Sunday, January 25, 2004

The Boy King returns, having been feted and celebrated across the land. And I do mean "Boy King," or perhaps "Tiny Dictator." Last I looked, his 76-yr-old grandmother was on the floor playing with trucks, and poor Pop Pop was painstakingly separating a mixed up bowl of rice krispies and cheerios, having misinterpreted the dictate of eating both cereals "at the same time." Yup - his grandparents were all wonderful, and definitely adhered to their job description by introducing him to juice boxes, feeding him chocolate, and showering him with toys.

Lesson Learned: Do not underestimate the danger of combining an airplane bathroom during turbulence with a young boy who is just learning to aim.

And now, we are off on another trip, this time to ski our guts out in arctic cold. The weekly forecast is six. As in degrees. As in Farenheit. As in "Today's high will be six." As in "Today we are going to test the hot tub and play Scrabble and eat Oreos." As in "Why the heck did I even bother packing an entire suitcase of ski gear?" As in "Please, next year can we go to Hawaii?"

Back next Saturday, at which point my International Readership will surely have dwindled to six. (I sense a theme.)

posted by Marjorie
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Saturday, January 17, 2004

MomBrain is winging her way across America to visit the Little Guy's grandparents, and will return Saturday, Jan 24. A few stealth posts may appear beforehand!

posted by Marjorie
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Friday, January 16, 2004

A long overdue mind-meld with OdiousWoman today -- my first Internet hookup and a real hootfest. And let me assure you that OdiousWoman is not nearly as Odious as she would have you believe. An initial hug confirmed that she does not smell Odious. In fact she smells rather April Fresh. She does not look Odious. She's actually quite pretty. And she does not sound Odious. She laughed at all my jokes, a lovely sound which means an automatic invite to join me and Hugh Grant the next time we have dinner. No, in terms of Odiousity I am afraid our dear O.W. has a way to go. But we all have our dreams.

Hari Kari MomBrain Style
I am this close to conducting a ritual bonfire in my driveway, using preschool applications as kindling. I do not understand why a preschool needs an "Admissions Director." I do not understand why I must write five-page essays describing how my child resolves social conflicts and whether s/he has rapid insight into cause-effect relationships. I do not understand why a preschool application must be accompanied by a $65 non-refundable fee. I do not understand why I must submit personal references for a three-year-old.

Still, if this is how the game is played then I will roll up my sleeves and compete like a hungry lion in the coliseum. I have poured my heart out in the danged essays and used my best Catholic-school handwriting on those non-refundable checks. And hey, all the Admissions Directors are women. So I used Cary Grant stamps on the envelopes. It's no holds barred for my Little Guy!

posted by Marjorie
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Thursday, January 15, 2004

Life Skills for the Testosterone Addled
The Little Guy has informed me that girls remember things for a very long time. I was tempted to question and soften his perception, but dang if he isn't right. And since I seem to be the one in charge of teaching him to get by in life, this may be a lesson that's best learned early.

Of course the Big Guy believes this is true because females have better myelinization of the neuronal sheath. I didn't quibble because at the end of the day it's all the same.

I. Remember. Everything. Got it?

Dreams and Desires
Fans of Steve Martin may remember the 1987 movie Roxanne, a modern version of the classic Mr. Bignose, Cyrano de Bergerac. I LOVE THIS MOVIE, and if you haven't seen it you really need to.

Anyway, there's a fab scene in a doctor's office where Steve Martin fantasizes about having a smaller nose. He holds flashcards up to his nose and admires his silhouette, dreaming about how handsome he would be, how sexy, how debonair. Alas, an allergy to anesthesia means he's stuck with his schnozz. But it doesn't prevent him from going all soft and dewey eyed at the thought of a cute little ski jump nose.

I think of this scene every time I visit Tim the Hair Guy. Every appointment begins with some version of this conversation:

MB: I want bangs.
Tim: Aw, honey, you know I can't give you bangs.
MB: I want them, Tim, I do.
Tim: But bangs are so last millenium. Unless you're twelve. And you're not twelve.
MB: I don't care. My favorite all-time haircut had bangs, so I want them again.
Tim: (sighing) No.
MB: Yes.
Tim: No.
MB: Oh shit, whatever, fine.

THIS TIME, however, we shortcutted the whole last part of that little convo and it was Tim who said "Oh shit, whatever, fine." I wore him down, folks, and now my forehead is well-fringed. As Tim himself said, if you bang on the bangs door long enough you will get banged. Or something like that.

posted by Marjorie
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Monday, January 12, 2004

Well. Who knew a Favorite Things List would generate so much email? It turns out people are somewhat impassioned about shoes, socks, bras, and scented candles. Hm.

While we're on the subject, I must also fairly distribute credit. While I did first hear about Ms. Tisha on Oprah's favorite things show, it was Odious Woman's rave that sent me flying to Nordy's, Visa in hand and ta tas at the ready. In fact, Little Miss Odious and I have a hookup planned in which I aim to buy her a Sugar Cookie and she aims to get me liquored up on Lemon Drops. Perhaps we should also wear our Tishas and see what kind of stares we attract. Call it a little social experiment. Tishas on Parade!

Also, I would like to strenuously state that it is pure coincidence that I posted a Favorite Things list right before my birthday. MomBrain would never be so transparent as to ask for gifts! Never! Absolutely not! Good golly, what kind of person do you think I am? (Uh, did I mention how much I like Dove dark chocolate?)

posted by Marjorie
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Sunday, January 11, 2004

In the spirit of Oprah, I offer you MomBrain's Favorite Things. However, unlike Oprah, I will not be giving away free goodies to members of our studio audience. No, my ducks, you must satisfy yourself with hot links. But satisfied you will be, and perhaps you will even try a few yourself! So ... here are the things I just couldn't live without in 2003.

Let's begin at the beginning, shall we? MomBrain starts each day with two cups of PG Tips tea. My Brit friends send this to me every year for Christmas, and it puts American tea to shame. More flavor and more caffeine in an adorable little triangular bag. Bloody good!

The Donna Karan Sports Bra has me actually looking forward to exercise. Finally, a sports bra that fits!!! No more uni-boob. No more sweaty contortions to undress. No more bouncing-boob-induced black eyes. The underwires are on the outside for comfort, and the straps adjust with hooks so they're not too stretchy. Donna Karan speaks the truth.

When it comes to running and power walking, I'm committed to New Balance running shoes. I used to be a Saucony girl, but NB lasts longer, fits better, and supports better. This is the specific model I wear, but I'm also pigeon toed and duck footed, so buyer beware. Quack!

If my running shoes and sports bra get me out the door, the iPod keeps me going. This groovy little tunes player puts others to shame. Now if Apple could just fix that pesky battery problem.

This watch has quickly become one of my few beloved objects. I wear it only when it can be appreciated -- with 3/4 length sleeves or a fluttery blouse. Thanks to Francesa for the tip!

I gotta give Oprah credit for bringing the Tisha bra to the world's attention. Little Miss Tisha makes my ta tas stand and salute like no one's business. Ah yes, the Goddess of Lift and Separate smiles down on me every time I wear this sweet number. It's not pretty -- it looks a bit like a Granny bra. But if Granny had worn something like this, well, consider the possibilities!

My house smells like these Lily of the Valley jar candles from Illumination. I have one in each bathroom and a couple of bedrooms. The scent is light, fresh, and floral, and the frosted glass lends a soft light. And as we all know, soft light is a wrinkly old bag's best friend.

I don't have a "signature scent." I can't pick just one perfume from all the delightful choices. Plus if you wear perfume these days you're likely to be assaulted by the chemically sensitive legions. But I do indulge in this magnolia lotion by Elizabeth W. Again with the light, fresh, and floral. And it has shea butter, so it's a lovely body moisturizer at the same time.

Call me silly, but MomBrain is picky about calendars. Year after year I buy this one. It's a week-at-a-glance with plenty of room for writing on each day. Plus it has nifty little perforated corner thingies that you can tear off as you progress through the year. I know. It's dumb. But I love this calendar.

Wrapping up the day, I sink my popsicle toes into a pair of these. Ain't nothin' warmer, softer, or more comforting, and I usually end up wearing them to bed.

Now. Time to go shopping!

posted by Marjorie
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Friday, January 09, 2004

I am old enough to remember when Victoria's Secret first burst forth like a heaving bosom on the national scene. I am also young enough to still shop there. But back in the old days (c-r-e-a-k), VS was full of women -- just women -- shopping for dainties. Except for the occasional engaged couple preparing for a honeymoon, the women were alone or with girlfriends. Any man unfortunate enough to be dragged to VS hugged a corner near the front of the store, blushing and poised for a quick exit.

Today, though, Victoria's Secret is more like a Lingerie Disneyland, a family destination where sticky children play hide-and-seek in mounds of pink satin, and the men swagger around pawing the panties and holding up nighties for their girlfriends. I get the whole moms with kids thing. But when did the men stop being embarrassed? I understand men who get a cheap thrill hanging out in VS. It's a sexy place. But the men I saw today acted more like they were in Radio Shack. One guy held up a bra to his girlfriend and exclaimed "No way is this a C cup!" Another guy was holding up nighties to his wife and debating whether to buy matching panties. And lots of guys just milled around looking while their lady friends shopped. ACK! Go away!

I do not like shopping for lingerie when I'm surrounded by men. Especially when all the bras are sorted in bins with the sizes labeled in 72-point type. The Big Guy is expressly not allowed to shop with me, and I think is secretly relieved. When it comes to dainties, he doesn't get a vote. He just has to trust me.

Is it me? Am I weird? Old-fashioned? Or just plain old?

posted by Marjorie
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Thursday, January 08, 2004

Today's gem from the Little Guy. The scene: The grocery store. I am pushing one of those mammoth shopping carts in the shape of a race car. He, of course, is driving. We are careening down the cereal aisle when he spots a display of Quaker Breakfast Squares.

LG: (shouting) Mommy!!! Sticky bums!
MB: (whispering) You mean sticky buns, honey. Bunnnns.
LG: I wuv sticky bums!!!
MB: No, buns.
LG: I want a sticky bum!!!!!
MB: Okay.

posted by Marjorie
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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Where does the word martini come from? Is it just an easier way to say mistaketini? Errtini? Defacetini? And what about the "tini" part? Every martini I have ever had (all two of them) has definitely been a mistake. Unless you count Lemon Drops. MomBrain has fond memories of washing her flu-addled brain and swollen throat in a Lemon Drop. A sugar rimmed glass, a little Ketel One Citroen Vodka, a splash of fresh lemon juice, a few ice cubes ... oh yes. MomBrain was happy. Happy happy happy.

Speaking of martinis, the Little Guy spied a man drinking one while we were out to dinner last month. LG is a fiend for olives, so he was not messing around when he demanded to have a drink like that man over there. I am not above a little creative illusion, so we finagled a cocktail glass of sparkling water with three olives and a very long toothpick. And LG was happy. Happy happy happy.

(Before the Cocktail Police threaten to arrest me for being a bad mommy, rest assured that LG knows that wine and beer are grown-up drinks, and that one martini is the only other alcoholic drink he's ever seen. (Dang, Mimi's right - why are mothers expected to defend their every action? (Do fathers have the same defensive reflexes? (Shoot, I'm losing count of the parentheses.))))

posted by Marjorie
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Tuesday, January 06, 2004

The Official MomBrain Guide to Hat Hair

When it comes to style a la MomBrain, you, too, can sport the sculpted hair helmet that proudly shouts you've been wearing a hat! Just follow these easy step-by-step directions:
  1. Oversleep, then wash hair. Leave hair wet - no time to blow dry!

  2. Slather hair with a generous dollop of hair gel. Sculpt hair into desired style and do not touch.

  3. Answer phone and agree to playdate in the six inches of snow that fell overnight. Yippee!

  4. Bundle kid. Bundle self. Jam hat on head, all the way to ears. Pull hood up for extra hat jamming.

  5. Romp! Cavort! Go sledding! Pull child out of snowbank! Pull child out of bushes! Pull child out of other child!

  6. Go home for lunch. Pull hat off head, feel crunchy gel. Shriek. Accept other mom's compliments that it's not that bad. When she leaves, wet hair again. Resculpt.

  7. Put Little Guy down for nap. Spy down comforter and fall into fresh-air-and-exercise induced coma.

  8. Wake up and look in mirror. Shriek again. Wet again. Sculpt again.

  9. Bundle up and go out in the snow again, this time to higher hills. More romping, cavorting, and sledding. Wheeeee!!!

  10. Accept friend's invitation to dinner at her house. Pile in, admire rosy cheeks. Remove hat. Look in mirror. Decide shrieking is useless. Admire hair pointing out from head in precise 90-degree angle. Feel nostalgic for Pippy Longstocking. Show off to friend. Decide pointy hair may qualify as weapon of mass destruction. Ask Big Guy if you can buy a new computer. Smile graciously when he quickly says yes.

posted by Marjorie
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Once again my constant companion Insomnia has woken me. But this time I've been visited by my other favorite friend, Hypochondria. My long and sordid history with hypochondria began in 1987, when I was a lowly editorial assistant working on medical textbooks. All day long I would pick apart diagrams of diseased anatomy, verifying medical terms and definitions and checking for uncited research. At night I would lie awake and compose the letter to my family telling them I was dying of bone cancer. Or an enlarged heart. Or a systemic infection. It would be a noble death with a Catholic funeral. (No, I'm not Catholic, but I like the incense and music and a sense of reverence.)

Tonight my kidneys are failing. What else can explain the cramping in my lower back? Certainly not the awkward position I woke up in. Not the fact that I carried a three year old half a mile uphill this morning. Not extreme dehydration -- I haven't had water in days. And today I drank only one cup of tea and one beer. No, my kidneys are definitely on their way out and I need to get on that transplant list pronto. But while I wait, I am drinking a very large glass of water. And then I will stretch, gently. And then I will go back to bed and hope for sleep to come again.

posted by Marjorie
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Monday, January 05, 2004

What I Read on My Christmas Vacation
O draconian devil, oh lame saint! Why am I reading The Da Vinci Code? The writing is clumsy, the plot predictable, the pandering to the sacred goddess embarrassing. We meet characters who never become part of the story, the hero wears a Mickey Mouse watch for no good reason, his oft-mentioned claustrophobia never figures into the plot, and there is altogether too much "sweat preparing to form" on various foreheads.

To be fair to the author, I can't decide whether it's poorly written or poorly edited. The premise and plot are interesting enough, and it's screaming Hollywood movie. But it feels like it was written too quickly, as if the author spent all his time researching and not enough time putting it together. Or maybe the best-selling author is too sensitif to suffer the indignities of being edited. So. I think the author should call me right now and ask me to help develop his next manuscript. I'll settle for a 10% cut. Oh yeah.

posted by Marjorie
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Friday, January 02, 2004

Date Night Status Report
The Big Guy and are wrung out from seeing "Cold Mountain," in which Jude Law plays a salmon swimming upstream merely to spawn and die. Nicole is impossibly beautiful, Renee just a tetch over the top, and Donald's part is mercifully brief. Plus of course there were the usual horrors of war, the human spirit, blah blah blah, but overall it was a great movie. (And the soundtrack!)

A Rad Experiment
Now you can add your own comments. Knock yourselves out!

posted by Marjorie
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Insomniac Dreams
I have struggled with insomnia my entire adulthood, and it's getting worse. I stagger through the day exhausted, longing for bed. Once under the covers I have no trouble falling asleep. But then somewhere between 2:00 and 4:00 I wake up and it's all over. If I'm very lucky I'll fall asleep again around 5:00 or 6:00, only to get up at 7:00 with the Little Guy and stagger through another day.

The last few nights I've dreamed about quite the collection of famous people. Two nights ago I had dinner with Oprah and her best friend Gayle. Oprah finds me charming, a refreshing reminder of what it's like to be nobody. She takes me every where with her and secretly likes me more than Gayle. We go to restaurants without any makeup on so no one will recognize her.

Last night I had dinner with Hugh Grant. We discussed the film he is starring in, the one based on the bestselling novel I wrote. He is eager for my take on the main character and whether the screenwriters have completely screwed it up. He laughs at all my jokes and hangs on my every word.

Tonight I went running with Brad Pitt, who is dating my sister L. We tossed off a fabulous easy two miler, the kind that leaves you happy and energized and rosy. He wants my advice for a pleasing birthday gift, and I suggest a pretty watch. I also tell him if he hurts my sister I will kill him. He laughs and jogs off. I know he's a good guy at heart.

Shout Outs
Welcome to Wayward Angel, my very first California reader, and to new reader Angela! Hm. Two angels. Perhaps this is a sign. I could use a couple angels. Especially sleep angels. Is there a such thing? Can someone please invent one?

posted by Marjorie
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