Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This is George. He was a good little monkey and always very curious.

OK, so I know I’ve written about Curious George before, about how the actual people in the George’s universe show an inexplicable level of trust for a monkey, albeit an intelligent one. But I couldn’t leave the episode of Curious George entitled “Chasing Rainbows” alone without at least commenting on it. In this episode, you see, the man with the yellow hat takes Steve and Betsy, George’s friends from the city, on a trip to his house in the country. Steve and Betsy have never been out of the city before, but about ten minutes after they arrive, the man with the yellow hat takes George, Steve and Betsy out to the woods for a hike. “It looks like it might start raining,” the man tells them, “so if it rains too hard, just come home. George knows the way.” And then he drops them off. In the woods. Where they’ve never been before and with absolutely zero hiking experience.

But why should they worry, right? The monkey knows the way.

I don’t know, Andrew and I both happened to be watching this one with Jack, and yes, we realize it’s a cartoon, but we couldn’t let that one slide. It was as bad as the woman who owned the candy counter and left George in charge of it. He’s a monkey. He’s a monkey who follows direction poorly. OK, he’s an advanced monkey who doesn’t throw poop, but still. MONKEY.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I can’t even get comfortable when I lie down and I also think I have a bruise in this one spot where she likes to press and press her little foot

I am 32.5 weeks pregnant, and I don’t want to talk about it.


And I got a new haircut!

Yes, yes, thank you, I look so small, blah blah blah, but believe me, I do not FEEL small. Let’s just say that there is no position in which I can be comfortable and leave it at that, OK?

Instead, let’s talk about the thing we talk about when we’re not talking about being pregnant. The Movie! Remember The Movie? That I started telling you about? Well, I think it’s time to find out the answers to some of those burning questions I left you with. I think I should start with the origins of Crayon’s SUPER COOL nickname.

Ostensibly, it was because Crayon was an artist, but if I am going to be honest with you, the truth is that she was an artist only to give me the excuse of using “Crayon” as a nickname. I loved the name Carolyn, but I really loved the nickname Crayon. I mean, who wouldn’t? It was SUPER COOL. (Note: I am not, nor have I ever aspired to be, an artist. It was just a SUPER COOL nickname.) I do, however, want you to file away the fact that Crayon was an artist, because it is an important plot device for The Movie’s climax.

Dun dun dunnnnnnn.

So when we left off, Kasey had just transferred to a new high school and had met Vicki, the flakey lead guitarist in the band “The Dreamers.” Vicki was also a track star, because my sister, cousins and I were all about smashing stereotypes, and we didn’t want yet another “flakey cheerleader” character out there. We were innovators. No predictable, formulaic plots for us, as you will soon see. Or needless melodrama. Our plot was most definitely not melodramatic.

But I’m getting ahead of myself; before we can get to any of the drama, melo- or not, Kasey has to meet the rest of The Dreamers: Kim, the snobby rich keyboardist, and Carolyn, the quiet, shy drummer who was also an artist and whom everyone called “Crayon,” a nickname widely recognized as being SUPER COOL. After making friends with everyone, Kasey agreed to become the lead singer of The Dreamers, and the band arranged a practice at Crayon’s house.

The day of the first practice, Kasey showed up at Crayon’s house and was greeted by none other than Crayon’s older brother, Dan (played by C. Thomas Howell.) Sparks flew. Then some other stuff happened I guess, but this is the point at which we stopped writing scenes in order and started writing scenes somewhat at random with plans to put them in order later. So all I can tell you is that, before long, Kasey and Dan were a thing.

In fact, all four of our characters had boyfriends. I don’t remember any of the other boyfriends’ names, but I can tell you that Kim’s boyfriend was to be played by Rob Lowe and Vicki’s was Matt Dillon. Sadly, I don’t remember who played my boyfriend, because my cousin had already claimed Matt Dillon. (As the youngest, I got last picks for famous fake boyfriends, and as a nine-year-old, I wasn’t really that into it anyway.) It was probably either Ralph Macchio or Patrick Swayze. Or Emilo Estevez; maybe it was Emilio Estevez. Well whoever it was, we can be reasonably certain that he was in The Outsiders.*

One of the scenes we wrote at this point was the “spaghetti scene,” for although our movie was a very serious drama, even the most serious drama needs a little comedy to lighten the mood. Vicki, the flake, was our source for comedic relief, and the spaghetti scene was her time to shine. In it, Vicki arrived home with her boyfriend, Matt Dillon, only to find the house empty and a note from one of her several big brothers asking her to make spaghetti for dinner. The note included specific instructions on how to make spaghetti, but neglected to mention that Vicki should take the spaghetti out of the box before boiling it. Since we had trouble distinguishing between “kind of a flake” and “complete and utter moron,” hilarity ensued.

But the best of all of the scenes we wrote during this time were the love scenes. Each of us was responsible for writing a love scene for our characters, and we took it very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that we wouldn’t let each other read them.

I’ll pause for a moment while you let that sink in: We wouldn’t let our co-authors read our love scenes.

I know. It’s my favorite thing to remember about The Movie. This would probably have caused a bit of an issue when the time came to put the scenes in order; but, somehow, that time never came. I’ll tell you what did happen, though. My character’s mother made her first appearance in my love scene – and yes, that does sound unbelievably icky, but it’s because my scene took place at my character’s house, and Ralph (or Patrick or Emilio or Johnny) merely said hello to my mother on his way down to the basement, which is where Crayon’s art studio was. But I therefore had to give my mother a name, and I settled on “Martha” because, to me, it sounded matronly.

So a few days after I wrote my love scene (which pretty much boiled down to a tasteful kiss), my sister, who played Kasey, asked me, “Why did you name your mother ‘Martha’?”

“I don’t know,” I said, defensively. “It’s a good mom name!” and she let the matter drop.

Three or four days after this exchange, a thought struck me. “HEY!” I said to my sister. “How did YOU know my mother’s name was ‘Martha’?” Because remember, we weren’t supposed to read each other’s love scenes. So clearly, my sister had BETRAYED MY SACRED TRUST and read my scene in secret. But I caught her! I had figured it out! And it only took me four days! I got my revenge, though, because I read hers too. You hear that, Big Sister #4? I read YOUR love scene too! Nyah nyah!


Well, I think that is enough to tide you over till the third and final installment of The Movie, in which I discuss the climax, reveal The Movie’s title (S.A.D.D.) and tell you its Very Special Message (bet you can’t guess!). Also, someone dies.

*Unless it was Johnny Depp. It might have been Johnny Depp.

Edited to add: My new haircut is much cuter than that picture suggests. It's not quite so Dorothy Hamill in real life.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Aren’t fetusus really small?

Hey, folks. My latest post is up at The Bump!

Because I thought they were supposed to be small. I’m 31.5 weeks, so my fetus is only about 3.3 pounds, or so I’m told. AND YET. I think I am being squashed to death from the inside out. So either my particular fetus is larger than the average fetus, by, say, four or five pounds, or else she has eschewed the traditional “fetal position” in favor of the more unorthodox “spread-eagle” position. I have no other explanation, because one tiny coiled up bundle of 3.3 pounds could not possibly be responsible for the unbelievable pressure I’m experiencing. It’s like she’s doing isometric exercises in there. Always with the pushing! I think she’s using my diaphragm for resistance training.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter 2009

I’d like to take a minute to ask you all to keep the families of Thalon and Maddie in your prayers. I’m not a reader of these blogs so Shana and Heather are strangers to me, but my heart aches for them just the same.

It appears that yesterday was Easter.


I know. I KNOW. Baby boys get the short shrift for most of the cute outfits, but they have an edge on the girls when it comes to fancy-pants clothes. The boys’ dress clothes, you see, are just tiny versions of adult clothes, whereas the girls’ dress clothes, while adorable, are clearly made for little girls. And who doesn’t love tiny versions of things?

I should probably also post this, since it is photo documentation of the blind stupidity of Andrew and me:


That there is Jack eating the first of his “yem-ems.” Throughout the day, Jack followed that up with so much candy and treats that I am too embarrassed to list them here. Suffice it to say that next year, there will be a bit more parental monitoring of the chocolate intake since this is the outfit he came home from my sister’s in, and it’s not because someone spilled food on him:

But aside from the, uh, incident, we all had a good holiday. I did not get to attend all of the Triduum services (Holy Thursday mass, Good Friday service, Easter Vigil on Saturday night), but I did go to the Vigil while Andrew stayed home with a sleeping Jack. This was nice, because I’ve been faithfully attending choir practice all through Lent, and it would have been very disappointing to miss out on singing every piece we worked on.

Then, because I am extra extra holy*, I also went to the 9:00 mass on Sunday with Andrew and Jack because Andrew was lectoring. I sing with the choir most Sundays, so Andrew is usually the one to sit with Jack during Mass, and he keeps him on a tight leash. I, on the other hand, spent the last mass that Andrew lectored threatening Jack with a variety of consequences if he didn’t sit down and behave himself. Happily, Jack was much more malleable yesterday. Our biggest issue was that he did not want to share the pew with the woman who came in after us, and he was not afraid to let everyone around us know his feelings on the subject.

I ate enough Easter candy myself to cause quite a little party in my uterus. The kicks! The rolls! The punches! It was quite a sight to behold. (For any of you pregnancy neophytes out there, yes, you can see the baby moving. This completely blew my mind when I was pregnant with Jack. And it should have! Because it is SO WEIRD.) Even Andrew was impressed, and he usually misses the action because the baby knows when he is looking. This time, I guess she was just too hyped up on sugar to stop.

And oh, yeah, this was me last Wednesday, at 30 weeks. I know I’m late, but have you ever noticed how incredibly difficult it is to upload photos? You have to connect things, and resize and click buttons to upload. It’s draining.

30 weeks

*In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to confess that I gave up reading fiction for Lent with the plan of replacing the fiction with spiritual and/or educational reading about Catholicism. What actually happened is that I replaced the fiction largely with more television and internet surfing, so… not quite the broadening experience I was going for.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Oh, right, I am a scientist

I promise to be back with part two of The Movie (just wait till I get to the love scenes, people), but in the meantime, you should all go read this:

If TV Science was more like Real Science


I would like to add that one of the reasons I got tired of CSI was because of the exposition-driven conversations the field agents and the lab techs. Because while I realize that the writers have to have a way to explain the science to the viewing audience, actual scientists do not have conversations like this:

FIELD AGENT: Can you test this for DNA?

LAB TECH: You mean you want me to examine this human hair sample and see if there are any residual skin cells which contain DNA?

FIELD AGENT: Yes, exactly. I would like to examine this genetic material called DNA, the "blueprint of life," to see if there is a match between the DNA on the hair sample and the DNA of our suspect.

LAB TECH: And if there is a match, that would mean our suspect is guilty, because aside from identical twins, no two people share the exact same DNA.


Etc, etc.

Just once, I want the lab tech to say, "Why are you explaining the purpose of a fingerprint analysis to me? I do this for a living, you know."