Okay, I know that last post was written to sound like there would be a picture accompanying the text. And that was indeed my intention. But I can't get these pics to upload for the life of me. I guess you'll have to wait until tonight, when our resident computer guru can tackle the issue. Sorry.

Demands have been made.

I tried to post this last night, but our computer froze right before I published. She's a tough old broad, this emachine... little does she know, her replacement is on the way. You can expect more regular posting after the laptop arrives.

I considered waiting until my tattoo was not so new-tattoo-scabby to post a picture, but when Colin Taylor asks to you to post your tattoo, you post your tattoo, goddamn it.
It is healing up nicely, though, and I don't think this photo will offend our more squeamish readers. In the end the heart will not be two-toned. The dark spots are the previously mentioned scabs. They will come off, leaving only the baby soft skin of my flabby right arm.
I have only two thoughts about my tattoo experience:
1) That was it?!?!?!?! Removing the tape that held the bandage in place hurt more than the actual injection of the ink. I was pleasantly surprised when the process just made me wince, not cry out in pain as I expected. Listen for those cries next time, though, when I get inked in a more sensitive spot. This one is near my shoulder, the meatiest (you know, muscle-bound) part of my arm. So I guess I got off easy this time.
2) When can I get my next one??? My little girl is already very lonely, and it's not for lack of plans on my part. It's because I lack the funds. Any donations toward my drawn-upon skin would be happily accepted.


Hit the hometowns over the weekend, in celebration of L-train's birthday. Lots of food. Got to bring home some Peoria microbrew, which is really tasty. A little envangelical craziness. Food. Awkward political conversations. Traffic wasn't bad. Oh, and Laura got a tattoo Fri. Hott.
Not too long ago I remember it was fashionable to write articles about/reference the idea that DJs and producers are the modern equivalent of jazz musicians. But who is who? (This is an idea that I was thinking of while listening to the new DJ Shadow mix that's making the rounds, which is fucking fantabulous. You may be able to still get it at So Many Shrimp. Also, while you're downloading, everyone should check the new Fugees track at Lemon-Red. Lauryn spits her hottest rhymes yet. If you ain't checking new Fugees, you hate music. But I digress.)DJs/jazz musicians
DJ Shadow/Miles Davis
DJ /rupture/Coltrane
Kid 606/Ornette Coleman
Dr. Dre/Louis Armstrong
How about more, including non-jazz musicians? Who's the new Beatles? New Minor Threat? New Electric Light Orchestra? I dare you to say. Dare you!


A Poll for our Chicago Readers. All Six of You.

So, today was street cleaning and we left for the playground right at 9 am, when the parking ban begins (yes, we drove because it's my birthday and I'm allowed to be lazy). Upon returning, it was hard to find a spot, of course. I was so tempted to park on the streets with street-cleaning signs up, because all of the cars on them already had tickets. I know the parking ban is from 9 am to 3pm, but my question is this: Do they make more than one ticket sweep? Do you think they would come back looking for more offenders after they had already dispensed the original batch of tickets?
Does anybody know or have experience with this situation? If so, comment, please! Thanks.

Today I am twenty-four.

I must admit, since becoming a mommy, birthdays have been a little underwhelming. I guess it's because I'm alone with my guy all day, and our routine is exactly the same as every other day. So I decided I could take some steps to make this day stand out a bit, if only in small ways.
1. When Simon woke up, I announced, a little self-consciously, "It's mommy's birthday!" And I think he understood on some level. He has been much more lovey than usual, displaying affection of his own volition, but also not complaining as I've smothered him in an inordinate amount of hugs, kisses, and embarrassing compliments.
One thing he definitely understands, and I quote, "Mommy's birthday! Cake?"
2. I took Simon to the playground with the intention of staying as long as his little murmuring heart desired. This may sound like a selfless act, but my goal was to ensure he would be worn out enough for a nap later today. Because a birthday when the kid doesn't nap really isn't a birthday at all.
3. After leaving the playground we stopped for some ice cream and Nutty Bars.
4. Instead of putting on Elmo or Baby Einstein, we put on Stop Making Sense.
5. Tonight I'm having a picture drawn on my arm. And it's going to stay there forever. HOLY SHIT!
I think I succeeded in making today special and somewhat celebratory, even though I'll still have to change poopy diapers.


Funny You Should Ask...

Today was the first story hour at the new library down the street. My friend Karen and I decided to meet there, with our respective rug-rats in tow. We weren't sure how the kids would handle it, so we agreed beforehand that we would be willing to jet if necessary. This is something I really appreciate about Karen; she is a good mommy-friend to have.
The story hour was really only 10 minutes of books about bunnies. Following the books was a craft (making a bunny), and Karen and I decided this might be a bit much for our little ones. We snuck out and headed to the children's section of the library, where there were books galore for the kids to rip from shelves, spread out on tables or the floor, and devour at a frantic pace.
For a few minutes Simon was fixated on stealing books away from baby Kalie, but other than that, things were going well. Kalie was getting a bit antsy, and Karen asked me how she looked (she was strapped on to her mom's chest, facing forward in the Snugli, so it was easier for me to see her face). I reassured Karen that the baby was still smiling. Then, being the good mommy-friend she is, Karen asked how Simon was doing.
The instant the words left her mouth, Simon let fly a drum-shattering scream. And the screaming continued in a rhythmic, pulsing pattern. Yes, everyone in the library turned to look at us, in one of those moments mothers dread but cannot seem to avoid.
I decided it was time to go. And, of course, Karen understood, because she is a good mommy-friend.


Predictability and repetition in entertainment can be fun. Some people like the OC, some people like The Diplomats, and some people like A Prarie Home Companion. I like all three. So, I was really bummed to see that Garrison Keillor is suing MNspeak.com over a t-shirt that says "A Prarie Ho Companion". First, he doesn't even have a case. Second, the t-shirt is so unfunny that it shouldn't warrant anyone's attention. All suing them is going to do is put more unfunny t-shirts on the streets, and no one wants that. And lastly, what the fuck GK? Get a sense of humor, old guy.
It's like Cam'ron once said:
duck duck goose,
pump pump shoot
shoot, let's get down, down
it may seem petty
but we all turn mean deadly for green feddy
my whole team ready
I'm sure Garrison would agree.

Jitney at Hot House, 9.13.05



You Will Let My Child Eat his Lunch in Peace

Today at lunchtime I placed Simon's plate on his tray and then turned around to finish fixing myself a salad. Suddenly he was screaming, a panicked, horrified and horrifying scream. I turned around, imagining everything that could've happened to him during the 15 seconds my back had been turned. He somehow cut off his pinky with his plastic fork. He managed to stick his toe in the outlet behind his high chair and received a near-deadly shock. While I can normally come up with endless scenarios of impossible ways my son could be hurt, these two were really all I could think of... I mean, he's in his highchair at lunch time, the same as every single day. How dangerous can it be?
At that instant I saw a fat fly leaving the area of my son's plate, perhaps discouraged from his conquest by the bone-chilling scream. Simon calmed down pretty quickly, telling me he saw a fly and then mustering a brave, "Go away, fly." Oh, that fly will go away, I thought. I reassured my kid, hugging, cooing, and then encouraging him to go on eating as if nothing had happened. I casually moved to the closet where we keep the flyswatter, then, for the next 3 minutes, I devoted my undivided attention to stalking that fly. I watched him, utterly focused on my task, until he landed. Then with two quick flicks of my wrist he truly had gone away, as per the boy's request.
That fly died. Because you can't make my baby cry like that and expect to live.


The Yo-Yo that is my Motivation

I had the laziest week ever. Really. I mean record-setting laziness. I managed to cut back my normal 8-10 weekly workouts to one measly walk all week! During Simon's nap (one of the two time-slots during which I usually exercise) I decided to watch 3 consecutive hours of TV. Every day. (Two soap operas and then Ellen who, thank God, has taken Dr. Phil's 3:00 time; I love Ellen, and I love watching Kanye on Ellen. Two beautiful people.) I don't know why I lost my motivation to do anything productive during my extremely scarce free time this week. I guess I just needed a break.
Maybe I was storing up my energy for tonight, as I knew I had to make cookies for a few church events this weekend. And I baked the shit out of those cookies. For 5 straight hours I made cookies. Thousands of cookies. Cookies, cookies, cookies.
Now I am tired. And you are craving cookies. Ha ha.

This American Tragedy

Everyone should try to tune in to This American Life tomorrow. 1:00 pm on WBEZ 91.5. Dow Jones and I were in tears. Unbelievable, moving, horrifying, outrageous stories from survivors of the storm. Stuff you're unlikely to hear anywhere else. Thank you, Ira Glass and crew.
I'm not at all kidding when I say I've been wondering what Jay-Z would say about Katrina.
No. Please, please, no, don't. We got this, ok? You've done great things, and really, I don't hate all of Farenheit 9/11. But seriously, you shouldn't even be talking about this at this point. Fucking stop it, ok?
Dow Jones


This is an actual conversation between myself and my son yesterday. Simon's words have been edited for clarity:

SM (runs into room): Daddy, does a zebra graze in the meadow?
Me: No, a zebra lives on the plains of Africa. (I think that's right, right?)
SM: Does a zebra live on the farm?
Me: No, a zebra lives on the plains of Africa.
SM: A zebra is not a goose.
Me: That's right.


Funny Things Happen When You Have a Kid

Sometimes you fart and even though you realize that you farted it smells so bad that you wonder if maybe your kid pooped. So you check his diaper, but no, no poop. Just you and your hair-singeing fart, you filthy pig.

The Suckers Club

Yesterday Simon got a piece of mail from 4 year old Josie, daughter of some friends of ours in Peoria. It was a typed chain letter, inviting Simon to join The Sticker Club. We were instructed to send stickers to the two children (Molly, who we don't know, and Josie) whose names and addresses were listed. Then, we were to move Josie's name to the top spot and put Simon in position 2. All this was simple enough. The request that made my heart sink was, "send this letter to 6 other people." Six. Six other kids. Not two or three, but six. This was troublesome. You can't just send a chain letter to anyone. It has to be someone you know, but not that well. Someone who will recognize your name and return address, but who you don't see more than once a year. The shame of passing this kind of hassle on to families we see on a regular basis would be too great.
I agonized over the Sticker Club all night. My struggle may have been brought on by the not-so-subtle guilt written into the letter: "If you cannot do this within six days, please let me know because it is not fair to those who have participated." I didn't want to be unfair to Josie by short-changing her 1/6 of the stickers she was longing to receive. So I racked my brain for hours. Who could I send this to? I identified a few distant cousins, but after that I was stuck. Then my list had to be modified when I realized that my cousin (whose 3 year old girl was a prime candidate for the Sticker Club) had recently had another baby, and I hadn't sent a card. So, she had to be taken off the short list. Can't ignore the birth of a new child and expect someone to smile upon receiving a chain letter.
In the end, I decided that maybe I should shift my focus from the children to the parents. Of course I welcome an opportunity to make children happy, but what about the parents? I reflected on what a headache the Sticker Club had caused me. Then I had a vision of my headache spreading, like a menacing cloud, to each family I invited to the club. I just couldn't feel good about sending this kind of task to already frazzled moms and dads.
So, I did send stickers to Molly, to ensure she would receive her full allotment. And then I sent many, many stickers to Josie, to make up for her loss. Maybe her mom will distribute them slowly with each day's mail, with accompanying stories: "Look, Josie, you got some stickers from a child in France!" "Oh, Josie, these came all the way from Chile!" "Wow! These stickers are from Cookie Monster, Josie!"


Jitney is playing Tues. the 13th at the Hot House, opening for Nuevos Ricos.
I think this is a handy timeline, for when you need to remind yourself just how fucking bad the response was to Katrina.
Everyone should really read this whole article about firefighters who wanted to help in the wake of Katrina but got held back by FEMA. (via TPM)
The levees in NOLA weren't kept up for the past few years because the feds couldn't afford it, what with the tax cuts, The War on Terrorism, Inc., and, oh yeah, we're fighting a war in Iraq. And Katrina has also illustrated the important part social services play for the millions of poor folks in this nation. So what's near the top of the Republicans' agenda as they go back to work in Congress? From the WaPo:
In the last few days I've heard a few pundits saying things to the effect of, "maybe Katrina is what the media needed to start telling the truth about this administration." Cooper Anderson, obviously, is exhibit one for their cause, and beyond that they cite a few sprinkles of outrage here and there. Maybe I'm just a pessimist, but it's hard for me to think that. There's not a lot of money to be made in truth telling, it's as simple as that. CNN isn't going to get higher ratings because of what Anderson Cooper said. Also, there's this.


In happy news, my parents were in town today, and we all went to Lincoln Park Zoo. This is my son's dream, to go to the zoo every day. Because he's obsessed with animals. And I wouldn't have it any other way. If I could pick one category of things to be his favorite, it would be animals. He kinda likes cars and trucks too, which are ok. But animals don't need fuel that destroys the environment to function. They aren't made by major corporations. (No comments about GE animals, ok?) They aren't a brand, some character with a copyright slapped on everything they do. Bob the Builder, Nemo, and Dora the Explorer, I'm looking at you. Animals. This kid is going to save the world, I'm telling you.

Missing Chief

Just got the news that Rehnquist died. Also, the news is showing a clip of Kanye saying, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Looks like it's time for G.W. to nominate another Clarence Thomas to smooth it all over.
Seriously, what the fuck is going on in this nation? I'm as much of a Bush hater as anyone, but even I didn't expect this level of incompetence. At this point, I won't be too surprised if Alan Keyes gets nominated for Chief Justice.