Thursday, May 26, 2016

Here, Read This

Five great summer reading books
Remember when your three day weekends used to look like this?
The impending Memorial Day Weekend means that it's almost officially summer.  In the days of my youth - meaning before I had children and began to age prematurely - long weekends would have meant a trip to the beach, an icy cold adult beverage, and hours of uninterrupted reading time.  These days, three day weekends mean only one thing: that I have one extra day during which I have to occupy my children.  Needless to say, I won't be lounging on a beach reading an engrossing novel, though I can guarantee that I will definitely be enjoying lots of adult beverages.

Currently, the only uninterrupted reading time that I get happens after my kids have gone to bed.  I'm usually so tired by then that I can't keep my eyes open for more than five pages, but I still enjoy escaping into a good book after a long day with my offspring.

On the off chance that you have a relaxing, child-free holiday vacation planned this weekend, I've compiled a list of some of my favorite, can't-put-it-down titles that you should download immediately.  Don't worry, there's not a single parenting book listed.  

Re Jane
Inspired by Jane Eyre (one of my all time favorites), this is a charming read about a Korean-American girl from Queens and her journey to discover who she is and where she belongs.

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget
I'm not usually one for memoirs, but this one was really engaging.  It sounds awful - the Author's account of her spiral into raging alcoholism - but it's not heavy handed and the ending feels hopeful and cathartic. 

Circling the Sun
This is the story of Beryl Markham, whose book, West with the Sun, you probably had to read for high school English class.  It's about her extraordinary life as a champion horsewoman and aviator in Africa, and it also delves into the love triangle between Markham and the duo made famous in the movie Out of Africa.  A fascinating look at a little-known woman.

The Beautiful American
If you were intrigued by the photo going around the ol' Facebook recently of the woman bathing in Hitler's bathtub, you definitely need to read this book. A fictionalized account of Lee Miller's life in 1920's Paris, when she was the lover of artist Man Ray and before she became a famous war photographer, it's an intriguing read and brings up questions about the emotional cost of being a survivor. 

Everything I Never Told You
A heartbreaking look at the secrets families keep from each other and the damage that's wrought as a result.

Happy Memorial Day!  I hope you get at least an hour to yourself to enjoy a good read, and that you're able to stay awake even after a glass (or three) of sparkling rosé.  
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Your Teen is REALLY Up To

what your teen is really doing when she's studying
We were probably (okay, definitely) stoned. 
My 20th high school reunion is next month.  Setting aside the fact that I am SO FREAKING OLD, let me just point out that when I was 16, the state-of-the-art technology for teens consisted of a pager.  I don't really feel equipped to parent kids in the digital world in which we live.  Sure, vinyl may be "back" but in between spinning vintage 45s of Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin, the kids are Snapchatting, sexting, and snorting each other's ADD medication.

Now that I'm a parent myself, I have a lot more sympathy for all the sh*t that I put my own Mother through.  I was a terror, and while my Mother always says, "you weren't that bad", I think that she may simply have selective memory loss from the PTSD she sustained while raising a teen.

Despite the technological advances, I don't think that teenagers are that different today than they were 20 years ago.  In the end, all teenagers want is to rebel against the establishment (their parents) and get some (any) sex.

Which leads me to ask: What the F*ck was my Mother thinking?  

The car.  I had my own car - a beater Chevy with 110,000 miles on it - that broke down more often than it ran.  As far as I'm concerned, no flighty 16 year old has any business piloting a metal cylinder of death down public thoroughfares.  While I'm sure that providing me with a car was well intended, I can tell you that I was not up to anything good while behind the wheel of that automobile.  When I wasn't hotboxing said Chevy, I was either driving slowly past my recent crush's house or committing minor criminal offenses like stealing traffic signs.  Even if I hadn't been up to no good inside my Chevy, I backed into a pillar on my way to my driving test, so I can't imagine why my parent thought it was advisable to hand me a set of keys and send me on my way to terrorize the pedestrians of Marin County. 

The clothes.  Let's just be blunt: teenage girls like to dress like hookers.  Hey, I get it: if I still had perky boobs, a flat stomach, and an ass free of cellulite, I would walk around in as few pieces of clothing as possible without risking being arrested.  However, that doesn't mean I think it's appropriate for preteen girls to strut down the street with their ass hanging out of a strip of cloth being marketed as "shorts".  My Mother wasn't strict by any stretch of the imagination, so I can count on one hand the number of times she forbade me from wearing some slutty piece of attire, but I also remember that I simply took the offending garment with me and changed into it once I got to school.  I mean, come on, we all did it.  When the handicapped stall wasn't being used by an actual kid in a wheelchair, it was basically a Wet Seal dressing room.

The phone.  I had my own phone in my room because I was a spoiled only child, but back in the old days, that was pretty normal.  How else was your teenager expected to have important conversations about who is the cutest boy at school and whether or not the dumb kid cheated on the math test?  In hindsight, I don't think that teenagers should have any privacy, save for the one or two times a day they are taking very long showers.  Do you know what happens when teenagers have privacy?  Nothing good.  I was smokin' dope, talking to weird (older) boys, and sneaking out my bedroom window at all hours of the night.  Remove their bedroom door from the hinges, seal the windows closed, and don't give them an iPhone.  Teenagers don't need any contact with the outside world - Nell turned out just fine in the end!

The sex.  For much of my high school career I was hideously ugly, so I didn't actually have sex until much later than many of my peers.  This certainly wasn't due to lack of trying - I threw myself at any number of dudes who refused me point blank (their loss) - so I would assume that given the opportunity I would have gained a reputation for being "loose".  Once I did get down and dirty with a member of the male species, all bets were off.  I wonder, sometimes, what my parents thought I was doing when I stayed out so late studying.  I may have gone to private school, but no class was so hard as to warrant six hours of studying, unless you would classify making out as boning up on human anatomy for Biology class.

At present, I'm considering becoming Amish before my kids are teenagers.  Sure, the outfits aren't very flattering, and my Husband looks terrible with a beard, but it has to be better than laying awake at night hoping my kids are remembering to use birth control after they sneak out of the house.  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Panties, not Poise

Thinx review
Does this look like the face of a woman who wears adult diapers?  I think not.
The other day, when I logged onto the ol' Facebook, one of the targeted ads that came up was for adult diapers.  I realize that I've discussed at length my inability to sneeze without peeing myself, and that I currently reside in Los Angeles, where a woman of my "advanced" age is basically considered a Senior Citizen, but I don't think I've quite reached the adult diaper stage of life.  However, as I sat there staring at the picture of an attractive woman who looked happy and confident because she knew she wouldn't have to change her pants halfway through the day, I thought, "maybe I do need adult diapers." 

Thankfully, my bladder leakage hasn't reached adult diaper proportions, but when Aunt Flo makes her monthly visit I always carry an extra pair of pants in my bag, or risk wearing one of my children's sweatshirts tied around my waist.  You'd think that by the time a woman is in her mid-thirties, she would've figured out how to manage the monthly flow, and would feel confident enough to buy herself a pair of white jeans, but thanks to the whole natural birth thing, I'm like a teenager all over again.  Without the acne and the overwhelming desire to sleep with guys who don't know my name.

I was just about to click the adult diapers link, thereby relinquishing any hope of ever again being a MILF, when another ad caught my eye for something called Thinx.  You've probably heard of this item, unless, like me, you live under a rock called "children", but basically Thinx are absorbant underwear that can be used in place of panty liners or pads.  Well, this is a revolutionary idea, especially for someone who was just minutes earlier considering ordering adult diapers, but also because for every pair of Thinx purchased, they donate money to AFRIpads, which trains women to sew and sell reusable pads.  Not being able to wear white jeans during that time of the month is certainly a #firstworldproblem, considering that many girls in developing nations don't have any access to affordable feminine hygiene products.  Obviously, I clicked the link, rejoicing in the fact that I would still be able to retain my MILF card while simultaneously helping girls in need.

I ordered three pairs of the underwear - two pairs of thongs to use in place of panty liners (which I hate), and a pair of hiphuggers to use at night instead of a bulky pad - and hoped they would arrive before my monthly visit from Aunt Flo.  I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the underwear.  The cuts are really cute and they totally don't look like period underwear.  Thinx have lace waistbands and a comfy fit, which I appreciate when I'm bloated, crampy, and basically hating life.  Thanks to the remodeling my kids did to my vajayjay, tampons aren't always enough, so with the Thinx thongs I'm able to ditch the panty liners and just rock my cute new undies.

Two caveats: you have to rinse them out before putting them in the laundry (gross) but you get used to it after a month or two.  Once you've given birth and taken care of children, your ick threshold decreases significantly, so it's not that big a deal.  Also, Thinx aren't inexpensive.  I usually buy my intimates from the bargain bin at Target because I'm cheap, so shelling out $24 - $32 per pair was a big change, but if you use this link, you can save $10 on your first order!  I think that ultimately you end up saving money by not having to buy as many horrendous feminine hygiene products, but math was not my best subject, so don't quote me on that. 

You have the right to wear white jeans again without resorting to adult diapers, no matter what the cost. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Are You REALLY Ready to Have Kids?

are you ready to have a child?
This is your morning on kids.
So, you're thinking of having a child.  Congratulations!  You can now have tons of unprotected sex with whomever you've decided is a good candidate for daddy duty.  I sincerely hope that he knows you've stopped taking the pill and is also on board with your family plan, but that's on you. 

I'd like to assume that you know what you are getting into, but it's come to my attention recently that many folks considering taking the parenthood plunge don't have a clue, so I'm going to share some of my hard won wisdom in the hopes that it helps you in your decision to go from "hottie" to "mommy".

1.  Children are not accessories.  Unlike the season's hottest bag, just because everyone you know has a kid, it doesn't mean that you need to have one also.  I understand that in a world of perfectly curated Instagram feeds it can appear as though children are just cute little droids who like to wear designer clothes while going on local cultural outings, but keep in mind that for every perfect photo there are at least ten that were deleted because Junior was sticking out his tongue or having a potty accident in those Ralph Lauren shorts.  Also, when you're tired of your child, you can't just send him to MaterialWrld and hope you get a decent trade in value.

2.  The mess is epic.  Kids are messy.  They are also dirty and gross and prone to picking their noses at inopportune moments.  I don't care how much help you can afford, unless you have a full time housekeeper assigned to follow each of your offspring around every hour of every day, your house is going to be a disaster.  There will be LEGOs on the floor, hand prints on the windows, and half-chewed food crushed into your carpets.  If you want to live in a house that looks as though no children reside there, don't have children.

3. You're not getting "it" back.  I don't care what word you want to use in place of "it" - your body, your lady parts, your marriage - once you have a kid nothing returns to the way it was before you became a parent.  You can do 600 sit-ups every morning while simultaneously exercising your kegel muscles and finish this grueling regimen with a kale smoothie and a laxative, but you're still not going to look good in your pre-pregnancy jeans.  Once you've grown a child, birthed a child, and fed a child, there ain't no way you're going to be able to sneeze without peeing yourself.

4.  Pregnancy sucks. The unavoidable truth about pregnancy is that you will gain weight, have horrible gas, and fiery heartburn.  Don't limit yourself to a pregnancy diet of wheatgrass and misery because you're afraid to gain weight.  Enjoy porking up - your growing baby needs fat for her developing brain, and you need lots of extra calories to gestate a human - and eat what you crave.  If anyone gives you a  hard time about your weight gain, feel free to scream "F*CK YOU I AM GROWING A HUMAN" and then eat several donuts.  If you do not want to create a hospitable environment for your future child because you are too worried about maintaining your girlish figure, I'd like to suggest you not have children and instead seek out a therapist to discuss your extreme vanity. 

5.  Children need their parents.  I don't care how many nannies, night nurses, and au pairs you hire, your kid will still want his parents.  It can be annoying at times, specifically when you feel like running off to a tropical island, but when your kids are hurt or upset or going through any number of issues, the person they want most is Mama or Dada.  Your life is going to (and should) change dramatically when you have a kid.  In the beginning it will feel as though you are never going to get back to a semblance of normal, and while it does eventually get easier, you will never again be able to do whatever you want without thought as to how it impacts another person.  If you are not prepared to focus your life around another being's needs, then it might not be a great idea to have kids.  Come to think of it, it might not be a great idea for you to have a pet either. 

Now go forth and make some babies!  I'd like to suggest you get kinky on your living room couch, because assuming all goes well, it's one of the last times that piece of furniture won't be covered in graham cracker crumbs. 

This site was made with love by Angie Makes