Tuesday, 15 April 2014

I've Never Seen Links Like You

I'm done making my kid's childhood magical.  I'm not even a parent yet but YESSSSS. (via Kaelah)

One more parenting article: I can't always protect my children - and I don't always want to.

Idiot teenager makes a "terrorist threat" to American Airlines on Twitter.

Tattooed seniors respond to "What will they look like when you get old?" 

How to order coffee like a local in 26 countries.

Russian police photos on Instagram. 

Realistic drawings of animated characters.

A little late but still interesting: Crazy anecdotes about sex in the Olympic Village.

Annoying pet personalities.

10 strangest facts about penises. The largest penis was 13.5 inches?!?!

Scientists growing body parts using stem cells. SCIENCE!

Quiz: How privileged are you? I am "quite privileged."

Star Wars themed funeral fulfills 4-year-old's final wish. :( (via Order of the Good Death on Facebook)

The story behind the iconic Depression-era Migrant Mother photo. (via Erika's Twitter)

How to love someone with Alzheimer's.

Kids react to Walkmans. Why am I so old?!

Daughter's brutally honest obituary for her mother goes viral.

The gay father I never knew.

Some powerful "Boston Strong" photos.

Why anxiety is so hard to manage (and what you can do to cope).

Lindy West perfectly articulates why the "World's Toughest Job" video really rubbed me the wrong way.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Truck Stop Wisdom

Those of you who follow me on the Instagram have already seen this but here goes anyway.

One side effect of traveling by car when you're pregnant is, you know, stopping every hour and a half or so to pee. And that means lots of time spent in truck stop bathrooms.

In Oklahoma I came across this gem written in my bathroom stall:

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"Every second of every minute of every day I love my husband."
"Then you are probably too young to be married."

It was probably the most clever thing I've found in a bathroom, honestly. I mean it's obvious even from the handwriting that girl #1 is like, 20 years old.  

When I showed him this Rob said, "there's so much more clever stuff in the women's bathroom. In the men's bathroom it's just a bunch of dicks and swastikas."

I know questions at the ends of posts are kind of dorky, but do you guys have any good comebacks for girl #1's sentiment? I personally can't even come up with clever comebacks in a situation where I have time to think about it.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

A Moving/Driving/Whatever Update

Well that was a long hiatus, eh? I wish I could say that I spent that time doing something exciting, but we were mostly just mired in the minutiae of a cross-country move (how's that for alliteration?).

We are safely in our home state of Maine now, where we are staying until we close on our new house which should hopefully be in the next couple of weeks.  The house-buying process has been moving slowly and at times contentiously, but we think we're finally on the right path and minus a few hurdles, we are ready to move in and you know, play house or some shit.

Our last few weeks in Santa Fe were pretty busy. Every time we've moved (which I feel like has been a lot) I have an image in my head of how it will go - plenty of time to say goodbye, at least a few nights with each person we wanted to say goodbye to, maybe a bonfire or a party.  But when we actually get into packing and moving and sweating and sleeping, socialization goes out the window. We end up saying quick goodbyes when someone can come over to our empty house, or maybe a dinner for 20 minutes before we get back to packing.

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All the kudos in the world go to Rob, who managed to fit our entire life--including all of our books, a reclining chair, end tables, bedframe, and mattresses--into a shipping cube that measured around 6x7x8'.  When we pulled up in the UHaul (turns out it was cheaper to rent a Uhaul, drive our shit to the cube, pack it, and return the UHaul than have the cube brought to our house) I really didn't think everything would go in, but god dammit he did it and I'm still impressed days later.  He really earned the Chipotle burrito I bought for him afterward.

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As a side note,  having now moved with a trailer and a shipping container, I would really recommend the shipping container route. We were able to drive so much faster since we weren't trailing a massive-ass Uhaul and we didn't have to put the stress on our vehicles. The company we chose will store the shipping container for us until we need it (for a fee of course), at which time we'll rent another Uhaul and unload it.

We started our drive a few days ago. After our trip to Phoenix a few weekends ago we discovered that long travel days, a swollen uterus with a ~2lb baby inside of it don't mix, so our friend Laura graciously agreed to drive my car cross-country. I don't know what I would've done without her because who knew that sitting is hard when you're pregnant? Plus it was nice having company as it made the trip go by so quickly.  Cypress had a pretty miserable ride all in all due to her refusal to lay down and sleep like a normal dog, not to mention her gastrointestinal...proclivities. I hope we won't have to do too many more long drives with her because she seems to hate them more each time. If only it wasn't more cruel to just fly her there.

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A lot of people expressed jealousy at being able to drive cross-country from New Mexico to Maine, but since it was our fourth time doing it in 2 years I have to say that those people are not missing much. I'm not trying to humble-brag because for real, most of the middle of the country is pretty damn boring (sorry Oklahoma-Missouri-Northern Texas-Indiana-Illinois) and in the late winter/early spring, most everything else is too.  Plus we aren't fun and don't stop at all the kitschy road trippy things so it's mostly just a means to an end.

Even though we've been gone for a few days I don't think I've yet grasped that we are not going back to Santa Fe. I've found myself missing our friends, of course, but random shit like our grocery stores, my doctor, and the dog park too. I'm really excited for this new chapter, since it involves a new house and a whole new person, but I find myself missing the Land of Enchantment more than I thought I might.

My saddest moment came earlier today, when we went to Hannaford to pick up stuff for dinner and were met with excruciating disappointment at the so-called "Hispanic" section. I love New England, but Santa Fe has ruined me for Mexican/New Mexican food forever.

So there you have it, our last week or so.  We're currently staying at Rob's brother's condo before we head back to my dad's, and I think we're all enjoying the ability to stop moving even for just a second.

I hope you guys have had a great weekend!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Self-Conscious Thoughts on Pregnancy and (Future) Parenthood

I have a confession: I've been wanting to write a lot more about pregnancy- and baby-related things lately but have been too self-conscious to actually let myself do it.

I don't mean posts about shit we are registered for or nursery themes, or tips on how to be pregnant (since honestly I have no idea how to be pregnant). As you can tell if you follow me on literally any social media outlet, I have no idea how to dress myself, let alone these new hipster-chic babies (seriously, look on Pinterest, how are kids better dressed than adults nowadays?). Our baby's nursery theme will likely end up being, "A baby sleeps here.  Look, Star Wars!" mostly because I'm lazy but also because I personally don't see the point of themes.  I guess for some people home decor is really exciting and it's just fun to do, which I get, but for me that kind of pressure is totally unnecessary. Choosing the right sectional color has been stress enough for me.

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Maybe we'll just have a baby Caitlin themed nursery. Also, let's hope our daughter does not inherit that giant head of mine.

I've had a lot of thoughts lately about our future child, who she will become, what traits she'll inherit from us and what traits she'll develop because she doesn't want to be like us, what holding her will feel like for the first time and whether I'll actually believe she came out of me or not. Since this pregnancy and all the fallout from it--our move back East, buying a house, being parents--has taken up most of the discussions we have over oft-repeated episodes of "Archer" I've really wanted to write about it. It's hard though, in a first-world-problems kind of way, to transition what I write here from life and awkwardness to parenthood and awkwardness, and I think I've been too afraid to alienate a lot of people who read by going on and on about babies and vaginas and pregnancy.

But then I realized that holy shit, this is a blog, and in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter for much. People can always skip over posts or roll your eyes and click "Mark as Read" if they really don't want to read about this new, terrifying part of my life, or unfollow me completely.  The sky won't fall and the world won't end.

So with that incredibly wordy introduction, here's a post about thoughts on pregnancy and our future child.  I found it easier to number them in a list until I can hash them out a little more.

1. Rob and I had a conversation the other day on what trait we would most like to cultivate in our child. I know the parents among you will laugh at me and think something along the lines of, "good luck! Babies aren't blank slates! You have no idea what you'll get!" and I know that objectively. This was more of a thought experiment since generally speaking we won't have absolute control over who she becomes.  Anyway, I told Rob that I would like our daughter to be independent. I want her to feel comfortable enough challenging herself and trying new things while always knowing that we are there to stand behind her.  Rob's choice similar, as he chose confidence - being able to stand up for herself and for others and feeling secure enough to go her own way.

2. The baby's kicks have been a lot stronger and more frequently lately which has been both incredibly reassuring and terrifying to me. Though my doctor advised against kick counts in a low-risk pregnancy--and you aren't even supposed to do them until 28 weeks anyway--I've been sort of vaguely keeping track and I get incredibly nervous when I've gone an hour or two or more without any distinct kicking motions.  I've actually started saying out loud "please move," and when she does I say "thank you," because I'm weird like that. Throughout the pregnancy I've had brief flashes of "holy shit this is real," and one of them came when I imagined myself looking at her legs and feet in person and remembering that those were the things kicking me from the inside. I actually teared up a little bit.

2a. The other crazy thing about kicks is that her motions have become a lot more fluid in the last few weeks. It used to be jabs and twitches, but now if I have my hand on my belly I can actually feel her roll and tumble if that makes sense at all. She's getting bigger by the day so I guess it makes sense that she has less and less room to frolic.

3. A keeping-it-real/TMI moment: no one ever told me that when you're pregnant sometimes your boobs leak. The first time that happened (because it's happened a lot) was the other time that the pregnancy felt real to me.

4. This is going to sound incredibly superficial but here goes. One other thing I've been thinking about is what our daughter will look like. At her last ultrasound she had her hands up by her face so we couldn't see her nose or anything, and even if we could my guess is it'd be difficult to discern any features that way. Then Rob's sister posted this photo of him on Facebook for Throwback Thursday:

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And I found myself 1. tearing up and 2. hoping that our daughter has that little Who-nose and goofy smile and lovely brown eyes that my husband has.  I also sort of selfishly hope that she gets the same birthmark Rob has on his chest - it's mostly just a darker patch of skin but it's one of my favorite things about him physically and for some reason I think it'd be really sweet if his daughter had it somewhere on her body too. It seems somewhat likely given that his mother and brother also have it.  I do hope she avoids getting Rob's hair though - it's wiry and curly and since my idea of "styling my hair" has included "chopping it all off" and then "shaving it" I will be of absolutely no help to her in this department.  Maybe she'll take after me and go short.

5. Rob and I have been talking a lot about our parenting style.  This is another one the already-parents will probably laugh at but hear me out. Rob is of the mind that having a "style" is already a mistake since you're overthinking your every move instead of just doing what works best in the moment and in the long-term.  I am the kind of person who likes to have a plan in place for every possible scenario - her first public meltdown, picky eating, etc. - and also a person who I think could easily lean toward helicopter parenting.  We've agreed that we want our daughter to have a childhood like the one we both had - one of independence, free play, and a general sense of freedom within obvious and reasonable boundaries. We also want to by and large avoid heavily gendered parenting - I read an article recently about how studies have shown that parents sort of sub-consciously coddle girls more, allow them more freedom of emotion than boys, and also underestimate their physical and mental capabilities, all without realizing it.  I don't think this needs to be a very active thing we do or don't do, I think it's just something to keep in mind on a day to day basis if we can.

So there you go, a pregnancy-level brain dump. You know, pregnancy has not really met any of my expectations of what it would be like, except for overthinking. I knew I'd do a lot of that. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Home-Buying Tips for Anxious People

Home-Buying Tips for Anxious People

1. Make an obsessively-curated list of houses in your desired area and gets your hopes wildly up about every single one that has half-decent photos. Start planning where you'll put furniture, momentoes and photos. Plan where you'll put the Christmas tree and where you'll sit with hot cocoa with your future children laughing and singing.

2. When looking at the houses, make sure to fall into the depths of despair when the house inevitably does not meet the previously-mentioned incredibly high hopes.

3. Cry a little and remind yourself that you're never going to get a house and no one loves you.

4. When you do find a house that doesn't have massive water damage or 3-foot-long mice running around, get your hopes wildly up again.

5. Plan to offer at least $5,000 above asking price because you want to make sure the sellers know you really want this house.

6. During negotiation don't forget to think about the sellers' feelings. Don't ask for too much or complain because hey, selling a house must be really hard.

7. Worry about the home inspection and obsess over the written report as much as possible. Despair about how you still want the house but probably will spend hundreds of millions of dollars in repair and maybe you shouldn't buy it and what should I do and then cry in the corner.

8. If the homeowners obviously try to screw you over just let them. I mean you really want the house, don't you? Raise your offer to $10,000 over the asking price.

9. Stress about money and worry that you don't actually have the downpayment you thought you did. When talking to the bank make sure to give your entire life story and cry a little bit.

10. Walk into your new house and omg is that gas I smell? Are those water stains that numerous professionals missed? Did the house just creak? Is the floor spongy? Sell the house immediately and live in your car.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

What We've Been Watching

Given the fact that we both gave up cable, starting to plan buying a house and got pregnant around the same time, it goes without saying that Rob and I have been spending a lot of time at home. In direct contrast to how often we were going out before we have completely turned inward and spent a lot of time with our dear friends, Netflix and HBO GO.

Since I a few of you surely share these friends with me, I thought you might appreciate some recommendations.

1. The Queen of Versailles (Documentary, Netflix)

This documentary follows David Siegel, a timeshare mogul, and his wife Jackie as they build the largest house in the United States. It's a tale of excess and luxury, at least until the market crashes in 2008 and Jackie and David find themselves a bit up shit creek.  The Rotten Tomatoes consensus said this documentary had "equal parts compassion and schadenfreude," which I think is a really accurate description. We found it a really fascinating (if a little depressing) human portrait.


2. Archer (TV show, Netflix)

If you have, or even think you have a similar sense of humor to me you need to check out FX's "Archer." This show never fails to make me laugh. Plus it has a ton of the same writers and actors from "Arrested Development" so you definitely can't go wrong.


3. How to Die in Oregon (Documentary, Netflix)

This might be in the running for the best documentary I've ever seen. "How to Die in Oregon" follows several people who choose to take advantage of Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, a law that allows Oregonians to self-administer prescribed drugs to end their lives. It was incredibly moving, sensitive, and complex. I found myself sobbing at the end but it was so, so worth it. If you've never considered how you feel about physician-assisted suicide this will definitely make you think.


4. Serving Life (Documentary, Netflix)

"Serving Life" tells the story of several long-term and life-sentence prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary who volunteer in the prison's hospice program. It was fascinating to watch hardened criminals (many of them murderers) find redemption in taking care of their dying fellow prisoners.


5. The Last White Knight (Documentary, Netflix)

In "The Last White Knight," the film maker, a former freedom rider, returns to the South to meet with a Ku Klux Klan member who attacked him back in the 1960s. The film examines the role of the Klan both in the Civil Rights era and in modern day.  It was pretty shocking to see how evil and hateful people can be especially as we spend most of our time as a society claiming that racism no longer exists.  


6. The American Scream (Documentary, Netflix)

This documentary follows several residents in Fairhaven, Massachusetts who go all out in decorating their houses for Halloween.  Our landlord back in Maine used to go bananas on Halloween so we really enjoyed watching this. It's crazy how much money and time these people spend for literally a few hours, but they clearly have a blast doing it.


So there you go. "Archer" and a whole bunch of depressing documentaries. We really are a rowdy bunch over here.