Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Trip to the Met

Today we decided to risk the possible two-year-old-in-a-museum insanity and go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Michael is generally not a fan of any activity that requires him to sit quietly in the stroller with nothing interesting to look at and no snacks, so we thought if we could get an hour in we would be happy. (It is easy to be satisfied by an hour in a museum when you can get in free thanks to your husband's company). Michael did surprisingly well, content to stay in his stroller as long as we were constantly moving (none of that stopping to read plaques business) and could sneak him a fruit snack away from the eagle eyes of a docent now and then.

I truly enjoy art museums, if nothing else for the self-esteem boost they provide. It is always nice to see sculptures that look more like my imperfect body and less like a Hollywood starlet in desperate need of a cheeseburger. And the Met has such a variety of collections that any person can be satisfied within its halls. There is something awesome about seeing a piece of Egyptian art that is 4000 years old and then turning the corner to find a Stradivarius violin and a Rodin sculpture. Armor, weapons, mummies, full rooms transplanted from palaces... I must admit, I had a rather Claudia Kincaid-ish urge to jump up on one of the many four poster beds and settle down for the night.

Once Michael was ready to abandon his stroller, we went down to the cafeteria for a small lunch at a large price, and then told him it was time for a nap. Having just downed a hot dog and french fries, his satisfied tummy didn't put up much of a fight, and within half an hour he was sound asleep. David and I were able to get an extra hour to peacefully peruse the artwork and artifacts while Michael snoozed.

Since he was obviously less than impressed by the Temple of Dendur (above), we decided to let him walk through Central Park on the way back to the subway station, which was much more fun for a little boy than a boring old museum. And with snow piles and puddles to jump in, it was practically heaven.

It's a good thing that when we go home at the end of this year, it will be to Washington, D.C., another city with world-class museums. We are simply too snobby now to settle for anything less.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tick Tock

The American Fertility Association is launching an ad campaign to inform women that age plays a significant role in matters of fertility - the older you are, the harder it is to get pregnant.

As a veteran of fertility treatment myself, I think this is a good idea. I have seen more than one woman who has whittled away her fertile years thinking that Father Time will not adversely affect her chances to be come a mother. Just last night I was speaking with a friend about having children and found myself explaining how age can impact fertility. This woman is an intelligent, educated, professional who simply had no idea that waiting too long to have children might mean there would be no chance for children at all.

I'm all about women having the information that can help them make informed decisions. So I simply do not understand the negative reaction to this article. Some women are saying the focus on age-related infertility "smacks of paternalism and is unfair to women who are still in search of a partner" and "makes it look like doctors are on a mission to get women to have children". So, let me get this straight... we should keep women in the dark? We shouldn't tell them that if they want children they might want to make them more of a priority?

It appears so, at least from comments like this one from annieo8:

"Women - at least all the women I know - are *fully* aware of the ticking biological clock. We're already panicked about it - how on earth are we supposed to find time to establish a career so we can support a baby, find a partner with whom to have a baby, and have that baby - multiple babies, if we want more than one child - all before age 30? Forget finding personal fulfillment so we can be healthy mothers to those babies. Way to ramp up the pressure."

Forget finding personal fulfillment? Ah, selfishness rears its ugly head. I knew that had to be a factor in there somewhere.

From the other indignant comments I read, it appears none of the commenters have ever sat in a fertility clinic waiting room with a bunch of desperately sad women who have just found out that their ovaries have shut down permanently. I have, and it's a very sad thing. I have heard many times "I wish I hadn't waited so long. I didn't realize it would be so hard. I wish I could turn back the clock."

So while I can sympathize with annieo8 in her dislike of being confronted with information she doesn't want to hear, I firmly believe the rest of the female population should have access to this information. And what's with the delicate psyche routine, anyway? I thought women were supposed to be strong and powerful, not wilting like week-old flowers at the slightest mention of their aging egg supply. So why is it so politically incorrect to say that if a woman truly wants children, it may be better to put aside her personal aspirations for awhile so she can have them when nature intended? You can always go back to school or back to work, but you can't turn back the clock on your ovaries. I know this goes against the women-can-have-it-all mantra, but unfortunately we can't have it all. We must make choices, and sacrifices. That's just life.

I am not so insensitive that I can't understand how a woman whose life situation prevents her from having children might not want to be reminded by a trendy ad campaign, but for someone who truly does not know age is a factor, or is just putting aside children indefinitely to make Partner in her law firm, not realizing the consequences of waiting, it just might be helpful. And yet a bunch of professional, educated women are up in arms over being told some simple facts of life. It's too much pressure! Women will have children before they are ready! It's a male plot to turn women into baby machines!

I just don't get this propensity to hide the facts from people, as if they can't be trusted to make decisions for themselves once they have all the information. Like the abortion crowd who do not want women knowing that their "clump of cells" actually has a beating heart and fingernails. Because then, horror of horrors, they might actually keep the baby or give the child up for adoption instead of aborting it!

As to those who argue that women need to have established careers and a college fund for little Johnny before he is conceived, if you wait until you have fulfilled all your professional goals and have the money to have children, you will never have children. Children are expensive and time consuming, but somehow things manage to work out, if you are willing to make a few sacrifices.

But I guess that's just it. We aren't willing to sacrifice anything nowadays. We are told to pursue our own happiness without any thought to the purpose of life or the importance of having children. And if children are nothing more than trophies meant to glowingly reflect the accomplishments of their narcissistic parents, then why not wait, or just not have children at all?

I worry about the women who are in a snit over this article. I mean, if you are afraid of the truth, an ad campaign is the least of your problems.

Oh, the Irony

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has started an online petition to express outrage over Rush Limbaugh's recent comments that he wants President Obama to "fail".

Oh for heaven's sake, people, get over yourselves. I'm sure you were not spending any time wringing your hands over the fact that the entire Democratic party wanted President Bush to fail. What's the difference now, except that a different man is in office?

And since when do you care what Rush Limbaugh says? Anyone who wants President Obama to fail is an idiot. And idiots are best ignored.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Class Act

I will now stick my foot into a political cowpie and comment on the events of the week. This is, of course, simply a ruse to cause my irrational friends to reveal themselves in the comments. (It's a miracle I have any blog readers at all).

I watched the inaugural proceedings with unabated interest and a sense of excitement that always accompanies these types of events. I was very relieved to see Bush leave office - not because I think he's evil incarnate or anything (I truly believe he is a decent man who did what he thought was best for our country. Yes, he made mistakes, and I profoundly disagree with some of his policies, like any person who has held the office of president, but I don't believe for one second that he was the lying scoundrel so many have made him out to be) but because I was relieved for his sake. Here is a man who was roundly abused for every decision he made, called "stupid" and "incompetent" for eight long years, and was never given the least bit of recognition for things he did well. I can't imagine the level of exhaustion, discouragement and stress he endured. So I'm happy he can move on to better things, away from the unforgiving eye of the press corps.

But most of all, I was looking forward to an end of the petty sniping that has plagued the last eight years. I thought Tuesday would be the first of hopefully many days where we could put aside our differences and come together as Americans, grateful to live in a country where the magnitude of something as rare as the peaceful transfer of power overwhelmed any urge to throw rotten tomatoes at the departing president. Sadly, I was disappointed as many, including the exultant media, could not quench the childish impulse to kick President Bush on his way out the door. Tom Brokaw, Chris Matthews... everyone had to take a shot. Including the crowd outside the Capitol, who gleefully sang "Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye!" to President Bush.


I'm not sure what it is that makes individuals think they have knowledge and information superior to the president, (Like George Burns said, "It's too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxis and cutting hair.") but at least their behavior reveals them as being incapable of having a rational discussion of policy and politics. If you are unwilling to concede that the president just might be privy to some information that you do not have, or that his team of advisers might know a bit more about a given issue than your team of advisers, then a logical and reasonable discussion is simply impossible. No one knows the burdens that that are carried by the president, and they show it in their inability to appreciate his efforts in the slightest.

So now that the former president and his lovely wife are home in Texas, I am happy to take a deep breath, and with the reasonable members of the population, move on. And I was happy to see that both the departing president and the incoming president behaved with class and dignity befitting such a sober and important occasion.

There were many moments I enjoyed. I love ceremonial things - parades and military marches, the swearing in, the inaugural ball. But the moment that struck me most was not Obama's speech, Michelle Obama's gift to Laura Bush (very classy), or her beautiful ballgown, it was when a reporter took President Obama aside and tried to get him to say something derogatory about Chief Justice Roberts and his swearing-in flub earlier in the day. I immediately cringed and thought, "Give the guy a break, he's only human. You try getting up in front of millions of people, knowing you are participating in something historic that will be replayed on the airwaves for generations to come, and do it without making a mistake." But I was pleased and proud to hear Obama say that he and Justice Roberts had both made mistakes, and that Roberts had actually helped him at one point during the swearing in, so he was appreciative of Roberts's efforts. Very classy.

This was reiterated the next day when Vice President Biden could not resist his two-year old impulse to make a snide comment about Justice Roberts's memory. In the background you could see President Obama's face tighten, and a subtle shake of his head as he tried to prevent Biden from saying anything more. I think these two instances speak volumes about the man, and I hope it's a reflection of what we can look forward to for the next (probably) eight years.

God Bless President Bush for his service, and may God Bless President Obama as well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Your Wish is My Command

For those of you who were curious, here is Annie's advice to "Broke Bride-to-Be":

Dear Bride: Oh, dear. You have confused "guest" with "customer." The wedding you choose to give, no matter the cost, is up to you. Your guests are not selecting the liquor, food and music. You are inviting them because you want their company at your celebration — not so they will reimburse you for your expenses. Those attending a wedding should give an appropriate gift of their choosing, and you should entertain them in a manner you can afford. Yes. Really.

Not as scathing as mine, of course, but good advice nonetheless.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Now Pronounce You Idiot and Idiot

Bridezilla is alive and well, and in today's "Dear Annie":

Dear Annie: Is there a rule about how much to give a couple as a monetary gift at their wedding? I'm getting married soon and I understand attendees shouldn't be expected to give more than they can afford. But as couples are getting married later in life, they are also cleaning out their own savings in order to have a nice celebration. Times are tough for us, too. Parents don't always foot the bill, and even with the best budgeting bride a nice reception easily runs at $50 per plate.

I was recently at a wedding where two guests gave the couple $25 each. This seems like an insult rather than a gift. The couple must have spent a lot more than that per plate. With good food, liquor and dancing, why would anyone think it's OK to give such a small gift? — Broke Bride-to-Be

This letter is so pathetic, I almost don't know where to begin. Oh wait, yes I do:

Dear Whiny, Selfish, Spoiled Brat,

Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! I am simply amazed that someone as revolting as you could snatch up a groom (poor fellow). But since you managed to ensnare a husband, let's dissect your letter one piece at a time.

Is there a rule about how much to give a couple as a monetary gift at their wedding? Do you mean, should there be a cover charge for your wedding? Heavens, no. How tacky to suggest such a thing.

I'm getting married soon and I understand attendees shouldn't be expected to give more than they can afford. But as couples are getting married later in life, they are also cleaning out their own savings in order to have a nice celebration. What, as opposed to the young couples who are rolling around in dough? And since when is something as ridiculous as cleaning out one's savings account to host a party considered wise, prudent, or even socially acceptable?

Times are tough for us too. If times are that tough, don't spend all your money on a party.

Parents don't always foot the bill, and even with the best budgeting bride a nice reception easily runs at $50 per plate. Why should your parents foot the bill when you are both established professionals? And since when is a "nice reception" only doable at $50 a plate?

I was recently at a wedding where two guests gave the couple $25 each. The horror! How dare they share their hard-earned money with the bride and groom, out of the goodness of their hearts?

This seems like an insult rather than a gift. Since when is a gift only acceptable if it is within certain parameters? Apparently you have confused "gift" for "entitlement". Guests should not be fined for coming to a wedding.

The couple must have spent a lot more than that per plate. And this is the guest's problem because...? The last time I checked there were no government mandates requiring lobster and caviar to be served at all wedding receptions.

With good food, liquor and dancing, why would anyone think it's OK to give such a small gift? A gift is not a reimbursement for your stupidity. (If it were, the box would need to be a lot bigger). It is generally thought that a couple invites wedding guests based on friendship and a wish to share an important event with them, not out of a desire to pick their pockets.

Sheesh. I give this marriage one year, max. I just can't understand why people feel the need to spend such ridiculous amounts of money on one day. If you are willing to spend all your savings or go into huge amounts of debt for a wedding (or the hand bauble - I'm quite sure she probably hounded her fiancee into mortgaging the farm for her engagement ring as well) then you are too immature to get married.

But what do I know? When I got engaged I told David I wanted a cubic zirconium and a washer and dryer, and I spent a grand total of $75 on my wedding dress. There is obviously something wrong with me. And with my marriage. Here I am nearly eight years later and still deliriously happy and in love.

What's up with that?


I just pulled up a new page, ready to compose, when I glanced in the corner and saw that I was logged in under David's account. Good thing I noticed! I wouldn't want him to get credit for contributing to the blog without actually writing anything. Whew! (Post anytime, David. After all, this is "our" blog).

Okay, now that I've embarrassed my husband (love you, honey!) I'll move on to chronicling our latest adventure. It has been so cold the last week that we have been staying indoors a lot. By Saturday David and I were both itching to get out, so we decided to go to the Transit Museum in Brooklyn. Only we weren't smart enough to double check the hours it was open, so we arrived a half hour before we could get in. Since it was nearly lunchtime and there was a pizza place nearby that we wanted to try, we thought we'd get lunch first. We were too cheap to spring for a cab so we walked a mile in the frigid temperatures and nearly froze to death. (Well, David and I nearly froze. Michael was nice and comfy in his stroller muff and weather shield). And we got to the restaurant to find that it hadn't opened yet, either! Of all the luck. So we stood out in the cold for 15 minutes until they finally decided to open the doors. By then my gloved hands were so frozen I wasn't sure I would ever be able to use them again.

And for all that, the pizza wasn't that great. (Patsy's is still winning the pizza race).

But back to the Transit Museum. It was actually really fun. They had taken an old Subway station that was no longer in use and turned it into a museum. I'm not sure why I think this is so cute, but I do. We enjoyed reading about the building of the Subway system. It turns out that, for the most part, they did not tunnel under the city. Most of the system was built using the "cut and cover" method, meaning they dug huge trenches for the subway tracks and stations and then rebuilt the roads over the tops of them. Fascinating. We also learned that the busiest station is Times Square, which is used by 33 million people every year. And NYC transit brought in $2.7 billion in subway fares in 2006. I love little useless facts like that.

The best part of the museum was a collection of old subway cars that you could explore. Michael was in heaven running from one train car to the next. And he got to "drive" a bus, which was so fun for him. We bought him a subway car that is compatible with his train track at home, so now he has his very own "1" train.

Watch out, pedestrians!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I Knew It!

On a recent outing to the Museum of Modern Art, I remarked to David that I could paint half the pieces in the building. (He told me to stop being so cynical, but honestly, how hard is it to paint a giant canvas one color? Or to pour glue over the pile of junk on your desk and call it "art"?)

It turns out maybe we should let Michael do the painting.

Recently, a Melbourne art gallery unknowingly planned to display the artwork of a two-year old. They were a bit embarrassed when they found out the artist was still in diapers, but have decided to go ahead with the exhibition as planned, charging between $350 and $2000 for the paintings.

Ha! I am amused to no end. It's like they've accidentally confessed that modern art makes no sense at all. The Emperor is indeed naked. Now I can stop being confused when I don't "get" a wall-sized piece of white canvas, and just laugh at the poor saps who spend money on this sort of thing.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go buy some paint for my two-year old.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Bit of Mathematical Dating Advice

Attention all Women: according to a new mathematical formula, when you are out on a date with a guy for the first time, you should not have sex with him.

Whoa! I am, like, totally blown away! You mean it might be a good idea to exchange names, phone numbers (and better yet marital vows) before hopping in the sack with someone?

According to this article, researchers have shown that "lengthy courtships evolved to allow women to weed out unreliable partners" and that "women can increase their chances of mating with a suitable man by delaying sex."

Um, how do I put this?... Oh yes. Duh!

I don't know whether to find it funny or disturbing that we need the latest research, mathematical formula, or scientific study to tell us this totally obvious information. But then, as I'm out and about in the world, I realize that a whole lot of people are truly dumber than a bag of hammers when it comes to the whole sex thing. It seems the common sense connections that used to reside in adult brains have gone the way of the dodo.

I walked by a clothing store the other day with underwear you could personalize to read "Hi, my name is (fill in the blank with your name)". Heck, why stop there? Why not add your phone number and a comprehensive list of STDs you might be sharing with your partner?

Honestly, people get stupider and stupider.

Thank goodness we now have the math to save us from ourselves.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Mind of Beyonce

You know those songs you hear on the radio and then spend the rest of the day singing one line and cursing the fact that you can't remember the rest of the words? It is impossible for that to happen with one of Beyonce's songs, for the simple reason that her songs consist of one line, lathered, rinsed and repeated a thousand times until the listener is ready to blast the statement "you must not know 'bout me" out of their ear with the help of a blow torch.

So imagine my surprise when I was listening to the radio one day to hear a Beyonce song with what might be described as an actual melody. Dare I say it was like music to my ears? (She actually does have a nice voice when it is matched to a discernible tune). But as I listened to the lyrics, I had to be annoyed once more.

The song, "If I Were a Boy", is one of those monster hits that is so overplayed you try to switch radio stations to avoid it, only to find the station you switched to is in the middle of playing it. The basic premise is that men are big insensitive jerks who treat their women like dirt, but if women were boys they would be the model of compassion and kindness. Because, of course, only women are capable of understanding pain and hurt. Guys never feel sad, right? They are too busy being chauvinist pigs to feel pain.

Ah, if only we were all women. Then we'd all understand each other...

(Do the women who write these songs ever stop to think that their men might feel just as misunderstood and just as hurt as they do? I doubt it. It's a me-me-me-me world, after all).

So let's look at another current Beyonce hit. This one is called "All the Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)". This one came to my attention one Saturday morning while watching VH1's video countdown. (I know, who'd have thought that VH1 actually played music videos anymore?) This song takes place after the break-up of a three year relationship, with Beyonce dancing around like a stripper and singing:

You can't be mad at me
Cause if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it
If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it
Don't be mad once you see that he want it
If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it

I'll pause while we take a moment of silence for our deceased friend, Poetry.

Ahem. So I guess what the boyfriend is supposed to realize is that if he likes all that gyrating hip action, he should have put a ring on the gyrator's finger.

Is it really necessary to point out what the boyfriend is probably thinking? I mean, what is the point of putting a ring on your girlfriend's finger when you can get all that hip action for free? And when you're tired of girlfriend #1, you can just move on to the next available freebie?

Perhaps I should pen the next big Beyonce hit, "If You Want a Ring on Your Finger, Stop Acting Like a Slut". Catchy, no?

Seriously, I just don't get some women these days. If only I were a pop star, then maybe I'd understand.

Monday, January 12, 2009

For Cala

Dear Cala,

My mommy said I could post these videos she took of me. I told her I didn't want the whole world to see the second one, but she said it was "so cute" that I had to. I hope you like them.

I miss you and want you to come to my house again. Mommy says we might come to your house this spring.



Cala from Bonnie on Vimeo.

I love you! from Bonnie on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What Did You Have for Lunch?

Okay, I know it's a bit ridiculous to follow a post on dieting with this, but check out this treat we had today. (Yes, those are fun-size candy bars stacked around the edges). I'm amazed to say that our considerable sugar-devouring prowess could not come close to finishing it off. Who knew there was a treat we couldn't inhale in three seconds flat?

Note the truly surprised look on my face. I mean, when we ordered it I knew it would be intense, but I wasn't expecting death by candy bar.

Urrrghh. I may never need sugar again.

Friday, January 9, 2009

To Die(t) or Not to Die(t)

Ah, it's a new year. A time for setting goals with the motivation that comes from having a clean slate. Generally, I don't set New Year's Resolutions because they mostly involve exercise and losing weight, and I never seem to meet them. I might get started, but eventually I decide it's not worth the agony and sling back a couple of donuts. I have yet to find a form of exercise that doesn't make me want to claw my eyes out with boredom. And I just like eating brownies more than I like fitting into my clothes.

But seriously, even though I am now walking everywhere, my pants seem to be getting even tighter. And these are the pants that are up one size from my pre-Michael days. (And let's not even talk about my pre-wedding days). Sigh. I'm sure this has nothing to do with the whale-sized portions of treats I ate over the holidays, though.

The serious problem with living in NYC is that while you might be walking everywhere, that means you are walking past bakeries and popcorn shops, restaurants, cafes, and even the little stands where they sell roasted nuts. Man, those smell good! And we're only here for a year which means I need to try everything, right?

Generally, I have two fitness-related ambitions: I want my boobs to stick out farther than my stomach, and I want to avoid the acquisition of a shelf-butt at all costs. (You know what I mean - one of those butts that seems to move independently of the rest of a person's body, and that looks capable of supporting a collection of heirloom knickknacks). And I suppose it might be nice to be able to run up the stairs without getting winded.

The problem is, if you try to get rid of the extra padding that constitutes the beginnings of a shelf-butt, you lose the extra weight from your boobs first! (Am I right, ladies?) And I just don't know if I can afford to lose any weight from my chest. I mean, you know it's bad when you have to shop in the you-don't-really-need-a-bra-but-we'll-humor-you section. Or when your padded bras could get up and walk away by themselves.

It's a tough life I lead...

So what it comes down to is that I've been debating going back on weight-watchers. I think I lasted, oh, a week last time. And the memory of how painful it was is still horrifically clear. But I'm almost disgusted enough with myself that it's maybe, kind of, sort of tempting.

I guess it's just a question of how tight my pants can get before the recoil from taking them off will pitch me out the window. I'm not there yet, so I guess I can still pack away a few more treats.

Mmmm... sugar.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Random Thoughts

Do you suppose environmentalist smokers consider themselves to be littering when they drop their cigarette butts on the street?

How is it that movie stars film nude scenes, take their clothes off for magazines, and wear barely-there lingerie to award ceremonies, and then file invasion of privacy lawsuits over unauthorized nude photos appearing in the tabloids? I mean, if someone wants to see them naked, they can just head to the nearest Blockbuster.

If you want to know what sort of things your spouse would like you to do for him, pay attention to what sort of things he does for you.

There is something wrong with fashion when the goal of maternity clothes is to provide an up close and personal look at a woman's belly button, and the in look among teenagers is loose, flowing tops that conceal non-existent body flaws.

Why are there phone book commercials? Does anyone actually buy a phonebook? Last time I checked, everyone just used whatever book the phone company dropped on their doorstep. (Actually last time I checked, everyone just used the internet to find phone numbers).

Women spend so much time wishing their husbands would do what they want ("If you loved me, you would know what I want...") instead of just telling them what they want.

As my mom pointed out, it seems ridiculous that we have taken childbirth, a completely natural event that would happen just fine on its own 95% of the time, and turned it into a huge, outrageously expensive medical production.

You never realize how some seemingly mild expressions sound until you hear them coming out of your child's mouth.

Do you suppose all the Bush-haters will be bored out of their minds as soon as the President is out of office and they have no one left to blame for their every problem?

People say New Yorkers are rude, but the vast majority I've come across are very nice. Either that or everyone is just a tourist.

Have you ever noticed how people who have affairs always think their married lover will never cheat on them?

Why is it that all humor nowadays has to be vulgar, crude, and foul-mouthed? Have we forgotten how to be funny?

The nice thing about winter is that people remember to put their clothes on before they leave the house.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Best Thing

What is the best thing that ever happened to you? Maybe you won a free trip to Europe. Or discovered that your long-lost Great Aunt Harriet left you a load of money in her will. Or maybe you finally found a dress that actually fits on the top and the bottom. (If that ever happened to me it would be nothing short of a miracle. I honestly think my top and bottom halves were mismatched in the spirit world).

But seriously, I bet most people would say the best thing that ever happened to them is their husband or wife - that is until the honeymoon is over and the babies come along to displace "spouse" from the top of the list.

I was reminded of this when I read that Ashlee Simpson-Wentz (of Bronx Mowgli infamy) said her little baby is the best thing that ever happened to her. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with this statement - it's just a way of saying how much she loves her little boy (though apparently not enough to give him a decent name...). But it just got me thinking about priorities and how quickly and easily they are misplaced.

Your choice of spouse is the most important decision you will ever make. After all, the eternal family unit is you and your spouse. There isn't a more important person in your life. Or at least there shouldn't be.

The problem is that children come along and their needs are so much more pressing and immediate that it's easy to forget about that "best thing that ever happened to you" and shove him to the back burner for awhile. Of course this is necessary sometimes - needs of adults can often wait, while needs of screaming children have to be handled right now - but if you are constantly putting your husband on the back burner, eventually things are going to quit simmering. And if you're not careful, the pilot light will go out.

Before Michael was born and I was working full-time, I spent the last weeks of my job training my replacement. One day we got into a conversation about children. Her opinion was that a child should always come first, no matter the situation, and that her relationship with her child was infinitely more important than her relationship with her husband. She was shocked and appalled when I had sweetly told her I thought she was dead wrong. "What are you going to do after your child leaves home?" I asked. "Don't you care about your husband at all?"

As she generally spent every minute of every day trash-talking her husband, and I had heard her entire alphabetical list of the poor man's failings at least seven times, I asked her to tell me something good about him. She thought for a minute, sighed several times, and finally said, "I really can't think of anything." Um, wow.

"Why did you marry him then?" I asked.

"Well, I guess I knew he would never cheat on me. And I thought he would probably be a good dad to our kids."

Great plan. Find someone whom you think will never cheat on you. Spend every day complaining about what a horrible husband he is, withholding sex, bossing him around, griping about his insensitive manly ways, and acting all offended at the slightest insinuation there is something wrong with your behavior, and then expect him to stand faithfully by your side as you hurl this abuse at him. Smart. Can you spell D-I-V-O-R-C-E? Too hard? How about A-F-F-A-I-R?

And let's not forget the fact that she CHOSE her husband. Last time I checked she didn't have any choice about which children ended up in her home, but she had a whole bunch of say as to which man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.

So even though Michael may be the best thing that has happened to David and me as a couple, I try not to forget that Michael should never take the place of the true best thing - my wonderful husband. And the more I show my husband that he is the best thing that ever happened to me, the more he becomes that best thing.

It's amazing how that works.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Again with the Breastfeeding (Don't Say I Didn't Warn You)

Last night David and I watched 20/20. I sort of wish we hadn't because now I'm all skeeved out, though I did find it fascinating in a train-wreck sort of way. So I'm trying to get rid of my heebie jeebies by passing them on to you, my loyal blog readers.

The show focused on some little-known aspects of pregnancy, labor and delivery, and breastfeeding. What really geeked me out was a segment on American mothers who breastfeed their children way past the toddler years, even into adolescence.

Say it with me: "Eeeeeewww!" I'm sorry, but I am just so bothered by the idea of an eight or nine-year old child climbing onto mom's lap for a little sip. The mothers insist that it is normal and healthy, but frankly, I can't see how it is at all healthy for a child to be breastfeeding at such an age. This is long past when you should be having discussions about bodily privacy, modesty, appropriate behavior, etc. You cannot tell me that it is appropriate for an eight-year old to have a philosophical discussion with his mother about how much he loves her breasts only to have her lift her shirt for his snack.

Blech! I am so grossed out.

There comes a point when the breasts need to be put away, as much for the child's benefit as the mother's. Perhaps these mothers should invest in a comfort object like a blanket or a teddy bear? I just can't see that it's emotionally healthy for anyone to breastfeed into their grade school years. Can you imagine the reaction if the other kids on the playground found out you were still using your mom's boobs for your after-school snack?

I may be out of step as far as the rest of the world is concerned (according to the 20/20 report, average weaning age around the world is four-years old), but I think one or two years of breastfeeding is plenty. Anything beyond that is just plain icky.

Sorry to be all focused on boobs lately. For those of you who are squirming whilst reading my blog, I promise I won't say anything more about breastfeeding for at least a week. And I won't even tell you what the other 20/20 segments were about.

Trust me, you don't want to know.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

We can now be counted among the insane people who have been "in" Times Square for New Year's Eve. I say "in" because with one million revelers and a whole lot of security, the closest we could get was 7th Ave. and 57th Street. (The ball drops at 7th and 43rd). We weren't crazy enough to camp out in the freezing weather all afternoon for a decent spot. I wanted to see the ball drop, but not bad enough to have to amputate my frostbitten toes at the end of the night.

It was snowing and blowing all day, but did clear up for the festivities, although the temperature with windchill was about one degree. However, you can actually stay quite warm when your body is smushed sardine-style against someone you don't even know. Somehow I felt proper introductions were in order. (Hello, my name is Bonnie, and it's my face crammed in your armpit...) Although I have to say I much prefer cold strangers to the hot, sweaty ones of the Fourth of July on the National Mall.

By the time we had been patted down by the police and got into position, we only had an hour to wait. We had a great, if far-away, view of the ball. We spent the time getting emphysema from all the cigarette and cigar smoke around us and trying not to get too annoyed by the load of twenty-somethings pushing their way through the crowd saying "I'm just trying to get to my friends." It was a no-alcohol-allowed event, but the German girls behind us managed to sneak in some champagne. And everyone would cheer and act like lunatics when the news helicopters flew overhead.

In the end, the ball drop was somewhat anti-climactic. But it was fun, and I'm really glad we went. It's definitely not worth repeating, but it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences we just couldn't miss.

We stayed for about one minute of the fireworks and then booked it out of there and made it home in about forty minutes. Not bad!

Here is some video of the countdown. It starts at about 60 seconds before midnight, and ends with some of the fireworks. It really doesn't do it justice, but hey, it's proof we were there. Or at least someone with our camera was.

Happy New Year, one and all!

New Year's Eve on Vimeo.

No One Wants to See Your Boobs

I realize you may think this is one of those things that doesn't need saying. But apparently there are a few people out there who remain a bit clueless about this basic fact of life. A bunch of breastfeeding nutcases are upset at Facebook for removing graphic pictures of their children being breastfed. For the record, Facebook does not remove most breastfeeding photos because they follow the site's terms of use policies. They only remove pictures "containing a fully exposed breast"; i.e., nipple and all. But these women are very upset and offended by the removal of their booby photos in the course of "a very natural process".

Well, of course breastfeeding is a natural and perfectly good thing to do, but no one wants to see your boobs. And memo to all the crazy breast-flashers out there, you can actually breastfeed very discreetly, even without a blanket. There is absolutely no need to whip out your breast as if it's about to be used in a gun fight. Using the restroom is also a natural and normal activity, but no one thinks they should be allowed to post pictures of themselves participating in that process. And if they did, normal people would be rightly disgusted.

Now, I'm all for breastfeeding. If you can do it and want to, that's great. If you can't do it or don't want to, that's also fine. I don't care how you feed your baby. As long as it doesn't mean I have to be surprised by photos of your naked breasts or spend half an hour trying to avert my eyes as you hang out in all your glory, I don't care what you do. But come on people, have a little decency and a little respect for others.

Ladies, it's time to cover up.