Gut reaction

For most of my adult life people—some I am acquainted with and some who are complete strangers—have occasionally asked me if I was pregnant when I haven’t been. Actually, they didn’t really ask; they just assumed. And believe me, when you assume, you really do make an ass out of everyone involved.

Once at my daughter’s pre-school fall festival, a mom came up to me, pointed to my stomach, and exclaimed, “Looks like someone has been busy!” I wanted to say, “Busy eating cupcakes!” but instead I just pretended I didn’t understand what she meant, silently fuming at her presumptuousness and her inquiry into my sex life (we were at a pre-school event for chrissakes!). A few years later when my son was in pre-school another mom (who never uttered a single word to me, not even “hi,” before or since) asked me when I was due. I pretended I didn’t hear her and walked away. Back when I was working at a college a co-worker I barely knew said to me in front of a group of other co-workers and students, “You’re expecting!” It wasn’t a question, more like a statement of fact. When I said that I wasn’t, she tried to argue with me. Another co-worker I barely knew at that same college once poked my stomach repeatedly and started making all manner of happy sounds. This was at a baby shower for another co-worker, who was actually pregnant. (Note to self: Avoid pre-schools and colleges). A cashier at Whole Foods whom I saw every single week when I did my grocery shopping once declared, “You look like you’re going to pop that baby out any day now!” I could go on, but you get the idea.

I’ll admit it–I do look pregnant. I know that and I don’t need other women (and it’s always women) to draw attention to this fact. If you are curious about what’s going on in my uterus, you could just sit back and wait and all would be revealed in due time (no pun intended). I’ve always had a pot belly, even when I was a scrawny teenager begging my mom to order me some weight gain powder I’d seen in a magazine. Even though my gut is much bigger now, thanks to two real pregnancies, lots of red wine, and lack of exercise, my belly has always been out of proportion with the rest of my body. Basically, I have the female equivalent of a dicky-doo.

Yesterday morning I put on a shirt that felt a little tight and wondered if it would generate pregnancy speculation. Then it occurred to me that it’s been a long time since this has happened. As I walked my son to school, I was feeling pretty good about that, thinking that I must be looking pretty fine these days. But then the hard truth dawned on me: No one thinks I’m pregnant because I look too damned old to be pregnant. So now I don’t know which is worse–looking pregnant, looking fat, or looking old.

I'm not fat

Maybe I should get this shirt


Pull up a chair

The Bloggess recently posted this conversation she had with her husband about wanting a wheelbarrow, not for yard work but for relaxation purposes. If you haven’t read it yet, head over there and check it out. Just come back here, okay? I’ll wait for you.

So here’s the thing: When I was a kid, my family totally had a wheelbarrow in our living room for a brief time. I don’t remember exactly how that came to be, but there it was: a brand-spanking new, school bus yellow wheelbarrow in the center of the room. It made a great place to watch TV, sort of like a recliner with a wheel and handles, a Barcabarrow, if you will. Someone even tossed a couple of throw pillows in there at some point—blue ones with bonnet-clad white geese on them (so very 1980s). The wheelbarrow created a great focal point for that room, what with its wood paneled walls, aforementioned geese décor, and view of the ginormous satellite TV dish through the sliding patio doors. Kind of like if Better Homes and Gardens did a special “Mobile Home Chic” issue. But then just as quickly as it arrived, the wheelbarrow was gone, taken away (by my dad, I assume) to answer its higher calling in the garden.

Many years later, my brother and I, now adults, were in a video rental store. For some reason he thought of the wheelbarrow-as-chaise-lounge, and said, “Hey! Remember when we used to fight over who was going to sit in the wheelbarrow and watch TV?” People all around froze with their DVD boxes suspended in mid-air and looked to see what kind of people would be having this conversation. I like to think that they all went home, popped their DVDs in, and said to their significant other as they reached for the popcorn, “You won’t believe what I heard someone at the video store say today.”

Yellow wheelbarrow

Wheelbarrow or La-Z-Boy?  You decide.

These are a few of my favorite things

Sometimes it’s nice to take stock of the little things in your life that bring you joy. Here’s what has me smiling lately:

Kumato You say tomato, I say Kumato. “What the hell are you talking about?” is probably what you are actually saying. Allow me to explain. It doesn’t get much better than a homegrown tomato in the summertime (someone even wrote a song about it), but when it’s January and you want a BLT fix, you’re kind of SOL. Unless you want to buy one of those hard, white, tasteless things that pass for tomatoes in the supermarket. Until now, that is. A Kumato is a brownish-greenish tomato, and, as tomatoes go, it is a homely little thing. When I gave a few to my parents, they discussed throwing them in the trash and not telling me. They didn’t think something so pitiful looking could taste good. But once they tried it, they were believers, too. Does it taste like a straight-from-the-garden Beefsteak? No, but when you want a tomato and can’t wait until July, it’s a mighty fine replacement.



Not a pretty girl


LEGO Brick Separator Some of you might remember my feelings about LEGOs. Well, folks, I am here to tell you that this little tool has changed my life. It separates teeny tiny bricks with the greatest of ease and has reduced the number of broken nails and the amount of cursing around here. Sadly, however, it cannot prevent the pain of stepping on a LEGO in bare feet.

lego brick separator

Breaking up is easy to do


Emergen-C These little packets turn a glass of water into a vitamin-infused, subtly flavored treat. It’s a great way to increase your intake of water. In fact, this is about the only way my son will drink water. It’s a great alternative to crap-filled products like Mio. Pro Tip: Buy it at Whole Foods. They have the best price, a huge selection of flavors, and individual packets for sale (so you can try a lot of different kinds and see what you like).


Emergen C

Operator, this is an Emergen-C


Tom and Lorenzo Their reviews of Mad Men—especially their Mad Style posts—are genius. Every week I am amazed at their commentary. It’s really enriched my whole Mad Men viewing experience, and I can’t imagine watching MM now without TLO. Check it out here.


Smiling Betty

Even Betty approves


Now I want to hear about your favorite things!