Triticum Turgidum

Lying Dormant and Waiting to Bloom Since 2005

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Location: The Prairie, Illinois, United States

I am a beauty-loving ambidextrous higher-order primate who learned transcendental meditation at 7, statistical analysis at 23, tap dancing at 30, and piano at 35. I tolerate gluten, lactose, and differences of opinion, but not abuse. Or beets.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

I'm the baby. I'M THE BABY!

Little Does She Know

People keep asking whether Cowgirl can "sense" that I'm pregnant. My answer is no. If she's noticed that there is less room on my lap than there was before, she isn't distressed about it. I think she fancies my bump a keen new pillow upon which to curl up when I'm lying on my side (very uncomfortable). And she really seems to love her cool new furniture, including the crib (above) and thick cozy floor rug.

T minus two weeks and counting, Cowgirl. We're all in for a biiiiiig adjustment.

I haven't posted much about my pregnancy because most of what I've been told about pregnancy and childbirth (and childrearing for that matter) has been frightening. It's something I deal with privately. But tonight I got a completely unexpected email message from one of the members of my book group. They threw a surprise book-themed shower for me last weekend and gave me food to freeze for meals after the baby's born. They're wonderful women. The message I received tonight from Anne has given me the first real feeling of hope and optimism I've had since becoming pregnant. I thought I'd share it here.

Dear Kris,

Have you noticed, when you’re pregnant, people like to tell you horror stories about their own pregnancies and difficult births and whatnot? When I had my first baby, it seemed everyone I met was compelled to share: relatives, friends, total strangers. They all had a story to tell, and some of the stories were kind of scary.

Okay, check this out. I had 3 kids. They are 24, 15, and 7 now. Each pregnancy, birth, and child was totally different, save for one thing: each was an extremely positive experience for me. And you know what else? Taking care of a baby is much more pleasant than being pregnant. And you know what else? You’re not likely to need anyone helping you with the baby when you bring her home, either. I had only their respective fathers, and that’s all that was necessary. You and your husband are intelligent adults (well, I know you are anyway, and I would expect your husband to be as well), and you’re going to get along just fine, I know it.

After I had Jamie, I realized no one had told me how absolutely wonderful the experience would be… and it was, wonderful I mean… and exciting and awe-inspiring. The day she was born was the very best day of my life, bar none. To this day, I wonder why no one ever told me how incredibly happy I would be. The whole birth experience is something that should not be missed. Why does no one tell us that? Okay, so I’m telling you. It’s a wonderful thing.

All the best, Anne

I'm going to print this out and pack it in my hospital bag. Thanks Anne.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Yes, You*

According to Guinness World Records, the smelliest substances on earth are the human-made "Who-Me?" and "U.S. Government Standard Bathroom Malodor," which have five and eight chemical ingredients respectively.

“Bathroom Malodor” was developed by chemists in the U.S. as a way of testing the effectiveness of deodorants and air fresheners. It emits an incredibly unpleasant odor that resembles human feces and becomes unbearable at a mere 2 parts per million. “It’s very pungent,” explains Paul Dalton of the Model Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. “It fills your head and gets to you in ways that are unimaginable.” (I love that description.) ”Who-Me?,” on the other hand, has a different but equally overwhelming stench. The sulphur-based substance smells of rotting food and carcasses. It was originally developed during the Second World War when it was hoped French resistance fighters would be able to humiliate and embarrass German soldiers by making them smell horrific. (Leave it to the French, with their love of perfume, to equate smelling bad with humiliation. Last time I was in Paris the city was crammed with humiliated people. To be fair, it was 105 degrees Fahrenheit.) The idea came to nothing since it was impossible to properly target the smell – instead, it ended up polluting large areas. (Big surprise.)

The U.S. Government has now resumed a program to look at possible military applications of these substances. It’s hoped they could be modified and used as giant stink bombs to disperse rioting crowds or to keep warring factions apart. (In the meantime, they could use a concentrated version of Clinique Aromatics Elixir, a scent that would smell wonderful in a concentration of 2 parts per million but unfortunately is not sold that way.)

*This post dedicated to Jonna.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Wyandotte Theater in the 1960s

Let Me Tell You About Sara

Sara was a neighbor and friend during my late tween and early adolescent years. Her father died when she was very small so she was raised by her mother, whose war-veteran "gentleman friend" was named Chet. Chet had shrapnel scars on his scalp and a glass eye that he would pop out and show us if we begged. Sara also had an in-ground swimming pool. She was a talented athlete who played every sport they would allow girls to play and ended up being the top golfer on the high school women's golf team. She also came up with the idea of applying lip gloss as eyeshadow 20 years before the fashion stylists would discover it. I envied her.

But like all golden girls, Sara had a fatal flaw: she was incontinent.

Every time someone made her laugh, Sara wet her pants. The first time I saw her do this, we were golfing together. We were probably 11 years old. She was trying to show me how to putt. I responded by hacking up countless divots of turf. The putting green looked like an adolescent Jolly Green Giant in need of Accutane. Sara started giggling, then laughing out loud, then "Oh no!"ing -- she'd wet her pants. Not a little either -- a whole bladderful. I haven't attempted to golf since.

My favorite incontinence story involving Sara took place during a movie viewing. The Wyandotte Theater showed second-run movies for a buck, which was cheap even in 1981. Sara and I would ride our bikes across the north-end bridge (we lived on an island) and load up on McDonald's, Faygo Redpop and Rock&Rye (Detroit-area soda, a.k.a., pop), and candy before heading to the theater to see the latest (well, almost latest) flick. Tall, jocky Sara could put away two Big Macs, large fries, and a hefty load of candy without blinking an eye. (McDonald's was a big deal for us because there were no fast food restaurants on our island, so when we were lucky enough to go there we ate all we could.)

This particular day was cold and blustery. We were freezing by the time we got to McDonald's, so we ate more than usual: Sara had two large fries with her two Big Macs. Then we went to 7-Eleven and stocked up on candy and Rock&Rye. The warmth of the theater was welcome after the chill bike ride.

I don't remember the movie, but I do remember where we sat: about 10 rows from the front, left of center. There was a grown-up couple directly in front of us. As preadolescents are wont to do in the presence of shushing adults, we started poking each other and giggling. Sara took a big swig of Rock&Rye and belched -- LOUDLY. I laughed out loud in spite of the irritated glances backward. I've never been able to belch on demand so I asked her to do it again.

The next series of events happened in slow motion. Sara took a huge swig of the blood-colored liquid. Just as she was swallowing, I choked out a laugh in anticipation of the coming belch. Sara responded with a laugh of her own, but the timing was off: she hadn't swallowed yet, so her body revolted. In an instant she had vomited a full bottle of Rock&Rye, two Big Macs, two large fries, and assorted candy all over her lap, into her open purse (which was on her lap), down the back of the seat in front of her, into her jacket sleeves, and down the legs of her jeans, right into her shoes. Need I say that she simultaneously wet her pants? Oh yes, she most certainly did. Oh, and some of the vomit came out her nose. The only part of her that didn't eject fluid was, I believe, her ears -- though I could be wrong.

I bolted to the restroom in horror and ran back as quickly as I could with two large handfuls of paper towels. The couple sitting in front of us had vanished. Six rows back from Sara, I could smell the vomit. Oh, this was bad.

I fully expected to find her crying, and was surprised and relieved to find her laughing instead. I used the towels to clean as much as I could off the back of the seat, the floor, and Sara's seat (theater seats were cloth back then -- can you blame theaters everywhere for switching to naugahyde?), then rushed Sara to the bathroom. We spent the next half hour alternately laughing and rinsing vomit off her clothes. We still had a long, cold bike ride ahead of us; Sara, soaked from shoulders to toes, handled it with aplomb. I haven't seen her for 20 years, but when I picture her, I picture her laughing.

Whoever had to clean that theater after the show, though -- I bet he has his own story, and it doesn't involve laughter.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Little Ms. President has just come out with its list of the top 100 baby names of 2005. Don't ask me what their data source is. I think it's safe to assume these are U.S. names. Since we're having a girl, I thought I'd share with you the most popular girls' names, along with some random musings.

1 Emma
2 Emily
3 Madison
4 Kaitlyn
5 Sophia
6 Isabella
7 Olivia
8 Hannah
9 Makayla
10 Ava
11 Abigail
12 Sarah
13 Hailey
14 Kaylee
15 Madeline
16 Ella
17 Grace
18 Mia
19 Riley
20 Samantha
21 Sydney
22 Lauren
23 Mackenzie
24 Chloe
25 Alyssa
26 Lily
27 Alexis
28 Natalie
29 Taylor
30 Anna
31 Brianna
32 Zoe
33 Kylie
34 Ashley
35 Elizabeth
36 Megan
37 Allison
38 Kayla
39 Katherine
40 Kyra
41 Isabelle
42 Morgan
43 Savannah
44 Jasmine
45 Arianna
46 Avery
47 Julia
48 Rachel
49 Maya
50 Jordan
51 Brooke
52 Paige
53 Victoria
54 Peyton
55 Katie
56 Abby
57 Gabriella
58 Alexandra
59 Leah
60 Jessica
61 Rebecca
62 Brooklyn
63 Gabrielle
64 Audrey
65 Amelia
66 Jenna
67 Reagan
68 Sophie
69 Trinity
70 Sierra
71 Cadence
72 Lillian
73 Ashlyn
74 Bailey
75 Gracie
76 Faith
77 Kendall
78 Kate
79 Molly
80 Claire
81 Kennedy
82 Caroline
83 Addison
84 Marissa
85 Alana
86 Destiny
87 Jada
88 Amanda
89 Alexa
90 Erin
91 Layla
92 Gianna
93 Ellie
94 Camryn
95 Nicole
96 Angelina
97 Charlotte
98 Aaliyah
99 Mckenna
100 Lucy

Random musing #1: Madison, Reagan, Taylor, and Kennedy. Hmm. Okay, maybe it makes sense to name an infant girl after a middle-aged male president. It's probably the closest she'll ever come to occupying a position of political power. But REAGAN? I mean, haven't these people seen The Exorcist? And if they're going to honor presidents, why not Carter? Or Lincoln? Or, for the dark-humored, Nixon? What about Taft? Or Roosevelt? (We'll call her Rosie.) Hell, why not HARRISON? There were two of them. Yes, there were/are two Bushes as well, but I hope nobody would stoop so low as to name their baby girl Bush (or, for that matter, Johnson), unless they want to drive her toward a seedy occupation -- and I'm not talking politics. Speaking of the Bushes and bad names: Pierce Bush? PIERCE BUSH? Hello, Ron Jeremy? Your replacement has arrived.

Random musing #2: I love that Kennedy, Caroline, and Addison are all in a row, given their associations. Caroline and Kennedy = Caroline Kennedy (duh), but did you know that both JFK Sr. and Jr. had Addison's Disease? They also had Graves' Disease, as do both George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush, their dog Millie (RIP), and yours truly. So why isn't Graves on the list?

Random musing #3: I also love that Molly and Claire are adjacent, given that Molly Ringwald played a character named Claire in The Breakfast Club. This observation shows how shallow my thoughts can be.

Random musing #4: Oh, how times change. Angelina is on the list, and gee, I wonder where that came from. Over 100 years ago, my maternal great grandmother, who ended up serving as a nurse in both world wars, was given the name Angeline Ethelda. She went by Ethelda because Angeline was ugly.

Random musing #5: Eric Clapton should like #91. I'm sensing a dichotomy here: people either name their little girls after media temptresses (Layla, Angelina, Jezebel -- oh wait, Jezebel isn't on the list this year) OR extremely powerful political leaders. Once again, the old madonna/whore thing rears its ugly head...

Random musing #6: I think I can guess where Brooklyn came from. I blame it on all those issues of Hello! magazine available at Barnes & Noble. Damn that Posh Spice. Actually, Brooklyn isn't that far-fetched as a girl's name. It's a combination of two widely accepted girl's names, Brooke and Lynn. But if I were going to name my kid after one of the boroughs, I'd pick Staten Island or Bronx. Nobody would mess with her. Queens? Only if it's a boy.

Please amuse me by adding your own random musings.