Facing Facebook

I found an interesting article on Slate today about Facebook. It's about Emily Yoffe trying to network through it, and her struggles with finding friends. And while her reasoning behind her Facebook friend status was because no one over 50 ever got on the site, it was alarmingly similar to my story. Deciding that I was way too young to be stuck in the same technological category as a 50-something (I mean, come on! My parents are 50-somethings!) I immediately signed on to Facebook to do something about it.

I'll admit it: I never really got caught up on Facebook. I mean, yeah, I signed up for it when everybody else in the world did, but I didn't have anything on my profile, and I linked it to an email address that gets checked about as often as the Cubs win the World Series (which for you non Cubs fans is basically never). So I didn't have any friends, but that didn't really bother me because frankly, I forgot that I was a member. Then one day the Seester shot me an email, fussing at me for not accepting her as a friend, and I was all like, "What you talkin' bout Willis?" and she was like, "Hellooooo! Be my Facebook friend on that other email address that you never check!" and so I suddenly had 1 friend. It didn't really count though, because even though she is my "real life" friend, she's also my sister, so she has to be my friend...Mom said so. (Plus I suspect that she didn't want people to find out that she was related to someone who had no friends). A few weeks after that, Mel "friended" me too. (Technically, Mel is Steph's friend, so I think that this is another "pity-friending"). But I know Mel too, and I like her, and she occasionally pops over to read this here blog (which means that she is witty and has excellent taste) so who am I to be choosy with who wants to be my friend? I now had two friends, and that was fine with me. I probably could have still gone on to live a full and healthy life with that, even though my obit would have read "She was wonderfully quirky, but she only had two Facebook friends, bless her heart". To me, Facebook was like MySpace...mostly pursued by teenagers. After reading the Slate article though, it dawned on me that some of these 50-something people (mostly those with 982 friends) might just be on to something here. So I got on to Facebook to update my profile and see exactly who else was on this new-fangled Facebook contraption. That's when I started finding them: People I had grown up with, and gone to school with, and hadn't talked to in 10 years. They had spread out all over the country, but they were still linked through Facebook. I found my old biology lab partner, who cut the eyes off of the crayfish that we were dissecting and tried to keep them. She's now a computer programmer in Alabama. (I wonder if her new husband knows about her fondness for Crayfish eyes). I found the girl I hung out with while waiting for the bus after school. She now teaches 6th grade English, so come to think of it, she's still waiting for buses to come after school. I found one of my guy buddies that I've known since seventh grade youth group. He's a police officer now.

I don't know why, but I never expected people I knew to be on there. And while it was fun "seeing" all these people again, but also kind of strange, because they knew me back when I was an awkward geeky nerd with limited social skills, and now I've grown up to be...well, okay, I'm still an awkward geeky nerd with limited social skills, but slightly more mature. Either way, I've gotten kind of hooked on Facebook. I'm up to 5 whole friends now, so it's safe to say that my Internet popularity has doubled overnight. And while I'm not sure what to do with my "wall" or how to gift someone, or what the heck "poking" someone means (I'm sure it's not as bad as it sounds...I hope), I do find myself checking my never used email more often, just to see which of my really cool new-old friends has something to say. Maybe that means that it's time for the Cubs to win the World Series.

Google Maps Pedometer

Once again, I may be the last person on Earth to find out about this, but I thought I'd share anyway. I just discovered Google Maps pedometer, which allows you to map out a favorite walking route and record how many miles it is and calories you burn (based on your weight). I have a short walking route around town that is 1.3 miles, and a slightly longer route that is 1.5 miles. I walked the 1.3 on Tuesday and the 1.5 on Wednesday, at which time I developed a very large, very painful blister on my heel. (Stupid exercising!) The blister has put the kabosh on the walking for the time being, but the Google pedometer thing is still fun to play with. It's really very easy to do too. You just double-click on the map to make your path. The map automatically calculates the distance on each "leg" of the route, so you can play around with it if you're looking for specific milage. I also have the bike route to my favorite park mapped out. It may not help you exercise more, but it may put things into perspective if you know that the calories for that ice cream sandwich you're about to scarf down means 500 laps around the office building. Think about it.

Then eat that ice cream sandwich anyway.


There is a fly in my ointment. A cloud on my sunny day. An individual who is just begging through every word and deed and mere sound of their voice to be strangled and then run over a couple of times by my car and then fed through a chipper-shredder and then strangled again for good measure.

I'm not usually a violent person. I like to think that I can get along well with others. I'm friendly (usually). Lately however, my normally sunny disposition is being threatened by this, this...PERSON with whom I am forced to interact. A very very very VERY annoying person who is straining my last nerve and pushing me ever closer to the edge. I mentally push this person off a 100 story building every time I see them, but it's beginning to lose its therapeutic affect. I fear for my sanity. Something must be done.

Does anyone have a chipper-shredder that I can borrow, no questions asked?

Chuck Sucks

Tony and I watched Chuck last night, which is the new NBC show about a GeekSquad-like guy who works as a "Nerd Herd" computer tech at "Buy Now". He gets an email from an old college buddy who (unbeknownst to Chuck) has become a rouge spy for the CIA and steals all the NSA/CIA's secrets and for whatever reason, sends them to Chuck. Chuck looks at the files (embedded as images), which allows him to suddenly recall top secret information as different things trigger his memory. The NSA and CIA (who seem to have a love/hate relationship going on with each other) each send an agent to get Chuck (to kill him? to brainwash him? to date him? Not really sure).

I give it an "Eh". It's a little too hokey for me, without an engaging plot. Call me picky, but I've come to expect that shows contain a plot. Plus, the characters seem a bit too fake. The girl CIA agent is a little too amazing, the best friend (the comic relief?) is a little too bizarre, the sister is a little too patronizing. Even the rival co-worker is a little too out there with his overly aggressive stance and testosterone filled finger jabbing. It's almost like the creators went, "Okay, now we need a sexy cool super hero girl who does no wrong and has at least three scenes in skimpy clothing, the goofy best friend, and the school bully". It's a middle school boy's dream.

You can't even count on the government agents to act in the stereotypical government agent manner. They spend 15 minutes chasing him around/dating him (which I still don't get) and then when Chuck figures out that he now "has a computer in his head" and uses the information to defuse a bomb, both agents suddenly decide to...leave Chuck alone.
Now, you and I both know that if the CIA/NSA figured out that you somehow knew all of their secrets, they'd do a little more than let you go on living your life and "promise not to tell anyone". Call me cynical, but I don't think top secret agencies are willing to trust the average citizen with all their top secret information. Your brain matter would be all over the sidewalk before you ever figured out what happened. At the very least, they'd have you squirreled away in the bowels of the Pentagon so that you couldn't let state secrets slip by accident.

Intriguing idea, but the show falls flat. Better luck next time NBC.

Editor's Note: Apparently, every other person in the world loved Chuck. All the critics are raving. Apparently I'm the only one who thought it would flop. I guess there goes my fledgling career as television critic.

Roomba Anyone?

I'm going to let ya'll in on a little secret. I'm a bad housekeeper. It's not like my house is a total sty or a threat to public health, but if that Swifter testing crew suddenly showed up unannounced one day, they'd have a field day. I'd like to claim that it's just because I'm so busy that I don't have time to vacuum, but the truth is, it's boring, and I'd rather do something more interesting like watch Lobster Wars on the Discovery Channel. (Did anybody see what happened to that guy's hand on last night's episode? Yikes!) Anyway, every year or so, right around the time that the cat hair starts coating everything in a fine film of fur, and the dust bunnies under the bed start organizing their own system of government, and the floor of my bathroom has enough stray strands of hair on it to qualify as the new Hair Club for Men president, I start looking for easy cleaning solutions for lazy people like myself. What I'd really like is a maid service, but it turns out that it's hard to find someone willing to clean your house for free. (Where's the passion for your jobs people?!?) So I'm forced to look into robotic help, which under the list of pros, do not require a key to the house, or health insurance, and can't mock my New Dust Bunny Republic behind my back. We've got the Bisell Spotbot already, and it has SAVED OUR LIVES. Trust me on this. I'll write a glowing review of it later. Partly because of the success we've had with the SpotBot, I've been looking at the iRobot robotic vacuums. I've been following these Roombas since they first came out, but I've held off on getting one because the reviews were only so-so, and who wants to drop a couple hundred bucks on a so-so product? (They keep getting stuck in a corner. They lose battery too fast. They get lost. They don't pick up anything.) So for now, my Dust Bunny Republic is safe. But every year I look them up again, and they usually have a new version which fixes one of the complaints from the reviews.

The latest versions of the iRobot Roomba is the Roomba 570, which the website claims has improved navigation and floor coverage, edge and corner dusting, better anti-tangle technology, automatically returns to its charging base to recharge itself, and can be scheduled to start cleaning at a pre-set time (like after you've gone to work). This one is so new, however, that I can't find any product reviews on it. It's also a whopping $400, which I'm not quite ready to shell out, although I'm hoping that the new one makes last year's models a lot cheaper. So I'm curious. Does anyone out there have a Roomba or know someone who does? How did it work out? Would you recommend it to someone else? Does it really have the ability to suck up a blanket of cat fur and annihilate the Dust Bunny Nation? 'Cause Christmas is exactly 96 days away, and my campaign to get free maid service hasn't exactly amounted to anything yet.

Now Playing

I've been completely hooked on the new Modest Mouse song, Missed the Boat. It's got that catchy rhythm that you find yourself humming long after the song is over. I've linked to it below so that you can get it stuck in your head also. We'll all hum together, yes?

By the way, this isn't the official music video. They had a contest to pick the best video, and this one lost out to a stupid one with a boxy looking robot. Not nearly as good in my opinion, and since it's my blog, you get to see my favorite video winner instead. Reality is how you blog it. Now, back to the humming...

Battle Scars

Well, it's hockey time again. Tony started his fall league last night, which he loves. It's his time to be able to put on lots of pads, effectively doubling his size (not so desirable for women, but guys seem to get a kick out of it), play a group sport without actually having to talk to anyone (he's a goalie, so this works perfectly for him), and pretend to exercise while really just standing still for an hour (although he claims that falling down to block a shot actually takes a lot of energy). He likes it because it's a connection to his childhood and his home in the Great White North, and he's actually pretty good at it. I like it because I think it's healthy for him to have a hobby, and it relieves stress while giving him a chance to bond with other guys. What I'm not such a fan of is the bruises. Hockey is a violent sport, even in a no-check league. Despite the padding, voluntarily taking a hit from a chunk of hardened rubber at 90mph leaves a bruise. Tony comes home looking like he went 10 rounds with Oscar De La Hoya. (I'm just waiting for someone to report me for spousal abuse. For the record, it wasn't me). Last night, he came home limping. Limping! (Apparently when you drop to your knees to block a shot, there's about four inches of leg right above the knee that isn't covered by padding. And if you happen to take a hockey puck right in those four inches, it leaves a beauty of a bruise. Not to mention that your knee swells up to look like you're smuggling whole cantaloupes).

Anyway, Tony hobbled in and I immediately reverted to my wifely first aide mode which namely consists of morphing into Mae Questel from Woody Allen's Oedipus Wrecks and fussing at him. "Didn't I tell you to be careful? Right before you left, I said, 'Be careful!' and what do you do? Take a puck to the knee!" I continue in this vein while I flutter around, getting him an ice pack ("...Don't know WHY anyone would want to stand there while people shoot things at him..."), propping his leg up on raised pillows ("...could have broken your leg..."), and give him some ibuprofen for the swelling (..."should have taken up yoga, but noooooo"). I do a pretty good job with the role considering neither a mother nor Yiddish. Tony, for his part, hangs his head in remorse and looks properly chastised.

He'll be really sore today, and that knee will probably still be swollen, but it won't matter, because to Tony, it's a battle scar. A message to all that yes, he may be black and blue today, but the important thing is he stopped that puck. And when you're a hockey goalie, that bruise is something to be proud of. I'm sure that this one is just the beginning too. I better stock up on some more ibuprofen.

The Mighty Hunter

I suppose when you are a kitty cat, you have certain responsibilities that must be upheld.
And I suppose that one of those responsibilities is to eradicate household pests from your territory.
And I suppose that it is common knowledge that vermin and other such disturbances often come out at night.
And I suppose that hearing something rustling in the bed next to you would wake you from your slumber.
And I suppose that as a hunter, it is your sworn duty to investigate any potential prey, no matter the hour.
And I suppose that discovering something moving back and forth under the covers COULD be mistaken as a mouse or other such pest.
And I suppose that jumping on said moving lump under the covers would be the only natural response for such a mighty predator.
And I suppose that sinking your teeth into the struggling lump is considered the best way to kill the intruder.
And I suppose that it would be startling for the formally sleeping human to wake up suddenly and start screaming right in the middle of your attack.
And I suppose that you had no way to know that the lump was actually a human foot, just trying to find a more comfortable position.
And I suppose that bloody fang marks in the bottom of tender foot flesh is really no reason to yell at you, since you were just doing your job.
And I suppose that no one appreciates how good you are at that job.
And I suppose that you'll be expecting an apology now, because you were wrongfully fussed at, when in fact it was the twitchy human foot that is really to blame.

Mary Kay Is In The Way

I know, I know, you came looking for something witty and brilliant. Sorry. I have a paper due tomorrow in marketing, so I'm all tied up with the story of Mary Kay Cosmetics and their struggles to get into and become successful in Asia, specifically China. Very fascinating stuff (that's sarcasm by the way), but I'm afraid that its just not quite the level of quirky that you have come to expect.

Please check back tomorrow, or at worst, Wednesday, and I'll see what I can come up with to alleviate your quirky cravings.

They Must Not Have Storks In Russia

Here's a little something interesting that I came across in Slate today:

The Russian government gave people in the Ulyanovsk province the day off on Wednesday in order to um, produce more little Russians. It's officially called Day of Conception, and couples get the day off to "prepare" for Russia Day on June 12th (exactly nine months from Day of Conception). The idea is to increase the incubation of little patriots in order to raise the declining population of Russia, which has been shrinking due to fewer babies, a shorter life span, and emigration. If you happen to give birth on June 12th, you can get a prize. Grand-prizes range from cash and refrigerators to an new SUV (ironically named the UAZ Patriot).

What happened to all the environmentalists whining about how the Earth was over-populated anyway and that we were outliving our natural resources? What about those countries that were limiting the number of children by law? And how exactly is Russia doing this anyway? Does everyone get this day off, or just couples? And what about children? Are the kiddies out of school on this holiday (which would significantly drop chances of further parental procreation) so that teachers can also get the day off also? What about old people who are beyond child-bearing years? Or barren people? And how does the government make sure that you're dutifully making little Borises instead of say, getting a mani-pedi?

I'm not sure how I would feel about my government commenting on my child-bearing abilities anyway. If they're going to make it my civic duty to have a bunch of kids, they better be sending me a live-in nanny or something. Where is the Secretary of State when it's 4am and little Igor's hungry and Natasha has a dirty diaper? I get the whole declining population and everything, but you'd think that the government would focus on increasing the life span, or improving living conditions so that people won't flee the country first before just making more people. Babies don't do you a whole lot of good if they just leave the country as soon as they can or die from insufficient healthcare.

Just something to be thinking about there, Russia, after you've know.

Feeding The Starving Artist

Ya'll, I'm going to share something with you, but you have to promise not to snicker. I painted a picture. Not a great picture, but an okay one, and considering that I'm not an artist and have had no formal training, it's not too bad. I wasn't even going to mention this, but then the Seester posted her fan-tabulous pumpkin creation, and I thought, "How inspiring! What artsy-craftsy thing have I done lately?" Besides, I think only close friends and family read this anyway, and you're required by law to like it because, you know, you're friends and family. That's just what you do. But if by chance you're not family, or worse, you happen to be a real live artist, you may want to turn away now.

Okay, here it is:

I just painted it on a whim one day with stuff I had around the house. It's not a super-duper artistic masterpiece worthy of the Louvre, but it's good enough for my guest bedroom, and if you're just looking for guest bedroom art, let this stand as a testament that you too can paint something yourself. The picture is based on Monet's water lilies, but not done in an Impressionistic style, because I just don't "dab" very well. (I don't think Monet will mind that I ripped him off). I put together a 4x6 frame using 1x2 boards, which I covered with cotton fabric out of Wal-mart's $1 fabric bin. I didn't prime it, I just stretched it tight and staple-gunned it. (Gasp in horror, genuine artists!) Then I painted it using left over house paints and spray paints that I had in my garage, and foam brushes (oh yes!) because you can get a bag of 12 in various sizes for $1.98. This whole deal cost me approximately $8, and better, I had a good time with it. I painted it out on my driveway, and it took me two afternoons. More than a few tiny ants tried to crawl across it and got stuck in the paint, but Monet painted his outside too, so I'm sure a detailed examination of his work will show insect carcasses in his landscapes too. (Plus I covered them with more paint, so you can hardly tell that they're in there).

It turns out that clouds are harder than I thought, and the Lily pads are probably the size of dinner plates (proportion-smortion), but it has sentimental value to me...much like a first grader's picture on the fridge, only mine is 6 feet long and torturing my overnight guests. (I know you're thinking twice before staying with me now, aren't you?) But it's the thought that counts blah, blah, blah, so if you've ever had the desire to dabble around in paint but are afraid to because you aren't an "artist", go for it anyway. Then post it on the Internet for the whole world to mock admire, because it gives real artists job security.

And I'm all about helping people with feeling secure in their jobs.

These Boots Are Made For Walkin'

It was 66 degrees today according to the Amsouth digital temperature sign as I trudged my way into work from the parking garage. 66 degrees! Now, I'm a summer gal through and through, and I love all the sun and the warmth and the running through the sprinkler that comes with it, but let me tell you, after MONTHS of record setting heat and no rain, 66 feels really good. It's crisp, it's refreshing, and you don't end up sweating through your clothes like Michael Vick at a PETA rally. In my book, that's good weather.

It was in honor of this 66 degrees that I wore boots today for the first time this season. (True, it was 66 only for .0004 seconds as the thermometer sprinted towards our normal daytime high of 50 bazillion degrees, but the morning was at least cool, so I think that deserves some boots). If you're read this blog at all, you'll know I'm not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination. My idea of a snazzy outfit is jeans, a t-shirt, and my Chuck Taylors. But I looooove fall, because that's boot season, and you really can't go wrong with boots. (Okay, so you can. I know that these were all the rage last year, but I still say that the shaggy, the-cat-coughed-up-this-hairball-and-I-decided-to-wear-it boots were a mistake.) I'm talking more about these boots,

or these boots,

or even these boots.

(By the way, if you're looking at the pictures and decide that you must have them, these boots are from my number one boot buying source, a trendy new little boutique called "Target").

Let me break it down for you in the official "Reasons I love boots" list:
1) They make your legs look great
2) Your basic black boot doesn't go out of style...ever
3) You don't have to make sure your toenails are painted
4) You can wear comfy athletic socks and no one will know
5) They go with pants or skirts, so if you're like me and you just can't decide what shoes go with what, you're safe either way.
6) I can pretty much destroy a pair of sandals by the end of a season, but boots? They're in it for the long haul.

And now that one pair of boots has come out of the closet, it's going to be boots every day until spring, no matter what the temperature is. (Well, and my Chucks. I'm a year-round Chucks girl). Boots are just the first signal that fall is coming, and it's bringing all the best stuff of the year with it. Walking outside without sweating? Trick-or-treating? Bonfires? Thanksgiving gravy? Leaves turning colors? Chili? Jeans? Football Games? All brought about because the boots officially said that it was fall. So hooray for fall, and hooray for boots!

Italian Beef

Since it's officially the start of NFL football, Tony has began his annual tradition of sitting on the couch and watching EVERY football game available, EVERY single day, EVERY time they come on TV. Even if he could care less about either team. I don't understand it, but it's Tony's tradition. My part of the football tradition is to make the Italian Beef. Since Tony is a Yankee, he grow up having Italian Beef sandwiches, which he no doubt got from authentic Italian delis in authentic Italian neighborhoods, because apparently they have those kinds of things up there in the Great White North. Anyway, we don't have little Italian neighborhood delis down here, so Tony's Italian Beef consumption has been sadly limited. But don't cry for him yet, because Tony also happens to be married to an occasionally thoughtful wife, who occasionally makes him some Italian Beef. Now, I will be the first to admit that my idea of cooking is 1) Open pop-tart wrapper 2) put in toaster 3) Bon Appetit, but this is so incredibly easy, even I can't screw it up. My recipe came from the cookbook that my mother-in-law's Women's Church Group creates every year as a fund-raiser. Tony's mom gave to me for Christmas one year (a hint maybe?) and I occasionally do some of the easier recipes. There are roughly five variations on the Italian Beef recipe, so I went with the simplest one, which seriously, has three ingredients, and one of them is water. (You just can't go wrong!) Plus, it's delicious, which equals bonus points for me in the Super Wife Department, and a happy Tony with full tummy and remote in hand.

And just in case you or a loved one ALSO has a tradition of sitting on the couch, watching every NFL game known to man, I'm including my recipe below:

Italian Beef

Need: One crock pot

3-ish pounds of roast
2 packets Good Seasons Italian seasoning
1 small jar pepper rings (optional. I don't put them in because I dislike peppers, but you do what you want)
1 cup water

Listen carefully, because this gets tricky...
Put roast, seasoning, and water into crock pot. Turn crock pot on for 8 hours. Do leisurely activity of your choice. When your house starts to smell REALLY good (roughly the 4 hours mark), go back and shred the roast with a fork.

When the 8 hours are up, spoon beef and copious amounts to juice onto a Italian or French bread (or hoagie rolls if you're in a pinch). The idea is that the juice makes the bread soggy, but not enough to disintegrate completely. Top with melted cheese or peppers if desired. (I prefer a shredded Swiss or mozzarella myself, but feel free to go crazy).

So there you go. Guaranteed to keep a Tony happy for at least 6 monster-sized sandwiches. Or until the Thursday night game of the week...whichever comes first.

Home Game

You boys scared me in the first half, but you got your act together in the second, and that's what counts.

The Ants Come Marching One By One

While Tony and I were driving down to Chattanooga this weekend (well, he was driving...I was trying to find Car Talk on NPR), I happened to glance down and see a little black ant running around on the dashboard. That's odd, I said to myself, those pesky ants occasionally sneak into the house, but I've never seen them in my car before. I didn't think too much about it; just flicked him off the dashboard (I don't know if flicking kills them or not, but it gets rid of them with minimal amounts of guilt) and continued my quest for Click and Clack. A few seconds later however, the ant was back! And he brought a buddy! TWO ants in the car? This is more than just a case of a hitch hiking ant. This has become an infestation. That's when I noticed that there were also ants on the console! And on the door! And the windshield! Then I glanced down in the floorboard where my feet were resting daintily next to my book bag, and the entire floor was covered with HUNDREDS of little black ants. And let me tell you, it's quite an experience to realize that you're strapped to a seat in a contained space in the middle of a million crawling ants. Very Fear Factor-ish. If I had been driving, we would have run off the road and done a lovely slow motion car-flying-off-a-cliff-while-being-filmed-from-below deal. As it was, I just jerked my feet into the air and started shrieking. (Always calm under pressure, that's me). Sadly, aside from the shrieking, you're pretty limited in what you can do about ants when you're traveling at 70 mph. And even if you do pull over, you can't throw out the books (professors frown on that kind of thing), and you can't ant bomb the car and still expect to use it in the next week. You're basically stuck riding with your legs curled up on the seat while watching to make sure that the ants don't crawl on you until you get to your final destination.

Once we arrived in Chattanooga and I was able to get out of the car, I did an investigation. The ants seemed to be coming from my school bag, but I had no idea why since (and I'm stereotyping here) ants don't seem to be all that interested in statistical analysis. They certainly weren't there when I went to class last time. True, I was working out on the screened in porch the night before, and true, I left my bag out there overnight, but I never thought that ants would gravitate towards higher learning and invade my books. I carried my bag into the hotel room and threw it in the bathtub (sorry LaQuinta). I pulled everything out of the bag, sans ants. Books, homework, notebook, pens and pencils, calculator...and one piece of chocolate that I didn't even know was in there. Ah ha! (So much for their so-called love of stats!) It seems that ants, (like me) are much more interested in chocolate than homework, so they invited themselves into my bag. Unfortunately for the ants, they (unlike me) don't enjoy soaking in the bathtub, which is exactly what happened. Books came out. Water turned on. Bathtub filled up. Ants don't swim. End of the ant infestation, and as a bonus, a clean school bag (which hasn't happened since I bought the thing in the 9th grade). I consider that a win-win situation. As for the ants in the car, I went with a non-chemical trap. (Basically I left a Wendy's Junior Bacon Cheeseburger wrapper with a little cheese stuck to it in a bag in the floor of my car. Ants smelled the cheese, went into the bag, and I snatched the bag up and threw it away. Genius if I do say so myself).

I guess the moral of the story is not to leave your school bag on the porch overnight. And not to leave chocolate in it. And not to bring homework on weekend trips. And not to trust those sneaky ants, because even though they say that they're just interested in Qualitative Analysis, they're really after your chocolate stash.

My New Crush

I have a confession to make. I have a crush on a younger man. I'm totally shocked, because I didn't think he was my type at all, but I met him Saturday in Chattanooga and we ended up spending most of the day together. He's a total flirt.

Tony and I met up with Nicole and Sara and Eli at the Chattanooga Aquarium on Saturday. I'm a sucker for giant fish tanks, and the penguins are an absolute hoot, but what really stole the show was Nicole's 4 month old son, Eli. Now normally, I have a very strict policy on babies...anything that oozes bodily fluids from every orifice is to be strictly avoided. I admired Eli's stroller, and his brightly colored stuffed animal/stroller decor, and his Spiderman chew toy, but I kept a safe distance from Eli himself. (Cause you never know when a baby is just going to get all upset because he saw you. Trust me, this happens to me all the time. Someone has a baby, the baby sees me, the baby starts to cry. The person holding the baby says something cute like, "Did she scare you? Did that big meanie scare you? It's okay, I won't let her get you". Now, I know that they're just joking around, but when this becomes a reoccurring theme in your baby experience, you realize that it's just better to hold back. Babies can smell fear). Anyway, things probably would have progressed the same way this time except that Eli is an exceptionally happy baby. He doesn't really cry at all. He laughs. And smiles at people. And I figured that if he's smiling, maybe he'll forget to scream when he sees me. (Plus, I was having an okay hair day, so that has to count for something). So I snuck closer. And closer. He was laying in his car seat, which was attached to his stroller thingie. Nicole was next to him, but she was looking at the giant sea turtle, so I figured that if things with Eli went downhill, I could put some distance between us before she could accuse me of scaring her child. (I've known Nicole since like, the fifth grade, but she's still a mother. I'm not putting friendship against motherly instinct). Anyway, Eli saw me, but he didn't really react, so I figured this was one exceptionally brave child. (Of course, if you regularly hang with/chew on a stuffed Spiderman, maybe bravery comes with the territory). I studied Eli and Eli studied me, and I probably would have been totally content with achieving that major baby milestone except that I noticed something. Eli has little tiny baby hands with little tiny baby fingers and little tiny baby fingernails. And I looooove miniature stuff. Miniature railroads, miniature houses, and apparently, little miniature baby hands. So without really thinking, I reached out and touched one of his hands. And not only did he not scream and flail as I totally expected, but he wrapped his little fingers around my finger. And we had this moment where time stood still and angels started singing and my brain went mushy and Eli no doubt thought, "This woman's insane". And then I remembered that he sticks his hand in his mouth and drools on it, and drool is definitely on my no thank you list of body fluid ooze, so I pulled my finger away and the moment was broken. But still, that was huge for me. HUGE! I actually touched the baby. Two major milestones in one day! Woo-hoo for me and my personal growth! I was stoked. Eli and me, we were pals. We had an alliance. He didn't scream, and I didn't run away.

We finished the aquarium tour and were standing outside deciding what to do next when it started to rain. We ran under an overhang to wait out the storm, and Nicole was holding Eli. And Eli was hanging out, just chillin' with us, except that he kept waving his arms in my direction. Kinda like what kids do when they want someone to hold them, but not really that coordinated. Just general waving. Obviously Eli didn't know that this was the signal to have someone else hold him or he never would have done it. He was probably just exercising. But Nicole saw it too and held him out to me so that I had no choice but to take him. I didn't know the proper way to hold him or support him or whatever, but I couldn't leave him dangling in mid-air like that, so I grabbed him. And the first though that went through my head was, "He's not heavy at all. You'd think he'd be heavier" followed closely by, "Oh no! Now what?" We were eye to eye, and I didn't know how to turn him around. He sent me a facial expression that was obviously "Jeez lady, get a grip" so I just settled him onto my hip the way I'd seen Nicole do, and we went from there. Eli is in what I like to call the sack-of-flour stage, where he doesn't really wiggle much. He just kinda sits around, posed in whatever way you position him, and watches what's going on. My kind of baby.

There's a strange thing that happens to your voice when you're holding a baby. It gets higher, and you repeat things a lot...yes, you do! Yes you do! And you make stupid faces, and you start referring to yourself as the baby's aunt, even though you really have no relation to him whatsoever. I'm shocked to say that I did all these things. It was a total out of body the baby drugged me with mushy brain pills. Except it was also kinda nice. He's a good baby, and he pretty much entertained himself. I'm amazed to admit it, but I really got a kick out of holding him. Even when he totally drool bombed my watch. (Nicole gave me a cloth to catch such oozing, but Eli's talented. He projectile drool bombs. Totally sneaky). I told him about the time his Mom was my roommate in college, and how she talked me out of going to half of my 8am biology classes. We debated whether the Ben and Jerry's people were deaf or if they had deliberately turned the music up that loud to annoy their patrons. We discussed whether or not all babies were as sweet and good natured as he was, and if not, how would he feel about just coming home with me? Because I'm not sold on babies in general, but I'd sooo take Eli home in a heartbeat. People always say that babies are either "good" babies or "fussy" babies. Snatching Eli would guarantee me one of the "good" babies, so it seemed like an excellent plan to me. (Nicole wasn't as keen on it though).

I said goodbye to Eli about dinnertime, and we went our separate ways. But apparently baby mind control has lingering effects, because I'm still totally hooked on him. Not all babies, but definitely Eli. Anytime you want to hang out, little buddy, you just look me up.