Category Archives: Rants

On Riots and Insurrection: Language Warning


A friend today asked me if I was ok. Not because he was worried, but because he was expecting me to be spitting fire about the insurrection in DC yesterday. And if you ask my husband I was, to the point where I had to put down my cross stitch (my newest hobby, don’cha know) and take some deep breaths. But I’ve been radio silent on social media except to share the daily newsletter of a historian I follow (Heather Cox Richardson, slight Democratic bias, but very informative and insightful).

I have been on Facebook almost constantly, though, doom scrolling away, reading the comments of the “unfollow me now” posts and the “those people don’t represent us” and the general nastiness that happens on social media when one side feels justified and the other feels defensive. My mantra has been (for months now) Don’t Engage With People You Don’t Know. I made that mistake over the summer when I got in a sparring match against someone on a friend’s page who turned out to be his close family. I had crossed a line without realizing it because I was too focused on how clever and right I was. Even when that’s true, it’s no excuse to go after someone I don’t know from Adam.

Anyway, here are my thoughts. MLK said that “a riot is the language of the unheard” and that still holds true. This last summer we saw some rioting and looting (which is shocking considering how angry and pent up everyone was), but we also saw millions of people participating in peaceful protests for months. And nothing fucking changed. We watched people tear apart Target and cops shooting rubber bullets at pregnant women and reporters. We saw children maced. We saw atrocities and rebellion and violence and we bickered about it on social media as though any of it would matter. The cop who shot Jacob Black in the back seven times IN FRONT OF HIS KIDS is not being charged because the DA hasn’t ever had a job where he felt his life was in danger. What. The. Fuck does that have to do with ANYTHING.

What is even the point of being angry anymore? What does it change? I’ve been angry for months? Years? I’ve watched powerful people make billions off a pandemic and then continued to give them my money because I need stuff they sell. I’ve watched conspiracy theories profligate because the media and people who should know better overtly support them since it gets them more views and more power. I’ve seen my friends share hateful memes and spread lies because it made them feel better about “their side.”

And now this. Fucking Trump and his Fucking Base cosplaying Wyatt Fucking Earp (or whatever) strolling into the Capitol so they can selfie how badass they are. They took down an American flag and put up a Trump flag. Remember when Kaepernick knelt for the Anthem and you burned your jersey? Are you burning your MAGA hats and flags and political yard signs yet?

Wanna know the difference between a riot and insurrection? Intent. I don’t know who was rioting this summer or what their intent was besides lashing out. I don’t actually care. I was pissed off (outraged, you might say) at the time because goddammit they were finally getting the world stage and some greedy, pathetic fucks thought, Guess I’ll get a tv, or some shit. Regardless. Those mother fuckers yesterday brought bombs and molotov cocktails and zip tie cuffs so they could take fucking hostages. That’s intent. And just because they didn’t have the balls to do anything more than light vandalism and tourist rebellion doesn’t mean they should be let off. They brought their goddamn Confederate/Nazi propaganda into the Capitol with the explicit purpose of disrupting a sanctioned act of democracy. Fuck. Them.

But I digress. What I meant to say is I’m sorry we didn’t listen. I’m sorry we laughed at your cockamamie conspiracy theories and brushed you off as kooks. I’m sorry we unfollowed/unfriended you so all you had was your fucking echo chamber to scream hate into. But you’re still fucking cosplayers who actually breached the Capitol and did fuck-all to change anything. How embarrassing. How many times have you chuckleheads stormed a government building and then left without doing a goddamn thing? You didn’t even get into a shootout with the feds and the votes were still certified mere hours later. The Bolsheviks murdered the whole royal family and ya’ll had a guy tase himself to death. P a t h e t i c.

Now, to the rest of you. I don’t know anyone who was cheering them on. I’m sure there were plenty, but they aren’t my people. The Line in the Sand People, I am glad you feel angry enough to speak your mind. Continue to do that. Call people on their bs. Use the Socratic Method, though. Trying to argue doesn’t work, which is why we keep unfriending everybody and nothing changes. When somebody spouts lies, fact check them with reputable sources. When somebody makes a statement that you disagree with, ask questions. What do you mean by that? Ok, what do you mean by that? Basically, question them into unraveling their own argument. Keep it simple, as paragraphs of counter-argument means they can focus on or misinterpret one small thing and do their own paragraph response that doesn’t actually argue against you. Anyone who tried explaining white privilege to white people this summer has experienced this and it never convinces anyone of a goddamn thing.

The unfollow/unfriend ultimatums, I get it but there’s literally no risk/reward there. I don’t notice when people unfriend/unfollow me. I have lots of friends and I really only consistently see posts from a few dozen? So if I lost friends because I support BLM and social justice and trans lives and comprehensive social programs, I might never know. I’ve seen several fights break out in the comment sections of those Unfriend Me posts, but most people will see that ultimatum and not even hesitate to Bye Felicia. Why fight when you can just disappear? No confrontation necessary and they can rest safe in the belief that they are right and that their former friend was just being unreasonable (it’s such a shame, I thought I knew them so well). I’m not saying don’t draw a line in the sand. Just be aware that the consequences aren’t nearly so dire that people will change their beliefs/politics/whatever just to continue seeing your humorous memes and cute cat photos.

To the They Don’t Represent Me crowd. You’re feeling defensive. I remember that feeling when cities were on fire this summer. If you feel the phrase “I don’t condone them but” forming in your mind, Walk Away. What you are about to post is some pathetic attempt to excuse any guilt by association you have while also placing the Real Blame on someone else. I get the impulse, but it doesn’t work. When violence broke out we said most protests are peaceful (which was true) and opponents still used the actions of a few to dismiss the will of millions. When we tried whataboutisms (what about the armed lockdown protests that blocked hospitals during a pandemic?), opponents rightly yelled False Equivalency. Those just circle the blame ad nauseum. When we tried reason and statistics, they called us liars and fakes and selfish millenials. Now I’m hearing the exact same weak shit and I’m begging you to stop.

I. Don’t. Care. The “Not All ###” defenses are tired. Not All Men. Not All Cops. Not All White People. Not All Republicans/Conservatives/Trumpies. Just stop. That’s not a fucking defense, it’s whining. Instead of complaining about how unfair it is to be lumped in with these people who look and sound and act like you but certainly aren’t, take Responsibility. That means demanding accountability for those who claim your tribe but misrepresent it. So cops calling out bad cops, men calling out toxic masculinity, white people calling out white privilege, and All of Us calling out “our side” when they’re spreading bs. Someone says they heard Antifa was actually behind the insurrection, Google it. If Associated Press didn’t say it, don’t believe it. And then go back to that person and correct them. Police your own damn people. Why bother rocking the boat? Just cuz you don’t say anything doesn’t mean you agree with it, right? Doesn’t mean you disagree either, Karen, but staying silent means you don’t get to decide which it is. Correcting your own people is more effective because of a major factor in our cognitive reasoning. It’s called implicit bias. You get spot-checked by the enemy and they’re lying/drinking the kool-aid/just being contrary. You get spot-checked by your own people and you’re more likely to believe them because they don’t have an agenda against you. That is how we Fix This Reality Split. The alternative is what we’ve been doing. Yelling at each other until we quit because there’s no use. Unfriend, unfollow, block, and create alternate realities that are so fundamentally different that we can’t even talk any more unless we know everyone in the room is in the same reality. STOP IT. IT DOESN’T FUCKING WORK. (This is not to say remain friends/family with people who are toxic/bad for your mental health and well-being. Those people can fuck right off.)

This (hopefully) final section is for the Enablers in the Government. You. Mother. Fuckers. You played with people to get more power and in the process, hundreds of THOUSANDS of people died. You encouraged conspiracy theories for your own ends, incited violence, and fucked with our democracy to line your pockets. You used a pandemic to rake in millions in money while letting your constituents starve because of some bullshit individualistic philosophy that you don’t even fucking practice. All of you fuckers DESERVED the violence today. And I do mean ALL. There are consequences for your words and actions or lack thereof and today was the first time any of you experienced that. Millions of people marched this summer and nothing changed because of lobbyists and private donors and unwieldy messaging/verbage. 350,000 people died while you all bickered from the safety of your universal healthcare and guaranteed paychecks. Your people have been screaming for months and instead of doing your jobs, you fanned the flames to get more votes. Fuck. You. You talk about change and do nothing. You talk about values and have none. You talk talk TALK about how the other side is fucking us over. 350,000 people dead because one side was flippant about a plague and the other side couldn’t stop being smug about how dumb that was. Real fucking mature. People were scared about losing their lives (either from the viris or the economy) and instead of compassion, you m o c k e d them. Instead of solutions, you pointed fingers. I’d ask how you sleep at night but I imagine it’s on silk sheets in your mansion. Again, and I mean this with my whole heart FUCK YOU. Be grateful it was just the cosplayers who broke into the Capitol today and not actual revolutionaries.

AND ANOTHER THING. To all you irresponsible news outlets, FUCK YOU SIDEWAYS. Reporting rumors and theories as if they’re facts, amplifying conspiracy theories by talking about them constantly, giving Trump a platform 24/7 either by being his mouthpiece or repeating his bs for shock value, letting op eds replace journalism, and pandering to the fringe, all of that has to stop. I can’t stomach it any more. Take the news out of your fucking names. You aren’t reporters, you aren’t journalists, you aren’t news. I get more accurate news from Trevor Noah and he hosts an actual Fake News Program. And hey, I know you go with what sells because you have zero integrity, and what sells is Scandal, Sex, Conspiracy, etc. You are merely a reflection of what the consumer wants. But you know what? My toddler wants to eat cheese ALL DAY. Do I let him? Fuck yeah, have you ever met a toddler? Do I also make sure he eats other things like bananas and raisins and drinks water so he’s still healthy? Fuck yeah. Cuz I’m a responsible fucking adult and I don’t wanna be on a Mom Page asking about the symptoms of rickets. I like cheese and I like that he likes cheese, but I know giving him ONLY what he wants has bad consequences. Is this analogy working for you or do I need more make up and hairspray and a non-regional dialect to get it across? Do. Your. Job. Or. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

Guys. Guys. I am so tired. I have a toddler who doesn’t sleep and is potty training. I am 35 years old and I have to chase him around a playground in 34°F weather and then make him eat something besides cheese. I have been in a low simmer rage all year and I have lost all my creative drive and I have to be my husband and son’s only friend because we just moved to a new state in a pandemic and we can’t make friends because of fucking covid. Please. Just burn this country down already. I can’t take the suspense.

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I Want to See Your Manager


Fair warning, gentle readers. There will be language.

I crochet when I get stressed. Or anxious. Or angry. Or bored. I crochet a lot because I enjoy it and it keeps my hands busy. I can’t scroll through social media for hours. I can’t get sucked into some game on my phone. It is my Zen hobby, one I rely on to detox and rejuvenate myself. It has the benefit of being time consuming as well as productive. I may not have gotten the laundry folded by I did finish that purse I’ve been working on, so there. Since March, I have made a cardigan, 3 tops, a shawl, a purse, a that needs a lining, child’s shirt and several dozen button bands that still need buttons. You could say I’ve been unusually stressed.

I used to be able to write out my feelings. I have a 2 whole blog categories for those (Rants and Ramblings). I could sit down with a vague idea of the philosophical quandary I needed to parse and by the end I would more or less have figured out how I felt about it. And that worked for a long time. I got out of the habit when I finished school. I didn’t have much to discuss besides life in retail, and who even cares besides the people you work with? But every few weeks or months something would make me come out of my yarn cave to see what was pissing me off and how I could reconcile my thoughts and feelings. I hate feeling conflicted about subjects. Nothing is black and white and so I try to find that area in the middle where all my friends and family have some part but not all of the truth. Then I put the truths together into a whole and say LOOK! I FIGURED IT OUT. YOU’RE ALL WRONG BUT YOU’RE ALSO A LITTLE RIGHT AND IF YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT MAYBE YOU WON’T KEEP SNIPING AT EACH OTHER ON FACEBOOK. But lately, I’ve just been too fucking angry and my writing just made me feel worse. Tonight, I am so unbelievably incensed that my arms are tingling with adrenaline, so let’s do this, eh?

I don’t believe that people are evil. Misguided, miseducated, brainwashed, biased, egotistical, selfish, narcissistic, immature, deliberately obtuse, thoughtless, vain, greedy, prideful, slothful, on and on and on and on. Even white supremacists and Nazis and fascists and politicians. Not evil. Still people, still capable of complex emotions, still made in the image of God. Still assholes, but not evil. I hold to that even with the world burning. People commit evil. It is rare that they become it.

So anyway, the world is burning and I am crocheting a lot. I am also doing a lot of writing on Facebook because I told myself I would engage with people when their views radically clash with my own, in peaceful, non-aggressive ways. Because my heart can’t take losing people because I wasn’t in on the meme that has all my conservative friends chortling and my liberal friends blowing a fuse (and vice versa). That was my last blog, where I tried to find that place where memes can be hilarious and abominations at the same time and it all came down to whether you’re in on the joke or not. Now, if I don’t get it (it offends me to the point where I wonder how I could be your friend), I ask for clarification. Because sometimes when people have to explain why something is funny, they start realizing how it could really not be.

What’s convenient is that a lot of people have done the rebuttal work for me. Non-violent MLK quote or meme that shakes it’s finger at people for getting violent at protests? “And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.” (“The Other America” Mar 14, 1966) I have a much longer quote from that speech on a picture of MLK looking thoroughly tired of your nonsense.

There it is!

My brother did a marvelous blog about MLK and how his non-violent movement made progress during the Civil Rights Movement because all the other movements were violent. (https://puppettron.wordpress.com/2020/05/31/we-have-a-leadership-problem/?fbclid=IwAR2hkDHyiPLqaxgnSI_MEkyKHh632sqfk-Dh6ckzLrXWd4_EUCatshhOrTo)

His pacifism was only possible because of the riots of the unheard. He still faced loads of contemporary criticism in his time because he wasn’t protesting correctly, btw. His peaceful protests were still met with dogs and hoses and lynchings. His people had to be trained to resist provocation from people wanting to escalate into violence. I’m not talking name-calling either. Remember what they did to people for sitting at a diner counter and marvel that no one fought back. Oh, and the FBI harassed him and his people. And then someone still shot him in the head. Does that mean pacifism is the right way to go? Well, here’s the thing. MLK and his people got the vote for black people, largely due to the fact that behind his movement was an army of armed, angry black people. And since then, politicians, lobbyists, and white supremacists have been actively, systematically disenfranchising black people. Have you heard of Poll Taxes? Or literacy tests? Or any of the hundreds of other ways white people kept blacks (and brown and yellow and red) from voting? Well now we have Voter Fraud laws. You have to get a valid government ID to vote, but you need a birth certificate (something a lot of older black Americans never had). Oh and you need a DMV to get it from, but we closed all the offices within 50 miles of your home. And there’s no public transportation, we don’t have the money for those, don’t you have a car? Make sure you vote when you do get your ID. At one of the 2 voting sites we set up for a few thousand people, with very limited working machines. Make sure you take the day off work to get here because we can’t be here all night. Did you see how even in a pandemic people were willing to wait 7 hrs to vote because it was that important?

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the Civil Rights Movement didn’t end in 1964 when racism was magically abolished forever. It was followed by the Vietnam War where black Americans were shunted off to die in jungles. And the introduction of crack into black neighborhoods so there could be a War on Drugs that created the largest prison population in the world made up of a lot of non-whites who suddenly can’t vote any more even if they serve their time and are released on good behavior. MLK’s movement didn’t work. It was a start. 2 steps forward. 1 step back. For nearly 60 years.

I have seen graphs showing that cops kill more white people than black people every year. Not per capita, obviously. That’s how you skew statistics to prove your point. You change the chart to show the deaths per million and the graph looks way different. But anyway, cops kill a lot more than just black people so why all this complaining?!? Weeeell, are you sure you don’t want to talk about police brutality after giving me proof that cops straight up murder people all the damn time? Justifiable or not, those numbers just scream lack of accountability to me. Of course if we want to talk about murder numbers, can anyone explain to me how we still let cis white males in their 20s walk around all namby pamby when nearly every instance of domestic terror in this country was perpetrated by a cis white male in their 20s? Like, I don’t mean to be racist or anything, but it’s pretty obvious that those people are dangerous and we need them out of this country. (I’m being facetious, just so we’re clear. I know there’s no sarcasm font to make it obvious.)

Exhibit A, Deaths by Race Only (White, Black, Hispanic, Other, Unknown)
Exhibit B: Deaths per capita

I’ve heard (vaguely, not by anyone I know but in comment threads) the age old counter “what about black on black crime.” Guys. When black people kill each other, it isn’t because the other guy is black. It’s because of proximity. It is tragic. It is not a counter argument to systemic racism and police brutality against minority communities.

I have heard that rioting and looting negate your message. I’ve already discussed rioting. And if you need reminding about the type of people who resort to property damage when they aren’t being heard, ask yourself who it was who flipped tables and beat money changers with whips because they desecrated the Temple. (Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19:45-48, John 2:13-16)

Give you a hint: It wasn’t Judas

So. Looting. Arson. Whether it comes from opportunists or accelerationists (white supremacist/anarchist groups trying to start a race war), it’s ugly. People are greedy and selfish. Should these people be shot on sight? Um, no. A majority of these people treating the protests like it’s Black Friday are petty thieves. You know, felonies, misdemeanors? We don’t execute people for petty theft. I get it, it’s scary to think that societal rules have crumbled so much that you realize the only thing protecting your stuff is the general agreement from the rest of society that it isn’t nice to steal things. I don’t break into houses and steal stuff. Not because I’m scared of the repercussions (jail time, criminal record, etc) and certainly not because I’m afraid you’re packing heat. It’s common courtesy, that set of unwritten rules that separate us from the animals. It’s a thin veneer and it varies significantly from one person/culture/religion/country to the next, but it’s there. When society fails to maintain basic courtesy (don’t take things that aren’t yours), suddenly we all feel pretty vulnerable. Some people respond to that with braggadocio. That’s fine, I understand. If you act on that impulse, if you kill someone to protect your stuff, that just makes you a looter, too. When we value stuff above people, we lose our humanity. You decide that the public execution of a man is the perfect excuse for you to get that flat screen you always wanted, you are trash. You decide you’re going to kill a 22yo kid because he looks to be the right color to be a looter and you need to protect your closed bar? You. Are. Trash. You decide that looters and protestors are the same people and it’s all an excuse to steal your stuff, you need to get out of your house and actually talk to these people.

Two words I’ve seen bandied about a lot since March: Virtue Signaling. From the dictionary, “the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one’s good character or the moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue.” We all hate those people who go on and on about the charities they donate to or all the volunteering they do or all the orphans they’re sponsoring, right? Oh and all those people wearing masks during a pandemic. Who are they kidding? I only wear mine because I’ve had a cold on and off since January and it’s finally socially acceptable to wear one in public so I’m not spreading my nasty germs everywhere I breathe (also, it’s kind of the law here now). But all those other people are just sheep. Imagine taking the barest minimum precaution to slow the spread of a highly virulent and potentially deadly disease just because some internationally respected experts told them to? Ridiculous right? I mean, as long as you stay 6 feet away from everyone, and every surface someone else might touch, and not touch anything especially yourself, it’s perfectly safe! Oh, gads did I slip into sarcasm again? And hyperbole to boot. Shame. There are definitely people who do the right thing for the look of it. Say, holding up a Bible in front of a church so people can take pictures or creating huge charities (which may or may not have been funneled into your campaign funds). And on a large scale, that can be insulting and dangerous and illegal. Now, on a small scale, deriding people for doing the right thing when it has absolutely no impact on you is a dick move. And it’s unjust. It’s a callous way to dismiss the genuine decency of people because of your pessimism. People have gotten sick of how supportive we are of George Floyd and his family. Companies, businesses and individuals that have posted their support of the black community are immediately dismissed because they’re just jumping on the band wagon. And they probably are. But you don’t actually know that, do you. It just makes you feel superior to assume that everyone is as weak-spirited and hypocritical as you. We aren’t showing off how “woke” we are. We are genuinely horrified by a video that was taken by a 17yo while people begged for the guy’s life. Fuck you and your “woke metric,” you callous, self-aggrandizing shart smoothie.

I’m sorry, that was harsh. But I scroll through so many flowery Biblical quotes and “share if you love Jesus” and inspirational mantras and “I bet you won’t post this” – all day every day. I don’t accuse anyone of virtue signaling because as shallow as some of it is, I know it’s also genuine for them. If your first instinct is to call bull shit when someone agonizes over the words to encapsulate how it feels to see yet another man murdered for no reason at all, you need to ask yourself where that instinct comes from.

Deep. Breath.

And last, but not least, All Lives Matter. I am not going to explain how asinine it is as a default response. (That’s the best you can do, white folk? Really?) I am going to explain why the phrase Black Lives Matter makes you give that knee-jerk reaction. (We have tried and tried and tried to point out that nowhere does it say “only,” to no avail.)

Being offended comes from feeling attacked. Karens all over the world know what I mean. A negative stereotype is flouted about and suddenly women named Karen are in the spotlight. Most laugh it off because it’s pretty obvious that the name is just a handy moniker for entitled middle class, middle-aged women who want to see your manager. But some people got super upset and they weren’t even named Karen! It’s almost as if they saw some part of the stereotype that applied to them personally. And it turns out that not everyone appreciates how you scolded that cashier into tears because she wouldn’t accept your coupons. No one thinks you’re a hero for calling the cops on black family having a BBQ. And so we’re clear, this is not a slur for women who won’t be silenced. It’s a designation for grown ass adults who use their privilege to bully people who can’t fight back.

Anyway, Black Lives Matters does something that no other movement has managed to do, as far as I know. It. Erases. White People. Erases, excludes, takes them out of the equation entirely. That’s why All Lives is the natural response. When you are used to being the default race, it is anathema to be left out of narrative. (You’re not, btw, it’s more like being reminded that you aren’t the only narrator.) So CONGRATULATIONS, THAT’S HOW BLACK PEOPLE FEEL. Left out. Excluded. Expendable. That is an awful feeling. It’s dehumanizing for someone to disregard you as a thinking, feeling creature. Dehumanizing. Like having someone kneel on your neck until you die and not even having the common courtesy to look like they aren’t bored by the whole thing. Like having your murder highly publicized and then openly mocked less than a week later.

Cunts.

Bottom line, THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. Don’t come at me with All Lives Matter because that is obviously not true. Looters’ lives don’t matter. Protestors’ lives don’t matter. Muslim lives don’t matter. Refugee lives don’t matter. And human lives don’t matter if they get in the way of the economy. Homeless lives. Disabled lives. Sex worker lives. Women’s lives. Veterans’ lives. Trans lives. LGBTQIA+ lives. And yes, Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, ALL OF THEM are being murdered every day so White Lives Can Matter Most. If you can sit and watch 8:46 min of a man getting murdered for a not-actually-counterfeit $20 and still claim All Lives Matter, I have nothing else to say to you. Except I am a PISSED OFF WHITE WOMAN AND I DEMAND TO SEE YOUR MANAGER. Also, get fucked.

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Memes


I don’t have to explain what memes are, right?

A photo or series of photos or GIFs with text, usually simple text that makes you laugh? You see, you read, you chuckle, you share. And then you fight for a few hours with someone who insists on misinterpreting what the meme meant. Isn’t that so utterly jarring, though? Okay, yes, sometimes you know that you’re going to piss off someone and that’s kind of fun. Aw, this will get Jerry going, I love it when he breaks out the tin hat over stupid memes. All in the name of harmless fun, haha, it was just a joke, RELAX JERRY, JESUS. Have you ever blocked someone because of a meme? Not something that person said or did, but because they shared a graphic that made you completely doubt how you could ever have been friends with that person? I have, more so in the last 4 years than at any other time in my life. Worse yet, they have caused serious mental/emotional distress for some of my friends.

For instance…no nevermind. This isn’t about my friends’ experiences or about pointing the finger and saying HOW CAN YOU BE SO DAMN CALLOUS/GULLIBLE/JUVENILE while I click share on the same kind of bs.

I recently shared a meme and the first response was from a friend, one whom I consider intelligent and kind and a bit of a badass. It was not rude or anything, but she completely missed the point of the meme. Now normally, I go into literary interpretation mode when someone has issue with something I share. I try to explain what was meant and how it isn’t whatever you think it was because I cannot fathom how you got a completely different message from such a short bit of media. That is the nature and danger of memes. They are brief and therefore must appeal quickly and viscerally with the viewer in order to garner the emotional response desired. They are inside jokes where the inside is millions of people who “get it” without explanation

They will often be polarizing. Why? Think about the ones that you like the most. They make you laugh and go SO TRUE and share without thinking. They always confirm your bias. They stress hyperbole, false equivalency, and all those other standards of bad arguments. They are not meant to be honest or factual. They are meant to be shared. Now think about the ones you hate. They seem callous or thoughtless or hugely inaccurate. How could someone you know and actually like think anything like that? How could they share it and laugh? How could anyone believe this?!? What a snowflake/libtard/derogatory phrase of the moment! Well, turns out you just aren’t in on the joke.

Okay, yes, sometimes they stress the ridiculous

Now normally if you find yourself in the uncomfortable position of needing an inside joke explained, it’s along the lines of “oh this happened and then he said this and oh my gawd you remember those shorts he used to wear what a loser, anyway, you had to be there.” In the case of memes, you have to have the right bias to not only get the joke but find it funny. If you don’t watch the right news or follow the right tweets or tik the right tok (I’m using that phrase correctly, right?), you won’t see what’s so funny. In fact, most of the time you will be furious, offended, and on fire to correct that highly inaccurate discourse. You will feel attacked and you will respond in kind, usually with false equivalencies and hyperbole of your own to demonstrate just how stupid that meme is.

The struggle is real

There is a lot of information out there. Lots of news, lots of opinion pieces, lots of memes, lots of conspiracy theories. All of it is packaged to confirm a bias. All of it is framed in such a way that you will respond in two ways: laugh and share or get pissed and share. Notice the similarity.

I am losing my patience with this kind of packaging. Trump didn’t tell people to injest bleach. He has said all kinds of awful, untruthful, dangerous things, but no on bleach injections. I saw what he said. It was painful to watch but I was more upset by him spit-balling on television like a freaking amateur. Don’t think out loud on national television when people are relying on you for information, even if you’re being “sarcastic.” The coverage of it pissed me off even more, but I digress.

Take, for instance, the protests going on all over the country. Memes have packaged them so easily for me to dismiss legitimate concerns of millions of Americans. People are really complaining about being stuck home when x, y, and z was so much worse? How selfish! Complaining because they want a haircut/lawn seed/beach time when tens of thousands are dead after only 2 months of this plague? I can’t imagine being so privileged that my roots are more important than the health and safety of another person. Deplorable!

And I don’t believe that bs. I know some people are selfish and thoughtless. I know some people watch too much YouTube. But they can’t all be Karens jonesing for a mani/pedi. And just look at all the GOOD that has come out of the woodwork. Churches and schools and charities and just millions of people going above and beyond to help their neighbors. Have you watched Some Good News with John Krazinski? You will bawl.

We are ALL OF US scared right now. We are looking at the rising unemployment and the rising infection rates and doing a lot of math. It’s the worst kind of math. How many more people will die from the economy crashing? Who do we risk to prevent the crash? Unemployment benefits don’t last forever, if you can get them. Always, always it is the poorest, the most vulnerable of us that suffer when crisis hits. Look at how hard the black community has been hit by the virus, on top of everything else. If they aren’t killed by plague, they are killed by vigilantes for looking scary while people with actual automatic weapons parade about with impunity even when actively threatening other citizens.

And all I want to know is WHY? Not why do people consistently prove themselves to be trash while simultaneously showing how amazing the human race can be. WHY IS IT A CHOICE BETWEEN DYING FROM STARVATION AND DYING FROM PLAGUE? Yes, that is an over-simplification of a highly complex issue. Kind of like a meme, amiright?

That, my dudes, is the fight and it’s a total fabrication. The one side says keeping us closed is useless because Covid-19 isn’t that bad/the numbers are overblown/deep state conspiracy/economy crash will be worse you monster. The other side says opening is stupid because Covid-19 is that bad/the numbers are underblown/deep state conspiracy/you can’t sacrifice lives for the economy you monster.

Congrats, you’re probably all right! That’s not the actual issue here. The issue is people monetizing a disaster. The issue is people politicizing the potential deaths of millions of Americans. The issue is that people die either way but it isn’t someone you know so

Anyway, memes. I swear this was just going to be about how fascinating I find memes. Here’s the message I want you to take home. Take TEN EFFING SECONDS TO THINK BEFORE YOU SHARE. And then, take ten seconds before you start a fight/leave a comment. Your dissertations on the inaccuracy of whatever will do absolutely nothing to change anyone’s mind. You will argue at cross-purposes until one of you quits. If your first thought is “Well actually” just scroll on by, hon.

My friend who misinterpreted that meme, I didn’t get into a fight with her. She basically called me on the biased nature of the post and I acknowledged it. Like a freaking adult. And believe it or not, she didn’t misinterpret it. Her bias just raised a flag that I would have picked up on if it hadn’t suited my personal feelings so much. People will be glib with things you find frightening, horrifying, and deadly serious. People will make broad brush statements that will feel like personal attacks. Don’t name call. Don’t mansplain. Don’t diatribe. If you have to say something, maybe don’t until you’ve thought about it for a while. Even better, ASK FOR CLARIFICATION. I’m sorry, I don’t understand the reference? That will start a conversation hopefully, as long as you are genuine in your curiosity.

Exceptions: Total falsehoods, dangerous medical advice, racist/sexist/phobic rhetoric

Total Falsehoods: leave a link to a fact checking site, but make sure it’s a legit source. If you can’t cite a legit source, move on by.

Dangerous Medical Advice: leave a link to a credible medical source. And hey, if you share some video or story of someone hacking a miracle cure or something just for the “look at how dumb this person is,” make damn sure you add context. Facepalm emoji will keep people from thinking you really believe silver nail polish is the perfect sealant on a cloth mask against those pesky germs.

Racist/Sexist/Phobic Rhetoric: the only way we can correct cultural bias is to call people on it. If that’s too confrontational for you or you’re not sure why something is making you uncomfortable, report it.

Finally, for the love of all that is good and holy on this doomed planet, don’t read the comments.

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On Birthdays


I don’t like a lot of things other people love. I don’t like Christmas. I don’t like drinking. I don’t like loud, raucous parties or Game of Thrones (books, I haven’t seen the series) or M&Ms. I’m not interested in rock concerts, even for my favorite bands. Okay, maybe the Beatles, but only because it’d be a miracle since half of them are dead. I don’t care for fast food or Starbucks and I flat out HATED Hawaii.

And I’m not a fan of my birthday.

Hold on, you say. Join the club! Nobody likes their birthday after 21. Anyone saying otherwise is lying. And women aren’t even allowed to have birthdays after 29!

And, yeah, that’s all pretty true. But there’s still a weird pressure? expectation? implied societal contract? that I should at least enjoy my birthday. I should skip work, stuff myself with cake, buy myself presents, or do whatever it takes to fill that void.

What void? It’s the space that exists between everyone’s normal day and what makes it your special day. It’s the absense of change between yesterday you and one-year-older you.

As a kid, your birthday is a big deal. Or, well, it can be. Cake, presents, maybe a party. Maybe a party no one shows up for. Maybe not the presents you wanted or no presents at all. Maybe burnt cake or “the year Mom became a Vegan” cake. I can’t remember most of my birthdays as a child. I’ve seen a few pictures of the early ones. Regardless, I know what it’s supposed to feel like. I started remembering my birthdays because they stopped living up to that gut feeling.

That’s not to say I had an awful childhood or anything. Far from it. I had great birthdays, with slumber parties and pizzas and all manner of fun all the way through high school and then well into my 20s.

But you wake up the next day and think, so this is 16? 18? 25? 34? Doesn’t feel any different. I look back on some of my more recent parties and it looks like I was trying to capture that essence of BIG CHANGE that came with blowing out those candles.

I mean, it’s a lot harder to get that rush as an adult. Turning 10 is a big deal, but turning 34? I keep having to do the Math to remember my age. And that’s not an “I’m so old I can’t remember” thing. It’s a “this number has little to no significance in my day-to-day life” thing.

Plus, parties are so difficult now. It wasn’t so bad in our 20s, since most of our friends were also in their 20s and eager for weekend shenanigans. Now? Friends we’ve known for over a decade can’t find the time for lunch or miss our son’s birthday because their kids have competitions or games. Adults are busy. Adults with kids need sitters and 6 months notice just for brunch.

But listen, I could go on about how birthdays are always lacking. Even if all my Facebook friends and family post on my page, a sulky part of me will wonder why I didn’t get more calls or texts (which, yes, is super dumb and petty, but try explaining that to my Id). Or more birthday cards. My husband has an unparalleled record for amazing gifts, but somehow the fact that my family typically doesn’t go in for birthday gifts will still bother me. This is despite knowing that there are 5 adult kids in my family, plus 3 spouses, 1 girlfriend, and now 5 grandbabies, which is just a TON of people to keep track of let alone afford cards/gifts for. It’s actually kind of nice that there isn’t that pressure to get something for everyone for every occasion because when I do manage to get bday cards sent, I feel like a superstar and not like it’s some obligatory thing.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to go all negative about this so I hope you stuck with me through the moping. I wanted to approach this year a little differently to maybe alleviate that inexplicable post-bday let-down.

First, to address that lack of BIG CHANGE between 33 and 34. Let’s be honest, in the grand scheme of your life not a lot changes over a year. You, as a person, are pretty much set by the time 30 hits. But on the other hand, so much can change for you. This time last year, I had a newborn and I was clinging to sanity like Gandalf hanging off the bridge in Khazad-Dum. Did I let go to go fight the Balrog? No, because I stayed sane and didn’t have time for smoting my enemies and getting reborn with new threads. Now, I have a toddler who is mobile (understatement) and a daily/nightly challenge. Am I the same mother I was last year? HA, no. I am a little bit more confident even if I am still vastly intimidated by the tasks that lie ahead (17 more years of them, yikes).

And last year, I was still trying to integrate Mom into my personality. I recently saw a meme about how having kids doesn’t make the person you used to be disappear or some shite.

My friend (mother of 6) who posted it was pissed and at first I didn’t get why. It seemed like the normal inspirational drivel I usually scroll on by, but I’m new to the whole Mom game still and there was some context I wasn’t privy to. Anyway, the woman I was 2 years ago, before I was even pregnant, is kind of a stranger to me now. Weird, right? I mean, she’s still there, utterly confused by how difficult it is for me to get a pedicure on a whim. But I can’t seem to see her as me anymore? And I don’t want to go back to being her. I sometimes wish I could, on bad days or long nights. Just, not really. If I could get a full night’s sleep, crochet all day and still get my happy boy, that’s the deal I’d take. So yes, that person matters, but only because I couldn’t exist now without her. There’s no going back to her. No giving up Momming to indulge the illusion. Having a kid changes you because you must or they die.

Good grief, this is getting all over the place. This year qualifies as a BIG CHANGE year for me, but every year can do that if you just tally up all the little ways you have grown, whether emotional or psychological, or whatever. Every moment you are alive is BIG.

As for the gifts and cake and filling that void, well, I have a cupboard full of chocolate. My hubby got me the writing seminar with Neil Gaiman (SQUEE). My good friend is making me a super cool bag. My boy now plays by himself during the day so I can get crochet done again. And the universe has been plentiful with blessings.

To wit:

Tim Curry narrates the audiobooks for Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

2 of my good friends just had healthy babies, one on Buddy Boy’s birthday.

I am alive and in shape (round is a shape, I checked).

I have a decent, caring husband who does dishes and vacuums and folds laundry and plays with his son.

Our tax refund is enough to pay for a flight home this summer so our boy can meet all his cousins and aunties and uncles.

Captain Marvel was pretty great.

I could go on. And so could you. The world is filled with awful, more every day. Take time to remember the good if you can. It won’t fix anything, but it can make things bearable for a time.

Now go forth and enjoy my birthday!

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It’s the Little Things


Nothing is ever gained by reading the comments.

I’d like that inscribed my gravestone. Or on the plaque marking the tree growing out of my remains.

It never fails. Read an inspiring article or personal account or harrowing experience, maybe something I relate to on a deeply personal level. Feel validated or vindicated. This person gets it. I’m not alone in this thought or philosophy or experience. Just don’t read the comments.

Don’t do it.

You’ll regret it.

Well, the ones I can see are all positive so maybe I’ll just scroll down a little…

Damnit. I hate people.

It’s not just the Trolls. Those are easy to pick out. Look at me! Making libtards/snowflakes/sjws/whatever fight me in the comments is the only way my tiny dick gets hard. NOT ALL MEN! WHOO!

The non sequiturs are annoying. I didn’t read the post, but I fully agree/disagree for a long paragraph that has nothing to do with anything. Please validate me because the cats don’t cuddle me as much as I thought they would.

It’s tragic that you lost your baby months before it was born, but we prayed really hard and our friend’s daughter didn’t have a Down Syndrome baby so it’s a good thing they didn’t abort.

The “I support you but not how you express yourself/protest” comments.

The “that’s not how I handled a dissimilar situation” comments.

The “My story is so much worse, let me prove it” comments.

I think, after much consideration, the worst comments are Dismissives.

Yes, it is awful that some stranger harassed you on the subway and women face this blatant disrespect EVERY DAY, but get over it because there are starving children in China. I hope you’re happy that we don’t live in a country were female genitals are ritually mutilated and you’re allowed to leave your house without a male escort.

I’m sorry that your rapist went unpunished, but there is an island of trash in the Pacific and 16 species of bee went extinct in the last ten minutes. So, you know, get over it.

Ok, yes. There are a lot of problems in the world, but how exactly does pointing that out help? Does snidely tacking on #firstworldproblems when people are harassed or bullied or triggered make anything better?

It’s such a little issue in the grand scheme of things, why did you waste the time to complain?

Well I say, eff that jazz. When you’re hurting, you may think it helps to remember that others have it worse. Well, it doesn’t. Your pain is unique to you, there’s no scale you have to measure up to before you qualify to feel pain or anger or fear. “You must be this traumatized to ride the Shitty Life Roller Coaster.” Bull. Shit.

We are all trying to get by. I’m trying to save the planet by ditching straws and buying package-free products and recycling bottles and paper scraps even though I know I can never make up for the sheer magnitude of 100 years of industrial waste. And everything I do to help the environment is usually just as bad as not helping. (Like buying a hybrid or electric car to reduce my carbon footprint only to find that building and shipping that car caused so much pollution that I’d have to drive it for 1000 years just to break even.)

I’m hoping to raise my son to treat all people with respect, even while judges refuse to hold grown men accountable for raping preteens because they took money from him so they were the aggressors. And women saying it’s better to thank a catcaller because ignoring them can cause escalation from friendly flirtation to murder, even though catcalling is totally harmless. And people are more pissed off about aborting dead babies and kneeling athletes than black kids being shot for wearing hoodies.

How am I supposed to protect my son from toxic masculinity if you think it’s what bought him his freedom? How do I explain Conversion Therapy and 22 veteran suicides a day? How much damage will I have to undo when you tell him that boys don’t cry? Don’t be a pussy. That’s gay. Man up. Remember, son, your problems are insignificant, so stop bitching and go chop some wood and threaten to rape a girl because she’s playing a video game.

How about instead of telling a girl that a random stranger yelling that he’d totally fuck her is a compliment, we tell boys that catcalls are a threat? And asking for a hug is a subtle way of reminding women that if you wanted to, you could rape her behind a dumpster and leave her for dead because you have great swim times.

To return to my point, it is an ugly world out there. But we aren’t going to fix it by pointing at the ugly and yelling at people to get over their issues. If we don’t fix the little problems, we’re screwed.

To quote the late great, Aretha Franklin: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

That means you don’t treat people like things. Even if you disagree with their politics. Even if you feel attracted to them. Even if you can’t see their faces. Stop responding to criticism with insults. Stop adding to their suffering to make yourself feel more important or righteous. Stop blaming victims for their abuse. Just stop being assholes. Don’t be a pretentious twat waffle. Why is that so hard?

Maybe if we start respecting people again, we can start respecting other things.

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No Buts: How to be an Ally


I’ve had a red letter week for trolling. First, I managed to shame my own mother into taking down a blog post just because she happened to touch on a personal failing I’m sensitive about. Sorry, again, Mom.

Second, I had my first unfriending. Or she blocked me. Not really sure which. I’m strangely proud of this last accomplishment. I mean, I’m a narcissist. Everyone must like me or else what’s the point. And yet here I am, not mired in self-doubt or anxiety.

Let’s set the stage, shall we? Scrolling through the Facebook yesterday, I saw a post from a college friend stating an unpopular opinion about a subject I’m heavily vested in. And she ended her post with the warning that arguing with her was pointless since it wouldn’t change her mind.

Now, I don’t normally engage in debates on social media. When someone challenges the world like that they aren’t looking for debate. They’re looking for validation. You can bury them in facts all day and they’ll cling to their opinion because it’s a matter of pride. I’m well aware of the pointlessness of such discussions. But the entire post raised my hackles.

Ok, says I, I’ll just comment my experience and go.

Long story short, I tried and failed to either stay out of it or make any dent in her view. As was bound to happen. My experience didn’t matter to her because she wasn’t talking about me specifically. Nor did my expertise on the subject since she just latched on to the information she already knew. In the end it was agree to disagree and that’s the end of it.

Except of course that wasn’t the end of it. I was PISSED. I did my best to remain polite, keep things civil, but the things she said in her OP, responding to my comments, and to other comments just kept circling around in my head until I knew a blog had to happen so I could exorcise the demon. I was going to take her post, break it down point by point and get to the root of what bothered me so much about it.

She took down the post first. Followed it up with a thanks for the lolz, y’all didn’t change my mind even though I read and fully understood all your arguments, and clearly you dissenters just didn’t understand what I meant.

Guys. This is me. LIVID. A: I don’t have the OP or my comments so I can’t fix this bug in my brain. B: She impugned my reading comprehension. (Not by name, but she grouped everyone who disagreed with her into the category of deliberately misunderstanding her.) C: She dismissed everything people had been trying to tell her because she’s entitled to her own opinion and they just didn’t get it. Lolz.

LIVID. So, like the mature adult I am, I posted on my page a crude, boiled down summary of her OP, quoting her out of context and as best I could from memory, and included her inference that my reading comprehension was to blame. Then I tagged my former English professors and some people who had classes with me. I didn’t mention her name or tag her or anything. Still a dick move, I admit that.

Let me tell you, the responses were quite gratifying. Even when she popped up and called me a liar for misrepresenting her. Of course, no one would have known I was talking about her if she hadn’t said anything. And sadly, her response only made her look worse to an audience I had already biased against her. The best response would have been to share her original post and leave it at that or just PM me. Sadly, she did neither and was ridiculed by my well-meaning and frightfully educated friends.

And I bet you’re DYING to know what we were arguing about. I’m not going to tell you. Because this is a post about How to be an Ally and if I tell you the inciting incident, we’ll end up debating it. Or the rage will take over.

How to be an Ally.

What is an Ally? Well, that’s simply someone who supports a cause even if they aren’t directly impacted by it. Straight people advocating for LGBT+ rights. White people supporting the Civil Rights Movement. Men supporting women’s rights. Cat people donating to dog shelters.

Now this young woman claimed to be supportive of a cause. Except she stated point blank there was no reason to demonstrate or protest for the cause since she had never witnessed the type of discrimination that was being protested. Strike one. Then she casually dismissed the struggles of the people affected by said discrimination (so casually she didn’t even realize she’d done it). Strike two. Then she made her support conditional on said people adhering to her standards of morality and common sense. Strike three.

Not. An. Ally.

Rule #1: If you want to be an Ally, don’t add a caveat to your support. Read this very carefully.

I’m all for (insert social movement here), but only if they all wear orange socks on Tuesdays.

That sounds ridiculous, yes? Well so does telling someone you support them but only so long as you can dictate the means by which they advocate for themselves. “I just don’t like how they’re protesting” is essentially “my comfort is more important than those people.” Not “their cause.” PEOPLE. Dismissing the validity of a movement should be conditional on the issues, not how attention is brought to them.

Rule #2: No Modest Proposals. Some of you may remember a post I did on the little word “just.” It’s an insidious modifier which manages to transform Herculean tasks into mere trifles. “If they would just (insert seemingly simple solution to complex issue) I would support them. It’s not that hard.” Here’s a famous satirical example: if the Irish just ate their babies, they wouldn’t be starving. Congrats, you’re blaming the victim for being abused. How very noble of you. You’re also claiming that you know better than they do what they’re fighting for and how they should go about it.

Let’s be clear, any form of protest is met with the same arguments as stated above. Non-violent protesters are tazed, maced, and run over by cars, despite claims that non-violence is the only path to social reform. Ah, well, they must have been doing it wrong, eh? Bottom line: it isn’t the form of protest that bothers those people. They just need the excuse to dismiss the issue because it makes them uncomfortable to question the status quo. And, yeah, that’s pretty harsh. But so is telling a mother her child was probably shot dead for a reason. Conditional support is not support.

Which takes us to the most disturbing part of the OP. The cause is bs, there is no need to “normalize” because it is already normal.

Rule #3: Don’t claim the cause you support is made up.

I have not personally experienced racism, so we live in a post-racial society.

I’ve never met an anti-vaxxer, so the world-wide rise in deadly diseases is probably a fluke.

I’ve never been to China so it doesn’t exist.

Not experiencing discrimination does not mean it doesn’t happen. Just means it doesn’t happen to you. And it’s incredibly insulting to say, especially if you will never have to deal with that discrimination being directed at you. It speaks to a wealth of ignorance on the subject. Imagine having a white person say that racism is a myth and explaining quite calmly that if black people just followed the law, they wouldn’t get gunned down in the street. Oh, wait. I was going for hyperbole and completely missed the mark.

Okay, I don’t suffer from seasonal allergies, but my husband does. Honestly, though, why does he need allergy meds? Why can’t he just stay inside? There’s no point in him going out there to prove it’s an issue. He’s just breaking out in hives to get attention. Nobody’s making him leave the house.

Furthermore, just because you aren’t against a cause doesn’t mean no one is. No, maybe you haven’t personally lynched anyone lately. Guess that means the KKK is totally irradicated. Your support doesn’t magically mean that the struggle is over and overt claims of that kind tell those people you “support” two things. First, you don’t actually know anything about what they’re advocating for. Second, they should be grateful you are gracing them with your approbation at all since it saves them from needing to advocate further for their rights. I’ve never pushed you into traffic. You’re welcome.

Hmmm. Thanks, but no thanks.

To reiterate, don’t use social media to undermine the cause. Don’t blast away on Facebook about how supportive you are unless you actually mean it. And don’t dismiss a cause as bs just because you disagree with the form of protest. Is anyone making you go around with your boobs exposed to protest discrimination against breastfeeding mothers and the sexualization of feeding infants? No? Do you have a neck with functioning vertebrae? Good. Use it to turn your head away like a mature adult.

Breastfeeding in public is the tip of the excruciating iceberg for some mothers in their struggle feed their children in a society that actively encourages them to quit. They fight through latch issues, engorgement, tongue/lip ties, mastitus, nursing strikes, chafed/cracked nipples, biting, yeast infections, under-supply, allergies, and a million other exhausting, painful, and often terrifying circumstances. And that’s just the physical obstacles to simply nursing, without counting the added strain of months of sleep deprivation and wildly fluctuating hormones. If they have 9-5 jobs, they drag pumps to work and diligently pump every 2 hours because if they don’t they risk drying up, even though it’s probably hurting their career. They lecture child care facilities on pace feeding and dispute policies restricting breast milk to babies under a year old. They spend hours crying over their child because it shouldn’t be this hard. They argue with doctors who tell them to switch to formula because it’s easier than diagnosing a problem. They argue with family and friends who tell them that’s it’s weird and gross. And they listen to moronic people who have never done it tell them how to breastfeed. Just use a cover? I’m sorry, my son isn’t an effing doll. He doesn’t like being covered and I can either feed him or worry about your delicate sensibilities. Guess which one is my priority.

Your misguided and ignorant judgment of nursing mothers is repulsive and I’ll ask you to keep your juvenile opinions where they belong: with the rest of the trash.

Oops, I guess I let slip the inciting incident. Probably best that she blocked me.

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On Raising Babies


What is it like, having a baby?

Well, the actual having part has been documented quite thoroughly, from the making to the birthing (though the accuracy is quite lacking if you ask me).  And there are any number of humorous RomComs and straight comedies about adults coming face to face with infants as a reality (oh, a grown man has to change a diaper, how hilariously unexpected!!!).  Besides Hollywood’s take, there is the experience that most of the planet has first hand.  I guess it’s kind of expected that the knowing comes with the experience.  Or something.

Forgive me if I’m sounding a bit spacey.  I haven’t slept for more than 2 hrs straight in nearly 4 months.  No amount of napping seems to make up for that.

Anyway, I finally found the correct metaphor for how it feels with my son on a day to day basis.  It’s very much like running a race.  Actually, it’s like running 3 races.

Everyday, from the time my husband goes to work at around 7 or 8 until he gets home at 5:30 or 6, I run a marathon.  But it’s a cross country marathon where the terrain changes daily and I’m not sure about the route or how long the race will last.  It’s broken up into segments by feedings (still every 2 hrs) and diaper changes, but that’s pretty much my day.  When he’s not eating, he’s either napping (on me) or playing or fussing.  The fussing intensity varies, but in the last few weeks he’s started to fuss when he’s tired and needs a nap.  He will cry for a while, I don’t know how long really, while we walk him around the house and sing or shush.  Then he will fall asleep for an indeterminate amount of time.  That is what he is doing now, which is why I have the time to write.  If it’s almost feeding time and he gets that nap fuss going, we’ll try to distract him with play until it’s time to eat because nursing usually puts him down.  But if we feed him early he just gets pissed off.

When Buddy gets home, the race becomes a relay where we pass him off to each other for various reasons.  “Take him, I need a shower.”  “Give him so you can wash dishes.”  “I can’t take the crying, you’re it.”  And back and forth as we do chores or recharge.  This is also the main race during the weekends, though I guess that’s more of a co-race situation since we tend to spend as much time doing stuff together with him as apart.  The most romantic thing Buddy has done since Buddy Boy was born was offer to take him to the commissary without me.  I hadn’t gotten to sleep until 4am for no reason and he wanted to let me nap without someone kicking me every few minutes.  I ended up dream-feeding (feeding him while both of us doze) the boy for a few extra hours and we went to the commissary together, but it was still most sweet.

Which takes us to the last race: sprints.  Or what most people casually call running errands.  We aren’t really racing against time or anything, but it does feel like we are carrying a time bomb in the stroller.  Like I said, he eats every 2 hours.  So at most we have an hour and a half to run errands before he starts fussing for feeding.  Sometimes we can push this further because he tends to sleep in the car.  But there’s no way to know if he’s actually going to sleep or if he’s going to stubbornly stay awake.  Even if he’s not crying, he’s still not getting a nap that he might need.  And once he’s out of the car, it’s a gamble as to whether he’ll stay asleep or wake up.  Most recently he’s been waking up as soon as we leave the car, which means it really is a race to see how much we can get done before he goes NOPE to the whole experience.  So we no longer spend whole Saturdays running all over creation, browsing and window shopping, etc.  My errand running is brutally efficient so I can get him back home to eat.

You may wonder why I don’t do longer trips and just feed in public.  I have a few reasons, actually.  For practical reasons, I like to split my errands up into multiple days because if I don’t get out of the house every day, I go a little bonkers.  Another reason is that it is such a time suck.  He takes 30 minutes to feed, if he feels like it.  If he is hot, uncomfortable, or ornery, it takes longer and is no guarantee that he will stop fussing and let me finish shopping.  So I go through all the effort and just end up spending more time doing errands rather than getting home where I can feed him in comfort.  The second is that it is ungainly/difficult.  I never realized how un-sitting friendly everywhere is.  I personally don’t want to stand in the middle of an aisle trying to hold up a squirming bowling ball for 30 minutes.  Because, yes he squirms and he weighs the same as a bowling ball.  A very large, squishy bowling ball.  It’s bad enough if I do find a nice place to sit because then I have to handle a crying baby on my lap while I try to un-holster a boob, get my nipple shield on (I have flat nipples so we need the help for latching), and get him positioned, all why holding on to a bare modicum of decency under a cover-up so some stranger doesn’t get a free shot of my nipple.  And then it’s not like he just goes all comatose once he’s on there.  He squirms and kicks and twitches his head around and cries, I have to adjust him and the shield and hope that he settles, but not so much so that he falls asleep before he’s done eating because then he’ll just wake up 15 min later crying because he’s still hungry and I’m STILL not done in Target.  All while people watch and judge me.

If I’m worried about decency, why not feed him in the privacy of a bathroom?  I’m so glad you asked.  First, I’m not worried about covering up that much.  Covering up is an inconvenience that I will do if I feel like it.  My modesty will extend only to where it is convenient.  So if I can’t get him to latch or if it is making him too hot or if I just don’t feel like it, the cover is going to stay in the bag and you’ll just have to deal with it.  Once he’s latched, there isn’t much to see anyway since I use the 2-shirt method (tank top pulled down under a t-shirt pulled up).  Second, bathrooms are GROSS.  Public bathrooms, private bathrooms, doesn’t matter.  They’re gross.  I have fed my son in a bathroom a couple of times, once because there was simply no place to sit in the store and again in the family bathroom which I mistakenly thought might have a seat in it.  Both times were awful.  I gotta ask the people who suggest bathrooms as feeding places whether they have ever been in a public bathroom before.  I mean, none of the toilets have lids, for starters.  That means there’s no place to sit.  I might have been able to feed standing when he was really little, but Buddy Boy is well over 15 lbs now and I’m a tiny weak person.  I’ve been in a splint for tendinitis in my right thumb because of picking him up repeatedly.  He is, what some nice lady phrased, a pork chop.  No lids on toilets also means that when they flush, all the stuff in the water becomes a lovely mist that covers up to 10 feet of the surrounding area.  So, yeah, gross effing germs on EVERYTHING.

I want a little privacy so you all don’t stare at me while he whines and struggles and in general is a little butt-face while I’m trying to provide him with life-giving sustenance.  I don’t get that privacy when I go out into the wide world because breastfeeding friendly spaces are simply not a priority.  That’s fine.  That just means I sprint through my errands.

There you have it, the three modes I travel in now.  The problems I tend to face stem from me forgetting what race I’m in.  I forget that in a relay, I can pass the torch when I get tired.  Or I get to the middle of the afternoon and realize I’ve been sprinting instead of pacing myself and the next hour or two before Buddy gets home is going to be rough.  Or we get stuck at every stoplight on the drive home while Buddy Boy cries inconsolably because we treated errands like a marathon.  I suppose the hardest adjustment we’ve had to make is accepting that it will be a continuous race for YEARS.  There’s no actual breaks, no time to waste.  We can’t just blow off a Saturday and be lazy because that was the ONLY chance we had to get the lawn done.  Or fold the laundry.  Or whatever.  If I can’t sleep at night, I feed my boy and then do some chores.  That might be at 2:00am.  But then I can spend most of the morning just feeding him in bed while we both finish sleeping.  We are tired in bone and body.   But I’m frankly not as tired as I expected to be.  Well, not physically tired.

I am frequently emotionally tired, psychologically tired, just tired.  I get tired of being a mother, being the soul provider all day long, being the responsible one.  I get tired of not knowing why he’s crying without guessing.  I get tired of not doing what I want to do whenever I want to do it (to include eating and peeing).  I get tired of waiting to see what he’s going to do, what his mood is, what he feels up to.  So I pass him off to my loving husband for a little bit, sometimes as little as 10 minutes is enough.  I do my pumping or read a chapter of Harry Potter and I can retake the mantle of Mommy.

It’s funny how often in the first 3 months I lost my temper.  Found myself yelling profanities at my son because I just snapped.  He needed a fresh diaper when I thought he was still hungry.  Or he couldn’t get settled on the boob, either because he was too tired or just not hungry enough, and I just wanted him to eat and go to sleep.  Not really funny HAHA, but funny.  Because one second I would be furious, to the point where I’d have to put him down IMMEDIATELY and the next second I’d be holding him determined to figure out what he needed.  I felt very Jekyll and Hyde.  I still get frustrated now, it never goes away.  My fuse is very short.  That doesn’t stop me wanting to hold him, cuddle him, make him smile.

What I’m trying to say is it’s not all kitties and rainbows and humorously messy diapers.  It’s good days and bad days and just days.  And we go one day at a time.  Honestly, what other choice do we have?

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Dear Maternity Retailers


This is an important message for retailers that sell maternity products.

WHAT THE EFF IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?

Here’s the thing.  Pregnancy is a temporary condition, okay?  I know you’re selling “specialty products” which means you should be able to ask more.  And if what you sold was worth the price you charged, I would be on board 100%.  But quite frankly, a majority of your crap is not worth the price and you are all severely lacking in products that I considered no-brainers despite this being my first rodeo.

If you look on Pinterest, you will find an incredible collection of useful blogs built upon DIY pregnancy projects.  Why?  Because no one wants to spend $40 on an infinity scarf/nursing cover when literally 5 min on a sewing machine with scrap jersey knit gives you the same results.  And is there anything worse than shelling out a ton of money (more than $20) on jeans that you KNOW will only be worn while pregnant?  I won’t deny that my maternity jeans were the most comfortable to wear the last 2 months and made me feel the most normal.  A giant jersey band holding your pants up will do that for you.  However, if they hadn’t been a gift from my most generous and considerate MIL, I would not have bothered getting a pair.  One pair, on sale, cost $20.  And at the thrift store, I bought 4 pairs of jeans for $5 a pop in larger sizes that were easily adapted to maternity use via elastic hair bands at the buttons and a belly band ($9 at Target) to cover my sins.  No, it wasn’t ideal.  Yes, I did have to spend an inordinate amount of time pulling up my pants and adjusting the belly band to cover up the fact that I hadn’t done up a zipper in 4 months.  But with the looming costs of actually having a baby resting firmly in the back of my head, 4 pairs of jeans for the price of 1 was easy Math.  Also, those thrift store jeans had pockets.  The maternity jeans, for reasons I can’t begin to fathom, had NO FRONT POCKETS.

I have seen jeans with false back pockets.  Even the cutest pair, regardless of how well it fits, will hit the reject pile for false back pockets.  False front pockets are simply an insult.

I don’t know if retailers actually look at social media or if they just dump their ads and run, but if they did they might notice that the entirety of the female population WANTS POCKETS.  In pants, in dresses, in leggings, in bras.  EVERYWHERE.  Now, I know what you’re thinking, retailers.  “If we give them pockets, they won’t buy purses!”  WRONG, MOFO.  We love our purses.  We will never stop buying purses.  You never know when you’re going to need a book, a back-up book, three skeins of yarn, 4 tampons, an inflatable pillow, and a screwdriver.  YOU JUST DON’T KNOW.  Unless cargo pants come back into style, your purse revenues are safe.  You know what I do know for sure?  There is no place for keys in a purse.  Outside pockets, inside pockets, hanging off a bejeweled hook, they always end up in a black hole somewhere just out of reach, especially if it is dark, cold, and I’m alone in parking lot trying to get into my car.  Also, purses are not affixed to our persons.  I have work keys.  When I don’t have pockets, I have to put those keys in my purse.  And every time I had to open a cabinet at work, I would drag myself up, waddle over to the cabinet, remember that my keys were in my purse on the ground, waddle back, *deep breath* BEND OVER *groan, retrieve purse, retrieve keys, forget what I was going to the cabinet for, realize it didn’t matter since I had to pee and the bathroom is at the other end of the store, speed waddle to the bathroom, and sit on the toilet for five minutes reassessing my life choices.  Why would you add extra stress to someone already struggling under emotional, psychological, hormonal, and physical distress?  HOW COULD YOU BE SO RECKLESS?!?

My point is, all it takes to be a hero is pockets.

Here are some things I was baffled by in the maternity departments/stores.

Maternity Skinny Jeans.  I get skinny jeans, in theory.  They don’t really work for me, but clearly lots of people dig them and I’m not here to judge.  Skinny jeans when I am feeling like a manatee already, I don’t know.

Maternity Holey Jeans.  This is actually just a pet peeve of mine with all jeans.  I do not want jeans that have been artificially worn thin.  If my jeans have holes in them, I want them to be made by years of wear and tear, not for aesthetics.  And considering how much some retailers charge for this particular fashion choice, I feel like I’m being charged twice as much for denim that will only last half as long.

Body-Shaping Hosiery. Because Gawd FORBID I walk around growing a human being and have any sign of jiggly thighs.  Now, some of that hosiery claims to have built-in belly support, which is admittedly very important for most kinds of pregnancy.  I carried high, so the I didn’t need the support belts or anything similar to protect my lower back.  It was my ribs that suffered and strangely enough, none of the “support” apparel focus on controlling the boobs (more on this later).

Lacey Nursing Bras. Again, I don’t get lacey bras to begin with.  Adding lingerie touches to a bra and charging $40 for it without also offering ANY kind of economic alternative for the person who can’t afford to drop 3 bills to replace at least a week’s worth of normal bras with nipple accessible bras, well that’s just a bit cruel.  And I guarantee that my little guys couldn’t give two figs about how cute/sexy my bra is as long as it gives him access to the almighty boob.

Here are some things I think should be sold in maternity departments/stores.

Compression Socks.  Poor circulation is a common problem in the 3rd trimester: ankles and feet swollen and sore so that walking around feels like strolling on bruises.  You look down at your feet and despite having them elevated for hours they still look like someone attached a bicycle pump to your heel and didn’t turn off the air.  It is uncomfortable and worrying to look at.  So why is it in a store dedicated to pregnancy apparel, with it’s plethora of cute dresses and lacy nursing bras I couldn’t find a single pair of compression socks?  I had to get mine from Walgreens.  They are functional, but ugly and make me wary of getting too close to any of the many retirement communities around here just in case someone tries to pick me up.  Would cute compression socks be weird?  Weirder than skinny maternity jeans?

Bra/Underwear Subscriptions.  Within the first month of pregnancy, I had out-grown my bras.  So I bought some larger conventional bras that seemed supportive enough and didn’t have under wires, as I was already dealing with rib discomfort.  Then I grew out of those.  And the next set.  I eventually switched to sports bras, first mediums, then larges.  The same thing happened with underwear, by the way. I stocked up on one size larger and then barely a week later had to stock the next size up.   And I don’t know about everyone else, but I can’t just buy 2 bras.  I’m proud that I limited myself to a dozen sports bras (6 med, 6 lg) since I normally prefer at least enough undergarments for 2 weeks.  And that’s just the regular bras.  You can’t buy nursing bras before your milk comes in.  That would be stupid.  Not to mention how much of a jinx that would feel.  There is no stage of pregnancy wherein you are “in the clear.”  Bad stuff happens and I certainly didn’t want to tempt fate by stocking up on nursing bras, even if I could predict how big the boobs would get.  What I didn’t see in any maternity store was 10-packs of sleeping bras, sports bras, extra elastic underwear, or any kind of economic option so that I didn’t feel like I was stealing from my unborn child just to relieve chronic pain and the inevitable expansion of my booty.  If we can’t offer mega packs of underwear that can be guiltlessly bought and discarded during pregnancy, how about a subscription so I can exchange bras as the mams grow?

Breast Support.  And if we’re going to offer “shapewear” for my thighs and belly, how about something for breasts that isn’t focused on making them look sexier.  I don’t care if your product makes them look perkier or pushes them into unnatural shapes.  I wanted a product that was supportive enough that I could sleep on my side (as is medically recommended) without feeling like I was detaching a rib from my spine.  I did try sleeping with sports bras and the elastic band around my rib cage actually exacerbated the problem.  This product, if it existed, would ideally be tank-top-shaped with support bands running around the sides of the breasts, along the sides of the ribs and under the belly.  Or something.  I’m not an expert.

So to recap, how about instead of only offering cute products, we look at the practical side of pregnancy.  Because I guarantee I’m not the only woman who saw the impending costs of a newborn and started looking immediately on how she could curtail her spending by hitting thrift stores and making her own “maternity” clothing.  I actually swore I wouldn’t be wasting any money on “maternity” clothes and the only exception was the bulk purchases of cheap maternity tanks from Target that are longer than my normal camis and will be used until they fall completely apart, pregger or not. I mean, it’s great that you all want to gouge customers for impractical vanity products, but could you maybe consider that you could make a killing selling products specifically created to alleviate the discomfort of pregnancy?  You know, besides the $60 body pillows and serious looking belly support braces?

Any other practical suggestions from my pregger peeps?

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Platypus Update: Week 38 + 3 days


Well, it’s been a while.  I hope none of you were worried.  The fact is, I didn’t have much to add that was new and I didn’t want to turn my blog into a COMPLAIN DRAIN.

I am now, officially, in the “any day now” stage.  They guestimate a due date based on the date of your last period and adjust it if necessary when you get your first ultrasound based on the size of the fetus.  But really, the due date is just the middle of a 4 week time period where baby can just decide it’s ready and only 5% of births happen on their due date (like my sister > don’t you feel special?).

I get asked a lot if I’m done.  Which is a silly question, to be honest.  Obviously I’m not done because I still have a person in me.  Am I done wanting to be pregnant?  Well, yeah.  But that’s been true since August.  I never wanted to be pregnant.  I wanted to have a baby.  You don’t want to go to culinary school, but you do because you want to be a chef.  You don’t want to take a driver’s test, but you do because you want your license.  Make sense?  Am I ready to be done?  Well, yes.  HOWEVER, I am not done.

This has to do with muscle failure.  When I first joined the Army, I could almost do 5 push-ups.  On my first PT test, I did 13, the minimum to pass.  On the second PT test, they made it abundantly clear that the goal was to do better than last time, so I managed 14 push-ups.  I still got smoked because one rep is not exactly improvement.  Before my last PT test, my DS explained the mentality behind muscle failure.  If you go in with a number in your head, there is little chance you will exceed that number.  Your brain will tell your body to quit once it hits that number and it will.  So for my last PT test, instead of thinking that I only needed 13 or only needed to do better than 13, I went in thinking the number 42 as that is the maximum goal for 18 yo females.  I did 27.  No, I didn’t hit my goal number, but I nearly doubled what I had done just a month before without changing my exercise regimen at all.  Thereafter, I had a sequence in my head (20, 10, 5, 5, 2) and the number 42 in big bold type when I got down on that mat.  And it worked.

So right now I have a date in my head.  It’s my due date, but with sort of a fuzzy caveat that any day the week after is fine.  Because I don’t want my brain to tell me I’m at muscle failure just because I’ve hit a randomly chosen goal.  Muscle failure at this point would be VERY BAD.  It would mean giving up on caring about what I eat or whether or not I get anything done during the day.  It would mean staying in bed all day and getting depressed and anxious and frustrated.  These are not things I want to do.  They are added stressors on a body and mind already pretty stressed.

Therefore, I am continuing to put in my 12 hrs a week at my job.  It’s not a hard job and it gets me out of the house.  And I’m still going to most of my yarn groups (3 times a week) and I am planning lessons with students through next week.  I am tired, yes, and I am ambling much slower these days because everything is uncomfortable and I get winded if I forget that my normal walking pace was normal 40 lbs ago.  I am also wearing very sexy compression socks on a daily basis to keep my toes from going all piggy (I’ve started avoiding retirement communities so I don’t get catcalled).  I almost got stuck behind the washing machine door this morning and rolling off the couch makes me feel more and more like a beached whale every day.  None of my rings fit.  My ankles and wrists are stiff and sore.  And I am peeing EVEN MORE FREQUENTLY, if you can believe it, since Platypus has started moving south.  On the plus side, this means my rib discomfort, while still apt to flair up, isn’t a constant nagging irritation and I’ve even been able to stand lying on my side for short intervals!

But I am not done.  I won’t be done until he is because I simply can’t allow my brain to tell my body to give up.  And I really hope he sticks to his due date because St. Patty’s Day is an awesome birthday.

If you’re wondering about that whole “nesting” thing that’s supposed to be happening, I get about 30 min of hyper-productiveness followed by 2 hrs of naptime.  And my nesting is not the “scrub everything to within an inch of its life” kind.  Mine is checking and rechecking packing lists, reading all the packets and guidelines I got from my Prenatal Group Classes, organizing boxes of baby clothes, sending out thank you cards, and (last weekend) making 2 months worth of crockpot freezer meals in an afternoon.  Otherwise, I’m just restless, which is another reason to keep working.  Sitting at home for days at a time makes me edgy and, surprisingly, crochet isn’t cutting it for keeping me chill.

Notes on things not to say to pregnant women (most of these you probably know):

Wow, you look about done!  (What the eff is that supposed to mean? My belly button is still an innie, thank you very much.)

Are you having twins?  (Even if you are joking, I will stab you in the neck.)

Here’s a horrible story I heard from a friend of mine about her delivery.  (I have heard all the horror stories.  I requested all the stories because I wanted to know what I was getting into.  You, stranger, are not going to shock me or scare me or whatever.  Frankly, I’m bored because this isn’t even in the top ten of awful I’ve heard.  I will take firsthand accounts, though.  All info is useful, even if it’s just confirming that I’m better off already.)

Should you be eating/drinking that? (I haven’t actually heard this one.  Which is also why I’m not in prison for murder right now.)

Are you ready?  (No.  Is anyone?)

Pretty much the best policy is to tell me I’m beautiful and give me cookies.  Oh, and know that pregnancy rage is a real beast which can attack at any time.  I have no power over this.

If you are anywhere near a pregnant woman right now, tell her she’s beautiful and give her a box of GS cookies.  I guarantee that she needs it.

 

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Platypus Update – 30 wks


You may be wondering why you haven’t heard from me.  Or you may not.  I’ve been rather dreading this post.

“But why?” you ask.  Am I not enjoying the beauty and majesty of this little miracle?  Am I not daily struck with awe that there is a future person growing fingernails and eyelashes and a central nervous system out of nothing but the supplies my own body provides?  Do I not stare in wonder at the mirror as my body changes to envelop this magical being?  Am I not suffused in that mystical glow of motherhood?

Well, duh.  Of course.  Except for the glow.  The glow is a fracking lie and I’ll fight anyone who says differently.

Now some of that joy and awe and wonder comes in the form of “my belly button looks weird” and “why are you kicking my bladder, I just peed” and “OH MY GAWD, MY STOMACH IS MOVING ON ITS OWN, I’M HAVING AN ALIEN.”  I promise you that I do just lay here with hands on stomach, constantly feeling that little pressure that could be a back or a foot or a hand.  I smile at funny hiccups and wake someone up on purpose just so I can feel that bizarre little squirm that reminds me of indigestion, but without the dread.  I mean, the dread is there, just for completely different reasons.

However, I told myself I would record honestly.  Not for your sake or the sake of future mothers or the sake of my child getting thoroughly embarrassed when I share these posts with prom dates.  I told myself that I wouldn’t allow selective memory to turn this experience into a glowy, fru-fru, fantasy, which ignores how much it can utterly suck.  That way, if we decide to do this again I can go in with the knowledge of exactly how much it sucked the first time.  The problem is in order for this to work, I have to share everything publicly.  Why?  Well, a private diary would accomplish the same thing as far as recording the events, I suppose.  But sharing the experience publicly is healthier for me emotionally.  And, yes, of course I tell people at work and prenatal group and Buddy all about everything (poor traumatized Buddy).  I just tend to temper some of my accounts, as we all do, so as not to sound whiney.

And I want to be clear before I start into the actual whining that I am in no way ungrateful that I am in the position to whine.  I am eminently aware that this is a miracle not granted to all, that it isn’t some kind of automatic privilege/penance for having a uterus, and that some people would kill to be in my position.  Countless women have been killed by my position.  Others live with a misplaced feeling of failure because their bodies will not accommodate their desire to be in my position.  Others have every right to despise me for having the option to simply get pregnant without any to-do and then have the nerve to complain that it isn’t all puppies and chocolate.

But it isn’t all puppies and chocolate.  It’s reality and it sucks.

There is no way to be comfortable.  Not sitting, not laying down, definitely not standing.  Back in October (4 months), I started experiencing pain in my ribs from standing.  At first it was standing for a few hours.  I would start to feel discomfort under my breasts, right where the band of my bra sits.  I tried changing bras a few times.  I tried belly support bands.  I tried Icy Hot and (doctor approved) pain killers.  Nothing would relieve it until it was a lovely white-hot brand of pain across my front and gradually leeching to my sides and back.  Now, I can stand for 5-10 minutes before it starts.  It isn’t just when standing, either.  If I sit or lay the wrong way (there is only one right way, btw), the pain is there.  And it hurts, it really does.  It feels like my inflamed gall bladder is being forced through my sternum, like my ribs are trying to secede from my spine, like my kid is claustrophobic and is pushing the walls out just to breath.  Even if the active pain isn’t going on, I can run my hands over the front of my ribs and they feel bruised.

Now, before you hit me with advice to try this remedy or that, or to tell my doctor or whatever, just slow your roll.  This is not a request for help.  I have talked to my midwife and nurse and they assure me that neither my gall bladder nor any other internal organs are trying to Xenomorph their way out of my sternum.  (If it was a problem with my gall bladder, there would be other rather obvious symptoms.)  This is just part of being pregnant.  My body is expanding to make space for a person and support system and it does that by forcing everything out of the way.  My ribs are simply in the way.  As for remedies, I have a microwavable sock filled with rice that helps a little.  Sometimes, I lay flat on my back to relieve the pressure, but that is not recommended for a few reasons (primarily the weight of my uterus possibly cutting off circulation to the rest of me, etc).  Besides, it hurts my back.

Yes, because if my front doesn’t hurt my back does.  And frequently they hurt together.  I spent part of my Christmas break sequestered in the guest bedroom of the In-Laws because I couldn’t get comfortable anywhere else.  If I did hang out in the living room, which features beautiful recliners and lots of pillows, by the end of the day I’d be wincing from every sudden movement.  Believe me, I tried.  So I stayed in the bedroom in my one (temporarily) comfortable position and tried to assure everyone that I was fine.  Seriously.  I’m fine.  I feel bad that I can’t socialize except at meals and for causing any undo concern for my welfare.  This is, apparently, part of the pregger cross I bear.

And it is definitely the worst part.  It makes life difficult.  There’s no such thing as leisurely wandering a store for an hour, pausing to contemplate labels or price tags or wait for someone to move from in front of the lemons.  The longer I’m in there, the more pain I’m in until I’m getting weird looks from people because I am sitting on the floor in the baking aisle to relieve it.  I suppose this is good training for when I’m trying to run errands with a baby/toddler/teenager, not that I’m dreading that at all.

And yes, you may poo-poo me for being bummed that shopping is a race rather than a meander.  You would be right, I suppose.  However, the other major issue is that I’ve had to give up working the floor in my retail job.  I still have my office work, but that is only 12 hours a week.  I know, I should be happy that I’m not pressing my nose to the grindstone for these last few weeks, that I have the option to relax a little, that I don’t live in a 3rd World Country where women work in the rice fields until the drop the baby in the patties.  But I am deeply selfish.  I don’t like losing the pay.  You see, babies are expensive.  And while Buddy has a stable job and good pay, that extra 13% I bring to the financials is a nice cushion for the disasters that are sure to come.

And having to tell my boss that I can’t do it anymore hurt my pride more than I care to admit.  So, hey, if you see me at work and you wonder why I’m not racing to the register to check you out, why I instead point to the call button that everyone walks by rather than to scan your stuff real quick, it’s because real quick hurts.  I pushed through it for the holidays, even bringing in a stool for the last week or so, but now I’m done with standing.  I’m sorry if that is inconvenient for you, but if you insist on making the pregnant woman ring you out to save you 5 min (especially the pregnant woman who isn’t wearing the standard uniform of salespersons, i.e. a bright green apron), then you can bet I have a very special set of vocabulary set aside for you in my head.

As I said, that is the worst of it.  I can’t work the floor.  Running quick errands is an endurance trial.  There is no way to be comfortable.  And I can’t sleep on my side, despite that being the recommended sleeping position and totally normal for me before I started growing a person.  I sleep sitting at a decline or half on my side with a pillow at my back.  Or I don’t sleep.

And in case you were wondering, I am aware that it’s only going to get worse.  I know that when there’s nothing else to say or when you’re speaking out of experience that this phrase is going to come up.  It is obviously only going to get worse.  For the next 18 years or more.  For the rest of my life perhaps.  But definitely for the next 10 weeks.  I wish there was something to be done or said.  Mostly though, I wish I could stop hearing this phrase.  Which means I should probably stop complaining as it does nobody no good.

My belly button looks weird.  Not in the “button popped, turkey is done” way (yet).  But some of it is seeing the light of day for the first time ever so I have an expanding circle of pale skin right in the middle of my freakish belly.  We don’t measure my growth by scale or tape measurer.  We measure by how shallow my belly button is.

I get nose bleeds more frequently now, too.  I know I’m not drinking enough water, despite having to pee every couple of hours.  Still.  I had to pause my yoga this morning for 10 min while I waited one out.  It was gross.  And I’ll continue to have intermittent nose bleeds for the next few days or so, mostly just a little red when I blow my nose, rarely a full on “grab the Kleenex and start making nose plugs until it stops.”  This is also normal.

And I need to blow my nose frequently because my compromised immune system has been fighting some cold or another for the last 6 months.  To the lady who came in on Black Friday and admitted to just recovering from bronchitis, I hope your cat gets into your craft room and marks all of your fabric and yarn, then yacks 16 hairballs on your sewing machine.

I wake up to pee at 4 in the morning.  Or rather, I wake up at 4 in the morning and then go to pee because I’m awake now so I might as well.  If my bladder does ever get full, it’s too late and I’m going to wet myself.  Thankfully, the bladder is a regular punching bag so it never has a chance to fill before someone thinks maybe 2 Tbs is too much to be carrying.

Amazingly, I haven’t had an uptick in migraines.  Which will change now that I’ve jinxed myself.

Also surprising, I haven’t really been making baby stuff.  My yarn groups have asked me what I’ve made so far and all I can say is that I made a shawl in Nov that will make a nice cover-up.  Yesterday I started making a floor mat for the nursery, but only because I ran out of yarn for the capelet and shirt projects I had started and I have to wait for more yarn to arrive.  And I made a bunch of little red newborn hats, but those were to donate to hospitals over the holidays.  My nesting instinct is not to make a bunch of cute stuff.  It’s to troll thrift stores for cheap onesies and make lists for what we still have to do.

Shout out to Buddy for putting up with this particular branch of my crazy.  We’ve been talking about big projects that we want to finish before the ARRIVAL, like bringing in pros to fix the back yard (clear the woods some, build a patio/deck, build a storage shed, etc).  And recently, the big nag in the back of my mind has been getting the nursery set up.  Even though the little bugger is going to be in our room for the first few months and it’s not like Platypus is even going to care if we get around to painting the walls.  Buddy has the entire nursery planned out in his head and on graph paper.  But I need concrete plans so I make lists.  What’s the first step?  What next?  And after that?  Have you ever built cabinets before?  No?  Well, I have total faith in you.  (He’s taking a cabinet-building class the end of this month which just sounds awesome and I wish I could take it with him.)

The office is now nearly empty except for the litter box.  (If you were planning on using our guest room when you come to visit, it is currently packed with the office.)  We have spent the last week of his block leave purging like crazy.  Usually, we go through a purge period when prepping for a move since that happens every 3 years or less.  We have been in this house for 5 1/2 years now.  We have accumulated a lot of stuff.  And since space is becoming more of a premium, we’re deciding that maybe I don’t need all these sketch books from 7th grade.  And it’s about time we got those watercolor post cards I got in Korea framed.  And while we’re at it, the big wedding collage has been sitting on cardboard for 4 years.  And this box is still sealed with packing tape from the last move.

Actually, we’re entering into year 2 of the GREAT PURGE.  We just have a much more pressing motivator than we’ve had in a while.

Now the only thing we really have to watch out for is the “while we’re at it” mentality.  Since we’re ripping out the old closet and putting in built-ins, we might as well put up display cabinets for the Legos and a kitty highway around the ceiling while we’re at it.  Since we’re doing some demo, why don’t we replace the vanities in the half-bath and guest bath while we’re at it?  Maybe we should go ahead and rip up this sh*tty carpet and put down hardwood.  You know, while we’re at it.  Let’s fix all the little annoying things about the house that we’ve been putting off WHILE WE’RE AT IT.  Oh, gawd, someone hide the sledge hammer from me.  We only have 10 weeks.

WE ONLY HAVE 10 WEEKS.  If that.

Only 2 1/2 more months to become a grown-up for real.

 

 

 

 

Crap.

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