Mighty Life List
Jul 31 2009

In Front of the Children

The latest Momversation is about whether it’s cool to be naked in front of your kids. Which it totally is. Except for the chastity belt, I mean.

Excellent reader comment from Miss Tracey Nolan: “I did not grow up in a nakey house. Despite that (because of that?), as a toddler, I used to strip down, sneak out of our apartment and run down the hall yelling ‘I’M FREEEEEE!!!!!.'”

Jul 30 2009

Take Hank Camping, Check.

I grew up camping — fresh-picked blackberries and cream, sodas chilling in the creek, bug bites so profuse that I looked infectious. I figured Hank would be a natural outdoorsman.

He was a champ for the five-hour drive, and happy enough through camp set up. I kneeled for a kiss when we’d finished pitching the tent. He took my face in his hands, cocked his little head, and said, “We can go home?”

I figured he’d come around once he’d spent some time in the dirt with all his older cousins, and he did. A little. Unfortunately, he grew increasingly upset when they took occasional bike rides and left him behind. His lip quivered, his eyes welled, “We can go home, pease? Pease?”

We cuddled him. He asked to go home. We tickled him. He suggested we play tickle in the car. We hung him upside down by his feet. He thought that might be more fun if we left and tried it someplace else. Someplace like our apartment. So we pulled out the big guns:

When we were done with the water fight, Hank looked around and gave an unhappy sigh. We scooped him up and took him to the river where he was content to throw rocks for a couple hours. Then his cousin caught a fish. Oh dear. Hank examined the fish, touched it, and said, “Now that fishy go swim again,” and pointed to the water. Uhhh. I distracted him from the concept of death by making high-pitched noises and unattractive goofy faces while we exited the scene, but when he realized we were no longer by the water?

“We go home now. Now. Nooooow. NOOOOOOOW!”

We muddled through the day, but soon it began to dawn on him that there was no way to go inside when it got dark. His face twisted into a mask of such extreme toddler frustration, I’m certain he would have cursed like a sailor in a tattoo parlor if he’d had any expletives at his disposal. Instead he cried for a while, and Bryan cuddled him to sleep in the tent.

The following day was much the same, with a slightly more dramatic bedtime scene. But Hank woke the second morning refreshed. Say! He had a great idea. How about we all get in the truck? From there we could go home! No? What are we doing now? Getting ready to go home, he hoped. Are we going there now? He would enjoy that.

After an hour or two of subtle coercion, Hank asked me to lift him into his car seat, and then simply refused to be moved. His forlorn toddler face said it all:

So instead of staying another day, we cut the kid a break and packed up the campsite. My sister assured me that this was a passing phase. Her kids didn’t like to camp at Hank’s age; toddlers like routine. Meanwhile, Hank perched in his car seat with a matchbox truck and his sippey cup for nearly two hours while we packed. I have never seen him display such patience with anything that wasn’t shaped like a TV.

So, I’m crossing “Take Hank Camping” off my Mighty Life List. Next I think we’ll all go out to sushi and then head to the Opera. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Jul 29 2009

Modern Indignities

Are you F*cking Kidding Me, (The Facebook Song) by Kate Miller-Heidke is very, very good. I would like you to put on your headphones so your boss doesn’t hear, and watch all the way to the end. It gets better and better as it goes along, the last line being the entire point of the song.

Via Sarah Brown, who is always right about these things.

Jul 28 2009

Mondo Beyondo Online Course

My friends Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen are teaching an online course about dreaming big. I’ll be traveling for the first two weeks, but I signed up anyway because, for me, waiting until something is convenient is as good as deciding never to do it at all.

Andrea is a gifted teacher, and her posts about the concept of Mondo Beyondo have had an impact on me. Almost all of my first Mondo Beyondo list dreams have come true. I don’t know Jen as well personally, but a brief conversation with her the day we met convinced me to let go of all my labor anxieties. I’ve quoted her words to almost every pregnant woman I know.

I have a lot to learn from these two, and maybe you do too. If you’re still working on your Mighty Life List, or if you’re in the never-ending process of editing your list, I suspect this class will be ideal. I certainly can recommend the teachers. Good luck, Andrea and Jen! I can’t wait.

Jul 27 2009

eBay Search Mojo

I am the eBay master and commander. Would you like to know why?

I just did a post for a Bing! campaign that lets you in on my secret weapon. Not so secret anymore, I guess. Le sigh. My bidding habit was getting out of hand anyway.

Jul 27 2009

Small Differences Between Puerto Rico and Home

First, the crucial beverage differences:

  • On the whole, pre-packaged beverage servings are much smaller — serving-size cans of juice are only about 4 oz. The photo above is of big juice cans. I love that label design.
  • Related: you can get tiny Coronas called “Coronitas.” They are adorable.
  • Stores sell milk in juice box packaging. Which wouldn’t be that unusual I guess, but they’re everywhere.
  • A “fruit punch” is likely to be made up of actual tropical juices, even if you buy it in a can. This makes rum punch dangerously easy to mix, even if you have no business mixing yet another rum punch, Maggie.
  • Melissa orders a beer. The waitress just pops the top of the can and sets it down in front of her. I’m amazed by this. I’ve been living in a big city too long.

Non-liquid differences::

  • That burrito? It’s full of hummus. Melissa ordered it knowingly, despite vigorous head shaking on my part.
  • Cars drive by open-air restaurants blaring advertising out of speakers on top.
  • Our airplane ticket for the ride back to Old San Juan was handwritten.
  • There are iguanas crawling through the grass on the side of the road.

  • I took this photo from the car. Wild horses are everywhere in Vieques, often standing in the road.
  • Little lizards are everywhere too. Like on the wall behind my pillow. Where I sleep at night.
  • People grow cacti in long rows to use as fences for small livestock.
  • Had I not made a When Harry Met Sally point of it, my nachos would have come with corn on them.

  • The pool at our hotel wasn’t chlorinated, so swimming was like taking a bath.
  • Bats swooped over the pool at night to eat insects off the surface. This made Melissa nervous at first, but I assured her that they could see us, and wouldn’t come near us. On our last night we lingered too long in the pool, and the bats got frustrated. So one dive-bombed my face. It came inches from my mouth, and I could hear the leathery wing flaps, and feel the leathery wing air.

*Intel is giving me more to write about by sponsoring my Mighty Life List over the next few months. They paid for my trip to Puerto Rico, so they’re indirectly responsible for any bat flashbacks I may have for the next several months.

Jul 24 2009


If I’m on my period and have a genuine chocolate craving, it makes me feel a little stupid, like my life has been reduced to a Cathy cartoon. Also, I’m typing this in a swimsuit while I stand in front of a department store mirror with a plate of spaghetti in one hand and a bottle of Hershey’s syrup in the other.