Wednesday, April 22, 2015

i don't have time for this crap

I'm kind of drowning in life right now. (Or, more like, always.) I'm burning the candle at both ends, except if the candle was a ball and it was just ON FIRE. The last thing I should be doing is writing a blog post. It was not budgeted into this week's schedule which is packed tighter than most Americans' ginormous not-even-remotely-carry-on-sized luggage is wedged into the overhead compartment. BUT. When duty calls.

[Incidentally, I saw something the other day directed at bloggers about whether you edit as you write, or write the whole thing first and then edit. I was like, um, neither. I sit down, have digital/verbal diarrhea, post (or more often, schedule it to post), then once it posts I'm like, Shit! Typos! And I go edit and update it approximately three or seven times in rapid succession. What can I say. I'm a pro.

Anyway, that aside was just to say that, when I get a bug up my ass about something, I can't think about much else until I barf it out onto the computer, or on paper in a pinch, or painstakingly type it with my thumbs into the Notes on my iPhone. And actually, it's pretty much the only way I can write anything good. Prompts and sponsored posts come out sounding like just that. Which is why this can't wait.]

So. Today. Jack likes to get dressed IMMEDIATELY when he wakes up. And he likes to pick out his own clothes. And he likes to wear mismatched socks. He has had this one shirt for years. I am obsessed with it. It hails to my youth. But he never ever wants to wear it. Probably because it is neon pink. This morning, however, he decided, of his own accord, to wear the pink shirt. Correction. Orange shirt. Radical.

No, he's not brown-baggin' a fo'ty.
That's his "share." It's a "tele-cope." (Obv. Because BOYS like SCIENCE.)
By the way, I took this pic before "the incident," because I thought he looked so freakin' cute.
But. When we walk onto the playground for drop off, two little girls from his class instantly point and yell, "JACK'S WEARING PIII-IIINK!!!" Now. As you may or may not know, my son is a "highly sensitive child," and people making fun of him is honestly the worst possible thing for him. Seriously, I almost think he would rather be in physical pain. His sweet little face just fell and he kind of folded into himself. One of his teachers saw this go down, knows Jack's sensitivities, and tried to save the situation by saying "No, I think it's more of a coral color." Jack cries back, "It's not pink! It's not cowal! It's OWANGE!" I said, "BOYS ARE ALLOWED TO WEAR PINK, YOU IGNORANT LITTLE FUCKS!" No. I didn't. I said, "Buddy, it's fine! Boys are allowed to wear pink! You look super handsome! And it has an awesome surfer bug on it!" His teacher picked up on my line of argument and said to the little girls, "Right. Boys can wear pink, and girls can wear blue," etc.  The two girls caught the drift and were like, "Yeah! See? There's a blue jewel on the crown on my purple Princess Sofia dress!" and "I'm wearing blue, too!" (Like, a blue thread in a hot pink dress, but, hey, E for effort, kid.) Jack said "IT IS NOT PINK!" I was like, "Okay. Pinkish-Orangeish." Jack: "O-WAAANGE!!!!!" Me: "Okay, okay. Let's call it 'neon orange.'" Just to seal the deal, another little boy walked out and said, "PINK SHIRT." Seriously?!? You would have thought he was dressed in sequins and gold lamé like fucking Liberace the way these kids were reacting. And I live in a fairly funky so-cal surf town. And all this 80s crap is back in style, right? Or has that passed now? Still. What the shit, people?!

I knew the damage had already been done. Jack sort of crumpled into himself, tugging on his shirt, on the verge of tears, saying "I don't want to wear this shoit anymoah. People are going to think it's pink." (Accurate, because it is, in fact, pink.) I said, "Aww, bud, it's okay, it's an awesome shirt and you look like such a cool dude! It's okay if people think that - EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT PINK AT ALL IT IS VERY ORANGE - but if it WERE pink, that would be okay, too, because it is totally cool for boys to wear pink. Daddy has pink shirts! He even work a pink shirt for our Christmas pictures and he looked so handsome!" NOPE. Not havin' it. J: "I willy don't want to wear it, Mama. People will just laugh at me all day." Me: "Okay, love, of course! The last thing I want is for you to be sad and uncomfortable. And I am so so sorry those kids made you feel bad. That was not nice of them. You do whatever you want, but just so you know, your shirt is totally fine and nobody should have given you a hard time." Luckily he had a spare Lego Movie t-shirt in his cubby and it was BLUE. Phew. That was a close one. Remind me not to step out of our color-coordinated gender roles ever again. (Oh shit. I just realized I'm wearing a blue sweatshirt. And blue jeans, too. Come to think of it, I'm basically dressed like a giant Smurf. People are totally going to think I'm a man!!!)

I wrote a poem special for the occasion:

Jack wore pink, kids pointed and laughed
Jill wore blue, no one gave a rat's ass

Anyway, the moral of the story is: my son will never, ever, wear pink orange EVER again. Thanks a lot, jerks.

It just makes me so sad. I just saw this post this morning by some dad about how he "lets," or rather, gives his girl the freedom to be a "girl" (read: pink glitter princess), and I liked it, I see his point, I'm the same way. My girl does love princesses and kitty cats and all things pink. But really, lets be honest with ourselves here. Girls don't come out of the womb wanting pink frilly shit, and boys don't come out of the womb with an aversion to it. They are, apparently, sooner than later, shamed into conforming, and it pisses me the fuck off.

That is all.

[This reminds me of a funny post I just saw:
"I'm in Old Navy. I can't believe how many shirts are left over from the 1976 Surf Championship." ;)]

Update: This morning when I dropped the kids off, all of the little boys in Colby's class were wearing pink fire fighter hats (which, incidentally, were given to all of the GIRLS when "Calbin's" fire fighter dad visited the class last month. The boys got manly BLACK. Rawr.) It made my heart happy. And made me realize that the identity-stomping must start somewhere between the ages of 3 and 4.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

the devil's in the wheat-tails


I *cough* might be *cough-cough* gluten intolerant *cough-cough-cough.*

Son of a faerie-flax-biscuit!

I have relentlessly made fun of this whole gluten free thing for YEARS. I'm not talking about people with legitimate gluten allergies, e.g. Celiac's disease. I mean "gluten intolerance" and the whole movement. I was 100% convinced it was a phony rich white person fad, like power-walking, Atkins, "cleanses," kale and chia seeds. Like Paleo and Crossfit. Like some trendy cult. I didn't buy it for a second. I thought it was a fascinating sociological experiment. Like a combination of placebo effect and Kool-Aid-drinking Hale Bop/Charles Manson groupie/sheep mentality weirdness. Or like those girls at college parties who pretended to be drunk or high after drinking literal Kool-Aid and smoking oregano. I wanted to yell "THE EMPEROR'S NOT WEARING ANY CLOTHES, PEOPLE!"

Funny how things work out.

For the past 5 plus years (actually most of my life), I've been plagued with an array health problems and have had a baseline comfort level somewhere between "Call Dr. Kevorkian" and "Mildly Shitty." I've been to SO many doctors and taken SO much medication and undergone SO many tests and procedures, all to no avail. Finally, in an act of desperation, I decided to go see a doctor of "natural medicine."

Now, don't get me wrong. I believe Eastern medicine has just about as much, if not more, to offer the world as Western medicine does. In fact, Yours Truly is a certified practitioner of Reiki. Pseudoscience though it may be, I wholeheartedly believe that we all have "energy" that can be harnessed, and that our minds are powerful medical tools.

Still. The gluten thing. Bah.

Anyway. I went to go see this doctor. He was right down the street, and has been featured on Dr. Oz several times so he MUST be legit, right? He put me on this insanely stringent diet where I basically couldn't eat anything except lettuce and lemons and kukui nuts picked by the light of a full moon. Plus I had to take about 14 horse pills every day that regularly lodged themselves in my esophagus. I did this diet for 30 days, and I was EFFING MISERABLE. I had headaches so bad I could barely see straight. It was just not a feasible long term plan. So I quit the diet, and the doctor. The only benefit from that whole experience was that I felt SO terrible, my normal baseline level of craptastic-ness seemed like a big step up.

So I go back to my primary care guy. Antibiotics, steroids, two specialists, and my head is still full of snotty sludge 24/7, which is now one of my primary medical concerns. Fast forward 6 months, I decide to try the hippie hoodoo healing route one more time. This round I try a chiropractor (a field of which I am inherently distrustful)-slash-naturopath. She dresses like a waitress at Medieval Times and her office smells like patchouli. She was 45 minutes late to the first appointment. Then she "adjusted" my neck, and I thought I was possibly paralyzed. Things weren't looking promising.

However, I wanted to be able to say I'd exhausted every avenue. I told her my last attempt at a crazy Nazi no-nothing diet was a complete fail. I said that eating solely kimchi, kukui nuts and pink Himalayan salt hand-hewn by off-duty Mt. Everest sherpas just wasn't a sustainable solution for me. She looked at my blood work from this company called Cyrex (which had actually been ordered by the Dr. Oz guy, and, judging by the cost, involved filtering my platelets through 24 carat gold). Apparently the tests showed a "sensitivity" to several types of grain. But she said dairy, eggs, rice and corn were all fine. So, I reluctantly committed to going gluten-free, even though I think it is the greatest conspiracy IN ALL THE LAND.

And then.

After approximately 5 days, my sludgy head was clearer than it has been in the past FIVE YEARS.

I shit you not.

I was simultaneously thrilled and devastated by this discovery. Not only because I would have to join the ranks of the "Gluten Intolerant," which I had heretofore believed was, as my daughter would say (quoting Lord Business) a bunch of hippie. dippy. baloney. But also because, along with cheese, my husband, my kids, and alcohol, bread was one of the top five happiest things in my life. (Not necessarily listed in order of importance ;)).

At first, I was so excited about being able to breathe, and not feeling like I had concrete in my skull, I was pretty motivated to stick with it. I admit I have had a couple of missteps. The problem with my "all or nothing" personality is that when I fall off the wagon, I fall off the wagon HARD, hitting four donuts and an entire plate of garlic knots on the way down. (What with the gravitational force, they flew straight into my gullet. Do not stop, do not pass go.)

Still. That glimpse of sinus amnesty has motivated me in a way that little else has to stay true to the cause. Plus, it's a lot harder to eat when bread when you're busy eating crow ;)

Lest you think I've suddenly become health conscious or something, let me give you a short list of things that are gluten free:

6 "gluten friendly" coconut muffins from Soup Plantation (slathered in whipped honey butter, natch')
Basically all of the Easter candy
kiddie pool easter basket on pinterest
Snickers ice cream bars
Root beer floats (plural)
A platter of hand-made marshmallows (which, while cute, are 1/8 as delicious as Jet Puft)
Peanut Butter - eaten LIKE A BOSS (aka standing over the sink eating it with a serving spoon)
Salt & Pepper Crinkle Cut Kettle Chips

Suffice it to say, this has not been a helpful stop in my journey toward smaller pants. I basically approach my gluten free diet like I do vegetarianism. Which is to say, in an astoundingly ass-backwards manner. A friend of mine summed it up quite accurately the other day when he said, "You're basically the worst vegetarian in the entire world. You're like those girls who say they're virgins, but let guys f*** them in the a**."

Yep. That would be me.
Join The War on Terror
I still think people be crazy. I'm more of a moderation type of person. Okay, that's not true. I'm not much for moderation. I just don't believe in needlessly depriving yourself of the things in life that make you happy. But, I just wanted to confess that I am a circumspect convert re: gluten.

The end.

Food for Thought (Now Gluten Free!)

A Heart Surgeon's Viral Confession - Behind the beloved idea that processed food is 'slowly killing everyone' by James Hamblin on The Atlantic. "I am a world renowned heart surgeon who has been working for 25 years and has conducted over 5,000 open heart surgeries..." and who got his medical license revoked in 2008 but we'll just gloss right on over that part!

Then there's stuff like Subway and Wonder Bread and 500 other brands putting azodicarmonamide a.k.a. yoga mat rubber in their f*cking foods. You know. Little things like that. (That's actually a good article that points out we might be a little alarmist about this kind of thing. But still. Dude. Yoga mats.)

And speaking of alarmism. Just saw this. Pretty interesting: The "Food Babe" Blogger is Full of Shit by Yvette d'Entremont on Gawker. (Turns out the Food Babe got her medical degree at the same place as me - Google U, baby!)

And finally, The Gut Brain Connection (Video) from Cyrex Labs

^ The views expressed in this video are those of Cyrex labs and not necessarily those of the author of this blog. Honestly the video faintly smacks of the Church of Scientology propaganda and I would not be at all surprised to learn that they're a bunch of whackadoodles. Still. They tested my blood and told me I had a "sensitivity" to wheat and barley and faro and rye, and I've stopped eating those things (except for that unfortunate run-in between my mouth and half-a-dozen powdered jelly donuts), and have felt much better, so, make of that what you will.

*** Like this post? Then you'll love my essay in the new book "I Still Just Want to Pee Alone!"***
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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

cat hair coffee

Last night, we were eating hamburgers (well, my kids were eating hamburgers, as slowly as humanly possible), and my son dropped half his on the ground, patty-down. It may possibly have been licked by the dog. Definitely coated with a little dog hair and general floor fuzz. I assumed it was a goner because he's usually neurotic about that kind of thing. I offered him half of his sister's burger because she wasn't going to finish it but he wailed NOOOOO he wanted HIS burger. I assumed this was one of those lose-lose situations (wants burger, can't have burger), but then, to my utter shock (and slight horror), he asked me to wash it off. I was like, really??? He said yes. This was well beyond the bounds of the "5 second rule" but I decided I was just going to roll with it because I didn't want to discourage this behavior from my little germophobe. So I washed it off. Reassembled it. And he ate it. Well. Some of it. Later that night I was telling DM this amazing story and he starts making this face and I said, "What?!" and he replied "I finished his burger when I got home." Hahahaha. Immunity boost, baby!!!

This reminds me of the time I worked for a crazy person. He was nice (sometimes), and quite good at his job. But not entirely sane. This is the guy who said to me in the interview, "You minored in Critical Gender Studies? What is that? Some lesbian shit?" He ran a law practice out of his house. My "office" was a bedroom next to the one where he slept with his wife and two kids on double bunk-beds. The grandpa was also a lawyer (allegedly), and was often at the house as well. One time Gramps told me that they "cured" the wife's cat allergies by putting cat hair in the coffee filter for a few months. When they saw the look on my face, the guy and his pops were like, "What?! It worked!" My reply: "I don't doubt that it did. With my rudimentary understanding of allergies, it makes sense in this super insane sort of way. But that doesn't make it any less f*cked up." I only drank Starbucks after that.

I can't find the picture now. I may have taken it down, or it just got lost in the dungeon of Facebook archives. But the best story from my time there was this one client interview. Let me set the stage. We're in the dude's living room. He's wearing jean shorts and tevas with white socks and a ratty undershirt. The wife-slash-office manager offered the client a cup of cat hair coffee. We're sitting around a conference table in said living room, surrounded by legal volumes and elementary school homework. The client asks to use the restroom. My boss replies "Number one or number two?" The client was understandably baffled by the question. "Uhhh, pardon?" My boss (like he hadn't just asked a completely ridiculous question): "Do you just have to piss? Or do you need to take a shit?" Client: "Just... number one." Boss: "Alright. Cool. There's a dead fish clogging the pipes so don't flush. 'If it's yellow, let it mellow, man.'" I'm thinking we probably did not close the deal with that client.

my artistic rendering of the helpful signage provided by my old boss's 7 year old son.
I actually learned a lot from that guy. I'm grateful for the opportunities in legal and social learning that he afforded me. I'd like to think I taught him a thing or two as well. For example, it is not appropriate to pee in a Starbucks cup, while driving, with your female employee riding shotgun, because, among other things, "she can see your d*ck." Now, if it had been, say, a hot coffee cup instead of an iced coffee cup, thereby providing adequate cover for his genitalia, maybe that would've been a different story.

I stopped drinking Starbucks after that.

brings new meaning to the term 'penis straw'
*** Like this post? Then you'll love my essay in "I Still Just Want to Pee Alone!"***
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