Sunday, April 23, 2017

At Least for Now, My Daughter is a Reverse Junkie

Phases. All kids have them, and the second you master the one they're in, BAM! It's on to the next one. It's like being forced to take calculus when you haven't even figured out algebra yet--multiple times. Or at least that's how it feels to me. I know because that actually happened to me. The calculus algebra thing. Whatever, that's another story.

The point is, Paige is in this phase right now that I'm loosely (and perhaps a bit crassly) labeling her "Reverse Junkie Phase."

She's completely unwilling to take any type of weak sauce Tylenol or Benadryl for stuff like fevers and hives, and she inspects every inch of her food before she cooks or eats it. You'd think she was one of those kids from Flowers in the Attic being fed arsenic donuts on the regular or something.

These habits will serve her well in adolescence, presuming she retains them, but right now it's a whole lot of "MOOOOOOM, what's this little brown thing in my oatmeal?"

And when I approach to look, I almost need a microscope to see what she's talking about. When I finally locate it, it's like one half of one oat that somehow got singed during its production. It's enough to put her off breakfast and necessitate a long explanation of exactly why she can safely consume half a singed oat in a bowl of oatmeal.

The worst, though, is when she's right, since this validates her whole semi-OCD'ish "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you" approach to food contaminants. 

Like she recently cracked an egg and noticed a little spot of blood in the yolk, which she immediately summoned me to address. It could be an old wives' tale for all I know, but for as long as I can remember I was told not to use those eggs. So when we threw it out, she was triumphant. 

"SEE?!?!," she crowed. Suddenly, every future attempt to give her a teaspoon of Tylenol or tell her that a pepper corn isn't mouse shit was a fait accompli.

For all I know, that whole bloody yolk thing started with another reverse junkie; but fine, whatever. 

Chalk one up for Paige.

UPDATE: I just Googled and of COURSE the bloody egg thing is bullshit. I'm retracting Paige's point.

Donald Trump Weekend Tweet Translator

Today on Earth Day, we celebrate neutering the EPA by installing a hostile climate change denier at its helm. Enjoy!

Looking forward to a far-right neo-Nazi with a nice blonde bob cut joining me on the long decline of western democracy into hopeless, dystopian global fascism.

Everything I've ever said about this border wall with Mexico is a brazen con on par with that Monorail episode of the Simpsons. SAD!

The border wall is an impractical pipe dream lie that I used to get elected, and that won't do jack shit to "stop drugs" and "very bad hombres" anyway.

All I care about is using my unearned power to distribute goodies to white collar criminals who will make me rich. IDGAF about anything else!

Here come some big tax cuts for the one percent! Let's just pretend I released my tax returns.

I'm the first U. S. president in history to hold rallies for myself while in power, for no other reason than to get high off my own narcissism supply. #Hitler

This tweet sounds like a ransom note. Also, I'm senile and Idk what I'm talking about. Ever. VERY SAD!

My priorities are super well aligned with what America gives a shit about. Mostly Hillary, an election that's over, FAKE NEWS, and my ginormous ego!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

I'm Crying on the Outside That My Mom has to March for Science in 2017

My mom is good at doing the science, and I for one could not be more jealous. Before she went to medical school--one of ten women in her class of 100--she was halfway to her PhD in chemistry. 

Fast forward 20 years later, and she was working and teaching at Columbia University med school. We got into many YOOGE fights when she tried to explain 7th grade algebra to me, and I just kept screaming and crying about how stupid it was that there were letters in my math homework. 

Later attempts at organic chemistry and evolutionary biology failed similarly, so I chose instead to focus on two spaces versus one space between sentences, move far away from her formidable shadow, and the rest of my academic and professional trajectory is history.

Every time I call and ask how she's doing lately, she says some version of great, you know, except for everything Donald Trump does makes me insane. So it was almost a foregone conclusion that she would attend the March for Science in DC this weekend. 

I wanted to go with her, but was stopped by the hypocrisy of consuming the fossil fuel it would take to fly 4,000 miles from Juneau to DC and hop in several Ubers along the way. I mean, I'm not Al Gore for fuck's sake.

Here are a few pics my dad texted from the march. He's a science writer, not a scientist, but he too hearts the scientific method and evidence-based science. So, why the hell not, right? 

It makes me sad that my mom has to do this in 2017. That we have taken such a dangerous intellectual leap backward with the election of a quasi-senile climate change denier who can't spell and doesn't even know what uranium is. It's deeply depressing, to be sure.

Admittedly, it's science that got us into this pickle. Without science, we wouldn't have the internet, and without the internet, we wouldn't have Trump. Likewise, without science, we wouldn't have bombs and Exxon, and without those things, we wouldn't have our quality of life and yet seriously be considering trying to inhabit Mars when earth reaches the literal and figurative boiling point.

That's what makes science such a dangerous but essential tool for humankind. It's the thing that separates us from every other sentient species on earth. It has the capacity to divest us of our most basic limitations, and create seemingly insurmountable new ones we are then forced to reckon with.

What will a bunch of nerds marching do? Probably nothing, other than to show the world that not everyone is okay with a fact-free universe. Meanwhile it's 54 degrees in Juneau today, and my Alaska kids and their friends are complaining that the heat is excruciating. 

So here's to science, and the scientists who expand its horizons every day.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Thoughts on an Evening Walk: A Post in Pictures

Wow, literally both of Isaac's legs together in those jeans is like ONE of my lower legs. God what is wrong with me? Will I never get over my stupid body image issues? What kind of example am I setting for Paige? Ugh. I am so ashamed . . .

Ah, here's a nice view. Gee I wonder when the first cruise ship is coming. Wow, I'm not sure I'm 100% ready for that to happen yet. Hold up. Am I allowed to admit that?

Oh look! A crocus! (I think)? The first sign of spring! Wait should they be putting their faces right there? I'm almost positive there's dog shit somewhere around here. What if they get it in their hair? That's the end of this little perambulation.

Wait WHAT? This exists? Wow. Wow. Wowowowowoowowow. We are even more fucked than I thought.

Um, okay. This is reeeeeaaaaly pushing it. How does a guitar tuning ap think it is possibly going to make a difference for Earth Day by telling people to play "the best environmental songs" for their friends and family? Pete Seeger is dead, I think Joni Mitchell might be in assisted living, and Trump is President. Buckle up, buttercups. Because--and I say this with the utmost love and solidarity--it's gonna be a looooooong, bumpy ride for the "If I Had a Hammer" crowd.

Today--and Only Today!--I Shall Embrace Self Care by Walking up the Stairs at Work Instead of Using the Elevator

Have you heard of “self-care?” No? Well let me to drop some science on you.

ICYMI, self-care is like, a supes big deal right now. Technically, "self-care” is old AF, having started back in the polyester plaid bell-bottom/wood-paneled station wagon olden times as a way to drive down health care costs by promoting the consumption of grapefruits and the lifting of dumbbells with Jane Fonda.

Today, self-care is to the lifestyle industrial complex what the Macarena was to your aunts dancing at a bar mitvah in the early 90s. Self-care is the new me-time, but it’s more “Namaste and juice cleanse” than “mani-pedi and Unicorn Frappucino to cure a hangover in Vegas,” is the sense I am getting from the Googles.

Additionally, ever since America shot itself in the face by electing a demented, jowly Creamsicle with a boner for bombin' to the most powerful job on earth, self-care has become increasingly important for women, minorities, LGBTQ peeps, and other leftist libtard snowflakes who can no longer count (if they ever could) on a $75 pap smear and a safe space from Nazis.

That’s why I took a break from dreaming up plots for a new genre of Trump-demise erotic fan fic by walking up the six flights of stairs in my office today, and only today. 

I want to say that I will do this on Monday, but that would be an aspiration at best and an empty, bald-faced lie at worst. I want to say I will be like this one dude who works down the hall from me and does this EVERY DAY, and somehow is not out of breath and has a legit smile on his face every time he comes out of the stairwell and seems to always be in a really good mood.

But I will not be like that one dude, and it's pointless to pretend otherwise. 

Today I parked in the garage and walked up many stairs, to the street level, and then I walked up six flights of stairs and back down again. I did not count the number of stairs this was, and I don't have a special wrist monitor to tell me. But I'm confident that this was a yoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooge accomplishment in self-care. 

Just look at the poster in the stairwell. It’s like THEY KNOW ME. The Mysterious Big Brother who wants me to Self-Care--which I'll have you know is NOT just a euphemism for masturbation after all--is telling me to "be invigorated," and I AM!

At each floor, there is one of these posters that speaks fitspiration to the Stair-Walkers, which sounds like a Stephen King novel but is actually what we call ourselves. 

See what I did there? I just "actually'd" you about walking up stairs, which is actually the most actually to ever actually, since I actually just started this "journey" today. (Pro tip: You can't do self-care unless you are on a "journey"). I say “we” like I am part of a “community” or a “movement” of “self-care,” which I am not. I did, however, bring a 12 ounce iced almond milk latte with an extra shot from the drive-through coffee stand along for the first literal and figurative steps on my journey toward self-care.

So that’s something, actually.

This might sound trite, but we are not actually promised tomorrow. And I am certainly not promising myself that I will ever walk up this staircase again, much less tomorrow. But for today, at least, I consider myself duly cared for.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Prayer for My Alaskan Daughter, with Apologies to Tina Fey

Tina Fey is one of my writing idols, and I love her "prayer for a daughter." I was speaking with a friend recently, and felt inspired to do an Alaska-based parody of it, since the prayers of an Alaska mom might differ a little from mothers in other parts of the country or world.

First, Lord: No Commercial Crab Fishing. I know it's badass. But may neither a lucrative crew gig nor the Discovery Channel beckon her to the deadly, frigid waters of the Bering Sea or worse, the seedy dive bars of Dutch Harbor.

May she be Adventurous but not Stupid or Unlucky, for it is Stupidity and Bad Luck, combined, that will make her the subject of an Alaska State Trooper aerial search and rescue operation, and subsequent articles in the Alaska Dispatch News.

When the black market prescription Opioids are offered, May she remember the parents who bundled her up in five layers of fleece, put her in a backpack, and took her cross-country skiing next to a glacier, and stick with one can of Alaskan Amber.

Guide her, protect her
When skiing, walking on ice, stepping onto boats, stepping off of boats, hiking in the woods, riding in small planes piloted by amateurs and professionals alike, surprising a cow moose and calf, trail running in the mountains, taking the garbage out in early spring when the bears first emerge from hibernation, looking for the Into the Wild bus like a fucking moron, biking in Denali, working at a drive-through Espresso stand alone late at night, driving to Girdwood on the Seward Highway in winter, handling firearms, crossing the intersection of Tudor and Lake Otis as a pedestrian, sleeping over at that friend's house with the creepy older brother, kayaking in the Brooks Range before all the shelf ice has even melted, and most of all getting into the cab of a pick-up truck with a drunk high school linebacker named Taylor, Austin, or Dakota behind the wheel.

Lead her away from Juneau so she can function on the Outside if she must, but not all the way to Silicon Valley where she will come under the influence of insufferable Stanford hipster tech bros working for a wifi-enabled juicer startup. 

But Lord, at the same time do not lead her back to the Capitol Building only to become a perky indentured servant to some mediocre, self-satisfied douchebag who spends 120 days plotting how to get into her pants when he isn't busy making bad decisions for the rest of us.

May she play the upright bass in a bluegrass band, but not long enough to have the banjo player’s baby before she’s ready, thereby derailing her future plans to go to medical school (with a scholarship) in Seattle or become an artist.

Grant her the patience and charm to sell enough rice krispy treats and raffle tickets to travel to Washington, DC or better yet London with her eighth grade social studies class, for leaving Alaska is very expensive, and I don’t feel like taking her to either of those places anytime soon.

O Lord, give her the common sense and sound judgment not to text naked pictures of herself to anyone, because that shit comes back to haunt you as revenge porn, and you will forever be known in your small Alaskan town as that-girl-who-Snapchatted-her-titties-for-the-yearbook-senior-year.

And when her on-again/off-again boyfriend tells her not to bother applying to college because he will miss her too much and who needs college anyway, give me the strength, Lord, not to call his mother and sound like a snob by telling her I didn’t start a 529 so I could blow its contents on a shotgun wedding on the beach, ya know!

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, heed her prayer, Lord, that she shared with me when she was nine, which was that she wanted to adopt a baby because there are too many babies in the world without loving homes, and she “does not want to be involved with any type of man.” 

Those were her exact words, Lord, I FUCKING SWEAR to You, pardon my French.

Remind her of those words, Lord, and do not let her forget. For while biological grandchildren would be nice, "not being involved with any type of man" is actually a pretty good idea a lot of the time, let's be honest.


Serena Williams Won the Australian Open While Eight Weeks Pregnant andI am DONE.

It doesn’t pay to make invidious comparisons to anyone in this life, much less elite world-class athletes. 

But when I read that Serena Williams won the Australian Open while eight weeks pregnant, I couldn’t help but just be totally done with life. For who among us has NOT won a major professional sports title while lending our uterus to another human being, rent-free, for nine months?

At the risk of alienating my non-uterus-owning readers who have publicly burned O.H.M. for (and I’m paraphrasing here) belaboring the theme of “eating Fritos Bean Dip while on the couch making fun of Gwyneth Paltrow,” I’m fixing to do a little compare-and-contrast that’s admittedly somewhere along these lines.

Every pregnancy is different, every woman has different abilities and experiences, yada yada. Okay, granted. 


Anyone who has ever been eight weeks pregnant knows why winning the biggest tennis tournament in the southern hemisphere is a superhuman marvel in said condition, because no matter who you are, if you’re eight weeks pregnant your body is under hostile takeover by an evil, foreign fetal host parasite who is literally leeching off your very life force.

I don’t mean to brag, but here’s what my average day looked like then: 
  • Wake up after tossing and turning all night during weird dream about tsunamis.
  • Smell a banana and vomit.
  • Examine prominent new veins all over body.
  • Try to take shit, fail.
  • Listen to NPR story about somebody’s grandpa. Cry inconsolably.
  • Squeeze titties into bra, go to work with quad-boob.
  • Place head on desk and pass out in small puddle of own drool while on conference call.
  • Come to and drive to Fred Meyer.
  • Help self to a pint of mixed olives from olive bar, eat several before paying.
  • Pee for seventh time in an hour, panic about blood streak on toilet paper.
  • Call doctor.
  • Google miscarriages.
  • Go to doctor and get sonogram, resume Googling “coffee during pregnancy.”
  • Smell somebody’s turkey sandwich from Subway, specifically the bread. Vomit again.
  • Eat aforementioned pint of mixed olives.
  • Go to sleep for the night at 6:30 p.m.
Again—and I speak strictly from my own experience here—I felt like Sigourney Weaver in Alien when I was eight weeks pregnant (both times), and I wouldn’t have been able to toss a tennis ball up in the air and catch it again from a prone position.

So yeah, Serena won the Australian Open amid stiff competition, while in what is arguably the worst possible part of pregnancy (also amid stiff competition).

But I ate a bucket of olives, so.