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.