Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Week 37

I am 37 weeks into what has been a difficult pregnancy and the end is at last in sight. I'm still taking anti-nausea meds and still, despite those meds, puking vigorously. For the past month, I have been having nothing but frozen yogurt for dinner because that is all I can handle.

I am huge. At my 36 week appointment, my tummy measured at 42 weeks pregnant. That feels about right. Lucky for me, I am getting tons of help with Pippa. I am able to spend most of the day in bed, resting.

I have done very little writing this pregnancy. I tried revising my memoir about postpartum depression but realized I was doing more harm than good. Pregnancy makes me very dumb and claims most of my creativity, so I put my memoir away. I'll get back to it soon enough.

But over the past few weeks, I have felt a growing desire to blog. I'm not about to get crazy and start posting photos and shit like that, but hey, here I am. Maybe I'll post another entry before the end of the year.

Eh, probably not. Don't get your hopes up.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blood Glucose Test - Check!

A few hours ago, I crossed an important item off my prenatal checklist: the blood glucose test. This is the test that checks for gestational diabetes. You have to drink a sugary concoction and then, after waiting for an hour or two or four, your blood is drawn. The lab then checks to see how well your body handled the sugar.

For the sugar drink, the phlebotomist offered me a choice between "Orange" and "Fruit Punch" flavors. I chose Orange. The phlebotomist gave me a horrified look, so I asked which flavor is better. "Fruit punch!" she declared, so I switched my request. She brought me a plastic container filled with clear liquid. It had a funny tang. The phlebotomist told me I had five minutes to drink the entire thing. I gulped it down in less than a minute. The phlebotomist was not impressed.

Now, if you search online, you will find no shortage of complaints about the blood glucose test. People write about the sugar drink as if it is some foul funk concocted in the depths of hell. It's not. In college, at parties, the fraternities served "beer" and that shit tasted like some foul funk brewed in the depths of hell. But did people whine? Well, yes, but we still chugged that shit as if it might bestow immortality, fame and wealth on the drinker. I have a point I'm trying to make here, but my pregnant brain lost it. 

Pregnant ladies sometimes have to wait two or four hours before having their blood drawn. I just had to wait for one hour, which I happily spent reading.  They also sometimes need to fast before the test. My doctor just asked me to avoid sugary foods before the test and to brush my teeth without toothpaste. During the one hour between imbibing the sugar drink and having my blood drawn, I could not eat or drink. Big deal. One lousy hour. After the test, I rewarded myself with  a bagel. It was delicious. 

A lot of pregnant women complain that the sugar drink makes them feel dizzy and nauseous. I have suffered from plenty of nausea during this pregnancy, but I did not feel a twinge of nausea during the test. Maybe my stomach is weird. After all, I still puke almost every day. Maybe my body was trying to be nice: I experience excessive puking throughout pregnancy, but hey, at least I feel fine during the blood glucose test!

Now that I've checked this item off my To Do list, I feel as if I am in the pregnancy home stretch. The third trimester is just two weeks and two days away (not that I'm counting or anything). I can do this!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

14.5 Weeks To Go!

I am 25 weeks pregnant, and my due date is just 14.5 weeks away - HURRAH! My body is not very good at this whole pregnancy thing, so it will be a relief to be done and have the baby in my arms. I cannot wait to eat food! For the past four and a half months, I have been living off of bread, cheese, apples and scrambled eggs. I dream about salads and vegetables and pretty much all of the rest of the food in the world. But my body cannot handle flavor. Two weeks ago, I ate a half dozen strawberries. The puking was epic. I might as well have drunk a couple of bottles of wine.

At this point, I am used to my bland boring diet and all my other fun symptoms: my superhuman sense of smell; the constant congestion; the dry eyes (I miss my contacts); and even the back pain. Yes, I am even used to the back pain. Every night, I fire up my super deluxe heating pad and then I schedule as many massages and physical therapy appointments as possible.

Earlier this month, I did have one unacceptable symptom: Insomnia. I know that the closer I get to the due date, the more I will struggle to sleep. But I am still relatively comfortable when I lie down in bed (after setting up a very elaborate pillow fort - two pillows for my feet, three for my head/back, and one on either side of my stomach). I was not cool with the second trimester insomnia, so I paid attention to what was happening, realized I was feeling physical symptoms of anxiety, and decided to cut caffeine cold turkey. You can drink up to 150 mg of caffeine each day when pregnant (and I've seen some books/websites that allow more), but I have always been ultra sensitive to caffeine. It's my Kryptonite. So I quit, dealt with a few days of withdrawal symptoms (mainly extreme fatigue), and now I feel much better and sleep fine. Sure, I get up when the baby starts playing a soccer match in my uterus, or when my bladder gets fussy, but if I go to bed at 9, I manage to get enough sleep.

I do hate how many times I have to tell Pippa "No."  "No, we can't go to the zoo."  "No, mommy can't sit on the floor."  "No, mommy can't run after you."  "No, mommy can't go outside, it's too hot." But it's all for a good cause - she's getting a baby brother - and she will not remember all of the No's and all of the afternoons spent watching The Cat in the Hat and Frozen. Besides, Child Services is not going to take her away if I let her have a popsicle for dinner. Which may or may not have happened last night.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Dawn of a New Era

I am attempting to write this post from my local Panera.  The internet connection is a bit wonky, so we'll see how successful this endeavor is.  Pippa is not with me.  She is at preschool camp!  Today is her first day.  I stayed for the first hour and since she was happy and busy and ignoring me, I said goodbye and left. She needed two rounds of hugs and kisses, but there were no tears.

Well, she did not shed any tears. I may have gotten a little misty eyed walking to my car.

My morning sickness is basically gone - so long as I take my anti-nausea meds at night. My stomach is still very weak and can only handle a half dozen foods; but if I follow my bland diet, I don't spend the afternoon puking. Yay!

I had some back pain a few weeks ago, but I saw a physical therapist and now I'm doing great. I can't do everything I normally can do. Like standing. I can't stand for more than a couple minutes at a time. It's easier for me to move and walk around than to stand in one place. But that's fine! I'm usually moving after a toddler anyway. 

I've been spending a lot of time in the pool - swimming laps, taking a water aerobics class (fun!), and just relaxing. Being in the water feels great. I miss Zumba, but I'm loving all the pool time. Sometimes I get ambitious and think about taking swim lessons so I can master some new strokes. But not now. Not while I'm pregnant. Right now I am just doing what works for my pregnant body and I don't need some swim instructor screwing me up by insisting on proper form.  Plus I really don't have time for swim lessons. This is more of a ten year plan.

I am in my twentieth week of pregnancy, which means I'm a little more than halfway done. Woot woot! I'm sure there are women who adore being pregnant and want the pregnancy to last forever. I am not one of those women. I'm ready to meet my little boy and devour a big bowl of salad.

Friday, June 5, 2015


It's been almost two months since my last blog post but I have an excellent excuse: morning sickness. I am eighteen weeks pregnant today and finally, FINALLY, getting past the morning sickness stage. My body takes pregnancy very seriously and turns all the hormonal dials to the highest settings. I had awful morning sickness with Pippa, but I thought I could distract myself this time around. Hey, I have a toddler! How could I worry about a little nausea when she keeps me so busy?

I felt fine through Week 6 and got really cocky. This pregnancy was going to be completely different from the first! No morning sickness - yeah!

Then, during Week 7, I had an In-N-Out burger for dinner. IDIOT. I should have known I was tempting fate. That night, a little before midnight, Pippa came down with a bug and cried until I brought her into bed with me. At midnight, I had to nudge her off me so I could run to the bathroom and puke.  And puke.  And puke. I kept puking until there was nothing left to puke, and then I puked some more. I felt like death. I tried putting Pippa back in her crib but she insisted on staying by my side. By 4 a.m., I waved the white flag and Nathan took me to the ER. As soon as Pippa realized something was happening, she slid off my bed and said, "Okay! Okay!" and tried to take off her pajamas. She was very disappointed that she had to stay in her car seat while I limped my nauseated ass into the ER. She was worried about me and wanted to be helpful.

After that fun excursion, I spent as much time as possible in bed. My doctor prescribed Diclegis for the nausea. The Diclegis certainly helped, but I was still puking throughout the day. No matter how carefully or blandly I ate, I was a puke-taster. If I walked more than twenty feet, I felt a very urgent need to vomit. It was a lot of fun.

I put Pippa in day care. I was letting her watch unlimited t.v., but still, she wanted to crawl all over me and run around outside and I couldn't do it. Movement made me puke; puking made me need to puke more; and I did not want to go back to the hospital. Lucky for us, a neighbor runs a day care from her home. She lives only two blocks away from us and used to be a preschool teacher. Pippa had much more fun playing with kids than staying home all day with a nauseated momma.

Between day care, Nathan, and my parents, we survived the hellish morning sickness phase. About two weeks ago, I started to feel a little more civilized. I went to a salon and got a haircut and pedicure. That made me feel even more civilized. I was still puking, but the puking was restricted to the evening hours. A vast improvement.

Every day, I feel better. I cannot eat much. Salad is the enemy. Oh my god, I really want a big Greek salad with roasted shrimp but I know that shit will just send me back to the ER. But I can eat bread and cheese, so there's that. I can also drink water again, and for five or six weeks, water was too harsh for my stomach. I could only drink orange Gatorade. I am so glad to have water back in my life.

So anyway, that's where I've been.  

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Some Rambling Thoughts on Beauty and The Beast

Pippa just went through a big Beauty and the Beast phase. Confession: I bought our new copy of Amazon for $154.  It's in the Disney "vault" so that that's the only way to get it. Yes, I'm an idiot, but after watching the ending of Frozen for the fortieth time in two weeks, I really wanted to see Beauty and the Beast. The ending of Frozen reminds me so much of Beast: main character presumably dead; long pause for us to get emotional; then the music swells; ah, love saves the day; and of course, the Disney magic, thanks to love, the spell is broken, our hero/heroine lives happily ever after.

Confession: I still get teary at the end of Beast ever damn time. Even if it's the fourth time I'm seeing the movie in two days.

But Nathan is doing his best to ruin the movie for me.

He will not call it Beauty and the Beast. He calls it "that movie that celebrates bestiality."

I guess he has a point. The Beast is a big hairy animal and Belle falls in love with him and wants to kiss his big bear face and fondle his goat horns. But it's symbolic, damnit! It's romantic!

At least Belle is a brunette with brown eyes who loves to read. Oh sure, she is a bit conceited, looking down on the members of her poor provincial town, but everyone thinks it's strange that she reads, instead of cooking and spending all day admiring Gaston's trophies. I can accept a little snobbery on Belle's part since it's in the name of women's liberation and literacy.

Beast is cranky and a little scary, but Pippa and I spend a lot of time talking about his feelings and how he could better handle them.

Then Gaston dies and I just say "Oh no, he fell" and hope Pippa is not traumatized. Why is there so much death in the Disney movies? Why do I have to tell Pippa that Anna's parents got a boo boo and then promise I'm not going to get a boo boo? I feel like these movies are so emotionally rich - but maybe they could be a little less rich in the "parents dying and orphaning their babies" department?

I know I'm the 874,283rd person to observe this, but why do the parents always have to die in the Disney movies?  For fuck's sake, we are the ones paying for the movie tickets, stuffed animals, stickers, lunch boxes, backpacks, costumes, Disneyland mortgages, bankruptcy bullshit, can we at least be celebrated? Or at least allowed to live??? What is the message we are sending our kids?  Hey, kids, you can have loving parents and a boring life; or, you can have DEAD PARENTS and lots of fun awesome adventures! 

So according to Disney, only orphans have amazing lives? But if we were all orphans, then who the fuck would refinance the house to pay for a trip to Disneyland????

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Questions Raised By Pippa's Favorite TV Programs

  • Where are Max and Ruby's parents? We see grown-up rabbits all the time, including their grandma, but nary a glimpse of their parents. Have they been abandoned? Is Ruby raising Max? Should someone alert bunny welfare services?
  • I have other questions, so many questions, but I am so g.d. tired I cannot remember them.
  • I do remember some questions I have about Pippa's favorite movies, but since the title of this post refers to TV Programs, I'll save those questions for another post.
  • No, I'm not going to change the title of this post. I'm too g.d. tired.
  • Good night.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Climb Out of Darkness - Team Pasadena!

Last year, I participated in Climb Out of Darkness, the world's largest event rising awareness about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.  I went on a local hike, and I did it alone, and it was such an awesome way to celebrate how far I had come since I was first diagnosed with postpartum depression.  I blogged about it here. In that blog post, I vowed to organize Team Pasadena for the 2015 event.

Guess what? I am! I am the Leader/Sherpa for Team Pasadena for the Third Annual Climb Out Of Darkness. We are hiking on Saturday, June 20, 2015. I haven't pick the exact time, but it will be 9ish - civilized, but early enough to beat the heat.

Do you want to donate to my fundraiser campaign?  Click here and then click the donate button.

Do you want to join the team? Click here and then click the register button. You do NOT have to do any fundraising to participate in the climb. You just have to register. I am choosing between a few Pasadena hikes right now, because I want something easy enough for toddlers. The hike I went on last year was beautiful and inspiring - and had about 38 good places for a toddler to die. So this year's hike will be beautiful and inspiring, minus the toddler death traps.

Do you want to join a team but need something a little more local? Go here to check out the map of all the awesome hikes.

Warning: this is my first post about the hike. There will be others. I have so much to tell you. And thank you in advance to my readers who have already donate - you are rock stars.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Cellphone Chronicles; Or, Why I Broke Up With My iPhone

I used to have an iPhone. It served me well. I assumed I would always be an iPhone person.

Then I had Pippa, and Pippa became obsessed with destroying the iPhone. I could have kept the phone away from her, but there's a Sesame Street app that keeps her very happy in emergency situations. I bought a fancy protective case, but it felt clumsy and cumbersome. So I adopted the following strategy: when Pippa threw the iPhone as hard as she could, I pretended that the iPhone was indestructible. 

This strategy did not work.

After a bunch of toddler abuse, my iPhone was cracked and losing little metal chunks at an alarming rate. It was no longer an iPhone. It was a zombIephone. I took it to the Apple store, but the repair quote was too steep for my taste. I was not going to pay $200 to repair a screen that Pippa might break again in a week. 

I was using Verizon, so I went to the Verizon store to procure a new phone. The salesman told me I qualified for a free iPhone and a free tablet - yay - but my old plan was no longer available. I would have to upgrade to a new plan that would cost a lovely $150/month - and by the way, there were data limits.  More money for less data? What the what? 

I had nine months left on my contract.  I asked the salesman what would happen if I terminated early.  He said I would be charged a $200 early termination fee.


I confess: the "free" tablet was tempting. Verizon knew what it was doing. When the salesman offered me the free tablet, I felt as if I had won the lottery on Christmas. He left me alone to crunch the numbers (translation: go pee) and I played with the tablets on display. Oh, so tempting. My life would be perfect if only I had a free tablet...

Then I remembered I already have a Kindle Fire and I did not want/need another tablet. What I wanted was a new, lightweight laptop with an actual keyboard. Not some shitty free tablet. 

I left the Verizon store, went home, and researched my options.  A few days later, I went to Best Buy and a lovely saleswoman (who did not work on commission) showed me an Android that cost about $70. I looked it over. It was much better than I expected. I thought I was going to get a barebones flip phone that might be able to send text messages. This phone seemed even better than my iPhone. I bought it.

I've been using my Android for seven months now, and I love it. It only has one drawback: I can't use it to record and email long videos of Pippa to my family. Videos are limited to 16 seconds. But this drawback has forced me to use a digital camera for videos, and the digital camera takes much better videos than my iPhone ever did. So the drawback is actually an advantage.  

For a service provider, I decided to stick with Verizon. I make monthly payments. No contract, no lien on my soul. For $45, I get a month's worth of unlimited talk and text, plus 500mb of data. For another $20, I get an additional 3GB of data.

Math is not my strong suit, but let's do a little anyway. I had nine months left with my Verizon contract. At $120/month, that was more than $1000 for the privilege of using a broken iPhone. Since my iPhone had one foot in the electronic grave, that was not an option. (Unless I wanted to pay at least $700 for a new iPhone - eff that.) So to stick with Apple, I would have had to take the "free" iPhone and pay $150/month for the next twenty-four months and that's ... $3600.

Instead, I paid $200 to escape the shitty Verizon contract.  $70 more for my new phone.  (After seven months of hard use, it's still in excellent almost-new condition.) And instead of $150/month, I pay a measly $65/month to use my phone.  Over the course of two years, I will pay $1830 to use my phone. That includes the Verizon cancellation fee.

So let's see... $3600 for an iPhone versus $1830 for a phone that I love even more. Even if I have to replace my Android every six months, the iPhone is still about $1600 more expensive.

I don't know about you, but there are a lot of things that I can do with $1600. When I ditched my iPhone, I was worried I might regret that decision. I worried in vain. My cheap Android is awesome.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My Not-Yet Aquarium

I want an aquarium. Badly. I have wanted an aquarium for years - decades! - but I always hesitated. Where would I put it? What would I do when I went out of town? What if the fish were from another planet and they hypnotized me and sent me on a mission to steal the Hope Diamond? (Because everyone knows intergalactic fish are obsessed with the Hope Diamond.)

Despite these legitimate concerns, a couple of months ago, I finally decided it was time for my aquarium. It would be a goldfish aquarium. I bought a book about goldfish at the pet store. (Pippa and I often stop by the pet store to admire the animals, especially the canines at doggie day care. I was glad to finally engage in a little commerce with a place that gives us so much joy. They should really sell snacks. For people. We're not eating the dog snacks.)

Did you know that if given enough space to thrive, goldfish are actually quite big? So big, that if you have a large 29 gallon aquarium, you should only keep two goldfish? Did you know it's cruel to keep goldfish in a bowl? That goldfish actually live for years and years but when trapped in a bowl, they suffer and sicken and die very premature deaths?

I had no idea! I had goldfish as a child. I don't remember their names, but my brother always named his fish "Frankie." Oh, our poor tortured fish! And then, I had goldfish in college - Chunk and Eloise, and Marty and Doc - oh, my poor goldfish babies! I'm sorry!

(In college, I wrote an op-ed column for the student paper, and one of those columns was about my goldfish. And that post can be read right here. Yes, I have always been lame but I think we all already knew that.)

I decided we would NOT have a goldfish aquarium. Sure, we could have a tank with two fish, but that seems lame. The whole point of a tank is to have little schools of fish darting around, getting up to all sorts of crazy shit. Two goldfish = no crazy shit.

So I bought a book about freshwater aquariums. It is an excellent book. If anyone wants an aquarium, they should read this book first. After reading it, I wanted my aquarium even more.

But not yet.

Here's what I learned about aquariums: if you are going to have one, you have to do it right. You can't half-ass it with a 5 gallon novelty tank with a big replica of the Eiffel Tower and clean the water every few months. You have to get a big rectangular tank, at least 29 gallons, but 50 gal. is much better. Then you need to put that tank on a proper tank stand, because a filled tank is too heavy for a standard bookcase. You have to change the water regularly and frequently to keep your fish as healthy and happy as possible. (I suppose, if you are the sort of person who tortures squirrels and microwaves cats, then you don't need to change the water.) And if you are going to be changing the water regularly, you need to position the tank close to a sink. But the tank does not belong in a kitchen or against an outside wall or near a main door...

Above all, I learned there is nowhere to put a respectable tank in the Cranky Pumpkin household. Except the guest room. Where no one would ever see the fish. Except for overnight guests. Which, in the past year, have included the following: (1) my mother-in-law, and (2) no one else. I suppose my mother-in-law might enjoy the fish, but then again, I don't actually know that. She might hate fish. she might be nursing a secret fish phobia. If I put an aquarium in the guest room, she might stay up all night with a harpoon to guard herself. Or, she might think the aquarium makes an annoying bubbling sound.

Long story short, the aquarium is not happening anytime soon, but I am not giving up the dream. Someday! In the meantime, I may accidentally buy a hamster during one of our frequent pet store trips.

Monday, March 2, 2015

How To Write A Peppa Pig Episode

We watch a lot of Peppa Pig in the Cranky Pumpkin household. It's a cute British cartoon and my toddler Pippa adores it. This creates a lot of tongue-twister situations, e.g. "Pippa wants to watch Peppa." (Just try and say that three times fast while changing a toddler's diaper.) The similarity between "Pippa" and Peppa" also generates a fair amount of confusion. Pippa often says something that could be her name, Pippa, but then again, it could be the name of her favorite British cartoon pig, Peppa, and then I don't know what the hell is going on. Does my toddler want to watch an episode of Peppa? Is she trying to tell me something about herself? Or is she having an existential crisis?  

Pippa has watched so much Peppa, the cartoon now registers in my ear as white noise. I can sit on the couch, with Pippa on my lap, and happily read a book - even a difficult book with lots of big words and tricky grammar. But some part of my brain must be interested in the show, because I have memorized all the damn episodes.

I'm not bragging. Anyone can memorize the Peppa Pig canon, because there are only a dozen or so themes that keep getting repeated. Once you know the themes, then you can write a Peppa Pig episode yourself. Just pick two or three, mush them together, and bazinga, you have a hit show on your hands. In case you are looking to script your own episode, here are the themes:
  • Daddy Pig's big tummy
  • vehicular trouble (choose at least one: car; boat; or train)
  • Mr. Dinosaur issues
  • Muddy puddles
  • Peppa getting frustrated that she lacks a natural talent like whistling
  • Madame Gazelle performing mind experiments on the children
  • the school roof needs fixing
  • tortoise in a tree
  • Mummy Pig has some amazing secret talent like playing the violin or archery
  • Grandpa Pig's hobbies - the more eccentric and expensive, the better - I can't decide which is more ridiculous, the million dollar telescope in his attic or Gertrude the miniature locomotive
  • Miss Rabbit's jobs
  • Pirates! Alas, this is just Danny Dog playing. No pirates are yet to plunder and pillage the school.
  • George is a genius. 
  • Daddy Pig is an expert at _____ (diving, accordion, jumping in muddle puddles, etc.)
  • Daddy Pig claims to be an expert but is not, in fact, an expert (e.g. French and basic carpentry)
  • Pedro Pony is lame and needs to stop calling everything "super"
  • I am really lame and should probably watch the news once in awhile

Friday, February 27, 2015

My Motherhood Bucket List

I keep meaning and forgetting to do this. So while I find myself with a few free minutes, I'd like to get started. These are the things I hope to do with Pippa before she flies the coop.

° fly a kite
° go to a county fair
° take high tea someplace fancy
° see the Nutcracker ballet
° host a mother/daughter book club (bonus points if we read Pride and Prejudice)
° roller skating
° see a movie at El Capitan
° Disneyland!
° sledding
° make her an awesome dress up box
° lemonade stand
° do volunteer work together
° take her to see the Phantom of the Opera and Wicked
° take her to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl
° be a leader or coach for something she wants to do

More later!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hi! Greetings From Konmari Land!

I have been lost in the world of Konmari.  Apparently this has been all over the internet and NY Times bestseller list, but these days, I miss nearly all internet sensations. I found this book by sheer luck. I've been on a massive decluttering/reorganizing the house kick. It felt really good to clear away all the messes that have piled up on tables and corners.  The kitchen island is once again a kitchen island! Or at least 95% so. Progress!

But I felt like I was still wrestling with the Clutter Beast and it was slowly winning. It was hard to make any progress.  I'd spend hours trying to declutter and nothing seemed to get done. 

So I started buying all sorts of organizing props, including a big carousel gizmo for my closet and a battery organizer. Yes, A BATTERY ORGANIZER. You know you have reached a new decluttering low when you think a battery organizer is going to make your life better.

But I couldn't stop. I kept running searches on Amazon with words like "organize" and "declutter." I was searching for props, not books. I have read so many books about organizing, there is nothing else I can learn from another book. How many times do I have to read about throwing out ten things every day? 

But my searches kept turning up a book: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo.  Finally, I tried a sample on my phone and I quickly realized I needed to read one more book about organizing. 

Okay, let's see how quickly I can write this, because I am tired and this episode of The Bachelor is nearly over. I loved this book. So much.  I am going to reread it soon. Like I want to stop writing this post and reread it now! First, Kondo tells you about discarding. If something gives you joy, keep it.  If not, it's time to say goodbye. This is a shitty summary of an awesome book.  Kondo talks so much about the psychology of objects, especially books. I am a bookworm and booklover and last week, I donated over 200 books to Goodwill and it felt so liberating.

You are supposed to finish all of your discarding before you organize. I have cheated a little on this because I have a toddler and sometimes you have to seize the moment and improvise.

I want to write about this book forever, but really, please, just go read it now! Because it is so good, and because I am too lazy to write anymore about it. 

(Hi, Dad, I'm too tired to proofread so please forgive any grammatical oopsies). (Hi, Dad, me again. I just screwed up the placement of the period in relation to the parenthetical just to mess with you.)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Dora vs. Caillou (The Death Match)

In the Cranky Pumpkin household, Dora is a four-letter word. Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. I'd much rather teach Pippa to say f*** than Dora. I guess Dora is more like Voldemort, He Who Shall Not Be Named. Do not say Dora's name or you might summon her spirit into our home and be haunted forever.

My father-in-law got Pippa a very fun vehicle that is decorated with Dora stickers. Since it is a fun vehicle, I'm letting Pippa play with it and praying the Dora stickers do not contaminate her mind. But if anyone gives Pippa any other Dora-related gifts, I will set fire to them immediately. (The gifts, not the gift bearers - I'm not that crazy.)

I thought Dora was the most annoying toddler cartoon, but then I discovered the horror that is Caillou on PBS. Holy crap, Caillou has such a whiny nails-on-the-chalkboard voice. I want to smack him. I let Pippa go on a PBS bender yesterday morning because she has a cold, and of course she wanted to sit in my lap during Caillou, may he fall off a cliff. I kept rooting against him. When a bigger kid was bullying Caillou at daycare, I cheered and hoped the bully would lock Caillou in a closet with a hungry wolverine.

PBS and Nickelodeon should have a Dora/Caillou cross-over episode and please, let's forgo all the lame jungle adventures and head straight to what the folks want: a Death Match. Put Dora and Caillou into one of those cages and do not let them out until one of them is dead. We can call the episode "Dora and Caillou: Someone Must Die." I would pay good money to see that episode.

Excuse me, there's a cross-over script I have to go write now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Why do we use the word "extraordinary" to refer to something that is amazing? Shouldn't "EXTRA ordinary" refer to someone who is the textbook definition of generic and mundane?

This is the sort of shit that keeps me up at night. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I Do Not Have Time To Be Afraid

My cause is postpartum depression. I had it after Pippa was born and it took four months of anxiety, insomnia and dark suicidal thoughts to realize something was wrong. When my ob/gyn said I had postpartum depression, I did not believe her. When my psychiatrist said I had postpartum depression, I did not believe him. I assumed that all moms with postpartum depression stay in bed all day and cry and hate their babies. Since I did not have those symptoms, I could not have postpartum depression. Oh, how wrong I was.

I was hospitalized for four days in July 2013 and after my discharge, I wanted to join a support group. I had a psychiatrist and cognitive behavioral psychologist, so I did not want to attend formal group therapy.  I just wanted to meet and spend time with other moms who had experienced postpartum depression. There is an organized meeting for EVERYTHING. I just checked the Meetup listings for Pasadena, and there are hundreds of groups for hiking, dancing, reading, exploring the city, you name it, it probably exists. Peruse your local Meetup listings if you are looking for a fun way to procrastinate for five minutes. I could name some of the weirder Pasadena groups, but I don't want to make fun of anyone's hobby. (Unless it's stamp collecting. Can we all agree that stamp collecting is LAME?)

When I was discharged, I could not find any sort of postpartum depression peer-to-peer support group in the Pasadena area. I'm sure there are groups out there, but the only one I could find was in a state that starts with the letter I or O. (I'm pretty sure it was Indiana, but it could have been Iowa. Or Oklahoma. Give me a break, I was recovering from a serious mental illness.)

Last May, I started a group on Meetup for Pasadena moms with postpartum depression. I started the group, paid my dues, and hoped people would find me.

In November, I started daydreaming about ways to promote the group and increase awareness about postpartum depression. My group met in parks - I would find us a real location! I schemed about fundraising and establishing a place where moms can meet and recover together. I ordered business cards and wrote a list of places to leave them.

Then I became overwhelmed by these daydreams and freaked out. I managed my anxiety by doing nothing. I stopped hosting my park meetups. I invented excuses to make myself feel better - Pippa has a sore throat; Pippa could get a  sore throat; the weather could be bad. I hid the business cards in a closet.

But I'm sick of being afraid, I'm sick of excuses, and I'm sick of pretending PPD is not my problem anymore.  So fuck it, I'm going to ignore my fear and all the fake excuses for why I should take the easy road and I'm going to go forward with my Pasadena support group. I'm going to promote it and let myself dream. And if I get scared, I'm going to tell myself, "Fuck it, I don't have time to be scared."

Today I put my business cards in my purse, told a room of seventy women about my support group, and then gave my business cards to interested, caring women.

It has begun. I do not have time to be afraid.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Time Traveling, the Bible, and Tolkien

For years, I have wanted to read the Bible from cover to cover.  (Why do I want to read the Bible? I have no idea.) I am finally doing it. 

Or, at least, I'm taking an honest crack at it. I reserve the right to quit the Bible and reread the Harry Potter series at any time. 

I am only midway through Genesis which means I have a loooooooooooong way to go, but I have already made one major discovery: time traveling exists.

Hear me out.

Genesis is filled with tons of lineages.  Shem begat Arpachshad begat Shelah begat Ebet.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy is also filled with tons of boring passages about who begat whom and whose sword was the shiniest.  Both Genesis and the Lord of the Rings are far more interesting if you skip all the lineage crap.

Then there are the names.  Genesis is peopled with the likes of Arpachshad, Shelah and Ebet and don't forget Peleg, Reu, Serug and Nahor.  (Gen. 11:10-32).  The Lord of the Rings is filled with characters named Gimli, Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf.  One could probably turn this into an excellent drinking game: Genesis or LOTR? You are given a name and have to guess which book it is from.  If you miss, drink. Good luck staying sober with this one.

Shall I continue?  I shall.

Everyone in Genesis lived for a long ass time.  Let's go back to Shem and Co.  Shem fathered Arpachshad when he was 100 and then lived another 500 years. Arpachshad fathered Shelah when he was 35 and lived another 403 years.  What sort of crazy yogurt were they eating back then?  And where can I get some?

(I remember a high school teacher giving some boring explanation for all these centuries-old patriarchs, but I prefer my crazy yogurt theory.)

The elves and dwarves of Middle Earth were also eating the crazy yogurt and living for centuries on end!

And then, we must address the writing styles. This is how Genesis is written: boring lineage, boring lineage, boring lineage, FLOOD!, boring lineage, boring lineage...  This is how LOTR is written: boring lineage, boring lineage, boring stuff about swords, BATTLE!, swords, lineage, swords...

How can we explain these similarities?  Time traveling.

Tolkien obviously time traveled back to the Biblical era and wrote the Book of Genesis.  Then he returned to the modern era and penned the Middle Earth books.  I suppose an argument could be made that Tolkien wrote about hobbits first, but I think that would be a shitty argument. The LOTR is the work of a much more experienced writer (although it is still the work of a writer with a tendency to take really interesting stuff and  make it boring.)

Of course, I am still reading Genesis, the first book of the Bible.  Further reading might suggest Tolkien wrote other parts of the Bible  as well. Stay tuned...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Fan Fiction

Does anyone know if there is any fan fiction for children's shows? If so, I must read it! I don't mean fan fiction for toddlers. I don't need to read about Elmo and Ernie going on a picnic and talking to a turtle about colors. I want to read about the dark stories happening behind the scenes that no one talks about but we all know are happening.

I want to read about Mr. Noodle. How did he end up trapped in Elmo's World? Was he kidnapped? Has anyone notified the authorities?

I want to read the back stories for all the adult characters in the Peppa Pig universe.  Here are my theories: Grandpa Pig was a smuggler during the Cold War; Madame Gazelle is a spy indoctrinating the children, using the Bing Bong Song to program them with a communist agenda; and Mummy Rabbit is having an affair with Mr. Fox.

I do not want to read anything about Dora.

But I do want to read something about Max and Ruby that addresses this pressing question: where are their parents?  I've seen at least a dozen episodes of this show now, and no one ever mentions the parents but there is a grandma. What happened to the parents? Has anyone notified the authorities???

Is anyone writing these stories?  Do I have to do everything?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Well Shit Howdy

This poor blog of mine has been warming the bench for way too long. Poor, Cranky Pumpkin, my neglected and abused step-child.

I am typing this with a toddler's sweaty head smashed against my chest. Pippa still naps in the Ergo! She is twenty-two months old! And I love it!  Back when she was an itty bitty baby, I prayed for the day that she would nap in her crib. It seemed so important. Everyone else's baby slept in the crib, so that must mean I was doing something wrong.

Now that I have a toddler, I have finally accepted the truth: babies are weird. They all do things their own way, at their own pace. So what if Pippa prefers napping in the Ergo or car seat? Does anyone really think she is going to call me in 2033 and tell me she needs a nap, so I need to bust out the Ergo and hop on a plane and meet her at the quad after her Advanced Physics-Comp Lit Seminar?

(And if she does, holy shit, I will do a cartwheel and get right on that plane because she will always be my baby, even in 2033.)

Non-baby stuff: I'm taking guitar lessons, learning Spanish on Rosetta Stone (hola), and obsessed with Serial. I'm midway through Episode 9, and I cannot wait to be done so I can get on the internet and read what has been written about this podcast, but I also dread that moment because then what the fuck am I going to do? I enjoy other podcasts, but Serial is the best!!!

I'm not going to proofread this. I think the secret to more blogging is less proofing.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Some Recently Acquired Skills

1.  How to draw a hippo family. 
2.  How to make a minion out of playdoh.
3.  How to detangle a toddler's mullet.