Sunday, August 3, 2008

"If I were Bionic Woman, what would I wear?"

[Reposted from my old blog]

Numerous people (ok, two, but Mark agreed) have told me that I need to see Freaks and Geeks, and last night Mark and I finally got the chance to watch the first three episodes. Afterwards I was wishing Blockbuster was closer to our house, and that I could somehow stay up later than I already had (11:00! Wayyyy past my bedtime!) so we could watch more. "Everyone" was right - I love that show! I love Bill, and so far my favorite moment from those first three episodes has to be when he's in front of the mirror dressed up as Bionic Woman. I'm surprised we didn't wake Claire up, we were laughing so loud.

"Everyone" is a funny expression. It's used so loosely. That bugs me, yet I do it, too. I'm extra bugged by it right now because of a recent experience, one that is so stupid and petty that I can't even believe I'm bringing it up (or that it bugged me at all), but I need to purge this and move on.

Ok. So I have this friend (another loose term). I should write a whole book about her, as this is probably one of the most dysfunctional relationships of all time. She's pregnant and on bedrest, so Claire and I brought her lunch last week. I was asking her if she had narrowed down her list of names, and she told me what they had decided on, and then she was silent for a moment before breaking out her next statement.

"Everyone is so horrified when I tell them that you like the name Margo, they can't believe you'd consider naming a child that."

What? I was busy wrangling Claire, who was getting into a stash of electronics on the table next to Pregnant Friend's (PF) nest on the couch (Claire loves laptops, cell phones, remotes, etc.) so it took me a mintue to process her remark. All I could say was "really? That's weird, I think it's a fine name." Maybe you had to hear her tone, or maybe you just have to know her. But the way she said it, you'd have thought I said I was naming my baby Satan. And the funny thing is, I'm not even pregnant, and haven't been talking about names for my own family in nearly a year. I told her I liked the name Margo last summer, before we decided on Claire. So where did this come from? And why would anybody ever phrase a comment in such a rude and inflammatory way? Oh yeah, because this is her MO. I don't know why I'm surprised.

Who is this "everyone" she's speaking of, and why is she talking about me with them? It was probably, like, two people who said they're not fans of the name when she phrased the question in a leading way. But it bugs me that she gets such pleasure out of hurting and insulting people. I don't care about the comment itself; I still think Margo is a fine name and I wouldn't let her comment alone sway my decision if we end up considering it for a future daughter. What bugs me is how manipulative she is. She's always trying to stir things up and get some drama going. She probably wanted me to ask who it was so I would get mad and want to gossip with her about them. Sorry lady, not interested.

And obviously if you're reading this you don't know her; I am not trying to be gossipy or start drama of my own. I have been slowly trying to distance myself from her for the last few years, but it's been harder than I thought. Maybe I should just make a clean break and be done with her? Maybe I'm making this harder than it needs to be? Maybe it's only sticky and convoluted because I'm allowing it to be that way. Hmm. I guess I've never broken up with a friend before. I'm not sure what the protocol is for this sort of thing. Do you call them up and say "I don't want to be your friend anymore, so lose my number and don't expect any more calls from me"? Do you just keep declining invitations, ignoring calls and emails, and hope they get the hint? Is there a Hallmark card for this? I've been declining invitations, but feel bad totally ignoring her when she calls or emails - especially since she's on bedrest and in a time of need. I can't just drop her right now.

I don't want to be a total jerk. But why? Because that's exactly what she has been to me for many years. In middle school she always had a mean remark to make, like, "Aidan Brown (name has been changed) thinks you have a really flat chest. He called it a sunken treasure." I didn't even have any classes with Aidan. I only knew who he was, and being that I was one of the quietest kids in the school, I'm quite certain he had no idea who I was. But I was so crushed by this remark, for years I was incredibly self conscious of my entire body and what other people must have been thinking about it. Over the next few years she told me that other people made similar comments, all of whom I didn't know (and again, who probably didn't know of me, either). I was too naive to notice that, although not voluptuous by any means, my chest was probably twice as big as hers.

And the funniest part? About five years ago Mark and I hosted a How to Host a Murder party with a luau theme. PF's character was a hula girl, so she wore a tank top with a coconut bra over it; another friend of ours has a husbande with a distinct/sometimes offensive sense of humor who made a typical-to-him comment about her not quite filling out her coconuts, and she got so mad that she left the party. The party she was supposedly helping me host. And then a few years later she got implants. So it kind of makes me wonder if people were making comments to *her* back then, and she decided to put that on me for some reason. Just to be mean? To see how I'd react? Who knows. Anything involving PF somehow gets really complicated on a consistent basis. There was another time when she made a double date for us to play tennis with these two guys we went to school with, and the more we played, the more pissed off they got. I was kind of the innocent bystander who didn't know either of them so I didn't know how to react. She just told me she had been asked out, but didn't want to go alone so I'd be doing her a favor to come along and make it a double. And then later I learned she had been building me up for weeks telling them I claimed to have a "lightning serve," among other skills. They were pretty good players and were expecting an even match, and thought I was cocky and over-confident about my skills. I wouldn't have like me, either!

It's like she has to put other people down, make other people look/feel bad, in order to feel better about herself. I can think of so many examples of this, and wish I had realized this long ago. It would have saved me many hurt feelings and missed opportunities. And it's pretty obvious that my self esteem took a big hit, for me to put up with this for so long. It's like the classic abusive relationship. "Nobody else will love me; I'm lucky to have her, so I better put up with this bullshit or I'll be alone."

So, short story long. I need to "break up" with this friend. But I would feel like a complete jerk abandoning her when she's pregnant and on bedrest. But then I remember that she's *always* in a state of crisis that would make me feel bad about this. There will probably never be a good time, and prolonging it is only giving her more chances to do what she does best. I can't believe I've put up with this for so long. I need to think about what made me allow this to go on, and do something about it. I need to be a better role model for Claire.

Food, Glorious Food

[Reposted from my old blog]

We've started Claire on solid foods. What an adventure! First it was avocado - and can I tell you, nobody in the history of mankind has ever looked so cute with green paste smeared in their hair, up their nose, inside their ears. It's ridiculously adorable. And watching her eat is so entertaining. We skipped purees and baby food and are going the "baby led weaning" route (weaning as in transitioning to food, not as in weaning from breastfeeding. I think this is a British term. She is still nursing, and probably will for another year or so.) This means that we give her managable chunks of safe foods, the perfect size for her to grasp in her fist, and she feeds herself. No spoons. The theory is that if she's developmentally ready to hold onto the food and put it into her mouth, then she's able to safely swallow it, too. I've read a lot about this and watch her like a hawk while she eats, and so far it's been working really well for us.

So back to the avocado. It's one of my favorite foods, and Mark loves it, too, so we thought it was only natural to make it Claire's first food. Plus it has a nice, bland taste and soft texture, and it's a powerhouse in the nutrition department. She is always interested when I put a few slices on her tray, and immediately picks one up and experimentally squeezes it in her fist. Green mush squishes out from between her fingers, bringing a smile to her face. Then she puts it in her mouth and lightly chews on the end sticking out of her fist, getting little bits of the soft meat in the process. The taste and texture are still new to her, so she makes funny faces that almost make me think she doesn't like it - but she keeps coming back for more, so it can't be that bad. And then she swallows those little bits, shuddering as they go down. What an odd feeling it must be to eat for the first time when you're only used to drinking. It's such a fun and messy process!

Last week I baked some butternut squash, which my mom tells me was Holly's first pureed food - and happens to be one of her favorite foods to this day. Claire and Holly are so much alike, I thought it was fitting for squash to be next in line. So I baked a few small organic squashes and cut them into french fry-shaped pieces once they cooled. They were soft enough to be gummed, but still not quite as mushy as the avocado. Claire did not approve, and after taking several bites started heaving and threw up the few small chunks she had swallowed. I wondered if it was the texture, so I mashed a little bit with a fork and helped her eat with a spoon, but she had the same reaction so I decided to call it a day and wait to reintroduce it some other day. Most recently we tried very-ripe banana slices, which were pretty close in texture to the avocado. She accepted them, but not with the same enthusiasm she had for the avocado.

I cannot wait until she can eat "real" food, I have a feeling she's going to love Mexican! I wouldn't be surprised, because I ate a lot while I was pregnant and she still gets the taste through my milk now. That's the beauty of nursing: babies experience many different tastes depending on what their mom eats. I think once she gets used to eating, she'll have a healthy appetite for lots of different flavors.

Speaking of food, one of my new favorite items is Ezekiel bread. It has sprouted grains, so the nutritional content is much higher. I recently discovered the benefits of sprouted grains, so I've tried sprouting my own as an experiment (just garbanzo beans, so far). I love a few slices of the Ezekiel bread toasted, smeared with several tablespoons of butter - yummmm! And I know what you're thinking, that butter is unhealthy. But I would urge you to do some research (try for starters), and you'll see that saturated fats are NOT as bad as they have been made out to be. They are actually necessary for good health, and it's the rise in vegetable oil consumption that coincides with the rise in heart disease. Isn't that something? All these years we've been told to avoid butter and load up on vegetable oil. Our ancestors had the right idea, and the closer we can get our diets to resemble theirs, the healthier we'll be. It's sad that we have more knowleldge and technology today, yet we're unhealthier than ever. The processed and artificial foods we're eating can't even be called food anymore.

But anyways. It's getting late. I can see lightning in the distance, and I'm hoping for a storm tonight. Time for bed.