This is my punishment for posting hideous poison ivy pictures of Tim in my last blog. I've had hives for 2 weeks. I think it was a perfect storm situation. I got a sudden lobster allergy. My brother got his lobster allergy 4 years ago, and we are 4 years apart. He still eats 3 lobsters at a sitting. He just takes Benadryl beforehand. We grew up eating a lot of lobster and still consider it our birthright because my dad had a 20-pot license. I then got stung by a bee, and I got multiple sunburns. Finally, I found out that school starts a week later than I thought. I have loved being a full-time mom, but I did find myself making sculptures out of vegetables at 2 am recently. Hanging out ALONE for 8 hours a day playing with clay is looking pretty good right now.
I also succumbed to mommy porn; I sneaked a few peeks at my friend's copy of 50 Shades of Grey. Actually, I ignored my screaming kids and read 200 pages. I'm going to write a real-life mommy porn. The first difference between my heroine and the usual romance novel heroine is that mine is going to be an eater. Why do they all have trouble getting food down? Are women fantasizing about being unable to eat?
It was a sweltering day. She'd had two dixie cups of coffee while shopping at Trader Joe's and two servings of the free sample of the day: macaroni and cheese with mild salsa stirred into it. The caffeine-induced sticky feeling she'd had during check-out burgeoned into massive armpit stains on her maxi dress when she left the air conditioning to load up the Honda Odyssey. She cursed the extra cup size she'd bloomed after having the kids. In the heat, where her breasts fold over her torso, they create, yet another armpit-like patch of sweaty funk.
She was in the driveway schlepping her 4th load of groceries when he pulled up in the silver Ford Taurus. In one graceful motion, he loosened his tie as he hoisted himself out of the bucket seat. She could see the bulge in his pleated Dockers as he strode by and growled, "Grab my coffee cup and gym bag from the car and put Toy Story on for the kids. Meet me in the basement; I know you skipped zumba today. You need to be punished."
How did he know about zumba?, she thought as she put the DVD in the player. Her knees felt weak as she both dreaded and giddily anticipated what awaited her.
...sated from yet another charged interlude, he ordered her to get him some pretzels and easy cheese and to put on the next episode of Breaking Bad on Netflix.
There are lots of disturbing things about the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey a trifling one is the heroine's name: Anastasia Steele. She calls herself, Steele, in annoying, italicized inner conversations. My daughter's name is Elizabeth Steel (McDonald.) She goes by Steel. I'm going to be pissed if "Steele" reaches the top of the baby name list for 2013. "Honey, let's name her after that perpetually skinny, virgin, submissive girl in 50 Shades of Grey!"
Steel is a force. (Maybe "Steel" will make the top Baby names of 2035 when my Steel is someone famous) In the beginning of the summer we were at a street fair. Friends of ours were sitting against a building in the shade. We stopped to chat, and a bug wandered by. All of the kids noticed, so the other hippy mom, Anne, tried to have a "teaching moment." We were examining the bug and talking about its physical attributes when Steel broke the circle and crushed it with her shoe. Anne was a little shocked. A chorus of, "Steel! You KILLED him!!!!" arose; Jack Peter went in to examine the remains. "Nope!" he exclaimed triumphantly. Anne and I looked at each other wondering whether we were going to have to have a conversation about death or spend another half hour pretending to resuscitate the bug while it writhed. "What do you mean, Jack Peter?" She said carefully. "It wasn't a 'him!' It was a 'her!'" He then quoted something about bugs' antennae from the 6th grade science text book he sleeps with.
Death doesn't phase them yet. We went to another wake in the beginning of the summer. (2 years ago on the way to the last one we listened to Jack Peter explain to Steel in the back seat that we'd only be seeing the body-not the head) Our new sister-in-law's mother lost her battle with cancer. All 5 of us walked by the casket, said "good-bye," and went to sit in the pews. I tried to read from the Bible thinking that the garden of Eden would grab them. It didn't. We weren't sure whether there was going to be a service or not, so we sat there awkwardly trying to keep quiet. A young woman went to the casket to pay her respects. She wept as she lay her own hand on Justina's mom's folded hands. On seeing this, the kids exclaimed, "I didn't know you could TOUCH her!!!! I want to go again!!!" They clamored out of the pew to make another pass. We took that as a cue to leave, missing the service that started 5 minutes later.
Steel's been making amazing drawings of people lately. I'm considering getting a few of them tattooed onto my ass. I'm not kidding. Our friend is a tattoo artist and has been bugging me to get a tattoo. I don't think he really cares, but I tend to rise to challenges. I hate most tattoos. I actually suggested to all of the McDonald brothers and their spouses/girlfriends that we put some money into a pot. It will go to our niece, Brittney, if she gets to 30 without a tattoo. Brittney just started her freshman year at MIT and will probably make more money than all of us combined in the end, so money won't be a huge incentive, but boy do I love seeing her young, strong, beautiful, perky, tattoo-less body. It's rare these days. Despite that, I was thinking about getting a floral pattern on the bottom of my foot like the henna tattoos on Indian brides. Apparently feet don't take tattoos well. I suggested my ass, and Shawn, the tattoo artist said, "your husband will be the only person to ever see them, and I guess me too" I can't believe he thinks my thong-to-the-beach days are over!
I used to be a big proponent of thongs. My motto was, "If it's going to end up there anyway; it might as well be small!" The "french cut" underwear of the 80's and 90's must've been the problem. Ever since the low-rise undies appeared, a thong hasn't graced my knicker drawer. Steel missed my thong days and was perplexed at her first thong encounter. The Ermilios and the McDonalds had all gone swimming at the YMCA and were getting dressed in the ladies locker room. Usually the 4 big kids are running around naked locking the little ones into lockers and screaming at the top of their lungs under the disapproving eyes of the big black grandmothers who are better at disciplining their kids and grandkids and are horrified that we have our sons naked in the ladies locker room. Steel was silently pensive as she circled Heather. Finally, Steel said, "Heather, did you put your underwear on sideways?" It was a legitimate question. Sideways underwear is common in our house; Toby insists on dressing herself. Heather replied, "Shhhhh....don't tell anyone. I'll change it when I get home!"
Sadly, my thong-to-the-beach days are over. We spent a fair bit of time in the south this summer. Southern women seem to care more about their appearance. I'll never forget a comment from my friend, Phoebe Platt. We both worked at a law firm in San Francisco. I complimented her on her flawless skin, and she responded in her Kentucky drawl, "HAVEN'T YOU YANKEES EVER HEARD OF FOUNDATION?!" It's true. I have no idea how to put on make-up. My mom always matched her eye shadow to her shoes; that's been my only tip.
In Richmond, Virginia my friend Karen and I spent some time at her gym. There are multiple pools, an amazing child watch, and a ridiculously fun Zumba class taught by Marcela (who could be the subject of a mommy porn or at least, a romance novel. There are extra muscles in her ass that move up and down at the same time she's doing a pelvic tilt.) Anyway, our 6 children could be amused for hours leaving us to feel naughty drinking diet pepsi and gossiping.
It's biologically impossible for me to let a 40-year-old woman with an absurd tan, fake boobs and a six pack tummy walk by without turning to (from Jersey) Karen and rolling my eyes. It's even worse when you hear them talking about what they ate that day. 60% of the reasoning behind my leaving California was that people found it appropriate to talk about what they ate. There'd be 10 people at the pottery wheels in my co-op studio discussing the merits of a gluten-free diet for HOURS. It's like reading Eat, Pray, Love ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. (I know this blog is self-indulgent crap, but I'm not really expecting anyone to read it.)
These women do, in fact, look great. But then you gaze at the posse of teenage girls lounging on the beach chairs covered with baby oil and Sun-in, eating grilled cheese and Doritos. I wanted to get on the loudspeaker and say, "Women over 40!!! LISTEN! Live your life, be heathy, be happy, but it's OVER; stand aside; they win-NO CONTEST!" Incidentally, Karen and her husband Michael introduced me to Tim. They are another potter/architect couple. Karen's sister has recently lost 50 pounds. Karen texted me that fact along with the aside: that's 2 bags of clay!!!!