Monday, November 28, 2005

at least as alive as the vulgar!

My Heart, by Frank O'Hara

I'm not going to cry all the time
nor shall I laugh all the time,
I don't prefer one "strain" to another.
I'd have the immediacy of a bad movie,
not just a sleeper, but also the big,
overproduced first-run kind. I want to be
at least as alive as the vulgar. And if
some aficionado of my mess says
"That's not like Frank!", all to the good! I
don't wear brown and grey suits all the time,
do I? No. I wear workshirts to the opera,
often. I want my feet to be bare,
I want my face to be shaven, and my heart--
you can't plan on the heart, but
the better part of it, my poetry, is open.

A friend of mine sent me this poem many months ago, and I was just roaming through my old email and found it again. I'm so glad I did. She thought the poem and I would be simpatico and we are. I would hire it to be one of my small spokesmen.

Having a baby is helping me wriggle free of...something good to be free

*the tendency to judge myself by my artistic output/lack thereof

*always turning my head from side to side to see where my peer horses are in the race that we aren't actually running anyway

(Anything racetrack-y is an optical illusion that I fall for over and over again, the same way I'm fooled every night by my dreams and I think a very young John Lennon really is offering me $16,000 to buy my house.)

*the stupid wish for my life to look cool, have a particular flavor about it

*the idea that my life will end up worthy or unworthy as a result of anything other than what my goddamn heart did during its stint

I want to always be shaking off whatever Frank's shaking off in that poem there, and then some.


edit: My old and dear friend Kris has a little boy, Linus, and she looks like she's doing some of the very wriggling free that I aspire to do. Look at you go, lady.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

dahmoo doray

Everything good is coming and I can barely take it.

Thanksgiving is fine, but I always just want to leap over it and stuff Nat King Cole's Christmas album into the cd player. Anally, anally, each year I make a little production of putting his version of "The Christmas Song" on, for it must be the first bit of Christmas music I hear in my house. This has been in place since I was about ten years old. My family bore with me, and even got a little fond of this quirk. I think if I missed a year, I might spin out into some sort of gently tragic obsessive-compulsive fugue state, where I'm replaying over and over in my mind the horrid usurper carol that took its place.

I make myself wait until December to inaugurate the Christmas music, but I've never had a blog before, so I felt that there was no law about my styling out the ol' blog in holiday wear a little early.




Tonight, we had Thanksgiving with my cousins. This was a vegetarian nutloaf-y affair, with grace said in Latin and an impromptu cello/recorder concert given by my little cousin Irena and her mom -- they were totally excited and totally out of tune and we all just gaped and grinned and applauded like crazy. After Dave and I came home, we were watching a story on CNN about some woman who gave birth to quadruplets, and when one particular shot came on of the mom holding one of them, I burst into tears.

It's real. We're really having a real baby. A lot of the time this all feels still like an abstraction, and I have a few glimmers of what is going to happen here. But something about seeing that baby tonight just drove it home for a second, deeper than it had been driven before, and I just broke out into joyful Peanuts-style flying-out tears.

Our poor child is screwed next Christmas. Finn is going to be so severely elfed-out he may never forgive us. Dressed like a little candy cane one day, a reindeer the next, a gingersnap the next, and so on. Believe it. For I do not jest. Two motherfucking great tastes that taste great together, a baby and Christmas. Goddamn. Good DAY, sir. I SAID GOOD DAY.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

a brief mania, or, enter the snowman

Yesterday, Dave and I went to a bookstore, and I spent a lot of time in the children's section looking for potential baby books for Finn. I picked a couple of books that were about how much various animal parents love their animal babies, and so, human baby, you can extrapolate that your parents love you a crazy lot, too.

Then I picked this book called "Snowmen at Night", which is all about snowmen at night sliding out to the park and playing baseball and drinking cold cocoa and basically living it up. The illustrations are really bright and charming, and it looked like something a tiny person would think were very funny. (Can't wait to find out what sort of sense of humor little Finn will have. Oh, man. Until he gets old enough to be active on the comedy front, I'm going to be projecting a lu-lu sense of humor on to him.)

Look, I loved reading that snowman book myself. It looked great, and the snowmen looked so cute. And without realizing it, I developed a brief case of snowman fever. I didn't know I had it until Dave and I were leaving the store, and I kept halting by anything snowman-related. Dave finally said, "Hey, there, Snowman-Crazy..." and I had a flash of clarity that in fact I was hypnotized by anything snowman, and I found this hilarious to the point of doubling over.

But, truly, I urge you to consider the snowman afresh. Let yourself be seduced by the round simplicity and benevolence of the snowman. Become as a child again before his gentle, folksy sphericalness.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

oh, garçon...

There's no clever way to deliver this news. Or, there is, but I'm too flabbergasted to find it. Or, there is, but who needs it?!

We found out this morning that we're having a


We can't believe it!

*actual photo from the ultrasound. Amazing, yes?!

We were sure we were having a girl. We were like:

"Oh, I'm having strong girl feelings."
"Oh, me, too."
"Yeah, me, too."
"Yeah, I just keep defaulting to a girl."
"I'm pretty sure it is a girl."
"If it's a boy, it's great!"
"Sure, it's great! Of course!"
"But, really....I just keep seeing a girl."
"I know. Me, too. A little girl!"
"A little girl!"


We had an ultrasound this morning - a week or so earlier than we had planned, but we'd gotten a slightly abnormal result on our blood test last week (scary, bummer, bad moment) so we needed to check it out post-haste. The ultrasound came out good - the little man is looking healthy, he's a good size


We're thrilled! The minute his boyness was revealed to us, it was like, girl, what girl, girls are for girls!

And he was shimmying around like a nutball in there. His arms were just wicketa-wocketa-wicketa-wocketa all over the joint, like one of those boxing nuns or kangaroos. We couldn't believe what we were seeing. And when they told us he was a boy, we couldn't have been more surprised if they'd told us he was a hammerhead shark.

The little man!

Please vote for the best name:


Dave and I were going back and forth about names today. We have a couple of names on the table, but we were so surprised to get this news today that we thought it might be nice to open out the field a little. But then we tried it, opening out the field.

Let me put it this way. If Dave's taste in boy's names and my taste in boy's names were explained in terms of high school teams, his taste would tend toward names you might find on the wrestling team, and mine would tend toward names you might find on the debate team.

I'd float something out there, and he'd shake his head or grimace. Then he'd float something out there and I'd suppress a shudder. Then we remembered that the names we'd had on the table were the names we were able to agree on in the first place. We're close to a decision, now, and we're feeling good.

Welcome, Little Man Rowley!! We love the living shitboxes out of you!

edit: We've pretty much landed on a name now, but we're going to let it sink in a little before we reveal it. I'll just say that this guy can wrestle and debate.

'nother edit: Dave and I were just sitting around chatting about our son, and Dave said, "Have you met my son, ______? Allow me to introduce himself!" Allow me to introduce himself....I can't take it. I keep suddenly giggling about it.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

trials of the pregnant dryer spaceman

Princess Sputnik, by Mark Ryden.

Much is happening. My center of gravity is shifting forward. When I get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, I sway and tilt and grab for doors and sink edges. This makes me nervous. I'm only four and some months along. What will happen when the addition nears completion? Will I need to find a new way to walk? Will I need to tip backwards a little?

When I was in college, there were two oddball guys who had opposite walks. One wore a little red pair of shorts all the time, and walked very fast with his head and torso tipped forward leading the way. This is the song we wrote for him:

Buh nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh I live in Ly-mon*
Buh nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh I got my red shorts on
Buh nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh Don't look for me I'm gone
Buh nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh Goin' to class
Buh nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh Got to get there fast
Buh nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh HEADFIRSTFEETLAST!

*a dorm called Lyman, but for the purposes of this song it's pronounced Ly-monh, or however you spell it when you're sort of droppping the 'n' except for that Frenchy open-mouthed nasal hint of it. Also, "on" and "gone" are sung with that same French ghost 'n'.

Then there was another guy who took a lot of drugs and had a bit of a white guy 'fro going on. When he walked, he tipped a little backwards, like he was walking down a hill that wasn't there. It was always fun to imagine the opening strains of "Purple Haze" when he strolled by.

Bownh-Nownh Bownh-Nownh Bownh-Nownh Bownh-Nownh
BeeerneeerneeeerNEER, Beeerneeerneeerneeer........

The first walk I described could kill the baby later on, so I must be sure never to accidentally do it. And it looks like I might have to cultivate the second one! When you see me walk by, feel free to go all Purple Haze on me in your minds.

Yesterday, pregnancy brought me the pleasure of something I'd never experienced before: coughing, puking and peeing my pants all at the same time. So, that's done. I can cross that off. Let's consider that a fucking fait accompli, and never revisit it again.

Yesterday was also our first meeting with the other midwife at the birth center, Felice. I am in love. She's funny and warm and spicy. We had to take some blood, which I hate, and is impossible to do with my practically veinless arms. We got some out of my hand, and then she called the lab to find out what the minimum amount was for this series of tests. I fell in love with her when she was talking to the lab person, and she said, "Yes, but that's not really true. I know that's not the real minimum. I want to know the real minimum." She stood up for my hand! I nearly made out with her on the spot.

In two weeks we'll get a fancy fetal scan ultrasound. And if the fates are with us, we'll get to find out which flavor baby we have. Holy mama. Oh, mama. Canna wait. Dying to know who we've got.

In non-pregnancy related news, Dave and I went to go see Ellie Parker yesterday. Don't do it. Don't do it. We walked out after forty of the longest minutes ever. Forty Jupiter minutes. Here's Naomi Watts eating a blue ice cream cone. For five Jupiter minutes. Here's Naomi Watts bopping her head back and forth in her car on her way to an audition. Five more Jupiter minutes. My head did the involuntary shaking-back-and-forth thing, which is always the Fourth Horseman of the Entertainment Apocalypse for me. Dave and I agreed that if we were given the choice of staying for all of Ellie Parker or walking back in to the last Woody Allen movie we walked out of, we would have walked back in to the Woody Allen. Harsh toke.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

you ain't got no alibi, maternity pants

What's happening is this: I have suddenly begun to show. I was at a record store day before yesterday and idly put my hands on the upper part of my belly. And it felt not like squishy regular belly, but taut, drumlike, baby-packing.

I was startled, and then delighted, and then apologetic towards my child because the record store was playing very loud, very scary music. Until I felt the taut drumminess of my belly I had forgotten that I was concealing a person underneath my sweater - a person who may have musical tastes, which may have been being trod upon. Also, who knows how far along the ears are? The ears could have been like, you know what? No. We're not going to get any more developed. No. Screw you.

And then yesterday, I ran into a pants issue. Other than my sweatpants, and one other miscellaneous stretchy pair of nice pants, I'm coming up empty with pants that fit. I put on a pair of jeans and then wore them unzipped with the button and buttonhole connected by a string, like some sort of trashy, retarded Ellie May Clampett. Let it be known, of course, that my shirt was LONG. But you carry yourself differently when you know you have something scandalously pitiful going on at your waistband.

I understand now that it's time. But I don't want it to be time. I don't want it to be time for these:

And it can never be time for these:

And even though these are good from the elastic down, and nobody would see the elastic part, the elastic part depresses me. Tell me it doesn't depress you:

And those comparatively cute corduroy maternity pants cost $185, to which I say Stop That.

What I want to spend my money on is this:

Shut up, I like them.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

great balls of fire!

Yesterday I got to revisit an excellent joke with my friend Stephen. And, if you have access to a piano, you can play, too! You don't have to know how to play piano, either. It's better if you don't, actually.

You are going to play Great Balls of Fire just like Jerry Lee Lewis, only better.

This picture of Dennis Quaid as Jerry Lee Lewis gives you an idea of
the sort of spirit I want you to bring to this thing. Plus he is so very hot.

Everybody knows the rhythm of the song, right? And everybody knows how to put their finger on the right side of the keyboard and drag it down to the left to make that trill that's like, SHOWMANSHIP!!

boom boom boom BOOM
You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain
boom boom boom BOOM

Too much love drive a man insane
boom boom boom BOOM

You broke my will
boom boom boom BOOM

But what a thrill
boom boom boom
Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Fire
BOOM BOOM BOOM Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeow(trill)

Kiss me baby
boom-ba boom-ba boom-ba boom-ba

boom-ba boom-ba boom-ba boom-ba

boom-ba boom-ba boom-ba boom-ba

Feels GOOD!
boom-ba boom-ba boom-ba boom-ba

Hold me baby
boom-ba boom-ba boom-ba boom-ba
BOOM I wanna love you like a lover should
boom boom boom BOOM You're fine
boom boom boom BOOM So kind
boom boom boom
Want to tell this world that you're

Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!

So, every time where there's a "boom", just bang on the piano with both hands in any old place in any old position. Just do it in rhythm! You don't even need to make piano hands if you don't want to - you can let your hands be like big dead meat pads.

Dernk darnk doink DONK You shake my nerves.....

Bonk Deenk Donk GERNK Too much love......

Blunk Conk Doonk MERNK You broke my will...

BLAMP FLOMP BRRMMP Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeowwww!

And sell it! Sing it out! Go nuts! When you say "Feels good!" let there be NO DOUBT that it feels good! Look surprised and delighted all the time at how good at piano you are! And when you do that trill, give your audience a look that's like, oh yeah, here it COMES, MAMA.

You can pretty much stop after "Want to tell this world that you're mine mine mine mine". You will have been awesome enough for long enough. Everyone will have had time to be impressed.