Friday, October 2, 2015


"How ya doin'?"
Tonight Show Host Jimmy Fallon

"Ohh just treading water to keep from the sharks underneath," David says in his New Zealander's voice.

We laugh in the hallway at work because it's dramatic but kind of true. Even when our lives seem small in comparison to CFOs and soldiers, the sense that there are sharp teeth ready to snatch off your toes, or at least nibble at them uncomfortably, is still real.

When Cary's gone, this is just how I feel. But now that Jules and I are over our second illness that deserves a hurricane name ('cause again I'm hyperbolic like that), I think I can handle anything.

Cynically, I give this feeling five minutes.

Before he left, he got off the phone with the skipper, who had the news. "Whidbey?" I ask eagerly from the couch with Jules attached to me and my eyes no longer glued to Mr. Robot, knowing we've been lucky this far - not blessed, lucky - it must/could continue right? We're charmed and good deep down and work so hard...yes, I would like some stinky fatty cheese with my whine.

Tesla Motors (soon-to-be) gigafactory

It's fine.
It's fine.
What's wrong with you, woman, snap out of it!

Whidbey Island. Pax River. Fallon, Nevada... There was a string of decent options come February 2016. We were on the fence anyway about this one this time around, pop 8,600, shifting its Post-It note on the kitchen wall between top spots. The flying is supposed to be great, search and rescue (SAR), mountain experience, blah, blah, blah, WINK. I love small towns, went to school in one, enjoy driving through them to wherever we're skiing – looking through the diner windows and at the movie theater marquees, romanticizing tumbleweeds and solitary houses set back from the roads, yadda, yadda, yadda.

But I couldn't shake the notion I was moving backward in life, in work-career-job-whatever you wanna call it. Or is it really that our furniture resembles Lisbeth Salander's before she buys grown-up stuff with her hacker money? That seems dumb. Yet everyone else appears to be moving onward and upward with job security and a nearby Pieology and the fruit in the bowl in the fridge with the stuff.

But he did well. And I did too. And we're bright-siders anyway. And hey, don't you want to be us? Have my husband, my kid, my dog, my car, my house. Look we traveled to Seoul. Look we bought a leather couch. Post it, filter it, tweet. Blog about it. We done good, lookit! She sleeps through the night. Butters protects us against cockroaches. Bull. Shit. The truth is nothing is ever perfect and even outside Uncle Sam's Godlike plan and the gloss of social media, no one has control over much. It takes faith in yourself and selflessness, and the great white hope or Hogwarts or whatever you believe in.

And don't let anyone Stepford wife your ass, a friend said, hitting the nail on the head for how I was feeling; it's not only about them, including little people and pets. You'll be running on fumes before you know it because you're human not a robot. Take an interest in yourself and brush off the guilt every time you do what they do: talk about your work, eat til you're full, sleep in, let chores wait.

I will lose it between jobs. I will take a gig reading between bowlers or handing back movie ticket stubs. I will stalk the editor of the local paper until Tesla offers me something I can't refuse or Breaking Bad is filming a second spin-off and needs someone to hold microphones which may dip into the shots. "Jimmy Fallon," I'm coming for you. But in the interim, I'm gonna squeeze the shit out of Japan – from the friends to the trains to the trip that is baby modeling to the ski season to the shortest commute I'll ever have between work, daycare, coffee and store.

There it is, that high again, this time but again from a cathartic (tsk, tsk) blog post I can't resist putting on Facebook because I have nothing else witty to say on there let alone in the flesh in a timely manner. But now I have a bloody nose. Figures. It'd been five minutes. Is it dry in Fallon? Well at least I won't need a blow dryer.

Cary has passed me overseas screening paperwork for the second time in our lives. A friend told me about this; we're moving to a place so remote, it requires a health screening.

None of us can have it all, be the tallest or the bestest, in the ideal place or phase always. Have splendid timing. Still we can at least have our bananas in a hammock if we want, and trust for the best with the rest.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Proper Use of Hashtags

You know those moments when you feel optimistic about everything (ahem, last post)? Why do they never last long? Oh yeah, here's why:

Full-blown baby acne by the time your kid is meeting her extended family.

Getting the flu with an infant and without dad.

Losing air conditioning in your car in August in Japan.

Playing the extreme sport of consuming milk past its expiration date. Wait, I kind of enjoy this.

Missing your deployed husband's FaceTime call by minutes. (At which point he dropped the phone and ran away apparently.)

Selling out and going to Hawaii instead of Singapore. #firstworldproblems

Singapore's Marina Bay Sands resort
with a famous infinity pool to die for (via MailOnline).
A two-hour plus expensive commute to the airport then a delayed flight, then one of those achingly stinky blow-outs and later a wet T-shirt contest no one wants to see.

Being lonely enough you wish you were on a big gray boat in the middle of the ocean because hey, at least you'd have a cook and laundry service and constant buddies.

Joyce Carol Oates via Incandescere along with a good quote.
And here's a good article
Wearing a dress all day at work for an anticlimactic reunion - Jules in her third-cutest outfit because guess what happened to the others...

Running around town to the soundtrack of your baby crying.

Spidey-sense boobs.

Dog poop.

Baby poop.

Your poop.
Joyce Maynard before Looking Back:
A Chronicle of Growing Up Old in the Sixties
She's also the author of book/movie Labor Day
and mom to Hart of Dixie's Wilson Bethel
not to mention the Salinger scandal?

Dog hair.

Your hair.

Being responsible for feeding three living things.

Feeling more vulnerable as a parent than a mail-order bride.

Your spouse coming home then saying he's leaving again until Jesus' birthday.
Well why don't I just plan on seeing you at Jules' sweet sixteen then! At which point I'll make you buy her a 2031 Fiat to make up for all the lost time! Okay, okay, I digress. No, you're right, it's a great opportunity. GRUMBLE GRUMBLE  HAPPY FACE TO THE WORLD GRUMBLE GRUMBLE SHAMELESSLY TO ANYONE WHO'LL LISTEN
Cockroach-like belly-up cicadas on your stoop.

Breast milk storage requirements.

Car seat weight and narrow places.

99% humidity with a baby strapped to your chest.


So now that that's done, I'm back to the high of freebie calories, short hair and my recent discovery that maybe everyone named Joyce is a fantastic writer (see above if you're into books).

And I've got him and her - and a family no one can tear asunder. #knockonwood


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sans Dad

Yep, having your own kid is different.
Clone Club, Assemble!

It really does get your cockles toasty when they smile, chuckle, lay their head against you. I could live on that smile - a smile so big she has to turn away from me, curve into herself and laugh silently. And no one has ever been more excited to see someone in the morning than a baby looking at a parent.

So I'm willing to give up being able to watch foreign movies with ease, pesky subtitles. Whether it's to change her, make dinner quick or stare at her face. 'Cause it's Cary's face and a some-better-version-of-me face.

Dad's gone. He sputtered away to sail around on a little boat, weaving the blanket of freedom that keeps us warm at night he quotes.

But it doesn't make it any easier. Just seeing the unwatched MLS app on our Apple TV is enough to make me sad all over again. Or seeing anyone in a flight suit, wondering maybe it's him like a delusional. Or reading greeting cards. Or seeing stories about dogs on Facebook.

Daycare has been a dream, a physical and mental break when you're on your own especially. Daycare-slash-working full-time, or even part-time or even just babysitters, seems a mom's best tool in her tool belt. That and letting them cry for chunks of time. And a beer while breastfeeding. And a keg when you cut their finger instead of their nail.

I have friends who don't want kids or aren't sure yet. I hear ya. I never thought babies were even a redeeming cute. They often look like obese bald people.

The thing was the daycare parade. I was there the whole time, away form work, taking a zillion pictures like Alison Hendrix, (Orphan Black's overzealous soccer mom, and a human clone). I was so proud of my kid, who was doing absolutely nothing. Not even looking with her eyeballs, just sleeping after five minutes in the decorated stroller while the kid next to her played with her ladybug antennae.

These things surprise-surprise soften the hard edges of a life not entirely your own anymore. And for me that seems a good thing. I spent too much time thinking about the unfolded laundry, a skipped jog and an unfinished novel. And he's gone but I get to help raise a little girl into a great woman? Or at least one who appreciates a good talk show interview.

Got someone to stream the Women's World Cup or Sense8 with, or of course GoT, thanks HBO NOW.

Got someone to pose questions to like "Hey why didn't Butters eat her breakfast? Crap."

Got someone to cuddle with and go on walks with and wonder about.

As one of my friends said to me right before Jules was born, you've got this.

So if you're lonely this deployment season or just experiencing the lonely pang of being a female, think of the buddies in it with you. I count. Dogs count. Even cats.

You've got this.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Day 86

You want to show up like you have it all figured out.

Your baby is fed, changed and sleeping peacefully in your trendy carrier. You haven't got a care in the world besides trying to help populate the world with a good person who also hopefully happens to be cute and smart. You're going to talk and catch-up, enjoy eating and maybe drinking. And you're going to go home near the end of the party with time to fold the laundry and file your nails better, maybe even answer some emails.

Except you have nothing figured out. Because it changes every minute. And they're never full for very long, or clean or sleeping. They're never anything for long enough - unless you're ready for them to wake up or eat, then they sleep for four hours or play ice cream cone with your nipple. 

Except they eventually remain perfect (duh) because they're your kid, and even if they're not a good person for some reason in the future, somehow I can't imagine ever not being on her side. Could I turn in my family unabomber?

On the lighter side, thing after thing pops up that you want to do. From dinner with the girls to concerts to doing dishes without an effing dishwasher in this land of modern technology and convenience. 

But you can't always eat cake.

You have to stop, reevaluate, adjust or wait. You have to piece together eating, sleeping, shitting and babysitter schedules. You swell and leak and are constantly getting famished and thirsty. You have to pump and dump more precious-than-gold milk than you ever thought you would because, better be safe! You think about and take care of bacteria and germs a lot, even if you're levelheaded.

You can't help but cringe as you leave work yet again to pseudo-feed your kid via vacuum in a place that'll never be private enough. You have to trim the tiniest nails against the softest skin on the jerkiest of limbs.

You have to face things like how your baby's hands smell like the inside of a belly button (not sure how I know this) and contain a few days worth of compressed lint doobies, which she proceeds to suck out and enjoy as a snack between meals.

You have to make blog posts shorter - using Grey's Anatomy monologue voiceover-style repetition - and even more far between. You have to rely on coffee and toothless smiles to get you through each trying moment. You wait for her to laugh.

But this is what everyone tells you..."You have to..." When really, you can do whatever you want as you side-step and feint. You're mom and dad.

You can have meaningful conversations over screams if the other person doesn't mind too much. You can pick how to carry your baby and style his hair. You can have Chu-His or not and will always find a way to enjoy your food. You can shower and have a clean house, or leave those tasks for another day if ever. You can feed them however you choose, get them to sleep however you like. You can make decisions on your own. You can laugh about anything. You can retire your blog from its readership of 35.

You can have caffeine to help with the tired eyes, and extra calories as you eeking-ly wait for teeth to come in. You can take them to daycare or not or change it up. You can enjoy wishing for the next monumental molehill milestone. You can just stare and stare and talk and giggle with your partner: "Butters, this is called 'doting.' We used to do it to you." You can refreshingly realize you were wrong about the following things:

Just have them get used to loud noises--When you spent a long time getting them to sleep, it's a big deal when the TV volume suddenly gets loud or the dog barks, or moves.

Just let them bear the shots; they won't remember a thing--Their pain is your pain now.

Just let them cry--It's an irritating sound.

Just drop them off--What if they get lonely or cold or annoy them? Am I doing the right thing?

Ultimately, you can do it. It's always NBD in hindsight.

Worth it.
A great new view my mom pointed out.
Glug glug.
First day of school?
Find the breastfeeding baby...
Hakone's black ice cream. Not a very interesting picture
but it's about to explode so...
Look mom, no hands.
Grandparents Skype
Just kidding, we all know this is the new Princess Charlotte,
Jules' future sister-in-law.
via Mirror

Monday, March 30, 2015


I have this favorite song by Dido, Look No Further, and I thought I would sing it to Jules after she was born, to soothe her - I could picture Cary overhearing and thinking it was sweet. (Yep, that's how my mind works.) But I actually couldn't remember the complete words and it wasn't even 3 a.m., and it didn't soothe her anyway; her crying interrupted me. Rude girl. Perfect girl. Like every other mom thinks. Even her warped ear is endearing ... But my friend was right, every blogger turned mom thinks her experiences are worth sharing. So here only expect the mediocre giggle and relatable event as the blog title implies.

A piece of plastic with a fake nipple did the trick, pacifying her. The best feeling since seeing her dark wet head and wriggly body handed to me by Cary. My dad is reminded of Maggie from the Simpsons when she sucks on the pacifier. The creators seriously must've watched a sucking-obsessed baby to get Maggie's trademark really right. And if you look away for a moment, magically the pacifier has moved to her feet.

Never in my life have I wanted to "accio" things so much. The Harry Potter spell would come in unbelievably handy while feeding or holding her, carrying all the things, or a spell to lift her from my arms undisturbed and into her own space. Water, phone, remote, keys. Accio, accio, accio, accio.


Also a typing spell would be useful. Oh just face it, everything would be easier if Hogwart's existed.

I took Jules to her first movie. Jupiter Ascending. Meh. And inside a bookstore. While I looked around and hoped she liked the smell and the quiet, she passed a loud one. I gave her her first cold and her first sunburn at barely over a month. We have a three-legged dog because of our mistake and I wonder how much we'll make our kids pay for our oversights, for our determination not to worry too much. I focus on that she has a cool birth certificate and goes on train rides and has a passport.

Here are some more trite things for moms in Japan and beyond:

I have more respect for moms everywhere, from birth to breastfeeding.
I have less respect for stay-at-home moms who complain (not vent) while in sweats and with Netflix on in the background. Bill Burr says it best.

Why does diarrhea of the mouth occur when it comes to parenting advice? Others and my own.
I wish the funniest-in-hindsight things that happen during newfound parenthood weren't rated R.
I wish I didn't talk about kids now as much as the guys talk about aviation.
Will we ever talk about anything else again?

Just kidding, this is the new Gerber baby.