Thursday, September 30, 2010

Back when I worked and Fluevog was king

What defined me before I became a mother? Was it my job as executive director of a non-profit organization? Was it my private piano studio? Was it my public performances as a musician? Was it my stunning good looks and sparkling personality?

No, I think not.

It was my boots.

I've been wearing boots since I was four years old. My first pair were sort of a tan, camel color with rubber soles. I would stuff my jeans into them and zip them up. At least, that's how I remember it. Boots, jeans, and my favorite striped shirt.

Fast forward to high school. It was the 80's. I had little grey ankle boots dubbed 'the elf boots,' and more traditional calf high boots. Most notably, I owned a pair of purple suede boots. Bright purple. Suede. Awesome. I loved those boots.

All grown up now, I still am drawn to boots. I wear them all year. In my first pregnancy, I rocked my boots up until the very end. With Colin, my calves got chunky and I had to move to some Dansko clogs. Without being able to wear my boots, I felt like a frumpy dumpy the whole winter. Boots make me feel dressed. Put together.

I love my Rocket Dogs and my Destroy boots (which, do they only make kids' shoes now?), but most of all, I love my John Fluevogs. The Fluevogs are fantastic, fantabulous boots that are an obscene amount of money. I know this to be true now because after giving birth, you apparently develop a keen sense of don't-spend-any-money-on-yourself. At least, not on a pair of fabulous boots.

So tonight, I'll just window shop and reminisce. Even on clearance, these won't be my boots, but I can love them anyway.

And because it's the now thing to do, I will tell you that I didn't receive any compensation or free stuff for professing my love of John Fluevog. If he offered, I would gladly step off of my bloggy high horse and jump into materialistic blogging with both feet. Both feet looking FABULOUS in those boots, of course.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Katy Perry and I can both laugh at ourselves

Have you seen Away We Go? The movie where Maggie Gyllenhaal plays the crazy attached mama?

If you are like me, and hate to watch video while reading blogs, what makes me laugh so hard is when she says that she wouldn't want a stroller because she loves her babies, "Why would I want to push them away?"

I laughed my fool head off at all of her scenes. The first time you see her, she is standing up with her foot on a chair tandem nursing a toddler and a not so small infant - but the stance she has taken is like that of some woman warrior. It's really funny.

As I was laughing at her, Kevin turns to me and says, "You know they are making fun of you, right?"

"Well, duh. That's one reason it's so funny. Especially since I never expected to end up in the throes of attachment parenting."

One thing I have learned to do since my super sensitive days of high school is to laugh at myself. I can be pretty ridiculous. Especially when I have a soap box or a cause. I'm not apologizing for that, I'm just saying that it can be on the comical side.

So yeah, while I think that Sesame Street was absolutely right to pull the Katy Perry and Elmo video where she comes off more as a pedophile than a playmate, I still think this SNL clip is hilarious.

I like her a little more now, now that I know she can laugh at herself too.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

In which I whine about cancer again

Tomorrow morning I'm headed to the TypeAMom conference in Asheville.

The reason I started blogging was to have an anonymous place to vent the dust bunnies in my mind. My parents were sick and across the country. I had just been through a divorce. My soon to be husband had just been through a divorce. I had job issues. Stress abounded. Of course we all know how anonymous the internet really is . . .

I didn't know what a blog was until my friend Susan introduced me to Kristen's blog, Motherhood Uncensored. I was instantly hooked. I popped open Blogger, signed up, and never looked back.

Not too long after that, Susan started Toddler Planet. For months, we were our only readers. It was a great way for us to stay connected. In high school, we often shared our writing with each other. In fact, I still keep a journal that she gave me 20 years ago in my nightstand. It has lived right next to my bed for years and will continue to do so - even though my poetry in it is so cringe worthy, I won't even let Kevin read it.

But Susan has. She's read it and still likes me. A friend that can see through your cheesy poetry is a good friend indeed.

In 2007, we both bought our passes to BlogHer and looked forward to attending the conference together in Chicago. Then, shortly after a phone conversation in May that went sort of like this (and I'm wildly paraphrasing because only the last line really stuck with me):

Susan: Do you remember how your mom knew she had breast cancer?

Moi: She found a lump one morning under her arm. It was the size of a baseball.

Susan: There is something weird going on with me. Do you think it could be cancer?

Moi: Heavens, no. Of course not. You are too young. You have no family history. You couldn't possibly have cancer. I'll probably be the one to get breast cancer. You know, genetics and all.

Oh my dear word, how many times have I wished I never uttered any of those words to her? Could I beat my own head against the wall any harder? Could I have chosen something MORE stupid to say? Bad poetry AND my stupid mouth, and yet, she's still my friend.

Our BlogHer plans went out the window. I went without her and felt a giant hole in my heart the whole time. I wore my Team Whymommy shirt, cried on people's shoulders if they pressed me too much about her, and felt terrible that I was there, while she sat back home, starting her battle with cancer.

In 2008, we both made it to San Francisco for BlogHer. It was a whirlwind. I had Christopher with me. He was six months old, and I was still so full of anxiety that I kept him on his regular schedule which put me back in the hotel room at 3:00 PM for bedtime. I was a crazy woman. Susan was busy. I was crazy. But we were there together, and that was wonderful.

Last year, Susan hit BlogHer and I hit TypeAMom. Again, I had a good time, but for me, blogging is so much a part of our friendship now - I just felt like she should have been there.

Fast forward to 2010, and we were planning again. We both had our TypeAMom passes. I have another infant, but am far less ridiculous. Susan is just coming off of an amazing time at BlogHer where she rocked the crowd as one of the Voices of the Year. I know I would be sharing her with an awful lot of women again, but it just felt right that we were going to be there together.


I know that I am not the one who has cancer. I know this, and I understand that to many people, this probably means that I shouldn't complain.

But for CRYING OUT LOUD. Could cancer please leave the people I love alone??? There will be no trip for Susan again this year. Chemo has got her resting at home.

I miss her.

And while I'm griping about it, chemo has knocked Momma on her rears as well. Colin has yet to be baptized, and I can't decide if I'm being ridiculously selfish even asking her to come administer the sacrament. I mean, I really want his Nana to baptize him, but it's not the best thing for her.

So forgive me. I'm sad today. I'm feeling really put out with the not only the effects of cancer on the two women I love most in this world, but I'm really freaking pissed at how it's messing with our plans.

We have things to do, Cancer. There is LIFE TO LIVE. Why don't you just leave us the hell alone?


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Open letter to my bee-hind

To My Dwindling Posterior:

While I appreciate your willingness to return to pre-baby size and shape, I would like to remind you that you were serving a very important purpose in your inflated state.

Holding up my pants.

For whatever reason, the only weight I have been able to lose after giving birth 8 MONTHS AGO is weight that you delighted in gaining. Finally, there was actually some shamoopie-booty for Kevin to slap as he walked past me in the kitchen. Finally, I didn't have to pull at my waistbands incessantly. Finally, I would not feel left out when the song "Baby Got Back" was played. 

But you just don't care. You can't wait your turn and let the belly take a vacation. Noooooo, you have to go ahead and ditch out all by yourself. You know, you could have taken a little of the back fat with you for company. Even that would have been nice.

Instead, you have vacated the premises, leaving me with a disproportionate figure and a perpetual plumber's crack. Thanks a lot.

Flatty Bottomous

Monday, September 20, 2010

Katy Perry plays dress up on Sesame Street, forgets to wear clothes.

I talk about boobs a lot. I realize this. Even before I was so passionate about breastfeeding, I talked about boobs. I've gone on and on about bras and whined about carrying around huge boobies. I've rallied behind my friend Susan during her fight with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I've talked about my momma's fight with breast cancer. I've even delved into a little bit of the sexy boobie talk, but we won't go there today.

Boobies get a lot of air time here at Chez Canape. That's just the way it is.

I'm alright with women looking attractive, even using their breasts as an asset to their appearance. After all, we have to carry them around, right? They might as well look good.

For some reason though, I'm NOT alright with this.

Whatever, Katy Perry. I don't particularly find your music enjoyable, but I CERTAINLY don't need to wondering if you have enough double stick tape in your bustier to make sure that your boobies aren't going to bust out while you are singing and dancing with ELMO on SESAME STREET.

The idea for the song to be used in teaching opposites is cute. It's catchy. But really. REALLY? Couldn't she have actually worn some clothes to play dress up with Elmo?

If I'm turning into my momma, that's a-ok with me. But we'll be skipping this episode of Sesame Street. My boys aren't going to grow up thinking that's an acceptable outfit to wear to a playdate.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just a little longer

Dear Colin,

Yesterday I could feel the rough top edge of one of your bottom teeth where it had finally broken through your gum. Teething is so very cruel. Today the gum is swollen around it, but I'm sure by tomorrow, that tooth will be present for all to see and admire.

I don't like it. That tooth. I wish it wasn't here yet.

It's not the baby fever that I feel. I'm giving away maternity clothes. I'm passing on what you and your brother have outgrown. I'm selling your old diapers because I know that we don't need them anymore. I'm alright with that. We have enough children, and I know that our family is complete.

What I have though, is this unrelenting ache for you to stay my baby just a little longer. When I felt that tooth, a little part of my heart crumbled away under the weight of the knowledge that you are weeks or maybe days away from crawling. You are pulling up to stand with your own little chubby thighs. You are eating more and more solid foods. You are less and less a baby.

Pretty soon, the only thing that will remind me of you as a tiny baby is your shiny bald head. You are one bald little dude, Dude.

Daddy is hot to get you boys into your own rooms. Christopher needs to be in a real bed. His poor feet hang out of the crib. And Daddy would love to have you sleeping by yourself. I thought by now, I would love that too. Not the case. I don't know how to describe the completeness and contentment that warms me to sleep when I lay down next to you, pulling you into my arms as close as I can. Always close enough to rest my cheek on your head. I love sleeping with you.

You stayed in the church nursery this week. As in, stayed without screaming every baby curse word in the book at the caregivers. You knew I would come back for you. Plus, your brother was in the same room. I'm sure that helped.

But this tooth. I've been dreading it. The beginning of the end of you being my baby. It's come too quickly.

I don't want another one. I just want you. Just you, being my baby for longer than you will be.

Your Mama

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How to move a grand piano

Okay, so I'm not really going to teach you how to move a grand piano yourselves. Because you shouldn't. Just don't even try. Call Larry Takas. I'll be happy to connect you with him. But, because everyone who comes in our house asks, "How did you get that piano in here?", we documented the move to the even more impressive location of UPSTAIRS.

This is my first baby. My 6'4" Mason & Hamlin AA grand piano from Ruggero Piano (the only place I would EVER buy a piano. Even if I lived on the West Coast.). It is not a piece of furniture; it is my livelihood. It is a workhorse. I love it so very much.

This morning, Larry and his crew came to move the piano from the family room up to the new studio space. Keep in mind that this piano, because of the unique Mason & Hamlin frame, weighs 900 pounds. That's more than a 9' Steinway (and sounds better too - heh). It's massive.

Here's how it's done.

Remove the pedal stock and one of the legs.

Use this cool magic leg piano rocker to roll the piano onto its side. You can see the device between the guy in orange and the GIANT man in black. Having this device is useful so that the leg of the piano doesn't snap when you turn the body on its side. Having a GIANT man in black is also useful.

Get GIANT man in black to lift 900 pound piano so the dolly can go underneath it.

Secure piano to dolly so that it doesn't fall off and squish anyone's toes.

Wheel piano through the downstairs, including my semi-painted dining room. Avoid chandelier.

Use several men to pull the piano up the stairs using lots of straps and their brute strength.

Leave GIANT man in black below the piano for obvious reasons.

If reasons aren't obvious, let's just say the GIANT man in black pushed the piano up the stairs with his right shoulder, all while eating a donut with his left hand and a slice of pizza with his right hand.

Slide piano carefully onto blankets at the top of the steps so as not to scratch the gorgeous new floors installed yesterday. Notice how they are casually letting the GIANT man in black just keep shouldering the piano while they do this.

Move the piano into the sunlight flooded happy corner of the studio where I will bask.

Better pictures of the rolling leg device. (And yes, I realize these are now centered. Stupid Blogger. I'm not re-doing it because Heaven knows when my sleeping babies will wake up. I only have so much time here.)

Rolling the piano back up onto it's two attached legs. Looks like they are giving the GIANT man in black a break. Oh wait, I forgot. He's back downstairs bringing up a rack of Kevin's gear. BY HIMSELF.

Unwrapping my baby, who made it through the house and up the steps unscathed and intact.

And of course, all that is left to do after that, is dance to some Gershwin Preludes.

Thank you, my shamoop. Thank you for this new space and again for this phenomenal instrument. I love it, and I love you.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's a football bat

It's been a busy week. Colin has had a cold, which for him, means large amounts of projectile vomiting whenever he wakes up. Fun fountains of frothy mucous and breastmilk. In our bed. Awesomeness.

We did walk to North Hills on Friday to run all of our errands. That has been one of my goals since they finally got the crosswalks and lights on Six Forks up to par. It isn't a bad walk except for the stroller getting extremely heavy uphill. It's good for me though. I've got some serious belly to lose.

After hitting REI, Target, and GameStop, we stopped for some lunch at Chik-fil-a before heading home. Christopher got a football in his kids' meal, and he was beyond excited for Daddy to come home and play FOOTBALL (always said with a toddler fist pump) with him.

They did play. Sort of. Christopher threw the football at Kevin and mostly got it pretty close to him. Then he would turn his head or run when Kevin would throw it back to him. The best part though, was when Christopher picked up one of his golf clubs, whacked the football with it, and declared it a "football bat." Good stuff.

Kara tagged me in a meme. Of course, she also called me a serious blogger, which, bless her heart, I wish I was. I'm far too distracted to be that. Case in point: I have owned my own domain for three years now, but have never even redirected this page to it. That's pathetic.

Anyhoo, I actually love a good meme. Especially when I've been SLACK about writing. I kind of miss that more people don't do them anymore. So here goes -

1. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Probably Caramel Turtle Fudge from Swenson's. Waiting tables at Swenson's was my first real job. It surprisingly enough, did not suck. I got to meet and work with a lot of people who were way outside of my tiny Northeast Jackson box. And while I was actually far too clumsy to work there (read: many falls, dropped trays, spilled drinks, and cups upon cups of soup dumped out on the table), I survived. I also ate an enormous amount of ice cream and still managed to be wafer thin. I can honestly say I have outgrown that trait.

2. What was the worst job you ever had?

That's a tough one. I'm pretty flexible when it comes to working. I like to be busy and productive, feel like I'm not wasting my time, and help people. So I guess I would have to say that teaching piano at a private school here in Raleigh was the worst job. However, I met some of my favorite people at that job, so I can't say that I hated it. I wouldn't do it again though. Let's just leave it at that.

3. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

That's an easy one. The two weeks I traveled around Britain and Amsterdam with my momma. I had spent the semester in London, so I hadn't seen her in several months as it was - then, when I finally did get to see her, we got to hang out in Europe. Way cool. Except for her driving. That was a little frightening. And the hotel in Amsterdam left a lot to be desired. Okay. So it wasn't the smoothest and most luxurious vacation, but it was definitely the most adventurous and most fun. Plus, we played Pooh Sticks off a bridge in the Hundred Acre Wood. You can't beat that.

4. What is your dream job or career?

I would love to write songs. Like songs that actually get recorded and make money. I don't feel like I have to be the one to record them anymore, but I would still like to write them. In some sense, I get to have my dream job in small doses. I absolutely love playing with Bill even though it is very part-time, and getting to write for and perform with the North Carolina Symphony was definitely a dream come true.

If I never worked another career based job, I would be happy. Mama is the best title I've ever had. It would be a-ok with me if that was my career of a lifetime.

5. Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Another easy one. Dr. Sclater, my composition professor in college. I'll answer this one more in depth in a separate post this week. He retired this year, and the college asked me to come back for his retirement concert/celebration and speak on behalf of his students. My remarks sum up plainly why he was my favorite teacher and one of my favorite people in the world.

Alrighty then. I've done everything but tag. I'm going to tag Grandma Sandy, because I don't think she's ever been tagged before (and by the way, she's nobody's Grandma). I'll also tag Abby in high hopes that her laptop is fixed, because it would just be cruel to ask her to blog from her iPhone. And if I didn't tag you, but you are inclined to play along, leave me a link - I would love to read your answers!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Open letters to some of my recent Facebook blockings

Dear Person Who Randomly Unfriended Me,

I blocked you. Because I always thought you were weird anyway, and now that I don't have to pretend to like you, I would prefer to just not ever bump into you. Plus, it was a nice passive strike back at you for unfriending me for no reason.


Dear Person Who I Used to Think Was My Best Friend,

I blocked you too. I don't care to see who of my real friends you keep in touch with. I don't care to see your ridiculously private profile page where you can't even send a friend request. I hate to tell you this, but I'm pretty sure there aren't that many people looking for you, that you have to fly under the Facebook radar like you try to do.

I was surprised to see you pop up on my friend's page. I admit, I clicked over to see who else you were friends with - which of course you have hidden.

Then, I remembered that I was a whole lot happier when you had stopped existing in my life. Remember? That was what you didn't like about me at the end. That I "wasn't sad enough." That I was HAPPIER. Weirdo.


Dear Former Roommate,

I blocked you too. Because you married that crazy one in the previous letter.


Dear Former Bandmate,

I blocked you too. I'm pretty sure I didn't need to since you never returned my phone calls or emails after the divorce. But now I don't have to bump into you on anyone else's page and wonder what in the hell happened to your hair.


Dear Wife of Former Bandmate,

I randomly blocked you because I stumbled upon you and never really liked you anyway.


Dear Person My Husband Used to be Married To,

I blocked you, actually awhile ago. Not because I need to hide from you, because I'm well aware that you can log into your daughter's account and see me that way, but because it means I don't have to see you. And that always makes for a better day.


Dear Person I Used to Be Married To,

I blocked you. And out of all the people I blocked last night, this decision was the one that wasn't spiteful. It was just a little too awkward to watch you interacting with one of my best friends. It felt like I was eavesdropping or spying or something. And of course, because it's Facebook and one can't help ones self, I clicked over to your profile to see who else we had as mutual friends, and bammo. You have NO privacy settings at all.

Well, that was just odd. And I didn't feel right knowing that I could pop in on you whenever and see what was up. It's not that I would or want to - it just felt invasive that I could.

So, I blocked you. Now, you don't have to listen in on my conversations with our friend, and I don't have to see yours. Not spiteful, just comfortable.