Huh, I was all set to be a fan of Dolly and Dollywood but then I got that album with Jolene on it, and it has a song called “Crackerjack,” about how cracker jack is her best friend, confidante, and playmate. I…just…can’t…


If I had a choice between $30,000 and being thinner, I don’t know. Thirty-thousand is a lot of money. My co-worker said she’d choose the money and then hire a trainer, but hmmmm…

gwyneth and dolly

I don’t want to Gwyneth-bash, but I can’t say “I really admire her for creating something out of nothing, for feeling the artistic drive so fiercely that she came out of nowhere.” This is not a pulling herself-up-from-her-bootstraps story. The girl had every opportunity and connection from the get-go, which is not a bad thing at all, and I do think she works very hard in preparing for her gigs…it’s just that I find the results are just so-so.

Dolly Parton — I don’t know when the heck I started digging Dolly Parton, but she not only sings, she writes music prolifically and has a good sense of humor about herself. She wrote “I believe the children are our future” (whatever that title is) for Whitney Houston and I think the theme to 9 to 5. Husband and I recently heard a cover of her song “Jolene” by Norah Jones, John Mayer, and Keith Urban (I keep wanting to call him Keith Bacon) on the Grammys, and it was outstanding — good lyrics, cool tune. We were like WOW, THAT DOLLY PARTON IS FREAKING TALENTED.

I remember Sassy magazine (remember that one?) wanted to feature her in an all-natural beauty issue in the 80s/90s (I forget which decade). They published her letter politely declining the invitation with a P.S. that stated there was nothing natural about her.

And she actually is someone who pulled herself up from her bootstraps. She grew up in like a coal-mining town, as totally broke as her neighbor. There was nothing in her environment that encouraged her to become an artist, and yet she freaking did it. She wrote and sang songs from a young age and made it big, and I sincerely think that is because she is gifted. That is a markedly different path from Gwyneth’s (no offense to her).

P.S. I did not Wikipedia this story so if it’s a lie, let me know. This is just gathered from bits and pieces I’ve read over the years.

Baby Walk

My friend J. (I am copying C.’s subtle ways on her blog) loaned us the walker to help Baby learn to walk. I’m considering putting like a bowling ball on it to discourage him from getting to that skill so fast.

One random thought: if they made that walker a mini-vacuum, that would be really cool.

As it is, maybe I’ll get one of these to wear him out:

That really is a treadmill for babies.

Dude, it is Toddler Olympics at our house. Husband and I are DEAD.

baby update

The day kicked off with baby vomit down my shirt.

Husband (still groggy, as it was 8 a.m. on a Saturday): You said he threw up six ounces. I don’t understand. I don’t see anything.
Me: Dude, that’s because it’s in my shirt.

And then Baby proceeded to be somewhat cranky and particular, though he went about his usual throwing Tupperware on the kitchen floor, flinging clothes out of his bureau, eating paper, eating dirt from the potted plant, bursting through his clothing, etc. The span of his reach has grown, so that he can now tap (or bang) on my computer when not discouraged. I am thinking I’m going to have to think of more structured activities for the kid, otherwise, he will just keep destroying our apartment. I went to see a play this afternoon, courtesy of a babysitting team made up of my cousin’s husband and sister, who entertained Baby quite well while I was away. On my return, he burst into intense tears, making this face–head thrown back, eyes shut, mouth corners wrenching down. He doesn’t cry like that too often, and of course, I don’t want him to suffer, but I find it really cute. My cousin’s husband asked him, “Why are you crying now? You were fine before, and now your mom’s back!” But I totally get it, because that’s the point when I cry — he hadn’t realized he missed me till I showed up again.

None of this is particularly dramatic, but just noting that Husband and I realize that Baby is leaving his infant days behind and entering…Toddlerhood. Oh boy. I’m going to need to start drinking coffee again.


Mom: So when are you going to move? You said you would move when the baby turned one, he’s one now. What about preschool? Didn’t you say you were going to apply for preschool?

Me (after surveying the kitchen floor strewn with Tupperware, tea boxes, and loose tea bags, listening to Baby crying from a need of Tylenol, thinking about taxes — and there was a lot more to this conversation): Mom, you get three annoying questions a day. I think you used two of them, so think carefully about how you want to use your last one.

Luckily, instead of asking a third question, she laughed.

Smart move, Tiger Grandma.


There’s a plot point in Parenthood where Lauren Graham’s character is so inspired by an idea that she stays up all night writing, and in the morning, the feeling of elation and inspiration stay with her. That just inspires me to say I WISH.

baby signs

There are baby signs that mean “milk,” “hungry,” “tired,” “pain,” etc., which seem enormously helpful in Parent-Baby communications. I can see Baby has the dexterity of hands and alert intelligence to learn these signs, but he’s not interested. Why bother, when grunting can get you more milk, get picked up, get your diaper changed, or the adult in the room to look at you.

The signs he has learned are for bye-bye (self-explanatory), high-five (self-explanatory), and “Who’s the man? You’re the man” (pointing fingers at each other).

Grandma Math

Baby had his one year check-up recently. He is 90% in head size, 90% in weight, and 50% in height, to which my mother said “Short and fat.”

So true.

stroller derby

I have long since put my schlepping days behind me, but today, I made an exception for my nine-month pregnant friend Kara in NJ. Not only is she operating with a handicap, but she’s always crazy generous with me, so I decided to not bother her husband and her, and return her stroller myself via subway.

The stroller itself is an amazing piece of work with large wheels, sturdy bassinet, NASA-strength frame — in other words, colossal. I put Kara’s baby gift, a baby football, and other sundry items she had loaned me in the part where the baby would normally go, making the whole thing a push cart special.

I’ve never brought a stroller on the subway before, I’ve always carried Baby in his baby backpack pouch, because of the nightmarish mix of dirty looks and heavy lifting. Turns out that is an accurate assessment. Honestly, the physical demands of the day wasn’t so bad, but the dirty looks galore were hard to take. There was one point when I was slowly making progress up a long flight of stairs. A woman volunteered to help me carry the stroller. So sweet! I told her she didn’t have to because it was just my stuff, no baby, but I think it must have been difficult to understand me in my awkward position, over the mountain of transported items, because when we got to the platform, she peeked in, saw no baby, got ticked off, and walked away cursing at herself.

At the PATH station, there was no exit for handicapped/stroller people so with as much He-Man grunting I could muster, I lifted the NASA stroller into the air above the turnstiles. Sadly, I’m not that strong, so I got stuck. A very nice senior citizen man helped me untangle myself and haul the buggy up the last flight of stairs. He actually helped me up two flights of stairs. I told him he should actually run when he sees someone like me.

But finally, I made it and swore I would never do this again.

My friend Becca was trying to make me feel better, saying that the dirty looks were probably in my head, but then I said, “The only people who use strollers as push carts are homeless people,” and she agreed.
P.S. On Thursday, a woman offered me her seat on the subway. I think it was because I was reading a baby sleep book (at least I hope that’s why), because I feel like I’m actually exhibiting a waist line these days. Yay ambiguous insult!