I Love It When A Plot Comes Together

So, it's been a total of three days now since Trent and I went to see Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith. Trent really enjoyed it as displayed by his wiffle ball bat light saber impressions. As for me, I'm still thinking about it- sign # 1 of an extremely good movie (in my humble opinion, of course). Any movie that stays in my thoughts for more than a day after viewing and affects my emotions somehow (sign # 2) is what I consider a movie worth my time. Whether I'm disgusted (Irreversible), humored (Sideways, Big Lebowski), enraged (Paradise Lost 1 and 2), sadenned (Magnolia), frightened (Exorcist), inspired (Elephant Man), enlightened (Supersize Me), or all of the above (A Clockwork Orange), I love a movie that makes me feel true human emotion and has me in deep thought during the dull moments of my day. For 72 hours, I've been processing how the annoying yet innocent little boy from the computer-generated muppet land of The Phantom Menace becomes Darth Vader, the most notorious villain of my childhood memory. Wait, did I just give it away for you? Nah, you knew that. Everyone knows how it ends. As Brett stated, "It's the most predictable movie ending since Titanic." What's important isn't THAT Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader, but HOW he becomes Darth Vader. I'm not going to go into details to avoid spoiling it for some of you, but let's just say that every expectation that I had for the movie was met and exceeded. My expectations were lower than most Star Wars fans (excluding Star Wars nuts because they dont't discriminate) due to the fact that I didn't like the first movie of the newer series. The second was much, much better for me, but I'm not crazy about the special effects of either of the movies. I definitley prefer the old school method of rubber masks, men in robot suits, and small scale models. When I look at something tangible, it's more believeable that it exists, but when I see the actors' eyes unconvincingly gazing at the general location of an obviously computer generated character, it's so apparent that the person or thing is not standing there. Granted, the graphics aren't as bad as the ones from the Xena and Hercules shows, but George Lucas got a little carried away with the special effects in these movies, and the newest installment is no exception. To add insult to injury, instead of bringing the budget down and making the newer movies look like the older movies through an old school special effects approach (real robots, little people in costume), he goes ahead and remasters the original three for their DVD release to make them look more like the newer movies. Is nothing sacred? The cult sensation of the original movies is what made these newer movies so successful, so why tamper with the intergrity of the originals? I guess 4, 5, and 6 didn't make him rich enough. I digress. Anyway, I could stomach the computerized f/x in episode III due to the intense plot and dark story line, which was very interesting to me. I heard that before this movie was released, they were toying with the idea of giving it an R rating, which after viewing, I'm not surprised. They could have gone a lot further with some of the more brutal moments in this movie, but to keep it family oriented, it's good that they trimmed it down to PG-13 standards so that all ages can see how it all comes together.
I think the thing that made me enjoy this movie the most was how it linked the first two movies to the three earlier movies that I grew up on. They were definitely my favorite movies growing up along side of Time Bandits, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, Wizard Of Oz, and the Indiana Jones movies. And, I think I owned every Star Wars action figure, base, and infrastructure (minus the Luke Skywalker from A New Hope...I also had 4 Chewbaccas because I kept losing him, and he was my favorite...I wish I still had my Boba Fett due to recent, cute references to Bella). Watching anything related to fonder memories of my childhood gets me into it that much more. I gues I'm the sentimental type. As humans, we associate certain images and sounds with moments of the past when we first experienced them, so hearing the mechanical breathing of Vader and seeing how he came about was definitely a blast to the past from the present. So, I gave the new Star Wars movie 5 out of 5 stars, but I can't guarantee that everyone will have the same kind of viewing experience. We're all different. Next up? Bring on Johnny Depp's perma-smiley Willy Wonka!


refer to THIS suckaaaaaaa

let me start by saying that I am, again, wearing a maternity shirt today as if it were a real shirt. and it's liberating not to have to suck in my gut all the time or worry if my rolls are hanging out. I just hope no one guesses. I may even buy more maternity shirts just for this reason.

anyway. so yesterday. FUCKING ANNOYYYYIIIIINNNNNNGGGGGG. want to know what happened at the doctor's? nothing. why? KEYSTONE HEALTH PLAN EAST.

a little background: back a few months ago, when we had to decide whether or not our little family would be switching to my insurance or staying on sean's. because brett had let trent's insurance lapse (oh, there is SOOOO much more to this story) we had to figure out what to do with trent. we looked into sean and bella doing a parent/child on his and me and trent doing the same on mine, but that is surprisingly (thanks, SII) not cost effective. actually, nothing was, except sean adding trent to his insurance. and of course, because that was the best thing to do but it hurt his ego, brett said no. so now we're all on my insurance. now, as far as plan goes, personal choice was EXTREMELY expensive through my workplace, and for about the same amount as all of us on personal choice would be for sean, we got keystone health plan east. aka, referral hell health plan east. and we love it.

I had to get a referral to even go see dr. alburger, and that was a pain in the ass in and of itself. but this is what happened yesterday that has me so extremely frustrated:

we get there. we wait in the main waiting room. I answer questions about our new healthcare and the referral is looked up. luckily it is there, since our pediatrician/primary physician "doesn't consider it policy" to let you know if your referral request, which you leave on a voice mail, goes through. (no news is good news in their book, unless of course they never actually get the message, in which case it's no news is no news.) then we are told to go to the gray waiting room (as opposed to the blue or green waiting room, this place is THAT big) and wait to see the doctor. 20 minutes goes by in the gray waiting room and we're shown to an exam room. 10 minutes in, and thinking the doctor will be in at any moment, my IBS kicks in finally and I run to the bathroom, freaking out that the doctor will come while I'm not there. I get back about 5 or 6 minutes later, and thankfully, no doctor yet. and no doctor for another 10 minutes. we got there at 2, and it's about a quarter after 3 at this point.

dr. alburger comes in, remarks about how big trent's gotten since we saw him last, we reminisce about how fucked up his feet used to be, trent tells him about the sports he plays, and he examines trent's feet. he said he was pleased with the "wear pattern" on the bottom of trent's worse foot, but said that the pain was something to look into. plus, he wanted to see how far along the bones were coming so that he could evaluate next steps. but, and this was no surprise to either of us, you know nothing until you have x-rays.

they have a radiology area on site, and it's been our experience in going there that you go in, see the doctor, go get the xrays, go back into the room you were in, and the doctor tells you what's what. but that was before keystone suck plan east.

after waiting more than an hour, we were told that because of our insurance, we couldn't get xrays without a referral. from the primary physician. who, like most primaries (since I have noticed these signs on every doctor's office I'd ever been to) won't issue referrals without at least 48 hours notice.

so, because of my workplace cracking down on time off, I had to take a half day to take him to the doctor, and now I have to take another half day to get xrays, and then another half day in a few weeks when I can get another appointment with dr. alburger.

so the long and short of it is that I still don't know what's going on, trent's feet still hurt, and I hate my insurance.

the plan all along was to get out of the doctor's office and get trent to the movie theater, where sean and bella would be waiting. I would hand off trent to sean, he would hand off bella to me, and they'd go see star wars return of the geek, while I took bella home. instead of taking her home (like I should have) I took her to the willow grove mall.

I conferred with nicole, who assures me that it's probably teething, but bella's been really upset lately, and yesterday at the mall was no different. well, at home, she's actually only just a little cranky, but because she had missed a nap and had been in the car for way too long, she was really something at the mall. instead of recognizing this, I persevered at the mall, and was repaid by a totally sour mood upon departure. (me, not bella. well kinda bella.)

so yesterday was a bust. best thing to happen was that because I was breastfeeding bella in the gap's dressing room, I decided to take in a skirt with me to see how it fit. not only are gap's sizes one size smaller than the rest of the world, but this skirt was stretchy cotton, which is the perfect hold-you-in-er kind of fabric. so I got a really cute black skirt on sale for $20.

c'est la vie. that's just the way it goes. (that's right, oh yeah.)



bella has been having a lot of fun lately with her little fishbowl. it has 3 balls in it that she can put in and take out. she takes all of them out, studies them, and puts them back in. over and over and over again. it's so fun watching her study them as if they were ancient artifacts and she were a scientist. she also pulls her binky out and puts that in the fishbowl as well.

which brings me to the first cute-bella-thing that she does on purpose all on her own. you know what I mean - it isn't a personality quirk or like a smile or giggle, though those are all adorable. it's like an on-purpose thing. anyway, she likes to take out her binky and put it in sean's or my mouth. she leaves it in there for a while and then takes it back out and pops it back in her own mouth. so freakin cute.

I'm leaving in an hour or so to take trent to his doctor's appointment. I'm not nervous, per se, but I guess apprehensive is a good word to use. I'm sure it will be fine. in fact, I'm guessing that he's going to tell us that we have another year or so to wait for the surgery. I think he told us last time we had a checkup (checkups are years apart at this stage) that he thought it would be probably at about age 13. I think it has to do with growth spurts and puberty. but trent is in alot of pain lately, so I don't know.

the thing about doctors like this is that they see all kinds of awful disfigurations as part of their everyday routine. but it's the most important thing to me, and to trent, and sometimes doctors don't always share that kind of earnestness. dr. alburger is okay at it, but not great. in the beginning, it was really good that he was like that, because it made it seem like the problem wasn't that big of a deal. now, though, I wish he were a little more worried. but maybe, again, it's a good thing.

well, I'll let you all know how it turns out. thanks for listening.


hospital envy

so this past weekend, there was a very bad crash in front of our house. the odd thing was that we didn't hear a thing, and seriously, this was RIGHT OUTSIDE our house. this is a testament to the fact that trent watches cartoons way too loud.

we didn't realize that anything had happened until we left the house to take trent to baseball, and 3 blocks in front of our house were shut down to traffic. because my car was in front of our house, we couldn't move anywhere. I had to send trent down a few blocks to be picked up by his dad.

by the time we had gotten out there, the younger and more injured driver was already in the ambulance. apparently, he was in quite bad shape. (later, the EMTs came back to the car looking for something frantically - I can only guess that perhaps it was a missing...um...body part that they needed. I'm thinking finger.) I'm glad trent didn't see the guy, as I'm sure he'd be shaken up. The other 2 people who had to be airlifted out were still being taken out of the other car, and there was one lonely man who had been in the backseat, and who was not hurt, who was milling around, intermittently crying. I felt so bad for him. I really wanted to go over and see if he was okay, but I think I would have been a hinderance since he was desperately trying to make sense of what had happened with the police. I found out that he was the husband of the 81 year old woman who was in the front seat and the father of the driver of that car. I can't imagine what he must have been going through.

I also found out that apparently the 19 year old who caused the accident veered into the other lane after trying to adjust his radio. I don't know how true that is, but I do know that 2 stereotypes may have collided here quite literally, but it might not have been such an issue if people would just slow the hell down.

and I thought about that some more, about slowing down in front of our house, and I realized that I was totally being hypocritical. I mean, I fly through some neighborhoods all the time. what makes me think that other people who don't live here are going to give a shit and slow down? so I've made an effort to be more mindful.

but the thing that really struck me about this whole tragedy is that 3 people were airlifted, and we have what I had been told was a pretty damn good hospital not 5 minutes away from our house. maybe it's like emergency triage and we're not equipped to handle it, but it's a tad disconcerting that in order to get emergency triage care, which I would think is really quite important, we'd have to wait for a helicopter and be flown to philly. there isn't anywhere closer that has that quality of care? that totally sucks.

it took about an hour for the helicopter thing to be over. an hour that one might think may be better spent in a local hospital's triage unit (I mean, our local hospital isn't like M*A*S*H or anything, it's billed as state-of-the-art, so we're not talking about backwoods faith healers or anything) instead of in an ambulance waiting for a helicopter. it's less than an hour to DRIVE to philly. so I just don't get that.

all told, our street was closed from 9:38am when this happened to 1:30pm when the accident investigators were done marking our street all up with various colors of spray paint depicting all the constants and variables that may or may not have contributed to the accident.

I wish that our local paper would print a follow up. I'd like to know if the 2 serious injuries were okay. most of all, I'd like to make sure that the sad old man who looked like he was lost in a sea of misery finally was reunited with at least some of his family.



so the haircut, since we're all DYING to know if I am going to cry myself to sleep like I did last time.

it. looks. FABULOUS. I took full responsibility for last cut's total failure, much to larry's surprise. I think he felt responsible. we both silently acknowledged that it was the worst thing to happen to my hair in all the time I have been there. and then we moved on.

the nice thing is that now larry isn't afraid to tell me if stuff looks bad. like how the sides of my hair were getting too long. I sheepishly told him that yes, he knows best. and when it was all said and done, I looked great. even in the styling. so the lesson here is that I should let the experts do their thing before I decide that I know more about it than they do.

on the way home, I was confronted with a "piggy truck" as trent used to call them. pig transport trucks carrying future bacon to the hatfield quality meat plant. I have to turn away from them when I see them. this time, I pulled over after exiting the turnpike so I wouldn't be next to the truck at the red light. I can't take seeing all those little pig noses sticking out of the air holes. I REALLY need to become a vegetarian.

left foot, left foot, left foot, right

feet in the morning, feet at night.

people often comment to me (after seeing all the thousands of pictures I've taken of bella - thank you, digital camera) about how often I seem to take pictures of her feet. it appears as if I'm obsessed with them. and I am. I love looking at them, touching them, poking at them, kissing them, and yes, taking pictures of them.

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this thursday, I take trent to see a doctor he's known since he was 4 weeks old. back in the old days, we'd take trent to see dr. alburger every wednesday. we lived in quakertown then, and we'd see the doctor at st. christopher's hospital in philadelphia. the drive was roughly an hour and 45 minutes each way, mostly because we only knew how to get there by driving down broad street to erie ave, after taking rt 309 all the way into the city. for those who have no idea what I'm talking about, suffice it to say it's probably the longest way to get there. but even if we'd used more highway and less local roads, it would still be over an hour.

trent is going back to see dr. alburger (this time in his willow grove office, which is decidedly closer - more like a half hour away) to discuss our options for his next, and hopefully last, foot surgery. trent was born with clubbed feet in both of his feet. as an infant, the soles of his feet faced his face. had we not done anything, there is no doubt that he would never have been able to walk.

when we first saw dr. alburger, he told us that trent's left foot seemed to be less "affected" than his right. we were just scared teenagers who had no idea what all this was about. but we dutifully took him in week after week to get tiny little casts put on his legs from knee to toes. after 9 months (and 32 sets of casts) trent had his first surgery to lengthen his achilles tendons. this involved cutting the tendons in half, which instantly removed the tension, and then allowing them to heal stretched out as they were, giving them more room to manipulate his feet. after a few more months, he had his second surgery on his right foot only, since it wasn't responding as well to the casting. this was to rearrange the bones in his foot, reattaching tendons to different areas and sometimes different bones. we still have the 10 lb plaster cast that went from his hip to his toes, and the wheelchair we used for him, since he was too heavy and too unweildy for a regular stroller.

when he could finally walk, sometime after the cast came off, he was given special shoes with bars on either side to stabilize his feet. of course, trent was walking well before that, crushing the bottoms of his plaster casts and learning to move around with his knees permanently bent. I am convinced this is why his thighs are still so big.

besides the trauma of the surgeries and the idea that he wouldn't be able to walk unless we kept on track, trent missed out on the little things about infancy that I am really excited to do with bella. he was only able to get a real bath once a week, because the casts couldn't get wet. it wasn't until he was out of the second surgery until I could take him to the pool. in fact, it was years before he could tolerate water on his face, because he was so conditioned to sponge baths early on and could never really appreciate being fully under water.

when I was pregnant with bella, the pregnancy intake nurse at my obgyn asked me if my first pregnancy resulted in any birth defects. I said no. at the end of the survey, she asked if there was anything else unusual about my first child's birth. that's when I mentioned the clubbed feet. she went back and changed the answer for birth defects, which is never what I had thought of in my mind. the doctors told me back then that it was strictly positional, but in reality, it is a bona fide birth defect. as in, it was nothing I did wrong. it might have been the pregnancy hormones, but I cried at that - because all this time I thought it was my fault.

when bella was born, one of the first things I asked sean (in fact, it was THE first thing I asked) was if she "looked okay." he knew I meant her feet - and he said yes, they were fine. when trent found out that it was a girl, he too asked about her feet. it breaks my heart that he was concerned over the fact that she might have to go through all the stuff he had to go through.

and now trent is one of the fastest runners on any of his sports teams, he plays baseball and soccer, he jumps and runs and is fine. for the most part. he has tiny, wide feet that make it difficult to get shoes that fit. he turns his right foot in so he walks on the side of it. he can't play for more than a few hours of sports before it begins to hurt. and he has scars and very little muscle tone in his calves - which is becoming more and more noticeable. and now, we have to schedule another surgery to make sure that his right foot doesn't fold back in.

the reason I scheduled the appointment so quickly was because trent has been to the school nurse a few times and has had to sit out of a few innings of baseball because his foot is hurting so much. I am scared that they are not going to be able to fix it fully and his dream of being a pro sports player isn't feasible. sure, lots of kids say they want to be a baseball player when they grow up, but I want it to be a talent issue and not an issue with his feet.

so...indulge me my foot fetish with baby bella. we're all grateful.


if one were to complain...

...about one's workplace lactation area, it might read like this. read only if you like reading about breastfeeding, otherwise skip to more funny and less estrogen-charged posts.

Hi, [facilities person]!
First of all, I just wanted to thank you for all the improvements you made to the lactation room on the second floor in [location]. The bulletin board is a great place to hang pictures and information, and the pictures that were already up are cute and inspiring.
I am really happy that [company] has a place for nursing mothers to use their pumps. It’s nice to know that there’s a place designated just for pumping mothers.
I hate to bring up negatives about such a positive benefit, but there are a few things about the way it’s set up that I thought perhaps you’d like to know about. There are 2 distinct issues: time and location. There are currently 4 of us using the second floor lactation room, with more mothers likely on the way in a few weeks. This presents a problem with regards to availability. I find myself going up to the room only to find it’s occupied at least once a day. Sometimes I am able to wait, but sometimes, due to either scheduling conflicts with meetings or just plain necessity, I have to make alternate arrangements. For as many times as I’ve found it occupied, I’m sure others were just as frustrated when I have been in the room when they are ready to pump. It had been manageable when there were fewer of us using the room (I’ve been using it since January) but the more women that pump, the more problems we seem to have. And because 3 of us have children that are roughly the same age, we’re really on the same schedule more or less, and that makes it even more difficult. If only pumping were able to be scheduled, but unfortunately, it’s a biological thing that most of us don’t have the ability to control as much as we’d like.
The second issue is location. Our bathrooms are always clean and comfortable, but unfortunately, the very nature of a restroom is not quite conducive to a smooth lactation session for so many reasons that I’m sure you can imagine for yourself.
I’m not sure what you’re able to do, or if you’re able to do anything at all, but I thought I’d give you the feedback in case the situation can be improved. An empty office equipped with the small refrigerator, some chairs, and some privacy screens would solve both problems wonderfully – more than one woman can use the room at a time, and it’s a quiet, comfortable area.
Again, I am very pleased that [company] has a lactation room at all – so I apologize if this seems pushy. But if you’re willing to improve on what you already have set up, I know all of us nursing moms would be extremely grateful.

and the card attached would say...

oh, the weekend. how bout it. I actually got a ton of stuff done on sunday. (I can't remember what happened on saturday so we'll just come back to that, like, someday.)

let's put it in list form, shall we?

1. colored hair. a good name for this color would be "melted cherry sno-cone".
2. shaved legs. if you don't think this should be put on the list, you haven't seen my legs lately.
3. decided to get butch:
a. went to sports authority and bought trent a new baseball bag and baseball pants. had I had the guts, I would have bought him a new cup, since he lost his, but I just wasn't feeling up to it. how do they size those things, anyways??
b. went to home depot. just driving to home depot without any men attached to me feels empowering. unless I'm just getting plants or lamps. not when I'm getting roof muck, or, as was the case this time, buying a new lawn mower AND a wheelbarrow.
c. put together said lawn mower.
d. mowed lawn.
e. dug out front flower bed and used wheelbarrow a total of 4 times, effectively upping my lifetime wheelbarrow usage 200%.
f. painted front fence and gate.
g. bought ferrari while dating younger blonde. just kidding. or am I?

anyway, the point is, I did alot of lawn work. and missuz j? you are decidedly UN-wiggety whack (I had promised myself to work in wiggety whack in this post and you're definitely the opposite, so) for spurring me on to get a reel mower. a reel mower is a REAL mower. I felt like a throwback to days of yore while simultaneously feeling like I was totally working out. in fact, we're not going to call it the lawn mower anymore, we're going to call it "patrice's workout equipment."

my neighbors totally laughed at me. my neighbor mike, the one who gives people affectionate "fag names" like Browneye, said to his wife "omigod, you gotta look at this." YOUR WINDOW WAS OPEN, MIKE, AND I CAN HEAR YOU. whatever. they're just jealous because they have a perfectly working gas mower that could mow fields and fields and fields and they know they'll never get the muscle tone I'm gonna get.

and you know? I never felt so much like a homeowner until I owned a wheelbarrow. I love saying it - I own a wheelbarrow. you need me to take that pile of weeds around back? put it in the wheelbarrow. got alot of plants to carry? put it in the wheelbarrow. backpack broke? here, take my wheelbarrow to school, trent. drunk people passed out in front of molettiere's? wheelbarrow!

and the whole day sunday was made possible by my new rental wife, brett. (trent's dad, by the way.) because of the lifetime of favors I've given to him, he granted me a favor of coming over for a few hours yesterday to watch bella and trent while I did manly things. so I told him I could really get used to having a wife like him. background on brett: he is the kind of guy who doesn't take kindly to being called a wife. but I had a piece of "workout equipment" that I was putting together that could have torn his legs off, so he smiled demurely and asked if I wanted some lemonade. take THAT, stereotypes!

today, my friends - I get another hair cut. pray for me.


on the virtues of golden girls

I recently commented on mmt's rich girl poor girl:

I LOVE GOLDEN GIRLS. I recently got into it again after a hiatus - a long
hiatus - and I still love it. bea arthur? comedic genius. and she looks sort
like my mom, only with less funny-sayings sweatshirts and more shoulder

it bears repeating.

a real post is coming soon, I promise.


all about bella

this is a bella-only post.

food. she has been eating solid foods 2 - 3 times a day for the last few weeks. she's still not as voracious when she eats as noah is, but she does open her mouth for the spoon and winds up eating about 1/3 - 1/2 of the container at each sitting. she still won't touch cereal and honestly, I can't blame her. the stuff is gross. she's tried the baby yogurt that is premixed with cereal, and she wasn't completely crazy over it, but she's only had it once. she enjoys those gerber puffs but I am afraid of her choking on them, so I hold them in her mouth and she gums off a piece at a time. she doesn't quite understand the chewing thing but she does seem to like them. we got the banana kind.

I've been steadily increasing my pumping and milk output. we have a stockpile of about maybe 3 or 4 full days' worth of milk in the freezer. there is less than one month to go before we head to vegas and bella stays with my dad and Kathy, so the race is on to get enough milk stored up.

development. bella could probably roll over if she wanted to, I guess. she gets like 7/8 of the way over and goes right back. she still hates being on her stomach for a long period of time - long being like more than 45 seconds. she is starting to creep forward though while on her back. it's crazy. I'll put her on the mat lying down while I go do or get something, and when I get back a minute later, she's turned around a different way. so she's either using her feet to move herself around or we have ghosts.

she does this call and response thing with us now...she says "ah?" and I say "ah?" and she smiles and does it over and over. when she wants me to look at her, she says "ah?" and waits for me to look over at her. like noah, she's stringing syllables together. she sounds a little like the hamburglar (where I am showing my age I guess) as she says "arabba-rabba". (the hamburglar used to say something that sounded like robber-robber or something freakish and disturbing like that.)

while she can sit unattended for long periods, sometimes she does tend to fall over. usually it's when she wants to get something that is out of her reach. if she's in a padded area, like her mat, I usually let her fall either all the way down or enough that she realizes she fell, so she'll get the feel of balance. she doesn't hurt herself and she seems to learn from it. she's really into flopping back and forth in the command center (the exersaucer) since we have it on "tilt" instead of in stationary mode. we may start putting her in that johnny jump up thingie that hangs from the doorway.

cuteness. I'm happy to report that bella continues to become more and more cute. her cuteness factor has grown along with her thighs, so that's A LOT. she tends to be cute for most of the day, only resting her cuteness when tired or hungry. though even then, while crying, she's very cute. sean often tears up when she's being especially cute. he's such a softie.

and here's a crazy story for you - we decided to take some of the things that bella has outgrown (and there's alot she's outgrown in 6 months) to a consignment shop in quakertown this past saturday. I had a 10:30 appointment to show the owner of the store my wares, and she'd pick and choose what she thought she could sell. I brought up her infant car seat with 2 bases, a universal infant carrier stroller, my stupid infantino fake-baby-bjorn carrier, the baby papasan (which I will miss) and a few other things, including a bag of stuff that nicole contributed. when I first got there, I was really put off by how rude the owner was - she was really short and irritable with me and didn't offer to help me bring anything in even though I was struggling to hold bella while carrying all that stuff and she was just sitting there reading a book. I was so annoyed, in fact, that I toyed with the idea of saying "you know what? nevermind. if you can't treat me with a little respect, than I don't want to do business with you."

and thank god I didn't.

after I dragged everything in and went back to the counter, the owner started crying. I asked her what was wrong, and she said she was sorry...but she thought she was miscarrying her baby. I was stunned. I asked her if she needed any help, and she said no. I asked if she called her doctor or if she needed to use the phone to do anything, and she said no. she said she had talked to her doctor before and that the bleeding had stopped, but started again, and she had had 2 children already, so why would this happen....I didn't know what to say. I just listened. I asked her then if she needed to call anyone to come get her, and she said there was nothing anyone could do, that if it was going to happen, it was going to happen.

I just told her how sorry I was. and that I could either take my stuff back to my car or just leave it there or if she needed me to help with anything, I'd certainly do that, but by no means was I going to have her go through all the stuff there at that moment. I quickly signed an agreement of sale (meanwhile, I didn't have time to even look at it, but the terms aren't exactly wonderful, but whatever) and left, and she left immediately after me.

I've read enough infertility blogs to know that there are probably no words that can be spoken that would be universal enough to make a woman in that scenario feel any better other than I'm sorry, so I'm glad I didn't get diarrhea of the mouth and try to make things better by talking talking talking, meanwhile holding my infant right in front of her face, but I felt like I should have said something different. but what? it was a strange, sad experience.


for tracey

bella in pictures.

bella reads:
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and ties her shoes:
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but once she was just a baby:
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sit right back and you'll hear a tale...

ahhhh, the weekend. a time to sit back and relax - reflect - renew. hang out with your family. get some gardening done. maybe take in a movie. go get a drink with friends. even celebrate a birthday! birds chirp in the distance...the green grass is aflutter with a spring breeze, gleaming in the sun.


friday: my mom comes over at 6pm (after saying she'd be there at 5, prompting me to get out of work early, which I guess isn't such a bad thing) and we go to the bar/restaurant (banker's) where my sister denise said we'd all meet for...wait for it...karaoke. my mother had told denise and I that what she wanted for her birthday, which by the way is in april, was to go out and do karaoke. easy enough, and great, since my mom is difficult to buy for. (and I'll explain that statement in another post another time, it's a great story.) except my mom works nights and rarely has a weekend off, so we had to wait until may to actually carry out the birthday karaoke.

anyways, so we have dinner there, and denise and her entourage show up. there were about 12 people there total. denise only told a few of them that we were there for my mom's birthday..oops, sorry mom. so during dinner, my mom tells me that she will not be singing. excuse me, what??? then why the hell are we here? it's because she likes to WATCH karaoke. eeeeexcellent. no pressure there.

we are informed that karaoke begins at about 10:30. we finish dinner at 7:30, denise et al arrive at 7:45. now, I love my sister, but she has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with the gym. like all her friends are from the gym, she goes to the gym every day including weekends, she talks about the gym when she's not at the gym...she's even had surgery and went to the gym anyway just to do "light" exercise, which consisted of her doing basically an entire spinning class. so naturally, her entourage was all people from the gym. and I timed it - 20 minutes went by before she began talking about the gym. I was amazed it took so long. and it doesn't help that 2 of her gym friends are instructors, and she likes to get information about what the next day's routine was going to be so she can show up everyone else by already knowing what they're going to do.

anyone who knows me knows I am not a gym person, so I am going to relay the gist of the conversation the best way I can without knowing what the hell they are talking about: "so greg, are we going to do squares tomorrow?" "yeah, though it's going to be more like the A thing where you step up and step down, and you need a partner." "oh, I love that! remember last week when we did the 4 person rounds? that was so fun!" "and the NEXT day, we're going to do the inverse triangle kegel deer mounting routine!" okay, that last one was made up. by greg! just kidding. or am I!

so forever happened until it was finally time to kara. or oke. whichever. so we look at the big book and hear a few people sing - some good, some bad, some drunk. but the audience was totally not into it. and there was my mom, smoking her 8 inch long misty cigarettes, while the group of us sang happy birthday (me with my own mic singing like marilyn monroe, shouting out her age to the audience, who could not possibly have cared less); me and my sister's friend april sang "still rock and roll to me" by billy joel, where I pointed to april when I sang "can't dress trashy" because, I'm sorry, but she was looking hoochie; and then denise, greg, april, tammy and I sang "sweet child o mine" - which was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. if you ever do karaoke, please do yourselves a favor and do not sing this. there are 2 guitar solos, one of which is 24 measures and the other being 32 measures. folks, this is a VERY long time to stand up there waiting to continue singing.

so finally we went home, my mom stayed over on the couch, and was gone by the time I got up. I went to trent's double header baseball game, which took 6+ hours, and got horrible sunburn on my neck. I did some light gardening which included using my garden claw to completely obliterate the area of my front yard in front of my fence. and then, in preparation for sunday, I got on my hands and knees and scrubbed all the 50 million spots off our living room carpet. then I landed in a heap on the couch and was unable to move.

sunday came. my dad had called me earlier in the week to ask me if I would come down on sunday to hang out with my sister josie, who was coming with her 10 year old son albert. I said sure. I called on friday to find out when I was supposed to come down, and wound up talking to my stepmother Kathy instead of my dad, and she informed me that he had told her that the bunch of them were coming up to my house on sunday, because josie had never seen it. I calmly said "sure" while inside I was freaking the fuck out, because that meant major, major cleaning.

so they wound up coming up at like 2ish, so I had ample time to get ready and relax. duh. no. I did all the dishes (which is in my contract with sean that I DO NOT DO DISHES, but this was desperation) and cleaned up the house with help from trent, then I went into the back yard and....and this is hard to type, because my arms are still so sore...I weedwhacked the entire yard. I know I said the back yard is like a postage stamp, but imagine wetting a postage stamp (of course it would not be a self stick stamp...just go with me on this) with a toothpick. it took forever and looked like ass. but it was better than it was beforehand. seriously? the grass was up to my thighs. some of the biggest dandelions I have ever seen, like scary big. I had remembered that trent had taken a football outside but since I didn't see it in the grass, I wasn't worried about hitting it. I got 3/4 of the way in before I uncovered it in a 3 foot high clump of weeds.

so josie and Kathy hung out with bella while my dad attempted to fix our spigot out front, which apparently was made with inferior pipes (surprise! something in my house was made with something inferior!!!) and apparently cannot be fixed without pulling the whole thing out and starting from scratch. we may have had our differences in the past, me and my dad, but goddamn, I have no idea what I'd do without him now. I hope he lives forever.

then my nephew albert said "you know what? I wish we could all go back to pop-pop's house. it's more fun there." way to kill the mood. it was kathy's plan all along to go back, though, because she doesn't believe I can cook. whatevs, at least then I didn't have to cook. so we all went down to their house, had pasta with cream sauce made with jalepeno pepper (thanks, kath! and bella says thanks, too, at 3 am, screaming at the top of her lungs.)

we got home just in time to see tom win survivor, which means sean gets to pick the restaurant where we eat next since he pegged him from episode 1.

today I am tired, sore, and wondering what the hell happened to my 2 days of rest.

postcards from the edge

here is a picture of billy while at a korean air force base, where they visited. billy is second from left.


Live From Kuwait

I've been emailing my brother, Billy, a lot lately. I think I've communicated with him more during his tour in Kuwait than when he was stationed in California. For those who don't know, Billy is in the Air Force. He was sent to Kuwait a few months ago, and he's supposed to be there until this fall. So far, so good. I have some pictures saved to my PC, but I'm unfamiliar with photo bucket, so you'll have to wait until I get it figured out before I can share them with you. His most important job is transporting soldiers from all different nations including Georgia (not the state, the country), Albania, South Korea, etc. They arrive at his base, and then they get on a cargo plane, and it transports them to several locations in Iraq including Baghdad (which is about an hour and a half from his base). After the drop off, they bring back soldiers who have either finished their tour; are too injured to finish; or are no longer alive (respectful silence). Billy's job is to guard the cockpit with his boom stick to prevent encroachment during these flight missions. I can only imagine the amount of fear people experience in any capacity over there, but I'm sure it's more of a repressed emotion instead of expressed. I'm sure that if you're in that situation, you can't afford to have your fear get the best of you, so you throw down and deal with it as best as you can. That's what he's been doing, and he's doing a damn fine job of it despite not wanting any part of Dubya's cause. He always has a funny story to tell that illustrates the lighter side of what he's experienced over there. For example, his second most important job is chasing camels away that get too close to the base. He said that the best land for camels to graze on is near the base, but the poor animals aren't allowed anywhere near it. If camels could make movies, this would be a serious subject matter, and it would probably be made into a very intense thriller involving renegade camels who are trying to win their land back in the fashion of William Wallace's quest for coveted freedom. Because I'm trying to be brief (it never works), I won't elaborate on any more stories that he told me, but my point is that he's doing very well and trying to be as safe as possible. Keeping in touch gives us both satisfaction because he entertains me, and I entertain him back. We don't dwell on the fact that he has to be over there in the potential face of danger while his kids are back in Cali with his looney of an ex-wife. We just talk about normal stuff like movies and music and friends and family and whatever just as if he was still in California. The only time we make a reference to what he's doing over there is usually in jest, but then again, most things are referred to in jest between the two of us. We crack each other up. It's great to keep in touch this way. And to think that, years ago, it wouldn't have been this easy to stay in touch, so we're fortunate for Al Gore's interweb and the rest of technology's perks.


to whom it may concern

email sent last night to trent's teacher:

Hi there, Mrs. Roberts...

Trent came home today and told me something a little disturbing - it
seems that Mason pricked him in the neck with a pin. I'm sure you've
heard about recent news stories about an HIV scare when a girl brought
in a lancet and pricked several classmates. Though I am sure there's
no HIV risk with this incident, I'm still not in love with the idea of
Trent getting pricked, and I'm sure you aren't either. If you could
keep an eye out, I'd appreciate it. Apparently Mason brings in pins
sort of frequently, pinned to his pants.

I think Mason is a good kid and I don't want to get him in trouble,
and I know Trent is afraid that Mason will think he told on him, so if
it's possible to keep Trent's and my name out of anything you decide
to do, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks for your attention.

Best regards,


over 200

is the amount of pictures I uploaded to snapfish last night. here's some highlights:

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mow the GODDAMN lawn

when maggie goes out in the front yard and we can't see her legs, we know it's time to mow the lawn.

I always wanted a lawn to mow - I dreamed of cutting the grass, weeding the garden, planting new flowers...maybe I'd have little gardening clogs from land's end. and bella and I would have matching gloves. and I'd teach trent how to mow the lawn when he was old enough, and I'd take him lemonade and we'd roll around in the grass after.

yeah. WHAT. EVER.

now, we don't even have that much lawn to mow. a postage stamp in the front, and whatever is smaller than a postage stamp in the back. a half postage stamp, if you will. but because we live in a rowhome, and because we're in the middle, it's a total bitch to cut it. sometimes I think I'd be better off with some scissors doing it by hand. I bet it'd be quicker.

we have to drag our mower out of the shed in the back, walk it all the way around from the alley past the front of all the houses on our block, and bring it into the front yard. and because everything we have that's home-related was given to us by someone who no longer wanted the item in question, we have the crappiest lawn mower ever created...a black and decker 12 amp electric lawn mower. 12 amps, people. you know, slightly more power than your hair dryer.

so crappy mower + reaaaaaaaaally long grass + cranky patrice + nosy neighbors = wackiness. at least the day after, it seems like wackiness. at the time, it felt like karmic cruelty. like you wonder what the hell you did that was so bad that it came to THIS.

as I'm dragging the "mower" around to the front, my next door neighbor asks me if I'm mowing the lawn. dumb question, but I play along...not knowing...then, pow: "oh. GOOD! I can't believe it!" as in "your lawn looks like shit." coming from a woman who enjoys shrieking at her 19 year old hoodlum son while her drunk husband swigs beer outside on the porch at 10am on a saturday, this is a big insult.

I get the mower all set up, with its 60 foot extension cord running into the house (goddamn stupid electric mower) and turn it on. BUZZZZZZZZZ. anyone who has ever used a mower knows that BUZZZZZZ doesn't cut grass, WHIRRRRRRR does. we had no whir. we had only buzz. meaning the blade wasn't turning.

it turns out that the only way that the mower works is if you push down on the handle so that the blade is off the grass, and then wait for the blade to start turning and pick up speed. then you gently lower the blade down onto the grass, but not for too long, or the blade will stop. so it's a constant monitoring of blade turning while pushing down on the handle, all the while trying to move either forward or backward. picture this in your mind, people. and the only way it would work at all is if I had the blade set to cut at 3 1/2" inches high. three and a half inches high. does that even qualify as "cut"? although, amazingly, 3 1/2" high looked alot more trim than what it was beforehand.

so my plan was to cut it at 3 1/2" and then go back over it at 1" high (which is normal height) when it wasn't quite so bushy. then I'd do the same with the back lawn, which was even more overgrown.

luckily, the mower at least let me finish the front lawn before it completely died. and of course, as sean dragged the mower back around to the shed (bless his heart) I could hear our neighbors clucking at the fact that it was clear that we weren't going to cut our back lawn. if you could only understand the irony of this...let me explain further.

so we have a shed in our back yard. it is big enough for a car to fit into, and has a peaked roof. right next to it is our neighbor's "shed" which consists of two and a half walls with a rusty tin roof covering it. on top of the rusty (and sagging) tin roof is anything you could ever want. (yes, on TOP of the roof.) a truck box, a bike, 2 basketballs, the windshield of a car, a christmas tree stand, various metal pipes, wheels, and some cinderblocks. all on top of their shed, all displayed for the world to see. like a mini junk yard high in the sky. and they are worried about my grass being too high??

so anyway. we have to find a new mower. because even though I like the idea that my grass is pissing off my trashy neighbors, the dog is seriously in danger of getting lost in it.


bella's new purse

she's not exactly dressed to kill, but I needed to show you all the purse.

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cute, huh?

sugar and spice and purses

having already raised a baby boy into a big boy who can now say with confidence that he can't stand me because I am mad at him for buying 3 lunches at a time at school so he can impress his friends with how he can eat 3 lunches at one sitting, I can make certain comparisons between baby boys and baby girls.

really, at this point, the only thing that I enjoy more about having a girl than having a boy is the clothes. that, and not having to decide about circumcision.

yesterday, we went to the mall to get bella some robeez, or so we thought. (they didn't have the kind we wanted, so we ordered them online.) after I convinced myself that she needed these $26 shoes, which is about 2 times as much as I usually pay for shoes (and 5 times as much as I paid for my last 3 pairs of shoes), I was off to the races. gymboree, children's place, baby gap!

as usual, there were 3 racks of boys clothes and about 3 acres of girls clothes at each of the stores we visited. it's not fair, it's not right, but there it is. we ooo'd and ahhh'd over adorable little skorts, teeny tiny tank tops, pretty dresses...and then, at baby gap, I saw it.

they don't even have it online at gap.com, so I can't show you a picture, but...here's a picture of a grownup version. they have this tiny pocketbook in baby size. like you could hold your cell phone and maybe a chapstick. BUT IT IS TINY, THEREFORE IT IS ADORABLE.

and because they don't even have it on gap.com, I convinced sean that I need to return to the mall today to purchase it since it is now deemed RARE. even though when I gave it to bella to hold to see how cute she'd look, she stuck the handle in her mouth immediately, and the charm is somewhat lost when the purse isn't used as a purse, but as a teething device. but still. it's something to put in the time capsule, nonetheless, when she outgrows it. but I hope she never outgrows it. I hope she's 30 and having her own babies and carrying her tiny little purse. maybe she'll use it to smuggle tampons into her workplace bathroom.

we didn't buy anything but a pair of sunglasses on our excursion (it's still too cool out for alot of the clothes, some were way too expensive, and the robeez store didn't have the ones we wanted and the sales lady was a bitch, so...) but we had a good time anyway. my highlight was the tiny pocketbook, sean's was..um..not spending money I guess, and bella's was the 3 way mirror in the gap. she was totally thrilled by seeing 50 million boba fetts in the mirror. she was kicking and rocking back and forth so much that I think I have bruises.


mother's delight

first of all, sean says hi, that he's sorry he's sporadic in posting, that he is sorry that his metal stuff was so long, and that he'll be back soon. I guess he had to work at work this weekend.

second, thanks for all the nice happy mother's day stuff everyone's been saying! very sweet.

this is how the weekend went. saturday, we laid around, finally went food shopping with bella in the floppy seat (which she loved) and again she was perfectly happy in the cart, and then I lost my mind when I got home. it was time to go see trent's baseball game and I decided it would be a really good idea to put bella in the bjorn and take the dog with, and that we'd walk. smart! I didn't take into account that once we got there, I'd still have to deal with the dog and the baby for the duration of the game. I only saw the getting there, and the getting there seemed okay. but thank god that I have a relatively good dog and a relatively good baby. bella got a little fussy there for a while, but only did her plaintive soft wahs, no full on crying. and maggie only got excited when other dogs were around, but we were able to manage.

sunday, it was mother's day. sean had laid out gifts and cards so I'd see them when I woke up. bella and I slept until about 8 and laid around until about 9, and headed downstairs. a beautiful orchid was waiting for me and 3 mother's day cards, 2 from bella and one from sean. sean's card was very sean-like in that it was very mushy and flowery and exactly what you would not expect from sean (but I would) and it talked about being a mother and a wife and a friend. bella's said that she liked being inside my hug. and the other bella card was made at daycare and looked like it was written in someone else's handwriting, as it was filled with words and not drool and rips, which is what bella usually does to paper.

I really really hope I don't kill that orchid. (I'm like 5 for 7 on killing houseplants in the last few years. I have 2 now that are still clinging to life.) anyways, sean also got me a gc for a massage at a place that I can walk to - which is really quite nice. it's hard to get the time to drive to places for stuff like that. and this place has all kinds of new agey massages, like this one that I might try that cleans out your lymphatic system and releases hidden tension and emotion. so will I laugh like an idiot or cry like a baby? who knows. after eating 6 waffles, I took the soggy, mashed up card from bella (I had given her the card she gave to me so she could "read" it with her gums) and headed straight to the couch, where we vegetated until brett and trent showed up at 2. I was looking so fine in my shrunken old navy sleep pants, a maternity tank top that had seen better days, my hair matted to my head, no makeup, and scary red eyes from a bout of allergic attack, but brett is used to seeing me this way, so whatever. I usually try to dress for company.

brett gave me a very nice card in which he thanked me for being a good mother and a good friend to him, and the friend thing was really what stuck out in my mind. he's not a very good emoter, unlike sean, and getting him to admit that we're friends has taken a long time. and trent gave me a very trent-like card that said something to the effect that the reason why I'm such a great mom is that I have an excellent kid. ha. nice. and trent gave me one of the most thoughtful mother's day presents I've gotten in a long time - a locket that has a four leaf clover on it (for good luck - and if you know me, I am one of the most superstitious people on earth, always clamoring for good luck) and a picture of trent inside. and space for a picture of bella. I was really thrilled with it.

so brett and trent allowed me to shower and look presentable, then we went miniature golfing. brett and trent go mini golfing like every weekend in the summer, seriously. they know every course within a 10 mile radius. and I had bella in the bjorn and played one-handed, and STILL managed to come in 2nd. (though I hate keeping score - but even though we didn't have a scorecard, trent kept score in his head.) I won't tell you who I beat, but I will say we had a sullen 12 year old in the car.

we relaxed for a half hour at home watching I love the 90s (1993, the year trent was born, bit of kismet that was.) and then we rolled to buca di beppos.

we will be eating leftover spaghetti for at least a week.

we all were uncomfortably full afterwards. and the pope room? they have a new jratz pope! I couldn't believe it. those guys work fast.

I had purchased 2 slices of oreo pie at the grocery store on saturday. it was in the freezer section. it said right on the front "oreo cream pie." so I bought it. when I got it home, the first bad sign was that it had a bible quote from proverbs on the back. hmm....god's oreo pie, huh? so we had it last night, and as soon as I bit into it I knew it was a cheesecake. now, don't you think they'd say "oreo CHEESECAKE pie" on it? I mean, most people love cheesecake. I think it'd be a selling point. perhaps they were too busy picking out a proverb to print. anyways, sean said he thought it was just plain old cream pie, but I made him fish out the box to check, and lo and behold - it had cream cheese in it. UM, EW!! cheese? in cake? I don't think so.

so other than the fake cream pie, I had an excellent mother's day....and I hope all of you did, too.


I'll always love my momma

of course, I haven't bought my mother anything for mother's day. and I probably won't see her. but I do love her and always will.

sooooo, yeah, crazy menstrual shit. let's put it behind us, shall we? (like, I won't mention that I had to go home early yesterday because of...um...leakage.)


we bought bella 2 big-girl car seats yesterday. we bought a pretty decent model that was fairly expensive (though nothing like a $300 britax...I will only buy that if it makes bella able to drive the car) and one that was discontinued that was not as expensive and an ugly shade of blue. this means that we're going to retire the infant seat. I think that bella's extensive neck musculature is due directly to the fact that she tries desperately to sit up in her infant car seat every moment she's in it, so it's definitely time to switch. plus, since we had the bundleme in it for most of her life, and because she's been good about only having blowouts on washable surfaces, the infant car seat looks like new, so we'll be able to sell it to a local consignment shop.

she loves to be driven around and always looks out the window. it'll be cute to see her be able to see things other than the tops of trees, power lines, and direct sunlight.

for mother's day, my children, husband, and, um, brett are taking me to buca di beppo's for dinner. I'm going to see what, if anything, they did to the "pope room". it used to have a plexiglass-enclosed bust of pope john paul II and had bras and underwear strewn across the table on a clothesline. blasphemy! so did they swap out busts? and by that I mean bras. ba dum bum. tune in next time to find out.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all of my motherly friends, friends who have mothers, friends who might want to be mothers, and anyone who loves a mother. that's everyone.


I'm going to post all over the place when I have a few more minutes, but I just wanted to pop on and say I'M NOT DEAD, I'M OKAY, AND I HAVEN'T KILLED ANYONE ELSE YET EITHER. you guys are all so great to read this raving lunacy, and I thank you all.

and - jen oliver? you are SO GODDAMN SWEET.

more later.


sorry, no sunshine and lollipops here

prepare yourselves for the insane rantings of a severely hormonally imbalanced bored-yet-oddly-busy person.

so every day, I read stuff about other people and their lives, all through the magic of blogs. while I am always pleasantly surprised by most of my "regulars," I am constantly amazed by the sheer amount of drivel out there, not that I am writing shakespeare myself or anything. I tend to just roll my eyes at things that don't seem to harmonize with exactly what I'm feeling at the time - or things that are just overly sappy and insipid. (don't read too far into this statement...I'm not talking about any of you.)

sometimes I get my ire up though - and this post here on dotmoms came at just the right time, when I had already been contemplating "old patrice."

I am sure that this peyton person is only getting the brunt of my pms (or is it dms - during menstrual syndrome?) -induced psycopathy, but good head on my shoulders so I wasn't promiscuous as a way to explain away not having gotten pregnant unintentionally? okay, there are certainly arguments on both sides, but would you REALLY say something like that after someone commented that they were a single teenaged mother? sure, it's thoughtless and likely unintentional, but would you feel okay about someone posting about how only careless mothers children die of SIDS after someone comments on how they lost their child to SIDS? I mean, really.

want to know what else I hate? my brain. right now, I am sitting here trying to figure out how I am able to justify wearing these leather boots I have on with - and I can't believe I'm typing this - my new gaucho pants from target, while simultaneously wondering about organic baby food, after having spent at least 2 times longer than I should have picking out cardboard-applicator tampons. meanwhile, the amount of disposable diapers we go through is abhorrent. it's so...on the one hand, there's the other hand. and it's all my brain's fault. can't I just be happy with the fact that there are tampons and diapers to keep me from the messiness that is the human body?? why can't I be like other people and obsess about only one thing at a time without it affecting the other similar decisions in my life?? won't eat steak, will wear boots? (apologies in advance to lonna, who I know is either vegan or vegetarian. if I could only be so vigilant.) will feel better using cardboard applicators while using plastic diapers...and furthermore, will be lulled into a sense of doing good even though there is probably something else awful about using cardboard? should be content to just be happy about motherhood instead of comparing to other mothers? shouldn't worry about other people thinking wrongly that I was promiscuous? shouldn't worry about people who are worried about me worrying about other people's perceptions of me? should cancel the counter? should cancel the blog?? should have canned soup for dinner? worries that canned soup is bad for the figure? for the environment? do others eat canned soup and worry about it? do others use plastic applicators? will using cardboard be seen as better or worse to those who use plastic? who use the cup thingie? what about being magnanimous? what about being anti social? how about being selfish? what about the selfishness of others? what about getting a twix from the vending machine? will drink water but eat candy? how about reading others blogs? will reading others blogs make me less of a free thinker? what about comments? does it take a village? does it take someone reading the blog to make things more real? what IS it that keeps making me burp today? how about altoids gum? what about what people think of me? what about just telling it like it is? what about just writing exactly how I feel with no regard to anyone but my own self?

CAN'T I JUST MAKE IT STOP, JUST FOR A SECOND?? and where's the goddamn twix??

hold on for one more day

just like the wilson phillips ladies say.

ohhhh dear sweet jesus. yesterday nicole asked me if my period was really bad and horrible and having only had it for about 18 hours, I said "no, it's pretty normal."

I have to get it out of my head that saying something doesn't immediately mean that the opposite will happen. but it's times like this that the idea gets reinforced.

not for the squeamish:

clots, the size of quarters and half dollars. pain. near-flooding. pain. MOOD SWINGS. sadness. headaches. pain. clots. fatigue. pain.

the hormones that are telling me that I can become a mommy again are wrestling with the hormones that are busy making milk, and I guess I'm the one who comes out the loser.



a couple of things.

1) bella started eating solids. yes, it's true. she's eaten applesauce (which sean calls "bobasauce") every day for about a week. she's eaten green beans, some sweet potatoes, some peas, and some pears, even a mouthful of pureed chicken, but mostly applesauce. NO CEREAL SHALL PASS THIS CHILD'S LIPS. I don't know why, she just hates it.

this is good and bad. it's good because as you all know, my milk supply has gone down. (and I just got an email from a friend giving me all kinds of tips - thank you, lonna, I'll be replying soon.) now I don't have to worry as much about my own supply being the only thing she's eating.

and it's bad because...well...because:

2) I got my period last night. it's been at least 15 months since I had my period last. I almost forgot what to do. I had to stand there and rummage around under the sink and reach waaaaaay back to find any girl stuff. what a freakin pain, so very very literally.

so the pressure is somewhat off, as far as feeding bella. she's eating breakfast and lunch and sometimes dinner consisting of solid foods. I usually offer to feed her milk first, and then when I know I'm dry and she's still hungry, we give her the solids. (why are they called "solids" anyways? it can't be because of the consistency. it must be because of the poop they produce. in which case, they should be called "solid and rank.")

I realized something else the last few days. (besides the fact that my pms has returned with a VENGENCE.) I am experiencing something completely different than I ever have before - peers with babies. people relatively my own age with children relatively the same age as mine. this too is good and bad. good, because I don't feel like the social pariah I once felt like with trent, and bad, because I have infinitely more things to compare myself to. and no matter how much one tries not to do that, one usually winds up doing it. even if it's just in their head and only fleeting. I think it's human nature. it is for me, anyways.

and one last "revelation" - one that I am still trying to wrap my head around. over the weekend, while wrestling with bella and pinching her by mistake and dropping her stuff and watching nicole and mark do tag team with noah...not to mention my whole rigamorole in the mornings when sean's not home and trent's not home...I got to thinking about this person I've been calling in my head "old patrice".

old patrice did all this stuff pretty much on her own. (god I hate third person, why did I walk down this road this way??) old patrice went through a hell of a lot of total shit without much support. old patrice got ready for school every day with a baby the same age as bella and never thought twice about it.

granted, there are alot of holes in my memory about those times. but I have to think that I did all that stuff because if I didn't, well, then, who did? so I guess I'm pretty proud of that person who seems so far removed from who I am today. I guess I have to thank her for being a good teacher. I think I should remember old patrice more often, and finally be as proud of her as I should have been all along.


death metal baby

I am exhausted just by reading sean's itinerary of the new england metal and hard core festival. or is it hard core and metal festival? perhaps it is the loud fast screamy music festival.

my favorite thing about the fest is the band names, and the band names I can make from them. "'3 Inches of Most Precious Blood Has Been Shed' just did a 'As I Lay Dying A Life Once Lost' cover!" my most favorite thing used to be finding the most insane t shirt at the fest - but that was back when I used to go to sean's shows. I wouldn't say I "got out of it" when I became pregnant, but I guess I'd go so far as to say that I don't exactly miss going to them. I guess to me, it's sort of like regular mashed potatoes. if they are in front of me, I'll eat them and enjoy them. if I never had them again, though, I wouldn't be wondering what the hell happened to the regular mashed potatoes. (roasted garlic and butter mashed potatoes are a different story.)

anyways, poor sean, now his days are filled with Most Precious Milk, Between the Diapered and Me, 3 Inches of Baby Food, Howling Babe, Misfit Onesies, Pooping Through, and Screaming Dissonance. That's what we call babycore.

yesterday, we went to janette's second baby shower, this one thrown by her family. it was low key, comfortable, and fun. but it wouldn't be a janette shower without my own soda being spilled on my black pants, and this one didn't disappoint. this time it was courtesy of janette's niece doing some kind of flailing, I don't know. it was probably my fault.

my personal highlight was when janette opened a gift containing a box of nursing pads that had me announcing to the room, "I'm already packing, thanks" with a nice gesture to my bazongas for show. I am so sophisticated.

last night was pretty tossy and turny - first off, bella's napping was all askew, sean wasn't feeling well and went to bed early, trent wasn't tired at all courtesy of waaaay too much sugar, and zyrtek gives me crazy, crazy dreams.

one of which featured me putting bella down on a bench at the train station to go pick up something about a foot away, and realizing that I accidentally stepped onto the train that was now pulling away from the station. leaving bella behind. it was scary. and it was one of those dreams that continues even after you wake up from it and go back to sleep. when I returned to the dream, I found bella - only she was a boy, she was about 5 years old, and she was showing me how she's all better now even though she has scars from where her captors sewed her eyes shut so she wouldn't learn how to read. yeah. love the zyrtek.

when I finally awoke for real during the night, I noticed the bathroom light was on. thinking that trent left it on when he went to the bathroom and forgot to turn it off, I went in only to find him sitting on the closed toilet, reading. it was about 3 am. he was in there because there was a thousand legger that was on the wall near his bed (he sleeps in this ikea loft bed) and he didn't want to go back in. understandable, but that doesn't mean you just don't sleep! so we got the sleeping bag out (which was still not put away anyway from our friday night slumber party, where we spread that out on the floor of the living room, added tons of pillows, and laid on the floor together as a family to watch finding neverland - which inspired trent to start writing a play. [doesn't that sound nice? the play was about dragonball Z, and he started writing it during the movie because the movie was sort of boring for him. not as nice now, huh.])

so trent slept in our room last night, which always makes for a crazy morning. I am thinking about going home right...about....now.


The Road To and From Worcester, MA

Storm and Quick arrive in Lansdale on Thursday evening at 6:45pm.
They drink beer and eat cheese dogs while I attend Trent's science fair with the fam.
We return, drink more beer, watch Irreversible and eat cherry cobler.
Wake up at 6ish on Friday morning.
Depart at 6:45am after Cheerio milk bars.
Stop for gas and Roy Rogers at 11:45am in Connecticut.
Arrive in Worcester at 12:15pm and check into Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Drink Yards and River Horse while we wait for the arrival of the following suspects:

Whitey (arrives at 1:15pm)
Terry (arrives at 1:15pm)
Mulhearn (arrives at 1:30pm)
Chops (arrives at 1:30pm)
WB (arrives at 2:30pm)
Erik (arrives at 2:30pm)
Ram (arrives at 9:30pm)
Felix (arrival time unknown)
Jason and Erin Stec (arrive between 10pm and midnight)

Storm, Quick and I go to The Palladium at 2:45pm.
Wait in a long line until we are situated at 2nd stage at 3:10pm.
Invocation Of Nehek play mediocre Gothenburg-influenced American metal.
Ion Dissonance rip the room apart with Quebecois tech-death metal hardcore.
Move to main stage to see decent pounding metal by The Esoteric.
Leave venue and go back to hotel to eat, drink and reunite with others.
Return to main stage to watch excellent Suffocation-esque hardcore death metal by Premonitions Of War.
All That Remains performs like a headliner with their melodic hardcore metal.
Throwdown plays sub par tough guy fighting music that's funnier than good.
As I Lay Dying plays okay San Diego version of melodic hardcore metal.
Obituary reunites from the swamps of FLA and play some solid classic death metal songs before boring me with the rest of their set.
Unearth appeals to the Mass. locals with their violent hardcore metal.
Hatebreed entertains me surprisingly due to my abduction by Whitey and crew (big Hatebreed fans), who feed me 5 Red Bull/vodka combos to help me enjoy it better. I really earned my "wings" during that performance.
Went back to hotel with Chops (soul survivors) as Whitey and crew go clubbing.
Day one of festival concludes with us staying up until 4:00am drinking and laughing.
Day two begins with a dozen donuts from Honey Farms (poor man's 7 Eleven).
Erik, Joe and I see If Hope Dies on second stage playing...you guessed it...on par melodic metal hardcore.
The Acacia Strain is next with slow, dense, pummeling, sludgy hardcore metal.
Join others at main stage in time for Reflux, who play mind blowing, anti-political, technical metal hardcore. Probably one of the most skilled bands there. Unbelievable guitar and drumming. Hats off!
A Life Once Lost plays Meshuggah-inspired metalcore from Philly that fucks us all up.
Trivium plays Puppets-era Metallica-style thrash metal coming from a bunch of teenagers from FLA.
The Red Chord plays breakneck speed death metal hardcore. A festival favorite.
Jamey Hatebreed's and Lord Ezac's avoidable Ice Pick outfit gives us perfect opportunity to leave venue and get dinner at Honey Farms before Palladium seals doors at 6pm.
Buy Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets and microwave them at the store.
While microwaving, call Patrice and check on the fam.
Go back to hotel for needed rest and replenishment.
Get back from dinner in time for one of the best bands to come out of Canada: Strapping Young Lad! Devin Townsend charms crowd with toilet humor. SYL breaks our necks with lightening fast guitar playing and Gene Hogland's ludicrous-speed drumming. Another festival highlight for me.
Could not return to second stage due to fire marshall occupancy violation. Bands missed due to poor planning: Walls Of Jericho, Caliban, Darkest Hour, Most Precious Blood, and Blood Has Been Shed. Sucked, but talent was plentiful enough to avoid dwelling.
Terror plays generic but inspired and respectable hardcore. One of the classic lines of the festival by vocalist Scott Vogel: "...it doesn't matter how big your dick is or how deep your pussy is..." I can't believe a hardcore guy would say that in regard to how important unity is. Hilarious!
God Forbid seems impressed with their blander style of melodic metallic hardcore minus the fast thrashy moments that used to make them so good. To me, they are a band on the decline, and one of the disappointments of the festival.
Cryptopsy plays entire album of the gory death metal classic None So Vile plus a few other songs. Lord Worm impresses us with his black trench coat, French accent, low-key morbid humor, and impressive worm ingurgitating skills. One of my favorite bands at the fest.
Bleeding Through made our arses bleed with stage acrobatics and keyboard-laced death metal hardcore strait outta the O.C. Always a popular choice for the NEMHCF giving a stellar peformance for their third year in a row.
Chimaira bit and sucked the big one with their brand of music that would have been numetal if it came out 10 years ago. This band is terribly boring and severly overrated. C'mon, their first song was called "I Hate Everyone". Where's the creativity? Whoever thought that Kevin Talley could be in such a boring band? Being the former drummer of Misery Index, I'm surprised he hasn't died of boredom yet. I think Storm and I went shopping for CDs after two of their songs.
Danzig bored us to tears with newer solo stuff, but as soon as he called Doyle from the Misfits out on stage, they gave us the closest that we'll ever see to a classic Misfits reunion. I wish Doyle was the answer to every sucky performance because he spiced the evening up like heroin to Richard Pryor. Doyle leaves the stage, and Danzig closes with Twist Of Cain and Mother. Exciting!
Day two ends as we go back to the hotel for more drinking and partying and dodging a ball-busting Officer Meatbeef, who was itching for an arrest. He didn't get it, though. None from our camp anyway.
Day three begins with the departure of Ram, Whitey, Terry, Joe Quick, Jason and Erin Stec. Chops, Mulhearn, Storm, WB, Erik and I are soul survivors from our camp.
Went to venue at noon with WB.
Met up with Felix, who was deserted by Whitey and his camp.
Started drinking venue-supplied Sam Adams immediately quelling hangover demons. "Hair of the dog!"
Paria started the day with solid technical hardcore metal from Omaha, Nebraska.
Hell Within plays decent metallic hardcore with a small tribute to Slayer mixed in.
Felix and I went back to hotel reuniting with recovering others.
Returned to venue in time to see Howling Syn, a Canadian quartet that includes an operatic woman wearing a black leather girdle sporting a red cross. The pig-tailed vocal wonder had all of the hand and arm motions to make their somewhat boring music more humorous.
Into The Moat plays blend of Dillinger-esque metallic hardcore.
Went to first stage to see catchiest hardcore this side of Snapcase. The band is Evergreen Terrace, and marks were high in my book. A festival favorite for sure. Sing alongs were in full effect.
From Poland came Behemoth, who graces the stage with anti-Christian, blackened death metal. Another festival favorite in my book. C'mon! They were wearing corpse paint and spiked catcher's shin guards!
3 Inches Of Blood steps up to the plate with retro feel to metal. With multiple guitars and multiple vocalists sporting that falsetto range, I strained my eyes looking for big 80s hair, but I couldn't find it. Good music, though.
Made final CD purchases while The Risk Taken provided driving energetic hardcore in the background.
Making a sacrifice missing Black Dahlia Murder and Between The Buried And Me on the main stage, opted for second stage to see Chicago's Dead To Fall, who started their set with an At The Gates cover and ended with the "Carnage" chant that concludes their song "The Gates Of Hell". That chant was foreshadowing for why I was really there...to lobby for a good spot to see Denver hydrogrinders Cephalic Carnage. It was worth the sacrifice. Storm, Felix and I got right up in them guts for growl-alongs, moshing, and my first circle pit in years. I have the bruises to show. This band never disappoints. Their set was short, but it was worth every minute to see it up close. Kicking it off with "Hybrid" and slipping "Lucid Interval" into the mix was a nice touch, but they mostly played songs from Anomalies. It's great to see Jawsh back in the band.
Stepped outside and inserted sausage and 1 lb burger into stomach via mouth gearing up for final bands of evening.
Hypocrisy begins evening with brutally melodic death metal from Sweden.
Dark Tranquility plays fast melodic death metal, which technically isn't influenced by Gothenburg since they ARE from Gothenburg.
Soilwork plays boring melodic death metal from Sweden with piss-poor choruses and repetitive guitar riffs. I'm not a fan.
Nile was a breath of fresh air with their Egyptian-influenced death metal.
To close it all out was King Diamond, who was anti-climactic. Without stage gimmicks (iron fence across the stage, interpretive dancing, puppet theater, and the stabbing and coffin-placing of a baby doll [?]), the music wasn't strong enough to stand on its own. The best part about it was his falsetto range. Some find it annoying. I personally think it's comical. I liken him to a caricature of metal. The crowd seemed to dig it somewhat, but Mulhearn was the first to bail. He can't stand the King. After all, the man plays with dolls.
Went back to hotel.
Polished off our seven cases for the whole weekend.
Watched Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead (sucked).
Made jokes about the new pope (Joey Ratz).
Fell asleep.
Departed on Monday at 9:30am.
Got home in time to drop Storm off at the train station.
Picked up Bella on time.
Favorite performance- Reflux
Honorable mentions - Cryptopsy, Strapping Young Lad, Behemoth, The Red Chord, Evergreen Terrace, Bleeding Through
Most surprising performance- Premonitions Of War
Best t-shirt - "I Love My Wife" worn by Jason Stec.

I agree with Jason. Thanks go out to Patrice and family for helping me make this all happen. It was a special weekend for my friends and I, but what's even more special is Patrice for letting me live like a derelict for one weekend of the year. Here's to you, honey!

"It's been a why-yul!"

I hate that song, but it's fun to quote every once in a while in a deep Darius Rucker-type fashion. Anyway, I'm back, and I'm feeling a bit under the weather today. Better this weekend than last weekend (I'll tell you all about it). It sucks because when you come back to work after 10 days off, you want to be all full-fledged, refreshed, and back in the saddle. But right now, I'm dragging. Please, don't cry for me. "Oh, boo-hoo! So you had 10 days off...3 of which were spent abandoning every responsibility you have in favor of paying $100 to stand for hours listening to extreme music that will probably make you deaf by age 35." Okay, so things are not bad at all. Things are great to my knowledge. Just have a cough and sore throat and achy muscles, but I have a friend in Advil and honey-herb Ricola. I'll live.

Bella is doing better. For all we know, she has kicked her ear infection, but we learn from our mistakes. So that means that we will continue to give her her apple-flavored antibiotic for the recommended 20 doses so that it doesn't return. Hey, as long as she's willing to accept, it makes our lives easier.

Trent still has a good attitude about baseball. He hasn't started complaining (at least not to me anyway) that his purple team sucks. If it gets that bad, we'll have to apply the nickname "purple people eaters" or something similar to ease the tension.

I'll let Patrice speak for herself about how she is doing, but I would like to take this time to thank her for a wonderful evening at the Salvador Dali exhibit complete with catering and live entertainment last night. The whole family enjoyed it...including Bella, who was staring and smiling with mouth agape for most of the evening. Trent was really into it despite all of the hidden meanings and not-so-hidden phallic symbols that typical 12-year-old boys hit the floor laughing about. Patrice and I did the parental thing by worrying more about getting through the exhibit before Bella decides she doesn't like it anymore and starts wailing and disturbing the peace. You know that Bella. She's a wild card with her unpredictability. 45 minutes was not nearly enough time to absorb all of the nuances and morphing and little details and hidden images Dali inserted into his works, but from what I did get to see and absorb...quite impressed. I was so impressed that when we got home, I immediately grabbed our book of Dali paintings and studied what I missed at the exhibit. There are some people (other surrealists for one) who don't have too many good things to say about the work of Dali, but I am now a huge fan and highly recommend the exhibit, which has been extended to run at the Philly Art Museum until May 30. I know I'm not the only one since he is probably one of the more known and popular painters of our time. Before last night, I was only familiar with the Great Masturbator (Motz and I had a poster of that in our dorm room at Millersville...heh...how appropriate, right?) and the Persistence piece with melting clocks. Now, my world has been opened to all kinds of other images that I think are way ahead of their time. Many of these paintings were done in the 20s and 30s, but they look like they could have been concocted by some starving artist scrounging for a buck today in Manhattan. Not that any general artist has the painting skills and imagination that Dali possessed, but his works do transcend time. For example, if you compare movies before the 70s and movies today, you notice a huge difference between styles and cutting-edge techniques and realistic dialogue that weren't available/acceptable back then. Similarly, if you compare recent, modern art with some of Dali's, it looks like they both could have come from this decade. I could be totally off on this due to my lack of art knowledge/abundance of art ignorance. I'm not an art aficionado or anything, but it did leave an impression on me. I thought I'd tell you about it. For that reason alone in my humble opinion, I consider it good art.

When I started this post, I intended to give you a run down of the metalfest (something I haven't even given to Patrice yet), but Dali has me all sidetracked. So, let's make this a double blog day, and I'll tell you all about it in my next more recent post.