Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Aloha 'Oe

I really owe all of you a follow up, you were so kind to inquire about my dad even though I wrote (but apparently didn't emphasize quite enough) that he was ok. He's ok! Or so it seems. While the initial call was obviously fucking scary, a few hours later I was no longer thinking I had to reroute my flight home to stop at my parents'. I was going to turn around and fly west next week, but am now actually thinking next month would be just fine. Maybe even June, because then I could take Bella. The two main bugaboos at the moment seem to be: 1) they couldn't really determine where the block happened exactly (although it was apparently the right side -- which is kinda rare?), and 2) the wounds from putting the catheter/shunt in (through his leg, incidentally, fucking yeow) hurt like hell, and are making it tough to get around. Which he's ostensibly supposed to be doing. But the actual breathing part (and his blood pressure and the like) seem to be just fine, thank you. He was released last Wednesday (a mere three days and a few hours post "attack") and sounds great -- if already getting pessimistic about the Penguins in the next round is great. It will undoubtedly take mom a while to recover and allow him to use the toilet or make toast by himself.

Hawai'i was full of surprises. A while ago, I followed the advice of The NYT Samurai Shopper and bought the drugstore mascara recommended therein. I found it akin to applying oatmeal cookie batter to my eyelashes. But I didn't have time I forgot to buy something else so in the bag it went, and out it came a million miles later, and lo! No clumps! I have apparently discovered the secret to reducing clumps in your mascara, which I think is worth a patent, no? Simply buy the sweet little tube a ticket on a long and vast journey in the cargo hold of an airplane or two. Failing that, maybe stick it in the freezer for a day and then warm it up in nice balmy 80 degree weather? While playing ukelele music?

Other "Huh!" Moments:

I was kinda underwhelmed by the beaches. I know. I think this was island specific, and I didn't have a choice of islands (see: business trip that underwrote my husband's ticket and some of our hotel), and everyone tells me not to give up but the beaches elsewhere are fucking insane. I'm usually lemonade out of lemons when it comes to beaches -- Sure I can cram my towel in here, close enough to smell a strangers deodorant! The shells between the glass and syringes are truly wonderful! No really, 49 degrees is refreshing! -- but I guess usually I don't travel that long for the privilege? Or something? Anyway: next time, if there is a next time, different island. Oh, and I'm leaving from the west coast. Because 13 hours in transit is too, too long for anyone, grown-ups included.

I had never given much thought to how good pork would be in Hawaii. I suppose if I gave five seconds of time to the concept of a luau, the progression would be: lei, grass skirt, some weird stuff called poi, roasted pig. Pig. They must have pig there! But never really applied this concept widely to consider Hawaii's pork industry as a whole. Apparently there is one! I pride myself on my continental bbq excursions, but people -- don't let the islands go underestimated here. Mighty fine. Failing a sandwich, make sure to sample bacon, sausage, or random hot dog. You won't be disappointed.

Food overall was much, much better than I had anticipated. I don't know what I anticipated -- fresh fruit and fish? And there was a lot of that. I think four to five of my meals were fish tacos in a variety of preparations. But overall, I guess I never gave much thought to the idea that a place that made sugar might be pretty good at making, oh, I dunno, pastry. Or that a local microbrew would actually taste great and be more than a simple tourist plug. Yay food!

I was a bit taken aback by the number of homeless I saw in Honolulu (apparently others are too, I discovered via google). Not in a "Ew! Homeless!" kinda way (dudes, I live in Philadelphia), but in a per capita, "Wow that's a lot," kinda way. After rummaging around a bit, I guess my surprise has piqued; the total population of all the islands is somewhere around 1.28 million; Philly's population is circa 1.5 million. The park there I saw was more crowded than any I've seen downtown here; BUT, I'm thinking the resources are probably centered around the capital, and ergo, the people are too. It didn't really buzzkill my paradise as much as it made me realize this global recession thing truly is. Sadz.

Bella is apparently talking to strangers about Maddy. The incident on the beach was the first time I've heard her bring up her sister to anyone other than me or her father (and in fact, talking to Dad is a rather recent development. Apparently last week while outside on the swings, she asked him what we would name a subsequent baby girl. Mr. ABF gave up our second-to-Maddy name, and Bella made a face. I'm at least relieved I have some back-up should it come to this again). Not only did she cough up this information to beach girl, but while I was packing and panicking on the phone, she outlined the particulars of her Very Special Family to a new best friend by the hotel pool. Mom apparently turned to Mr. ABF and mouthed, "Really?" to which he responded, "Yes, she lived six days" or somesuch, and she was appropriately sorry. AND THEN went on to say how her son had some lung cold and they had to delay their trip home until he left the hospital. Because you know, same exact thing, really.

I think Bella's output here is pretty question specific. That is, the inquiring party needs to directly offer information about his/her siblings, and/or ask Bella about hers. Mr. ABF said a new neighbor came by yesterday while he and she were by the fence, and she asked Bella something to the effect of, "So is it just you?" Which, DUH! Does Bella resemble Macaulay Culkin? Does she look parentally neglected? More to the point, does new neighbor understand the literalness of a four-year-old? (She should, she has one herself.) Was she expecting, "Why yes, it is just me. When do you eat dinner?" Of course Bella answered with a "[Fuck] No! There's mom and dad, my dogs Buddy and Max, and my cats Kirby and Tucker." So there, neighbor lady. Mr. ABF figured he'd spill the beans about the urn in the family room some other time.

Or maybe she's just responding to us and kids right now. People who get it on her level. Her homies.


I have been a complete bundle-of-nerves-insomniac this week. I was blaming Hawaii (sung, avec ukelele, to the tune of "Blame Canada"), but last night after talking myself down from a Bella-getting-a-lethal-illness panic attack, I've come to conclude that the whole heart attack/swine flu bullshit has ratcheted my anxiety level up through the ROOF. I'm reminding myself multiple times during the day when my brain veers toward the horror graphic that "It's not a premonition! It's a symptom of your fucked up psyche!" but still not feeling much better.

It would help to know you're freaking out too. Aloha!

Monday, April 20, 2009


4/12, circa 6:00 a.m.
(scene: watching kids run around on airport play yard, chitchattin' "so where ya goin', blahblahblahbalah")

Airport Woman: "I just found out my husband of 15 years is having an affair."
Me: "Oh Shit, I'm so, so sorry."

(Do I have a "Talk to me, I totally get your shit" neon sign on my forehead?!)


4/12, post Philly-to-Chicago leg, listening to "Doors Closing" announcement on 8-hour Chicago-Honolulu leg

Me: Do you have the DVD player?
Mr. ABF: I thought you had the DVD player.


4/12, 40 minutes into flight

Me: Can I hold him for you?

(Aisle-mate was a woman flying alone with a six-month old; woman developed a nose-bleed on ascent. And this is how I came to hold my first baby since Maddy. It didn't crush me. It wasn't nirvana, either.)


4/14, circa 8:00 a.m.

Me: What are they doing?
Mr. ABF: Oh, it's Tuesday. They're renewing their vows on the beach.
Me: (avec dripping sarcasm) Do you want to renew our vows?
Mr. ABF: No, but I'll buy you a beer.


4/14, 5:00 a.m.

Bella: My ear hurts.

(9:30 a.m.) Bella: My ear hurts.

(1:30, feverish, whining) Bella: My ear hurts.

(Found local clinic, massive ear infection. Smoothies and tv in the hotel.)


4/16, circa 9:00 a.m.

Bella: They're going to take a picture of our family, dad. Of everyone in our family. Of everyone in our family who is alive.


4/17, circa 2:30 p.m. (Bella has just made friends with the five-year-old girl whose family is camped out next to ours on the beach. They're going through general family introductions with each other.)

Bella: I have a sister, but she died.
Beach Girl: YOUR SISTER DIED??!!
Bella: Yes. Her name was Maddalena.
Beach Girl: Who killed her?


4/19, 5:00 a.m. (Both cell phones have just gone ringing and beeping)

Me: What's up?
My Brother: Dad had a heart attack.

(Turns out a rather bad one, but caught in a most-timely fashion. Still in hospital, but out of ICU, and recovery looks good.)


4/20, 11:00 a.m. Philly time

Mr. ABF: So you think you'll deliver our luggage to our house this afternoon?


I so need a vacation, yo. Mahalo!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Well, I feel like a big ol' pants-on-fire sort because not too long ago I whinged a bit on how the money tree -- it was a barren, and there would be no vacation this year. And in lieu of warmth and relaxation we went and crashed on a friend's couch in the vicinity of downtown Manhattan for a few days. Then, seriously, back home a week later, Mr. ABF picked up a client in a warm sunny locale and came home from work and said, "I'm going for two days. Wanna come?"

I'd like to say I did a bit of math: 2.5 plane tickets + six nights hotel - (business plane ticket + two nights hotel) x family fun vacation! - two days of one-on-one Bella time / travel hell x time difference = hmmmm, but really all I did while my mouth filled with saliva and my eyes filled with palm trees and my skin tingled with the anticipation of 80 degree weather was say "Yes, ooooohhh, yes."

So, er, I'm going on vacation for a week, starting by my alarm going off circa 4:10 a.m. tomorrow morning. Did I say for a week? A week.

Catch you on the flip side. Hopefully with pictures, and not too many "ZOMFG!" travel tales. Don't write too, too much while I'm gone, please?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Socks! Lots of Socks!

I know I say I started blogging for purely selfish motives -- ME, MY psyche, and I -- but I was so quickly welcomed and enveloped and downright comforted by everyone. Even though I say I trust nothing (ever again!), I must to a great degree trust this community. In many respects it's all I have. Going through my reader isn't just edifying, it's become a sort of security blanket -- knowing there are others out there who get it, get me, understand. The times that I see tangible evidence of a blogger doesn't just confirm that one human's identity, but reminds me that there's an army of real people out there who I consider friends.


It's with great pride that I opted to participate in Kymberli's cleverly imagined and incredibly organized "SockItToMe" party -- whereby I sent a super cute pair of socks overseas where I hope it's not eternally lost in mail hell, and I received a pair from someone else. And I thought it was a fun thing to do and really kinda emotionally stopped right there until I received a soft package in the mail.

My socks! I opened the package and the first thing I noticed was that it was the same fucking brand of socks I had sent to my sock buddy! Ha! What are the odds? Like minds and all that. But then I pulled them out and something was wrong. They were kids socks. WTF? And below them another pair . . . of matching adult socks. I was still a bit mystified, and then I read the card.

Dora, of ISO the Golden Egg sent me a pair, and a pair for Bella. I will not lie, I teared up. I read the card to Bella, and she said "Awwww," and proceeded to rip the tag off and put them on right then and there. This was so above and beyond and touching and . . . . well.

So now when Bella and I wear our funky socks, I don't just feel comfort and support -- I feel like someone out there gets me. I feel like a whole bunch of people out there are propping me up, and know what's important to me. And I'm so incredibly thankful.

Now please run over to Dora's blog because she has news. Good news.

Work Safe?

Some people think religion is the third rail of blogging. Or abortion. What happens when you go off the rails entirely?

I'm talking about s-e-x today at Glow In the Woods.

Useful metaphors employed when necessary.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Honey, I Shrunk Children's!

For some reason, Bella's school decided to extend Spring Break by two days (?), so yesterday we ambled off to check out the Please Touch Museum in their new digs. This is an amazing, amazing children's museum, made all the more amazing by their new abode: a left over structure from the 1876 centennial exhibition in Philadelphia. If you've read Devil in the White City, you know that such fair structures from this era are massive in scale (one wing is devoted to a "make your own flying machine" where you assemble a foam creation and then self propel it up three flights before letting it drop and seeing how long it stays airborne); incredibly architecturally detailed on the outside; probably thrown up in about 60 days with water, flour, and scrap lumber; and incredibly fire-prone. Perfect spot for a Children's museum.

We made our way through the automobiles, the space portion, music, beautifully restored carousel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and finally -- the piece d'resistance -- the kid's sized mini city. Dump truck! TV studio! Shoe Store! And hey, woah, what's that on the left?

Ohmygoodlord, it's MiniChildren's! So kids can make believe kids need their own hospitals! Cuz you can't make that shit up! But wait, walk inside and you're dumped right into . . .

THE NICU! Bwahahahahaha! Lookit all the lifeless, plastic-complexioned babies staring vacantly into space! The recreation is uncanny. The lighting is dead on, and it looks about that comfortable for parents to spend the night.

"I think it's supposed to be a maternity ward," said Mr. ABF through my peels of laughter, but definitely sporting a smug smile when I retorted, "I am so blogging this."

Bella gave the babies a quick once over from the door, and headed off to see some xrays on the far wall. I was wondering if there was going to be some kid's-museum-inappropriate reaction from her (given MY reaction was quite mature, and thank goodness, it was pretty empty in the afternoon so I don't think anyone heard my conversationally-volumed, "Oh for Fuck's Sake"), when she spied . . . .

Kid's bakery, right next store. Crisis averted, and a girl after my own heart. We got the hell out of dodge, and spent the rest of the afternoon in the kid's grocery filling our cart with imaginary carbohydrates and corn-syrup-laced goodness.