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Soy what?

If you are from the NY metro area, I’m sure you know Rosanna Scotto, news anchor on Fox Channel 5 or from one of the morning news shows when she appears with her family who own an Italian restaurant in the City.  Well, if you don’t know her, perhaps you saw her last night during The Daily Show’s Moment of Zen:

WHAT?!  Wow.  I’ve got to say, I was stunned.  And then I couldn’t stop laughing.

Soy Jizzum?  Um, we definitely should not call it that.  Especially since I am drinking soy, um, milk these days.  I used to hate it.  A lot.  But when we ran out of milk recently, I gave it another go.  Turns out Lil Lemon* likes it.  Not sure I like it enough to drink a glass of it.  But in cereal or a smoothe, it’s quite nice.

But back to Scotto.  Does she know what jizzum means?  Or did she overhear one of her kids using this word and just thought, Hey, it’s young and hip, and I’m young and hip, so I’m going to go for it?  We may never know.  But this sort of thing isn’t new to Fox Channel 5 anchors.  Remember this one?:

Oh, Ernie Anastos.

*As you can see, I am trying out some new names.  Lemon makes me laugh every time.  Besides being a delicious fruit that I LOVE in almost any genre of food, drink, or cleaning product, and a silly sounding word (right now, call out to the other room – Lemon!  If it doesn’t make you laugh or, at the very least, smile, something is wrong with you), it reminds me of Liz Lemon from 30 Rock.  I am also using Fernando from time to time.  Lil Nando.  And no, we’re no where close to agreeing on a name.  I might have to just name this kid after the first person who visits me in the hosptial.  Yup, it’s a contest!

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Unraveling

Well, it’s finally happened.  I’ve cracked up.  Come undone.  Lost my mind.  Whatever you want to call it.

Remember when I said that my luck was about to take a serious turn for the worse?  Well, it has.

I have hit week 32 of this pregnancy, and I am a hot mess.

  • I can’t stop crying.
  • I can’t sleep.
  • I have heartburn.
  • My eating habits are changing again… and not for the better.
  • Did I mention that I can’t stop crying.

For the last two weeks, I have been quick to shed tears.  But by the end of last week and continuing through this week, I’ve taken up crying all the time.  Crying at work.  Crying in the car.  Crying in the middle of the night.  Crying in the morning before work.  Etc.  Etc.  Etc.  How cliche is it that the gigantic pregnant lady is crying at work?!  All I needed was to be eating a sandwich while crying to round out the look.

Part of this is because I am starting to hurt all over.  Part of this is because I am not sleeping.  Part of this is because CoCo has decided that peanut butter and butter are off the menu, yet I continue to eat both.  Because I forget.  Until the heartburn starts.  I’ve never had heartburn before.  I don’t like it.  Not one bit.

Part of this is because of these damn doctor appointments.  Why would a doctor say something like this:  “Well, it’s a little small… I’m not concerned, but you should come back in three weeks… because it’s a little small.”  Doesn’t this doctor understand that telling a woman on the edge – a woman, mind you, who was in his office because she was freaking out because she did not feel the fetus move for a good 24 hours – that her baby is “a little small” could lead to more alarm, not less?  Doesn’t this guy realize that just because he says he’s not worried does not mean that I won’t be worried?  Probably unnecessarily?

Part of this is because my job is killing me.  Our maternity leave sucks, and despite my attempts to get some special dispensation, I got nothing.  Well, what I got was this:  Trust us.  Trust us?  What the fuck are these people talking about?  Why in G-d’s name would I trust them to make sure that I have enough time at home while not having to go off salary?  Why would any employee trust their employer to make special allowances down the line when they won’t make those allowances now?  Trust us… I’m going to try that the next time they ask me to do something and see how far it gets me.

So basically, I am a crazy person right now.  I just hope this ends sometime soon.  Please dear G-d, let this end sometime soon.

Earth Day

So it’s Earth Day.  Are you thinking, What can I do to not fuck up the Earth for my children and grandchildren?  Well, you should be.  Seriously, we’re all going to die.  Just get a load of this article in Slate today:

Potomac River Filled With Intersex Fish

An alarming new study finds that more than 80 percent of the male bass fish swimming in Washington’s Potomac River exhibit both male and female sex characteristics, the Guardian reports. In addition to having testes, many male bass have also begun producing eggs, which researchers chalk up to the “toxic stew” of weird chemicals being dumped in the river. While part of the contamination comes from agricultural runoff, the Potomac Conservancy study found that birth control, prescription drugs, and other chemically enhanced products were also contributing to piscine sexual confusion. This isn’t just limited to the Potomac, either: A similar study conducted in 2009 revealed that out of 111 sites tested nationwide, roughly a third contained intersex fish.

WHAT THE FUCK?!  I swear, CoCo is going into a bubble.  Immediately, if not sooner.

Okay, that was harsher than I intended.  Let’s start again.

It’s Earth Day!  Yay!

Yeah, sounds insincere to me too.

Anywho, I thought I would share a few of the green things HC and I are doing – or going to be doing – around the house.

1) New Windows.

Folks, if you haven’t heard, old windows make it hard to insulate your home properly.  This means that you need to run your heat more in the winter and your air conditioner more in the summer.  This is bad for the environment because you are wasting energy.  If that’s not reason enough for you, just think about your January heating bill and your August cooling bill.  Outrageously high, right?  Well, replacing your windows will go a long way toward cutting your energy costs.  And the federal government will give you a tax credit to do it.  Free money, people!

We’ve replaced most of the windows on the second floor and hope to replace the ones of the first floor soon.  And by soon, I mean before the tax credit goes away.

2) Glass containers

Like everyone else in the world, HC and I had lots and lots and lots of plasticware around the house.  Then we heard about this BPA stuff.  I don’t really know what BPA is or what it does, but it sounds bad.  I mean, cancer-causing and leeching chemicals can’t be good, right?  Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the matter:

Bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated as BPA, is an organic compound with two phenol functional groups. It is a difunctional building block of several important plastics and plastic additives.

Suspected of being hazardous to humans since the 1930s, concerns about the use of bisphenol A in consumer products were regularly reported in the news media in 2008 after several governments issued reports questioning its safety, and some retailers have removed products containing it from their shelves. A 2010 report from the FDA raised further concerns regarding exposure of fetuses, infants, and young children.

Still not quite sure what this is, but it certainly does not sound good.

So a few months back, HC and I started getting rid of our plasticware in favor of snaplock glassware.

I seriously love the Glasslock containers.  They are amazing and fantastic, and I do not regret making the change-over.  We still have a few lingering pieces of plastic, but they too are on their way out.

3) gDiaper

As I’ve mentioned, I’m in the family way.  This development has led to many changes including, but not limited to, my new-found sobriety, which I hate; my ever-growing body, which I also hate; and my inability to sleep for longer than three hours without having to use the restroom, which I also ALSO hate.

Anyway, this development has led to HC and I having to think about baby gear.  Baby gear is a complex and complicated world of mysteries, riddles, half-truths, bald-faced lies, and lots of fear.  In trying to balance cost, crazy, and fear, we’ve tried to steer clear of plastics as best we can.  There are lots of great glass, BPA-free, and organic options out there.  But that shit can be EX-PEN-SIVE.  But, again, it’s a balancing act.

As part of the balancing act, I’ve been thinking about diapers.  I hate diapers.  Not just for the reason that most people hate diapers – you know, that they are smelly and gross and a lot of work and whatnot.  I hate diapers for all of those reasons, to be sure.  But I also hate them because they create so much garbage.  Actually, it’s more than that.  Disposable diapers create tons and tons of garbage that won’t biodegrade for 350 to 500 years.  Yes, I said YEARS.  That is insane to me.  Just think about the number of diapers a baby uses and multiple that by 350 to 500 YEARS!  Crazy.

While I can see that disposable diapers are terrible for the environment, I also am struggling to wrap my mind around cloth diapers.  I mean, when you hear about “explosions” related to baby #2s, the last thing I want to do is laundry.  I don’t want to abuse the washing machine that way.

Luckily for me, there seems to be a new middle ground in the world of diapers called gDiapers.  gDiapers work this way:  there’s a cloth shell called a Little gPant that has a snap-in plastic liner.  Inside the liner, you add a biodegradable disposable insert or a cloth insert.  Everything is machine washable, and the liners can easily be wiped down or rinsed in the sink if needed.

Little gPant

As you can see, they are totally adorable and Velcro in the back.  They even make a Tiny gPant for newborns from 6 to 10 lbs.

Tiny gPant

In all, it’s probably a little more work than a straight disposable diaper, but there are a lot of benefits.  First, the disposable inserts are flushable, compostable, or , if tossed into the trash, biodegrade in about one year’s time.  Yes, ONE YEAR compared to 350-500 with a traditional disposable.  Second, with gDiapers, you have the option to use cloth if and when you ever want to.  Third, gDiapers are supposed to be better on a baby’s skin than a regular disposable diaper (fewer chemicals involved), leading to fewer (if any) diaper rashes.  And finally, they are so ridiculously cute.

Okay, so the final point shouldn’t really matter.  But maybe you should look at them again.

C'mon... so fucking cute!

Anyway, happy Earth day!  And remember – do your part not to fuck up the planet for the rest of us.

Potenza

HC’s birthday was last week.  While I failed at most of the typical birthday related traditions (yup, neglected to get him a present and tried to pass off the whole I’m-making-you-a-baby thing… didn’t go over well), we did manage to go out for dinner to a new place.

Even though I waited until the last possible minute to put something together, HC and I, and a few friends, went to Potenza near the White House.  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am highly skeptical of Italian restaurants, especially Italian restaurants in the DC area.  But MG swears by this place, and he and KW have directed us to several really fantastic restaurants.  Plus we could call to put our name on the list.  Bonus.

So we get there, we’re seated immediately, and have bread and breadsticks and drinks super quick.  Okay, already I’m impressed.  Then I tasted the breadsticks.  Um, delicious.  Seriously.  They were toasty and crunchy and exactly what a breadstick should be.

I had the Italian Wedding Soup to start, which is way up there as one of my favorite soups.  It was fantastic.  Aromatic, super fresh.  And the little meatballs?!  Perfect.

For my meal, I went with a super safe choice – orrechiette (my favorite pasta) with fennel sausage and broccoli rabe.  But everything was delicious.  And please believe I tasted near every dish that made its way to our table.

Due to my condition, I can’t speak on the wine/cocktails.  But everyone at the table seemed pleased with their cocktails.

If you’re looking for solid Italian food in the District, check out Potenza.  You won’t be disappointed.

Break-In

My car was broken into.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

After months and months and months of getting parking tickets for having NJ plates, I finally got all my paperwork together and registered my car in DC.  It was a remarkably easy process.  The inspection took maybe 40 minutes.  And my day in DMV, when the line was around the corner, took less than an hour.  Let me say that again – LESS THAN AN HOUR.  I had just sat down in a seat and started looking for a pen to fill out the forms when my number was called.  I’ve never EVER had anything like that happen before.  EVER.  The longest thing about my visit to DMV was waiting in line to check in to get the forms I needed and waiting to have my picture taken for my new license.  The wait for the picture was, assuredly, not so that they could take glam shots.  My orange-hue, Ooompa Loopma face proves that.  Nope, the computers went down and they had to reboot.

So other than this:

My new DC license photo - for realz

The trip was easy, breezy. This is not the typical DMV visit, to be sure.  Normally, the first trip to DMV is to wait for several hours only to be told that you forgot a form or document that you are sure the website did not mention but which the person behind the counter says is the lynch pin to the whole process, so you have to go home and start all over again.

The DMV was not the only easy, breezy thing that’s happened to me lately.  I’ve had remarkably good luck lately.  We’ve had several furniture deliveries and all have gone shockingly better than expected.  Like the package arrives at the start of the 4-hour window, or it arrives early.  Yes, I said early.  WHAT?!  This is not supposed to happen.  Here, too, they are supposed to make you wait and waste half your day.  Then I went to NYC for work, had a fantastic trip, learned a lot, and got half price off my parking because the guy at the garage, who was really nice and super chatty, noticed that I had come from a local hotel that gets half off.  I had no idea.

Also, while in NJ to see my family, I had a good trip.  I actually slept, which was nice.  I ate a lot.  And they bought me – or rather, CoCo – all sorts of presents.  Seriously, CoCo, who currently doesn’t wear clothes, now has more clothes than I do.  And we haven’t even had my mother’s shower yet.  Sure, I had to let them take pictures of me, and I had to let them touch and talk to my stomach.  Fine.  But still, lots and lots of presents for nothing.

Even HC and I have been getting along lately and have been able to make some key decisions about pending projects that we’d love to have done before this baby shows up.

So all in all, my luck had been on a serious upswing.

I should have known bad things were on the horizon.  Well, to be fair, I did know bad things were on the horizon.  It was just a matter of time before my luck was going to swing the other direction.  This is the way luck goes.

So here we are.  My newly registered, newly insured car was broken into right in front of our house on a highly traveled, well-lit street.  HC found it.  He was heading out to work and then came back in to tell me what happened. He asked if I had anything valuable in the car.

Luckily, all those presents from my family had already been taken into the house – or left in NJ.  My EZ-Pass was still in the car, as were my sunglasses.  But I didn’t see the GPS.  I  mentioned this to HC.  His response?  “You shouldn’t leave the GPS in a visible spot in the car.  You should have put it in the glove compartment.”  Thanks, HC.  Super helpful right now.

HC left for work while I waited for the police to get there.  When the cops showed up on the scene, I told them that the only thing missing was the GPS.  The cop’s response?  “You can’t leave the GPS in the car.  It’s going to get stolen.”  Again, super helpful right now.

After CSI-DC showed up and dusted for prints – all of which probably are from HC – I headed to work in the car.  I decided to check the glove compartment.  Low and behold – there was the GPS.  Turns out, I did put it in the glove compartment.  Sometimes I’m smarter than I look.

So other than the inconvenience and annoyance of having to pay to have the window replaced, this break-in wasn’t so bad.  I mean, I was fine with someone stealing the GPS because I hate that thing.  And I was immediately relieved when I saw that my sunglasses were still there.  But then to find the GPS, which I had remembered to put away in the glove compartment?  Well, that’s pretty good.

Why did they break in, you may be asking yourself.  Well, we keep an i-Pod cassette adapter in the tape deck.  Yes, I still have a tape deck.  So these degenerate criminals probably thought they’d get an i-Pod.  Sadly for them, I keep my i-Pod in my purse.  Suckas!

But one concern remains.  The bad luck is probably not over.  More is probably to come.  Stay tuned.

I’m a big … what?

By now, you’ve all read about V.P. Joe Biden’s, um, colorful commentary to the President at the health care bill signing ceremony on Tuesday.  If you haven’t, well, you really need to learn about TV and the Internet.  But I will bore us all with a mini recap so we’re all on the same page.

Biden’s speech at the start of the ceremony went sorta like this:  I love Barack Obama.  Obama is great.  This reform legislation is amazing.  I love this legislation.  And I love Barack Obama for bringing on this amazing legislation, which I also love.

Okay, it was much more heartfelt than that.  Let’s face it – Joe does not fear showing his emotions.  And I certainly got swept up in the moment.  I mean, you really don’t work on legislation of this scope and caliber very often.  To have played even the teeny tiny roll I played made feel feel all warm and gooey inside.  And it’s not just because CoCo is engaging in what can only be described as an epic battle for the survival of humanity inside my abdomen.

Anyway, as Biden and the President embraced, Biden was caught on his mic saying:  This is a big fucking deal!

Yes, Mr. Vice President, it is indeed.

So that night, AM, CO, HC, and I made the trek out to Two Amy’s pizza in Cleveland Park to round out our pizza tasting before I never want to eat pizza again.  For the record, it was delicious.  My only complaint is that either the knives aren’t sharp enough to cut the pizza, or something happens to the crust as it sits waiting to be devoured that makes it impossible to cut.  Either way, I don’t care for that.  And, turns out, I forgot about Comet something or other, also in Cleveland Park.  So the pizza eating must continue.

But I digress.

As we were driving up to the restaurant, CO told us about the Spanish-language reporting of Biden’s comment.  CO said that, as “fucking” in this usage does not have a clear Spanish translation, the press quoted Biden this way:  Esto es algo de puta madre.

So I’ve heard “puta madre” before, and it really doesn’t mean “fucking” in the English sense.  CO agreed, explaining that it literally means “mother of
all whores.”

Okay, so the bill is a big fucking deal.  But the mother of all whores?  I don’t think so.  Also, might this be a negative interpretation of Biden’s view?

Well, no, CO explained.  “The truth is that ‘puta’ is modifying ‘madre’ and not the other way around, which is why people think ‘motherfucker’ is more
appropriate.”

Again, the bill is a big fucking deal.  To call it a big motherfucker is not exactly capturing Biden’s sentiment.  At least, not in it’s English to Spanish to English translation.

Ever diligent, CO directed us to a Wikipedia entry explaining the translation issue.

Puta madre (literally “whore or fucking mother”) [de puta madre is an expression used in Spain, Mexico, Peru and Chile], on the other hand, while vulgar, can also be a term of praise, (me siento de puta madre, for example can be translated as “I feel motherfucking great”).  So, the use of puta madre is comparable to how “motherfucker” can be used positively in English, although more uniformly positive: Escribe como la puta madre (in Spain: escribe de puta madre) might be rendered “He writes motherfuckin’ great”; es una tía de puta madre can mean “she’s an awesome chick”.

Okay, I stand corrected.  This bill is a puta madre!

P.S. – When my mother said I should be speaking Spanish to CoCo, I’m not sure that this is what she had in mind.

A Kennedy Perspective

A moral, civil rights issue
By: Rep. Patrick Kennedy
March 25, 2010 05:28 AM EDT
‘No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor [his] memory than the earliest possible passage of the [bill] for which he fought so long. … His heart and his soul are in this bill.”

These words are from a speech made at one of those critical moments in our nation’s history when the character of our country was at stake. In a divided America, the public rhetoric was so filled with vitriol that it belied the fact that all of us in public office share a common desire to do what is best for this country. A vocal minority used every dilatory tactic at its disposal to frustrate the will of the majority of the American people.

While the above quotation could easily refer to my father, and the context could easily describe the health care debate, those words were, in fact, spoken by my father on the Senate floor, as he rose to honor his brother, President John F. Kennedy, during the debate on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The parallels between the struggle for civil rights and the fight to make quality, affordable health care accessible to all Americans are significant. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

My father always viewed health care in the context of civil rights.

Day in and day out, up close and often very personal, at home in Massachusetts and later here in Congress, on the trips we took to many different parts of the country, I saw him fight to make the dream of health care for all come true.

Whenever my siblings and I were ill, we knew that we had the good fortune to have a father who would make sure we received the best care. But as we recovered, it would be a painful reminder of the many millions of American sons and daughters who had little or no hope of getting anywhere near the quality of care we had. Because they lived in a country that locked and bolted the door against them.

My dad’s commitment to fight for those children as hard as he fought for us ingrained in me the understanding that we have to challenge the status quo. We learned from him that, in America, we could — and should — do better.

One telling aspect of health care, when it is compared with civil rights, is that the most vulnerable Americans are not those living at the edges of our society, for our poor have Medicaid, and our elderly have Medicare. It is the great middle class that is overlooked and ignored.

Like the civil rights legislation, some have called health care reform a government takeover or a government intrusion into personal life. But extending access to quality, affordable health care to all Americans is no less than the expansion of the principle of equal opportunity on which this nation was founded. It moves us closer to the ideals on which this country has thrived.

Shortly after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a popular Republican politician warned, “Our natural, inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.”

The grim prophecies of Ronald Reagan, and those who shared his concerns, never materialized.

Instead, today it is unquestioned that the color of one’s skin or the context of one’s birth has no bearing on the opportunity to succeed in our society. That is because of the Civil Rights Act.

With the vote of the House on Sunday and the signature of the president on Tuesday, we have similarly brought a fundamental shift to how our country views the delivery of health care.

My father’s efforts — from Medicare to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, from the Americans With Disabilities Act to Community Health Centers — were driven by his belief that the amount and quality of care that people receive should not be a function of their income. It is appalling and inexplicable that we are the only major industrialized nation in the world that does not have a national health service or national health insurance.

Health care is not only a civil rights issue. It is a moral issue. It is about the content of the character of our country. Now, the onus is on the U.S. Senate, that institution my father so dearly loved, to pass the Reconciliation Act and complete the great unfinished business of our society.

Patrick Kennedy is a Democratic member of Congress from Rhode Island.