Category Archives: WTF

She Sells Sea Kelp

Bag of old kelp, going cheap!

The back story: It’s March, 2011, and I’m in in a panic over the Fukishima nuclear disaster. Convinced that vast waves of radiation are about to hit Southern California and poison my young daughter, I order a bag of dried kelp online. I’ve read somewhere that eating seaweed will protect her thyroid gland from the toxic effects of radiation exposure. This stuff, in particular, is premium–I’ve gotten it from a place in Maine that promises it’s the purest, highest-grade variety available–the Humboldt County Thai stick of seaweed.

“As opposed to the commercial crap you get at Whole Foods?” Mike teased.

“Whatever,” I replied, not laughing. “It’s got to be the best. This is serious.” Not to mention that I’d already been to Whole Foods, and their entire seaweed section was sold out. I wasn’t the only paranoid mommy in L.A.

The kelp arrived in a huge plastic bag inside of an even huger box. I’d ordered a pound, not quite registering just how much that would be. It was a lot. But I was happy to have it. For an entire year I fed it to Myra-Jean in everything–smoothies, soups, salads, you name it. I even gave her great, desiccated chunks of it to chew on whole. She was young enough to not complain–sometimes I even thought she liked it.

But time passed, and my fervor to protect MJ’s thyroid gland abated. It had been a year. Most of the radiation had surely dissipated. Plus, she was getting pickier about her food. You couldn’t just toss the kelp into anything now and expect her to eat it. It had to be hidden, and even then she often found it. Slowly I cut back on adding it, and one day I stopped altogether.

There was a lot left. I gave some away, but even so, we had a huge bag remaining. A shocking amount.

Being me, I threw it in the back of the cabinet.

And there it stayed, a dark, solitary hulk squatting behind bags of white beans, dusty cans of baby corn, and a never-opened box of instant miso soup packets. Even though it took up an absurd amount of space, I liked seeing it there. It felt reassuring. Bring on the next nuclear disaster, I thought; we’re ready.

So when Mike periodically asked if it could be tossed, my answer was always the same:

“Let’s hold on to it. You never know if we’ll need it again.”

Finally, about a month ago, Mike drew the line. It had to go. At least from the kitchen. I knew he was right. It was ridiculous to keep it any longer. It probably wasn’t even edible anymore. Although does dried seaweed really go bad? Has anyone done the research? Oh, well. It wasn’t going to be me who found out.

Pulling it from the cabinet, I headed for the outdoor trash bin. But I couldn’t do it. It was just too drastic of a move. So, in a burst of my usual non-pragmatism, I stuck it in the utility room. On the dryer. That’s on the way to the trash, I reasoned, but not there yet. It’s like purgatory, for bags of seaweed.

And there it remained for weeks, waiting for someone to decide its fate.

This morning Mike picked it up and raised it before my eyes. “We need to make a decision about this.”

“I know,” I said guiltily.

“Can I throw it away?”

“No. Yes. No! Um–look, can we just stick it in the emergency supplies box?”

Mike shook his head sadly. “There’s no room for it.”

Damn. I sighed. “I’m just not ready to let it go. It’s the purest kind of kelp. From the Atlantic. No radiation, no pollution…”

There was a pause. Finally, looking slightly defeated, Mike placed it back on the dryer and threw his hands up.

“You deal with it.”

And I will. In the next year or two. In the meantime it’s making the utility room smell pleasantly of the sea.

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Potty Deux

I had to deal with some pretty intense “share shame” after writing my two last posts. My husband’s acerbic comment, made after reading the first one, didn’t help:

“Jesus. You’re either going to gain a lot of readers from this one…or they’re gonna desert you in droves.” Such a cheerleader, that Mike.

And it was eerily quiet after I published what I have begun to refer to, in my mind, as the “poop posts.” Very little in the way of commentary. Even from the regulars.

“I can’t wait to hear what your mom says about this,” Mike asserted.

She didn’t say anything. Crickets. Struck dumb with horror, I suppose. Very unlike her.

And speaking of likes? None. Not that I care, really. But, OK, dammit, I do. Just a bit. As to how many dozens of followers deserted me? Hard to know.

One thing I do know? You’ll find no poop on Goop. I checked. The closest I found was “The Dirty on Getting Clean.” Which sounds pretty interesting, actually. And not at all fecal. No wonder Gwyneth is so popular.

Tonight, to distract myself from my recent perceived humiliation, I hacked into my mom’s HBO Go and watched an hour of Louis CK. I’ve been obsessed with stand up comedy lately, due to the free trial of Sirius radio I’ve had in my new car. At first I didn’t like Sirius–how the fuck do you navigate through all of those channels?–then I found the Comedy Central channel and my life changed. Commute? What commute? I’m listening to people being stupidly hilarious–I don’t even know I’m driving! It’s a superb, elating way to pass the time; now that I’ve experienced it, I don’t know how I’ll ever go back to NPR.

But I will; my free trial is about to be over. And I’m too cheap to pay for it.

Back to stand up. Louis CK is my all-time favorite. I’d be in love with him, if he weren’t so gross. And masturbatory. And, yes, scatological. But these are exactly the things I also adore about him. He did a whole segment tonight on his leaky asshole. He said that sometimes he’s just sitting around, and suddenly he sniffs, and realizes he has to go wipe it. I quote: “My asshole is like a bag of leaves that no one remembered to tie up.” He utters such words. He paints such pictures in our minds. Nobody abandons him in droves. Jeez.

Feeling buoyed by my good laugh, I decided to get back on the literary horse. I know, this is hardly literature. But here I am. I’ve decided not, ever again, to discuss poop, assholes, or anything south of the waist on this blog. I leave that to the comics, who do it elsewhere–in my car, for starters!–with impunity and absolutely no shame. Me, I’m heading back to safer territory–laundry, my dog, our fucked up dishwasher, the fact that my daughter has now declared her middle name to be “Falcon,” (which sounds amazingly like “fucking'” when she says it quickly.)

And cute pictures of birds. I have tons of them. I am developing a collection. I’ll share them with you. You’ll “like” them, I’m sure.

But if you want to laugh your ass off? About shit, assholes, and other forbidden topics? Oh My God, you need to get HBO.

Or steal it from your parents.

*Cooper's Hawk Spotted Woodpecker

Poop Poohed.

Even my stool is an underachiever.

The Power of Poop–or its author, Tracy Mac–wrote me back this morning to tell me that, because I take an antidepressant–a low dose, for PMS! But still!–I am not a fit candidate for fecal donation.

Thanks so much for your offer of help…However the [medication] would be an issue if you take it for a mental health problem as there are links between unbalanced microbiota and mental health issues. I know that sounds difficult to believe, but there is now a great deal of research to support this. Gut problems don’t always manifest as diarrhea or constipation.

It seems that my gut flora aren’t, in the end, all that. If they were, I’d be a perfect picture not just of bodily health, but of happiness, equanimity, and mental balance. Well screw you, microbes. You’re clearly snoozing on the job. I am rescinding your blue ribbons, and replacing them with pink ones. Or white. Or tiny tin badges that just say “nice try.”

I am devastated. Crushed. Morose.

And slightly relieved.

Onwards and upwards. Perhaps next time I’ll just give some blood.

 

 

Open and Smut

Just got finished sending out this link to my MOMS Club friends–it’s an article on talking about porn with your teenager. Ever since I had a thirteen-year-old babysitter use my laptop to watch some scary stuff last summer I’ve been interested in the topic. In a disgusted sort of way. I’d shared about it at the time with my club friends to see if they had any advice. Which they did, if you consider a resounding and collective “Eeeeew!” to be helpful.

I kind of did.

Anyway, there I am sending out my little link, and I decide to toggle over and check my youtube video uploads. I’ve been trying to clear out my iphoto files, you see, which are choked with such an abundance of three-minute videos of Myra-Jean that my hard drive is engorged and threatening to rupture. In an ongoing process of incredible tediousness, I scroll through iphoto, grab ten or so videos, dump them on youtube, and go do something else. Later, when they are finally done uploading, I delete them from my computer, and continue with my day. That night, repeat.

So there I go to youtube, where my vidoes are nearly done processing. Eight of the ten, in fact, have been published already. Great. I have no idea what’s on them–I never do. If I took the time to watch each video before I posted it I’d never leave the house.

But suddenly, as I glance through the thumbnails, I see something disturbing. Breasts. Mine. Two of them, in fact, along with the rest of my unclothed body. And what–is that a towel on my head? Jesus Christ! Clicking rapidly on the link, I see that I have somehow published a video of me and MJ sitting naked on the couch–post shower, in my case–listening to “Space Oddity.”

“Oh God, oh, God, oh God.” At least one friend of my parents subscribes to my channel. She watches every single video I put up. She could be watching now!

“Where’s the delete? Where’s the DELETE?”

I cannot find it. I search everywhere. It seems nonexistent. Really, youtube? No deleting once published? That seems totally draconian! And illogical. But I am too frenzied for logic.

I try editing the video–perhaps I can blur my boobs. Also MJ’s naked butt, which really oughtn’t to be anywhere online. Shit. I’m going to get arrested. I am panicking, and cannot use my fingers right.

“No, no, no…”

Ten minutes–and several grey hairs–later, I finally figure out how to delete the video. It’s not that hard after all. Although they could, in my opinion, make it far easier for instances like this.

Anyway. The video is gone, but the scars from the experience will last a long, long, time.

And I can never again pretend to be innocent of smutting the internet.

Perhaps I should send that article to myself.

Mellow Yellow

Turmeric milk. Yum. Ish.

I’ve started drinking it every day. I know it’s an eccentric habit, but, considering that a friend of mine recently tried to get me to start drinking my morning urine–and I considered it–I think I’m actually getting less weird by the day. Perhaps the yellow spice will even help with that. It cures so many things–depression, arthritis, inflammation, cancer–that my overweening eccentricity will surely decrease with consumption as well.

I’m making a recipe I found online. By accident, really. I was reading Facebook, and one of my friends was struggling with something, and someone posted that she should try turmeric milk, and the next thing you know, there I was sipping a cup. Because, you know, why should there be a new-age cure I don’t try? Even when I don’t have the disease. Haven’t you heard of prophylactic dosages? (And if you think I’m talking about giving an aspirin to a condom you need to break out your dictionary app.)

I’ve been trying to get Mike to drink it, too. He has a bad back, lots of stress, and a cold. Who’s better qualified for help from a nutritional panacea? Still, you’d think I was offering him, well, a cup of my morning urine. I’m getting about the same reaction. Oh, he drank the first batch, alright. And the second, albeit with greater reluctance. But now that he’s back out of bed he seems to think he’s past his need for my ministrations. When, today, I offered him a cup, he turned his nose up at it. Literally. Sniffing imperceptibly at his foolishness, I poured myself his serving as well as my own.

But I couldn’t finish such a giant helping. Turmeric’s good and all, but not two cups worth. Even when I added prodigious amounts of honey.

Still, I believe that, with this new regimen, my already excellent health is going to improve . Too bad I will smell like a to-go container of sag paneer. Is that even a curry dish? Whatever. You get my point.

At the very least I will not smell like pee.

Bottoms up!

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God Hates Me

And frankly, right now, the feeling is mutual.

Picture 5Ugh. Even Sons Of Anarchy aren’t dulling the panic. I’m going to bed. Where I will finally not have to contemplate the prospect of two months of work wasted when we get rained out on Saturday.

I’ve got nothing else. Pray for a miracle. I know I am.

The Sun Will Come Out. Tomorrow?

I know the lifespan of the sun isn’t the first thing on most people’s minds right now. Nor should it be. But everything about our local star is a hot topic around here. At least in the under-five population.

MJ’s obsession with space has ensured that we own just about every kid’s book about the solar system there is. And there are a lot of them. We study each one obsessively. Dwarf planets. Gas giants. Sulfuric skies. Jovian storms. They’re all familiar friends by now. (We would happily read about the Big Bang, too, if someone would just write a kid’s book about it. No luck on that so far. Where’s Carl Sagan when you need him?)

Every one of the above-mentioned books, of course, talks about the sun. And why not? It’s the raison d’etre for everything else. Our power source. Our cosmic BFF. We’d be lost without it, the authors tell us. But there it is, up in the sky. Ninety-three million miles away! Don’t look at it directly! Draw it as a yellow circle, and don’t forget the rays. Have we mentioned it’s big?

And that’s where it generally stops.

But the other night I was reading MJ a new space book — one she’d gotten for her birthday. Towards the end I turned the page to find, to my consternation, a chapter about doomsday. More or less. Called “The Death of the Sun,” or something equally dire, it proceeded to describe roughly when said event will take place, why, and what it will look like. It pulled no punches, either. Yikes. Not kid friendly material. Hell, it wasn’t anyone friendly. I stopped reading out loud when it got to the “and then the earth will be sucked into a burning ball of gas and we’ll all explode” part. I’m paraphrasing, but only slightly.

Still. Doesn’t a four-year-old have enough to worry about without having to imagine their home planet being engulfed in a boiling surge of million-degree plasma? It won’t be any comfort to them that it’s happening in a billion years, either. Kids MJ’s age don’t understand time. You may as well say it’s coming “in the middle of carrot season.” Or “yesterday.” Or “a hundred Christmases from now.” It all means the same thing, and nothing, at once: scary, unknown, and very bad for  REM sleep.

When I was a kid–an anxious one, admittedly–I spent lots of time fretting over my apocalyptic fears. Asteroids. Nukes. Quakes. These things kept me awake at night. One thing I didn’t think about–because I had no idea it was possible–was the sun’s eventual demise. Thank God. Watching the New York skyline for impending warheads was bad enough.

Ah, the Reagan years.

Anyway. I’d like to save my kid from similar worries.  I’d like to protect her not only from all painful actual events, but even the thought of them: death, destruction, typhoon, disease. And certainly the end of the world. That, the most of all. Let’s not go there yet. Let her not go there. For as long as possible, anyway. A hundred Christmases at least. Maybe more.

When I open the new book now, I pay attention. I don’t tune out, as I sometimes do, reading to MJ quite coherently while inwardly making lists or adding up fundraising tallies. I stay focussed. When we get to the part about the sun’s demise I slow down. As the vision unfolds I begin to paraphrase, obfuscate, and omit. Then, halfway through the page, I putter out with a genial “and that’s that.”

And we turn to the next chapter.

Am I lying to her? Sort of. Trying to stave off the inevitable? Certainly. Fighting a losing battle? Of course. Still, there’s plenty of time to face the painful truths. There are only a few years left to draw big, bright, yellow suns. Our cosmic BFFs. And don’t forget the rays.

Picture 2