Wednesday, February 29, 2012

La-La-La, Wonder Show!

Radio Free Strawberry
Once upon a time, in a Midwestern college, there was a radio station with no transmitter to speak of. Seriously, the entire listening audience was in the hallway outside the studio.

Now, I went to Fordham and spent my college years with radio waves from WFUV beaming directly into my brain. The signal was so powerful that it interfered with our reception of a popular station that was at a similar frequency.

So when His Awesomeness told me about the radio show he did at this station, I made fun of him. And he didn't care. There's this Midwestern quality that Parks and Recreation captures well. This philosophy can be summed up thusly:
Our stuff may be lame, but it's OUR stuff, so we love it.
But The Wonder Show DJs (with Jim the Radio Guy, Mike the Radio Guru (aka HA) and John the Radio Gross) didn't care how small their audience was. They could've decided to do a lame show since no one seemed to be listening. But instead they did weird, fantastical things to keep themselves entertained. And people listened.

They made t-shirts, threw a Charlie Brown style Thanksgiving on a card table in the hall (complete with toast and popcorn) and had wacky, wondrous adventures. NASA sent them into space where they found naturally occurring furniture (HA took home an alien couch because he needed one.). They did an all-singing episode that included the ditty, "They're Getting Married at the Boston Market," in which they sang the words of an actual article about a couple that met and decided to be married at a Boston Market.

They took the show to a St. Louis kids' station for a while until it closed and they went their separate ways. Until the magic of the internets brought them back in podcast form.

They broadcast live on blogtalkradio every Thursday night at 10 pm Eastern Time, and then the episodes become available for download. You can subscribe on iTunes.

Here are some of their favorite episodes of the podcast.

Friday, February 24, 2012

An Open Letter To Body Parts That Need to Fuck Off

Inspired by a Facebook exchange with Heidi Rettig.

Dear Whatever Part of My Neurological System That's Responsible for Migraines, aka Hector,

When I feel you starting your BS and I take a pill and you stop your nonsense, that does not mean that you get to throw a party while I'm sleeping so I wake up in excruciating pain. Douchebag.

How the hell am I supposed to record that in my migraine diary for my doctor? Is this the same migraine or a whole new one? Like you're not causing me enough actual headaches, now you're giving me administrative ones. I felt that whole prodrome migraine early warning symptoms thing Wednesday night BEFORE I'd decided that the last multi-day headache was even over. I thought migraines were a one at a time proposition. Ya big jerk.

And you just had to put me in the 30% of people whose migraines don't respond to Botox. You just had to be special, didn't you? If you weren't a body part I couldn't live without, I'd amputate your ass so fast.

Dear ovaries,

You produce enough hormones to give me migraines twice a month when the pill isn't chilling you out, on top of the non-hormonal migraines, of course. Yet you couldn't be assed to squeeze out an egg every month? Seriously, dudes? After 10 years on the pill, it's not like you're running out. Useless gits. In this economy, how does any one so incompetent hold onto their job?

And if you ever give me shit so that I have to have you removed even after all those years on the pill, I'm having the doctor save you for me so I can stomp on you. Either that or have you implanted in Rick Santorum. You deserve each other.

When I went for a routine sonogram to have you looked at because of my grandmother's ovarian cancer and the tech put in the report that she couldn't see you? Even when we went trans-vag-a-go-go? I still say the tech was an incompetent jerk, but I wouldn't put it past you to hide behind, I don't know, let's say the spleen because that's nowhere near where you are and that's just the kind of assholes you are.

Dear random pain on the side of my right ankle,

Like I don't have enough problems in my life? Just. shoo.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Walking Brain Dead

I've taken to updating my blog on Skirt! again. My latest post is about how almost everyone on The Walking Dead is an idiot.

Since not all my blog readers are friends with me on Facebook, and won't see the links to my writing elsewhere that I post to FB, I'm planning on mentioning them in a quick post here. I'm really hoping that was a coherent sentence--I have to go work towards making money now.

Happy Almost Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Brace

A lot of people, when they're trying for a baby, hope for a perfect, healthy little bundle of joy. As a parent-to-be, I get that, I really do.

As a person born with birth defects, I practically hurt myself trying not to snicker and roll my eyes at people who talk about wanting a perfect, healthy baby. Because you don't always get that. And that's OK.

One of my ankles was rotated inwards, so when I started to learn to walk, I kept tripping over myself. My mother had to go to several doctors until she found one (an orthopedist*) that didn't insist I'd grow out of it.

So the orthopedist gave me a brace that would force my ankle to rotate properly. As you can see, it was 2 circa 1971 baby shoes screwed to a piece of wood. Comfy, no?

I was supposed to wear it as I slept. Only I wasn't having any of it. My parents would put me to bed and then hear, rattle, rattle, rattle, BANG, as I bumped into the sides of my crib while untying the shoelaces and throwing the thing onto the floor.

They tried tying the laces behind my ankles. I still untied them. I couldn't walk, and probably couldn't talk all that much, but goshdarnit, I had the manual dexterity to undo any double-knot/double-bow combo they threw at me.

Finally, my mother put the brace on me during the day and didn't turn her back on me for one second, lest I start taking the damn thing off. There exists only one photo of me from that time that I've never even seen. Because no one could stop watching me long enough to get the camera.

My poor mother wanted a perfect, healthy baby and instead she got a slightly bent child with the determination of Baby Stewie. People make plans, and God laughs his ass off.

(*If your insurance allows, go straight to a specialist when you can. A few years ago, I fell in the street, exacerbating a knee injury I got when I was 12. It was very painful. My primary care doctor told me that all women my age have bad knees and I needed to lose some weight. The orthopedist I went to after that sent me for an x-ray to make sure nothing was broken and as soon as he felt my knees, said with loads of sympathy, "Walking on stairs must be killing you." After 2 rounds of physical therapy, I still have bursitis in both knees, so that first doctor needs to go fuck himself.)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tunnel of Thanks for Nothing

Landslide of fudgeHA and I own a bundt cake pan that we've never gotten around to using. With all these migraines, baking hasn't been the highest priority.

But I've been having a few good days, so I've been thinking about taking the pan out for a spin. And what better use for a bundt pan than a good ol' Tunnel of Fudge cake?

If you're too young to remember, once upon a time in the 80s, you could buy a cake mix that included a packet of gooey frosting that you put inside the cake. (First you'd pour in some batter, then the tunnel of fudge, then more batter.) Soooo good.

After some quick google-fu, I discovered that the original Pillbury bake-off recipe used a frosting mix that isn't made anymore. So now the only way to make a Tunnel of Fudge cake is to make a chocolate cake that, through some food chemistry voodoo, forms a tunnel of fudge in the proper location.

I have a few problems with this.
  1. Chocolate cake with chocolate filling is WAY too much chocolate for me.
  2. The official version of the recipe insists that chopped walnuts are critical to the food chemistry voodoo. Not only can't I eat walnuts because of the migraines, but I firmly believe that nuts don't belong in chocolate cake. Not in brownies. Not in chocolate chip cookies. You may disagree, but that's fine by me--more yucky brownies with nuts for you.
  3. Several bloggers that have made this cake comment on the ridonkulous about of sugar in this cake. I am a fat 40year old with a family history of diabetes and no desire to mess up my health any more than it already is. If a blogger who's making a cake a week thinks this has a lot of sugar, maybe I don't mess with this one.
  4. Seriously? No one can come up with a fudge/frosting recipe that would lead to a tunnel of fudge in any type of cake? That seems implausible. And I am NOT the person to start experimenting in the kitchen until I strike upon the recipe that I think should exist. Hell, I can't even be bothered to go more than 5 pages into the Google results.
Please leave all bundt cake recipe suggestions and Tunnel of Fudge reminiscences in the comments.

Friday, February 3, 2012

MTA

Found on Mossy Cottage Knits, like, forever ago. Who knows? Maybe I even posted it 4 years ago, but this weekend is the only one this winter when the subway line closest to me is actually going into Manhattan (track work), so let's celebrate with a folk song.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What I Haven't Been Saying

Meerkat Family Breakfast
Privacy and blogs don't play well together. But I think the time is right to share. Don't worry, this isn't going to be a bleak confessional thing. Not my bag.

You see, HA and I want to be parents, so a couple of years ago, we threw the birth control out the window. Figuratively, of course. We lived on the 7th floor and had no desire to kill anyone will falling contraceptives.

We told a couple of friends, but not family. Not how other people arrange it, but we didn't want anyone to get excited too soon. It's bad enough caring whether Aunt Flo is going to visit this month without your parents taking an interest in it.

What they don't tell you about trying to get pregnant is that your doctor will tell you to stop taking any medicine that could cause birth defects as soon as possible so you're not taking any chances. Since you weren't taking that medicine for shits and giggles, this is an issue. (Not for all meds, of course. Schizophrenia meds, for example, are worth the risk to the baby. But migraines, allergies and acid reflux? Suck it up future mama.)

Hector the Migraine Fairy moved in around this time thanks to the lack of medicines. It didn't help that the lemon juice I was drinking for my acid reflux turns out to be a migraine trigger. Even once I quit the lemon juice, 1-2 days out of every 3 involved a migraine.

16 months into this grand experiment, I couldn't take it anymore. The pointless lack of medicine and frequent migraines, I mean. I wasn't that hung up on my inability to get pregnant. I'm from a large extended family--the 5th oldest of 17 first cousins, so I'm not particularly impressed by the ability to get pregnant. One of us was bound to be infertile--it's Mother Nature's population control, and my family has no interest in outnumbering the Duggars. Not to dismiss other people's feelings and experiences, but it really doesn't bother me.

We went into it knowing that it might not work. The plan was to try for a while, then adopt through the foster system.

Which is what we're doing. The process is taking as long as infertility treatments (or newborn adoption) would, but without me having to inject myself with hormones and the high price tag. And the baby-induced interrupted sleep--yet another one of my migraine triggers.

Most people have questions about the process, which I'll discuss in another post, since this one is getting too long. As we've gone through all the steps, and learned all we can, I've realized that I'm far better equipped to deal with a kid with emotional problems than a baby who doesn't sleep through the night. Every time I see someone struggling with a stroller on the subway, I feel such relief that I get to skip that.

People tend to react to this news like we're applying for sainthood. Yes, we'll be helping a kid heal from the trauma inflicted on them by someone else. But that's not any bigger or better than what parents do when they raise a kid from birth (and screw them up themselves). The diaper changing, the potty training, the stooping over to hold the kid's hand as they learn to walk, the helping them climb up and down stairs over and over and over again, the reading Goodnight Moon for the 3,427th time, putting up with the tantrums, the refusal to eat, the insistence on staying awake despite the fatigue-induced crankiness. The enduring all this without abandoning the child to the wild like any sensible mammal would do. (You think a meerkat mamma would put up with a little meerkat who wouldn't eat his bugs? More bugs for meerkat mamma is what that is.)

Raising kids isn't easy no matter how you get into it.