Yes I Can, Yes I Can!

Let’s start with this brilliant musical theatre duet:

I admit that I am pretty easily manipulated if you frame something in terms of my ego, for example, our household’s longstanding Quilt Challenge.  My husband has very openly stated that he would love it if I would make a quilt, but he knows that I couldn’t do it.  Despite this pathetically obvious attempt to use reverse psychology (in reality, my husband believes that I can do anything), I have totally fallen for it and I know damn well that someday I will make a quilt!  My excuse now is that I don’t really have a sewing room or even a sewing spot and our cats would sleep on it and it’s actually really expensive to get started and I also don’t own a sewing machine.

But god damn it, I’m going to sew a quilt one day and make M Fox eat it.

The problem with pregnancy Dos and Don’ts is that it’s not just about your ego; your choices affect the life (or lives, in my case) of a blissfully ignorant little creature who is happily jabbing you in the cervix because it’s so excited that its limbs move.  Awww.

There are the undebatable Don’ts — like you can’t chug a Long Island Iced Tea, shoot up some heroin, and then hop on Space Mountain.

To be fair, you probably shouldn’t do that when you’re not pregnant, but ESPECIALLY when you’re pregnant, such behavior is frowned upon.

The dietary Dos and Don’ts are mostly a matter of common sense and personal preference.  Apparently you’re not supposed to eat cantaloupe, fro-yo, or turkey sandwiches.  I say (and, remember, I am a doctor*) use your best judgment.  If you want to live off of goldfish and the occasional grape (after drudging it in vinegar to get off the poison), then hey, go ahead.  If, like a certain Classy Dame, you want to drink diet soda and gorge yourself on sushi, then hey, go ahead.  Pregnancy safety is a matter of statistics and paying attention to statistics is, oddly enough, totally subjective.  *No I’m not

But that’s a conversation that a lot of people have already talked themselves hoarse over.

The thing that I find most oppressive about pregnancy is the conversation that goes beyond eating, drinking, and going to Disneyland or Space Camp — it falls into either the pitying with concern (“How are you going to be able to do that?”) or the pitying with certainty (“You realize that you won’t be able to do that ever again”) category.

 

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Star Wars Fan Fic

This is a fan-made Star Wars anime that is gorgeous.  In two minutes, this wordless cartoon made me feel more than in six hours of Episodes 1-3 (for the record, my children will have to discover Episodes 1-3 on their own.  I want no part in exposing them to that sort of filth).  I posted the video on Facebook and the following conversation ensued:

Friend and Fellow Star Wars Fan:  Although it always makes me feel guilty rooting so hard for the Empire.

Me: Who knows what the Empire had on those pilots, though? Maybe their families are being kept in a room with the oxygen slowly being siphoned out — maybe they pump in another liter of air for every rebel ship taken down.

Friend and Fellow Star Wars Fan: I wanna read that fanfic.

 

. . . . okay :)

 

Extra credit: Teenage Mutant Ninja Fan Fic

~~~

Jaclyn stared down at the pinprick of blood on her index finger.  It was remarkable how despite the number of souls she had sent back to their makers, she had never once seen a single drop of their blood.  The sight of her own mesmerized her.

A particularly loud squawk from her infant son, squirming on the changing table, brought her back down from the black.

“Alright, alright, almost done.”  Jaclyn finished pinning the cloth diaper to her child, lifted him to her shoulder and turned.  She startled at seeing her husband, Larek, leaning against the doorframe of the nursery.  He was smiling at her.

“What?” She said, shifting uneasily.

“I just like seeing you all domestic.”

“Har har.”

Larek wrapped his arms around them and pressed his face into her neck. “It suits you.”

Jaclyn closed her eyes and inhaled the scent of her family.

“Mama!  There’s a man at the door!”

“Coming, Remmi,” she called. “Wait for me.”

“Zak already opened it!”

“I did not, the wind pushed it!”

Jaclyn and Larek shared a smirk before heading toward their front door.  Rounding the corner, Jaclyn’s blood chilled when she saw the uniforms.  She handed the baby to her husband and gestured they stay.  She slowly walked toward the open door.

“Boys, go to Papa.”

Zak and Remmi obeyed, sobered by the tone of their mother’s voice.

Jaclyn planted herself in front of the Imperial officer.  “Can I help you?”

“Ahh, Captain Jaclyn Antarres,” he said. His face was cheery in stark contrast to the helmeted guards that flanked him.  “What a pleasure to finally meet you.  Your reputation proceeds you.”

“It’s Mrs. Reed now,” Jaclyn said nervously, wondering what Larek’s face looked like behind her.

“May we come in?” Said the officer, still smiling.  “It won’t take but a moment.”

“Of course.  Larek, would you take the boys-”

“No,” said the officer, “please, don’t usher them out on our account.  This may well be a family decision.”  The officer helped himself to a seat on the couch.  The guards remained standing at his sides.  “I am here to inform you that your services are needed again, Captain.  Congratulations!”

She followed him into the living room, her body tense. “But. . . but the Empire won.  Why do they still need me?”

“Oh, of course we won, thanks in part to your tireless efforts, but there are a few loose ends.  I won’t bore you with the details, after all, do they really matter?  The Empire needs you, Captain.  Won’t you join us?”

Jaclyn sat down across from the officer.

“But, Jaclyn,” behind her, Larek’s voice was thick with disbelief, “You said, I thought-”

“It’s not what you think,” she said, staring at her lap.

“I’m so terribly sorry, how embarrassing,” said the officer.  “Perhaps I am mistaken.”

He produced a small device from his jacket pocket and clicked a button.  A holographic video projected on the coffee table.  Cheering Galactic Republic soldiers choked a Star Destroyer landing strip as they surrounded a TIE-fighter.  A young pilot nimbly leaped from the cockpit.  She removed her helmet, revealing a young Jaclyn, grinning and pumping her fist.

Jaclyn stiffened, hearing her husband gasp and her boys, not understanding, grow excited.

“It’s Mama!” shouted Zak.  “Look, it’s Mama!”

“I want to see it again!” Remmi pleaded.

The blue light of the holograph reflected in the steely eyes of the officer as hundreds of Separatist fighter jets exploded in the living room.  “Am I confusing you with another Jaclyn Antarres?”

“No, sir,” Jaclyn whispered. “That was me.”

“Oh good!”  The officer clicked the button and the image disappeared.

“Aw, no fair!”

Quiet, boys,” barked Larek.

“You had me worried for a moment that I had come to the wrong house!” Continued the officer, seemingly oblivious to the family tension. “You know how government bureaucracy can be so messy.”

“Yes, sir,” said Jaclyn.  She didn’t dare look at her husband.  She could feel his stare burning into the back of her neck.  “I’m afraid I can’t accept this honor, sir.  I just had a baby, you see, and-”

“You won’t reconsider?”

“Well, maybe when the baby is older, I could-”

Jaclyn didn’t notice more guards had already filed into the living room, surrounding her family.

The officer stood.  “I’m afraid, then, that we are no longer asking.”

~~

Zak and Remmi had never been off-planet before and Jaclyn wished she could have enjoyed their wonder as their home planet became smaller and smaller beneath them.  At least it took their minds off the cuffs around their wrists and ankles.  Larek held the baby, his eyes closed.  When she reached over and put her hand on his knee, his eyes snapped open.  The fury in his face made her recoil.

“Captain? So you were good at murdering people, were you?”

“Larek, please, I can’t be blamed-”

“You worked for them,” he hissed. “You lied to me.”

“Larek, I was young, I was broke, it was a job.  I didn’t know.”

“The Clone War was nearly over.  The Purge had already happened.  Don’t tell me you didn’t know.”

“It was a job.”

“For the wrong side.”

“For the winning side.”

“I see.”

“Larek, it worked out for us.”

“Has it?  Our children are in chains, Jaclyn.”

“I’ll fix this, I’ll-”

“Kill when you’re commanded.  Like a good Imperial dog.”

“That’s not fair.”

“Fair?!  My parents were murdered by the Empire.  My childhood home was razed to the ground because we were accused of harboring Jedi.  For all I know, it was you that did it.”

“No, I never fought on the ground, I was only a pilot, I was only-”

“A coward.”

The ship jolted as it entered the tractor beam of the Star Destroyer.  Tears brimmed in Larek’s eyes as his children cooed at the size of the warship.  Jaclyn looked at her feet.  She’d seen plenty before.

The Reed family was herded to the detention level and Jaclyn noticed quite a few other families, their civilian clothes pitably plain next to the gleaming white stormtroopers that patrolled the halls.  Droids zipped and tottered by, ignoring them.  She could tell the other former pilots by the guilt on their faces and the betrayed looks on their spouses’.  She wished she could hold Zak and Remmi’s hands.

~~

“I don’t want you to go, Mama.”

“I know, darling, Mama will be right back, I promise I’ll be right back.”  They were in a cell now, much nicer than Jaclyn would have expected.  It was square and squat, but there were chairs and a thick glass window that looked out into the hallway.  Red, black, and white uniforms passed by outside.  Perhaps they only planned to intimidate, nothing more.

“Please don’t go, please don’t leave me.”

Jaclyn ran her hand through her son’s hair, but before she could speak the guards roughly grabbed her arms and drug her out of the cell, slamming the door behind them, cutting off the wails of her children.

Jaclyn whipped her arms around and released herself.  The officer stood impassively in the hallway.

“Was that really necessary?!” She snapped. “We’ve come quietly, haven’t we?!”

“And we’ve been more than patient.  Your fleet awaits you, Captain, and we don’t have time for any more sentimental moments.”

A hissing sound filled the hallway.  Jaclyn looked up and then through the glass window into her family’s cell.  Larek could hear it, too, and was gathering the boys around him.

“What’s happening?  What are you doing to them?”

“That is their air supply leaking into the hallway.”

“What?!”

“The general is so very fond of games and incentives.  For every rebel ship you take down, another liter of oxygen will replenish your family’s cell.”

“One,” she choked. “One liter?!”

“The average adult needs 550 liters of oxygen a day,” said the officer cheerily. “So I hope for their sake, Captain, you have very good aim.”

Jaclyn rammed herself against the glass window, watching her children’s mouths open in screams that she couldn’t hear.  Seeing her, they broke free of their father and ran to the window, faces red and wet with tears.  Their fingers couldn’t reach the glass.  She looked up at Larek, who only stared back at her from across the cell, his eyes empty.  The hissing stopped.

Not bothering to wipe her eyes, Jaclyn turned to the officer.  “Take me to my ship.”

 

~~

Black uniform hugging her body, helmet under her arm, Jaclyn strode toward the landing strip, callously ignoring salutes from lesser officers as she passed.  She recognized no one from the old days and bitterly envied her former compatriots who managed to disappear or die young.  She put on her helmet and climbed into the cockpit. Her TIE was an advanced model, though the interior didn’t feel much different from her old ship; the controls had a nicer font and the seats were leather.  The escalating whirr of the ship’s engine sent adrenaline shivers through her body.  It felt like home, she conceded guiltily.

How easy it is to shed your humanity in space, she thought, dazed as it came time for her ship to launch into the black.  After all, the X-wings weren’t filled with people, they were filled with oxygen.  And Captain Antarres intended to get every last one.

 

A few pregnancy vignettes

A series of thoughts during weeks 7-10. Warning: May contain TMI

 

Well it finally happened.

I ripped a hole in the ass of my pajama pants by doing LITERALLY NOTHING.  And don’t you dare come after me with that misuse of “literally” crap or I will literally kill you.  By which I mean I will end your life, which is the literal meaning of “kill you.”

~~

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Week 7

Hello, dear readers.  So it turns out that I’m knocked up.  Surprise!  I’m entering my second trimester now.  The following was written during the delirious 7th week of my pregnancy, which easily fit into the Top Five Worst Weeks of My Life.  I swear I’m not only going to write about being pregnant from here on out, but I had a bunch of venting bottled up over the past few months and managed to write a little when I wasn’t vomiting.

Oh, yeah, also, some of this might contain TMI and some nonsensical ranting ;)

 

All I want to do is sleep, poop, and complain.

Why yes, I am in my first trimester, however did you know?

There are a lot of unmagical things about getting pregnant, but one of the most unmagical things is that first trimester where you have ALL THE FEELS, but you can’t talk to any damn person except for the man who got you into this mess in the first place.

Okay, that’s not fair to M Fox. Half of this situation is my fault.  Something about being simultaneously nauseated and starving all the time sorta saps my magnanimity.

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One Woman Breastfeeding Band

This is a twins breastfeeding pillow.

One Man band

I think it needs a few adjustments.

 

Maybe tap shows, too.

Maybe tap shoes, too.

If I stood on a street corner with a tin can while feeding two babies at once and playing all these instruments, I could save up for the babies’ college funds in no time!

What’s sad is that I have been through so many indignities in this first trimester that the above scenario doesn’t even seem that embarrassing.

McConnelling Favorites

Jon Stewart is basically this generation’s older, more Jewish Shirley Temple — he keeps America’s spirits high at times of confusion, frustration, and stupid news anchors.  He just recently gifted the internet, and thus the world, with something very special.  McConnelling.  Some old senator made a wordless campaign video with some crappy music over it and Stewart invited everyone to play the game of redubbing the video with various tunes.

It will time suck your morning, but it will be glorious.

Here are a few of my favorites – I can only embed YouTube videos, apparently, so you’ll have to go to the links for most of these.  Feel free to add your own!

http://www.youdubber.com/index.php?video=nrdTX8m5G98&video_start=0&audio=O5z_l6NE3qs&audio_start=0

http://www.youdubber.com/index.php?video=nrdTX8m5G98&video_start=0&audio=rjtrUuyAFjA&audio_start=0

http://www.youdubber.com/index.php?video=nrdTX8m5G98&video_start=0&audio=N9qYF9DZPdw&audio_start=3

And *kisses fingertips*

http://www.youdubber.com/index.php?video=nrdTX8m5G98&video_start=0&audio=lQlIhraqL7o&audio_start=10

If Lynn Shepherd Cares About Writing, She Should Actually Read Books

I wanted to be an actress, but my parents said that I should go to college and get a degree in something useful.  So I majored in Creative Writing (take THAT!).  My favorite authors are Terry Pratchett and Tamora Pierce, but Brian Jacques’s Redwall series initially sparked my passion to write.  Needless to say, I was never interested in writing The Great American Novel.  I wanted to write about knights and magic and castles and fantasy, specifically YA (Young Adult) fantasy because that is what inspired me to become a writer.  I cannot TELL YOU the struggle I had in college because of this.  Teachers and students alike sneered at my “genre writing.”  It took me years to recover from the ego-beating I received in university writing classes from closed-minded assholes who claimed that writing about girls with swords wasn’t worthy of my page or their eyes.

I have since emerged from the Despairing Self-Pity Cave a fearless defender of YA.  Sherman Alexie, author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, wrote this brilliant article that sums up my feelings exactly about the importance of young adult fiction and the ignorance surrounding what it should be and who should write it.

This morning, I stumbled across this totally absurd piece entitled “If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It.”  I needed a rant, so I came here.

Lynn Shepherd, some writer who has not tasted the same success as JK Rowling, has decided that in order for the unknown authors of the world to get a fair shake, Rowling should step down from her tyrannical throne and let others have a chance, for Christ’s sake.  I mean, it was all well and good when Rowling was “Pottering about,” but now she’s strangling the adult book market with her crappy novels and no one else can even get a word in edgewise, so maybe she should just keep to writing for babies so that other authors can be published.

The premise alone is ridiculous, since that’s not actually how publishing works, but this line

This Line

THIS LINE

is what makes my head explode:

“I did think it a shame that adults were reading [the Harry Potter books], mainly because there’s so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds.”

So she has the audacity to judge readers for enjoying something that she has never read because she claims to be some sort of arbiter of what adults should and shouldn’t read.

I thought Harry Potter was uncool before it was cool

I thought Harry Potter was uncool before it was cool

It’s not breaking news that another snooty literary type thinks that any work labeled “children’s” or “young adult” is not worthy of adult consumption.  It’s just disappointing and tiresome.  Who the hell is anyone to say that it’s wrong for an adult to identify with Hermione or Alanna or Katniss any less than Elizabeth Bennett or Rosasharn or Lady MacBeth?

And if you say YA novels don’t use sophisticated prose, then I raise you the austerity of Hemingway as an example of powerful literature sans the fancy-pants and then hold up the maddening complexity of Joyce, who used all sorts of fancy literary devices and yet managed to make you want to kill yourself after having to untangle his sentences.

But children’s books are void of complex ideas, you say? The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss.

Good books transcend genre.  Period.

But back to Shepherd, cus it gets better.

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