Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's Raining Men... DUCK, RUN FOR COVAAAA!

I believe I've mentioned Ernesto and his extreme hotness. Well, let me just say that he is totally worthy of an entire post.

Have you seen Robin Hood, Men in Tights? If you haven't, you should. It's a stupid fucking movie in the absolute best ways. When I was wee, Little John and Will (Robin's sidekicks) were the objects of my adoration and they still evoke warmy fuzzies when I watch the movie. Little John is a huge man of little words while Will is sharp-witted, dark and has the prerequisite facial hair. Nesto is the perfect combination between these two, my ultimate crush.

Tall, a bigger (than my norm) man, with dark hair, eyes and sense of humor, and that saucy accent, oh the dirty things he makes me daydream...

We've worked together a little over a two years now and while there has been gentle flirting, it's not more serious than a workplace crush who, I suspect, knows of my infatuation.

He's had a hard life, being raised one of many children, first generation Americans on the nitty-gritty South Side of Milwaukee. He got into a spot of trouble when he was younger and is now focusing on flipping homes on his off-time and generally being a hermit. Literally, this guy qualifies for hermit-status, I've gotten him out with me once and I tend to be pretty persuasive when I have ulterior motives.

He's one of those people that can fix anything and proves himself invaluable to me by performing the routine maintenence on my car (while most women measure a month by menses, he has an inner 3-month calendar for oil changes and air filter checks) and also not so routine maintenence such as when my car window gets smashed in and he saves me 300.00+ dollars. And let's not forget helping me move, or setting up my bookcase (with books) or moving the enormous TV generously donated to me. And when I offer him some sort of culinary compensation (cherry pie, yo?), he graciously refuses with one of those killer smiles.

Other wonderful things about Nesto:
1. He likes me in pink - which I actually wear sometimes, although I hate it, for him. Gag.
2. He lies to me. "That split lip is barely noticeable..."
3. When he gets worked up about something, he speaks rapidly in Spanish while his voice gets louder and louder. It's really funny to hear, especially since I don't know what he's saying.
4. He's shy.
5. He's wonderful with Lola.
6. THE smile, yowza.

One HORRIBLE Thing about Nesto:
1. Longtime girlfriend, bum bum buuuuuummmmmm....

SO he finally made me an offer to go out tomorrow night for dinner and beers and I'm going to be on my best behavior. The mantra for the night will go something like "I will not put the moves on poor Nesto, I will put the moves on poor Nesto...."

But, dear audience... all I really want to do is put the moves on dear, sexy Ernesto.

PS. Another longtime crush of mine, a 30ish adjuster just let me in on the fact that him and his wife are splitting. To console him and take his mind off his grief, I'm taking him out on Friday night, ever-dependable Etta.

Christmas Break Updates

Wow, glad that X-Mas bile is out of my system, I was starting to dislike myself...

Christmas was, of course, perfectly wonderful, making me feel like a foolish harpy. Lola got many, many toys, including a doll house that actually made her step back and say "WOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!" She unwrapped a majority of her presents, my presents and Tee's presents, much improvement from last year when the paper itself held more wonder for her than the carefully chosen presents inside.

There was little to no whining, tamtrum-throwing or overtiredness (on her part or mine) and since I didn't have to attend more than two places this year (instead of 3+in previous years) it turned out to be the most relaxing Christmas on the books. Lo and Tee napped while I watched Willow, we ate leftover tostadas and then visited my aunt and uncle's home for enchiladas. I enjoy the Hispanic side of my family because they are accepting and loud and the kitchen's always hopping, and because they customized a whole role of enchiladas without meat especially for moi.

Next time you have 30-some crazy Mexican relatives over at your house and you are supervising/expertly filling/rolling tortillas in the enchilada chain gang, you tell me if you remember ONE/10,000 of your nieces doesn't eat meat. Love ya Uncle Dean.

Other things to note: Lola decided to eat crackers in bed one morning and I gave her my mostly unconsious go-ahead and fell back asleep. When I wake up, it was like a Ritz genocide in my bed. I had a whole role of buttery, delicious crackers sprinkled like crispy confetti, under my prostrate body, nestled between my tits, mooshed into my pillow, hiding in the crack between the bed and wall. Judging from how many there were in my bed, she probably ate about two and then realized how fun it was to shower Sleeping Butthead with them. I'm just glad she hasn't pulled one of those poop-smears, it could've been a lot worse.

On the Tee Front, we went to see The Spirit on Sunday and I believe that while absence makes the heart grow fonder, close proximity just makes us fucking annoyed with one another. If you have a cuddly, comfortable date-night in mind (as I did), keep dreaming. This was stiff and careful, almost formal without the pleasant nervousness of a date with someone you don't know that well. We were so anxious not to say the wrong thing, piss the other off, that we barely talked, smiled only a little, laughed not at all. This is stupid, why are we even trying?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'll Wish You A Genuinely OK Christmas

The fact that every Christmas wish is preceded by a cheery adjective (MERRY Christmas, HAPPY Holidays, Have a GREAT New Year) and is often directed at me from such insincere sources as telemarketers and Kohl's cashiers makes me decidedly UNfestive.

This year I've avoided the overload of Christmas carols (a sure way make me surly) as I no longer work in retail and I've invested in XM (now Sirius) radio and my new shiny, radioactive-banana-yellow Ipod but the whole I can't help but express my opinion that this holiday rings of falseness and stinks of consumerism. All the things I enjoy about Christmas (see list below) are in short-stock this year. I'm working overtime to pay bills and afford presents, robbing me of cookie/family time and as for the kisses, see enormous, untimely cold sore...
1. Family
2. Making cookies/mess in the kitchen
3. Shopping for people I love
4. Mistletoe kisses
5. Christmas smells (probably fits with #2)
6. Seeing Lo get all excited about her presents

I was involved in a car accident on the coldest day of the eon and my poor BFF is pretty down about the loss of her car. Basic rule of thumb in my life: when Megan is down, it affects my mood as well. Blah.

Also, I just found out a friend's dad died a few days ago, he couldn't have been more than 55. Although he has been in poorish health since I've known her and I found him to be wholly unlikable, I've been caught up in a gauntlet of morbid thoughts. Thoughts that cannot be shared because although I consider myself a somewhat-educated modern woman, I do have irrational superstitions about "saying" these macabre what-if's

Can't we just go the more heartfelt and realistic route of wishing someone an OK Christmas? Why does it have to be so FANmuthafuckinTASTIC, because Hallmark says so? Bah Humbug.

Yikes, this post sure is whiny. Lo siento for bringing the holiday cheer down 20 notches, I'm sure life will be peachy once I go hang out with Lo!

Have a jolly, merry, fun, exciting, relaxing, edible, happy Christmas ya'll.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Put On A Happy Face

Neil Gaiman is so sexy...
Guess who bought herself The Absolute Sandman Vol. I (for twenty bucks less than list price) after dreaming about it for two months??

Yup, good guess, I did.

Guess who's going to have a great Christmas despite family functions numbering in the zillions, a cold sore so big it's developing its own personality, potential Lola/holiday toy meltdowns and prolonged contact with Tee's mother?

That's right, me.

A good book can fix ANYTHING folks. And now I've just confirmed my nerdiness to the entire world, but la-de-da, I don't care because this comic book is "for intellectuals."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Uterus Out On Lunch, Be Back In 5 Years

I wanted a son. I want a son. A little guy to love his Mama best and think his best sister is the coolest in the world. I remember the agony of waiting and anticipation of the bated-breathe genre to meet your child. I know the (possible) next time around, I won't be so fearful, I could enjoy the process more... The planning of the perfect nursery, washing baby clothes, holding and nursing your child for the first time.

UGH, fucking hormones.

Everybody said that once the first child is about two, that's when moms start wanting another. I HATE when everybody is right. Luckily, although heavily swayed by hormones and impulse (hence Lola) I am not entirely ruled by such hasty factors and I do have common sense.

Therefore, a list:

Excellent Reasons Why Having Another Child Is a Stupid Fucking Idea:
1. No house
2. No boyfriend
3. No money
4. 4+ years of school STILL
5. Loans, car payments
6. Love having my body to myself
7. Can't fit groceries and 2 car seats in my car
8. Only 23!
9. HATE pregnancy!!!!!!
10. Work full-time, school part-time

These crazy baby-thoughts don't appear out of thin air however, I've had help. Example A: Tee seems to be mentioning Lo's babyhood an awful lot lately, with a tone of wistfulness that I admit to feeling as well. Example B: He's been teasing me about admitting to wanting another child but when he mentions the future there is an "s" after kid, as is more than the one we have right now. Example C: After mentioning my boobs hurt (the only symptom of getting my period, hurray Mirena!) he said "maybe you're pregnant" in a jovial, ha-ha kind of way that contained more than a hint of hope.

AHHHHHH! Admittedly, we do work well as a parental team but that's a really bad reason to create another child if we're unsure of our long-term compatibility. Who created my loathesome enemy, the pituitary gland!?

For the sake of ourselves and especially Lo, I will be installing an electric fence around my vulva and one of those spiky anti-rape tampons where instead of mauling the intruding penis, it'll inconsolably wail with a newborns cry for 3 hours. Ha, self! Try and get horny now...

Oh yeah, and I'll leave my IUD in til it's time to get another installed...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Reflections on a Child Well-Cooked

When I was cooking Lo, I was intensely curious to see what she would turn out like. When she was born, I was pretty disappointed because, well, she looked like zillion other babies have and will look: small, scrawny and squished. She's slowly becoming her own wonderful person and one month and eight days before she turns two, I'm going to record some of wonderful Lolaness I've experienced and predict what I think will happen next.
Lola has this little button nose. Her nostrils are perfectly round, the perfect size to stick baby peas or candy buttons into. Having done this myself as a child, I know it's a bad idea but it's still tempting because her nose seems made for foreign objects. Both Tee's and my nose are long and lean (probably the only part of me that can be described as such) and my nostrils tend more towards a keyhole shape, although I have resisted the urge to insert keys in them, I have learned some lessons in my 23 years...

Lola has beautiful lips. She has a sunshiney smile that lights up her whole face and invites the viewer of said smile to give one of their own. Right now, her face has the tendency to look very serious or somber if she's not smiling, a trait I must've passed on. I do hope she outgrows this as I have people who tell me I was forbidding and hard to approach if I was quiet and unsmiling when we met. Oftentimes this is because I'm either uncomfortable, shy or hungover, but I don't like coming off as unreceptable to new people simply because I'm not smiling.

This somber tendency does have the positive effect of contrast though, for when Lola does smile, it makes her face light up, her eyes crinkle, her dimples peep out and her tiny pearly whites flash. It should be described more as shiteatin' grin than a smile though, her jaws slightly opened, that naughty gleam in her eyes....

Someday, her face will elongate and her high cheekbones (just barely visible now) will emerge from her presently round, fat cheeks. Her tiny rosebud mouth will spread wider across her face and her lower lip will gain a sensual curve.

Those dark, dark eyes with those ridiculously long, black lashes will stay the same, just a bit smaller than most with a tendency to "squinch" up when she laughs. She'll use those unreadable eyes to hold someone's stare when they try to intimidate her, she'll likely need glasses to correct their inheirited awful vision and she'll poke them with the dreaded mascara wand poke known to women (and some men) 'round the world.

Her wispy baby hair with its ringlet curls will thicken...and thicken... and thicken til its a truly unruly mass. Her mama will NEVER make her cut or brush it if she doesn't want to, but dreads are a definite possibility if such is the case.

As for her personality, Lo prefers one on one attention with her fans. She enjoys singing, dancing (swing and slow) and reading books (YEA!). She has a strong streak of goofiness that when she's "caught" doing something weird, she'll give a little smile that conveys "yeah, even I know this weird, but hey, I'm Lola..." She's snuggly at times, often suprising me with requests of "up, UP" just to cup my face in her little hands, look at me, smile and give an eskimo kiss, so cute I could barf.

She's got quirks that stink of OCD like rigorously cleaning ANY lint or dirt from between her toes, thrusting her entire arm down my shirt to squeeze, place toys between and shout at my boobs and constantly rambling on about and demanding kisses on "owww-ies" until the damn things finally heal.

This might mean that I'm raising a bedreaded, bespectacled, smiley button-nosed,cleanfreak, hypochondriac lesbian but I choose to think it's probably just one well-cooked kid.

PS. More pictures of this wonderful kid of mine after X-Mas, we hear Santa might be getting us a camera...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ketchup, Mustard, Onions, Lettuce, Tomato, Garlic Mayo and a Whole Wheat Bun

Wow, long break.

Synopsis of busy time:

Went to Chicago, was sick, was COLD, was miserable...but I got a pretty cool purse that I'm not supposed to know about for X-Mas so it made it almost worth it. Missed Lola like a dull, constant toothache, glad to be home!

Shopped til I dropped, on several occasions for other people I love dearly.

Lola, Tee and I have been spending a lot of family time together, see shopping til we're dropping...

Lo now says "yeis" instead of "yeeeeaaaaahh" after my mom yelled at my brother for mumbling "yeah" all the time. It's so cute it crunches down on my tasty, crunchy exterior shell and melts my itty-bitty milk chocolate heart. Ok, I don't know why I referenced an M&M as my heart, it's been a weird day...

Went out drinking beer and Celtic Crossing with Meg and Roy one Wednesday night after school (on a truly empty stomach, STOOOPID) and barfed my fucking guts out. Did I mention this was a Wednesday night? And I had to wake up for work at 6am the next day? I will say that my new toilet bowl cleaner really gets the job done though, I'm sticking with this product.




Tee asked me out on a date, I accepted (and was actually kinda giddy about it) but then we didn't have a sitter so Lo and I went to sleep at 9:30am and Tee went out with friends.

I guess that's all folks, all calm on the Midwest Front.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Material Expressions of My Holiday Spirit


Nelly - DVD player, Chappelle Show, earrings

Dad - Mudcrutch CD, The Watchmen graphic novel

Lola - Boots, BabyLegs, book

Gray - Book, Shrek DVD, Bandaids

Jessica - Bakewise, Cowgirl chapstick

Megan - Record wall sconces, Malt Shoppe CD

Roy - the cutest ashtray in all the world

Mari - Zappa print

Pete - REI giftcard, My Ishmael book

Corrina - Virgin Chapstick, Dreamy socks, necklace that will come AFTER X-mas


Chad - 1/16th, chillum, burn some "smokin' music"

Tee - 8GB flash drive, skull wristwarmers, get socks

Edited as of 12-18-08

Tropical Pirates In a Frigid Port

Holy backlog of silly, unpublished posts... Merry Early X-Mas present!

A WI List

* Pirates Don't Like Winter Because:

Waking up earlier to warm up the car
Falling on my ass due to hidden ice
The murky yellow color I turn that can only be achieved by 4.5 months of winter
Cold air makes my sensitive teeth twinge, ick
The slow decline into constant irritation due to lack of sunlight for days on end.
The glasses fog when entering a room
Neverending hum of space heaters
Packing a squirmy toddler in an enormous yellow poofy-coat into a carseat while snowflakes are attacking my exposed lower back.
Replacing the boots, mittens, hat, scarf and socks that Lola took off while in the car, every time we need to get out.
Car can't make it up the hill
The view outside the windows perfectly matches my boring white walls inside
Practical WI boots = ugly and cool ones = death
Fingers and toes go all purple and numb
We currently have 5" and showing no signs of stopping...make it stop, make it stop, make it STOP!

* Pro-pirate activities

Snow angels
Sledding and the Lola squeals it induces
Seeing Lo in a huge poofy yellow coat, snowpants, mittens and scarf, hat, he he, very Christmas Story-like
Easy to find animal tracks, feel like Strider from LOTR's
Smoke less
Can grow out leg hair
Vegetarian chili and root beer floats
Stay home (enforced by feet of snow) and watch movies
Snow days
Hot chocolate & Baileys

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Wonderful Kid

I've been doing a lot of thinking about being a mom lately and (obviously) specifically being Lola's mom.

Before Lo was born, I was worried I wouldn't be comfortable with being called Mommy. (For the record, I'm still not "Mommy" but I am a bonafide "Mama.") I'm sure I'm not the first nor last first-timer to have qualms about entering the realm of title vs the more familiar name, I still think it was a valid worry because I'm not so quick to accept change.

I can't pinpoint the exact moment when Mama become comfortable but I can tell you that I took me a long while before I could refer to myself as Mama without an inner wince.

Last night I found myself at Panera, alone for once because Tee's mother had Lo. I listened to a little girl calling her "Moooooooooommmmmm" to see what kind of soda to fill their communal cup with. Now I'm not prone to fits or faints or seizures or visions, us sturdy Midwesterners are stoically ANTI that sort of nonsense but I had this weird, dizzy disorientation while watching this child.
"Is that what Lola sounds like when calling me?"
"Is that Lola in a few years?"
"How do I identify with that woman, a mother?"
"Will that be me in a few years?"

I saw myself stacked amongst the rest of the worlds' moms, like still frames in a projector reel.

This got me thinking of images of mothers everywhere, all the same, same name, same post-partum shape, same weary way of responding "what honey?" I actually had to shake my head to dispel this uncomfortable train of thought and allow my rational side to take over.

I don't have to identify with that woman just because we're both mothers. Lola and I are a mother-daughter dream team no matter the parallels we have with others. Despite the fact that I DO carry the same title as millions of other women. I DO have a saggy mom-body and I DO have the habit of absentmindedly answering Lola's many queries with "yes baby...?"

I think I was worried about a loss of self way back when Lo was in utero and I was busy terrifying myself with "what-if's". I saw the similarities of the many many Moms out there but there was one thing I didn't, nay, couldn't have known yet.

While I do share many characteristics with many others, there's one thing I don't share with them... Lola. And this is a major difference indeed. Because Lo is so original in and of herself, I can indulge in some typical mom behavior like forgetting to care about things the used to matter (shaving of legs, styling of hair, clean clothes), having a horribly messy car (mooshed crackers, spilled juice), and looking wildly around a store when I hear a child shouting "MAMA, MAMA!" even when my child is in the cart in front of me.

Lo counteracts this by singing about everyday objects like newts, Nanny-Baby Kitty, Mama, ice and the moon. By being so contemptuous of banana anything that the offending food item will get an icy stare, how dare it be banana flavored? By sleeping with her mouth open, unabashedly snoring. By being Lo.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes, a very small but key difference can save you from being just like everyone else. Mine is approximately 29 pounds and is the Lola half of the Lola and Mama dream team.

Borrowed "Humor"

Thanks MB!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Nothing too exciting to write so I decided to post a picture of me and my most favorite of redheads. This picture makes me smile. It also convinces me that I need to tone up my arms.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We Remember

In my small elementary school, we always had some sort of Thanksgiving celebration. Instead of bagged lunches or Marriott Food Service mush, the school would put together a potluck lunch with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, canned cranberry sauce. The festive decorations included turkeys shaped by little handprints and stuck to the gym walls with double sided tape, streamers, and little cartoon pilgrims and indians made of cardboard that you can probably order from a magazine sent specifically to teachers for specifically this purpose. We also got to wear either a handmade pilgrim's hat or a band of construction paper with feathers in the back to represent the members of the original feast, I was an Indian if you were wondering.

Now, I'm a picky eater and it was even worse as a child because I was trapped in my pickiness by lack of autonomy, which sucked. I didn't care for pressed turkey, salty gravy and watery-from-a-pouch mashed potatoes and maybe this disdain for our "feast" food made this cold pit form. It's the clearest damn memory but one particular year I just couldn't eat, I felt out of place and slightly queasy and uncomfortable with the whole celebration. I couldn't wait to escape the gym/cafeteria but I didn't have a real reason to leave if I was stopped by a lunch monitor so I stayed.

I remember talking about Girl Scouts and waving to Miss Krystoviac and realizing that other people were actually enjoying this celebration, with it's lax rules of changing tables (normally prohibited) and the presence of teachers normally teaching during this period who came to nip up some turkey and have a quick gossip.

This is the most uncomfortable moment I can ever remember having. I was an outsider during an event designed to mimic a feast of togetherness.

Now, after enduring a class which focused on the plight of the Native Americans after the relations turned sour with the Europeans, maybe I was right to be uncomfortable. I was 19 by the time I was educated on the atrocities committed against our land's native people. Call me naive, call me ignorant but I just didn't know.

I learned all about the systematic, purposeful slaughter of the Native Americans mostly through surviving first-hand letters and diaries of monks and these monks didn't pull any punches or leave out any details. It hurt to read this stuff, I felt betrayed by my lack of knowledge and the thing that horrified me the most was my age. How, after all the Thanksgiving celebrations I'd gone through, had nobody mentioned this. As a kid we were fed a story line that went something like this: The pilgrims and Indians sit down and have a nice feast, which is good, because otherwise those pilgrims would've starved. Trading with those nice Indians brought them knowledge of this New World, how to survive. Now we live here, the end.

So, starting this Thanksgiving, I'm going to start remembering and sharing more of the story. When we go around the table and tell what we are thankful for, I'm going to tell my family an anecdote about how blankets infected with smallpox were sent to Native Americans as a gift, and I'm thankful for knowing this happened so that I can remember it.

A simple remembrance in one person being passed on to seven more. An acknowledgment of the horrors our Natives endured and a thankfulness that they are still here today.

Monday, November 24, 2008


1. Tonight I'm dining with a Lola fan, Beth. I'm going to give my Matogarzella foccacia one more tweaking tonight before unveiling it for a large crowd at Italian Night (#3). I'm going to pair my yeasty-wonder with stir-fry veggies and some tortelleni, not to impress my dinner date but because it sounds real good. Jeez, what a gracious hostess...

2. On Wednesday there is a Dylan tribute concert at Linnemanns in Riverwest. My famous second cousin and my father will be playing there, I'm skipping half my class and I'm going! I normally would count this as the most exciting thing to happen on my Wednesday: 20 bands! great cause! Bob Dylan songs! my family doin' some singing! BUT then I think about what awaits me after this concert... Upon returning home, I get to help my mama cook a Thanksgiving feast with lots of delicious meat-free recipes that I can't wait to try out: dilled green beans, cornbread, chard ravioli salad, golden-crusted brussel sprouts? I'm about to nut in my pants.

3. On Saturday, Meg and I are hosting Italian Night, in which she makes a few pans of meaty lasagna, and I make a pan of meatless lasagna with cottage AND ricotta cheese AND green pepper AND onion AND a few dollops of spinach. We'll whip up some salad a la Olive Garden, throw together an Oreo cheescake and round II of Matogarzella focaccia (hopefully prefected by then, crossing fingers!) and we'll have "food so good, it make you wanna slap yo mama!"

These three chow-days have got me so pumped! I can't wait to make a huge mess in the kitchen and hopefully have lots of glorious food emerge from the banging of pots, the "helping" of Lola and the swearing and laughter of yours truly. Tee hee, I sure love food.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fastidious Lo

Lola is very different from me. Yes, we both think other people getting injured (we're talking a sharp blow to the funny bone, we're not sadistic!) is extremely funny. We both like cartoons like the BackYardigans. We both smile at men, a lot. BUT, Lo has some very girl-girl qualities that I lack. It might be that I have plenty of masculine qualities (read: low voice, ironic sense of humor, no girly squealing, no-strings mentality) and she's the normal one, I've no idea.

Some of these traits are ok. She doesn't like wind blowing her hair around. I enjoy the windows down, even far into the winter (with the heat BLASTING) but it's no big thing, when Lo's in the car, windows up, air on. Mildly annoying, but do-able.

She loves gaudy shit in her hair. My mom tells me I was attracted to the full-out sequins EVERYTHING during my 80's childhood. Ok, maybe she'll grow out of it. When she comes home from Tee's parent's with four pounds of ribbon, clips and do-dads in her hair, I inwardly groan but no harm done.

She hates poop. We're still trying to work with this one. Not that I love it or anything but her reaction to poop can get messy...

She hates being dirty. This kid will start taking off her shirt after a minuscule splash of juice gets on it, outside, in November, in Wisconsin. See also: batshit crazy idea. This still isn't horrible, some people must be clean. I don't, but I get it.

The deal-breaker is with traditionally "icky" things. I like slimy things. Scratch that, I LOVE slimy things. Not slimy edible things like raw calamari, more like fish and worms. Catching frogs in the smelly shoreline muck, hurray! Things that slither, my favorite! I get a goofy-ass grin and tingles from things that crawl like crabs and inchworms and tarantulas. Things that not everyone likes. Guess who else doesn't like these things?

I'll embrace my daughter's uniqueness, I DON'T want a clone copy of myself! Shit, I even buy her babies and hair things sometimes because I know it makes her happy but I'm going to take her fishing and I'm going to get her a pair of thigh-high waders and we're doing to catch us some slimy animals. We're going to visit the reptile room regularly during her childhood and we're going to buy some reptile friends.

I won't have a daughter who screams at the sight of a spider if it kills me! This weekend, I'm going to take Lo and Tee to get some firebelly newts, my first step towards converting Lola to the slimy side.

Postscript: Not ALL creepy-crawlies give me the jollies... Keep your centipedes at home people, or I'll unleash my inner girly-girl and jump onto your back until you "killitkillitKILLIT!"

Oh, My Achin' Tear Ducts!

I've been really weepy lately. Not in a droopy, moping weeping-willow sort of a way but more like a crazy pregnant hormone kind of way. Which thankfully isn't possible. Hurray for IUD's!

I attended my Literature about the Morality of War class on Wednesday and we had two speakers who came to tell us about their experiences in the Vietnam War. Ouch. For the record, I am against war. Easy to say right? I can also say that I'm still supporting our soldiers but also, it's easy to make a statement and a whole different thing to "live it" if you will. So now is when I make a confession: for all that I say I support the soldiers, I scoff at the magnetic "support the troops" bumper stickers. I inwardly sneer at recruitment officers. When I hear how someone enlisted because "it's their duty" I roll my frickin eyes.

Passive-aggressive bad attitude? Oh no doubt. But I was raised in a family that actually would've moved to Canada if any the children were drafted and any mention of joining the military was met with a vehement discouragement. So with that back story, I listened to these two men talk about their war experience:

One had a florid face and was loud and outspoken about his service. He was traumatized from the horrors witnessed and came back to a different America from the one he left. The lack of news halfway across the world kept him in the dark about the social revolution going on at home. He went from 70 degrees in Vietnam to 12 degrees in Chicago and got spat on leaving the train station. He couldn't understand the hatred people had for him, he was called a baby-killer, he couldn't get out of that uniform fast enough.

Now even me, with my inbred suspicion of all things military think that's overboard. Yeah, enlisting was dumb, volunteering for Vietnam while stationed in Germany originally was incredibly dumb but this is one of ours. Hate the war not the soldiers.

He also spoke of his family issues after returning home. He didn't talk about the war until 10 years ago. His guilt and and shame and disappointment and silence eventually turned him to booze, he admitted to our entire class that he became a mean drunk. His wife divorced him, he thought of suicide. The one thing that really stuck with me was that "this ordeal he went through was 30 years ago, why couldn't he just get over it?" and "how could he come out and talk about it now, 30 years later and blame his problems on it when it's been so long."

He created a war veteran's outreach program, kicked the alcoholism and now speaks and speaks eloquently about his experience. I bit my cheek three times in 30 minutes trying not to cry.

The other speaker was shy and nervous and had the nicest smile I've ever seen. If he were 30 years younger... Back on track, he was a chaplain for the Marines and spoke more on moral issues. He was enrolled in a Morality PhD program at a liberal school in Chicago when he decided to go to Vietnam. When asked his reasons by his incredulous colleagues, he said "I just want to help people." My kind of man.

He spoke about commanders having to make difficult decisions on whether to evacuate displaced villagers via helicopter or abandon them to certain slaughter. (He abandoned them as they might have had enemy placements in the group.) He spoke of a time when his father went to a six grade class with him and listened to him speak. When a child asked how his service affected the family back home, he redirected the question to his dad. His father mentioned a time when the family was watching the news and heard a chaplain in his battalion was killed but no name was mentioned. He discussed the uncertainty they lived in, the fear they had and the shameful hope that it wasn't their son, but someone else's. Shit, I was crying now.

Those two men really hit home that people are out there suffering from these experiences, that even if they come back whole and alive, they come back changed. I think that I've always been preoccupied by the returning-hero fairytale where men go off, do manly, war-like deeds and come home to their fresh-out-of-high school wives and make zillions of army brats. Cliche, cliche, cliche but I think that's the pit I've been falling into. One encounter with charismatic speakers won't undo a lifetime of anti-military conditioning but it can make me think things over...and cry.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Making the Switch

It would be difficult being the mother of this child. Difficult choices. More on this later.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What's All the Eggcitement About? har har

My St. Paul weekend was great. I ate overpriced cafe food, hit up a record/clothing/head shop and generally indulged my inner hedonist. There was plenty of outfit changing, hair cuts, whiskey, pipes, acorn squash (with brown sugar), sleeping and a complete lack of showers! A very fine weekend indeed.

To radically change directions, I've been contemplating becoming an egg donor. (Can you be an egg "donor" if you get paid? I guess I'm still donating said egg to another couple but if there's payment does it lose it's meaning? I guess the extraction is somewhat painful and the screening process is time-comsuming, is it a cop-out if I view the payment as "compensation?" Why do I feel guilty for even thinking about receiving money for this process, it is my egg after all and it's coming out of my body... Ahhh, calm down!)

Ever since I became of fan of Julie's blog and read her entire archived history and laughed and cried and sighed and sympathised and cheered with her about her fertility challenges, I've thought about the good I could do in this process. I could also get about 3 grand which could go into the house down-payment fund... Or it could get me through multiple semesters... Or it could hang out and wait til Lola or I decide to take up a hobby that deals with band saws, nail guns or blowtorches...

BUUUUUUTTTT... on the other hand, while I'm considering how wonderful it would be if my "donation" ended up completing a family and realizing somebody's dream of becoming a mother, my neurotic little mind starts ticking.

How could I not be curious as to what a person with half my genetic makeup is like. I would want to know if my genes dominated, is the child's hair curly? Does he or she have smallish almond eyes? What about those baby hairs that never grow right at the hairline? If it's a girl, does she have the same personality quirks as me and Lo? I feel like I should warn the prospective parents that in my family, we get real cranky, real fast if we're not fed on time, be aware. In short, I feel like I might get to emotionally attached to "my egg" and the genetics associated.

And then, when my mom sees the flyer I brought home from school, she says, "What if that child and Lola grow up someday and met and fall in love and never know they're related." Oh, thanks Mom, now I'm worrying about some crazy Lifetime Movie plot come to real life, my life, Lo's life...

But then I come full-circle and think about the good things I could do with that money, I could invest it for Lola's schooling. I could give my child a solid start while helping someone have one of their own. Plus, we Llanases are a healthy bunch, we make exceptionally cute children and it's really something I believe in.

Will I do it?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Christmas is Coming, the Goose is Getting Fat tra la la...

Oh poor blog. With such a badass name, an unsuspecting reader might expect sharp wit and humor, analytical debates on politics and cutting edge technological reviews. Instead, they find a Christmas List:

Lola: baby legs, a painting (or a print to be more specific b/c her Mama's too poor to afford the original) that somehow contains the moon, another favorite topic of discussion these days.

Tee: Terry Brooks books, still waiting on a list.

Megan: record wall things, a 50's "malt shoppe" CD

Mari/Ashley: lip stuff, mirrors, maybe some buttons (ETSY stuff)

Mom: UNKNOWN! - possibly a mini-vacation with Dad, split costs with siblings

Dad: Mudcrutch CD

Corrina - bag or go in for a pair of shoes (red patent or snakeskin Dansko's)

Pete - something off his list

Jessica - Bakewise, something off her list

Nelly - new earring for newly pierced ear, see Pete.

Chad - my favorite present of all, the gift of music. Burn a bunch of CDs for him of all genres so he doesn't listen to talk radio constantly. Buy a little CD case and present present.

Myself - bright and shining banana yellow 16GB Ipod Nano, to buy purchased tomorrow. Jeez, I'm so spoiled.

Tee's parents - NOTHING, know why? Because I'm not the girlfriend! So the impossible job of shopping for people with no interests besides indulging every self-interest no longer falls on me. Tra fucking la la la. This X-Mas will be goooooood!

Royboy - Etsy butt-tray

Monkey - new fleece cat whip toy, a favorite since kittenhood.

That's all I've got for today. Lo is at work with me and she's currently on the floor looking at a book/toy called "Granny's Purse." She's picking out the pictures and naming our family members and nothing is more important right now than joining her on the rug to discuss whether that picture resembles Nanny's Baby Kitty or Satan Mac more.

Chiao, wish me luck in St. Paul this weekend!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oh Beautous Wednesday

First Connecticut Same-Sex Couple Marries
Judge Gives Final Ruling Allowing Gay Marriage


POSTED: 9:39 am EST November 12, 2008
UPDATED: 11:29 am EST November 12, 2008

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Less than two hours after a court ruling became official, Connecticut first same-sex wedding has taken place.

Peg Oliveira and Jennifer Vickery, of New Haven, got married Wednesday next to New Haven City Hall, near a farmer's market. The couple said their vows and exchanged rings in a brief ceremony led by Judge F. Herbert Gruendel.

State Rep. To Be Among First Gay Marriages

Wednesday morning Judge Jonathan Silbert entered the final judgment, allowing for same-sex couples to marry in Connecticut.

State Rep. Beth Bye and her partner Tracy Wilson told Eyewitness News Tuesday night that they were hoping to be the first to turn their civil union into a legal marriage.

Wilson, a high school teacher and town historian, said she and Bye have been together for more than six years.

"We are very happy to join the world of the married -- the word has meaning, and it has meaning to us," she said. "We feel so lucky to be in Connecticut right now."

Only Connecticut and Massachusetts have legalized gay marriage. The unions were legal in California until last week when voters passed an amendment banning same-sex marriage. A few other states in the country have followed suit. Connecticut voters rejected a ballot question last week proposing a constitutional convention to amend the state's constitution, dealing a major blow to opponents of same-sex marriage.

State Rep. and co-chairman of the Connecticut General Assembly's Judiciary Committee, Mike Lawlor, lectured at the University of New Haven Tuesday night on the subject. He said it's obvious when he speaks about the issue in front of a classroom that people's attitudes are changing.

"I think that speaks a lot about us as a state -- we are open-minded. We embrace and show happy couples should have advantages. Now gay people will share what straight people have enjoyed for many, many years," he said.

Many Connecticut couples planned to join Bye and Wilson in being among the first to take advantage of the new law Wednesday

Some Connecticut couples planned to celebrate by immediately marching to New Haven's City Hall to get marriage licenses. At least one ceremony was scheduled Wednesday morning on the New Haven green.

The health department had new marriage applications printed that reflect the change. Instead of putting one name under "bride" and the other under "groom," couples will see two boxes marked "bride/groom/spouse."

Joseph Camposeo, Manchester's town clerk and president of the Connecticut Town Clerks Association, said they were notified by e-mail shortly after 9:30 a.m. to start issuing the licenses.

"The feedback I'm getting from other clerks is that we're all at the ready, but no one really has a sense yet of what kind of volume we're going to get," he said.

Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in favor of allowing gay marriage in an Oct. 10 decision spurred by a lawsuite filed by eight couples challenged a state law prohibiting gay marriages. Several of the suit's plaintiffs wept openly as Silbert made his ruling Wednesday.

Today is historic legally and culturally and socially," said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who attended the hearing. "My office vigorously defended state law, including the civil unions statute, but we have to put aside our past positions and personal opinions to make sure the law is vigorously enforced and defended and the court's decision is implemented as smoothly as possible."

According to studies performed out of UCLA, there are more than 9,500 same-sex couples in Connecticut.

The study said that if Connecticut follows a similar pattern to Massachusetts, about 3,000 same-sex couples will marry in the next year and 4,700 will likely wed after three years.

Cheers Connecticut!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Once Upon a Time...

I've been bummed out lately.

Life is going fine, Lo learned how to say "ho ho ho, merry christmas" yesterday, she's wearing her skull and crossbones (arghh) baby legs, sneaking into my bed to sleep, normal stuff.

Tee and I are getting along famously, I'm still resisting the relationship thing though. We got the infamous "So are you guys back together?" this weekend, followed by a long, painful, unsuccessful attempt to pretend like I didn't hear the question. Tee allowed me to answer, to which I gave a "no." But, he requested a X-mas list so he can't be too heartbroken.

Because the elections cleaned my clock, I'm going to tell a story instead of talking about the huge disappointment I feel about CALIFORNIA. Fuckers.

Once upon a time I had a baby named Lola. Because I was still a new mom and money was pretty tight, I decided to go back to work after two weeks of paid maternity leave instead of the four (1/2 unpaid) offered. Due to working for my brother-in-law, I had the perk of taking my baby with me. Initially I told my family co-workers that I would come in to help out for a few hours a day until I felt like I could handle full-force work and full-force momming.

Of course, in my chair and visible to all as the Office Queen Bee once again, the work piled up, people came by with questions they had to wait two freaking weeks (ex-que-say moi!) to ask me, and work came crashing down on my head.

This isn't to say Lola was neglected, no, she was situated on my chest, strapped to it by a length of stretchy orange material, either snoozing peacefully or drinking delicious mom-milk.

This went on for two weeks, still bleeding, not sleeping, crying because I couldn't fit into my favorite pants... One day, I'm meeting my parents, my siblings and my brother in law's family for a Mexican birthday dinner, running late, Lo is screaming her tiny fucking head off and I decide to be a good Samaritan.

Noticing the squad that always sits in the same parking lot, trying to catch people who disregard the change in speed from 45 to 30, I see a car coming the opposite way, and coming fast.

"Ho, ho," thought my sleep-deprived brain, "I'm going to save this poor sucka!" So I flashed my brights his way and felt pretty smug doing it. Mother Etta, saving the world's unwitting speeders from certain ticketage...

And immediately said "oh shit," once I realized the car behind the speeder was also a squad, who was currently whipping the wide, imperial nose of his Crown Vic in a quick U-turn. You know how cops follow you a bit? I think they're probably trained to do that specifically to make us sweat, let the asshole driver stew a little bit...

Sweating I was, along with sleep-deprived, late and stressed with sides of screaming child, hard-as-rock breastfeeding boobs, insufficient iron levels (always a bad idea for me) and I did it. I cried. I started before I even got pulled over, a few tears slipping out which I angerly rubbed away. No, I will NOT be that woman! I WILL NOT be the "crier."

By the time the officer got to my door, I was full-out sobbing, apologizing for sobbing, trying to explain that I was so tired and in the meantime Lo was still screaming. The officer said he understood, he just wanted to make sure everything was ok, was everything ok?

"Nooooo" sob sob sob, "I'm so fucking tired, this baby hates me, I hate my job and I want Mexican food"

He nodded a bit, asked me if I would be ok to drive home (yes) and practically fled. You know when cars stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, and the pedestrian "fake runs?" That was the cop, only instead of walking with the same speed but making it look like a run, he was running but trying to make it look like a walk.

Moral of the story: stay home and enjoy your baby as long as you possibly can, boredom is better than temporary insanity!

That Church Has Balls

Holocaust survivors to Mormons: Stop baptisms of dead Jews

NEW YORK (AP) -- Holocaust survivors said Monday they are through trying to negotiate with the Mormon church over posthumous baptisms of Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps, saying the church has repeatedly violated a 13-year-old agreement barring the practice.

Ernest Michel, left, and Roman Kent look at a list of Holocaust victims who were posthumously baptized.

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say they are making changes to their massive genealogical database that will make it more difficult for names of Holocaust victims to be entered for posthumous baptism by proxy, a rite that has been a common Mormon practice for more than a century.
But Ernest Michel, honorary chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, said that is not enough. At a news conference in New York City on Monday, he said the church also must "implement a mechanism to undo what you have done."
"Baptism of a Jewish Holocaust victim and then merely removing that name from the database is just not acceptable," said Michel, whose parents died at Auschwitz. He spoke on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi-incited riots against Jews.
"We ask you to respect us and our Judaism just as we respect your religion," Michel said in a statement released ahead of the news conference. "We ask you to leave our six million Jews, all victims of the Holocaust, alone, they suffered enough."
Michel said talks with Mormon leaders, held as recently as last week, have ended. He said his group will not sue, and that "the only thing left, therefore, is to turn to the court of public opinion."
In 1995, Mormons and Jews inked an agreement to limit the circumstances that allow for the proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims. Ending the practice outright was not part of the agreement and would essentially be asking Mormons to alter their beliefs, church Elder Lance B. Wickman said Monday in an interview with reporters in Salt Lake City.
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"We don't think any faith group has the right to ask another to change its doctrines," Wickman said. "If our work for the dead is properly understood ... it should not be a source of friction to anyone. It's merely a freewill offering."
Michel's decision to unilaterally end discussion of the issue through a news conference leaves the church uncertain about how to proceed, Wickman said.
Baptism by proxy allows faithful Mormons to have their ancestors baptized into the 178-year-old church, which they believe reunites families in the afterlife.
Using genealogy records, the church also baptizes people who have died from all over the world and from different religions. Mormons stand in as proxies for the person being baptized and immerse themselves in a baptismal pool.
Only the Jews have an agreement with the church limiting who can be baptized, though the agreement covers only Holocaust victims, not all Jewish people. Jews are particularly offended by baptisms of Holocaust victims because they were murdered specifically because of their religion.
Michel suggested that posthumous baptisms of Holocaust victims play into the hands of Holocaust deniers.
"They tell me, that my parents' Jewishness has not been altered but ... 100 years from now, how will they be able to guarantee that my mother and father of blessed memory who lived as Jews and were slaughtered by Hitler for no other reason than they were Jews, will someday not be identified as Mormon victims of the Holocaust?" Michel said Monday.
Wickman said the practice in no way impinges upon a person's "Jewishness, or their ethnicity, or their background."
Under the agreement with the Holocaust group, Mormons could enter the names of only those Holocaust victims to whom they were directly related. The church also agreed to remove the names of Holocaust victims already entered into its massive genealogical database.
Church spokesman Otterson said the church kept its part of the agreement by removing more than 260,000 names from the genealogical index.
But since 2005, ongoing monitoring of the database by an independent Salt Lake City-based researcher shows both resubmissions and new entries of names of Dutch, Greek, Polish and Italian Jews.
The researcher, Helen Radkey, who has done contract work for the Holocaust group, said her research suggests that lists of Holocaust victims obtained from camp and government records are being dumped into the database. She said she has seen and recorded a sampling of several thousand entries that indicate baptisms had been conducted for Holocaust victims as recently as July.
Wickman said lists of names have been entered into the database by a small number of well-meaning members who were acting "outside of policy." He said that church monitors have identified and removed 42,000 names from the database on their own, and that the church welcomes research from others.
Church officials say a new version of the database, called New Family Search, is being tested overseas and should reduce the problems. In the works for six years, the new database will discourage the submission of large lists of unrelated individuals. It will also separate names intended for temple rites from those submitted purely for genealogical purposes, the church states in a letter sent to Michel on Nov. 6.
"The names of any Holocaust victims we can identify in the database are to be flagged with a special designation -- not available for temple ordinances," the letter states.
The church also proposes jump-starting a monitoring committee formed in 2005 to review database entries. The committee has met just once since 2005.
In May, the Vatican ordered Catholic dioceses worldwide to withhold member registries from Mormons so that Catholics could not be baptized.

My laughter on a cloudy Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'd Rather Be Fishing...

Why Arizona and Florida? Why are you so threatened by a couple much like yourselves 2, 7, 12 years ago, who just want a marriage certificate? You're denying people the thrill of walking down the aisle to join their beloved's side with a shiver of excitement that millions have the right to do already. You're denying countless mothers a chance to be the mother of the bride on her little girl's wedding day. There will never be a hunk of wedding cake in these folks' freezer, no bachelorette parties, no recognition that they've chosen to spend their lives with one person. Instead there's only the juvenile moniker: girlfriend or boyfriend. Who want's to refer to their 40 year old life partner as girlfriend? Why undo the progress that's been made? Why treat people like second-class citizens, do they not love as you do?

Of course I'm thrilled with the results of the election, I'm glad the insanity of the Bush administration is over but when I saw the statewide bans on gay marriage passed, my heart dropped. I haven't cried at work like this since I was in the early stages of labor. I'm heartbroken, it's just a fucking shame.

In other news, Obama won! Hurray!

And for future Etta: when they predict all the lines and hysteria and get to the polls NOW NOW NOW because it's gonna be SOOOOO busy... your past self voted in 5 minutes last election. Don't let them scare you girl.

I've been the soul of graciousness today, I even went so far as to buy the office Republicans a shortbread cookie at Panera today to show that all the shit I had to endure during the campaigns weren't taken to heart. The racist jokes were but their misplaced beliefs aren't. Shit, everyone has problems right?

My big problem right now is I can't get over the heartlessness of these bans and I have to type up my homework for class tonight. Shit.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Man Who Birthed a Pumpkin

Lo and Etta here in our newly created selves: Pie Filling and Ed. Lola is the cutest little jack-o-lantern this side of the universe (save perhaps for Grey, who has the same costume) and I am a man.

I've been practicing my swagger, Lo is practicing her winning give-me-candy smirk. I'm trying to think of ideas for a substitute penis, Lo is taking a long nap and eating a large lunch in preparation for our big event. Ladies and gentlemen, we are ready.

Things to do this weekend:
trick or treat our butts off
pay my DirectLoan payment
zoo if it's nice out
NOT spend money

Things I've already spent money on:
Megan's record wallhangers
Dad's Mudcrutch CD
Three pairs of new babylegs for Lo (because she's worth it)

'[okjkkudAnd now a word from our glorious namesake:
; m,m,nmjju

And a parting word from "the man." If I had a way to give everyone a Halloween treat, I would capture the giggle that Lola lets loose when I poke my finger into her armpit in a jar and give a grin to the world.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hurray, Hurray for Halloween! (Almost)

Nothing interesting to note except for the fact that I found three things I must have today:

A 16GB orange Ipod nano
A replacement camera
A pair of red patent leather kitten heel shoes, what a steal at $90.00 ($20.00 more than the same fucking shoes, last season!)

I added and calculated and wizzed and whirred and tried-to-figure-out-which-bill-I-could-push-off-paying-for-another-two-weeks and finally came to the conclusion that I can't afford any of them.

Sad day at Servpro.

On a lighter note, Lola and I are going trick-or-treating tomorrow and I can't wait! This is one of those things that I get all excited about and repeatedly tell her about before we do it, obviously have fun doing it, and then I jaw her ear off afterwards about how I can't wait to do it again next year.

I hope that she understands that my excitement isn't only T-or-T'ing again after such a long hiatus (why again is it improper to T-or-T once you reach adolescence? Surly teens need excitement and candy too, plus you get to meet your neighbors.), it's being able to share this with her.

I like introducing people to things: pomegrantes, Llanas tacos, anthropological tales, news articles etc. because maybe if they ever come across it again, they'll think back to my thrill at being the first to show them. And maybe I'll get someone to enjoy respective newthing with.

I guess this was a long-winded way of saying that I can't wait to show Lo how trick-or-treating should be. Warm Halloween costumes? (although today is 60 degrees, at the end of October, in WI? Crazy.) Check. Candy bag? Check. Safe neighborhood planned out? Check. Fellow T-or-Ter's? Check, check, check, check! A Mama to eat any candy that looks like a choking hazard? Count me checked. I think I can safely say that we can't wait!

My favorite holiday: here we come!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dig Yourself Out of the Gutter

My co-worker just sent me this email. The caption says the mom works at Home Depot and is selling a shovel. Jeez, where's your mind today?


Last night I had a dream that Tee died while in Madison. His roomie called me telling me the horrible news and my first dream-thought was "shit, he didn't have any life insurance." How cold. How calculating. Is the economy scare that bad that even my subconsious is scheming for ways to protect myself and my child? That's a spooky thought, just in time for Halloween.

After waking up from this dream, in which Tee suffocated/drowned on his own phlegm (yuck), I sent him a text message saying: "I had a dream you died, we both need to stop smoking."

So, here's my Halloween resolution: dramatically cut back and then stop completely. I know my Halloween is going to be filled with a frightening array of booze so it's going to be a tough one as I seldom smoke a cigarette if I'm not drinking. A social smoker if you will. I'll let you know how it goes.

In other smoking news, I found a website that's pretty fucking cool. The pictures are neat, if sad. Is it wrong for me to say that even after viewing them, I still want my own opium den? The opium would be welcome but not required. Instead, I want a lush opium bed with oriental tapestries on the walls and silk bed curtains so I can read my "calligraphic scrolls bearing auspicious sayings" while pretending my bed is a fort. Maybe this stems from needing a place that's mine, all mine or maybe it's from a love of all things ritual? I have very little of either: even bathroom time is not mine, all mine and my daily ritual involved making a cuppa tea and both last about 5 minutes tops.

Anyone want to make me an opium den and buy Tee some life insurance?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tell Me a Story

No, I'm not here to digress on my lovefest with Tee. Rather, I will take a divergent path and speak oh-so-eloquently about my favorite kinds of stories: "How they met" stories.


Even if it's something as my parents' simple "friends introduced us," I'll pry and poke and question until I get the smallest of details. Which friends? What kind of restuarant did Dad take you to? Did he pay? Did you think Mom's Catholic school-girlness was naughty? Was Dad's hair long then...how long...like to here? What can I say, I enjoy em.

I think one of the reasons I like these stories so much is because it brings a rush of excitement back to the person reliving it. Another reason is that this simple story can always open someone up to telling other stories somewhat related. My mom will then branch into my Dad's shithead friends (now mostly dead, yikes), the many times they broke up and how they each took a (different) date to the same place which resulted in jealously I can still hear tinging her voice to this day.

I like to imagine how the storyteller must've been like when the story was taking place. I like to place normal, ordinary details in there somewhere to make it more realistic. Did my mom go into the bathroom with her friend and compare notes about their dates? Maybe she had an achey back from PMS but my dad's presence was distracting enough that she forgot about it.

Another reason is that I don't really have a "how they met" story. Tee and I met in high school. We were part of different groups and somehow we met, exchanged numbers to hang out and he called me. I took him to Phil W's house and my guys were shocked that I brought this stranger into our midst*. The silence only lasted a eon but they warmed up pretty fast because even if Tee wasn't one of us, he was recognizable with his long hair and goofiness and soon was accepted as an honorary member of our clique. (*This was particulary unique because I seldom brought gals around and it was even rarer I brought a guy. When I needed attention from a guy, I left, got it, and came back to "my men." I was rabidly anti-boyfriend throughout most of high school.)

Tee and I grew apart after high school with me going to Whitewater and him going to drugs. I found and called the number on the back of his senior picture with the hope that he would design a tattoo for me (artistic and all) and we hung out on weekends in Rockasha. The first time we kissed, Tee was under the influence of some pretty heavy drugs and I broke it off halfway through because I didn't want our first kiss to be under those circumstances.

But since I can't deny the truth of it being the first, that's the one I remember anyhow.

Feel free to add any faux-realistic details in an effort to make this story and it's author more human and/or exciting. I'll see if I work on it too.
Oh yeah, and I've yet to get a tattoo designed for me.

Monday, October 27, 2008


This weekend was emotionally and physically draining. It seems like I got next-to-nothing actually checked off the damn list but when I think back on all the stuff that happened, I realize most of the things that occurred aren't chores or physical things. AKA checkoffablethings.

A quick synopsis of my weekend: went home, drank tequila with my underage brother, smoked pot with my chummy-chummy ex, went to the bar to plot with Meg, felt sad when we missed Meg, went to the Ash and got trashed, met an extremely drunk girl named Wendy, had ex-sex. Finish Friday.

Saturday: wake up to Tee's mother and father in the living room with us while I am in my bra and underwear covered by a holey blanket ('shroom blanket, another story) unnncomfortable...... Took Lo and Tee out to eat, Lo and I took 3.5 hour nap together. Tee and I had more loving to dole out. Ditched Miseal and his soccer team. End of Saturday

Sunday: Tee sick! Lo and I went to the pet store to see animals, get fish. Aquarium area closed due to renovations, shit. Bought a moustache for my excellent Halloween costume.

Other things that happened that need more than a quick sysnopsis: Tee and I ended up in my car at 2am, listening to Wildflowers and professing our love for one another. Am I a sucker or what? I can't give this matter the attention it deserves as my Mom just called and told me diarrhea has it's vicious claws in my poor, poor baby so I'll be leaving but I will finish this post with the short list of things to come:
Fill in the details of this post
Tell the holey blanket mushroom story
Rhuminate about animals

Friday, October 24, 2008

In Which I List All Sorts of Positive Stuff.

#16 - I LOVE Monkey
25 Things I like:

1. Getting A's
2. slicing soft fruits and veggies with plastic knives so the skin near the cut puckers and wrinkles
3. avocadoes, artichokes, hummus, pita bread - not necessarily together but not necessarily separate either
4. taking my dog to the dog park when it's empty
5. the satisfaction of pushing a stack of mail into the mailbox
6. reading, anywhere, anytime
7. throwing a fish back into the lake
8. newly-shaven legs
9. the service I get at The Chocolate Factory
10. music obviously created under the influence of drugs
11. telling Lola "we're making cookies/scones/foccacia, do you want to help me?" and seeing her head right towards the step stool before the words are out of my mouth
12. sleeping alone in my bed
13. my new green glasses
14. cacti
15. manual cars
16. Monkey
17. herbs and tomatos fresh from the garden, into the dish
18. having my own kitchen, exactly the way I want it (I don't currently have this but eventually I will again)
19. shoes that are new to me
20. Goodwill shopping while hungover
21. iced tea but only unsweetened
22. voting
23. taking my Grandma out, even when she's mean to me
24. buying things on Etsy
25. taking Lola out to do something I know she's going to love and telling her all about it beforehand and reminiscing afterwards
Happy Friday everyone!
I finished my take home exam this am, turned it in with 7 minutes left on the clock and I think I did a-ok. This accomplishment leaves me feeling free to have guilt-free fun this weekend, I've earned it.
Possible weekend excursions/plans:
Go to Club Rain with Misael and his soccer team
Make and package pumpkin seeds to give out to people I love
Go out for a beer with Nesto
Get a Halloween costume together
Hang out with Royboy, Meg and Megan
Take Lo to see animals

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Thursday Shitstorm

Now I can be neurotic. Sure, I'll admit it. I was hoping that Lo would be spared the inheritance of this trait but I fear that it's not to be.

Example one: While at work, I systematically take the baby things off my desk (juice cup, baby, shoes, goldfish) and put them in the cubby above my drawers. Easy access, closer to Lola's height, out of my way. Win-win right? WRONG. For some reason Lo takes it as a personal insult that I don't want her juice cup in the vicinity of my keyboard, her shoes tucked into the (little) space between my butt and the chair and her goldfish artfully sprinkled across my desk, lap and floor. She's actually been playing across the office and I moved her stuff as stealthily as I could and she noticed, ran over (not exaggerating) and starting crying like her heart was broken by her evil, evil Mom while trying to replace her belongings on my desk. What's this about? Is this a "being like Mommy" distinction between desk and cubby? How does she grasp the concept that the cubby is second-class storage?

Example two: Poop. Lola freaks out about poop. I'll pause, let it sink in, reiterate: freaks. out. about. poop. When she sees it in the toilet, scrambles off with a little panicked scream. I try to distract her when it's in her diaper so she doesn't thrash. Why is my child afraid of her waste? Today we are at work together and she has been wearing her Dora pullups because they have Boots, Dora's best monkey friend on them. The problem with these diapers is that when poop is in there we have to pull them down to get them off. Bum Bum Bummmmmm.....

Today Lo got onto my lap and I asked her if she pooped. Immediately, a wary look crossed her face. "Gotcha!" thought I. I took her to the changer, took off her jeans and she starting throwing a fit until I took off her socks. Ok, no harm in that.

Next I had her put her hands on my shoulders and had her concentrate on the picture of the Mama and Baby on the wipes box, so she wouldn't see the poop. As soon as she felt me sliding her pullups down, the shitstorm began. Kicking, screaming, flailing of the arms, it was a doozey.

I calmed her down by holding and rocking her and telling her all about everyone else pooping, how poop isn't scary, I might've even tossed in a vocab word like "sphincter." Calmed, we tried again, she whimpered but kept watching her baby. Almmmooooost there, about to guide the first foot through the hole when she looked down. Shitstorm II, this time with real shit.

Needless to say, I'm doing laundry tonight.

Totally off-topic but check this out, if these parents get prosecuted, there's no justice in the world and I will go to Britain myself and bitch-slap the authorities. They lost their son to a freak accident, did their best to cope and help him adjust and grow in his current state, failed and then supported him in the most difficult decision any parent could stand by and watch their child make. How much more punishment can they possibly need?

Oh yeah, and guess who rocked out with her proverbial cock out last night. ME! I got a 20/20 on my last quiz, I met a few new people in my philosophy class and the exam left me giving my professors a look like, "whaaaat, thass all ya got?"' Hurray for me!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Crush, the only soda I'll drink

No, that's not me. But today, it could be.

You know that song, I Kissed a Girl? Well, I went one further and I fell in love with one. She's eloquent and innocent and brave and strong and an editor (!) and I've only gotten through a year into her archives. Wow, Mama likes.

In other news, I have an exam tonight at six. For which I haven't studied and it is now 1pm! I just can't cure myself of procrasitnatorrea, do they have antibiotics for this?

It must be something in the water! I just told Nesto that he's really sexy when he gets all worked up about things. Given that he's Mexican (from Mexico people) and has a tendency to get passionate about things and talk very quickly (in Spanish) about these topics in a raised voice, I've constantly got a twinkle in my eye when he's around. I want him to talk dirty to me, ha.

Now that I've spoken about two people I have a semi-crush on, let's continue this trend and comment on DB.

DB is actually what I call DB, another co-worker. He's mid-forties, pretty darn fit, shortish which makes him even more sexy than if he was fit and tall, dark hair with that wonderful salt sprinkled in, well-spoken, enjoys roller coasters, eating ethnic foods/trying new restaurants, traveling, concerts and other mature, interesting hobbies. I can be having the worst day in the world and DB will come in and make me grin. And not only is DB cool in his own right, but he has two sons 16 & 18, who will hopefully grow into mini-DB's to the delight of women the world over. Men like that should always have sons to pass the sexiness on...

Before you start to think that I work with a bunch of Playgirl foldouts, I might add that for every wonderful man I work with, there's a few duds more. A gentlemen with 2-3 kids, an equal number of baby-mamas and twice as many girlfriends. A guy who should NEVER be allowed to talk to ANYONE as his personality is too abrasive and he prides himself on that, yuck. And I just found out that a seemingly nice man is cheating on his wife, a woman I admire greatly. BUMMER.

This post is going nowhere fast so I'll just end it now. Wish me luck on my exam, I'm off to (finally) study. And maybe fantasize about my co-workers a bit.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I dig reading the thoughts of vocally literate people. It makes my head horny.

A 20 second foray into the Blogs of Note and look what I find: a whole blog about books! Well, the Literacy Gods were smiling on me today and you can betcha sweet bottom that I'll be lovin' on those archives!

Proof that Mondays don't always suck...until I go home to cram for my exam...with Jay. Yeah, Mondays don't always suck!

The MB Post

I love Mary Beth. "Why?" you ask. Well, I guess I should give you list of the reasons:

1. She was the last person I talked to before going into labor. I felt like crying (and did) or offing myself. I was big and hugely pregnant, scared and tired and lonesome and MB was nearly there herself. Despite this, she offered me the sympathy only another pregnant woman could give along with her natural dose of realism. She was a seasoned mother of two cute-ass little kids, I believed in her optimism. I would've believed her if she said the moon really was made of cheese, but she was right, as usual.

2. MB is an internet guru. I met her via Babyfit and as all first time mothers, I had questions. Well, Mary Beth has answers people! Either from experience, her nimble-fingered internet searches or merely intuition, she knowsssss things man. When the old man on the moutaintop finally dies in my area, I'm going to try and replace him with MB.

3. I've always had an unrealistic view of motherhood. (This is a whole separate post, maybe today if I get motivated.) MB along with a few other moms really helped me to realise that there is no such thing as a supermom. You pick and choose your battles, do your best and love the shit out of your kids. She convinced me that belief in yourself as a parent doesn't always come with the birth, you just learn as you go. I'm in her debt for these lessons.

4. She sends me things like this:
The Why's of Men

(because they are plugged into a genius)

(they don't have enough time)

(they don't stop to ask directions)

(because their balls fall over their butt-hole and they vapor lock)

(You're laughing, aren't you?!?!)
(so they won't hump women's legs at cocktails parties)

(you need a rough draft before you make a final copy)

(don't know.....it never happened)

(C'mon guys, we laugh at your blonde jokes!)
And the personal favorite:

(because a vibrator can't mow the lawn)

Remember, if you haven't got a smile on your face and laughter in your heart...Then you are just an old sour fart!
One for the ladies.......

One day my housework-challenged husband decided to wash his sweat-shirt. Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me, 'What setting do I use on the washing machine?'
'It depends,' I replied. 'What does it say on your shirt?'
He yelled back, ' University of Oklahoma .'

And they say blondes are dumb...
---------------------- -------------------------

A couple is lying in bed. The man says,
'I am going to make you the happiest woman in the world.'
The woman replies, 'I'll miss you...'

---------------------------------------------- -------------

'It's just too hot to wear clothes today,' Jack says as he stepped out of the shower, 'honey, what do you think the neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn like this?'
'Probably that I married you for your money,' she replied.


Q: What do you call an intelligent, good looking, sensitive man?
A: A rumor

------------------------------------------------ -----------
Dear Lord,
I pray for Wisdom to understand my man; Love to forgive him; And Patience for his moods. Because, Lord, if I pray for Strength, I'll beat him to death.

Q: Why do little boys whine?
A: They are practicing to be men.
Q: What does it mean when a man is in your bed gasping for breath and calling your name?
A: You did not hold the pillow down long enough.

------------------------ -----------------------------------
Q: How do you keep your husband from reading your e-mail?
A: Rename the mail folder 'Instruction Manual.'

when things aren't going so smooth.

5. And duh, she's lovable.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Main Squeeze/My Main Problem

I straight up flirted with Tee yesterday. Is that legal, is that allowed? God help me, that man is my weakness on this earth. Along with carbs and gin, eating candy in bed, biting my fingernails... well you get the point.

Here are the facts:
He's in Madison for another year still.
He's not really down with an open relationship.
I'm not into a weekends-only monogamous relationship.

Here's my worry:
He'll take our newly discovered lovin' as an automatic "we're together, everything is hunky-dory and back to the way it was before." Which I don't want to occur and cannot realistically happen. Things can't just be the same, we're different now, our situations are different and I'll resist that mentality with all my might. (I want this fucker to woo me again, damn it!)

My ideal plan (as well as my original one):
He does his own thing in Madtown, I do my own thing in Waukesha/Milwaukee. We DO NOT speak of anything naughty that happens while the other is away. A strict "don't ask, don't tell" policy on affairs of the heart. Keep all "others" casual and fun. On weekends, Tee and I are lovebirds. Once his year is up, we regroup and plan accordingly. I want to look at it like a vacation from being a full-time couple. I don't believe he sees it that way.

What's a goil to do:
I can keep putting off "the talk" and let the time breeze by. It has a habit of doing that and I'm sure Tee isn't clueless to my wandering nature, he might be operating on the same policy and I just don't know it...


I can whip out "the talk" and deal with the consequences.

I'll let you guess which one I prefer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My baby beats me

Last night I was "wrasseling" with my girl. She gets rough. Fullout body slams, belly raspberries (showing my entire family my horribly stretch-marked, jiggly belly)and accidental size 6 shoes in the face and still expects me to give her wild-crazy leg pony rides! (Of course I oblige.)

I love to see her giggly and goofy with her widemouthed grin. I like to "get" her and chase her and eat her super-ticklish armpits. I was doing all these things and she was good n' riled when I went to kiss her head while she was in her Little Tikes car. Down came Mama's lips, up came Lola's face and WHAM, blood galore.

My tooth carved a large crater of flesh out of the inside of my top lip but it didn't sever it completely. So now I have a bloody, meaty chunk of lip-flap that decides to interfere in my daily conversations. A must-have for every vegetarian.

Despite this, it hasn't been a bad day?

Monday, October 13, 2008


Lola is loving babies right now. Actually, she's frickin' obessesed. Everything is a Bayybe. Bayyybe ketchup bottle, bayyybe shoe, bayyybe plant etc. Sometimes she uses bayyybe as a synonym for "small" (a small plant), sometimes it's used as a way to express ownership (that shoe is the baby's shoe), and sometimes it's a title/noun (that's a genuine baby).

I can tell you that I sick and tired about hearing of babies but it's a subject that Lo holds dear and I'm trying to encourage her interests even if I don't agree. Shiiiit, I was doing my best to avoid bayybes for about 6 years through a combination of luck, everchanging contraceptives and lots and lots of prayers in my newfound religiousness when I thought there might be a bayyybe. Of course I reverted to my old ways as soon as I knew there wasn't, talk about not learning my lesson! This pattern and mindset sure makes it hard to get excited and comfortable with bayyybe talk every minute of every hour of every day, but I'm trying.

There is a point to this dear reader, which I will get to shortly. Yesterday Lola and I went to Cozy Nook Farm where we bought some pumpkins, sat on some vintage John Deere tractors, accepted candy from a stranger (jeez, am I slacking on my momness or what?) and pet some cows. First we got to pet the calf that was only a month old. It was housed in a nice little area all it's own with clean hay and a cool breeze. I was a little hesitant to let Lo pet it though because it had flies congregating on it's legs. When I shooed them away, I found healing raw patches and the poor baby had a pretty pitiful cough too. After hearing the creature wheeze, I decided it was time for Lo and I to go look for healthier animals to pet. We called a big cow over (named Cinnamon) or in Lola speak, Mama. A big cow, obviously the Mama.

Then my automatic cynicism receded a bit and I went into empathy mode. What if it is the Mama? How does she feel having her month-old, sick calf separated from her to draw pumpkin buyers to the farm? Does she even care, being a cow? I must admit, it didn't seem like she did, she was too busy sniffing/snotting on my baby's feet to look very interested in her own baby. But then again, it might not have even been her baby.

The point I'm trying to get it at is Lola is teaching me as much as I'm teaching her. Fuck off, I'm not spouting cliches for the hell of it, I'm trying to say that she leads me to think critically, open up my narrow perspective and maybe change my mind about a few things I've tradionally held one way or another. She makes me look at things with new eyes, I smile at things that I know she would like, I moo at cows when I'm all alone in my car. I skip on my way to night class and smile at people who give me disdainful looks.

I think I was well on my way to becoming a very serious, very self-absorbed person before Lola came along. I would never have skipped to class unless intoxicated. Maybe because I would've been embarrassed but most likely because it wouldn't have even occured to me. Lo has brought some serious fun into my life and rerouted my path to personhood all the better. I like being Lola's mom. I like myself more and I love her. Hear that Lo? I love you.

Do I love everything bayyybe? NO. But I love my bayyybe more than fumbling words can say.

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's not Thanksgiving but...

And some days I think I have it bad. This is humbling, hopeful, heartbreaking and uplifting all at the same time. Not to mention really fucking scary. Flesh-eating bacteria in Boston?

Happy Friday everyone! Happy Friday to ME! Lo and I only have 1.5 hours left at work and then we are going to go see Daddy! I think we're both excited.
[p''p \87
87/;' 7 ;7;6[6 ;[p;[gnb'\]'nh/nnnn
fg ttttttttttttttt Lola

That's Lola bianary for "Have a great weekend!"

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Top 100 Books to Read List

I've shamelessly stolen this list from another blogger. After "tasting" her blog today, I am excited to go read some more. You all know how I fiend for archives...

Here’s how it works:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read. (I put a single asterisk* next to the ones I started, but couldn’t finish because life is just too short for that kind of misery. Double asterisk** means I finished it and hated it.)
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Reprint this list in your blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 or less and force books upon them.

I added the parbold, ones I've started, haven't finished, but mean to.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible*
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller*
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini**
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
7 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold*
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville*
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Humbling. I've read 32, not even a third of the way through... And I thought I was relatively well-read.