Many folks grow up huge fans of celebrities. One of my sisters had the New Kids on the Block all over her room. We (her seven siblings) were forced to listen to NKOTB on all long car trips (actually preferable to my father’s choice of Johnny Horton).
Big Brother was torn between crushing on the red-headed neighbor girls and Princess Leia.
My Hollywood crush was Data from Star Trek TNG, because what’s better than a super strong, super smart, emotionally unavailable dude? In sports, I will always be a fan of Ed McCaffrey from the Denver Broncos.
Judgmental Genius Older Sister appeared immune to the allure of sports stars, movie stars, and rock stars. She was too busy graduating magna cum laude and crushing it in medical school to have time for crushes. At holiday gatherings, she had no idea who the celebrities de jour were, and she generally she fell asleep by 8:45 PM (sitting straight up, in the middle of the couch). Continue reading We Stan (#306)
Starting at age 15, my birthday has gone…poorly. I mostly tried to ignore it. This got easier once I had a child. The focus inevitably shifts—as it should—to various kid milestones, kid holiday stuff, kid birthday parties. Also, your memory sucks when you’re sleep-deprived.
When Baby D was just a little more than 2, a friend called and said, “Hey, where do you want me to take you to lunch for your birthday?”
“My birthday? It’s not my—oh. Wow. I guess it is my birthday on Friday. I forgot about it.”
“You forgot your own birthday?! Isn’t that your husband’s job?” Continue reading The Birthday Grinch (#304)
My Chinese-American father-in-law harangued me weekly until I got pregnant. He believed my sole purpose in life, as wife to the Number One Son, was to bear him a grandson.
Once Baby D was born, Jay’s health deteriorated. Physical ailments led to mental issues. By the time Baby D was four, Jay was in a wheelchair and not always lucid.
As if he had only been holding on to complete his purpose in life—a grandson. Continue reading Failing (#294)
There were two great things about being taller than my older sister by age five.
- She couldn’t beat me up anymore.
- I didn’t have to wear her hand-me-downs.
Instead, I got a new dress for the first day of kindergarten. My parents actually asked what color I wanted. I wore that dress at least twice a week until my growth spurts made it into a crop top. Continue reading Hand-Me-Downs & Halloween (#266)
I didn’t have an easy pregnancy. There were six months of puking. There was weight loss, weight gain, anemia, and cankles.
Pregnancy was miserable, but I didn’t think you could actually become allergic to being pregnant.
Turns out, you can.
My arms started to itch. I looked for bug bites. Nothing. Just light redness.
Continue reading The Itch (#248)
I’ve never been fragile. Born into a large family of semi-feral children, I learned to guard my food and my stuffed animals early. I mowed lawns, lifted weights, and fought dirty with siblings when necessary (also when unnecessary).
Sympathy and coddling were in short supply. Like most young women, I powered through feeling like crap when I had cramps, headaches, and nausea.
The “I can endure misery” mindset was helpful when I was pregnant. I continued working out and playing volleyball, since the endorphins helped me not puke all the time. I still walked my rescue dogs for miles. My only concession to pregnancy was lighter weights and no squats.
This astounded people.
Continue reading To Coddle, or Not to Coddle? (#246)
When I was a little girl, my mother organized caroling and a party on Christmas Eve. We sang our way around the block in Washington D.C. We were met with universal delight. Those were magical times.
My Ex-Stepmother carried on the tradition in the suburbs of D.C. and then New England.
Until I dated a guy from rural Tennessee over the holiday season, I never thought some people might find caroling…odd.
Continue reading The Dogs of Christmas (#242)
I thought I’d made peace with the freaky-assed crawl space below our house in Los Angeles. It’s not a nice, solid basement, but makes sense to have easy access to plumbing and the electrical lines for our drip system. And after multiple years, the only scary thing lurking under our house had turned out to be our own mischievous dog.
Until recently. Continue reading Something Is Under the House (#236)
I love food. So do my siblings, probably because there wasn’t quite enough of it to go around when we were kids. Free Candy Night — i.e., Halloween — was my favorite holiday. I dreamed of being able to eat all the Little Debbie Snack Cakes I wanted.
Once I grew up and had money, though, I discovered that I could not, in fact, gorge on Little Debbie. Not if I wanted to fit into my work clothes. And if I wanted to fit into the skin-tight costumes for competitive dance? Hell, no.
Some people are blessed with the kind of metabolism that allows them to eat a lot, exercise moderately, and not gain weight.
These people are called men. Continue reading The Weight of Pregnancy (#234)
Parents always say they don’t have a favorite child.
Everyone eventually learns that’s bullshit. I knew it earlier than most. I have four baby siblings, born anywhere from 9-12 years after me. And hell, yeah, I had a favorite.
Pretty Space Cadet Sister spat up on everything as a baby. She was not my favorite. Continue reading Gender & Preference (#231)