So I haven’t technically worn a bra since October…

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Ah, where to begin…

We went to Disneyland in October. I really hate Disneyland, and what I hate the most is that I have to wear regular clothing for a really long time. Like 9 in the morning until late at night.

That is just intolerable.

During the week (and on weekends and holidays), I typically stay in regular clothes no longer than a few hours. Eight, tops. And by “regular” I mean – like – jeans, sweaters, bras, shoes.

So back to Disneyland, we went in October. I was dressed all day and wearing a bra. It was really hot out that day – like 85 I think – and I was sweating for a while in the sun standing in line, and somehow that gave me a rash of some sort from the combination of the silky material of my bra and the sweat. All over my left side and back I had a gross heat rash for about a week. It was miserable and I absolutely could not wear a bra because it just made it worse.

As that week drew to a close, I realized something very striking: there is really, and truly, very little reason for me to even wear bras most of the time. I mean I do have sort-of big boobs (though when I say that to my bustier friends, they all laugh heartily at my 36Cs, which they often refer to as a drop in the booby bucket). In any event, they are big to me.

But I also wear those bra-ish tank tops most days, and I certainly don’t give a fuck about saggage and people seeing my nipples poking out through my shirt when I’m cold, and shit. Oh no – someone might sort-of witness a naturally occurring phenomenon that somehow became totally taboo and referred to as ‘cutting glass’ (because you can totally cut a piece of glass with a soft bit of pink flesh).

So I haven’t worn a regular bra since then.

That isn’t entirely true, though, on two counts: one is that thing I just said about the bra-ish tank tops (the ones with the bra-like insert in them); the other is that sometimes I’ll wear those nylon casual bras that have no padding or hooks or wires or anything – you just pull them over your head. Kind of like a sports bra only much looser.

I save those for fancy times, like when we go out.

The other day I came to realize this and as a result went immediately to my nearest Gap Outlet and bought more of those little nylon pull over the head things made of wonderful, which was the moment I realized that I may never wear a regular bra again. It’s just that I’m so much more comfortable now, and also just don’t care. I’m sure I eventually will, but damn do I feel free right now.

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And on the note of being freer, I’ve also noticed lately that I’ve shied away from wearing regular clothes, and wear yoga pants and stretch pants out to even do errands and (most recently) hang out at the in-law’s house. This is a big step for me, personally. I live in California – the land of judging and anorexia – so to be so lax in my physical appearance means that I’ve finally crossed over that bridge of insecurity into the land of truly not caring about what people think of me. In spite of how Judgy McJudgerson seemingly everyone in my immediate surroundings can be.

This is huge for me. Huge in a good way.

So I’m wearing my yogas and my lounge pants so much now that they are wearing out quicker, which gave me a reason to buy more than just those non-bra nylon bras this weekend. As I walked up to the checkout to pay for my nylon things, and my new stockpile of lounge clothes, the sales clerk started gushing about how comfortable the lounge clothes there are, and how she wanted so badly to wear them all the time. I smiled and nodded and muttered a …”you are so right… I wish I could wear them all the time too!! Because I totally don’t now. Not in the least bit…………..”

Right then.

As I walked out of there, and headed home, I wondered to myself if this is just another sign that I’m depressed; or that I’m unhealthy and not taking care of myself. I wondered if this is just a phase – where I’m just too busy to look cute.

But then I realized that none of this could be any further from the truth.

I take care of myself, quite well actually. I am active, I shower and put on makeup every, single day.

I eat healthy foods too. It’s been this way as long as I can remember, except for one thing: I didn’t have a healthy feeling about myself. I always felt uncomfortable in my clothes, and worried about what people would think of what I was wearing. How I looked.

Now I just don’t give a fuck. Don’t. Don’t give a fuck. I think this is healthier than anything else I could ever do for myself, which is why I love that I’m not wearing real bras or real clothes; plus who is to say what is ‘real’ anyway?

So I haven’t technically worn a bra since October. And I wear lounge clothes or pajamas all day, most days. My husband still loves me and I feel about a million times better about myself now than I have in years.

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I Like The Cold

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People always look at me like I’m a complete moron when I tell them that I like the cold. As in cold outside, you know: snow, sleet, wind chill.

I get jealous when I see that there are blizzards going on somewhere in the world.

I live in California. Particularly, Southern California. We have one dial on the weather-o-meter and that’s about it: 70s and sunny. Sometimes we get fog. Occasionally it rains for a few days. Once in a while the winds blow and it hits 90; or the ocean blows in some high 60s.

High 60s. Anything below that and the city in which we live shuts down.

By contrast, I grew up in Chicago. Those of you that have been hanging around the blog for a while know how much I love the city and its suburbs. In the winter, and sometimes in the fall and spring, it is exceedingly cold in Chicago. Like cold-cold.

And I love it.

I guess maybe you don’t realize what it’s like to live in a place that has virtually no weather variation at all until you have. I’ve lived in Southern California now for almost 14 years and I can say without a doubt that it is beyond boring, mainly because of the weather. Yeah, it’s nice to not have to worry about things like closed-toed shoes or scarves and hats. Sure you have the ocean with the EPA’s estimation that thousands of people take a dump in that water every day while out surfing or swimming (related note: I do not ever go in the Pacific Ocean). Okay, you have the beaches you can go to any time of the year ….unless, of course, they’re closed because of all the hypodermic needles sticking out of the sand.

But there is no changing of the leaves really, especially not as dramatically as in the Midwest. You never have the excitement of jumping in a pile of freshly raked leaves; or by contrast the thrill of knowing that spring is just around the corner.

There will never be a first snow of the year for Southern Californians.

No, there will be first snow in the mountains that people will get in their cars and drive to, only after the snowing has already happened. And only for a little while before getting back in their cars and driving home to the 70s and sunny before nightfall.

You cannot get much more monotonous than that.

What I’m saying is that there are no changes of the seasons, which means there is none of the living that comes along with it. I equate living with having these experiences that are unique and exciting and different. Not monotony. Shoveling. Snow balls. Raking leaves. Seeing fresh flowers bloom. Feeling snow in your hair. Ice skating. Sledding in your back yard. Bundling up in a hat, scarf, and gloves for a football game. Hot chocolate when it isn’t actually hot out.

In 70s and sunny every day, there is not much room for exciting and different experiences when it comes to the weather. I find this ironic because in California we pride ourselves on organic-living, which should extend well beyond just the foods we eat into the way we live. And yet there is nothing organic at all about making fake snow at Disneyland or having to drive four hours in traffic to see orange, brown, and red leaves.

I don’t know, maybe it’s all in my head. I must be biased because I love Chicago and dislike California. I’m sure there is an entire conglomerate of blog followers, family, friends, and people that just like to hate me waiting to tell me how I am making no sense. I have rocks in my brains for liking cold weather, or I’ve just forgotten what a foot of snow feels like.

The bottom line, though, is that I’m home again, in suburban Chicago for the holiday. And I felt more alive as I stood in the snow yesterday afternoon than at any point in the last 14 years that I’ve lived in Southern California. I was cold. My fingers felt numb. But I could feel it, and I knew I was there because of it. There was nothing monotonous about it at all, and that is living.

28 Imperative To-Dos

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So yesterday was my birthday. Did any of you people get me a fucking birthday cake? No. No you didn’t.

To be fair, I didn’t really announce that my birthday was coming up, quite like I did last year. When I turned 30, I wouldn’t shut the hell up about it for about nine months before the day. The 31st birthday isn’t quite as much of a milestone, and – frankly – I’d like to continue to believe I’m still 28 anyway. I mean I just finally referred to myself as “30 years old” a couple weeks ago – for the first time; and even that sent me screaming for the bottle of Xanax and pint of peach Schnapps. I’d like to get back to the whole 28 forever thing.

So I forgive you. I didn’t need the cake calories anyway.

You all shouldn’t feel bad, though, because even Poor Nick didn’t arrange cake for me. We had a little game night last month for my birthday, although I didn’t get a piece of that cake (that I baked). I was too busy playing hostess of game night, then he took it to work the next day. Yesterday on my actual birthday, I celebrated by buying myself a piece of low fat, flourless chocolate cake after it had become clear that no one else in my house arranged anything. It was tastier and better for me than anything they would have gotten anyway.

So in spite of all of the lackadaisical attempts to woo me with carbs and frosting, I have ushered in my 31st year with a little celebration of my own. By “celebration” I mean I made a to-do list of imperatives for the next year. You do all know how much I love my lists, and they’re “imperatives” because these are things that had better happen in the next year, or they’re never going to happen. I kept my list at my dream number. If I think “28” enough times, it will come true. Right?

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#1 Celebrate my generation.

I don’t mean “my generation” like the general group of people that make up these incredibly douchey, overworked, a-hole hipster 30-somethings. I mean celebrate the generation in which I was born. I’m talking about the motherfucking 80s, bitches.

Fortunately, all I have to do is open my closet and I’m confronted with 80s attire. I’ve loaded the Netflix que with 80s classics that can be watched on repeat. And the newest station plugged into my Pandora is “80s playlist.” Now… where’s my crimper?

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#2 On the note of my crimper…

This year’s biggest to-do is to keep up on my womanhood. Keep my hair feeling nice. Take the time I need to shave my hairy legs. Get my nails done when they need to be done, rather than when my feet begin to look like a gargoyle’s. I can’t feel like a woman if I don’t treat myself like one.

#3 Eat more pho.

#4 Drink more Italian sodas.

#5 Punch every person in the balls that I hear judging others for their weight and/or eating habits and/or relaxation activities.

Just because I like to eat salad and be active doesn’t mean I need to judge others for having different values than me. I think I will reach superhero status if I punch people in the balls that do not agree with my philosophy on this.

#6 Knit myself a bunch of shit.

Knit others nothing. All I ever do is knit things for others! It’s time to do some work for myself.

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#7 Finish my goal of reading 52 books for 2013.

I am currently on #13.

#8 Publish my next blog book.

I feel like I’m sort of cheating on this one. My Wife’s a Bitch is already slated to come out Tuesday, June 4th. Have you sent me a video for the trailer yet?

#9 Start working on my next novel.

#10 Stop worrying about blogging, writing, and reading quotas

I know, this runs contrary to #s 7 – 9.

#11 Purge even more things from our apartment than I did during spring cleaning last month.

#12 Update our wall art.

With my own paintings.

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#13 Update my wardrobe.

With clothes that actually fit, versus the ones right now that fall off me – they are just too big.

#14 Buy myself some new bras.

Seriously. I have two.

#15 Consider therapy to explore why I only wear black underpants.

#16 Acquire more jewelry.

Why was I left out on the memo that women wear jewelry? And on how good it can make you feel to wear it?

#17 Acquire more diamonds.

By giving my husband more blow jobs.

That was a joke. I don’t give my husband blow jobs to begin with, so the concept of beginning, or giving “more” is false. But I could perhaps start letting him hug me for his own “personal use” on occasion.

I’m still kidding. I typically prefer to be untouched.

#18 Acquire more animals for my apartment.

My apartment is rapidly becoming a house of murder. I just really love my ode to taxidermy.

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#19 Save money…

…to buy myself a Sleep Number bed.

#20 Move out of our shitty apartment.

Preferably somewhere that I don’t get contact high just from walking outdoors.

#21 Move to a bigger place.

Where I can have a little space from the crazy people that comprise my family.

#22 Demand a room all for me.

…at said bigger place. Right now I get hardly any space, and my writing is confined to the couch; my artwork having to be done outside.

#23 Move home, to Chicago.

#24 Have more babies.

That’s right I didn’t just say “have a baby,” I said “have more babies.” And I just contradicted my little diatribe under #17 about not allowing my husband to touch me. (I think I need to squeeze “spend all year contradicting myself” into this list somewhere.)

In any event, I’m determined to birth as many little, slime-y shitters as I can, just to get revenge on some of our family that seems to be opposed to us procreating like good Catholics.

I also think babies are cool. But I ain’t no spring chicken, and have no plans of being wheeled into my kid’s high school graduation(s) in a wheel chair on life support because I’m pushing 100. It’s now or never, Poor Nick. Now or never.

#25 Embarrass more frequently.

I have really been failing at my job as parent, when it comes to embarrassing. My parents embarrassed the everliving shit out of me when I was a kid. And it’s why I’m able to be comfortable in my own skin, and just be me now.

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#26 Do a three month set of homeschooling…

…that is entirely the way I want to do it. Just to see how it goes. (Right now I still cow-tow to traditional school standards, as well as family pressure.)

#27 Tolerate less bullshit.

…still, kids weald a lot of bullshit too. There is no reason to tolerate the tantrums, and following that up with begging and pleading to get them to stop. I’m telling you faithful blog followers – time outs and consequences aren’t just a thing of the past.

#28 Throw absolutely no more parties this year.

Well, except for a friend’s baby shower this June… but that’s it for me.

It’s time to start enjoying my time on this earth. Life’s too short to always be running yourself ragged for others, while sitting around and waiting for people to celebrate “you” only for them to do nothing. That’s why I bought my own piece of cake yesterday, and why this next year is the year of me.

Or you might call it: the year of the B(itch). It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? What are on your to-dos this year, faithful blog followers?

Three Years Ago, Today…

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Today is a big day for me. It’s the anniversary of the day I reinvented myself and changed to an entirely different path down the hellish walk of life. Of course it’s taken about this long to actually accept that it’s the way to my future, whether I like it or not – but let’s not get too esoteric and critical of just what I’ve been doing with my sanity for these last three years.

I’m getting ahead of myself, and at the same time being very vague. Let me be more specific.

On March 11th, 2010, I officially withdrew from graduate school. I started working on a book (I have yet to publish, maybe never will). I started this blog.

Leaving graduate school was a really big deal for me. My eyes had been directed towards that Ph.D. and university teaching career for as long as I could remember – it’s why I moved to California, it’s why I worked to get experience and recommendations in politics, and it’s what I lived and breathed for close to a decade. Asking me to give all of that up – at the time – was essentially asking me to destroy those ten years of hard work and dedication. It was in essence wiping “me” out of existence – I truly defined myself by that chosen path (stupidly).

But I gave it up anyway, because I valued my marriage and family over a career. In spite of how hard it was, and how much I wanted there to be a way to work it all out, I realized that everyone should be willing to make such a sacrifice. At the end of days, none of us will say “I wish I had worked another day.” I guarantee you that.

So in the blink of an eye, a signature on a piece of paper, and a return of my student loan money, it was all gone. Now I’m a Stay at Home Mom and housewife. I’m a mom blogger, or humor blogger if you will. I write a lot, but haven’t published much beyond this blog (just yet). I knit and read voraciously. I homeschool. And I’m getting back into painting and drawing – my original passion as a studio arts major upon entering college.

Today, though – on the third anniversary of that fateful day in the history of my adult life (of which I’m sure there will be many) – I think I’ve finally accepted this new station in life, and I realize how much it’s changed me, fundamentally.

I Have Much Stronger Opinions About Parenting

I don’t want to be one of those assholes that takes a side in the Mommy Wars and dukes it out to the bloody death. Ultimately, I could give two coconuts less if you breastfeed or bottle feed; work or stay at home; homeschool or compulsory day school. Everyone has a different situation and a different life to live – who the shit am I to tell them what to do?

644338_663594834023_1303244296_nBut for myself, I have much stronger opinions. For example, I would feel horrible if I stopped homeschooling, because I can see the amazing impacts it has had. I think it would be terribly selfish for me to go work full time just because I want more consistent adult interaction too. Everyone has a different situation, I know; but a part of me wants to ask about the mothers that work around the clock, when they don’t need to.

My husband and I talked about his carpool lady just the other night; and while I don’t want to judge and feel she’s a monster (I already dislike this woman for how inconsiderate and flaky she is with the carpool anyway), I can’t help but question how this woman can leave her four year old daughter every day from early in the morning until late at night – for one reason and one reason only: she likes to edit. She never has dinner with her daughter. She doesn’t work close enough to pop in for a school play, or to pick her kid up after school gets out. She leaves at 7:15 in the morning and comes home between 8 or 10 o’clock at night, because (as my husband puts it): “sure, she doesn’t need to work because her husband has a good job, but editing is her thing.”

So while I would never go on Dr. Phil and say that a woman is selfish and shouldn’t have kids if she works out of home, or conversely that she has no meaning in life if she stays at home, as this third year comes to a close, I am finding it harder and harder to keep my opinions to myself as I find some of these issues to be a lot more complex than they are on the surface.

I Care About Different Things Now

When I was in school, I cared about arguing philosophically. I was passionate about Plato and Aristotle – in fact friends of mine would start arguments about the Forms while in a bar. I was genuinely concerned about politics in America, and I truly believed that my political philosophy would help shape the future (even when I knew how naive and unrealistic that was, I still cared). I didn’t care about reading good literature, I wanted to read boring essays about epistemology and logical syllogisms.

In other words: I was a jerk off.

Now I care about good books. Books that I can escape in, or that mean something other than an erudite’s egotistical view of reality. Sure, I still wax philosophical, and I look for meaning in everything – but now it’s actual meaning that I’m looking for. Not just ideas that mean nothing to my life.

I care about relationships now too. When I was in school, and to some degree when I worked in politics, anyone that got in my way or sucked time from my valuable career path was a sacrifice worth making. I’m not just talking about romantic relationships, either – friendships, family relations, you name it; I didn’t give a shit if it didn’t have to do with getting my Ph.D. and becoming a teacher. In fact, I was so sucked into the most important thing (myself) that I didn’t visit my home, my family, and my soul (Chicago) for that entire decade. For the sake of attaining some ridiculous goal, I completely rejected my former life and anything that got in my way.

What a terribly pompous and vacuous existence I led for those ten years. To even admit that this was how I thought and felt brings shame to the forefront of my heart and mind.

My name is Heather and I am a recovering douchehole.

535492_663351297073_1206119718_nSo in the three years since leaving graduate school, my entire life and my entire self have changed. I no longer lament the end of the person I was, because the person I’ve become is so much more rewarding. Blogging, momming, wifing, writing – these things have helped me learn that what defines me is not what I do, but who I am. My husband got me a star registry for Valentine’s Day this year and – much to his dismay – I named it the Star of the B(itch). I thought that was so much more meaningful than just my name. It isn’t to say this blog is who I am, or that I am inherently a rancid bitch (well, I am); and it further shouldn’t imply that I believe “Heather Christena Schmidt” is a bad person. It’s just that I like who I am as Queen B(itch) now, rather than the lonely court jester I was just three years and a day ago.

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“I’m Pregnant!”

Hah! Man … did I fool you suckers.

There would be so many terrible, terrible; horrific things about me saying those words in earnest. For one, that would have necessarily required me to experience an awkward 30 seconds with my husband some time in the last month. Yes, that’s right: Poor Nick and I would have had sex. Ick, we’re married – I prefer bickering until we fall asleep, thank you very much. For two, the poor kid would have come out with some major fetal alcohol issues, because Mama Bear’s been sucking back the ol’ box -o- Franzia pretty hard this month.

So, sorry to announce, but there will be no more Pookies added to the clan. At least not this month. (Unless shit gets immaculate conception, in which case we are all screwed.)

It’s amazing, though, how those two words change over the course of our lives. In the last few weeks, I’ve had a whopping total of four friends – count them, FOUR – inform me that they are withchild. Each is in a much different situation than the next, too. So while I’ve sucked back my Franzia and shoved my tropical flavored marshmallows down my gullet in celebration, I’ve done a lot of thinking about just what the appropriate responses have been over time.

Teens – “I’m Pregnant!”

I think the only response to a teenager winding up pregnant is “oh fuck.” Or “oh shit” – or some variant of either. I had a few friends in high school that ended up having babies by the end of our senior year. It wasn’t pretty for any of them, and they were each amazing young women to deal with it all if you ask me.

Nonetheless, when a teenager winds up pregnant it’s one of two scenarios. Either it was an accident and she is terrified. Or she’s psychotic, in which case the dude should run and hide. I’ll never forget that episode of Jerry Springer with the teenage girls that wanted to get pregnant. During his final thought, he mentioned how “not right in the head” they all were.

20s – “I’m Pregnant!”

This could go one of two ways, and sadly the majority of the people in their 20s that I have known have been in the latter. Either it is someone that got married and had babies early. Or it’s another accidental pregnancy, although not necessarily a bad thing in the end.

Because of the uncertainty of just what “I’m pregnant” coming from a 20-something (especially earlier 20s) means, I have always considered that the most important time to tread lightly. One friend who got pregnant on a one night stand when we were only 22 dealt with it rather well; and she is now one of the greatest mothers I know. Another who had been married for a few years sobbed uncontrollably for three days.

Tread lightly.

30s – “I’m Pregnant!”

Here is where I am now and I’ll tell you: it makes me feel old.

No matter what situation anyone is in, when you are in your 30s, your clock is ticking and finding out that you are pregnant is going to bring nothing but a lot of congratulations. It’s going to bring on baby showers. It’s going to bring on excitement.

And if it isn’t, you are in a position in life where everyone around you knows exactly what will go down. And you are all mature enough to handle it maturely.

When you are in your 30s, there’s no more “oh shit … what are you going to do?” There isn’t any more gossip or shit talk. If a woman has a baby in her 30s and doesn’t have a boyfriend or husband, everyone just assumes she did it through IVF or some other donorship arrangement. If a woman has a baby in her 30s and has a boyfriend or husband, no one ever jumps to Maury or randomized state paternity testing to make sure the baby daddy is accurately identified.

In your 30s, a baby is pretty much the status quo.

40s and 50s – “I’m Pregnant!”

My opinion is that when a woman reaches her 40s or 50s and announces to the world that she is pregnant, that she gets a little more scrutiny such as she would have in her 20s.

This doesn’t mean I think there is anything necessarily wrong with it.

This isn’t to say that I am saying people are bad for doing it.

I just mean that a lot of people in society question people’s decision to have babies so late. Is it safe? Why wait so long? And so on. Although I don’t really know because I haven’t encountered anyone that has had babies that late in the game.

Yet.

60s – “I’m Pregnant!”

You, old bitty, are off your fucking rocker. Or you’re one of those weirdos that gives birth to their grandkids since their daughter or daughter-in-law is drier than the Sahara Desert.

I won’t even go there.

So am I reading too much into this? Perhaps I am. Perhaps I am thinking too much about it in an effort to justify the excitedness with which I approached the pregnancy announcements of all four of my friends this last week. Or maybe I’m trying to just over-think things to silence the noise of my own biological clock ticking slower and slower each passing year.

But ick. That would mean an awkward 30 seconds with Poor Nick. And while it would only be about 30 seconds, there are plenty of other things I could do with that time. Like suck back some more of my box -o- Franzia. Or do some 1-click purchases on Amazon with all that baby money being saved.

Congratulations to all my friends that have successfully inseminated and recently given birth!! You are all the greatest moms this Mama Bear could ever be lucky enough to know!

Fall Makes Me Homesick

Therefore, it needs to end now.

I got really into fall at first. I do every year. I got the pumpkins. And the goards and shit. Halloween was a big fucking fiasco of costumes and events and more events and hayrides. I’ve baked tons of pumpkin-flavored things, and will bake more. We’re even hosting a Thanksgiving-themed open house the weekend before Thanksgiving.

But it makes me super homesick too.

I miss the falling leaves that give the time of year the title “fall.” We have some in California, but those aren’t brown and golden and red. They’re green and caused by 90 degree Santa Ana winds, and I’m allergic to them.

I miss the change of the weather. People say “oh … we have a change of weather here.” You don’t say? Because next week it’s projected to be in the mid-80s again and I’ll be sitting inside in the air conditioning as Thanksgiving closes in. Change of seasons?

I miss having my family close by. I have my dad here and my husband’s family, and of course my mom’s trailer trash family; but it isn’t my family. Most of them don’t want much to do with me either. And it isn’t my aunt and uncle that helped my dad raise me after my mom left. It’s not my cousins. It isn’t my vast group of friends that I have always considered to be closer than some of my closest blood relatives. There isn’t that same sense of community I had growing up.

So fall makes me homesick. But who am I kidding? Just about every time of year, and every thing I see, makes me homesick. It goes without saying I’m ready for this experiment of living on the West Coast to come to an end.

Until it does, and as fall continues on and I continue to feel homesick around every turn of every bend, I hold fast to the things that I have here that I call home.

Pizza, Deli Sandwiches, and Pumpkin Pie

Pizza is my most staple food item when I get homesick. I don’t want to hear anybody’s crap about how bad that is for me either. A pizza with nothing but cheese (which is how I like it), or even pizza dough with other ingredients (like in the picture above), has less saturated fat and cholesterol on it than some salads. Deli-style sandwiches with nothing but a slice of cheese and loads of lettuce come in at a close second.

Pumpkin pie is also a big homesickness-reliever, which is good because as compared to apple pie, cherry pie, cheesecake, cake, candy, and other desserts, pumpkin pie without the crust is fat free. I can eat bucketfuls of that shit (and believe you me, I do) without all the guilt.

Cheesy 80s and 90s Movies

How many cheesy 80s movies are not set in the Midwest, and particularly in Chicago? From Girls Just Wanna’ Have Fun to Ferris Buehler’s Day Off; into the 90s with High Fidelity. I even watch Father of the Bride, parts I and II. The scenery, the weather, the culture I grew up with all makes me feel just a little bit better when I’m feeling homesick.

Chicago Team Gear

I have enough Chicago team gear to get me through any bout of homesickness. I have a sweatshirt from my high school, two hoodies from the Chicago Bulls, a third hoodie that just says ‘City of Chicago,’ two White Sox t-shirts, two Bears shirts, a Bulls shirt that doesn’t fit, I have a Bulls bumper sticker on my car, two Bulls lanyards I have yet to use, and my computer even has a sticker of Michael Jordan on the back of it.

And I have a story to go with all of it, which I’m sure the people in my immediate life are sick of hearing. But if they’re so sick of hearing it, or sick of hearing about how homesick I am, they can maybe stop being so stubborn and give the Midwest a shot (ahem …..).

My Fun Fall Swap

Lastly, I participated in this thing called a Fun Fall Swap. Some bloggers that were into the fall stuff (as I was initially) decided to get together, have one person send out “secret swapper” info, and then we all had one month to send out a fall-themed gift.

I got mine a week ago, and while I cannot figure out for the life of me who sent it (I’m betting it’s either “My Brain On Kids” or “Diapers Or Wine“…), it is nonetheless the best of the swap gifts I have seen so far.

UPDATE: It was Quirky Chrissy … I love her more than I love french toast. If you know me, you know that’s a big deal.

Knowing how in love I am with all-things-Midwest, my secret swapper sent me this awesome reprint of a World’s Fair Chicago poster. I know what you are saying: “how in the hell is that fall?” Well, duh … it says November. That’s more fucking fall than all the hay bail, pumpkin, and brown-colored shit out there.

My fun fall swap could not have come at a better time: when I’m homesick. Sitting on the couch in yoga pants and my Bulls sweatshirt that is beginning to smell a little bit like feet since I won’t stop wearing it; with half-eaten slices of pizza around me and pumpkin pie smeared on my face. As I continue to shovel more pumpkin pie and stare longingly at Michael Jordan on the back of my computer, with 80s movies on Netflix playing on repeat in the background. And every time Sarah Jessica Parker says in the opening scene of ‘Girls Just Wanna’ Have Fun’: “My daydream was always the same – that some day I was gonna’ get to Chicago, because that’s where they make Dance TV,” I mouth the words, bits of deli sandwich falling out of my mouth to mix with my homesick tears.

My fun fall swap arrived just in time to save me from this destitute.

Okay, it didn’t save me from shit. Framed, it now sits next to me on the couch and joins the ranks of things I stare longingly at. But it’s still a good thing. Big, big thanks to whomever my fall swapper was … your pick was perfect.

Now I would love for fall to be over. So then we’ll get through the holidays and holiday time depression can be over, then it will be a new year and who knows what the new year will bring?

How Being a Parent Is Much Like Being In a Mental Institute

The other day we watched Girl, Interrupted. I always have mixed feelings about that movie. On one hand, it’s a cute and yet offbeat coming of age story. On another hand, it isn’t too terribly realistic in the interest of giving the characters more leeway to move the story along.

Not that I know what it’s like to be in a mental institute or anything, I can only assume. But who are we kidding: we all know I’m headed for one at some point anyway.

So to my point. While watching this movie, not only did I realize that I’m headed for a mental institute, I also realized that being a parent is much like being in one already.

Here’s how.

#1 There’s always something you feel paranoid about

I always assume that a fair number of those people that wear tinfoil hats and think the government is poisoning all of our food in a mass conspiracy wind up having occasional stays in their local or state-run mental hospital. Paranoia is a big thing for the mentally ill, as it is with being a parent.

Someone gets a cut and everyone’s having a fucking heart attack looking for the Neosporin and the gauze and shit these days. And it seems like a lot of people lately have become those douchey parents that rush their kids to the doctor when they sneeze, then slaps them on 10 day courses of antibiotics “just to be safe.” Over a fucking sneeze!

It’s no surprise, but being a parent comes with a daily level of paranoia. Being responsible for someone else’s survival is a big deal, so it seems to some degree rightfully so. But many of us (myself included) take it too far, which is where we rank alongside the tinfoil hat, conspiracy theorists.

#2 Auditory hallucinations are a regular thing

I cannot tell you how many times I hear someone say “mom” when there has been nothing but silence. Anything that sounds remotely like it ends up being a “MOMMY!” in my ears – it is just said to me that much.

When you are a parent, it’s as though you are hypersensitive to the requests because there are always so many. The other day at the grocery store I saw a woman respond to her kid, when someone else’s kid three aisles over could faintly be heard whining “MOM!!!!”

#3 Someone is always with you in the bathroom

In Girl, Interrupted I was reminded of my daily existence when Winona Ryder’s character is bitching and griping because Whoopie Goldberg is watching her shave her legs. In a mental institute, it’s of course to prevent suicide since so many people either get there because they are suicidal, or become suicidal because they are there.

At my home it’s because no one has any sense of privacy. Today I shaved my legs and a random dance party broke out outside the shower. I’ve peed three times today and each time I was interrupted with requests.

#4 Crying and screaming in the corner or inside a closet is commonplace

In fact, I’m crying and screaming in the corner right now.

#5 You’re always doped up

After a day of the fighting and the complaining and the whining and the time outs and the throwing food on the floor and the ass wiping and the complaining some more and the dropping paint on the couch and the juice box being stepped on and squirted all over the carpet that just got cleaned, every parent I know has one of two coping mechanisms:

(1) A mommy’s juice box, box of Franzia wine; or,

(2) A bowl of Valium with milk.

#6 Every once in a while, someone loses it and gets the rest of the inmates riled up

Have you ever been in a room full of kids and one of them gets hurt or something and starts crying, then all of a sudden all of them are crying and not a goddamned one of them even knows why?

Yeah, I have. It never stops either. You think after something like Kindergarten it would come to an end. Your child is now in the primary grades or is growing up to double digits and everything will be cool because surely they are now much more emotionally mature than that.

Errr. Wrong. Kids don’t emotionally mature with their bodies until something like boob and wet dreams time, and even then sometimes they don’t emotionally mature until they fuck up and get sent to jail.

#7 Long wispy looks out the window towards freedom

Any parent that claims they have never lamented their life before kids is a total dillhole. It’s just not true and do you know why? Because it’s okay to do so. When your kids are grown and have kids, they will totally understand and feel the same way. It’s the way life is. Sometimes having kids can be a little isolating. Sometimes it can be a little depressing. Occasionally it can be so nerve-wracking that all you want to do is run away screaming towards freedom, even though you never in a million years would or could even define what freedom to you means anymore.

I think that’s something that happens a lot in mental institutes too, at least that’s what you see in movies. But every movie I’ve seen where someone is institutionalized, when given the opportunity to leave they end up staying. Sure it’s for a different reason, and there aren’t a line of asses in the bathroom waiting to be wiped clean, but I think you get my point.

So now that I’ve clearly proven myself to be Mother of the Year, I’m going to go look into some local mental institutes out in the rolling meadows or up on the top of some plateaus, where I can wrap myself in blankets and have that nervous breakdown I’ve been staving off for a few years now. Then I’m going to eat a bowl of Valium with milk for dinner and call it a night until the auditory hallucinations wake me up again in time for the late night pee show in our bathroom.