31 January 2011

Men of the world: I find this stuff unattractive!

Hey, so.  I don't know if I have a type, exactly, but  I have some things that put you solidly in the Never To Be Considered category, and these are they.
Obviously there are women folk out there who go for this stuff, I mean, I guess, because there's someone for everyone, isn't there?
But this stuff is not for me.
Just as I, with my messy hair and sundresses and glasses and pretentious lists of dislikes, am surely not for everybody.

Head Hair:
-Long hair, of any sort, at all, ever.  I used to think it was just hippie hair I didn't like, but as I've gotten older, I've come to realize that it's any long hair.  Dreadlocks, braids, well groomed hair that's just too long.  Yeah. Ick.
-Hair that feels gross, or is crunchy, or gets grease on my hands if I touch it.  Basically any weird gels or pomades that draw my awareness to you and your hair products.  I'm not like, diametrically opposed to guys using hair products, I mean, I GUESS THAT'S FINE, but I don't want to know that.
-Any hairstyle that looks like it takes longer than mine does to create.  Okay and I recognize that I'm really lazy with my hair, so this is essentially just any hairstyle that could be considered a style, but yeah.  I'll expound on this later.
-Dyed hair.  Uh, yeah.  In all forms.  I'm a conservative and I hate you damned punks.  Also if you have gray hair just grow a pair and deal with it (related: don't do weird things to hide your baldness, EVERYBODY KNOWS).

Face Hair:
-Obviously groomed eyebrows.
-Civil War beards.
-Douchebag flavor savor goatee things.
-Pretty much any face hair beyond scruffiness or basic short beard situation.  The I haven't shaved in awhile look is fine, and a short beard or non-douchy goatee is also fine.  Everything else is not fine.

Body Hair:
-Any kind of waxed or overly glossy appearance.  I do not ever, and I do mean EVER, want to see some dude take off his shirt and have him like....glisten in the sun.  You are not a well-oiled machine.  And if you wax I think it's weird.  And unattractive, which is sort of the point of this list.
-Also any blanket of fur gross over-hairy situation. Yes, I hate suuuuuper hairiness and I also hate any kind of overly groomed situation when it comes to the back and chestal regions.  So, sucks for you if you're creepily hairy, and you want to sleep with me. Because you can't.
-Hobbit feet.

-Tattoos that make me roll my eyes.

-Clothing that sparkles, glitters, or is bedazzled.
-Flat hats.
-Skinny jeans.
-Specialized workout wear.  Bike clothes worn around town, hobbling down the street in your weird shoes, et cetera.  I guess it's FINE if you want to wear neon spandex while you're actually doing the thing, because it's technologically superior to sweats, or whatever, but I don't really ever plan on seeing you in this outfit, because if any workout involves a specialized outfit (beyond a swim or wetsuit), I am not interested.

-Any kind of unclean/unshowered odor, unless it is IMMEDIATELY after a trip to the gym, or you're legit working hard (which is super fucking sexy), or it's related to fucking, and me.
-Suffocating cologne of any variety.
-Douchebag body sprays, etc.
-Bad breath.

General Appearance and Attitude Notes:
-Don't take longer than I do to get ready.
-You can't be littler than me.  If you can't pick me up, then you can't pick up on me.
-Seriously, don't take longer than I do to get ready.
-Makeup: No.
-Tanning: No.
-You aren't allowed to have gross teeth.
-I'm not into testosterone fueled rage.  If you are the type to get in a bar fight, you are not my type.
-Those muscles connecting your shoulder to your neck?  Whatever those are? Yeah. Those shouldn't ever go all triangly and disappear your neck. That shit is gross.
-Any car that I'm going to view as an extension of your penis, be it an obnoxious sports car or a giant truck.  You're an asshole, and your dick is small.
-Gross feet, or long nails, or....yeah.  Grossness, generally speaking.
-Any look that requires taking longer than I do to get ready.

28 January 2011

Fifth Birthday at The Exploratorium

For Gabriel's birthday on Wednesday, I took him up to San Francisco to meet with his dad, and we all went to The Exploratorium.  When I was trying to decide what to do for Gabriel's birthday, my mom suggested this.  She pointed out that what Gabriel would really like is to spend a whole day with both of his parents totally focused on him, without other kids or girlfriends or distractors or whatever.
The thing about children of single parents is that they spend a lot of time craving time with their parents, and I was happy to be able to give him that.
And she was right.
So that's what I planned out.
Gabriel had a lovely time.
Here are some pictures.

27 January 2011

Pena Ajena

Pena ajena (Mexican Spanish): The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation.
My friend Aurora taught me this phrase.  At the time we were watching a couple in a dive bar.  They were doing that outrageous performance thing, you know what I'm talking about?
Like they were so convinced of how funny and great they were that they were loud talking to perform for us, the wider audience of the run down biker bar.
Like instead of just having a regular conversation between two people, they were both projecting their voices, so that their Hilarious! Witticisms! could be heard far and wide.

It was horrible. 

Like, please, dude.  Your joke is not funny and the bartender does not think your joke is funny and she's not even LAUGHING, she's doing that awkward side smile because she still wants a tip, but she really, really, really doesn't think that you're as great as you think that you are.

And then he started using his date's leg to play air guitar. 

And then Aurora told us about pena ajena

It is just the BEST phrase, so I thought I would share.

365 X Awkward Self Portraiture, Week 4


26 January 2011

A Letter to My Son, on His Fifth Birthday

Dear Gabriel,

Today, you are five.

I love you.
I love you a thousand times, and then a thousand times over again.
We butt heads, sometimes.
We blow up at each other, sometimes.
I love you.
It always swirls back to I love you, whispered into your hair in the night, kissed onto your eyelids when you have a bad dream.
I love you.

You spend hours playing, working on art projects, asking me how to spell words.  You are so very bright, so attentive, so independent and yet so loving.
We've had a difficult year, with preschool and preschool and preschool again. 
It seems like an impossibly big job sometimes, this task of raising you up into the man that you will become.  I'm not sure if I'm good enough or big enough or enough enough, but I try.
I love you and I try. 
I may never be enough but I will always try.
I have done my best to surround you with stability and happiness and love. 

You are so sweet, so sensitive. 
Your feelings run deep and your thoughts run quick and I see you fall down and I see it, I see you and I see me in you and I see what's happening, and I can't always fix things but I always try to understand.  
You don't have all the tools yet, to cope with your world, the life you have ahead of you.  And while one of my deepest wishes is that you didn't have to process and make sense of and reconcile some of the aspects of your surroundings, so many of them thrust upon you and outside of your control, I am so proud of you.
At five years old you have navigated life and death and upheaval and friendship and loss.
The questions you ask and the observations you make are so pointed, so poignant.  It blows me away and leaves me gasping for breath, the depth of your personhood. 

Today, on your fifth birthday, I want you to know that I'm proud of you.
I love you, and I am proud of you, and I wish you the happiest day.
I wish you the happiest future, and I will do my best to make it for you.

It is a joy to be your mother.

Have the happiest day.

SF Zoo, 2/21/10
Gabriel, 2/22/10
Park Sacramento 3/14/10
Swim Lessons 3/16/20
Lazy Sunday Mornings
Park, 4/7/10
Kite Flying/Bridge Walking
Gabriel's Art
Walk 10/11/10
In his hat from @zoeyjane
Morning Snuggles

25 January 2011

My Fabulous Five (#clever5)

Thanks to Trop 50 for sponsoring my writing about fabulous bloggers. This year Trop50 is granting 50 fabulous wishes. Click here to enter for a chance to win $1,000 to help grant a friend's wish!
I have done this before.
And I still adore Terra, Maria, Lora, MarĂ­a, and Jenny.  For all the same reasons.  They are mind boggling in their loveliness.
Here are five more!

Bite the Bedbugs - Tara is both hilarious and tender.  She writes eloquently about coparenting with her ex, which is surely tricky, and a topic close to my own heart.  And if that's not enough, she also surgically altered her Ken doll so he has a real penis, instead of just a hint.  She captures everything I love about funny, smart and genuine. 

Temerity Jane - I love TJ because she is enraged by all the same things that enrage me, because seriously PUT YOUR SHOPPING CARTS AWAY PEOPLE IT IS NOT THAT HARD.  Bonus!  She's eloquent and she's funny, and we seem to have more or less the same taste in The Internet at Large.  Since I have impeccable taste, this makes it easy for me to love her.  She has two large dogs and a baby gestating in her belly.  A cute girl baby, or so I've been told.  She's pretty fucking awesome.  Go forth.

Jane Devin - Jane Devin is an impossibly lovely.  Her writing blows my mind.  Seriously.  Go read it.  Your mind will be thusly blown.  Her words are perfect and her stories are piercing.  Last year, Gabriel and I had the infinite pleasure of meeting her for dinner in a diner.  She is great.  Really, truly great.  And her words are spun from magic.  And she totally named her car after me.  Sort of.

The Slack Daily - Nina is smart, funny, and very witty (are you sensing a theme here? You should be).  Also she is very pretty, and she used to write for Lizzy McGuire, and although I don't think I've ever said as much, I'm totally a Lizzy McGuire fan. Because that shit was funny.

Mocha Momma - Kelly is one of my heroes.  She inspires me, her words are awash in loveliness, and she's just the most beautiful person.  When I grow up, I hope to be half the woman that Kelly is.  Plus I've totally seen her in her skivvies. Ahem.
Don't forget to enter the 50 Fabulous Wishes contest for a chance to win $1,000 to support a friend's wish. I was selected for this Tropicana Trop50 sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do. I received compensation to use and facilitate my post.

21 January 2011

Daniel, 14

Today is my brother Daniel's 14th birthday.  As I mentioned last year, he's the funniest of us all, by a lot.
He might be the funniest person I know.
I've encountered people, over the years, who have listed age difference as a reason that they're not close to their siblings.  And when they list the age difference, it will be something like five years, maybe seven.  I don't think it's the age difference, my friend.  I think it's that you're just not that close to your sibling(s).  Daniel is the youngest of the five of us.  He's fourteen years younger than me.  As of today, he is half my age.  And we are certainly close.  
I think that the two of us are similar in a lot of ways.  In our standoffishness, in our interest in small crafty things (train sets and remote control cars in his case, dollhouses and needle crafts in mine), in our collections of stuff (him: hats, me: knick knacks) in our tendency to angry cry (which is very embarrassing), in our ability to tease our other siblings.
Of course, I can cite the ways in which I am similar and dissimilar to each of siblings, and we are all close.
We are a close family.
My brothers and sister are my best friends.
I like them.
Today, Daniel is 14.
In the fall, he'll be in high school.
I can't believe how old he is, and at the same time I can't believe how young he is.
How can Daniel be 14 already?
How is that Daniel is only 14?

Happy Birthday kiddo.
You're pretty great.
I like you.
(Daniel, ever impossible to photograph)

20 January 2011

Family Finances

Thank you to TurboTax for sponsoring my writing about household finances.  Learn more about how TurboTax can help you find every tax deduction you deserve. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

I'm poor.
Not tragically so.
We're fine.
Gabriel and I are fine.
We're not too comfortable.
If I lost my job, we'd be screwed.
I always feel a little weird talking finances on my blog, because on the one hand, there are so many people out there who are worse off, and I feel like a jerk for complaining.  But I haven't felt particularly financially secure for years now, so when finances come up, I don't generally have non-complainy things to say.
I'm a single mother working as a glorified secretary with a full time daycare bill, credit card debt, student loans, a car payment, and general living expenses. 
This is, for the most part, fine I guess since it has to be fine.  Gabriel and I manage.  I earn enough to (just) pay my bills, and I'm generally good about not spending beyond my means. 
 My official spending plan is this one.  It's really, surprisingly effective.  And the sure fire way to get out of debt!  Try it!

To help me with the central thesis of my spending plan, I also do the following:
-I have an automatic debit savings account, and I do it through IngDirect, because that way it's not really that easy to put my savings back into my checking account.
-I keep a financial journal, where I write down every dollar I spend on anything.  Sort of like a food journal, but for money. It just raises my awareness, and the knowledge that I have to write it down keeps me out of Starbucks most of the time, and keeps my shoe collection in check.
-I pay all my bills first.  I can squeeze blood out of a stone, and will somehow find a way to put food on the table and gas in the tank.  If I worry about groceries and transportation before I take care of the bills, I just won't have the money to pay the bills.  I can't really explain this, because it doesn't make sense, even to me.  But it works.
-My credit cards are literally frozen.  In a block of ice in my freezer.  It sounds childish and weird, I know that.  But I have been known to suffer from impulse control problems (hello ADD, my old friend), and it keeps me from buying something now on the assumption of a windfall I may be getting later.  It also keeps me from using credit at the gas station (just for instance), which is something that I used to do when it got towards the end of the month and I started to get nervous about my low bank balance.  It still gets to the end of the month, and I still get nervous about my low bank balance, but without a credit card in my wallet, I just fret about it, instead of buying stuff I can't afford (seriously you guys, it's the BEST spending plan).
-I don't keep any credit card info saved to my online accounts, for the same reason as above.
-I pay for blogging/internet  type social activity with the money I make blogging.  That extra stuff never comes from my regular budget at all, frankly because I can't afford to let it.  So I just treat it as a whole separate enterprise.  
-I use my tax return each year to pay off a big chunk of bills and pad my savings, which then helps me throughout the months following. 

Anyhow, yeah.
We make it, barely.
And now you know a little bit about the hows and whys.