible that I need a cookie.

Monday, August 6, 2012

One last thing: Jenna

People magazine has this inane feature on their very last page where they ask a celebrity some silly questions. I am always amused (or is it bemused?) by their generally stupid answers... I mean, what's so special about these people? And so I decided to play along. I'm just as fascinated by myself as they are. Or something.

Here's Jenna Elfman, who looks pretty damn awesome in the photo. 40 suits her. 

Jenna: We recently went camping for a couple of nights; the first time for the boys (sons Story, 4, and Easton, 2). [I love the name "Story"!!!] For me it was fine because I was in the RV. My husband (Bodhi, 42) was in a tent, and the wind and rain were so hard it pushed it straight down to his face. [Hmmm. Bet the 2 year old loved it?]  

Irene: Last August we went to Aptos for the annual Valentino family reunion. We took JP, who was, at the time, only 6-1/2 months old. It's what, a 6 hour trip? We made many, many breastfeeding stops along the way. We stayed in a very nice Holiday Inn Express in Watsonville. We're doing the same trip this year.  

Jenna: I'd have to cook in order to answer that one! [I don't get this answer. Is it supposed to be clever?] I put a great piece of toaster the other day and buttered it up real good. [I'm no cook either, so I better watch the snarky comments.]  

Irene: I microwaved a couple of leftover slices of pizza yesterday; I toasted a bagel; I made coffee; I fried JP an egg.  

Jenna: I was playing ninas with my sweet boys just the other night.  

Irene: We named Jules' stuffed giraffe "Martin" and were playing hide and seek with him, while I sang a little song about him, which went something like "Martin is a giraffe, giraffe, giraffe..." Does this qualify as a game? hey, at least I'm not introducing a 2 year old to the concept of "ninja."  

Jenna: In New York City. I always take the subway, always. It's theraputic [I think the word you're looking for, Jenna, is "plebian"]. It's honestly one of the most pleasurable things in life. It's so convenient and the people watching is awesome.  

Irene: Patrick and I went to Chicago and Washington D.C. before I got pregnant. We always love to travel someplace and then use public transportation. It's just so much more fun than renting a car. You learn a lot about somebody while you're trying to read the metro map.  

Jenna: This week I bought a bunch of shoes. I'm more able to resist buying everything in sight [well, lucky you, Jenna Elfman!], but Tom Ford is making great shoes right now and there is nothing I can do about it [again: is she trying to be funny?]. They're comfortable and the foxiest things ever.  

Irene: This question is so similar to the "last impulse buy" question they just asked Usher! I guess the spending habits of celebrities is what we're interested in. And damn, I did a Google image search on Tom Ford's shoes, and she's right: some of them are beautiful. Man, to have her disposable income!
She's really pretty.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

One last thing: Usher

People magazine has this inane feature on their very last page where they ask a celebrity some silly questions. I am always amused (or is it bemused?) by their generally stupid answers... I mean, what's so special about these people? And so I decided to play along. I'm just as fascinated by myself as they are. Or something.
I'm sitting in the nail salon, and they have the June 18, 2012, issue. The subject is Usher. My answers will follow his, which, honestly, sound like they were tweeted. 

Usher: Last night. I stay up all night, every night. I work late or plan things for the following day. I usually get three or four hours of sleep. But I can function. [So can I, Usher! Try breastfeeding for 18 months!]

Irene: Last night. On a regular basis, I try to go to bed by 9:30, which is around Jules' bedtime. We realized that trying to put him to bed earlier just makes us all unhappy, and he will almost always go grab his stuffed kitty cat and go to his room on his own by 9:30, sometimes earlier. Yesterday he took a nice long nap during the day, however, and wasn't sleepy until around 10:15. He fell asleep with me on the couch, watching the Olympics. I stayed up until around 11 until I crashed, too. No matter what time I go to bed, though, he wakes up around 1:45, 2 o'clock every morning, and again at around 4:30. I feed him, and then hopefully we both go back to sleep. And then the alarm goes off at 4:45 and I get up to start my day. Unless it's the weekend, when JP will sleep until 6 or 6:30.

Usher: Last week was safari week at my sons' school. I wore huge, goofy shoes shaped like gorillas [what???] and a safari hat. It was so perfect, but I looked ridiculous.

Irene: I was in a play called "The Bacchae" at City Garage theater about 6 years ago. My costume was a black leotard and a large diaphanous scarf thing that covered my entire body. I was "Flutist."

Usher: At an art store, they had a cool cookie jar on the counter. It's a papa bear with two baby bears climbing on him. It reminded me of my boys (Usher, 5, and Naviyd, 3) [That's a sweet story, but what the hell kind of art store sells cookie jars? Did he paint it himself?].

Irene: Lunch. I won't tell you what it was but it was very, very, bad.

Usher: The Price is Right. I know all the prices. I'm famous for a bargain [really? that's what he's famous for?]; it's good to know the price of things [yes, Usher, this is true. It is good to know the price of things]. And it's a fun show too! But, you know, it's just not the same now that good old Bob Barker is gone. [Right, good old alleged sexual harasser Bob Barker. And, I HATE this show. I suspect that Usher and I would have very little in common.]

Irene: NBC's coverage of the Olympics. I don't get to watch too much TV these days!

Usher: It's my pet peeve when I go to a restaurant and the silverware isn't new. So I always ask for a tall glass of boiling hot water, put the knife and fork in it and clean them off. But I'm not a germaphobe! [This is the weirdest fucking story I've ever heard. Questions! a) what the hell restaurants is this guy going to? b) can't he afford to just carry his own sterilized gold-plated utensils with him? c) wouldn't it bug the hell out of you to have this guy ask for a glass of boiling hot water??? And the people who dine with him - they just sit there while he immerses his "dirty" utensils in a glass of hot water? Does he also carry dish soap with him? Usher, this habit of yours would be my pet peeve.]

Irene: We had a minor fly infestation over the weekend in the kitchen, thanks to a banana we didn't even know we had that committed suicide in a corner of the counter where typically bananas don't even go - it was gross. Luckily I wasn't home when Patrick discovered the banana, but I did see the flies themselves, who were taken care of with some simple non-toxic fly strips (and lots of patience). I washed the whole kitchen. Literally.

What's he doing in this picture? Does his knee hurt?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy world breastfeeding week!

From the World Health Organization:

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August in more than 170 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration made by WHO and UNICEF policy-makers in August 1990 to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is the best way to provide newborns with the nutrients they need. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old, and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.
I can't believe I'm still doing it! We have tapered off considerably in the last few months... JP and I are pretty much at that "don't offer, don't refuse" place. When I work, he's mostly down to twice a day: once in the early morning, around 2 or 2:30 a.m., and when I get home from work, or around 6, 6:30. If I am home, like on the weekends, he gets more. If I'm not home, like on some Thursdays when I go straight to Culver City from work, he gets less.

On the weekend, I was feeling a little run-down by it, though. He's 18 months old! It's a lot of work, even just a few times a day. And dude, my boobs get sore. He can be a challenge: he's so full of energy right now! Sometimes it seems like he's all arms and legs. We discovered this week that he prefers the flavor of almond milk (unsweetened) to cow's milk, so we've switched him over to that. We read about it and understand the importance of making sure he's getting enough fats and dairy to cover the difference. It's fun to watch him drink it - he really gets into it. So though I'm not ready to quit (I did a little reading about weaning yesterday to see if I thought I could really do it, and even though I sometimes really, really want to, I'm just not ready! Two. We'll do it when he's two), I realize that I don't have to do all the work myself.

My initial goal was only six months, and then I struggled so much in the first three that I thought I wouldn't make it... but I survived that horrible bout of mastitis and infection and crazy skin problems and surgery and daily trips to Kaiser, so they could repack my wound, and where I had to get used to breastfeeding in public, and all the awesome nurses we met! And then we finally found a good lactation consultant (Ellen Steinberg), who saved us from quitting early. I have my friend Julie to thank for giving me her information - she helped us so much.

When I hit my six month goal, at which point, I was back at work and pumping 4 times a day! I can't believe I did that! Making sure every day that I had 4 bottles of milk for JP (16 ounces a day!) was really hard work. I jealously hoarded my freezer stash, and kept track of it so that the milk didn't spoil or get wasted. And then there was that awful moment one time when I dropped a bottle on the kitchen floor and I watched my "liquid gold" form a puddle under the refrigerator! I worried that the daycare was wasting it, and then there was the time the teacher told me he needed more milk and I freaked out! And the time I miraculously pumped something like 12 ounces in one sitting! And the time I set up my pump and attached myself to it and forgot to screw on one of the bottles, and pumped milk all over the leg of my pants! And all the sleep I lost when he was getting up every three hours in the middle of the night to feed (which he did up until about 14 months old!). Wait, I'm still losing sleep, aren't I?

When I stopped pumping (at around 13 months) at work, we noticed that he got his first ear infection... and then a month later he got another one... and another one, so I wonder about the correlation there. It's part of the reason I know I need to keep going. Hopefully the little bit of milk he's getting from me still is providing him with some protection and nutritional value. I don't know.

He's growing up so fast. I love seeing his little face in the morning, the way he almost always wakes up by popping up in bed and smiling at us. This week we switched him to his toddler bed from his crib, and though it felt a little early to me after it was all done, and we spent two nights trading off sleeping on the floor in front of his bed, I think it was the right decision for us. Last night he woke up at 2 like he always does, and instead of standing up in his crib and howling for us to come get him, he climbed down from his bed and came running into our room, looking for us. The sound of his feet on the hardwood floor woke us up. He didn't cry, he just waited for us to help him up onto the bed. I fed him a little, and he went right back to sleep. I cuddled with him a little and then Patrick took him back to his room.

The other night I got in his bed with him to read him a story, and when I was done, he stayed all cuddled up with me and his little stuffed kitty, and then he started telling the kitty, I think, the story we just got finished reading. His big bright eyes are so sweet, and his crazy, all-out run is so funny, and the way he always makes sure I get a bite of whatever he's eating... I'm so blessed with this little boy, and I'm so proud of myself for sticking it out and continuing to breastfeed and making sure I do whatever I can for him.
We had a garage sale at my mom's house last weekend. Here we are taking a cookie break.