2011 in a Nutshell

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? Entered a beauty pageant. It was for charity! Also, most of the other contestants were drag queens. I was interview on the radio for the first time this morning. I’ll let you know how that goes. Methinks I was a drag.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I wanted to work out more and I definitely accomplished that. I also did get to do more writing, but not as much as I’d hoped. This year, I want to stress out about things less, even if that means finding a way to take some things off my plate. That will be VERY hard, though, because I’m not good at letting go of things. I had a hard time living in the moment in 2011 because I was always thinking/freaking out about the future. I want to figure out a way to enjoy my present more.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes. Babies Jack, William and Luke came into the world. More on the way for 2012. Not for me, though.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Not to me, no.
5. What countries did you visit? I did not make it out of the country in 2011. To be rectified in 2012!
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? More patience and the ability to manage stress. A cleaner bill of health.
7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Skaraoke was epic this year. Possibly the best one yet. 2/21 was the day Lula started walking.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I have to steal Elyse’s answer and say that keeping a toddler thriving and relatively happy is a huge achievement. Those things are always trying to kill themselves.
9. What was your biggest failure? Time management. Letting things go.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? So much goddamned illness. I was at the doctor constantly. The pharmacist knows my name now.
11. What was the best thing you bought? Organizational tools. It felt SO good every time I got a new drawer or closet in working order. Still so much work left to do, though.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My husband is a champion. Such a good dad too.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Big time mama issues.
14. Where did most of your money go? Stuff for Lula, trips and medical bills. I wasn’t very good with kid shopping in 2011. I kept trying to find the perfect book or toy that would make Lula happy forever. But, of course, such a thing doesn’t exist. Unless that thing is the TV. But I can’t let her become a couch potato just yet.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? SXSW, SIFF, friends visiting, visiting friends, Skaraoke, seeing Ween at the Paramount, Party Bus w/ Drag Queens, Adult camping, pie.
16. What song will always remind you of 2011? “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga. I was late to the Gaga party but really enjoyed the hell out of her in 2011. “Bad Romance” is also pretty fun to sing at karaoke.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Sadder.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner. I weigh less now than I have since college. It’s the toddler-wrangling workout.
iii. richer or poorer? Pooer.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Relaxing.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Freaking the fuck out.
20. How will you be spending Christmas? Spent the morning with the in-laws and the evening with friends. Perfect.
21. Where will you be spending New Year’s Eve? Having slumber party with another family. Hard to get a sitter for NYE.
22. Did you fall in love in 2011? I loved hard.
23. What was your favorite TV program? “Louis”, “Justified”, “Archer”, “American Horror Story” (compellingly bad). Apparently, I am FXs bitch, as I also watch “The League”. “Doctor Who”. Was “Mad Men” on in 2011? If so, “Mad Men”. “Ru Paul’s Drag Race”. I was very excited for “Fringe” to come back, but it was a pretty big let-down. Holy shit, I watch a lot of TV.
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Not that I can think of. Weird. I can’t even think of a celebrity. I am losing my edge.
25. What was the best book you read? Just finished the new Miranda July book, “It Chooses You” and was predictably moved. I still haven’t finished “Everything Matters!”, but was really into it for a while.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery? I never discover anything anymore, but I really dug the Gaga catalog. Also Dead Man’s Bones (way late on that one). Both Liam and Noel Gallagher came out with new music this year and I will probably always buy what they’re selling. I’ve listened to a shit ton of Caspar Babypants recently because they’re tolerable kids music and Lula has been wanting to hear more of it.
27. What did you want and get? Plentiful nights off from parenting.
28. What did you want and not get? Caught up.
29. [Replacement question] What did you get and not want? A chronic fungus.
30. What was your favorite film of this year? Kind of a toss-up between “Drive” and “The Future”.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 33. We went out to karaoke over the weekend and my husband made me dinner on the day.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? For time to stop for, like, a week so I could make some headway on my ever-growing to-do list.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? Portland hipster. Lots of soft cotton, hand-stitched skirts and appliqued hoodies. Barrettes because I’m growing my bangs out. Colorful boots and knee-high socks. More color in general, but still sticking with dark and earthy tones. Slim fit tops, as well because I wasn’t trying to hide my belly as much.
34. What/Who kept you sane? My husband and friends. The babysitter. Recreational substances.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Ryan Gosling. Again I am late on this. I guess that just cements my status as an out-of-touch old lady. But this year, he became more than just “That guy from the steaming pile known as ‘the Notebook'” because I saw him in a number of impressive roles and he just blew me away. He’s also kind of a weird guy, which is unusual for a guy who looks like that. Also, Nick Kroll a little bit.
36. What political issue stirred you the most? Health care, Occupy.
37. Who did you miss? Friends who used to live here.
38. Who was the best new person you met? I think I didn’t meet my friend’s daughter, Josie, until this year. She is an awesome, smiley kid.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011: The opinions of strangers do not matter.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: I can never think of anything good for this. Here’s how I feel every time I try to take a load off.

It’s not that I don’t like you/I’m just at a party
And I am sick and tired of my phone r-ringing
Sometimes I feel like I live in Grand Central Station
Tonight I’m not taking no calls/cos I’ll be dancin’

2010 Year-End Meme

I don’t do memes that much anymore, but I still really like the year-end meme because it’s nice to reflect on the years as they whiz past. So let’s do this.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Gave birth to and subsequently cared for a human life. Weird. I’ll try not to make this whole thing baby-centric but it may prove difficult as once you have a baby, they basically consume your life. Also, I went on my first cruise. Ever since then, I’ve dreamed about being on a cruise at least once a month.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Didn’t make any. Though this year I’d like to continue to get some exercise at least 5 times a week, spend one night a week reading instead of vegging in front of the T.V., continue to have at least one baby-free night a week with my husband and find more time to write. Those all seem pretty do-able because I’m already doing several of them.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yep! 2010 welcomed Lula and her future BFFs Josie, Sam, Maddie and Ian.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
We weren’t that close anymore but my cousin died. It was weird because she was so young (21), but even weirder because I found out about it on Facebook. That’s the first time that’s ever happened. Is that the new way to deliver bad news? Also, my Aunt finally lost her battle with M.S. What a shitty disease that is.

5. What countries did you visit?
Mexico.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
A sense of purpose. I know that, as a mother, wife and semi-professional critic, I’m certainly necessary to at least a couple of people. I can’t exactly explain why I feel a little aimless. But hopefully 2011 will bring about an end to that.

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 20th, my daughter’s birthday. Also, February 12th, her due date, as it painfully passed me by.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Successfully nurturing and bringing a new person into the world and subsequently keeping that person alive for the next 6 months using only my boobs. I know that people do this all the time, but it still seemed kind of incredible that I, personally, was capable of this.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Still not finding a good parenting/work balance and therefore letting my freelance work dwindle.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Pregnancy is a lot like illness and giving birth definitely counts as injury.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The Ergo baby carrier. This thing is amazing and I’m always glad to have my kid strapped into it when I’m boarding the bus, walking down a city sidewalk, rushing through an airport or shopping at Trader Joe’s. Life is just so much more difficult with a stroller.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband has been absolutely incredible and has taken to fatherhood so well. Because of him, I get to sleep in once a week and I get to relax when he comes home from work. I have NO idea how people do this by themselves.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Idiot politicians. Parents who make gay kids scared to come out.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Baby stuff and vacations.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Lula’s birth. Not being pregnant anymore. Being able to drink again. Our various vacations. Meeting my friends’ babies.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
“Sister Golden Hair” because I sing it to Lula all the time. When you’re trying to get a baby to sleep, you just pull out any songs you know all the words to that can be slowed down a bit. Plus, she’s a tow-head, so it kinda fits.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
-i. happier or sadder?
Happier. This time last year, I was pretty damned uncomfortable.
– ii. thinner or fatter?
Thinner! I don’t even want to tell you how much I weighed this time last year.
– iii. richer or poorer?
Personally, much poorer on account of work falling by the wayside. But overall, we’re probably about the same financially. Shop Amazon, people! :)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Camping. I really missed it. It wouldn’t have been as much fun with a tiny baby though. But this summer, we already have one trip planned!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Crying. Hormones are a motherfucker.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Hung out in good old Poulsbo with our close friends. I won a gingerbread house building contest and $60 playing pai gow. It was a big day for me.

21. Where did you spend New Year’s Eve?
We dropped by an adult party and left around 9, when Lula started to lose her baby mind. When we got home, we put her to bed, watched Mad Men commentaries and fell asleep by 11:30. Parenting.

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?
I’ll try not to make anyone nauseous with the old “love at first baby sight” cliche. But I definitely love a person this year that I didn’t even know last year. My fella also continues to find new ways for me to fall for him.

23. How many one-night stands?
Not a lot of time for torrid anonymous sex when you have a baby.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Mad Men and Fringe.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is a strong word, but I’m not as much of a fan of someone as I used to be.

26. What was the best book you read?
I didn’t read much fiction, but I continued to get much out of this book: http://www.amazon.com/Be-Prepared-Practical-Handbook-Dads/dp/0743251547/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1294018385&sr=8-1

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
That old Sesame street songs are totally palatable and even delightfully clever.

28. What did you want and get?
A healthy, awesome kid. Losing the baby weight before her first birthday. No stretch marks (no idea how this happened as I still have faded white lines on my hips from puberty).

29. What did you want and not get?
To not fall prey to postpartum depression. For our cat to get used to the baby.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
“The Room”. Not since “Showgirls” has a movie delighted me to tears with its sheer inanity.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My husband made me dinner and we watched one of my favorite movies, “Wild at Heart”. I turned 32.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Regular sleep.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Problematic. It really sucks having to fit a constantly fluctuating body whilst still maintaining some semblance of personal style. I mostly refused to wear maternity clothes on account of the fact that the affordable ones were extremely frumpy. After I gave birth, my body shrank slowly so I had several in-between stages to get through without spending too much money on clothes that wouldn’t fit me in a month or two.

34. What/Who kept you sane?
My husband, my awesome friends, the babysitter and alcohol.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Jon Hamm.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The rash of suicides amongst bullied gay teens.

37. Who did you miss?
Friends who moved away. My cousin. My band.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Lula, obviously. Our babysitter is a runner-up. I love that girl.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
That many people think they know more about how to raise your kid than you do and it’s OK to tell them to suck it.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad
Sing, sing a song
Make it simple
To last your whole life long
Don’t worry that it’s not good enough
For anyone else to hear
Just sing, sing a song

La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la

If I were a hammer

It’s been a while since I’ve done a meme. I’m doing a meme. Join me, won’t you? Not sure if one is meant to answer what they’d WANT to be or what their categorical equivalent would be. I went with the latter. Though maybe I’ll answer as the former at a later date.

If I were a season, I’d be ~ Fall
If I were a month, I’d be ~ September
If I were a day of the week, I’d be ~ Sunday
If I were a time of day, I’d be ~ Lunchtime
If I were a planet, I’d be ~ Mars
If I were a direction, I’d be ~ West
If I were a tree, I’d be ~ Weeping Willow
If I were a flower, I’d be ~ Dandelion
If I were a fruit, I’d be ~ Tomato
If I were a land animal, I’d be ~ House Cat
If I were a sea animal, I’d be ~ Seahorse
If I were a bird, I’d be ~ Pigeon
If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be ~ Ottoman
If I were a liquid, I’d be ~ Saltwater
If I were a stone, I’d be ~ That red gravel that looks like meteors
If I were a tool, I’d be ~ Allen Wrench
If I were a kind of weather, I’d be ~ Fog
If I were a musical instrument, I’d be ~ Kazoo
If I were a colour, I’d be ~ Blacker than the blackest orange
If I were a facial expression, I’d be ~ A resting face that looks like a frown
If I were an emotion, I’d be ~ Floating anxiety
If I were a sound, I’d be ~ Tapping
If I were an element, I’d be ~ Lithium
If I were a car, I’d be ~ An old Volvo station wagon
If I were a food, I’d be ~ Soy
If I were a place, I’d be ~ A rumpus room
If I were a flavour, I’d be ~ Vanilla salt
If I were a scent, I’d be ~ Frankincense
If I were an object, I’d be ~ Unidentified flying
If I were a body part ~ Boobs
If I were a song, I’d be ~ “Rainy Days and Mondays” – The Carpenters
If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be ~ Beat up Mary Janes
If I were transportation, I’d be ~ Feet
If I were a fairy tale, I’d be ~ Coraline
If I were a holiday, I’d be ~ Friday the 13th

Pilfered from here.

Year End Meme 2009

It’s that time again…

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Got knocked up. Remodeled a house.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I never really make New Years’ resolutions because if there’s something I want to change, why not start right away?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I know a few people, but I think 2010 is going to be a bigger baby year for people in my life.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My maternal grandmother died this year. We were not very close though.

5. What countries did you visit?
Canada.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Wine on my birthday.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
October 31st – Skaraoke. December 11th – remodel completion.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Becoming an enemy of the Twitards. Also, being cold-turkey sober for the baby. Prior to getting knocked up, this is the longest I’ve gone without illicit substances since I was 16.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Nothing too tragic but I do wish I’d done more writing this year. Maybe finally finished that screenplay…(But if I finished it, I wouldn’t be able to complain about having an unfinished screenplay.) I also wish my stress management had been a little better.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Being knocked up can often feel like illness. And I’m constantly injuring myself in small ways. But other than that, not really.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A finished basement and a new master bathroom.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband who’s been absolutely awesome helping me deal with stress and putting up with my occasional irrational episodes. My terrific friends who are kind, helpful and, most importantly, fun. The small majority of Washingtonians who voted to approve domestic partnership rights in Washington state.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Any person responsible for bigotry and enacting/enforcing laws that deny equal rights. The people responsible for the abortion “compromise” bill.

14. Where did most of your money go?
On the remodel and baby stuff.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
A new president. SXSW. A finished remodel.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
“Poker Face”, I guess. That song is everywhere.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
The same.

– ii. thinner or fatter?
It’s not fat, exactly. But I’m definitely way heavier.

– iii. richer or poorer?
Poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
See movies in theatres.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Freak out.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With husband, cats, hobbits and Chinese food.

21. Where will you be spending New Year’s Eve?
With my best friends at a house party.

22. Did you fall in love in 2009?
I continued to be in love.

23. How many one-night stands?
Another resounding zero. This question probably needs to go away because I doubt it will ever be relevant in my life again.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
“Dollhouse”. “Supernatural”. Every other episode of “Fringe”.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I wasn’t so thrilled with the basement remodel people. But they’re out of my life now so no need to dwell.

26. What was the best book you read?
“Downtown Owl” by Chuck Klosterman. It’s just a terrific piece of fiction. “Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads”. I bought the latter for my baby daddy but then I read it too and it’s so much more straightforward and useful than any of the mommy books I’ve come across. None of that “magical journey” bullshit. Just the facts about how to keep a baby alive and entertained.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I completely love The Northern Key. Also, some bands I really like (Built to Spill, the Flaming Lips) came out with new records. But I’m definitely getting to that point where it’s hard to find new music that really impresses me.

28. What did you want and get?
Knocked up. The perfect house. Some small advancement in civil rights in my state.

29. What did you want and not get?
Prop 8 overturned. Universal health care.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
“Moon”, “Grace”, “The Bad Lieutenant”.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 31 and had a very low-key birthday on account of my lack of ability to party. I went to a birth class and then out to dinner. First sober birthday since 1997.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A cute, affordable line of maternity clothes.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Pre-pregnancy, nothing changed. Post-pregnancy, things got challenging. Maternity clothes are, for the most part, awful (what’s with all the flared sleeves, mumus and horrific patterns? I don’t need help feeling like an Oopma Loompa). I’ve had to do a lot of creative layering and working with my current wardrobe to feel at all attractive.

34. What/Who kept you sane?
My husband and friends.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I continue to love Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart for all they’re doing in combating the evils in politics and national “news” coverage. Also, Joshua Jackson is pretty cute.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Definitely the issue of gay marriage. The fact that we are still having to debate equal rights for all Americans is so appalling. Recently, I am also a bit terrified/sickened by the abortion “compromise”. More human rights being challenged by the ignorant, bigoted, meddlesome religious right.

37. Who did you miss?
Friends who moved away. My waistline. Beer.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I didn’t really meet anyone new but I got to know some great people better.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
It’s very difficult to get people to change their minds. It’s OK to take it easy sometimes.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“It might save time if I meet you there/but I don’t care/I’d rather wait for you”

I’m Still Young!

This test proves it. Because that noise is damned annoying.

Train Horn

Created by Train Horn

I think this is the same sound they played on our hotel roof deck in Rome to keep the pigeons away. The pigeons didn’t seem bothered by it. They must have been old pigeons.

What’s In a Name

1. YOUR REAL NAME:
Jessica Baxter

2. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother and fathers middle names)
Catherine Arthur

3. NASCAR NAME: (first name of your mother’s dad, father’s dad)
Joseph Patrick

4. STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name)
Baxje

5. DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Red Kitten

6. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, town where you were born)
Kealoha Dallas

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd fav color, fav drink, add “THE” to the beginning)
The Orange Screwdriver

8. FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name)
Jeba

9. STREET NAME: (fav ice cream flavor, fav cookie)
Cookies n’ Cream Oatmeal

10. ROCK STAR NAME: (pet’s name and street where you live)
Tobe 59th

11. PORN NAME: (1st pet, street you grew up on)
Cinderella Rockport Landing

12. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (first 3 letters of real name plus izzle)
Jesizzle

14. YOUR GOTH NAME: (black, and the name of one of your pets)
Black Lucy

15. STRIPPER NAME: (name of your fav perfume/cologne, fav candy)
Old Spice Good n’ Plenty

Year End Meme 09 – Better Never Than Late!

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Got married. Traveled to Italy. Performed in a band in public. Continue reading