Category Archives: dabbin’ fever

bumpwatch terror alert: week 25

if you look carefully, you can see charlotte’s tail in the background.

this pregnancy is racing by. only 15 weeks to go. it sounded like kind of a while until i realized that we’re talking fifteen weeks until jared & i become responsible for sustaining a tiny human life. not that i didn’t know that going in; it’s just kind of easy to lose sight of the big picture when the big picture is so fucking terrifying.

fewer than two weeks until jared is temporarily back in town (along with our friend amanda), two weeks to the day until the baby shower & the start of the second trimester. in three weeks, our babymoon in boston will be over & i’ll be back in lawrence by myself while jared tries to finish up his research on the east coast.

i have been going to bingo as much as i can while jared has been away. jared is generally pretty supportive of most things i want to do, in that he encourages me to do them even if he has no interest in joining me. i don’t think anything could compel him to play bingo. i myself have mixed feelings about it. it can be a very depressing scene. the game i play is at the american legion hall & most of the folks playing are clearly retirees. the young people that are playing would fit right in on an episode of “cops”. or in pretty much any scene from my childhood.

it’s not really a secret that i didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth. my dad had a decent job at an oil refinery, but he was an alcoholic & a drug addict, so the money he made was not well-managed. there were times when we had nice things, like a house big enough for all us kids to have our own rooms, or a nintendo system right when they were first introduced. there were other times when i had to get through the entire school year rotating two shirts because there was no money for a third.

now that i’m an adult living on a disability income, obviously i am not exactly rolling around in giant piles of money all day. & especially with a baby on the way, i’ve had a lot of anxiety about money. but my impending motherhood is also making me think a lot about my own childhood & the weird baggage i carry around from it & what values or assumptions i might pass on to my kid. for example, sometimes when i’m going out in the evening & am not going to be around for dinner, jared makes himself a dinner of lentils or beans on toast. i don’t like to eat meals like that. my gut reaction is, “why are we eating this way? we’re not poor.” (even though we kind of are.) but i was also telling him recently that i never really got into foods he thinks i would like, such as pancetta or lamb chops, because i think of them as “rich people food,” ie, food that people like me don’t eat. regardless of the fact that i undoubtedly buy groceries that are comparable in price. i’m not saying that any of this makes a lick of sense. i am saying that growing up with such limited means gave me a weird complex about money in ways that i am still unraveling, over fifteen years after i left my parents’ house. i think about what relationship i want my kid to have with food & i hope s/he will have an adventurous palate & like healthy foods, regardless of how much or how little they cost.

this weird class whiplash totally happens at bingo too, because, let’s face it. you can just tell that most people at the bingo game don’t really have a lot of money. the parking lot is full of cars manufactured at some point in the 90s, & a large percentage of folks in the hall are wearing sweatpants. & although bingo can be a lot of fun, & the prizes at the game i play are quite generous (the smallest payout is $40), the expense of it all can add up if you don’t watch yourself–& you are by no means guaranteed to win every night you go. in addition to bingo, there are other gambling games available, & they are popular. i’ve talked to a few people at bingo who told me they usually “only” play about $50 worth of bingo cards, but they easily drop $100 on the other games. $150. games happen twice a week. that’s $1200 a month. you recoup almost all your costs if you win a single progressive black-out within the time limit (a $1000 prize), but the likelihood of that happening is not good. so basically, going to bingo is an exercise in watching people who don’t have much money piss away what little money they have. in that respect, it can be very depressing.

personally, i try to limit myself to $40 in cards & i don’t play the extra games. the last time i went to bingo, i won the first special of the night for a prize of $200. that’s the most i have ever won in one night of bingo & i was very happy. more often than not, i leave the hall having won nothing. i just find the process of stamping the cards relaxing. i have heard tell of people who play bingo specifically to raise scratch for expensive hobbies they have (pageants, doll collecting, etc). i don’t get that. i haven’t kept track, but it seems like you pay more to play then you end up winning. the game i play actually posts statistics on this. they claim that they pay out, on average, 75% of their take. not 100% & definitely not more than 100%. & it’s in no way a game of skill, so there’s nothing you can do to increase your chances of winning besides get fast enough at dabbing to play more cards than anyone else in the game & give yourself more bites at the apple. & even that is a long shot.

none of this has much to do with the pregnancy, but it’s something i have been trying to wrap my head around for quite a while.

this is difficult

ugh. i am having a much more difficult time with jared being out of town than i have in the past. & that’s saying something, because i typically don’t handle it all that well. but usually it’s kind of a fun adventure at first. i amuse myself by ordering pizza, laying around in my pajamas all day, watching crappy internet TV, & not picking up after myself. i live like a teenager, i guess. the novelty wears off before long, but this time, there is no novelty at all. i just hate it. i’m chalking it up to pregnancy hormones. even though i am doing okay physically & am totally capable of cooking for myself, running my own errands, taking care of charlotte, etc, i can’t shake the thought: “what if something happens to jared & i have to do everything for myself, & for the baby, FOREVER?” i have read that it’s not uncommon for pregnant ladies to get obsessive about the mortality of their loved ones. it’s not logical, because obviously something bad could happen to him in kansas just as easily as anywhere else, but–that’s the magic of progesterone, i guess.

jared tidied up all of his belongings before he left. he ran dozens of books back to the school library & cleared off the top of his desk for, like, the first time EVER. he put away all his rogue socks & threw out all the little bits of paper on which he scribbles library call numbers. what i’m trying to say is that he inadvertently eliminated all trace that he actually lives here. having jared around is an exercise in living among teetering piles of library books, sheaves of random papers that look like recycling but are supposedly very important, random coat hangers dangling from every doorknob, piles of shoes & belts & smelly soccer shin guards in every corner. it used to annoy the shit out of me when we first moved in together, but i eventually got over it. & now that it’s all tidied up & put away, i really miss it. i cried last night because the house looks like only i live here, albeit with a dresser full of clothes i don’t wear & a desk full of random office supplies i don’t use.

i guess i just need to find some ways to amuse myself while i am holding down the fort by myself. on saturday, after i dropped jared off at the airport, i went to bingo for the first time in months. sometimes i find bingo really stressful & anxiety-provoking, & sometimes i find it very soothing. i did win one game, but two other people won on the same number so we had to split the prize three ways. so i only pocketed $14. still–better than nothing.

an elderly couple from wichita was seated across from me & they were very friendly. i am always self-conscious talking to oldsters because i worry that they are frowning about all of my tattoos & everything. & having knuckle tattoos–i can’t exactly hide them. but they didn’t seem to care. they kept asking me if i was getting close to winning any of the games, & they told me all about their adult grandchildren. i mentioned that i am almost six months pregnant & the woman said, “oh, really?” do i seriously just not look as pregnant as i think i do? i feel like the bump is obvious, but no stranger has ever asked me about it & this isn’t the first time that someone has expressed surprise about the info. i’m not too concerned about it. ultimately, i prefer flying under the radar, even with its lack of preferential treatment, to having strangers try to touch my belly or lay a bunch of unsolicited advice on me.

a week or two before jared left, we went to the grocery store & jared saw that they had put out their display of fall pumpkins. he said, “oh, we should totally get a baking pumpkin & we can put it on the porch until it’s ripe & then we can make that pie you…oh. i’m not going to be here.” & then we both felt sad. this is our last fall as just a couple before we become parents. i would love to spend it making pie together & drinking hot cocoa or whatever. i keep trying to console myself:

* it’s better that he get as much research done now, before the baby is born, because i am going to enjoy solo parenting even less than solo gestating. & the baby will miss him too.
* at least it’s a good thing that he’s an americanist, so research just involves going to new england. we know a lot of people who study, like, spain or russia, & they have to go to europe to do research. which is probably fun in its own way, but extra stressful for any loved ones they are leaving behind.
* if writing his dissertation about new england positions him to get a job in new england once he finishes his PhD, then it will all be worth it.

i will probably get a pumpkin the next time i pick up groceries & make a pie myself.

bumpwatch terror alert: week 22

oh hey, i’m too lazy to change out of pajamas, even for photos i plan to post on the internet.

we’ve hit kind of a boring point in the pregnancy. a lot of the pain issues i was dealing with last week have resolved (temporarily, at least) & nothing too exciting or horrible has cropped up to replace them. i did have a few days of blind panic over the whole baby health insurance situation, but then i called kansas healthwave again & spoke to a different customer service representative who was very helpful & informative. we still may not qualify for insurance for me, which would mean waiting until after the baby is born & then applying for baby-only insurance. but i discovered that the baby will be automatically covered by jared’s insurance policy at no extra charge for its first 31 days of life, which buys us a little time. his insurance covers catastrophic care in the event that the baby ends up in the NICU for some reason (which hopefully will NOT HAPPEN). so i feel better about that.

i’m also thinking about applying for WIC. i considered it when i first got pregnant & dismissed it for some reason. now i remember why. i don’t know if WIC is managed the same way in every state, but in kansas, WIC recipients are issued a check with a list of approved grocery stores & items that they can buy (ie, gallon of whole milk, 16 ounces of rice cereal, one dozen large eggs, you get the picture). the rule is that they have to buy the cheapest version of whatever is on the shelf. & then they have to ring up their WIC foods separately from the rest of their groceries & give the clerk the check. the clerk then processes it using some special methodology.

obviously i’ve never been on WIC, but i have been on food stamps in massachusetts & that was just a debit card kind of deal. the food stamps card worked kind of like a store loyalty card in that you ring up all your grocery store items in one transaction & then swipe your food stamps card. it is applied to any eligible items & you pay the difference with cash or debit card or whatever. this seems like a WAY better system. faster & easier for everyone. the local grocery stores already have little signs on all the items that are eligible for WIC payments; why can’t they just code everything so it can be paid using a WIC swipe card?

this is also my chance to tell one of my favorite stories about misplaced outrage: a few years ago, this woman i’m acquainted with was getting all hot under the collar over the oppressive way that various state assistance benefits are managed. she used WIC as one example. she shared the sad & truly outrageous tale of a low-income woman who became pregnant & applied for WIC. she was approved but then, a month or two later, cut off with absolutely no notice! all for the crime of having had an abortion! isn’t it such a miscarriage of justice that this woman would be PUNISHED for exercising her perfectly legal right to have an abortion?! she really needed that food assistance for pregnant women, infants, & children! never mind that once she had the abortion, she was no longer a pregnant woman, nor did she have any infants or children, rendering her completely ineligible for the program. what is the world coming to when ladies can’t get pregnant lady benefits anymore just because they have abortions? that would be like my doctor refusing to provide prenatal care to me anymore just because i’m not pregnant anymore! truly despicable!

LOL LOL LOL

anyway, yeah. WIC benefits would really help us out on our grocery bill, but it seems like applicants have to jump through an awful lot of hoops, & we may make just a hair too much money to qualify anyway. like literally $10 a month too much. i am still waiting for jared to rustle up his proof of income paperwork, & i’m not sure how they’ll count that anyway, because he is only paid twice a year & it’s a variable amount depending on how his fellowship is being managed that school year. we shall see. plus, if we did get approved, i’d have to be careful not to go having any rogue abortions & getting kicked off the rolls. that would really put a crimp in my style.

jared is preparing to jet off to the east coast in a week or two to knuckle down on his dissertation research. he has a list of literally like eight archives he wants to hit. so i’ll be flying solo for pretty much two months straight. i’ve done it before & it always sucks, but i’m worried it’s going to suck worse than usual because a) i’ll be in my third trimester, & b) it seems like a lot of people we know have kind of bailed on maintaining tight friendships with us since the whole baby thing started happening. i know i haven’t been the best friend either. it sometimes takes me a while to return phone calls because i am so busy eating & sleeping all the time. but i get the impression that a lot of people have kind of given up on the possibility of us ever being fun again since we are soon to be parents. i’m okay with that–i don’t want to bend over backwards to try NOT to talk about the pregnancy or the baby just so i can keep hanging out with a bunch of people who really don’t share my interests anymore. but i won’t pretend it doesn’t get lonely sometimes. i know we will probably make parent friends eventually, but in the meantime…i guess i’ll be going to bingo alone a lot this fall. look at the tragic, heavily-tattooed, heavily-pregnant lady playing bingo all alone & getting nacho cheese all over her cards. quite the cautionary tale.

vote for me for mayor of mopetown!

i’ve really got my grump on today. my new typewriter ribbons arrived in the mail, so i was able to finish writing the letter i was working on the other day, but unfortunately, it kind of turned into a screed about how much i dislike someone that both the correspondent & i know. then i checked my e-mail & saw that i had a critical comment from someone in response to a book review i wrote & i got surprisingly pissed off. i don’t know if i am reacting to the fact that it’s storming again for the fifth day in a row & i’m totally over the clouds, or if i’m having a low blood sugar moment, or i’m just naturally even more grouchy than i thought. but if anyone reading this has ever wanted to get on my bad side, it really wouldn’t take too much effort today.

i hope i snap out of it tomorrow because jared & i are planning to go to kansas city to see our friend ellen. i don’t think i have ever hung out with ellen without spending all day chain-smoking. not because she stresses me out or anything, but because ellen is like a cheap domestic beer on a hot summer day–a cigarette just seems like the perfect way to complement an already enjoyable experience. but supposedly i don’t smoke anymore. even though i am totally planning to secretly buy a pack the second jared leaves for his environmental history conference next week & smoke it up for four days until he comes home. i have my doubts about whether or not jared reads my blog unless i specifically ask for feedback about something, so i feel that i can write this with impunity. i guess he will confront me about my diabolical plans if he does read it. the satisfying glow that i’ll get from knowing that he takes an interest in my activities even when i don’t ask him to will surely cancel out any need i feel for nicotine. (& it’s not a need. more like an interest. a general wondering.)

i had planned on going to bingo last night because i haven’t been in like a month & things are blowing up since my usual bingo night was profiled in the local newspaper. (seriously. every day is a slow news day in lawrence, kansas.) but then one of jared’s colleagues invited us out to dinner & i was like, “hmmm. i can socialize with an actual person, that i actually like, & take another little baby step toward having any friends whatsoever, or i can spend $40 to gamble with oldsters who clearly think that i’m totally creepy because i have knuckle tattoos.”

since i wasn’t going to bingo, i decided to use the money i would have spent & order myself some new zines from a distro. i don’t exactly have my finger on the pulse of the zine world since i shut down my distro, so there are always interesting new zines available when i remember that i should peruse some distros. because i only remember like once every eight months. when i ran my distro, i was so convinced that i had regular customers that were looking at the website, like, every other day or something, feverishly anticipating each new addition. i guess that’s how i was with distros before i started one. i’m going to admit something really embarrassing: i once printed out a distro’s entire online catalogue & cut up the print-out & made my own paper catalogue out of it so that i would have something to read in bed. this must have been in 1997 or 1998, when the internet was still new to me. & i remember in like 2000 or 2001, i looked at the pander zine distro website literally every single day. if ericka added something new to the catalogue, i was refreshing like every hour until the description was posted. it was like must-see TV for me. & i always assumed that that’s how my customers interacted with paper trail. even though i now realize that i was just especially kind of crazy & obsessive when it came to zines, until i ran my own distro for seven years & got totally burnt out & now sometimes i can’t even stand to look at a zine.

but i was in a zine mood yesterday…or so i thought. i was finding all kinds of great stuff in one distro catalogue, & i started putting together an order, & then i saw that a zinester that i once considered a super-tight bro had a new zine out. or maybe it wasn’t so new. it wasn’t in the “new additions” section of the website. it was in the regular catalogue. maybe it’s been out for months. a year, even. & this is the first i was hearing about it. this is someone that i used to e-mail with or call literally every day. we made trips across the country solely to hang out with each other. i knew i hadn’t heard from her in kind of a long time (& i am not one to impose myself on others if i get the sense that they might not be feeling it), but i guess i didn’t realize that she was still chugging along, writing awesome zines & selling them & somehow our relationship is so fractured that i had to find out about it on a distro website.

i will make another embarrassing confession: i cried. yup. kind of ruined my day, truth be told. i did not order any zines after all. instead i just bought a new bra. there’s a picture for you: i’m all sniffling & weepy, charlotte is running away from me because she finds excessive displays of emotion distasteful, & i’m measuring my rack in front of the full-length mirror to double-check my bra size. my mood was not improved when i typed my size into the “fit search” box on my favorite clothing website & all it came back with was nursing bras. way to kick me while i’m down, internet. & in such an awesome dual attack: reminding me that i am not pregnant, & that the only other people who have boobs like mine are looking for ways to avoid leaking all over their shirts. i walked away feeling both friendless & profoundly unsexy.

a few of my favorite things (& a crazed rant about bingo)

alex’s photo challenge day two involves taking a photo of something you like. as one might imagine, this was challenging for me, because i prefer talking about things i don’t like. but jared & i both made new year’s resolutions to try to be a little more upbeat & positive in 2012. we made these resolutions after having lunch one day in boston with a couple of folks that jared attended quaker youth activities with as a teenager. one of them told us that we should totally, definitely for sure check out this amazing stage production called “hadestown”. apparently some other woman that had been in the quaker youth circle with them had written it. it’s a musical that riffs on the whole orpheus & eurydice myth & takes it in this rock opera kind of direction. jared & i had in fact seen one of the first (& apparently) only actual musical versions of it right after we started dating. (apparently it is now performed as more of a concert than a musical. i don’t know.) we did not care for it. mainly just because we don’t care for musicals. i can’t speak to jared’s feelings, but musicals make me super-uncomfortable. all that singing & emoting & earnestness. plus anything that is too religious-y makes me cringe & while i know orpheus & eurydice are characters from ancient greek mythology, hades makes me think of hell & hell makes me think of evangelical christianity &…just, no thanks.

anyway, we were like, “oh…yeah…we’ve seen that, actually.” & the guy we were chatting with was bubbling over with enthusiasm & was all, “you have? oh my god, wasn’t it amazing! i am just so proud of her for writing this incredible music & telling this phenomenal story! god, it’s just the best stage production i have ever seen. did you love it?” we were like, “um…the costumes were…great. &…the sets were…very colorful.” i mean, i didn’t want to shit all over this thing this guy loved. that was created by someone that jared apparently knows from his teenage days. i know i don’t like musicals, i have never liked musicals, & so i am the last person who should be offering her opinion about musicals, & no one should really listen to me if i say i dislike a particular musical. & my exposure to this stage production or whatever it is now was as a musical, so obviously i was biased against it.

when we left the lunch date, i remarked that every quaker i have ever met is not remotely shy about being enthusiastic about the stuff s/he likes. save for jared. jared is like me in that he likes to make fun of everything. jared said he felt the same way & we started getting all neurotic (which is what we do when we’re not making fun of stuff) & wondering if people who are more expressive about their interests & passions are somehow happier, more well-adjusted, have more friends, are better-liked, etc. we decided to give this whole “talk about stuff you like/maybe don’t constantly condemn everything you don’t like all the time” thing a whirl. i know, it’s totally counter to the entire spirit of who i am as a person & what i have been writing about for at least the last fifteen years. but. maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.

i've got a fever & the only cure is more dabbin'!

i like bingo. i cut out & save all my winning bingo cards so i can relive the good times. actually, i don’t know why i do it. probably just because i’m a little bit obsessive. i’ve only been to bingo twice so far this year. it’s a lot of money to spend if you don’t end up winning anything. i usually spend $34 on cards. i only have to win one of the lowest-paying games to make all my money back & then some, & if i win multiple games or one of the higher-paying games, i come WAY ahead…but it is hard to justify dropping over $30 only to win nothing except for three hours spent in a room with a bunch of oldsters with their quilted bingo caddies & oxygen tanks.

the last time i went, i wound up sitting next to some woman, also alone like me, who would not stop mumbling to herself all evening. she kept muttering, “the next one is gonna be a B, i know it. probably B3.” then the next ball would be, like, N34. but that wouldn’t stop her from trying to predict the next ball, which was incredibly distracting. & not once in three hours was she correct. or even in the ballpark. she also kept saying, “ooh, my hand is getting itchy. the last time i was in vegas, i played the slots every time my hand got itchy & i won so much money. i always know i’m about to get on a hot streak when my hand starts getting itchy.” then someone across the room would call bingo & the game would be over. & she’d be all, “oh, i was so close on that one. all i needed was a B2, a N42, & a G56. oh, & an I13, & an O71.” i mean, come on, lady. if you were two away from the bingo on five of your cards, don’t you think EVERYONE ELSE in the room was as well? except the lucky duck that bingoed? get over yourself. & THEN. the last game of the night was the progressive blackout & the big prize was $1000. this woman is all, “oh, my hand’s getting itchy.” (try to imagine all of her dialogue in this raspy, toneless mutter.) “wouldn’t that be just like them? make me wait all night before i finally win something.”

WOMAN. you are talking about winning ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. are you seriously trying to COMPLAIN about CHOOSING to go to a bingo night & losing every game except for the very last one, which has a THOUSAND-DOLLAR JACKPOT? i would gladly spend three days in a sensory deprivation tank for a thousand bucks! bingo is actually fun–even when you lose! take your itchy hands & get out of my face! (she didn’t win, by the way.)

okay, i’m not doing a great job of talking about stuff i like. here are a few other things that shouldn’t provoke quite as much emotion:

a small portion of my complete collection of babysitters club books.
my landlady's kitty cats. we call the orange-y one the little lion & the white one sir poops-a-lot, but their real names are vinnie & frankie or something else vaguely mafioso-inspired.
look at this fucking weather forecast! it's february, motherfuckers! i don't know if this is climate change or just kansas's one redeeming quality, but i am loving it right now.

2011: crabigail looks back

1. what did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
stayed at a bed & breakfast.
passed my driver’s license test.
ate bok choy.
TRUCK POOL.
threw a snowball at a cat.
made soup from scratch.
lived in my very own (rental) house as an adult! no sharing walls/floors/ceilings with neighbors or roommates (besides jared)!
joined a book club that met more than three times.
allowed jared to cut my hair (big mistake).
saw a red sox game at fenway stadium.

2. did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
i always make ten new year’s resolutions. i have them all written down & tucked away in a secret hiding spot dating back to 2002. every year i get them out & review how i have done & how i have changed. all i will say about some of the older resolutions is that i have grown up A LOT in the last ten years.

last year i managed to keep a handful of my resolutions. i got my driver’s license & quit smoking. i stuck to my budget & i at least tried to get pregnant, even if i have not yet been successful.

among my resolutions for 2012: keep trying to make the baby thing happen. make the bed every day. be nicer to jared. (note that there is a difference between being nicer & actually being nice; i told him last night that i was just going to throw away the voodoo doll i made of him & call it a day. kidding! just kidding. i’m totally not getting rid of the voodoo doll.)

3. did anyone close to you give birth?
i am acquainted with a few people who gave birth, like one of my old roommates from boston who happened to go to high school with jared. but none of my super-tight buds had a baby this year.

4. did anyone close to you die?
apparently my uncle–one of my dad’s brothers–died a few days before christmas. but i hadn’t talked to him in almost ten years, so i won’t pretend we were close.

5. what countries did you visit?
i stayed put. maybe i should resolve to get a passport this year. jared thinks we should vacay in australia if this baby thing doesn’t pan out (hence devouring all of our money).

6. what would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
well. A BABY. my baby rabies is completely out of control. but i would also like to have jeans that fit & have not been patched beyond recognition, healthier & more functional friendships, less anxiety, & less chronic pain.

7. what dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
august 12 was the day of TRUCK POOL. i was going to go camping with some friends in missouri, but the weather turned really shitty. there were huge thunderstorms predicted for the area where we were intending to camp. i was bummin’ hard because it the last weekend of spinster summer & i really wanted some quality time with punks. i decided to go to kansas city instead, & after sitting around, doing nothing & chainsmoking for a few hours, we suddenly hit upon the idea of TRUCK POOL. one of the kids had a pick-up truck, & we lined the bed with a tarp & connected a hose to the upstairs bathtub & threaded it out the window. we filled that baby up with warm water & truck pooled for hours, even after it started raining. at one point, we turned it into a bubble pool with dish soap & drove it around kansas city.

fill 'er up. that's me in the baby blue tee next to the dude in the leather jacket.

we also made a chopack, which is a backpack filled with nachos. let’s go to the video:

8. what was your biggest achievement of the year?
learning how to drive, maybe? i tried to get my license when i was 16 years old & still living in ohio, but i failed the driver’s test three times. it really undermined my confidence & i thought i would just never learn how to drive. it wasn’t easy to learn & i don’t have a lot of incentives in my life to keep trying to do things at which i don’t naturally excel, so it was a pretty big deal for me to actually pass the test. & now i am learning how to be a responsible car owner, which is also a really intimidating responsibility.

i was also totally stoked to finish reading & recapping every single babysitters club book on goodreads.

& i’m very proud that i finally fulfilled my dream of dressing up as a sexy hamburglar for halloween (i think saying “a sexy hamburglar” is funnier than saying “sexy hamburglar,” because being “a” one among many implies that hamburglars may be a separate race of people).

sexy?

9. what was your biggest failure?
i wouldn’t call it a “failure” to still not be pregnant after six months of trying, but it was a little bit of a failure to have let the whole thing affect my emotions so much. after every disappointment, i would just completely lose it & spend entire days crying. i am handling my business a lot better now, but it’s still a challenge to not allow myself to get on the emotional rollercoaster over something i have so little control over.

10. did you suffer illness or injury?
the arthritis or fibromyalgia or evil confluence of the two is worse than ever. other than that, i’m good.

11. what was the best thing you bought?
i bought a fucking wood-paneling patterned bathing suit! i have been getting into water aerobics for the whole arthritis thing, & i figured, why not look as much like a rec room from 1974 as possible?

grainy photobooth cheesecake shot.

12. whose behavior merited celebration?
i dislike these questions. so i am going to give the prize to ellen for attempting to cheer me up by sending me weird pornographic art of dragons having sex with cars. it definitely distracted me from my troubles.

13. whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
SO MANY PEOPLE. but because i am trying to have healthier, more functional relationships with people, i am going to refrain from going into detail. i am just thinking of one person in particular who seems to find constructive criticism really difficult to handle, struggles with appropriate boundaries almost all the time, sucks at making her friends feel valued, & instead excels at making her friends feel like they are in competition with one another.

14. where did most of your money go?
moving, flying to boston to see jared while he was doing research, gas for driving to kansas city all summer, & the endless consumption of sandwiches.

15. what did you get really, really, really excited about?
well, truck pool. & bingo! i started playing bingo this year & i love it. it’s this awesome mix of pulse-pounding action without having to leave your seat, mega-depression as you look around at the all the oldsters pissing away their social security checks & youngsters wearing sweat pants & dentures, & nachos. plus i have won $210 to date (not bad for only five games of bingo).

& i got beyond pumped about my amazing new house!

isn't it beautiful?

16. what song will always remind you of 2011?
i’m sorry, i really only listen to music when i am in the car. which is a fairly infrequent occurence. i got pretty into this song for a while though:

17. compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? about the same, maybe?
b) thinner or fatter? fatter, for sure. having compromised mobility really impairs a person’s attempts at weight maintenance.
c) richer or poorer? richer. thanks, bingo!

18. what do you wish you’d done more of?
writing! i barely wrote at all this year. i also wish i would have read more adult books (& not just memoirs) & started going to bingo in the summer while jared was in boston.

19. what do you wish you’d done less of?
reading so many young adult books. of the 238 books i read in 2011, 140 of them were young adult books. that is crazy! i am so relieved to be done with the babysitters club recap project. i also wish i wouldn’t have spent all summer playing solitaire & watching “hoarders”. what the fuck?

20. how did you spend xmas?
jared & i went to boston to see his family. we stayed in bed & breakfast in cambridge. i ate an entire plate of cheese cubes every morning for breakfast. seriously. sometimes with sourbough toast slathered in goat cheese. in fact, i had one day where i ate nothing but food in cheese form (cheese cubes for breakfast, mozzarella sticks for lunch, four-cheese ravioli for dinner). that was a great day.

we drank a fair number of beers. bart came up from philadelphia to hang out with us. we had brunch on xmas eve at david’s house (jared’s brother) & this girl who once stole my bed & threatened to call the cops on me if i tried to steal it back was there. kind of awkward. we went to quaker meeting that night & jared’s mom asked me, “how are you feeling?” when i expressed an interest in sitting down during the hospitality cookie hour, she said, “yes! sit down!” it was super-awkward because she obviously thought i was pregnant. which i was not. but i did decide to throw that sweater away.

we spent xmas day in newton with jared’s family (including david & his girlfriend, alana). we had roast beef & mashed potatoes for dinner. i ate almost an entire tupperware contained full of rosemary shortbread. david & alana gave me the most amazing claudia kishi-themed novena candle:

evidence that you should be open about the dumb shit you're into because you might get awesome gifts out of it.

jared & i went to see “mission: impossible 4 ghost protocol” because jared is obsessed with simon pegg. there were no ghosts. we also started working on what we were calling “ciara & jared’s 2011 snoozeletter,” but i don’t know if we’ll ever finish it.

21. did you fall in love in 2011?
yeah, but i decided to stick thing out with jared anyway. kidding! we broke up. kidding again! i hate this question.

22. how many one-night stands?
zip.

23. what was your favorite TV program?
i am still watching “america’s next top model” & “project runway,” even though they have become torture. i am also still watching “dexter” even though the last season was unspeakably dreadful. i feel like i need to file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of everyone who was subjected to it. over the summer, i got into “mad men”. it’s not bad. would watch again. jared & i also liked “portlandia,” although it sometimes made us uncomfortable because it can be difficult to tell if we’re laughing at what we’re supposed to be laughing at.

24. do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
there are some peeps who make me feel very wary, but no hate.

25. what was the best book you read?
“poser” by claire dederer! it was so amazing! i also really liked “beauty queens” by libba bray. but, i mean, we could be here a while because i read A LOT. just follow my goodreads reviews & save us all some time.

26. what was your greatest musical discovery?
i have not started listening to music in the time since the last music question.

27. what did you want and get?
my driver’s license, a beautiful HOUSE as opposed to an apartment or duplex, financial self-control, a book club, & some other stuff i don’t want to talk about.

28. what did you want and not get?
a baby & a truly excellent pizza restaurant in lawrence. a hip replacement. also, an elephant sanctuary in my backyard.

29. what was your favorite film of this year?
i really don’t watch a lot of movies. nor do i keep track of the few i watch. i had fun seeing “harry potter & the deathly hallows, part two” in 3D with jared. i ate an enormous platter of nachos during the movie. i don’t know how i’ll answer this question in the future, now that the harry potter movies are over.

30. what did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
i turned 32 & i was in boston visiting jared. he, bart, & i went out for breakfast in the morning. bart enraged me by insisting on a trip to the laundromat as well. isn’t that where every girl wants to spend her birthday? after we dropped bart off at work, jared & i drove up to salisbury beach where we played skeeball until our arms fell off. we used our winning tickets to get a plastic shark, a plastic lizard, & a gaudy ring with a huge pink rhinestone. we drove back into the city & i communed with the seals in the enclosure outside the aquarium. then we met up with bart & ate the best italian food i’ve ever tasted at monica’s tattoria in the north end.

me with some seals.

31. what one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
not to be a broken record, but: baby. & maybe if jared had not been in boston all summer.

32. how would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
jeans or cut-offs or plain black cotton skirts topped by either a t-shirt or a thermal layered under a sweater. the shirts are generally unadorned & pink, blue, or purple. all summer, i wore glittery pink toms. the rest of the year was just sauconys (gray & blue). glasses. lipstick. that’s it. i wouldn’t call it a “concept”.

33. what kept you sane?
logic puzzles, coffee, to-do lists, tidying up the house, petting charlotte, jessika rae, & the library.

34. which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
i am not into this question so i will say taylor swift’s kitten.

35. what political issue stirred you the most?
okay, it’s not that i don’t care about political issues anymore. i do. it’s just tough for me to feel the passion i may have felt ten years ago. though i always follow any stories about politicians wanting to privatize social security really closely. ditto this whole fucked up medicare voucher plan.

36. who did you miss?
i missed jared a lot when he was in boston. i have been missing jessika rae all year. i miss some other zine friends i seem to have fallen out of touch with since i closed the distro & have been making myself kind of scarce on the zine front. i also became very nostalgic this year for my younger self.

37. who was the best new person you met?
i met jaimie this year through book club & we had an awesome summer of bonding through feminism & water aerobics. she is also the person who took me to bingo for the first time.

38. tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:
the rudy at rudy’s pizza is pretty good if you order the thin crust. punks are rarely on time so don’t worry about being punctual. you can’t call bingo until the caller reads the number you have bingoed on. if you just put your head down & work on your most reviled tasks for twenty minutes at a time, they will be done in no time.

39. what did you devote most of your energy to?
trying to make the time pass faster, & then reminding myself not to wish away my life.

40. quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
she looks me over as if she really knows me
as if she thinks she knows what i’m thinking
if she would only ask the right questions
i’d tell her everything
but she only asks the things that she already knows
she can’t take this as a sign of change and moving on
a little plea of something to be remembered
when it’s gone

every secret longs to be disclosed
every love yearns to be betrayed
that’s a quote and so is
love is more difficult to escape than hate
its not true, but both take their sweet time to go away

ms. excitement

jared & i are flying to boston tomorrow to visit with his family for the holidays. so today i have to do laundry, pack, clean up the house so i am not embarrassed in front of my cat-sitters, etc etc. i am not saying that i definitely won’t be posting any more blog entries in 2011…but i’m not saying i will either.

i’m hoping to get back into the groove of writing for an audience in 2012. i have become very out of practice. i haven’t written a new zine in a year & a half, & i have definitely fallen down on the job of keeping this thing updated in the last few months. i have found it challenging to find my creative footing since i shut down the zine distro in early 2010. i know! that was almost two years ago! it was just a lot easier to keep up with my mail & feel like i had a legitimate platform when i was going to the post office everyday & maintaining a huge website (even if there wasn’t really any personal content on it).

the only “project” that i have really come up with to replace the zine distro is this whole trying to get pregnant business, which is turning out to be a lot more difficult than i anticipated. i wish it had been this hard to get knocked up when i DIDN’T want to have a baby. i had four dreams last night in which i did a pregnancy test & it was positive. in every dream, i was like, “no way. this is totally a dream, i’m going to wake up & not be pregnant. or is it real? maybe i’m pregnant!” but of course, i am not. i do have an appointment set for a fertility work-up after the holidays though. maybe my doctor will take pity on me, prescribe clomid, & at this time next year, i’ll be writing about how difficult it is to maintain a blog when i am caring for a newborn. or maybe i’ll just luck out & get pregnant without intervention. i can’t even work up any feelings about it anymore. the stress has been too exhausting.

i am a little bit anxious about boston because seeing people you haven’t seen in six months to a year always want to know, “what’s new? what’s going on?” & literally all i have to say is, “well, i’ve been trying to get pregnant & that’s not really going anywhere. but i know that you really wanted any information at all about my sex life, so let’s move on. i’ve gone to a bingo a few times & have won $210 altogether, which is pretty cool. that pays for like half of my share of the bed & breakfast we’re staying at. bingo is a little depressing because it’s a lot of oldsters blowing through their social security checks & a sprinkling of younger people in sweatpants looking like they probably make meth. but you know. i get social security too & would definitely just wear sweatpants if i didn’t think jared would break up with me because of it, so maybe i have found my people. i’m thinking about signing up for another water aerobics class in january because my arthritis has become increasingly crippling. i now struggle to button the snaps on my coat, & am sometimes in too much pain to drive or use utensils, keys, or my squeezy water bottle. i don’t know if this is a permanent aspect of the degenerative condition or if it’s just a temporary slump due to the cold, damp weather. & i’ve been reading a lot of library books. mostly children’s books. mostly the american girl historical books, truth be told. which i then recap over on goodreads in foul-mouthed, sarcastic, political reviews that are probably not suitable for children. how are you doing? what’s new with you?”

so. that will be fun.

but hopefully i will get with the program in 2012 & come up with some interesting things to say. same bat time, same bat channel.