Craft Connoisseur? Not So Much.

Posted on Sep 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

In my effort to expand my social network, I recently attended my first MOPS meeting.  MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers, a slight misnomer since it includes mothers of children ages 0-5, as well as expectant moms like me.  While I was excited to meet other moms and moms-to-be, I have to admit that I was a little concerned about this kickoff meeting.  The email reminder had mentioned we would be decorating nametags to go along with the theme for the year.  This sounded crafty to me, and I don’t do crafts.

However I am determined that my daughter will not be raised a reclusive loner, and so for the sake of her future socialization, I put my doubts aside and showed up.  Surely I could decorate a name tag to secure my daughter some future play dates, right?  I was met by a group of lovely and gracious women – who in addition to being lovely and gracious also provided cookies.  So far, so good.

It was not long into the session that we were given a schedule for the year.  My worst fears were confirmed: Crafts are indeed a central focus of this group.  In fact, every other meeting revolves around a craft project.  That’s a lot of art for this girl.

This is my future.

I tried to cover my panic with a placid smile, but beads of sweat began pooling on my forehead, my heart began pounding against my chest, and I felt the sudden urge to flee.  But I was too gripped by terror to move!  I have nothing against arts & crafts or the people who partake in such things, but I myself possess absolutely zero artistic ability.  The thought of being subjected to art projects on a monthly basis and thus exposing my embarrassing lack of skill to a group of artistically-able women makes me feel extremely vulnerable.

It’s my parents’ fault, really.  You see, rather than provide support and encouragement for my childhood artistic endeavors, they favored mockery and ridicule.  Before you think my parents are cruel, pitiless monsters, it’s okay – really!  Did I grow up with ambitions in things I had no talent for?  Nope.  Did I pursue futile dreams in the arts?  Not a chance.   Rather, I accepted my inadequacies at a young age and focused my energies in the other, plentiful areas in which I excelled.  Besides, the ‘rents waited until I was out of the early elementary years to begin taunting my creative abilities (or lack thereof), so the scars aren’t too deep.

But scars there are, and now whenever I’m faced with the prospect of a craft project, I go to a dark place.  The teasing and taunts of my parents still linger in my head.  In fact, the teasing and taunts go on to this day!  For artistic blunders of years past!

For example, in elementary school I took pottery classes.  I loved these pottery classes.  But after two years, my mother made me quit claiming we were “too busy”.  (Because fifth graders do have such demanding schedules).  I now realize she didn’t want to finance a hobby that resulted in me bringing home LPC (Little Pieces of Crap) on a weekly basis that only served to defile her holiday décor.  For those early childhood years, my parents feigned pride in my accomplishments, displaying those clay creations in prominent positions throughout the house.  But as soon as they felt I was old enough to handle the truth, the mocking began.  And hasn’t stopped since.

Case in point:  As recently as last November, my father began emailing me on a daily basis a picture of one of my formerly prized pottery pieces – a Thanksgiving turkey – in various locales throughout the house.  What had been an innocent craft creature suddenly took on a sinister, demonic quality.

Traveling Turkey

Honky-Tonk Turkey

Creepy Turkey Stalking You!

Then there was the Jacob and the Technicolor Coat incident.  In junior high, I assisted my parents in teaching a kindergarten Sunday School class.  One Sunday, it was my responsibility to make a mock-up of the craft for the day: Jacob’s coat.  Somehow, ripping apart colored construction paper and pasting it onto a pre-cut coat was beyond my grasp; I inexplicably created the most hideous crafted coat you can imagine.  That coat still provides my family endless dinnertime fodder, and will for years to come.

I don't have a photo of the coat, as it was promptly trashed. So here is another pottery piece. I think it's a fish, though I can't be sure. Whatever it is, it deserves to be ridiculed.

High school provided more opportunities for scorn and derision.  My junior year, I took AP Art History.  (Interestingly, I ended up minoring in Art History in college.  Those who can’t… study?)  After completing the AP exam, we spent the remainder of the school year – you guessed it – crafting.  Every day I approached 3rd period with dread.  After completing our first project – an aluminum picture frame that required much more effort than appears – I brought it home and sheepishly showed my mom.  She immediately put a picture in it and to this day it remains a fixture on her desk.  The gesture sounds supportive, but no.  I’m convinced the frame stands there as a constant source of passive-aggressive mockery; an ever-present reminder of all that I failed to be.

Perhaps this sheds some light on why a monthly meeting revolving around crafts strikes fear deep in my heart.  Why can’t these meetings revolve around cocktails instead of crafts?  That I could get behind.

But alas, crafts is the name of the game, and being desperate for companionship the loving mother-to-be I am, I will dutifully attend these craft sessions and reveal my artistic weaknesses if I must.  These ladies won’t be the harsh judges that my parents are, right?  Maybe belonging to a supportive group of ladies will cure me of my insecurities!  (At a much cheaper rate than a therapist, no less).  I could become a decoupage connoisseur, a scrapbooking specialist!  The possibilities are endless!

At the first official meeting, we will be sewing pumpkins, presumably because it’s fall and that’s what you do in fall.  The last time I wielded a needle and thread was… Honestly, I have no idea.  (My mother is cringing right now).  This has the potential to be dangerous, in addition to embarrassing.  But I will swallow my pride and sew.  Wish me luck.

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Name My Baby

Posted on Sep 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

Folks, I need your help.  This is serious.  I am now 31 weeks along – for the math-challenged, that means I have a short nine weeks before Baby makes her appearance in this world – and my husband and I are completely unable to agree upon her name.  Why not?  The below conversation represents a typical exchange on the topic of names: I throw out a cute, slightly sassy, but not over-the-top ridiculous name. Damon: No. Me: Why not? Damon: Veto. Me: “Veto” does not answer my question. Damon: I do not recognize that as a name. Me: You do not recognize it as a name?  What does that even mean? Damon: I’ve never heard of it. Me, scornfully: Just because you’ve never heard of it doesn’t mean it’s not a legitimate name! Damon: Oh yes it does. Me:  Oh No it does not.  Why should our child be punished with a boring name because you lack any sense of sophistication or creativity? Damon, skeptically: Really, Diana? I stare at my stubborn husband, boiling with rage.   Damon: No.  It’s a professional athlete’s nickname.  We’re having a girl. Me: AHA! You have heard of it! Damon: But it’s a dude’s name! Me: I beg to differ.  I know of at least three actresses with that name.  All. Women.  I’ve never heard of this so-called athlete. Damon: Veto. Me, voice an unusually high pitch: You are so close-minded!  Ican’teventalktoyouanymore! Meanwhile Damon’s name choices seem to have been inspired solely by 90s sitcoms.  Until he suggests something, like, say, Esmeralda.* Me: You’re joking, right? Damon: What? Me: Please tell me you are kidding. Damon: What!? I like the name. Me: Oh my gosh no you don’t. Damon, exasperated: What!?  I like it.  I do. Me: I don’t believe you.  There is no way. Damon remains silent, unable to comprehend his uncomprehending wife. Me: OMG.  We are not having this conversation.  I did not marry a man who would seriously suggest Esmeralda* as a name worthy of our daughter. Damon: You are so close-minded!  I can’t talk to you anymore. See friends,...

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Stretch Marks, Be Gone!

Posted on Sep 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

Better yet, don’t show up to begin with! Stretch Marks:  Two words that strike fear into the hearts of women everywhere.  Pregnant women, especially. It’s no shocker that pregnant women gain weight.  About 25-35 pounds if you maintain a healthy pregnancy.  Healthy or not, stretch marks are a wild card.  Supposedly you have no control over whether or not they show up.  You can eat healthy, gain weight at a moderate pace, exercise and still those little buggers could pop up.  Now that just doesn’t seem fair, does it? They (whoever “they” are) say that stretch marks are genetic.  One of my pregnancy email updates even told me to consider the marks a “badge of honor” for what my body was doing in growing a baby.  Are you kidding me?  As if! In case you haven’t gotten the point yet, you can do nothing to prevent them.  Well I’ll be damned if I don’t try.  I am only 26, and I refuse to believe my bikini days are over. Enter this woman: Yes, Victoria Beckham.  Posh Spice, that saucy minx, has proven to be my stretch mark saving grace.  While researching how to prevent the unpreventable, I came across an article in which Ms. Beckham raved about Elemis Japanese Camellia Oil Blend as her secret to remaining stretch mark free.  (I also suspect Victoria may not eat, which could additionally contribute to her lack of stretch marks)*.   But who cares – if this oil is good enough for Posh, it’s good enough for me!  She was my favorite Spice Girl, after all. So far I have not been disappointed.  The oil is light, non-greasy and even smells pretty.  And more importantly, I have been using it for about three months and have yet to find a single stretch marks.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have nine weeks for these belly (and thigh and back and butt) blights to appear.  But for now I’m going to keep slathering this stuff on as if there is no tomorrow – I’m not going down without a fight. Not pregnant?  No worries! ...

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A Wildcat Wedding

Posted on Sep 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’m back after a brief blogging hiatus to attend the wedding of two dear friends, Ms. Brett Saunders (now Knabe) and Darren Knabe.  I met both Brett and Darren at Northwestern, so this wedding also functioned as a college reunion of sorts. Let me tell you, this was not the wedding to be pregnant at.  To recap: The rehearsal dinner: The rehearsal dinner was held at a Mexican restaurant.  Please reference the below picture. Yes, it is a lovely picture of the bride-to-be and one of her bridesmaids, Elena, but what I really want to you notice is the GIANT margarita glass in the foreground.  If you read my last post, you know my affinity for margaritas.  Feeling feisty, I ordered a non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri to distract myself from the margarita magic happening all around me.  It was such a disappointment, not even worth the calories to drink.  Meanwhile my icy, salted beverage of choice taunted me as everyone around me partook in the massive margs; all I could do was drool, and drool is not exactly a welcome addition to an already shiny, pregnancy-bloated face. Pregnancy: 1, Diana: 0 The grooming: The morning of the wedding, the bridal party (did I mention I was a bridesmaid?) joined the bride for hair and makeup.  Being that Baby now likes to keep me awake most of the night, I have some serious under-eye circles going on.  No amount of makeup can cover those bad boys up.  And now they will be forever immortalized in Brett and Darren’s wedding album.  Sorry, guys. Pregnancy: 2, Diana: 0 The bridesmaid dress:  The dress was actually beautiful (thanks, Brett!) and a very flattering pregnancy style.  As I seem to be expanding by the minute, I was more than a tad nervous it might not zip up come game time.  Since crash diets aren’t approved for pregnancy (or ever, really), I could only pray that it would fit.  It took some help, but it zipped!  Take that, Pregnancy! Pregnancy: 2, Diana: 1 The bridesmaid dress, part II: Despite the flattering, flowy style, I still felt...

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Reflections on Summer

Posted on Sep 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

Hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!  Damon and I spent the first half of the weekend in Annapolis for his USNA 10 year reunion.  (I have to say, the Naval Academy grads have held up pretty darn well 10 years post-graduation). Yesterday we spent actually laboring (and by “we”, I mean Damon): building the changing table, bookshelf and crib for the nursery.  Well, we Damon tried to build the crib, but this is how it arrived: Hmmm.  I don’t think that meets US safety regulations. Crib or no crib, summer is over (although someone has yet to inform the heat and humidity), and for me, this is cause for celebration.  If you came to this post thinking I was going to joyfully detail the greatness of the beaches and BBQs that typically characterize summer, you’ve probably never read this blog before.  Mourn the departure of the warm-weather months?  Not likely.  No, no.  In fact, I am going to tell you why planning your pregnancy to fall during summertime is a terrible, awful, no-good, very bad idea. My mom always said to plan for spring babies so you don’t have to be pregnant during summer.  Did I listen?  Of course not.  Oh, how I wish I had.  Here’s why: 1)    Summer is hot.  I know.  This is not news.  But it’s even hotter when you’re pregnant.  It’s even hotter when you’re pregnant and experience record-breaking heat waves. Somehow I managed to visit Washington D.C. the two hottest weekends on record, Charleston when the heat index hit triple-digits, and Southern California the one week of the entire summer the temperatures rose to the high-90s.  How does that happen?  Not to mention my actual hometown is its own muggy swampland. Add anywhere from 10-30 pounds of extra pregnancy padding, and you’re doomed to be a literal hot mess all summer long. 2)    I entered my second trimester very early summer.  This means I spent the majority of the season in the I-don’t-look-pregnant-only-fat stage.  This during the season of shorts and sundresses!?  Forget bathing suits.  Now I love a hot...

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Chivalry is Dead – And Hipsters Killed It

Posted on Sep 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

I realize that my last post was travel-themed.  However given that it is Labor Day Weekend, a notoriously busy traveling weekend, I’d like to offer a few more thoughts to my fellow travelers.  Specifically, to my fellow male travelers: Help me with my freaking bags, you useless, inconsiderate, pathetic excuses for men. Seriously – I have not once been helped with my carry on luggage in the past six months.  It’s as if pregnancy is an excuse for men not to assist me.  When did this happen?  When did it become socially acceptable for an able-bodied man to stand idly by and watch a lady struggle to lift her luggage? Within the past year, I’ve flown to Orange County, Los Angeles and San Francisco more times than I care to count.  I’ve flown to Asia and Europe.  I’ve also flown to a variety of other cities including Las Vegas, Indianapolis and New York, among others.  While on a couple of these flights I have been accompanied by my husband – who is a true gentleman and always carries my luggage and sometimes even my purse (but only when my back is really, really aching) – most of the time I am flying solo. Let’s examine the flights to San Francisco.  Do you think anyone ever helps me on those flights?  Ha!  Everyone on the San Fran flights is either high or a hipster.  This is what I have to say to all you skinny hipster “men”: I don’t care if your jeans are tighter than mine.  I don’t care if I can beat you in a push-up contest.  Summon whatever ounce of manliness you possess buried in the depths of your souls and pick up my bags for me.  I promise I won’t tell anyone. How about the flights to Europe?  Any assistance then?  Nope!  To the European men: I’ve been on your continent enough to know you have no problem inappropriately cat calling me or grabbing my ass.  Whatever.  I can deal.  But in return I ask that you please store my luggage in the overhead compartment.  Thank...

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